Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Vegan weekend in Berlin

Last weekend our mutual friend K was visiting E here in Berlin and since she's pretty much vegan, it turned into a vegetarian delight.

One of the best breakfasts Berlin has to offer is the Sunday vegan/vegetarian brunch at Morgenrot in Prenzlauer Berg. We sat down there at just after 11.30 – exactly the same time as everyone else seemed to have arrived. And by 1pm, when we were done, the place was all quiet again. Lesson learned!

We continued to Mauerpark, where I found a really pretty but useless hand made glass bowl for two euro. Unfortunately the park is so popular now that it's not a very relaxing Sunday afternoon spot – but you can always skip the market and just enjoy the sun on the grassy slopes.

Thanks to K I also tried a few new things this weekend. Since we were already in P'Berg, we walked a bit further up north and checked out the vegan supermarket Veganz that's opened on Schivelbeiner Straße – one of the first ones in Europe! It turned out that the shop actually isn't open on Sundays, only their café is, but the girls there were nice enough to let us shop a little anyway. I was happy to find gluten flour because we've been searching for it around Berlin's organic shops in order to attempt to make home made seitan.

For dinner we ended up at Yoyo in Friedrichshain, where we decided to finally try the vegan pizzas – we always say we will, but end up getting one of their amazing burgers instead. To get the full experience we all ordered different pizzas: one salami, one tuna and one with rucola. They were all ok, but the pizza without any processed fake meat was the best one (of course). Also, the tomato sauce was in need of some more love. Next time I'll order a burger.

After a late night with white wine yesterday, today we hung out for one last coffee before K had to fly back to Finland and managed to make that a vegan affair at Cupcake, the American cupcake café on Krossenerstraße in Friedrichshain. I must say that this pink raspberry cupcake was the best one I've ever had and the fact that it was vegan was just unbelievable! It was fluffy, moist, creamy... delicious. The frosting was on the hyper sweet side for us non-Americans and so the cupcake was perfect for sharing.

"The girls" are coming for a visit to Berlin next week and I'm hoping we'll get to try out a few other new veggie haunts then, like the newly opened Lucky Leek in Prenzlauer Berg, Vegikreuz near Ostkreuz, the legendary Cookies Cream restaurant/club and the much applauded Café Vux cake café in Neukölln... And, and, and... :)

Monday, 26 September 2011

Veggie delivery

On Friday our doorbell rang at about 1.30 when our first Regionalkiste was delivered. A crate filled with fresh, regional, organic, fruit and veg from the company Märkische Kiste was handed over. How exciting it was to unpack and find incredible apples and plums, crisp lettuce, carrots, red cabbage, parsley and swiss chard (mangold). The smallest crate size costs about €12 and you can set up a standing order for a weekly delivery. The delivery day depends on what area you live in – Friedrichshain gets its produce on Fridays.

It's like being on Top Chef and getting a mystery box to cook with! I've never cooked with red cabbage or swiss chard before, so these were particularly exciting finds. I can't wait for it to be Friday again, so we get another delivery!

Sunday, 18 September 2011


Today I woke up to the sound of rain pattering outside the window. We were supposed to go to our friend's house for a leaving-Berlin-sale at 11.30, but there was no way we could muster up strength to hurry to Rosenthaler Platz. Instead we gave ourselves more time to go voting in the local elections. I'm so impressed that we foreigners get to vote here, even if limitedly: just for the party and only for the district we live in – and it didn't require any special effort besides showing up. This probably only applies to us lucky EU citizens, I think. After proudly registering our vote, we strolled over to pick out breakfast supplies at the bakery.

Now A and S are in the bedroom/studio working on a pitch for a coffee commercial tune and I'm on my way to have election day cake at S and L's. A perfect Sunday will be topped off at the Indian vegetarian/vegan restaurant Satyam in Charlottenburg, where the brunch buffet is available until 8pm and we get to enjoy the ever so interesting company of K, with whom the conversation is always on a pretty intelligent level, but the laughs are constant.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

ROA in Berlin

Last week I was in a lot of pain and I went to the doctor again on Friday. I got prescribed more ibuprofen for what apparently was inflamed muscles over my ribs – from all the coughing. As a result I didn't use my free tickets to the annual Preview Berlin and I declined the opportunity to be sneaked in to Berlin Festival, but tried to take it easy and rest a bit. A decision I slightly regret.

On Sunday I, none the less, went to the finissage of the small Skalitzers Contemporary Art gallery in Kreuzberg who were showing an insanely cool collection of art from their 2011 artists. I wanted to see the incredible work by ROA, Belgian street artist extraordinaire. After the gallery visit we decided to go across the street to view some more of ROA's work: at the bottom of a sand pit, the very Pippi Longstocking-esque biergarten called Kjosk (at the corner of Oranienstraße and Skalitzer Straße), is defined by a white brick wall covered in large, black, hand-painted, dead animals. They're very impressive and make this makeshift biergarten worth a visit; we enjoyed a good chat and a cold OBC – Original Berlin Cidre.

Later I also ate at Yellow Sunshine on Wiener Straße for the first time, and in my slightly hung over state their Lappland Cheese Burger was just the best fake-meat burger I've ever had... Mmmm...

Tuesday, 6 September 2011


Two weeks ago, at the Screen Print Festival 2011 in Stattbad Wedding, our new friend R told E and me about Open Design City, a space in Kreuzberg where you can rent tools and appliances and get help for your more ambitious design projects. We were particularly interested in screen printing possibilities, but also curious to know what other things can be made there, like with laser cutters or soldering equipment.

The ODC is a part of Betahaus, so to familiarise with ODC you have to go on a tour of Betahaus, a shared office space where you can rent a desk by the day or by the month. Tours are available twice a week and are free of charge. I now know three people who work there, so I was curious to see what it's like.

E and I were on time like proper Finns tend to be – R was nowhere to be seen. Later I saw her message on Facebook, saying she'd been held back at the office.

Betahaus is very impressive: it's big, it's airy, it's light. If it wouldn't sound so corny, I'd describe it as an inspiring environment. The Open Design City space, on the other hand, seemed small. There was no one there to explain precisely what tools are available and what the possibilities there are, so that part of the tour was very disappointing.

As we sat down in the downstairs café afterwards, an American girl who'd also been on the tour asked to join us. We had a nice chat among graphic designers and as we were leaving AS wanted us to reveal which guy from the guided tour we would date if we HAD to. She was quite taken with the amount of cute guys she spotted at the premises. We made diffuse plans to meet up at an art gallery later in the week – so if nothing else, I made another friend today!

Balcony efforts

As a reward for our tenacious gardening we reaped 12 potatoes – a lunch together with a salad made with cherry tomatoes and chives, also from the balcony. All the sweet peas (all 20 of them) we ate in June, the courgettes refused to grow anything but pretty flowers and dusty leaves, and the chilies we are still waiting for. Let's hope that the sun is still kind on us this week!

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Sweet was yesterday, sweet is the weekend

On Tuesday we made beetroot soup and apple pie for E, who's still waiting for her Prince A to arrive in Berlin (tomorrow!). Yesterday I shared a cheese platter and later a glass of red wine at Süß war Gestern (photo) with AK, a Polish girl I've been introduced to by a mutual friend in Dublin. Today, I'm staying at home, wearing woollen socks and drinking tea. I need to rest up for a busy weekend: on Friday a new club, Der Geheime Garten, is opening in Friedrichshain, on Saturday it's Torstrassenfestival (I'm very excited to see Hush Hush perform in KaffeeBurger at 15.30) on Sunday it's an open doors day at the Nordische Botschaften, the Nordic Embassies (I interpret that as an opportunity to buy Finnish bread and cinnamon rolls). No rest then!
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