Friday, January 25, 2013

Berlin - FOOD

French cheese, pickled fig, berries, balsamic at Clärchens Ballhaus
By the time we got to Berlin, after five days in Prague, we were just about sausaged-out. Does that mean we didn't immediately eat a bratwurst at the first Christmas market we stumbled upon (which happened to be right outside our hotel near Potsdamer Platz)? OF COURSE NOT. But it does mean that we spaced out the pork with lots of Asian food. 

Berlin is, essentially, very much like New York in its metropolitanness. It was a bit of culture shock after five days in the quaint, charming village of Prague. I had been to Berlin twice before, but both times in the summer, and the most recent time was ten years ago. While it hadn't changed significantly, it's quite different to visit Berlin as a 30-year old when the last time you were there, you were 20 and broke. Even McDonalds was too expensive for touring college kids.

After all of our time spend traveling in the Middle East and Prague over the past year, I had forgotten that there are plenty of countries in the world that do not print menus in anything but the native tongue. Thankfully, my six years of German studies did not fail me, and I was able to accurately interpret the food options. Most people in Germany do speak English and will kindly explain the menu to you, but it's much more fun to stumble over Hänchen.

Our first night, we went to Clärchens Ballhaus for drinks and an appetizer. The Ballhaus opened in 1913 as a dance hall, and remains an important venue for swing dancing and celebrity parties today. With our beer and wine, we got this delicious bread basket (WHAT IS IT ABOUT EUROPEAN BREAD????) and the above cheese plate with some delightfully stinky French cheese. The stinkier the cheese - the happier I am.

For dinner, since Clärchens is in Berlin Mitte (a beautiful historic area right in the middle of the city with lots of little cafes, book shops), we stopped into a restaurant called Pauly Saal which is absolutely incredible and has a random decor:

I don't get it. But I love it. LOVE. IT.
Terrible photo, but I had this incredible rye dumblings filled with goat cheese and spinach, served on Jerusalem artichoke creak, and leek. It at least contained vegetables, which was a switch from pork.

And for a snack? A tasty almond croissant from one of the metro vendors. Yesssss.

Our last day of vacation, we ate nothing but Asian food. Because that's what you do in Berlin. Or - that's what WE do in Berlin.

We ordered some pretty legit spring rolls and dim sum at a restaurant near our hotel in Potsdamer Platz called 

The spring rolls came with the wraps mounted on plastic discs, and you peeled them off and wrapped the chicken and veggies therein and dipped away at a peanutty sauce. FRESH VEGETABLES! What a shock to the system.
Stuff, fold, and stuff into your face.
 We also hit up a Thai restaurant that was literally right around the corner from the Checkpoint Charlie Museum, Sisaket. It might have been super-touristy, but we didn't care because the craving for curry overtook any and all attempts at authenticity. 

The Massaman curry was incredibly sweet - almost dessert like,  but plenty coconutty and rich. The Gentleman had a lovely pad thai dish. And beer.


 And now I'm on a diet until March.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is how reading your post went for me:

"Man, some French cheese would be really good right now, especially with figs."

"Oh my god, goat cheese and spinach and leeks and dumplings?!? Wants! Wants now!"

"ALMOND CROISSANT?!?! I hate NG. I hate her so much."

Then I stopped having cohesive thoughts and just drooled excessively.