Last summer, I wrote a blog titled Berlin Is Making Me Fat and now I’m here to tell you that my fair Berlin is at it again, but this time with a little twist!
Having moved from a somewhat deserted, less colorful neighborhood where I felt far from all the action (Wedding), to a lively, crowded corner that never sleeps (in Prenzlauer Berg), the situation is worse than ever. Living on Kastanienallee feels like both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, I have it all. Everything I need is at my finger tips. My street is restaurant – cafe – Späti*, after another, after another. Between the plenty of options to feed myself, copy shop – park – boutique, after another, after another are also squeezed in. Oh wait- I can’t forget the abundance of shopping centers, clubs, pubs, Apothekes*, live music, bakeries, movie theaters, bars, Biergartens*, ice cream parlors, and trams also right outside my door step. It isn’t possible to NOT turn into the laziest person in the world. And that’s who I am now. You can start calling me, Aimee, laziest women in the world.
Okay that’s not true. I’m not that lazy, but I do appreciate that I can be! On the other side of this blessing is the curse that I can’t walk 50 meters from my apartment without seeing and/or smelling mouth-watering meal after another, after another. While it’s definitely exciting, knowing that I could try out all of these fantastic dishes and at basically always reasonable prices, it’s also very depressing. Caught up in the illusion that Berliners spend all day, everyday happy, satisfied and full at one of these tables, I feel pressured to leave the real world and go join them! Then I come back to reality and remind myself that the guests at these tables are tourists and if they’re not tourists, they haven’t been there all day and they won’t be there tomorrow. My senses try to convince my brain that I have the money and the body to be a professional restaurant hopper and eat out everyday, and my brain is constantly fighting back, screaming, “Nooooooo, you’re a broke student, Aimee and those crunchy spring rolls will turn into belly rolls by tomorrow! Wake up!”
I’m awake!!!! But I’m taking advantage of my blessing/curse. And it’s okay because I too am happy, satisfied and full.
Here are some of the reasons why:
My next door neighbor and Italian restaurant chain, Aceto Lokanta that’s always open and sells 50 different kinds of pizzas and pastas and casseroles and salads (takes breath) for 2,50 – 4 Euro. This place is the definition of lazy and instant gratification!
Rice Queen. I was tempted to simply write just its name. That’s how good it was. It was good on all levels. Explosive tastes, perfect portions, unbelievable flavor, fair prices, and great service. I can’t wait to go back! I don’t think they have a website, but I’ve linked their Facebook page.
Maria Bonita lived up to its reputation. I’ve been hearing people talk about this Mexican taqueria for a while now and I wasn’t too excited to check it out because I didn’t want to be disappointed by yet another Mexican dining-out experience in Germany. I’m happy to report that I was not even the slightest bit disappointed. Unless you count how upset I was when all three of my tacos were gone from my plate! That was a big sigh! Maria Bonita prides itself on its authentic taste and they have every right to. It was nice eating corn tortillas again and real pico de gallo. Another place I look forward to returning to!
Gemüse Kebap across the street from my place is such a little treat! They handle your Kebap like it’s a new born baby. It’s prepared with delicacy and love! And it tastes that way too! It’s compared with the supposed “best Gemüse* Kebap in Berlin” from Mustafa’s (which I guess if I am willing to wait in that line, I’ll be trying soon). I’m all about their grilled peppers, eggplant and zucchini they toss in and the Schafskäse* is just the icing on the cake!
Greek cuisine has a special place in my heart and I feel like I can only go so long without getting my fix of zaziki and lamb. And it had been simply too long with out my garlic induced Greek food coma, so Tom and I decided to check out, Asteria, the Greek restaurant around the corner with great ratings. Asteria definitely hit the spot, but I believe the hefty prices are weighed on the outstanding service! The waiters are friendly and personable, they are very happy to make conversation and joke around. After your meal you receive a complementary espresso and plate of mixed fruit. And of course before, throughout, after and then after again, you’re showered with shots of ouzo. We literally had to leave because he wouldn’t stop offering us more shots! The best part was when he took one with us! I think I’ll go somewhere new for my next Greek cuisine fix though.
So, I loved my first Egyptian experience in Kreuzberg. Let me just start by saying we had to take our shoes off and got to eat on a pile of beautifully decorated pillows. It was a very comfortable evening of friends and food. A good, old pal of mine, Lindzi had just arrived in Berlin and her brother’s friend suggested Egyptian. I didn’t think too much about it, but it was quite awesome once I sat down and started to dig in. Lindzi and I shared a mixed grilled-vegetable plate with falafel, humus, coos-coos, and bombastic grilled-vegis! Oh and our prosciutto, Schafskäse, and vegi salad was also übers yummy. I’d like to go back. 🙂
Got to love work events! During my last week at tellM, the team went out to dinner at the Korean Barbecue restaurant in Kreuzberg, Kimichi Princess! It was a fun dining experience for sure. A grill is brought to your table and you get to watch the main dish being cooked in front of you and then you can add all sorts of tasty little sides to the grill and enjoy consuming it together with a bowl of rice. It’s nothing like Korean Barbecue in the States, but I was totally fine with that!
Ahh, I almost forgot Lemongrass, a Vietnamese and Sushi restaurant where I had lunch with Tom at in Friedrichshain. Apparently, he’s been there two more times already. The dish I ordered was without a doubt tasty; it was filled with scrumptious noodles, loaded with crispy chicken, green vegetables and a sort of soy AND sweet and sour sauce. What ever Tom ordered was better though. I think he had a dish drenched in coconut curry sauce that was the perfect balance of spicy and amazing.
Uhh, I guess I could go on forever?
On top of the fabulous places I mentioned above, naturally I’ve enjoyed various other pizza, Kumpir*, Döner Kepab, wurst, and pastry experiences. You’ve got Currywurst* stands left and right; a bakery always in sight (I’m loving Belegtes Brötchen* with scrambled eggs lately) and international food markets and stands all over! It’s culinary heaven, I tell you!
-The burrito place inside the Alexanderplatz U-Bahn* station that sells burritos and Kumpir
-Any Döner Kepab stand near Warschauerstrasse
German vocab explained:
*Späti (Spät Verkauf)- “Spät” means late. A “Späti” is a colloquial term for a market store that is opened until the late hours. You can purchase everything from alcohol to candy and milk to toilet paper from a Späti.
*Apotheke- a pharmacy
*Biergarten- an outdoor dining area
*Schafskäse- sheep cheese
*Kumpir- a Turkish fast-food specialty. A large baked potato piled with toppings like cheese, vegetables, meat and sauces.
*Currywurst- a part of original Berlin cuisine! Currywurst is sausage topped with curry flavored ketchup and curry powder and is usually served with fries.
*Belegtes Brötchen- basically a sandwich. Brötchen are small bread rolls and if they are described as “Belegtes” then they are layered with something- usually deli meat, eggs, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese.
*U-Bahn- the underground train system that supports the Berlin city area
-photograph compliments of yelp.de (Restaurant Baraka)-