I have decided to change the direction of my blog just a little bit…and really narrow down on my focus by specialty, category or theme. Now that we have this out of the way, I want to dedicate this post on my culinary excursions overseas, specifically Germany and France, where I visited Berlin, Paris, Strasbourg and Nice over a 2 week period. Undoubtedly, I had the time of my life and formulated some favorite foods and neighborhoods, which I will share and discuss on a four part posts. This is the part one series… Part two series will be covering France (Paris & Nice) part three will cover Barcelona and part 5 Rome. I am blessed to be able to have this amazing opportunity to travel all over Europe and excited to share my adventures with you all! Let’s get started!
Preliminary thoughts before my visit. My first experiences with Germany is with Munich. Very old, traditional city… while Berlin has the opposite effect. It’s becoming more centralized and modern and Germany is impeccably clean. If you think about it, the fall of the Berlin Wall was in 1990, conjoining both the East and West back together. That’s only 21 years ago! Beautiful city by day, lots of underground, unmarked gems (lounges, bars, clubs) by night. In terms of German food, I think of staples like meats and potatoes. To my surprise, Berlin had a bit more diversification than I thought it would… experiencing Asian cuisine like Japanese and Korean food, while still retaining native dishes like currywurst and spaetzel. I did not get to experience fine dining here, but from what we discovered through native friends of ours, it’s worth checking out… for next time.
List of Eats
Bookmarked: Konnopke’s Imbiss, located under the subway, Schönhauser Allee 44a. We did NOT get a chance to eat at this reportedly famed currywurst in all of Berlin. We had bookmarked it, but hadn’t found our way to the neighborhood. Instead… we tried our first (and only) sampling of currywurst near the Ka-De-We mall called Ka-We Imbiss in Wittenberg Platz, Schoeneburg. I have nothing to compare it to, aside from the one I’ve tried in NYC. Berlin, is definitely better by a smidge… but I’m coming back to try Konnopke’s for next time! If you are not feeling currywurst, and want a plethora of options to choose from, check out the mall’s food court located on the top floor. Different kinds of cuisine, at a hefty price tag than the norm.
Soho House (Torstraße 1, Mitte district)- International restaurant spans across North America and Europe, renowned by its private membership only. We befriended a designer Christian Chevalier and we met for brunch. Instead of the usual eggs and pancakes, I opted for pizza on their lunch menu. Pizza was good, but somehow they forgot to melt the cheese and the sauce was cold. Is this raw pizza I didn’t know about?
Kimchi Princess (Skalitzer Str. 36, Kreuzberg district) - good Korean food… but i come from VA and NYC (and having dined in LA), Korean food in US reigns supreme. Decor is quite spacious, lovely and quaint… Made the mistake of ordering udon seafood noodle soup…should have stuck to bimbimbap….which was great. It came in a traditional stone pot with all the usual fixings, though the paste was a bit on the powdery side. Not perfect but an average option, if you are really craving Asian food. Be aware of open grills…. you may leave smelling like BBQ.
Essenza (Potsdamer Platz 1, Tiergarten area) – business casual Italian food, located in the city center near Tiergarten … this neighborhood screams business center, i.e. Wall Street. You’ll find its patrons all suited up, prim and proper. Although this is the type of establishment I often dread back home, the food was A-OK. My favorite and memorable dish was the tomato soup…. not too creamy, with a swirl of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and small bites of cheese. Whenever I spooned a soup, I was hoping to find the tiny treasure that might have been hidden in the spoon. My carnivorous friend decided to go with a lean and delicate lamb carpaccio… the lamb itself was good…everything else on the plate was a little underwhelming. For my main entree, I settled on a seafood risotto. The rice was clearly under cooked. Rice should not be hard or crispy and a bit too salty… An overall, “average” experience for the amount of money you’re spending.
Conclusion: I didn’t do enough research before I got here.. guilty. Though for next time, I definitely will be prepared because the food here is good. There are lots of treasures to be discovered and many sensations to marvel.