London: Day 1, Monmouth, Kopapa, Yauatacha

2 years after having my daughter and being at her beck and call constantly and exclusively, I went away for the weekend, alone for the first time. With plans to eat, drink and be merry.

The first two days I was giddy with euphoria and loving the freedom to do as I pleased, sleep uninterrupted and eat food that was still hot. By day 3 I was missing her a lot and turning most conversations back to the subject of how wonderful, clever, fill in the blank she is. By day 4, I wanted to go back in the mommy cage (gilded though it is). That is the conundrum of mother hood. 
I had the most ludicrously long and unrealistic list of things I wanted to see, places I wanted to eat at and people I wanted to meet. First up on my list was the newly opened Kopapa, a cafe and restaurant by Peter Gordon.  I once did a 14 hour stint of work experience for Peter Gordon at the Providores on Maryelebone.   I remember being very surprised that 70% of the kitchen staff were petite females and that the kitchen was miniscule with allocated workspaces of less than 50cm per chef!  There were plenty of ingredients in his kitchen I had never seen before and I took copious notes to look them up later (‘barba di frate‘, palm sugar are two examples).  Their dishes were refreshingly original and weird riffs on classics, like vegetarian dolmades filled with quinoa and herbs (of which I made over 100). Read more of this post

Winterfeldtplatz Market - Schöneberg

I have been looking for a Borough Market type set up here in Berlin, with the cool stands and the great food.  It’s true that Borough Market in London is eye waterlingly expensive and jammed full of people but I loved to go down on a saturday, get in a great breakfast at Brindisa, a coffee at Monmouth and then hit all my favorite stands and spend way too much money!  Ach, old London life…  How I miss you some days!

This is the Timeout Berlin’s Market Critique Choice and I am inclined to agree with them!  I still have loads of markets to visit, in fact this weeks Tip Berlin has a listing of notable Berlin markets (By the way, if there is anyone out there that feels like translating those pages for me, just holler!).  So far my forays into Berlin markets has been a bit of a let down so I was pleased to finally come across one that I would bother to come back to. Read more of this post

Bonanza Coffee Heroes, Prenzlauer Berg

Bonanza Coffee Heroes caught my eye the first time I walked past it.  It has a distinctive white neon sign, a distressed “we will be ready to open any day now” interior and of course the eye-catching sign outside that proclaims “Don’t die Before Trying” - no exclamation point.  They are very serious about coffee here, no chocolate milk, no decaf. They do coffee, a strong, dark coffee with delicate acanthus-like designs in the foam.

I have since come across loads of write ups for this place.  It uses a synesso cyncra which invokes a “Wow!” reaction in coffee geeks world-wide.  Apparently there are only 3 of these machines in Europe, according to Berlin Unlike.  Bloggers positively rave about it, like Cafe Kultur Berlin or the reviews on Bean Hunter.

And YES, they do make some wonderful coffee and in the words of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure - “We are not worthy…” of the über slick machine.

But you know what?  The service can be abysmal!  I just don’t understand why often in Berlin if you are a cool, coveted, trendy ”           ” fill in the blank shop, the perception is that you have carte blanche to behave like an idiot? Read more of this post


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