Hidden Gems and German Shopping

Good evening and happy humpday! It’s not much of a hump if you’re on vacation, however… yesterday was another fabulous day of art, exploration, and, most importantly, food! We found two surprisingly delicious (and deliciously surprising) restaurants that, sadly, will remain in Berlin even after we leave.

For breakfast, I started with a fresh bowl of fruit: half a peach, half a banana, and strawberries.

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A slice of seedy, grainy bread with three different cheeses: raw goat, gruyère, and something else I’ve forgotten.

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A cup of mixed-fruit yogurt:

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Some wake-me-up java:

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Doesn’t my mama just have the cutest little feet?

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We headed out to get our shop on at KaDeWe, and passed a couple of these strawberry stands.  They’re all over the place: in the metro, on the street… and all they sell is strawberries! Sounds good to me 🙂

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Although we got caught in the rain, we didn’t melt, and found our destination with [relatively… neither my mom nor I speaks German] no problem.

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The 6th floor of the KaDeWe department store is nothing short of amazing.  Don’t get me wrong- I love Whole Foods almost more than life itself, but they don’t have an entire wing devoted to different kinds of olive oil (they even had an avocado oil!). Or mustard. Or pastas, organized by region.

This was only a fraction of the cheese department (I sampled several varieties, all of which missed the camera… oops):

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Tea:

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Specialty cakes:

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Individually portioned sweet treats:

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Chocolate:

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Spice heaven:

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Nestled in with all of the gourmet goodies are all sorts of specialty food bars: pasta, antipasti, dessert, champagne… my mom and I picked the first one we saw.  It had what we’ve come to identify as New German cuisine, and it was perfect.

We were feeling festive, so we ordered drinks with lunch.  I had a glass of Sancerre to go with my bread:

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We watched as the chefs prepared the meals. Each batch of asparagus was steamed to order, each shrimp peeled, devained and cooked.  With the exception of, possibly, Basta Pasta, I’m pretty sure this doesn’t happen in New York.

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I ordered a 1/2 portion (although, judging by the entrée size of the gentleman seated next to me, I’m pretty sure I was given the same amount of shrimp) of salad with shrimp, white asparagus, and tomatoes.  It was dressed with aged balsamic and a light pesto.

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My mom got a white asparagus quiche which was fresh, fluffy, and unlike any quiche I’ve ever tasted.  (When we asked about the dressing her salad came with, the chef said he’d only give us the recipe if one of us married him.  When my mom offered me up, the other chef came over and said that, since he was the younger chef’s father, he would have to marry my mother and keep everything even.)

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Squares of dark chocolate came with our meal…

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…. But, after seeing so many tempting treats, we needed a pastry.  We found the Lenôtre counter, a Parisian luxury cake-shop.  (I’d had Lenôtre once before, in Paris, when I bought a friend a cake for his birthday party.) Without any hesitation, we ordered the Concerto, a 12-layer chocolate hazelnut praline cake, to split. I could go on, in detail, about each layer, but that would be cruel.

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After we’d fueled-up properly, we went back downstairs.  In the clothing department, I ended up finding some great things… they ended up all being from Sandro, a Parisian brand (I’d hoped to find some German designers, but oh well), but I fell in love with them all and they were on sale.

A short brown eyelet skirt with a paper bag waist (I wore this today):

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A finely knit black shirt with pretty silver detail:

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And a white linen dress with great pockets (I LOVE dresses with pockets… they’re hard to see in this photo).

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We finally tour ourselves away and went to meet my dad at the Pergamon museum. Inside the museum is an impressive number of re-constructed ancient ruins, the most famous of which is the Pergamon Altar.

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Built in the 2nd century BC, the originally open-air altar is over 100-feet wide.  (It was also very comfortable for our travel-weary hero to sit on.)

The Ishtar Gate is also, miraculously, in perfect condition.

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This was built in 575 BC in the city of Babylon.

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Unfortunately, this was all I saw because I got hit in the face with fatigue.  I sat down on a bench and may or may not have fell asleep and head-flopped onto an elderly Spanish man, who asked if I was having a nice dream. Whoops.  I thought food might help, so I had a bite of this dried peach and apricot bar.

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I felt much better afterwards, so we took a long walk to get to dinner.  We passed Humboldt University (very grand, huh?):

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Across from the courtyard, amidst the cobblestones, was a piece of square glass through.  Unfortunately there was too much glare to show you properly what’s inside: a room filled with bookshelves, representing the 20,000 books that were burned by the Nazis before and during World War II.

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On our walk, we also happened upon Guggenheim Berlin, which was having a small but colorful exhibit by Imi Knoebel.

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I used to flap my arms around a lot as a child…

My parents and I had planned on going to a vegetarian restaurant that was written up in our guidebook, but when we got to the address they’d given, something else was there instead that only had one vegetarian option.  Luckily, we’d seen another restaurant on the way that looked promising, so we checked it out.  I’m happy to report that Café Jolesh was far better than we could have hoped.  The menu was creative and reasonably priced, the staff was knowledgeable and attentive, and, most importantly, we enjoyed a lovely evening together.

We started out with a basket of bread that came with a cheesy, herby dip.

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I ordered a glass of White Burgandy to drink.  I was just thinking the other day that I’d never tried it before, so I was glad it was on the menu! (I ended up ordering two glasses, but by the time the end of dinner rolled around I was so full that I finished less than half of the second glass.)

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The pre-fixe menu was a steal, so we couldn’t turn it dow 😀  I started with salmon four ways: two tartares, a piece of a filet (which was perfectly cooked), and a spring roll that had a smokey, almost pork-like taste.  It was all garnished with fresh sour cream (which I’m not usually a fan of, but it perfectly complemented the tartare) and caviar.

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My dad and I split two entrées: saffron-roasted sea bass with a fennel-papaya salad and sesame noodles (these were just, as far as I could tell, angel hair noodles tossed with sesame oil instead of olive… a delicious change, and one I will try at home)

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We also shared the vegetarian special: roasted vegetables, two kinds of chard, mixed greens, elderberry soufflé (it looks a bit like polenta) and a pine nut/wheatberry/raisin garnish.  This was very good,  but pretty rich.  We both would have preferred a bit less sauce.

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The dessert specials all sounded so interesting, so we ordered all three and split them.

Battered, cooked fig with  honey poached white asparagus, chocolate-drizzled cooked strawberry, and a cold, sorbet-like soufflé that we couldn’t quite figure out.

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No, it’s not funnel-cake: battered elderberry flowers with minty rhubarb and fresh raspberry granite.

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Crème brulée made with a stinky cheese, served with golden rhubarb and a light salad.

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All of the desserts were so interesting and unexpected that it was impossible to pick a favorite, although I did dip my spoon into the crème brulée a disproportionate amount of times to my parents.  The salty/sweet combination was just too good!

When I got home, I was pretty sure that my food baby (who goes by Claude, by the way) had multiplied into twins.  We are, however, walking an insane amount, so I’m not worried about it anymore and am just enjoying all of the different tastes.  Because of all the walking, though, the ball of my left foot has started giving me some trouble, and I don’t want to end up like this again…

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It’s a different bone and a different leg, but I’m going to be very, very careful.

In GIVEAWAY news, check out Rosey Rebecca’s Chobani Giveaway for some free Greek yogurt! An Apple A Day Is also giving away coupons for some very cool products.

Anyway, this monster of a post took two hours to write, and I’m still a day behind, so I’m going to get horizontal and finish my book.  Have a great night!

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12 responses to “Hidden Gems and German Shopping

  1. So, I’m reading your post as I’m eating dinner… and getting hungrier because of all the food porn! Amazing stuff there, wow! I figured all we’d be seeing was sausages! Looks like you’re having a blast 🙂

  2. I think someone would have to drag me out of KaDeWe – food and clothes? Heaven! I love your buys, very cute!!

    Please take it easy 😦 A Veggie Patch on crutches again wouldn’t be a good thing! Enjoy the rest of your time you’re there!!

  3. Great shopping girl! Cute buys. Stands that only sell strawberries= awesome! And that 12-layer chocolate hazelnut praline cake? Oh goodness.

  4. OK a list is necessary for this comment:
    1. LOVE the new skirt and white dress!! I’m sure they look adorable on you!
    2. Glad you’ve come to the realization that you’re walking like a mad-woman and need all the (dessert-y 😉 ) fuel for getting around!
    3. That 12 layer cake is…..(I never say this aloud, but I think it would be) an OHHHH MY GAHHHH situation! 🙂

  5. Strawberry stands?! Dresses with pockets?! Those Germans know what’s up!

  6. food and clothes under one roof? looks amazing! (and puts Macy’s to shame 😛 ) The clothes you got are gorgeous!

    That vegetarian special and 12 layer concerta cake look amazing!

    Glad you are having such a good time and not worrying about Claude 😉

  7. Those cute clothes are SO YOU!!!

  8. i love that you referenced greys anatomy, haha. i do store an obscene amount of food in my loacker. and you are so right, im constantly on the go, so its no wonder im starving! on days i work, i only show the stuff from home on the blog…i have a locker stashed with trail mixes, bars, and a fridge with a huge tub of soy yogurt. but i cant photograph it bc peeps at work dont know about the blog. so now youre in the know!

  9. Oooh! If you want to go to an amazing chocolate store, Fassbender & Rausch (Charlottenstraße 60) by the Gendarmenmarkt near Stadtmitte U-Bahn stop is amazing, and it has a chocolate restaurant upstairs, which I never visited, but sounded amazing and decadent (and there’s an underground mall nearby!)

    Oooh! I hope you’re having such a wonderful time. Sure seems like it. Love you!

  10. i like that photo of your mama’s feet beneath the goody-filled glass table. SO cute!

  11. Wow I miss white asparagus… I know you can find it in the states, but it’s much more readily available in Europe!

    Your eats look AMAZING! I wish I had gone to some more upscale, fancy restaurants when I was in Europe! Next time!

    <3,
    Keri
    http://www.hopskipleap.wordpress.com/

  12. WOW that department store looks unreal, and i love love love your finds — absolutely beautiful! and now you can say you bought them in europe if anyone asks, ooh la la =) that food wing reminds me of the food hall in harrod’s department store in london — have you ever been? seriously amazing.

    so many good eats and beautiful pictures, this is such a fantastic trip and im so glad you’re sharing it with us! xoxo

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