« October 2010 | Main | December 2010 »

14 posts from November 2010

Elsewhere: Three Pavements & A Mirror (Brooklyn/New York)


There was a gauzy radiance everywhere I looked; I looked mostly down. I loved the play of gold on gray.




PS: Isn't it strange when a friend tells you she reads your blog, and you hadn't known she did? Hello, Lisa!

Elsewhere: 24 Hours in Brooklyn


We met at Franklin Avenue, where James surprised me by having a car. We drove to Vinegar Hill but it hadn't opened yet so we went to look at the water. Southernmanhattanwaternightfall

Here is the picture everyone has taken. Then we drove to Red Hook, which I didn't know and liked for its local air. After middling beers we had dinner at the Good Fork. Dear New Yorkers who have moved to Berlin, I think I might understand what you miss. I suppose the fried oyster po'boy was my favorite -- I closed my eyes in delight at the first bite -- though I ate more than my share of James' aioli toast and can't stop thinking about the chewy density of the shrimp scallion pancakes. 


In the morning the guest room had a painterly softness.


James took me out for bagels, then walked me to Greenlight Books.

In the hours before I got on my train, I savored the light. I will share more photos of the ground tomorrow.

Elsewhere: The Buick


But now, I need to tell you about New York.

The integrity of the Berlin Wall

It's a cheap laugh, but I couldn't resist photographing this sign in front of the Newseum's section of Berlin Wall. For her part, S couldn't resist the transplanted death tower, which she co-opted as a nonce playhouse, trying to hang her pink cardigan on one of the concrete walls. (No, I didn't seek out the Berlin Wall on November 8th, but there it was, on our way to the food court, an unanticipated whiff of home.)

Photo taken from Frank Schirrmeister's series Leere Stadt I

Meanwhile, keeping with the nostalgia, here's Weinmeister Straße as it looked for as long as I could remember before, one day, Casa Camper took this vacant lot's spot. The editors of Places at Design Observer were in touch to mention a piece Millay Hyatt wrote about walking the path of the Berlin Wall, and they were right to guess this beautiful essay would speak to me. They're running a slideshow of Frank's Berlin photographs on the site this Thursday, so watch for that too. Update: here it is!

Thanksgiving in Berlin (Where to find what & Places to go) 2014 Update


This post has been updated for 2014. The 2010/2012 post is archived here.

In a renewed fit of industry, a few friends and I have spoken to butchers, delis, and chefs across Berlin to gather tips on buying your turkey and all the trimmings.

The Turkey

Germans eat turkey for Christmas, if at all, so it's good to organize your bird in advance. Most Fleischereien will be able to sort a bird out if you give them a week's notice, and the poultry man at the venerable KaDeWe says he has a generous supply of turkeys in stock for the spontaneous. Plan on 500 grams per person when ordering, more if you're fond of leftovers.

Friends have recommended the following butchers. Be sure to clarify the giblet situation beforehand if it's important to you: a few include the traditional heart, stomach and livers, whereas others ask you to buy these items separately.

Rogacki, Wilmersdorfer Str.145/46, Berlin-Charlottenburg (map)
M-W 9am-6pm Th 9am-7pm, Fr 8am-7pm, Sa 8am-4pm
Tel. 030 3438250
Fresh turkeys available for 9 EUR/kg. Giblets are included for no additional charge. The poultry specialist is on duty from November 10th. Some have said Rogacki can be relied on to have turkey in stock, but the saleswoman recommended placing an order. 

Fleischerei Domke, Warschauer Str. 64, Berlin-Friedrichshain (map)
M-F 6:30am-10pm, Sa 7:30am-10pm, Su 10am-10pm
Tel. 030 2917635
Frozen turkeys are €10/kg, while fresh are €12/kg (without giblets). They say it's best to come by in person to place an order, but Domke always has a few turkeys (presumably frozen) on hand.

Prenzlauer Berg
Fleischerei Gottschlich, Prenzlauer Allee 219, Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg (map)
Fresh turkey only (for €10.90/kg); giblets etc need to be ordered separately. Mr. Gottschlich sell turkeys, he's also accommodated requests for turducken and short ribs. Order by November 20th at the latest.

Albrecht: Wild & Geflügel seit 1927, Akazienstraße 4, Berlin-Schöneberg (map)
Tel. 030/782 13 81
Open M 10am-6pm, Tu-Fr 10am-7pm, Sat 10am-2pm
The friendly butcher explained that his organic turkey aren't slaughtered til December, but conventional turkey is available for €9.20/kg. Order before November 20th to pick up your turkey on Thanksgiving.

Kaufhauf des Westens (KaDeWe), Tauentzienstraße 21, Berlin-Schöneberg (map)
Tel. 030/21212415 (poultry counter)
Open M-Th 9.30am-8pm, Fr-Sat 9.30am-9pm
The garrulous head of the poultry country told me Thanksgiving in Berlin hasn't been the same since the American military families left, but the KaDeWe keeps a range of birds in stock up to the big day. Battery turkeys are 6.98/kg, organic ones are 13/kg (update: but it seems even these are not free-range). He sells giblets for 5.98/kg. Order by the Monday or Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

Fleischerei Uwe Bünger, Müllerstr. 156, Berlin-Wedding (map)
This bustling local butcher sells free-range Neuland turkeys whose living conditions are carefully monitored. 14.90/kg, giblets (heart, liver, neck) are included for free. Order by November 17th for a Thanksgiving pick-up.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The stuffing/dressing
Since you can't turn to admittedly-terrifying bags of stuffing mix, you'll want a sturdy white bread that won't fall to bits nor stay too stodgy. Let me suggest cubing Soluna's La Boule or else what's called französisches Landbrot and sold at many of the organic bakeries (you'll find a photo here). Vacuum-packed chestnuts are easy to find in Berlin grocery stores and often more affordable than in the States, so I'm fond of them as an addition.

The mashed potatoes
Adretta potatoes have always worked well for my garlicky mash. Look out for potatoes described as mehlig or mehligkochend (ie floury potatoes): they're the best substitute for russets.

The pies
I've never been such a fan of canned pumpkin, so I can't say it's something I hanker for, though you can find it at the KaDeWe and Broken English. For the best pumpkin to use for pie in Berlin, see this new post I wrote. Lately, I've abandoned spices altogether, savoring the plain flavor of the squash itself, but if I were in the market for that mix of cinnamon, clove, ginger and nutmeg, I would visit Pot & Pepper. And if you want apple pie, well, most Cox and Elstar apples are great for baking, keeping their shape and striking a balance between sweet and sharp. Most organic shops stock pecans while happily, the wonderful Kochtail comes to the rescue for those in need of a pie pan.

The sweet potatoes
Süßkartoffel are sold at most organic shops in the city, including the Bio Company chain. Broken English carries bags of marshmallows for 2.70 a pop at all their locations.

The cranberry sauce
Cranberries can be found at Kaiser's grocery stores and most organic shops, though as Daniel warns you, shop early to avoid disappointment.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Turkey on the town

Suzy Fracassa of Fortuna's Feast is hosting four nights of Thanksgiving goodness (Update 2014: November 22 only, 20 EUR for turkey and all the trimmings, 28.50 EUR will get you soup and dessert too) at her much-beloved supper club. Reading the line-up -- spiced roasted carrots, homemade rum cranberry sauce -- my mouth began to water. There are also meatless options for vegetarians. Book early! feast [at] fortunastable dot de .

RosaCaleta offers two seatings for its Jamaican Thanksgiving with jerk turkey and more. Dinner is €37.50.

The Midtown Grill, a Potsdamer Platz steakhouse, has a Thanksgiving buffet including drinks for €69 per person onThursday, November 27th (6pm-10:30pm).

The American Church in Berlin is hosting their 8th annual Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday, November 27th. I haven't heard the best things about the food served, but the atmosphere is said to be warm and welcoming. Update 2012: The 10th edition now; do reserve in advance.

What else?
Do leave a comment with your own suggestions or questions so that this guide may evolve.

Tim Dinter’s Berlin & Japanese Snacks (because you’re there)


Tim Dinter's Berlin is the city I fell in love with: gray, plain, full of moments. His Mitte is the one I miss, and I lose myself in this series some nights, pierced with longing for the little life I knew a decade ago.

Anyhow, how excited was I to see this beloved illustrator collaborating on an event with silkscreen artist Kathrin Bräuer? In the days when the piano salon was in Senefelderstraße I always took a detour by Kathrin's studio to examine the chevrons of aqua and grape inked across long scrolls of paper.

Having pressed my nose against her window so often, I would love to watch the three images from Dinter's limited-edition set of prints, "Kreuzberg", printed live in the atelier tomorrow afternoon. If you go, will you take photos?

PS: A sweet little piece on Tim Dinter here.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Siebdruckatelier Kathrin Bräuer, Göhrener Straße 4, Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg (map)
Tel. 49 (0)179 109 15 25
Open by appointment. Live printing November 8 2pm-6pm.

Meanwhile, I cursed when I saw I would miss the opening of Japanese antique shop/cafe Enishi. Its owner, Maki Kawatsura, has lived in Germany for ten years and says she wants to fuse Japanese taste with Berlin cafe culture. My favorite waiter at Sasaya told me he thought it would be good. I wish I could be there for tonight's opening, featuring Japanese treats and drinks. When I'm back!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Enishi, Pappelallee 86, Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg (map)
Tel. 49 (0)176 2283 8192
Open Tu-Fr 11am-7pm, Sa noon-6pm

Elsewhere: Looking down

Berlin's silvery-lilac cobblestones have become second nature, so shadows across dun are surprising. Washington is so sunny and warm!