Essen Fassen, German Food, Charlottenburg

I went to Essen Fassen over a year ago and had such a mixed experience that I just took the whole thing, put it on a virtual shelf and promptly forgot about it. Then last week a friend suggested we meet there for lunch. A friend whose goulash I love and whose 3 male gendered children eat calves liver on (while my child only eats white food; pasta shaped like zoo animals, Philadelphia cream cheese, yogurt with crunchy pieces shaped like hoops, or stars, peanut butter with jam - no bits in either component).  Needless to say if this girl says it’s good, it must be good and I must be wrong.Still…

“Really?” I asked “Don’t you just want to go to Brot und Butter?  I had some weird food there last time.”

“Huh.  I had a lentil dish the other day and it was very good.  What did you have?”

“Leg of goose, I think there may have been some chocolate involved in the sauce, red cabbage, spaetzle.  All delicious if ridiculously enormous a portion large enough to feed two - which by the way it ended up doing because Hrabi’s dish of spaetzle with sweet and salty peanut sauce was inedible.  Then for dessert a dry chocolate brownie, corners showing signs of age, with a yummy plum compote of which ironically, there was not enough.”

“Ok, let’s go to Brot und Butter.”

“No, you know what? I need to get out of Mitte, my blog is becoming overly Mittecentric.And so we did which is a good thing because my lunch was great and I realized that I much prefer the restaurant during the day.  At night it’s a little bit too dim and quiet, it makes me think of long winters spent visiting my grandmother who only ever had (still has) one feeble lightbulb in her 10 lightbulb chandelier.  During the day, light bounces off the large white oval table (Ikea, I have the same one) onto the lovely silver and slate wallpaper.  There are more guests adding warmth to the surroundings.  The large (in stature) waiter, who because of his height, can give you quite a fright when he appears, lurch like, out of the shadows is significantly tempered by daylight.I’m not sure if this is a lunch thing or a-year-has-passed-since-you-last-ate-here thing but the food arrived on trays, with the napkin folded into a triangle to one side, cutlery on top.  You keep the tray under your plate as you eat.  I quite liked that detail, it made me think of times (long, long ago) when I used to look forward to what surprises and delights my airplane meal might have in store for me.  Or when I am oh so blissfully alone (can count on my pinky toe how often this happens) because someone else has my child and is taking care that she is eating her white food, my husband (often culinarily challenged) has made other arrangements and I can make my food exactly how I like, place it all neatly on a tray, perch it on my knees and watch something I want to see while eating food that is not only delicious but still hot!  (Ah, the craziness that such trivial details can induce.) Read more of this post

Manufactum Cookware Shop and Knesbeckstrasse, Charlottenburg

I am going to teach you how to wile away an entire afternoon and spend too much money on things you don’t urgently need but end up desperately wanting.  If you consider yourself to be a reasonable person, you should probably look away now…

Manufactum is like a German version of Divertimenti, the cookware section at Harrods and Lakeland; all rolled into one and simmered until it is the very essence of those 3 except more expensive.  You can buy a meat slicer starting from €600, or a Jelly making kit or whatever, if it’s fancy Manufactum will have it.

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