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8 posts from December 2010

Last Saturday


The Handmade Supermarket was pleasing mainly for the piquancy of hipsters crammed alongside discount kik yarns beneath the beautiful turquoise ironwork of the old Eisenbahnmarkthalle. I want to come back soon and eat in the garden cafe.

Afterwards, we pushed the pram through snowy streets to 3Schwester. After the crush of the market, the empty echoing hospital corridors and spacious, airy rooms of the Gewolbe were just what we wanted. Two little girls, perhaps the owners' children, colored at a table, then ran around in their tights, shrieking with laughter. A dalmatian let out a huge yawn and S giggled when David yawned too. Out the windows the grounds, deep in snow. Parents take note: their child's portion of Semmelknodel (3 EUR!) is delicious. The other things we ate were nothing special but it didn't matter, it was honest food and we were glad to be there. (More and more I realize I frequent cafes not to be blown away but to be peaceful.) Afterwards, we looked at the exhibit on Indonesian art and S chased me down the corridor, her footsteps echoing under the florescent lights.

The sky dipped in fog and the dusk closing in now. I'll make puff pastry for the Christmas tarte tatin, and wild mushroom stock for the gravy. Soon the steam on the windows will block the view.

Handmade/Fourth Advent


Lucky is the woman with a baker friend who'll give up an afternoon to help make Linzer cookies. Can you believe I was afraid of rolling out the dough? Her motto -- "Don't roll right to the edge" -- is a keeper. Now I've got presents for each of S's teachers, and my Christmas shopping is mostly done. But a Saturday stroll around the newish Eisenbahnmarkthalle might still be in order, to check out the Prinzessingarten's winter digs and Supermarché's Handmade Supermarket. Look at everyone who'll be there! I know 'handmade', like 'curate' and 'pop-up', is one of those overripe words, but the feeling of this event -- independent but not too cool for school -- is just to my taste.

PS: & the open house at Feast this Sunday sounds so nice. Pay as you wish buffet with Christmas treats and handmade edible gifts! Thank you Sugarhigh for this tip -- must get on Suzy's email list.

Handmade Supermarket, Eisenbahnstraße 42, Berlin-Kreuzberg (map)
Saturday Dec. 18 noon-10pm, Sunday Dec. 19 noon-8pm

Feast, Weserstraße 58, Berlin-Neukölln (map)
Sunday Dec. 19 2.30pm-9.30pm

Right now


I love hearing the snow come down.

Root vegetables & Stralau & Sinterklaas


I was a little in love with the contents of my shopping basket and had to lay everything out on my desk and admire the tableau before transferring the Teltower Rübchen, purple carrots and parsley root to the vegetable drawer. Again and again I'm amazed by the quiet sweetness of these vegetables, released after a stint in an oven or simmered with a meaty bone.

I'll have to accept there's a lull around Third Advent when I can no longer muster much energy for life on the screen. Still, to keep my promise, two markets for the Sunday morning Kurzentschlossene. On the one hand, there's Sinterklaas in Potsdam's old Dutch Quarter, with its brick streets crammed full of treats and crafts from the Netherlands. On the other hand, there's the Stralauer Weihnachtsmarkt. Every time I turn around, someone has moved to Lichtenberg or bought a flat in Stralau. (Lichtenberg! Those here ten years ago will blink in disbelief. But it's where all the interns live now Neukölln is too expensive.) So go to the market, go for a walk, and see what's happening.

Stralau Christmas Market, Am Speicher 1-10, Berlin-Friedrichshain (map) Saturday & Sunday 11am-7pm (today only)

Sinterklaas Christmas Market in the Dutch Quarter, Nauener Tor, Berlin-Potsdam (map) Saturday & Sunday 11am-7pm (today only)


Outside, Inside

It just keeps coming down. Home with an ailing toddler, rereading Tender at the Bone, making pot-au-feu. I'll bake cookies next.

2011 (II)


But where is daily life in all of this? There was Zotter in my slippers this morning, and homemade stollen on my countertop, waiting to be toasted for breakfast. Happy times!

Meanwhile, two more calendars for 2011. Sandra Siewert and Dirk Berger's stark, stylish renditions of Berlin's embassies are just my taste. The Czech embassy (above) might be my favorite. The generously sized screen-printed calendars (black ink on white paper) are 18.50 EUR at their shop or online.

And do you know the Typodarium? A tear-away calendar, a font a day, inspiration every morning. They're on sale at the Buchstabenmuseum, where 20 EUR will buy you a calendar and a keychain with the laser-cut letter of your choosing. This Friday from 5pm-9pm Anja and Barbara will host an afternoon with the Typodarium publishers.

-- And now it's tomorrow, and I never did manage to hit "post" on this last night. Off to photograph the misty morning, all deep blues rich as butter.

Typodarium in Berlin_neu

Second Advent: Christmas markets

With the snow on, the city is rich with Christmas spirit. Everyone in Berlin is in her golden kitchen whipping meringue and cinnamon into confections to grace a tree.

Jagdschloss Grunewald, Hüttenweg 100, Berlin-Grunewald (map) (A bus to Königin-Luise-Straße/Clayallee is the best bet for the carless). Saturday & Sunday 11am-7pm (this weekend only)

If you do venture out into the frost, it seems fair to make for the forest. The Grunewald is hushed in ice; through the woods, the lake reflects a clouded sky. Storytellers in velvet robes mill in the royal hunting lodge's courtyard. After listening to fairy tales and eating too many rosemary potatoes, you can follow the dogs for a walk around the Grunewaldsee.

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Weinbergsparkour, Weinbergspark/Rosenthaler Platz/Brunnenstraße/Veteranenstraße, Berlin-Mitte (map) Saturday noon-9pm, Sunday 1pm-7pm (this weekend only) 

I found out about the Weinbergsparkour in a flyer at my favorite tea shop. It's local and uncomplicated, not so much a classic Christmas market as a loose series of events put on by neighborhood shops, including s.wert, Frau Tulpe and Acud. Pick up a flyer at the Berliner Teesalon and take it from there.

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Alt-Rixdorfer Christmas Market, Richardplatz, Berlin-Neukölln (map) Saturday 2pm-9pm, Sunday 2pm-8pm (this weekend only)
Frohnauer Christmas Market
, Zeltinger Platz, Berlin-Reinickendorf (map) Saturday & Sunday 11am-6pm (this weekend only)

When I feel Berln is changing all out of measure it's reassuring to go to the places that have stayed the same for decades. These markets on the outskirts of the city retain a village-like feel, heavy on cobblestoned charm and light on tourist hordes. Richardplatz retains its Bohemian-village feel; the Frohnau market focuses on handmade goods (think old-school, not Etsy).