Two Nice Yet Unrelated Discoveries

December 3rd, 2009 aimee m. Posted in Around Berlin, Places, Rants and raves, Restaurant reviews No Comments »

Yam-Yam, on Alte Schönhauser 6, just a stone’s throw from Rosa-Luxembourg U-Bahn (U2), is a nice find for Korean food — although the their Web site makes the place seem much more cafeteria-style than it really is.  Clean if not a bit Spartan, the restaurant (in a former clothing store location) serves up good, if not very good, Korean specialties — bibimbop and the like — and the kim-chi is properly spicy, even if the red pepper paste condiment seems a bit muted for local taste. Drawback: No beer. Bonus: Kids in the north of town don’t have to commute to Nollendorfplatz for bibimbop cravings. Check it out.

And second, completely unrelated to the first. Ever been to Rathaus Charlottenburg?  We certainly hadn’t. A serious need for refreshment after five-plus hours of Wagner at the Deutsche Oper led us around the corner to the Rathaus and its Ratskeller — which from the outside looks a bit touristy — but inside is a nice surprise.  Warm wood, fancy booths and a couple of impressive dining rooms (still with original 1905 sculptures of Pan and Bacchus leering at guests), a whole “Wild” menu and the feeling that you’ve left modern Berlin for a little bit of old Berlin, which can be terribly charming if you’re in the mood. The wait staff is unnervingly friendly, which is almost worth a trip on its own. Seems like it would be an ideal spot for groups; definitely a place for out-of-town guests. Or late-night beers, as it were…

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Meditation on Some Dinner Rolls

November 11th, 2009 aimee m. Posted in Around Berlin, People 2 Comments »

rooools

Oh, where has the time gone.  Or the sun. But anyone who’s lived in the Hauptstadt long enough knows that one doesn’t ask that question out loud after Oct. 1 or thereabouts.  Summer disappeared and then there was something that might have been Autumn, but then Winter kicked it aside without much of a how-do-you-do.  And even though we might still be craving crisp salads with juicy red tomatoes, what we’re going to get is grünkohl and knacker.

But that’s OK. Winter gives good reason to bake and hibernate, and bake some more.  So the HIB team apologizes for being away (making wine, writing books, moving to foreign countries and reporting on penguin-man love) but will now be back with a vengeance, or, at least, with dinner rolls in hand.  See you at the table.

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New Asian Store in Charlottenburg. And Dim Sum, Too.

August 7th, 2009 aimee m. Posted in Around Berlin, Places, Rants and raves, Recommended stores, Uncategorized 1 Comment »

The good Ben Perry reminds HIB that us kids have been remiss in passing along some dim-sum skinny.  You can find the new Asia-inspired grocery Amazing Oriental (yes, that really is the name) on the corner of Kantstr. and Friedrichstr. in Charlottenburg, just a few steps away from the Charlottenburg S-Bahn station. The company apparently has its base in the Netherlands, thus what they’re importing is pretty different than the Thai-centric fare you get in most other Asia laden in the east side of town.  There’s more Chinese ingredients (lots of dried stuff and a mega-selection of noodles), a lot of Indonesian spices, a good selection of fresh Asian vegetables, and best of all, a nice (but small) dim sum counter up front, that does char siu baked buns and a bunch of other goodies. Check it out.

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New Mexican Food in Berlin. Tempting…

August 5th, 2009 john borland Posted in Reader responses, Restaurant reviews 6 Comments »

Anyone who drops by here with any regularity knows we’re more than a little obsessed with Mexican food. So… it is with great pleasure that we read this, from Claudia, in the comments:

I went to a new Mexican food place, and not that I’m an authority on food or anything, but coming from Mexico I can say it is a little piece of home :) I loved the food. They are on Danziger Strasse 33.

The destination is Maria Bonita, and the folks from Toytown seem to be excited too. We haven’t tried it yet, but, um… we’ll be right back…

Thanks for the tip, Claudia! If anyone else has tried this place, let us know in the comments.

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More Berries For the Picking…

July 1st, 2009 aimee m. Posted in Around Berlin, Events, Fruits and Veggies, Places No Comments »

A heads-up for more berry picking in the Brandenburg area — blueberries and raspberries are apparently ready to be self-picked, as per the Berliner Beerengarten team. The HIB team really has to get out and do this one of these days…if you have, let us know in the comments below.

And on a random thought, one of the Berliner Beerengarten fields is out in Hoppegarten, which is also a cool old horse racing stadium.  A gaggle of us (led by the very knowledgeable Ms. Bowleserised) had a visit a month or so ago, bet on a couple of ponies, and actually came away richer! Wouldn’t be a terrible double-feature, ponies and berry-pflucking…

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Know Your Neighbors

June 28th, 2009 aimee m. Posted in Around Berlin, Places, Rants and raves 2 Comments »

Cultural lessons from the menu at Entweder Oder, a lovely cafe on Oderbergerstr. 15. Everything you need to know, without crossing a border.

French breakfast: Croissant, jam, butter and some fruit, a glass of water and a coffee.

Italian breakfast: Espresso with a glass of water, and a cigarette.

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Variety Is The Spice Of Life: What’s In Your Kitchen Cabinet?

May 26th, 2009 aimee m. Posted in Around Berlin, Rants and raves, Uncategorized 3 Comments »

Apropos of nothing but a bit of morning procrastination: after skimming through a series on Lifehacker about what serious geeks (or wannabe geeks, my category) keep in their laptop bags, I thought I’d turn the tables and ask you all what you’ve got in your kitchen cabinets/shelves/secret spice drawers…ingredients or other cooking tools (food or otherwise) that you can’t do without.

I’m guessing that what you hoard here in Berlin (if the Hauptstadt isn’t your Heimstadt) will probably be different than the goodies you’d squirrel away back home, so I’m curious. Let’s start a list. Perhaps we can get some ideas or new inspiration from each other, oder?

My initial list: hot Asian red peppers (bought fresh from the Asiamarkt, then slowdried over a couple of hours in the oven; we use them in curries and pasta sauce and pretty much everything); tomato concentrate in a tube (why I never used this back home baffles me. No more cans!); our Moroccan tajine (a proper, no-glaze tajine that can slow cook anything into a delicious stew; flip the bottom over and in a pinch you’ve got a pizza stone; an excellent bread baker, too).

OK, your turn!

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Dönerspende Diaries: Dhal, or Why You Should Love Lentils

May 22nd, 2009 aimee m. Posted in Around Berlin, Ingredients explained, Main courses, Reader responses, Recipes, Spices and flavors, Uncategorized 2 Comments »

meiyan_foodHere’s another guest Dönerspende post (keep it up, peoples!) that addresses one of HIB’s favorite comfort foods, dhal. A staple of much of India and the surrounding region, it’s a great dish because with rice, it makes a complete protein and couldn’t be cheaper to make. Lentils (of any shape or color), spices, rice. Our contributor Kean, originally from Malaysia, has sadly left the Hauptstadt with his gorgeous family after a three-year stay; yet he continues to taunt us with delicious (and even cheaper) meals enjoyed in his home country (as seen in the picture to the right.) Enjoy.

Here’s that dhal recipe I promised you, though without the authentic Malaysian spices, of course…Madras curry powder makes a suitable substitute (and it’s widely available, at about 80 cents per pack.) This is a lentil/veg curry, sorta Malaysian style, and it feeds at least four people.

Malaysian-styled Dhal

3 cups of lentils, soaked overnight in filtered water, then drained…if you mix both red and yellow together, it’s quite a nice texture later) (Ed note: Lentils are nice in that you don’t necessarily have to soak them ahead; doing so will cut down on the cooking time slightly, however.)
2 peeled, medium-sized potatoes (or sweet potato), chopped
2 peeled medium-sized carrots, sliced up
1 (red) onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 chunk of fresh ginger, about 1-2 cm thick, cut into strips
vegetable oil
water

Read the rest of this entry »

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Berries: Go Pflück ‘Em Yourself

May 20th, 2009 aimee m. Posted in Around Berlin, Events, Fruits and Veggies, Places, Uncategorized 1 Comment »

strawberries Just got a friendly reminder from those in the fields that berry picking season is set to officially open. We did a bit of berry reporting last year, with a couple suggestions for locations to boot.

Berliner Beerengarten is a good place to start.  Here’s their schedule; looks like most of their fields (we’re talking mostly strawberries, it’s still early) will be open as of tomorrow.   And I just saw a bunch of rhubarb at the market the other day…who’s ready for some pie?

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A List of Biergartens. ‘Nuff Said.

May 11th, 2009 aimee m. Posted in Around Berlin, Places, Rants and raves, Uncategorized 5 Comments »

beerInspired by a handy article from the Morgenpost, here’s a shameless summary (and lazy commentary) of where to go in the Hauptstadt to drink beer and be outside, at the same time.

It’s a revolutionary concept that the Germans have perfected, and perhaps one day other parts of the world that actually have far more SUN than Germany (I’m talking to you, California) will do something about its Prohibition-inspired alcohol laws and let people drink beer where it was meant to be guzzled, in the SUN. But I digress.

We certainly haven’t been to all of these, but will try our best this summer to do so. So get out your sunglasses and Steins. Did we miss your favorite? Comments all and sundry (and sudsy) welcome, as always.

Café am Neuen See: Beer with boats! In Tiergarten.

Café Schönbrunn: Beer for the people in Volkspark Friedrichshein, with a view of fountain.

CapRivi: Beers with a Schlossblick, in Charlottenburg.

Eierschale Zenner: Schlager style in Treptower Park; beer in plastic cups (?!?) and a Burger King (?!?)

Eschenbräu: Real microbrews in Wedding! Go here, these guys rock.

Freischwimmer: Old boat dock gussied up with techno beats and cocktails (and beer).

Golgatha: Music and beer in Viktoriapark.

Hoppetosse: Beer on another boat! In Kreuzberg.

Platzhirsch: Beers in Schöneberg (near a Flohmarkt, too)

Prater: Beers at Berlin’s oldest Biergarten, plus cool sandbox and swings for kids.

Schleusenkrug: Beer at the Zoo!

Van Loon: More beer on boats!

Zollpackhof: Beers with politicians! (Near the Hauptbahnhof, and priced accordingly.)

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