Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My Last Night in Berlin

I had gone to see the Boros Collection, a contemporary,mostly German art collection housed in a redone old bunker.  Then I met up with my friend Keith and went for a walk about in Kreuzberg which is akin to the East Village here in NYC.   We were headed to The Golden Ahan restaurant where I was meeting my friend Malka to have dinner and celebrate her birthday.

First things first:  Drinks!    We passed this really adorable, cozy old world style Cafe called Gipfeltreffen:

The view from outside:
 Inside you are greeted by the cheesecake display!
 Italian pastries:
In the first room is this incredible old heater.
Love the candle scones

In the main room a wood burning stove.  I tell you in the winter if I lived near this place I would never leave!
The view from out table.
Now that we have been fortified it was time to continue on with our walk.  Just as we were nearing the restaurant we stumbled upon a farmers market.  Well I say farmers markte even though there were vendors selling everything from flowers to cooking ware to meat, cheese and produce.  

Elstar is a Golden Delicious varietal common in Europe, but rarely seen here.

Local walnuts.  These are the people who yelled at me for taking pictures, apparently I need to sign a release form to take pictures of produce in Berlin. Thankfully I had Keith there to protect me.

From here I met up with Malka and went for on of the most memorable meals of my trip at Der Goldene Hahn.

A rustic Italian restaurant with a great high ceiling  divided into two rooms, the front room has the bar and several tables and is more high energy the back room by the kitchen is quieter.  The food was delicious, the portions generous, the servous gracious and friendly (and then were happy to speak English)  and the lighting too dark for me to get any good pictures!

I had so many more food experiences in Berlin that I haven't even gotten to yet, but these were the highlights.  One of the meals I thought was going to be spectacular was Dos Palillos run by El Bulli alumni's Albert Raurich heads up the very modern kitchen in the chic Casa Camper hotel serving up rather uninspired Pan Asian food.  Food was of a very high quality, but rather bland (roll your own tuna maki - really? Please).  Tastier and cheaper versions of this kind of cuisine can be gotten for half the price at any number of places in the East Village. Also our waitress was not good.  At one point after a very long pause in the service I asked her if we were done?  She didn't respond so well to this question, but as it was prix fix and I didn't know how many courses we had had I was just checking in to see if the meal was complete.  She was equally hard to get at the end of the meal when I was trying to get a large bill broken so I could tip her (options to tip are not given on a credit card receipt like they are here).   For a restaurant of this caliber, this kind of shoddy service and lackluster food is not really acceptable.  The meal I had at Lavenderia Vecchia was way more spectacular, friendly and tastier (not to mention cheaper) so when deciding on where to eat in Berlin don't let the pedigree persuade you as it did me and give this place a pass.

It was with great apprehension that I said good bye to Berlin and my friends there, regretting that I couldn't stay longer and vowing to return soon!  It was a great trip filed with lots of delicious meals, amazing markets and oh lots of really good beer.


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