Next time I decide to move to London temporarily while 7 months pregnant with twins, have them there and then move back to Berlin – slap me will you?
Layla started nursery on Wednesday and I paced and fretted my way around her school in case the teachers called me to come collect her. She took it better than I did. Except for the part where she has to have lunch and the food they serve is not peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. She just stared at her vegetable soup, horrified. A helpful little boy told her that if she didn’t eat all her food, she wouldn’t be allowed to have any fruit for dessert. Which prompted her to shoot me a perplexed look that said “If fruit is dessert, what do they do for fun here? Self-harm?”
Hovering in the general environs of her school allowed me to poke my head into Mogg & Melzer, have a couple of silky coffees at The Barn and try the new Mozzarella Bar on Auguststrasse (it opened in June).
Food occupiers of August strasse tend to be trendy and overly self-aware design wise. Much like the folk that mince around in tight trousers and tiny coats even though it’s freezing outside because “Hey – I look good in it.” Sotto Le Stelle is more grandma but you know, grandma does new, like maybe she tries out a new shade of purple hair dye. When I walk in, Italian rock music is blaring. The direttore, with the handle bar mustache and the vintage Ray Ban specs (ok so there is some trendiness present), tells me all about the different mozzarellas. And how the ‘delicata’ comes from bovines that eat on highland and results in a sweet cheese while the ‘decisa’ comes from those ruminants that eat at sea level resulting in a salty cheese. “The difference comes from the animals and not from anything that man had done.”
Only the Italians and the French can get all goose pimply about food. After all, the Slow Food was conceived by an Italian: Carlo Petrini. There is a lot of Slow Food going on at the bar. They’ve done away entirely with wholesalers finding small producers to buy direct from. My mozzarella duo is only €9 Euros. A side of cherry tomatoes in pesto is €1.50 (not worth washing the plate for that, I say). A generous plate of grilled vegetables, €3.50. And yes, I realize I am totally jaded having just come from London, where the teenagers in my local Starbucks tote bags more expensive than the cars my friend drive in Berlin – but not bad!
And fun! Mitte can do with a smattering of fun.
They do a menu of the day which I didn’t try since I had my lunch at 10:30 a.m. (people, with 3 kids, you need to live it up whenever the small window of opportunity presents itself).
Al Contadino Sotto le Stelle