Friday, July 24, 2009

Vegan Berlin - Teil 3

Cafe V's chickpea polenta, a delicious island in a sea of creamy curry sauce, neighbors an island of almond raisin spinach; the traveler will not be disappointed with these exotic delights -- both will be devoured by even the most relaxed of visitors within seconds, after which the sea itself can be blotted out with the use of the tender, piping hot bruschetta-in-the-center bread provided.

Seriously, this meal, enjoyed one sunny morning in Prussia's once-capital was one of the most wonderful I've had the pleasure of sampling. From my seat outside I could see Tanne B, the ice cream spot mentioned in the previous post, and a street over awaited Veni Vidi Vegi, an all-vegan grocery store. Cafe V serves fish despite calling themselves vegetarian, which means they must've not been paying attention in Biology class when fish were grouped in Kingdom Animalia, but their vegan offerings prove they can stick to definitions quite marvellously in some respects -- their generous selection will delight any herbivore with a palate. (The staff is also very friendly: when I asked the server about a vegetable I didn't recognize, he brought me a slice of it to sample.)

Lausitzer Platz 12
Berlin 10997
+49 30 612 45 05

Maja's Deli is an adorable little all-vegan spot in Prenzlauer Berg, actually a few streets away from Hans Wurst (from the previous post). They offer two different warm dishes every day with your choice of grains and an optional salad, and a la carte sandwiches, salads, and wraps; but really it's all to showcase a magnificent, ever-renewing selection of desserts.

Chocolate truffles, brownies, cookies, muffins, tarts, and cakes are on constant rotation. The first time I came for lunch, three different hot'n fresh delectables were brought out all before I could finish my meal (and I eat fast). So I sampled a lot. Then a week later I returned, and sampled some more. I still only tried a tiny portion of what they had on display; but not to fret -- I'll be back.

The two hot-dish options are generally one white-creamy and one tomato-y, I went for the white-creamy both times; you get a choice of grains, too, rice or barley -- bring on the barley! Both of these went above and beyond expectations. It's simple fare, but I would be perfectly content eating this every lunch for the rest of my life.

The rhubarb muffins were brought out moist and hot, so I had to try them (I've a certain soft spot for rhubarb, I used to eat it raw out of a friend's garden as a child; sometimes her grandmother made a sweet soup out of it too). There may've been cinnamon involved and some fruit. They were good, not mindblowing, though. The bits of rhubarb inside helped. Here, have an unnecessary picture of its innards:

Then there were these huge cookies, bigger than my face, and I had to try them. This is some sort of sugar-nut something. (+) huge; (-) rather dry. I've made infinitely moister, more flavorful cookies and I've only ever made three batches in my life (so far; just you wait, though! I think I'll model some cookies on here soon). Dryness and muted flavor were kind of an issue with the muffin, too. Next time I'll stick to the cakes.

Blueberry cheesecake and mandarin chocolate crumble creme tart. The mandarin cake was much better than the muffin and cookie, not anywhere near as good as the blueberry, though. That thing was everything a blueberry cheesecake should be. Soft and creamy, the sauce just the right amount of sweet with a playful note of tart.

So if you're in the neighborhood, sit down on a cute blue barstool with a bowl of creamy-vegetables-and-barley and a slice of blueberry cheesecake. It'll make your day.

Pappelallee 11
10437 Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin, Germany
+49 30 48494851

Next post finishes off Berlin with a display of the hauls at Veni Vidi Vegi and more desserts from around the capital, then after a quick detour through a few more German towns, across the channel to England we go! If you thought Berlin was filled with vegan goods, your mind is about to be boggled.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Vegan Berlin - Teil 2

Good morning! (Pretend it's morning.) Care for some brunch? We find ourselves in the trendy Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood where cute shops and cafes abound; quiet cobbled streets from a bygone era, spared during the war, lead you past stately white facades and towards dainty, quiet parks. Or towards delicious vegan eats! Hans Wurst (no wurst!) is an all-vegan cafe-restaurant-club, depending on the time of day; sometimes there's music. It's small and cozy, the weekend brunch is delicious, and there are always a number of cakes on hand.

If you get there at the right time, one will just be coming out of the oven -- is that strawberry poppy I spy? Such a heavenly combination must be sampled!

It's so cute and cozy that you'll want to come back for dinner -- oh, and you won't regret it. Look around yourself, look outside, pick out something from the changing, in-season menu.

How about a little broccoli soup? Or a lot. It's deliciously creamy and if you've got any affinity for the taste of broccoli, you'll be in floret-heaven. Just the right level of viscosity, you couldn't ask for a better soup to dip some hearty dark German bread into. Or spoon daintily like a lady, the choice is yours!

What shall we have now? Seitan Steak, hmmm. Why not? The guy sitting at the tables outside just got one and it looks divine. And then, it comes...

Where has this been all my life? This was without a doubt the juiciest, most melt-in-your-mouth, just-the-right-amount-of-succulence, full-flavored piece of edible I've ever had the pleasure of chewing. A shame I can't feed this to everyone alive. It would shut off the death-trade within moments.

So go here, go here often. If you want brunch, hit up their scrumptious buffet. If you want dessert, stop by whenever. If you've a hankering for a decatent dinner that won't burn holes in your wallet, come by after six. If you want booze, stagger on over in the evenings. Sometimes they have gigs, Hans Wurst also has a foot in the Berlin music scene. Really, come by even if you just want some cute buttons or little handmade trinkets, they've got that, too.

And if you long for a steak that wasn't once part of a living, feeling fellow earthling, buy yourself a plane ticket right now.

There's nothing I would change about Hans Wurst. Except maybe bending time and space so I could eat there whenever I wanted.

Dunckerstrasse 2a
10437 Berlin, Germany
+49 30 41717822

The rest of Berlin in some other post, Hans Wurst deserves its very own.