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.

About urbanfoodguy

I'm a self taught cook with a dedication to buying and eating food that is as humanely and sustainably raised as possible. Which is why in addition to recipes you will see a lot of environmental/political reporting here. I started cooking when I was about 6, it's something I always loved to do. Watching Graham Kerr - aka "The Galloping Gourmet" - was what got me started and I have never really looked back. Over the years I've been a private chef, a caterer, and a food stylist for magazines such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Oprah, Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and many more. I've also worked in the prep kitchen for the Food Network on the Bobby Flay and Paula Deen shows. Now I work at home in my kitchen sharing with you here recipes that I create or that other people have created that inspire me and I think you will like. I love my neighborhood (the Lower East Side of Manhattan) and I love to travel. Because NYC is such a big place I tend to focus mostly on my 'hood and the ones that are close by: The East Village, Bowery, Chinatown and Williamsburg. My love of travel has no limits really, I'm always ready to get on a plane. I was lucky enough to have a business for many years that allowed me to spend a lot of time in South East Asia. These days I've been spending time in Mexico, Germany, Canada and the West Coast of the U.S., but check back you never know where I might end up. I do consulting, cooking classes, and freelance lifestyle writing so if you are interested please send me a note:
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