Thursday, October 30, 2014

Thanksgiving in Berlin, a day later but turkey all the same.

A day later but turkey all the same.

Dear friends,

You know we love to feed you the most beloved meal of the year but, sorry to say, we'll have to feed you one day later this time around.  It was a difficult decision for us to make:  booking our dining room for a private Thanksgiving feast on the actual holiday, Thursday, November 27th.  

BUT, we hope both the American ex-pats of Berlin and the converted turkey lovers of various origins, will be happy to have this classic meal at any point during the week. The particular day really isn't the issue, is it?  Sooooooooo,  we've decided to celebrate our own Thanksgiving publicly the very next day, FRIDAY, November 28th.

There are two seating only, so make your reservations soon.

Hope to see you!

Please see below for all information and don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
030 627 3253

Friday, November 28th
Location:  Weserstr 58, 12045 Berlin

First Seating 6:30pm

Turkey & Fixin's ONLY:      22 euros
Three Course Menu:          28 euros

Second Seating: 

Turkey & Fixin's ONLY:      26 euros
Three Course Menu:          34.50 euros


Butternut Squash Soup with sage croutons
Baby Spinach Salad with pomegranate dressing and toasted hazelnuts


Turkey and the Fixin's - Classic Style!

Roasted turkey (both light and dark meat), ginger-bourbon cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy, apple-walnut stuffing, buttered corn, green bean casserole, caramelized spiced carrots.


Pumpkin Pie with whipped cream
Apple Crumble with vanilla ice cream

*** there will be a veggie option to substitute for the turkey, veggie gravy too and all fixin's are vegetarian.


For reservations or information, please write or call:  
030 627 3253

Monday, July 28, 2014

Neighborly Love

We've been at our current location in Berlin for about 6 years now and since then we've seen our particular street grow almost beyond recognition.   Our block alone has sprouted a coffee house, a vintage store,  co-working spaces, two boutiques and a couple of bars (of course) all in the last two and a half years.

I'd like to say that I personally know each business on the street but this just would not be the truth.  Meeting ones neighbors takes effort and time, two things that often get swallowed up in the never-ending rush of busy business-like stuff, the same stuff that keeps us scrambling to our computers to help fill the void created by lack of actual human contact.

Lately I've been putting my mind to slowing down a bit to enjoy this fairly decent summer we seem to be experiencing.  If you're a resident of this charming city, you know that this isn't always the case and can also disappear at a moments notice.   So, today I finally stopped to introduce myself to a fairly new neighbor, The Liquor Company Berlin. They have their office and a small production space a few doors down from ours.  Again, if you live in Berlin, you may have already seen their various imported products on the shelves of your favorite watering hole but now they are launching their own brew, brewed right here on Weserstrasse, KR/23.

KR/23 is an herbal liqueur (Kräuterlikor) made from, you guessed it, 23 different ingredients:  black pepper, bay leaf, lemon zest, cloves, oregano, cinnamon, ginger, basil, sage, fennel, orange zest, green pepper, lemon balm, anise, rosemary, turmeric, caraway seed, mint, cardamom, wild rue and nutmeg.  Served chilled (in the refrigerator because it is too delicate for the freezer), this herbal liquor is quite the summer sip.  Delish.

As a good neighbor does, the gentleman who opened the door, welcomed me in and offered me something refreshing to drink.  Lovely, lovely people and damn good hooch.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Pack Your Pickle

I just spent the last half of an hour debating if you would find these rather simple photos interesting enough to see at the "x-large" setting that google's blog template offers.  I shrunk some, enlarged others, tried to move them around to make a collage sort of thing (not possible with google blog template or I just don't know how) and was not satisfied.

Yeah, yeah… this post is supposed to be about making pickles (see way below for all that stuff) but half the fun came from the visuals this little project produced.  Neatly packed cut vegetables in jars, love it.  Before the hot vinegary liquid is poured and after: glorious.  

Why the fascination, you ask?  I don't know but in the end, I just made all the images the same size.

(recipe after the photos)

The beloved mixed veggie jar:  green and yellow beans, radishes, carrots, cauliflower, onions, ginger, fresh coriander, garlic and a couple of chills for good measure.

As straight up as I went with the pickling project:  local organic baby cumbers, mustard seeds, fresh dill, a couple of chilis for good measure, again.

Poetry in a jar.

Just waiting for hot lovin'.
Guilty pleasures:  Mini peppers with LOTS of hotness going on inside... and garlic.
Submerged and beautiful.
Bleeding heart:  local organic red beets, fennel, mint, dill… and garlic.

My XL jar of over the top spicy pickles.  All mine!

Family photo.

I'm no pickling expert, just a regular curious person who loves a good pickle. Below is the recipe I tweaked.  I like the slightly sweet, a bit more salty experience but I do know you can use only salt if that's your thing.

Also, in my mind, anything goes, pickle whatever the hell you want.  I'm sure there will be varying results based on what it is that you choose but sticking with firm veggies always yields a good crunch. 

Speaking of a good crunch, that's what I'm after as well.  I'm still in the testing mode here but I can say that I just tried one of my super spicy cucumber pickles and it was absolutely DELICIOUS,  less than 24 hours in the fridge. Actually, I would be very happy if they stay exactly the way they are (perhaps a little spicier) but let's see what happens after another day or two.  I'll be updating my findings in the comments. 

Warning:  Calculate how much fridge space you have before undergoing your pickling project, these need to be refrigerated.  If you go nuts buying your veggies and can't stop yourself like I couldn't, you either have to have catering capacity refrigeration  (lucky me) or you have to have lots of friends to pickle gift.  Careful that you don't end up with too much pickle to pack. Har har.



4 Crispy Baby Cucumbers (Kirby cucumbers), washed, dried, and quartered lengthwise
2 or 3 sprigs fresh dill (or any herb you like)
1 cup distilled white vinegar 
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1 fresh chili
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

Place cucumbers, herbs, chili and garlic in a jar.

Heat vinegar, sugar, and salt in a saucepan, stirring, until sugar and salt have dissolved. Pour into jar. Let cool completely, uncovered. Pickles are best refrigerated overnight (or up to 6 weeks) before serving.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Those cute little houses

The first time I saw a Schrebergartenkolonie, I thought it must be the equivalent to an American trailer park and those cute little houses, mobile homes.  I thought to myself, "Everything is quaint Europe".  Granted, this was back in 1997 and I soon found out that those garden colonies were not at all similar to trailer parks, rather, plots of land, often within the city limits, that people own to connect with nature (roughly speaking). I thought to myself,  "That's a very good idea".

I've had the pleasure to visit a few of these gardens over the years and last weekend I was invited to my friend's for a bbq.  We all brought a little something to share, as is often the case, and the rest is history.  Good times within the city limits.

Find my tasty potato salad recipe that I shared down below.

Schrabergarten Potato Salad

Serves 4-6

5kg Potatoes
2 cups of mayo
1 head garlic, chopped
handful chopped parsley
1 tablespoon of lemon zest
sea salt
cracked pepper

Preheat oven at 220°.  Wash potatoes, leave skin on and cut into 1 inch cubes.  Spread evenly on a rimmed cookie sheet, drizzle liberally with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and roast until cooked thru.

Once potatoes are cool, mix with the rest of the ingredients and salt and pepper to taste.  AND feel free to increase or decrease the amount garlic but remember, it's the garlic that make is dish what it is.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Don't call it a comeback

Dear friends, as a blogger I have been MIA.

This poor thing has been neglected for far too long. I will skip the boring details of why and just jump in:

I still love cooking.  I still love images. I still love a few good words.

So, without further ado, let me begin with a spontaneous little photo shoot we had with Laura Deschner not too long ago. Laura, a local photographer and friend, was over having coffee one day and I told her about how I'd like to see food photography to go into a new direction. I'm just tired of the same old same old and though there are some new ideas floating around out there, most of it is just… meh.

The next chance she had, Laura came over with her bags of equipment, set up a full-on studio and did her magic.  Lucky for us, we were preparing for Veggie Freak Out, a night devoted to our vegetarian and vegan clients and we all know how photogenic a vegetable can be.  I'm being serious. Then, as if things couldn't get any better, she took the camera into the dining room and caught the freak out in action.

Za'atar Baked Sweet Potato, Goat Cheese, Roasted Red Grapes, Honey & Cracked Pepper
Minty Fattoush Salad
Edamame Guacamole with home fried corn chips

Quinoa Burger with Sriracha Mayo

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Reminder to Remember

Back in March I went on a Yoga/Pilates/Meditation holiday on Fuerteventura . It was my reminder holiday, a reminder that in January I told myself that 2011 was going to be about balance and inner peace.

Well, off I went and since I've only sporadically done yoga and pilates, I was a bit nervous. I was about to do them everyday, at least two times a day, for a week... I wasn't sure how I felt about that. When friends would say, "That will be great!", I would answer, weakly, "Yeh-hes". (What I would insert now, if I could, would be that worried looking emoticon)

Needless to say, it was an amazing experience. Yes, at least twice a day I did bend my body into shapes it wasn't always willing to go into but the experience was much, much more than that. It was about the people I met and shared time with. In Berlin, my life is somehow split into two: the public hostess and the private (self professed) cat lady who has a hard time leaving her cozy apartment on days off. The funny thing was, I wasn't expecting to connect to "others"on this trip at all, rather, I thought it was going to be a solitary experience- just me and my out of shape body. How wrong I was.

As always, food was a focal point. I love wandering around super markets in other countries, checking out all the stuff- from weird things in jars to locally grown produce. We also were fortunate enough to have one of the best restaurants on the island nearby, offering tapas like I have never known before- delicious. One night, I even had the pleasure of raiding (permission granted) the villa's fridge to make an emergency dinner for our group when we found out last minute that the whole island shut down to celebrate carnival.

But, the real highlight was Jo, the nutritional advisor for Azul Fit. She offered me a special consultation/cooking course where we made olive tapanade, roasted eggplant, homemade whole grain breads, cocoa-dried fruit truffles and quinoa cake. It has sparked a true interest in such healthy and tasty food. I wish Jo would cook for me everyday... then I'd surely have balance and inner peace.

(I highly recommend Azul Fit Villa for a one of a kind, healthy, relaxing, centering experience. They have two locations and I was in the Villa, up on a hill in the small town Villaverde, completely disconnected from any hustle and bustle. Jamie, Karissa and the entire team go out of their way to make your stay an experience to cherish. I definitely cherish mine. Thanks to the entire Azul Fit family!)

Not Jo's recipe but tasty all the same:

Quinoa Muffins

Makes 12


1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1/4 cup vegetable oil, such as safflower, plus more for pan
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
3/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raisins
3/4 cup whole milk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan, bring quinoa and 1 cup water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer; cover, and cook until water has been absorbed and quinoa is tender, 11 to 13 minutes.
Meanwhile, brush a standard 12-cup muffin pan with oil; dust with flour, tapping out excess. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, raisins, and 2 cups cooked quinoa; reserve any leftover quinoa for another use.
In a small bowl, whisk together oil, milk, egg, and vanilla. Add milk mixture to flour mixture, and stir just until combined; divide batter among prepared muffin cups.
Bake until toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool muffins in pan, 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Man cannot live on Quinoa alone...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

"Everybody's Mama Got a Recipe"

Every Christmas when I'm in Detroit, one of my very best friends in the whole world, insists on buying me the heaviest cookbook she can find. This normally wouldn't be a problem but since the days of "extra heavy" luggage are long gone, it has become one. She (let's call her A.B.) has great taste and style in the food/cooking dept so I'm not really complaining... but, damn!

This year A.B. gifted me with One Big Table, A Portrait of American Cooking by Molly O'Neill. It's one hefty mama consisting of stories and recipes from real people who love their food. Gourmet, it is not and this is what makes it all the more appealing in a world of Top Chef, Iron Chef, Whatever-else Chef. I really love the sense of migration you get from reading the book... how different ethnic groups spread far and wide after entering the U.S. and how they shaped the food culture in the little (and not so little) towns they landed in.

I will be using One Big Table as inspiration for my tasting evening this Friday night. I pulled out a few of my favorites (not an easy task) and will be doing some cooking a la Americana. Here's the menu. North African Lamb from Oxford, Ohio? Yeah, what about it?

SOUP: Garlic Soup for Gringos
(A Basque inspired soup from Dan Ansotegui, Boise, Idaho)

SALAD: Green on Green tossed with my secret dressing

Little Dish #1 Crostini: Molly's Be-Still-My-Heart Chopped Chicken Liver (Sally Hechinger's Grandmother, Molly's Recipe, Montclair, New Jersey)

Little Dish #2 Bernadette's Cheesy Endive Gratin with mashed potatoes (Los Angeles, California)

Little Dish #3 Chicken Fried Steak and Cream Gravy
(Hoover Night Hawk, Austin, Texas)

Little Dish #4 North African Slow Roasted Lamb from Oxford, Ohio

SWEET: Four-Berry Cobbler with homemade biscuit topping
(Dean McCord, Raleigh, North Carolina)

The Chicken Fried Steak recipe from a Mr. Hoover Alexander himself, looks real good too. If you click on the photo, it should get big enough to read. In there you'll find that the southern favorite may just have been influenced by the Wiener Schnitzel. Duh!? Hopefully the print is clear enough for you to read the entire recipe and try yourself. Now if the Germans would only start smothering their schnitzel with gravy, we'd be getting somewhere.