Brunch at Espacio 88

SKye Coffee Espacio 88My sister was visiting me from London last weekend and it coincided with a weekend of fun events in Barcelona. A pop up brunch at Espacio 88, the 2nd Eat Street by BCNmes and a weekend of open artist studios in Gracia and Poble Nou.  My perfect day begins with a great coffee so the two of us were there, cup in hand by 10:30 a.m.  I had a bagel from the guys at Cloud Street Bakery, split down the middle with two fat slices of foie gras, a drizzle of maple syrup and a fried egg, topped with shaggy rocket and some crumbs of briny feta cheese.

Foie gras, fried egg, maple syrup bagel Read more of this post

Brunch & Cake, Eixample

IMG_5234My first impression of Barcelona was that there were so many cafes, delis, bars and restaurants that you would have to be a fool to consider entering the local food and beverage market. But now that the dust has settled on my move and (most of) the boxes have been unpacked, I am retracting that sentence.  The bars with neat rows of tapas are endless, the paellas, the plates of fideua are everywhere.  Good coffee?  Non-existent (seriously, I have identified 6 shops in Barcelona that use La Marzocco coffee machines (their official distributor for Spain is a company called Coffee People and they list all their clients).  Breakfast places? The ones that do an epic layout a la what I was used to in Berlin, not so much.Brunch and CakeSo I am not at all surprised by the cluster of people I always see outside Brunch and Cake (who are one of the 6 to have a Marzocco).  Their breakfasts are American style and then some.  A perilous tower of pancakes.  A wedge of cake, thick as a dictionary.  The so-called bagel turns out to be the size of my (Smart car’s) steering wheel.  There is also a leaning towards the strange combinations that are widely accepted in the US.  My poached eggs on waffles for instance comes on sweet waffles, with hollandaise sauce – it’s really too weird for me.  And I have always struggled with overly large portions of food, finding myself feeling bloated and defeated before I have even started eating. Read more of this post

Adlon Kempinski, Breakfast, Mitte

The adventurous spirit I have with regards to eating leaves the building when it comes to hotels.  I would rather stay in a Marriott with its floral prints and its thick carpet than in some designer led incarnation where it is easier to locate the bathtub than the bed (remember my experience at the Delano in Miami?).  Over the last few years I have stayed in the Adlon a couple of times.  None of the rooms had a ‘view’ (I am not sure that crowds of tourists lining up for a Starbucks coffee constitutes a view even if it is set off by the Brandenburg gate) but that in no way hampers the room layout –  quietly brilliant in their clever use of space and deliverance of comfort (for example Mühldorfer bedding also used in the 7 star Burj Al Arab).The buffet breakfast is another perk.  Table after table, stacked high and deep  with neat lines of cold cuts and cheeses.  A dozen glass carafes filled with juices.  A wall of bread.  An army of jars, lids off, sitting on a paper doily – spoons at the ready with tiny little dishes for spooning dainty quantities into stacked off to the side.  A whole human being to make you eggs, any way you like.  Triangles of watermelon, bowls of segmented grapefruits and oranges (some poor hotel school student probably got carpel tunnel doing those).  Let’s say you find nothing you fancy in that room of food, you can always order ‘a la carte’, eggs benedict say or a white tureen with two bloated weisswurst floating in a sea of finely minced chives.I start off with fruit and a mixture of yogurt and one of the four kinds of bircher muesli, move on to eggs with some cold cuts on the side before I have to concede defeat and fight the urge to get horizontal and groan.

Last Sunday, my father was visiting Berlin and  he invited us to have breakfast with him.  I packed in as much food as my compromised stomach could manage but instead of saying ‘uncle’ and going for a lie down, I left that table and went to another breakfast.  Hosted by Marguerite’s on her blue polka-dotted oilcloth tablecloth.  Luisa made apple scones from a Martha Stewart Recipe.  I spooned on Sylee’s delightful strawberry jam with strawberries she had picked the weekend before in Vierfelderhof and drank too much coffee from the French press. Read more of this post

Café Einstein Stammhaus, Old Fashioned Coffee & Lunch in a Villa, Tiergarten



There are a few Einstein cafés around Berlin.  Always opt for one of those coffees over Balzac and certainly over Starbucks (Only because I think the coffee is too milky not because I subscribe to the “Starbucks is ruining the world” movement.)

This Einstein is really special.  It’s in an old villa in Tiergarten.  Parts of the ceiling and faux columns are gilded, there are large mirrors set into the walls adding to the feeling of opulence.  The waiters/waitresses  wear black trousers, white shirts and are very polite.  There are even ‘stations’ for them to put down their trays.  It’s all very grown up and reminiscent of a bygone time when everything and everyone was more elegant.  
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Chipps 2, Mostly Vegetarian Food, Mitte CLOSED

THIS RESTAURANT IS NOW CLOSED (UPDATED DEC 2011)

They say babies are attracted to ‘good looking’, people with symmetrical features.  I think adults probably are too but it’s not nice to say so.  Similarly, I will admit, that I prefer the places I eat in to be good looking.  Don’t get me wrong, I won’t eat bad food in a great dining room and when I was in Vietnam, I had some excellent food in some bleak rooms where I had to squat on tiny plastic stools but still, given the choice, I choose pretty.

Chipps (now there are two) are very attractive, especially the one on Jägerstraße.  The chef from the vegetarian restaurant Cookies & Cream, consulted on the menu.  The staff is nice.  The ingredients, in tall glass cylinders, chilling on ice as you come in, are promising and then of course there is the open kitchen.

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Brunch at Weltempfaenger

What  a mouthful!  I’m not talking about the actual breakfast, just the name of this trendy brunch place in Prenzlauerberg.  It means “world receiver” according to Babel Fish translation services.

We are lucky that we have one extremely “branche” friend here in Berlin (I am using the French colloquial here as our source hails from France).  When my hubby asked where we should go for brunch this morning I piped “How about Anna Blume, I have read about it in my guide books and on Slow Berlin.”  Our fashionable French friend had something else in mind…

We snagged an outside table at Weltempfaenger overlooking the Sunday flea market.  Where we could gawk at the people walking by.  And there was a lot to stare at, believe you me!  Prenzlauerberg is like an amalgamation of Notting Hill (for the cool set), Belsize Park (for the baby aspect) and something that is distinctly Berlin – a combination of ragged clothing, Rolexes and body tattoos. Read more of this post

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