Berlin, you are so wonderful

The other day in Berlin, Charlottenburg. I sat together with my girlfriend, her boyfriend as well as his friends in a small restaurant. One German, one US-American and three Egyptians. We enjoyed great Egyptian food at Koshary Lux. The dips, pastes, falafel, vegetables – everything was excellent.

Why I share this with you here on the blog? Because on the one hand I can highly recommend the restaurant and on the other hand this evening is one of the reasons why I love and enjoy living in Berlin so much. I have not only eaten very well in this restaurant, but also learned a lot. About the Egyptian national dish Koshari, which (to my amazement) consists of chopped macaroni, chickpeas, lentils, tomatoes, caramelized onions and rice.

By the way, according to my friends, it is prepared very authentically at Koshary. They also explained to me that the dish used to be a worker's food. Just a dish that consists of many carbohydrates and thus gave the poor enough energy for work.

I have never been to Egypt. But through my Egyptian friends here in Berlin I have already learned more about the country than through any tale of all-inclusive Egyptian vacationers.

By the way, I had opted for the oven roasted eggplant with chickpeas, homemade herb tahina (sesame paste), harissa, caramelized onions, potatoes and an organic labna sheep/goat feta dip. The dish is super delicious.

Dessert: milk roll Egyptian style

For dessert we had milk rolls with a very sweet sesame paste (sakalans) and a kind of panna cotta with pistachios and rose petal water and something like a "pudding cake". Everything was very, very tasty.

What I really want to say with this little story: I think it's great that so many different cultures come together in this city and that I learn so many new things and about other countries by talking to all kinds of different people.

Since we can't travel this year as we are used to, we just learn something about countries and cultures still foreign to us through restaurant visits in Berlin 😉 .

Ethiopian food in Neukolln

Speaking of other countries. Just last week we had Ethiopian food at Lalibela in Neukolln. The vegetarian/vegan plate for 2 consisted of lentils, chickpeas, kale, salad and white cabbage with carrots. In addition we had a kind of sour tasting crepe, which is made of teff flour (injera). At the end there was freshly roasted coffee on the house. A woman sat down with her pot on the floor, roasted the beans and prepared the coffee freshly.

The Neapolitan pizzas don't have a crispy bottom, but a super thick and fluffy crust. The bottom is extremely thin and therefore a bit sloppy. The special thing about the pizzas from Naples: they are baked only very briefly at almost 500 degrees in the stone oven. What I also really liked in these restaurants: There is only a manageable selection of different pizzas – but with the finest ingredients.

You will search in vain for Pizza Hawai or Tonno. Instead, the best tomatoes are used (you can taste that!) and u.a. Burrata or very good Italian sausage. To make a long story short: It's a completely different experience than at a "normal" Italian restaurant. High-quality ingredients and a small menu – that's what matters to me.

Berlin offers such an incredible array of culinary and cultural experiences – it almost stresses me out a bit because I'll probably never completely finish my to-do list in this city.

Eating ice cream like in Thailand

Last year in August I was lying on the beach of Koh Samui, Thailand and in the evening I ate rolled ice cream at the night market, which was freshly prepared in front of my eyes. With exactly the ingredients I had chosen: yogurt, mango and passion fruit.

Here in Berlin I can get that Thailand feeling back. And that at Delabuu in Friedrichshain. Exactly the same thing happens there. The idea to sell the ice cream rolls in Germany came to the founder from his vacation in Thailand, as he reveals in an interview with Mit Vergnugen.

Delabuu Berlin Friedrichshain

Breakfast like in Australia

Breakfast like in my beloved Australia? Even that is no problem here in Berlin. Whether it's Le Bon in Kreuzberg, Wilke in Neukolln, ABC in Prenzlauer Berg, A Never Ending Lovestory in Charlottenburg or Father Carpenter in Mitte – fancy avo breads or bowls with poached eggs, shakshuka, truffle scrambled eggs on sourdough bread or fluffy pancakes and banana bread – all my Aussie favorites are standard in so many cafes here. I love it!

Berlin – the city of endless possibilities

It's probably also these endless possibilities why I feel so comfortable in Berlin. I have finally arrived here. I don't feel so restless anymore.

This fear of getting stuck and not having explored all the possibilities – in Berlin I don't have this fear anymore. Because this city and all its surroundings offer me so much. Not only in terms of the selection of restaurants and cafes. Also the proximity to the sea, to great destinations like the Saxon Switzerland and of course the proximity to my family.

"Driving Hungry" – soulmate Layne Mosler

"Meanwhile, my friends (…) were buying real estate and planning their weddings, earning law degrees (…) and master's degrees (…). Everybody's serious but me, I thought. But I believed choosing one path meant eliminating too many others. I didn't want to "make a living."I wanted to live everything. Taste everything, go everywhere I could. I wanted passion, and an all-consuming occupation – and I wanted it to involve food."

Layne Mosler in "Driving Hungry"

These lines by Layne Mosler from her fantastic book "Driving Hungry" speak from my soul. When I read this, all I could think was: that's exactly me. These are my thoughts. I understand them 1000% .

Layne is also so curious about everything our world has to offer. She is incredibly passionate about good food. And she loves Berlin. This woman is practically my soul mate. I can really recommend her book "Driving Hungry" very (very!) recommend. By the way, I found it in one of my favorite stores: Fine Bagels, respectively. Books & Bagels in Friedrichshain. The coffee tastes great, the chocolate babka delicious, as well as the huge cookies and if you buy books, you get a free coffee when you reach a certain value (I think it's 15 euros).

Vegan lifestyle

Here in Berlin it is also made very easy to give up animal foods. Vegan cafes, restaurants and supermarkets are plentiful.

Unfortunately, I often see that vegan food or people who are vegan cause eye rolls or incomprehension from others. Statements like "vegan ice cream I don't want" or "vegan food is not real food" etc. I hear far too often.

Here in Berlin it is quite normal to have vegan options in most cafes and restaurants. There is even a pretty large selection of vegan restaurants. Vegan means not only tofu or "meat substitute. A vegan lifestyle is (for most) about so much more.

Namely also about environmental protection, animal welfare and a healthy lifestyle. If you take a look at the recipes of Elsa's Wholesome Life, you will quickly realize how diverse and wonderful the vegan cuisine is. I love that Berlin is so much more open to other ways of life.

Live and let live

I could go on now about so many more reasons why Berlin is just a great city for me (the sidewalks, the cultural offerings, the lakes, the clubs I miss so much and the fact that I haven't even had to listen to the following here: "How you're over 30, unmarried, don't have any kids yet and no house. ". Here in Berlin this has never been an issue).

I would like to conclude this post with a video that I recorded in 2019 at the Carnival of Cultures. The moment I danced with all the people and celebrated the musicians, I fell in love with Berlin again. In this city people just dance when they like the music. Bankers together with hippies and families. No one cares what you wear or what you look like. Berlin is cosmopolitan. Live and let live is the motto here. Isn't it just wonderful?