La Guingueta, Chirringuito, Barceloneta

La GuinguetaBon Appetit did a small Barcelona feature in it’s May edition. I was delighted to see that I have hit most of their recommended spots (so this blog’s move to Spain is starting to get somewhere).  And then I read about how Carles Abellan – whose Tapas 24 I love (and posh restaurant Comerç 24 I visited for my last birthday), has a Chirringuito. And, and… He serves ice cream from Rocambolesc. Which is great because until now, I had been planning to travel to Girona for the day to try it.
The view - and the W is there tooYou can see the W hotel from La Guingueta.  The waiters are dressed in identical nautical themed shirts, enough of them have tattoos and patches of hair shaved off in weird places for it to seem a conscious part of the look.  I recognise 2 waiters from Tapas 24, one seems to have been promoted to manager, a charismatic girl with strange zig zagging hair cuts, who once whisked me to the front of the line at 24 when she realised that I was dining alone.The GuacamoleThe menu is made up of things between bread, slightly unusual (for Barcelona) things like chicken burgers, fresh pressed juices (€6) and guacamole (€12) or nachos.  The pricing is – well I find myself thinking, I can see the W but does that mean I have to pay W prices? Read more of this post

My Organic Garden

My organic gardenMy splurge for 2013/2014 was an organic garden. I’ve wanted a working vegetable garden for roughly 20 years but I have always lived in an apartment. Now, encouraged by having 3 children, we finally moved into a house with a garden – clad in Astroturf. Not my choice but as it’s a rental that is how it will remain. A few months ago, I received a flyer from Garden Ambrosia for an organic garden scheme. It pictured a family with broad smiles and misshapen vegetables.

I went for it. A friend of mine derided me openly. “What? You are going to pay someone to do it?”

Courgette and tomatoesYes, I am paying someone to do it. I’ve wastefully blundered through attempts at balcony container gardening for ages. Buying books. Lugging 20 liter bags of soil through the house. Managing only to grow a handful of strawberries (usually picked off by the birds) and some tomatoes with inedible skin.

It turned out the happy family on the brochure belonged to Derwent whom I invited to scope out the garden.  Despite our garden being large, the only suitable sunny spot we could find was the gravel driveway (I had also always dreamed of a gravel driveway arrivals and departures accompanied by a crunch crunch crunch noise). Some of it was sacrificed (reversing into it is now a lip biting experience). As the soil was poor, Derwent set about constructing a raised bed and bringing the soil, the manure and the ah – volcanic ash – to me. He told me that a healthy plant needs 98 elements (or was it 89? Everything went blank when he mentioned the periodic table) and volcanic ash is just the ticket.

Twins admiring the gardenWhen I complained that the slugs were turning my lettuces into green doilies he retorted that bugs taking up to 10% of a crop is fair and that the plants are healthy enough to take it. When the beetroot was ready to harvest, he cautioned me against throwing away the leaves and so we prepared them as the Greeks do, with garlic, olive oil and lemon. It was delicious. We have learned to eat plants nose to tail so to speak – whenever possible Read more of this post

Pakta, Nikkei Cuisine, Poble Sec

PaktaMy two favourite Japanese restaurants in London are Dinings and Yashin (in that order).  Both are generous with the citrus and easy on the soy.   I know that the executive chef at Dinings (Masaki Sugisaki ) worked at Nobu and that Nobu Matsuhisa was heavily influenced by Nikkei cuisine (a symbiosis of Japanese and Peruvian food).  So it is with very high expectations that I walk into Pakta on a sunny Saturday afternoon.    That and it’s taken me over a month (as usual) to get a table at this Adria brothers spot (no it’s not your imagination, they do seem to own every restaurant worth going to in Barcelona).  
The starterThere are two prix fix menus to choose from: the Fujiyama (€90 VAT included) and the Machu Picchu (€120 VAT included).  We opt for the latter and begin with the Honzen Ryori.  Which is an elaborately arranged tray of 5 small dishes the like of ‘Avocado tofu with sea urchin, yuzu and wasabi’ and ‘sweet corn cream with caviar’.  There are different spoons for different dishes and an order in which the 5 dishes should be eaten.  There are so many instructions to follow that our server uses a baton to point to the dishes as she explains what’s what, what’s first and with what – oh and don’t eat the tuft of leaves which is just a tuft of leaves. Read more of this post

Comerç 24, Contemporary Food with 1 Michelin Star, El Born

Comerç 24I am getting to that age where you either lie about it or bluntly avoid the question.  I am choosing to ignore the question.

I have a good friend who has the same family positioning as mine, albeit she has 3 boys (the youngest two who are twins) and I have 3 girls and she is 4 years ahead.  She sends me messages from the bathroom, I reply, from my bathroom. Contrary to all these allegations of post pregnancy incontinence, I think mostly, it’s just women carving (with a dull spoon) some moments of solitude and tiled harmony from the only place they can get away with locking the door: the bathroom.

Sardine with orange and fresh wasabiAt this juncture in my life, my birthday wish was for a smidgen of solitude (to hell with world peace, I mean clearly, we are an animal incapable of harmonious living).  So for the birthday of unmentionable age, I had lunch at Comerç 24. Read more of this post

Caelum, Cafe & Shop, Barri Gòtic

CaelumCaelum is a shop in Barcelona that sells goods made my monks and nuns.  It’s in the Barri Gòtic which means there I am,  walking through the dark maze like streets, which often smell of urine (there are a lot of incontinent tourists on the streets of Barcelona), I am surrounded by the pierced, the tattooed, tan-to-the-point-of-lobster folk photographing the laundry hanging from the balconies.  And there, emanating a glow like a single candle in a dark cellar, is Caelum.

I practically hear the Gregorian chanting as I enter the ivory and gold shop and turn over boxes of marzipan, jars of tomato jam, scented candles, “stained glass window” biscuits.  Each made by a different community specialising in a certain something. The window Caelum Read more of this post

I need you!

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I’ve been posting on Foodie in Berlin for almost 3 years now.

306 posts!

I can hardly believe it.  I feel I’ve figured out my voice and my angle so it’s time to think about the design.

I would like a logo for Foodie in Berlin and a general restyle (and some help sticking all that stuff up on WordPress).

I see Foodie in Berlin as quirky, funny (hopefully) and informative. I do not see it as particularly fashionable or trendy.  I hope it’s that funny friend you have that can make you guffaw when your mouth is full of food and whose recommendations you  always  trust. It’s important to me that the design be clean and easy to navigate.  
That’s the brief in a nutshell.  If you are interested and would like to know more (including what my budget is) write to me at foodieinberlin at googlemail dot com.  It would be helpful if you could include a link to your work so far and even better if you are located in Berlin.  If I like your work, I will get in touch and we will go from there.

Christmas Eve 2010

Usually, we have Raclette on the 24th but this year I thought we should go lighter, in anticipation of what would come on the 25th.

Reading David Tanis’s A Platter of Figs and other recipes has really helped me de-clutter my dinner menus. And strive for simple and elegant as opposed to more and difficult. Read more of this post


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