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10 posts from April 2013

The moon last night


Did you see the moon last night? Vast, almost orange.

We walked for hours, mostly along the canal. This season! This spring like a holiday in the midst of my own life.

Berlin flora #3 (spring fever edition)



This ravishing still life (oh, Berlin!) glimpsed in a kindergarten window on Alexandrinenstraße. 


Clouds of pink

Begin at the corner of Schwedter Straße and Kopenhagener Straße and head north, following the staircases as you cross beneath bridges in pursuit of these clouds of pink blossoms. They're at their grandest north of Bornholmer Straße. This moment is their season, so rush.
Afterwards, there's enough time for coffee, at Sgaminegg for choice, or at Elf if they're shut.

Foraging in Brandenburg



The fields were pale and bleached of color. Spring herbs teemed beneath the snow. We gathered bishop's weed, yarrow leaves and stinging nettles.

Our teacher, Thea Harbauer, also holds classes on gathering (edible) wild plants at the Freilandlabor in Zehlendorf.

A little euphoria, a jolt of sun


Birdsong and trains were always my Berlin soundtrack, and I hear them both as I write, my cheeks still flushed by the day's sun. Central heating is being installed in our building, so our landlords have moved us to a holiday flat for a fortnight. I see the Gasometer from the window, and the sky. A shift can do much to clear one's head.

But I meant to share a little euphoria, a jolt of sun to mark this, the real beginning of spring. Oh my friends, this balmy air. I imagine the same thrilling song played in our heads as we walked through the streets and observed the ends of gray branches swollen green. I close my eyes on the balcony for a moment and am outside of any particular moment: wind on my face, coal (still) scenting the air.


Tian Fu’s Vegetable Noodle Soup


Handmade noodles in irregular lengths with just the right amount of chew: neither gummy nor chalky. A golden broth. A generous handful of greens , more leaf than stem. Tofu marinated and slivered before joining the broth.

This winter I conducted a survey of Chinese restaurants in West Berlin. Each time I chose the simplest dish, a vegetable noodle soup, to see what each chef made of it. April now, and Tian Fu’s vegetable noodle soup* is my firm favorite, accompanied, for choice, by their fiery smoked tofu with coriander.  Their hot pot, too, is rumored to be amazing, and is next on my list. (But don’t bother with their lunchtime buffet, all dessicated noodles, gluey meats and limp greens.) Afterwards you might stop at the shop next door to stock up on fresh corriander and curry leaves, and perhaps a bag of that still-elusive soft brown sugar.

* Be sure to specify handmade!

Tian Fu, Berliner Straße 15, Berlin-Wilmersdorf (map)


Summer in a cup


Lemongrass, dragonhead blossoms, lemon verbena, currant leaves, peppermint, sunflower petals, rose petals, cornflowers: summer in tea form, bright and clear.


Sommerland tea by Kräutergarten Pommerland, available at most organic shops and Karstadt.