08 April 2017

Eating My Way Through Berlin

Almost a year over due, I want to share with you the food adventures I found myself in while on a five week study abroad trip. If really don't care about foodie posts - and I won't blame you if you don't - please check out my travel posts about the friends I met in Germany and the places I visited in lolita.

One interesting thing I noticed is that there is very little traditional German food in Berlin. Oh, there are tons of Italian, American, Indian, and Berliner (think doener kebabs and curry wurst) places to eat. But I was actually pretty bummed to not be able to eat my favorite type of foods. I am German and grew up with a few German dishes that I sorely missed on my trip.

Also pretty sad about Berlin, we could not find good Mexican food. Not surprising, but as a Californians we had a hankering for authentic tacos. Bummer.

This is going to be a lengthy post. I hope you stick through to the end, and if you do... I bet you'll be hungry!

During Class

Clearly I didn't photograph every single meal I ate on this trip. That would be ridiculous... But I did take pictures of interesting dishes or foods that have memories attached to them.

Now on to the food...

My very first taste of European food since I was 15 years old was a latte at the Dublin airport during my layover. Don't hate; I'm basic whatever.

I gotta say though, I love the sizes of Starbucks on the other side of the pond. Usually an Amerian grande is too small and a venti is a bit too big. I ordered a venti in both Dublin and Berlin, and it was like Goldilocks - perfectly in the middle!

What's funny is how they spelled my name. It is almost a game for me to find new ways Starbucks baristas try to spell "Ashlyn." Usually I get an Ashley, sometimes and Ashely. At Dineyland last year I sent me mom a hilarious one where it devolved into Ash~~~ like they gave up and let the pen sink to the bottom of the cup in sadness.

Burgers in Berlin are pretty much the same as here in America. We went to this "wild west" styled restaurant plenty of times, and I wish I could remember the brand of carbonated, raspberry flavored beer. 

The pizza was alright, definitely Italian style and not my preference. The reason for this photo was because the restaurant was visited so much by my classmates because they had super cheap food. Everything on the menu was only 4 euro. During my add-on week by myself, I found a hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese place that sold really delicious coconut curry chicken and rice box for only 1,60 euro! 

This third picture was taken because I had never had yellow watermelon before! (If you haven't either, it tastes exactly the same)

Along with all the posh mummies with their perfectly-behaved children in tow, a few of us found a good ice cream place on the way to our hotel one blistering afternoon.

I got burbon vanilla and strawberry basil. While the vanilla was nothing spectacular (it is vanilla after all...) the strawberry basil is by far the best I've ever had, and I wish somewhere near me sold it!

This parfait was a lot bigger than it looks. I wanted to go to the Mall of Berlin to try and find a Steiff bear for my mom, and a classmate split this gargantuan with me. I think it was mango sorbet with strawberry liquor and many different kinds of fruit chunks.

Aha! I found German food! We happened to eat this dinner (bacon potatoes, meatball, and rotkohl) during a big Eurocup game where Italy won. I know this because loud, obxiously patriotic cars and fans passed the restaurant by with flags and horns and cheering. When football plays, all the restaurants in Berlin haul TVs outside for customers and passersby to watch the game. I think there was maybe three of such scenes on every block near our hotel.

This next meal is something I wish I could recreate, but I don't remember the sauce. Chicken strips and some kind of chilled fruit sauce served in a bell pepper. It was really good, and our waiter was from the US as well! Me and a classmate who also spoke German tried blending in, but we couldn't resist connecting with him when we found out he was from where we were.

Ok, you're probably asking me why I have a picture of a bottle of beer. Weird, I know. But I'm not a beer person in the least, and this was amazing. I wish they imported them to the US, but they don't. I've looked. The closest I can find to the same taste is original Kona Longboard. If you know of a way to get me this local brew, please let me know.

Something a little bit more appealing to the lolita aesthetic are these cute little pastries I found at a Laudree look-alike in the Mall of Berlin. I have no recollection what the white, fluffy one is anymore, but the apple one was actually apple. Super cute.

Last but not least, the adventure part! Before leaving for my trip, I found a little cafe on Yelp that I wanted to try to find. I did find Father Carpenter and was not disappointed. That's it there, in this picturesque courtyard. One thing I like about Berlin is that menus often had allergy information listed for each dish. This really helped my friend Kathleen and her husband who have a lot they can't eat.

Friends and Fine Food

While I was in Berlin, I had the great opportunity to meet some lovely local lolitas. We met up twice, and the first time we had a lovely little lunch at an amazing chocolate cafe on top of a famous Chocolate shop. For photos of what I ate that afternoon, take a look at my blog post about it.

When Kathleen, my long time internet friend from Belgium, arrived in Berlin a few days earlier than she originally planned in order to attend Urban Fairytale, we went to that same chocolate cafe again. I got the cocoa-infused goulash that I was eyeing the first time I went, and it was delicious! 

When we went to the ladies' room after our meal, Kathleen's husband secretly paid for the whole lunch. I was immensely grateful and blown away by his kindness. He is such a sweety (if you're reading this Kathleen, I hope you appreciate him every day) and was so nice the entire time the three of us adventured around the city. He even offered to adjust a brass ring I bought at an outdoor market and ship it back to me!

Kathleen and Alexander have food allergies, so they eat pretty-much vegan food. She had already curated a little list of places she wanted to visit to eat in the city, so I got to see how the vegan restaurant scene is in Berlin!

The first place we went was a vegan Vietnamese place, that was incredibly creative. The food was fresh and delicious. Even the warm food was refreshing in the humidity.

I took several photos of their menu and recreated the seitan salad with my vegetarian mother back home. It was also the first time either of them had tried sweet sticky rice, a favorite "healthy" dessert of mine!

The second and last vegan restaurant I joined them at was a cute cafe with pink walls and radical feminist decorations everywhere. I also bought a trans-supportive patch from a local artist there, but I needed to save the last of my trip money.

I ordered a vegan latte, but the flavor escapes my memory. I remember it being very good! I also had a watermelon flavored pastry, and the actual cake inside was bright green. Lastly, I ordered a fake ham and egg omelet pizza thing. I don't have a flattering photo of it because it isn't a super pretty dish, but it was flat crust with a thin layer of food on top. I don't think I was able to eat all square-foot of it.

This concludes my food adventures in Berlin. I hope you enjoyed looking through these photos that I've had stored on my memory card and my phone for the past year!

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  1. I'm from Germany and I expected tons of pictures of typical german food. But actually what you showed is typical german in the sense of that when we go out eating, we eat italian, asian, american etc.
    I would help you getting the beer, but I don't think it is possible to securely pack glass bottles D:

    1. As someone who actually loves and grew up with traditional German food, I was both disappointed but also not surprised xD

      I agree it probably wouldn't be a good idea, but I really appreciate the thought!

  2. This brings back so much memories of the adventures we had in Berlin. Hope we will see each other again one day! So we can have more adventures together <3
    It was so nice to spend some time with you and Alexander is super sweet and kind indeed. I'm so grateful to have him by my side each day.

  3. As a German myself, I can say that "Ashlyn" is a very uncommon name and therefore nobody can spell it correctly... ;)

    I would be interested to know your favorite type of German foods ^_^ You mentionned that you did not find these dishes in Berlin. From my experience, dishes are often very regional or a dish is available everywhere, but the receipies differ (e.g. for potato salad).