Best lunch places near the HERE Berlin office

One of the most important daily decisions I make is where to eat lunch. If you’re new to HERE Berlin, you might want to check out these lunch places. They will get you started for your first few weeks. After the second week you’ll drop a few of these and add a few others to your lunch rotation.

Bis Yarok, a Syrian restaurant. Order the “Mix teller” (number 30) or the vegetarian version (number 18). Add Bis Yarok to your Collection.
Syrian-mix-teller

Cô Chu, the Vietnamese restaurant across the street from the office. Go early and don’t have too many friends with you. Add Cô Chu to your Collection.

Next to the “Syrian place” is Toca Rouge, a small Asian fusion place. Funny plate names make for funky food. We used to go there once a week but finally after 1½ we got bored. Add Toca Rouge to your Collection.

Alpenstück Bäckerei has a different menu everyday with classics that are always available. I have heard the restaurant described as “traditional Austrian”. They serve a few pieces of their breads as appetizers so you know what to buy on your way out.

alpenstueck-baceckerei_cafe-plaetze-800x530
Image credit: Alpenstück Bäckerei

Sushi 14 at the corner is not the best sushi you’ll ever taste but a buffet plate of rice, fish, wasabi and ginger for €6 is a fair deal. Add Sushi 14 to your Collection.

Tin Tan Mexican street food if you are into that sort of thing. Odds are in your favor. Vegetables, meat and spicy condiments is all I need for lunch. Add Tin Tan to your Collection.

tintan-here-com

There are many other places a few minutes further such as Tommi’s Burger Joint and Papa Pane di Sorrento. I know I must have missed something so check out the comments below for recommendations from others.

Döner – the fast food that defines Berlin

In Berlin, only American tourists go to McDonald’s. That is if they can find one. The fast food scene of Berlin is dominated by one item: Kebab. No other food says “Berlin” like kebab. Yes, there is much more to Berlin food-scene but nothing defines it like the spinning meat. Currywurst might be unique to Berlin but it does not come close to the popularity of the döner.

cutting-kebab

The most famous Döner stand in Berlin is by far Mustafa’s on Mehringdamm, in Kreuzberg. However, I would never trade my delicious neighborhood K’UPS Gemüsekebab on Kastanienallee for a piece of Mustafa’s. And I believe, many Berliners feel the same way about their local places. Mustafa’s is more of a tourist attraction than it is a fresh, tasty döner.

Without Döner there is no Berlin.

My personal favorite is kebab in dürüm, a Turkish wrap. Chicken, spicy and garlic sauces, fried vegetables, all the salads and cheese. The drink? Fritz-kola from Hamburg with extra caffeine.

kebab-inside-kola

Tips for tastier kebab

Make sure that you go for “Gemüsekebab” ensuring you will get a few pieces of fried potatoes and paprika with the fresh vegetables and salad. You will thank me later!

gemuese-kebab-outside

Never go “all sauces”. If your kebab doesn’t taste good enough with one or two sauces, you were in the wrong place to begin with.

kebab-sauce-salad

Is kebab an integral part of your Berlin experience? Leave your tips of best kebab places below for those of us who have not yet tasted the fast food of Berlin.

Lake Michigan from east and west

The Canadian Bacon is a 3-week road trip in April – May 2015 around the Great Lakes starting and ending in Chicago.

While our stop in Chicago could be characterized as a short man staring up at high steel and glass structures, the time in western Michigan was radically different. That’s the perfect start for a 3 week tour of the flyover country of USA.

Food-wise we took a trip from deep dish pizza, that we ate twice in 24 hours, and massive eggs Benedict at Lou Mitchell’s in Chicago to the breakfast of champions home-made banana bread French toasts, muffuletta and quesadillas in west Michigan.  Best food out of all those? The homemade Muffuletta that was new to me is a better version of any subway sandwich with plenty of olives and deli meat.

I was underwhelmed by the deep dish pizza and have to say it doesn’t make the the top of my pizza crust list. Yes it’s like a pie crust but I was left the feeling that I would have enjoyed the special tomato sauce and sausages more from a lower dish crust.

Scenery-wise: I’ve seen Burj Khalifa in Dubai, currently the worlds tallest building but the density of sky reaching buildings in Chicago is what made it stunning. We decided to walk among the tall ones and visit the navy pier with the 8 hours we had before getting our road trip started.

Discovering the rural communities of west Michigan doesn’t happen on feet. You need a four-wheeler just to get to the backyard and the backyard is big. There’s even a pond construction, perfect for shooting skeet or time trialing around on the ATV known here as the “quad”. I somehow managed to blow the tire but according to reports that has already been fixed and I am good to go when we stop by there on our way back to Chicago.  A few towns, over the wind was howling and the scenery was like a set from a modernized western just waiting for a six shooter duel. A cold Monday in April seemed to have scared off the tourists for who Grand Haven was evidently built for. Submitting into evidence: miles long sandy beach at the lake and stores that are open only in the summer.

One thing these two completely different worlds share is the love for Lake Michigan. A lake like a sea but no sharks or salt as the locals say.

Next part of the Canadian Bacon adventure will be about my love affair with Detroit.