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7 posts from August 2013

Chapter One Coffee

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That coffee can be contemplative is something I had heard, but only believed one Sunday afternoon when I poured myself a cup of Bokasso at Chapter One. (That Chapter One itself is tranquil and welcoming may well have played a role.)

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Chapter One, Mittenwalder Straße 30, Berlin-Kreuzberg (map)

Some coffee, some greengages

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This, too, is late summer in Berlin. (Buy those green plums, inside they're sheer honey, it took me eons to realize this.)

 

Liebes Leipzig!

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At the Gallery for Contemporary Art in Leipzig, you wrote a letter and took a letter. This was the letter we were given.

In my dream, I'm standing in a vacant lot amidst the undergrowth and outbuildings. I look forward and watch my grandma approaching me. She is cheerful and smiles at me. In her right hand she carries a red handbag which she swings back and forth as she walks. When she reaches me, she says "You can do anything, don't be afraid." 

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Before our trip, I read this bittersweet love letter to Leipzig published in Die Zeit last summer.

Brachen, die einfach so in der Sonne herumliegen, verunsichern sie.

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The sun shone the whole weekend, everything was green.

Raamson (Tamil food to eat in or takeaway)

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Up til now, I knew the Tamil-run Raamson shop on Gneisenaustraße as a reliable source for white poppyseeds (which I hoard to make that dreamy Deborah Madison cake). When Zitty tipped me off to their new takeaway section, I had to go have a look. 

I came home with two pale-fleshed, succulent mangos from Pakistan, some samosas, and two curries (one was bitter gourd with lentils, the other aubergine), on a bed of Tamil noodles (that is, idiyappam) with a generous dollop of coconut chutney. The interior is on the grubby side (here as in their sister restaurant in Kolonnenstraße), but oh, this is just the place for homely Saturday supper fare. 

Raamson, Gneisenaustr. 5, Berlin-Kreuzberg (map). Asian shop and snack bar with a Tamil focus (seating is only outdoors, alongside a busy street)

Raamson Restaurant, Kolonnenstr. 48, Berlin-Schöneberg (map). 

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Two grand outdoor cafes

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Summer tomatoes in the markets, and the urge to be outdoors is as intense as ever. It was lovely to be baked by the summer sun; now the cooler temperatures make idling at midday more pleasurable than ever. 

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I am besotted with Cafe Strauss, which is in a lush green cemetery on the quieter end of Bergmannstrasse. Through Jane's post (which you must read) I discovered the interior was a funeral parlor; now there's a piano at one end and house-made liqueurs at the other, and beneath the brick arches of the terrace you'll be served excellent coffee, the beans roasted on the premises. 

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Meanwhile in Charlottenburg, the Villa Oppenheim has a new cafe. Frau Bäckerin, whom some of you will know from Schöneberg, serves homely hearty fare (lasagnes, quiches, casseroles) and rustic cakes. 

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Afterwards you can spend an hour poring over old photographs in an exhibition on Wilmersdorfer Strasse, or idle in the adjoining Schustehruspark (a part of which was once the Oppenheim back garden).
Happy weekend, my friends!
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Cafe Strauss, Bergmannstr. 42, Berlin-Kreuzberg (map)
Frau Bäckerin in der Villa Oppenheim, Schloßstr. 55, Berlin-Charlottenburg (map)

As August tips to autumn

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The slow cooling of the days, and these summer storms.

 

 

Letters in a new place (Buchstabenmuseum & sunset)

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Oxford, Scotland, Brandenburg: Thursday evening was the first moment I felt truly back. The opening of the Buchstabenmuseum's new premises was a highlight. In a former GDR department store near Jannowitzbrücke, the vast collection of rescued letterforms have space to spread out and breath.  The final presentation is still in the works, but typography fans will enjoy the space in its unfinished state.

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The light was the hero for the remainder of the evening. 

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I held my breath as we pulled into Yorckstraße to see if it had lasted – and it had.