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7 posts from October 2008


Oh Tempelhof, I would have loved you, but I never had the chance!

Vienna Reified

And lucky we are to have good friends in Vienna, and doubly lucky to have them positioned between the city centre and the Wienerwald. We spent the long weekend flitting from Heuriger to chic cafe to Wittgenstein's house, where Sasha seized a window-lock with vigor. On the long train ride back the Czech dining car kept us entertained; how incongruous to stumble down the corridor and glimpse small potatoes frying away in a cast-iron pan!


Autumn in Berlin (Stargarder Straße)


Mariage Frères in Berlin


And as the nights draw in and dusks fall faster, my urge to hoard returns.

Last year I was tickled to see Berlin welcome Ladurée and Mariage Frères (though how queer to see such august brands in Galeries Lafayette’s rather poky basement foodhall). I obediently queued up to purchase my own pistachio-green box, noted Chandernagor on the tea shop’s shelves, and bit into a caramel macaron on my way to the Gendarmenmarkt Christmas market.

I remain fond of my improvised blend of spices, but a few weeks ago tea seemed a good thing to stock up on when the early dark had me down. The man behind the Mariage Frères counter was as quietly theatrical as his colleagues in Paris; rare is the moment here where service becomes performance, and the other customers seem plucked for the way they support the scene.

‘Ladurée's shut?’ I asked, as he measured some Roi de Earl Gray into a bag, and he gave me a look that said it all, remarking quietly that it had closed some months ago; “Apparently,” he added drily, “it was too parisienne.”

As pleased as I was to see those macarons a year ago, I was perversely gratified now to see them go. Though I see my own neighborhood growing more ridiculous by the minute, I can never really believe that Berlin will fully embrace the frippery that plagues glossier, more exclusive cities. (I suppose as it does, I will go on recasting the boundaries of what I consider Berlin.)

All that aside, can I tell you that the Russian Breakfast blend is really, really worth trying?

Mariage Frères, Galeries Lafayette, Französische Straße 23, Berlin Mitte (map)
Open Mo-Sa 10am - 8pm

Lichtschliff (Walking down Kopenhagener Strasse)


Dining al fresco (Majakowski.Gasthaus Pankow)


And for those of you eager to enjoy these last, late days of warmth and thinning light: Majakowski's Gasthaus is an obvious place to name, but really, how fun it was to idle beneath the lindens and fork mouthfuls of plum cake (Zwetschgenkuchen) while talking about new motherhood.

Majakowski.Gasthaus, Majakowskiring 63, Berlin-Pankow (map)
Tel. (030) 4991 8250
(April-Sept.) T-Sa 11-midnight, Su 10-midnight; (Oct.-March) 12-midnight, Su 11-midnight; closed Mondays

Fall notes (I)


There's something so jaunty about swinging a bag of figs, heading home for your afternoon snack.