Perhaps the most eventful two weeks yet. From my mom visiting to grad school orientation, it’s been non-stop go. Before Smog arrived, we kicked off these past weeks with Max’s birthday celebrations. Our plans included dinner, drinks, and a Kehlani concert, but we found out upon arrival at the venue that the concert was cancelled, as well as the rest of her Euro tour. We’d been looking forward to seeing Kehlani perform since December, so that was a real blow. Fortunately we made up for it with a party on Saturday night, resulting in an all too typical “Death by Prosecco” Sunday morning.
Smog arrived on Tuesday, and we enjoyed six days of tourist activities, shopping, wining and dining, and the occasional hotel communal nap. It was really a perfect visit, that was, if anything, too short.
Mommy time was immediately followed by three days of grad school orientation. It’s been a bit over three years since I’ve studied at university, so this is a huge lifestyle change. Studying I can do, papers I can write, but god forbid I have to use a graphing calculator. Business Economics and Corporate Finance don’t scream math, do they?… I’ll keep you posted on that one, and in the meantime, let’s take a look as some recent Berlin highlights.
1. Indonesian Food near Potsdamer Platz
Mabuhay serves up some of the best food I’ve had, Indonesian or other. Everything we ordered was authentic, super flavorful, extremely affordable, and was served within minutes. Bonus points for friendly staff and generous wine pours. The restaurant is tiny, low-key, and totally mobbed, so be sure to make a reservation. We had an absolutely amazing experience here, and I would encourage everyone in Berlin to try it, even if you’re not keen on Indonesian food — it’s that good!
2. Vietnamese vegan food
Asian restaurants are a safe bet for vegans, as there are almost always veggie alternatives to meat dishes. Soy, however, is 100% vegan, and their flavorful creativity and incorporation of fresh veggies and plant-based proteins, ensure that the variety of the menu isn’t compromised. Everything was so yum, but I’d especially recommend the betel leaf appetizer and the mango and tofu salad.
3. Health food done right and the dream come true smoothie near Rosenthaler Platz
Superfoods and Organic Liquids is my new heaven. I can’t even. Stop. Thinking about their luscious healthy goodness. The salads are mostly raw, loaded with nutrients, and thus, super filling. If you try a salad (they also have sandies, smoothies, acai bowls, and other treats), definitely get it with the creamy tahini dressing. If you try a smoothie, the Mango Passionfruit is the way to go: mango, passionfruit, banana, coconut, matcha, and chia seeds. Yep, all the good stuff in one cup. Btw menu is friendly to vegans, gluten-freegans, and vegetarians.
4. Brunch on top of the Reichstag
Touristing was big on the itinerary with Smog, naturally. We wandered through what felt like every neighborhood, went to the Gemäldegallerie, ate out (clearly), went to the Brandenburg Gate, walked through the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, got lost in KaDeWe (more on that wonderland later), and took a tour of the Reichstag (the German Parliament). At the very top of the Reichstag sits Käfer, a glass enclosed restaurant with sweeping views of the city. As it’s a popular brunch destination, we made a reservation one month in advance. There are four or five brunch options — giant portions all around and very traditional German. And new to the menu is a vegan option, and it’s divine.
5. Dinner at an iconic Berlin restaurant in Charlottenburg
After a bit of retail therapy and a very long walk to counter our Käfer brunches, we headed to Schwarzes Cafe for dinner. Nearly 40 years old, this Berlin establishment is open twenty four hours per day and constantly buzzes with liveliness. The restaurant is eclectic and artsy, the atmosphere is warm and welcoming, and the menu is varied and delicious. A perfect spot for group get-togethers and date nights alike.
6. Day trip to Potsdam
Potsdam is a smaller city that lies just southwest of Berlin, and a common tourist destination due to it’s picturesque landscape and architecture, and the famous Sanssouci Castle, the former summer home of Frederick the Great. Max’s mom was kind enough to give us an extremely informative and beautiful tour of the area, and I now look forward to a summer visit to see the gardens and parks of Sanssouci in full bloom.
7. Danish cafe in Mitte
Simple, healthy, and yummy food served in a clean and modern environment. That’s East & Eden, and East & Eden is great. And their Avo toast is to die for. Perfect spot for lunch, and there are many vegan and vegetarian options.
8. Turkish BBQ in Kruezberg
Fes was a recommendation from friends, and it certainly lived up to it’s reviews. It’s selling point is the tabletop grills, enabling a more social and interactive dining experience. When you think BBQ you think meat, but there are plenty of veggie options, as well. You can choose from a selection of raw meats and veggies to grill, as well as heaping salads and creative and delicious veggie side dishes. The hip decor is exposed brick, copper pipes, and long wooden tables, and there is an amazing outside dining area that looks absolutely dreamy for summer nights. The food was phenomenal and overall it was a super experience.
And a few more random pictures from the last couple weeks: