Let’s not talk about update infrequency. A lot’s been going on.
Despite his workload, Will and I try really hard to get out and see the city, even if it’s not the traditional touristy roundup of places. Berlin is bursting at the seams with completely unique eateries and boutiques, I only wish I had more money to spend at all of them. It will be really nice when we’re a teensy bit more settled here (i.e., done dealing with the formidable beast of pending visa applications) and we can live like normal folks. Not that our life is so hard or anything, we’re really very comfortable by now. But I just hope we get the chance to make Berlin our home for a while, not just the place we’re staying for some sort of weird extended vacation (in which we happen to work full time).
In terms of special Berlin places, there’s a few I’d like to mention.
From whence I write. We’ve spent quite a lot of time working and reading at this magical little cafe because it is conveniently located right down the street from us. The coffee here is probably the best we’ve found, and it even comes with lovely little latte art from a smooth-wristed and friendly staff. We usually get a delicious little custardy popover dealy, but today we tried the cheesecake and it was IN.CRED.I.BLE.
- Tom’s Fritten (which I suspect used to be Becker’s Fritten, since it’s the same spot)
If you are looking for some seriously next level pommes mit ketchup und mayo, don’t miss this spot. We’ve gotten the chance to check out quite a few french fries in just as many states of sobriety, but so far nothing has come close to this.
- Zur Rose
Adorable little DDR inspired cafe across from Rotation Records with incredible gnocchi and a pour-your-own beer tap. New menu every week. Wine in carafes. Some of the chairs are a little weird/uncomfortable, though.
- Il Casolare
Just can’t get enough of this pizza. We’ve been twice in the past month. I think I already rambled on about the sister restaurant, Due Forni, but let’s just say (again) that I’ve never, ever, had pizza this good. (Though, admittedly, I’ve also never been to Italy).
I guess on some very tiny level I’m already taking taking the music scene here for granted, which is a shame considering how mindblowing any given night’s lineup could seem from across the pond. But the reality of living here is that not every klubnacht will be magical, and even on the magical ones you often have to pay entry fee and then the cost of drinking out all night. It can all add up pretty quickly.
That said, there have been a handful of performances over the last few weeks that top my “best of all time” charts. A few weeks ago we went with our friend Miranda to Horst Krzbrg, a simple little club down the street from our apartment that charms its guests with vases full of hard candies and branded boxes of matches scatted throughout the venue. The green and red lasers had this amazing disco-ball effect, shooting thousands of tiny, perfect little sparkles all around the room (sounds cheesy but you have to see it to love it). The night opened with some serious disco heat from the likes of The Revenge and his buddy Craig Smith — these Scots sure know how to make a lady move. Seeing just these guys would have been plenty of fun for just one night, but we had the added super-bonus of seeing a live Reagenz performance as well. HOLY COW. When David Moufang busted out the Gibson for “Dinner with Q,” Miranda and I both sort of lost our heads. (Typical girly reaction to guy-with-guitar, I know, but have you heard Dinner with Q?)
The following weekend we had the extreme pleasure of catching the end of the set by Sandwell District stalwarts Regis & Function. Now that’s what I call techno. These guys were truly remarkable — I haven’t liked any techno-techno set as much since we’ve been here, or perhaps ever, for that matter. Usually the techno in Berghain is way too hard and fast for me to actually get into when I’m dancing. Doesn’t meet I don’t like it outside of the club, but it just doesn’t quite mesh with my body.
But this was totally different. Will told me before we went that apparently both of these guys have pretty WZBC-ish rock roots — their tastes are colored as much by techno as bands like Jesus & Mary Chain and Joy Division. You can tell when you listen to their sets. The washing reverb and constant color is a welcome addition to any set, especially in a room with a sound system as good as Berghain’s. And these are the wonderful sorts of DJs who aren’t just mixing record to record — they carefully select the best moments from great records and keep you hung on every minute by merging the wax together with drum machines and other equipment I know nothing about. (Or so it seemed to me.) If you don’t have it already you should download the podcast they did for RA (info, mp3). Upstairs in Panorama Bar later that day, Dinky also kicked serious ass.
Other than that, Will’s parents and brother will be here for the week (they get here tomorrow morning), then next week I’m going to Paris for a conference. Definitely feel like we’re living the proverbial life, but we’ll see what tune I’m singing after we visit the foreigner’s office this week. Keep your fingers crossed for us!