I-ke-Su, Wilmersdorf

We’ve been trying new places all over Berlin and I-ke-Su, on Uhlandstraße in Wilmersdorf, is going to become a regular on our list of go-to restaurants.

I-ke-Su is a kai tan sushi restaurant, the kind of place where the rolls are pulled around the restaurant on a conveyer belt and you grab what you like. I-ke-Su takes the concept to a delightfully kitschy place by using a tiny stream with wooden boats.

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Sorry for the blur. Those boats were moving at a nice clip!

The best part, from a family perspective, is the decor. In addition to the boats, the entire bar area is surrounded by a salt-water aquarium. S was especially charmed by the itty-bitty starfish clinging to the glass directly in front of her. What’s more – we got her to try a bit of a cooked salmon roll even though there was sauce touching the fish!

A major victory on more than one count!

You can find I-ke-Su at Uhlandstr. 157  by taking the U9 or U3 to Spichernstr.

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Dokmai, Steglitz

We were in need of a change of culinary pace. More specifically, we needed a Thai restaurant. Now you may see in my archives that we have a neighborhood Thai place, but no more. Sadly, Sarod’s changed management and isn’t up to what it used to be.

And that’s why we had to go to Steglitz. I can’t tell you much else about Steglitz, since my experiences there are limited to walking from the S-Bahn to my new favorite Thai restaurant. I can’t take credit for the find, however, that was entirely Jon. It was his idea to look up the nearest Thai restaurant to the Thai embassy and voila! There’s was Dokmai.

The restaurant is small and the service is friendly. We’ve been twice and both times I ordered the basic – but telling! – Pad Thai. Its perfect; its tasty, and what’s more, it was exactly the same on both visits!

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This spicy, basil chicken was delicious, too. Can you see the peppercorns? So good.

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Don’t mind the schlep? Find Dokmai Muthesiusstraße 38 by taking the S1 or U9 to Rathaus Steglitz.

 

 

Cafe Spice, Cockeysville

We’re slowly building up our new repertoire of local restaurants. One of our first discoveries was Cafe Spice in Cockeysville.

Its one of the first places we’ve found that we really look forward to going back too.

Even S likes it. When she was a very little baby, she used to like dipping naan in the sauces until one day when she just decided no, I only eat very bland yellow food. Recently, she started to include pappadum on her list of S approved cuisine, so now I feel less guilty about taking her to Indian restaurants. Of course, mango lassis are still her absolute favorite.

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cupcakes, or Berlin takes another shot at American food

Last week I wrote about burritos, and something about that experience sent me running (well, taking the U7) into the arms of Cupcake Berlin.

Shoshana has only had one other cupcake in her whole two years of life. I absolutely had to fix that. We ordered a “Hot Chocolate” (chocolate with chocolate buttercreme) and a “Sweet Jane,” pictured below. I didn’t get a photo of the chocolate one, because my husband had already devoured it by the time I got the camera ready.

Now, I lived in New York during the Magnolia craze, so I feel like a bit of an expert. It was so exciting the first time my friends and I, in a nervous horde of freshman girls,  walked all the way down Bleecker Street. It was orientation week and what better way to orient ourselves to New York than cupcakes? It came second only to our obligatory visit to The Strand.

Back to the cupcake – it was good, very good. Denser than I expected, but I liked that the cake wasn’t over-the-top sweet like Magnolia’s.* My only criticism is of the frosting placement. I wish it covered the whole cake, which I know is easy enough to fix with a couple of schmooshes with a fork, but not so easy once your toddler has realized that there is cake within arm’s reach.

I loved taking Shoshana out for cupcakes and I’m pretty sure she loved it, too. We stopped by the playground, too, and it was just one of those perfect family days.

Cupcakes Berlin – Krossenerstr. 12 (Friedrichshain)

And if you are ever in NY, don’t go to Magnolia’s. Go to sugar Sweet sunshine on Rivington. 10,000 times better!

Berlin v. Burritos, round III

Dolores, beloved burrito shop of expats and adventurous Germans, is…a burrito shop in Berlin. What can I say? I can still remember the taste of Chipotle (Oh Chipotle!), but with each visit – we’re up to three now – and with the memories of real Californian/Mexican food fading, it looks like Dolores will have to do. At least until I get to Maria Bonita.

the contender

My first experience was awful, really awful, so awful I don’t really want to write about it except to say that I vowed never to come back. Then there was visit #2. My husband wore me down and it was just soooo convenient. That time the burrito was a little better, but I still wasn’t completely won over. So we agreed to try it a third time, for research of course, and now I have to say, the burritos at Dolores aren’t bad. High praise, indeed. 

In between the second and third visits, the restaurant seems to have gotten a facelift and maybe the changes extended to the kitchen, as well. I actually really enjoyed my lunch that day, which I can’t say about the previous visits. As to the kinderfreundlichkeit of the place? Natürlich!  A lot of the other patrons seem to be kids undergrads, so yes, come one come all, but maybe lower your expectations a little.

Dolores – Rosa-Luxembourg-Str. 7 (Mitte)

 

a stop at Marc Ann’s

When Jon was taking classes at the Humboldt, he used to stop in here before class for a schoko muffin and despite the fact that this is a french cafe with many wonderful french pastries and tarts, that schoko muffin remains a favorite.

And we’re not the only ones who think so. You better get to Marc Ann’s early if you want to get your hands on one. We missed out on our last visit, but even if we did get one, I doubt it would have lasted long enough to snap a picture. Do you see that little girl in the header? A  chocolate eating machine.

Other than the sweets, Marc Ann’s doesn’t offer much for our toddler. The menu mostly consists of sandwiches and crêpes – she won’t touch sandwiches or cheese – but its a really nice place to stop on your way to the Naturkunde Museum or maybe the Hamburger Bahnhof. There’s also a little corner in the back with some toys and a low table for the kinder.

Below you can see my usual, bagutte de thon (de-corned). The apple and brie baguette is also really good (how can it not be? Its covered in brie).  

Marc Ann’s – Invalidenstr. 122, corner of Chausseestr. (Mitte)

 

a very jewish christmas

I was seriously worried that the chinese restaurants of Berlin would be closed Christmas Day. Was there some kind of law against being open, like on Sundays? As a restaurant would it be exempt or would they want the day off? Maybe he should call. Would he call? Did he?

No. So it was on complete blind faith that we started towards Jannowitzbrücke on foot. Its a very long walk, but winter has been excessively mild here and the baby mercifully napped through it. She even napped through lunch, which was a shame, because it very good. I even ordered her favorite just in case she woke up.

Baby's favorite

Ming Dynastie has been a long-time favorite, but this was the first time we took the baby to the Jannowitzbrücke location. They were much, much busier than I expected on Christmas. In fact, they were totally booked. The manager found us a table though, provided we didn’t stay too long. I was a little miffed when he said that, but it didn’t effect the service at all. Our waiter didn’t seem angry at us; he didn’t even scowl – how odd for Berlin!

The other Ming is in the Europa Center right across from the Berlin Zoo making it the perfect spot for lunch after a long morning watching the seals swim back and forth, back and forth. The Europa Center restaurant isn’t as good as the main one (across from the Chinese Embassy! It better be good!), but the service is friendly there, as well,  and they never complain about our enormous stroller.

Visit Ming Dynastie for address and times.

dinner at sarod’s thai restaurant

We’ve been going out a lot during the day, trying to make the most out of our Jahreskarten PLUS (year passes to the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation’s museum or much more simply auf Deutsch – die Staatliche Museen zu Berlin). We’re only three more visits away from breaking even, but after going to the Bode Museum, Jewish Museum (not part of the Staatliche Museen), and then today the Pergamonmuseum – all within just a day or two of each other – I think we need a little break. Furthermore, I think this break should take the form of eating out more.

We had just spent the afternoon running around a museum with a toddler, which is possibly more exhausting than running around with toddlers in other locations, simply because one is surrounded by very interesting things without the ability to pause a moment to take them in or even take a cursory glance at the description. The mountain of dishes in the sink was just to much to even think about. We just wanted to sit down, maybe even quietly, and if there should be eating during this quiet sitting all the better.

This is just a very long way of saying we ate at Sarod’s Thai Restaurant tonight, and it was good.  Really good, not just good for Berlin good. Good for other places good. Anyone who has ever eaten in a restaurant in Berlin that serves anything other than German or (what my husband and I refer to as) Ger’talian, will understand what I mean. But I’m not trying to write a food blog. On top of the delicious and light meal we had, Sarod’s is also a pretty good place to take a kid and, lucky for me, I have one that loves Thai food.

We started her off with chicken satay, an obvious kid-favorite, but once she realized that it was on a stick (I had been pulling it off for her) and that it came with paint a sauce, it became more an object contemplation. She didn’t eat very much of it, but at least it kept her busy for a while. The real star was the phad thai. There almost wasn’t enough for the two of us.

phad thai gai

It gets better –  my husband ordered phad kee mao and it were real peppers in it! That you could taste! Its a Berlin miracle.

Sarod’s Thai

Friesenstr. 22, U7 Gneisenausstr.

Berlin-Kreuzberg

Lunch at Vapiano

Vapiano, my favorite lazy -I don’t want to cook, but I dont want to risk taking Shoshana to a restaurant-oy how will I entertain her through an entire meal-restaurant. It takes just as little effort as fast food place, but with much much better food made out of real food. Like Holyfields, you get a card when you walk in and then – similar to a student cafeteria – you order food at stations and then swipe your card to add to your balance. You pay before you leave at a cash register near the door.

I hear there are franchises in the US, too, but I’ve only ever been to a Vapianos in Germany. I think it might be a Germany company? Yes?

The pasta is the best and the lines show it. There’s also antipasti, but I’ve never seen anyone ordering it. Bt the reason it won my heart…

Super cute kinderpizza!

The customers seem to be a mix of business people looking for a quick lunch and families looking for a way to eat out without the glares that eating out normally brings with small children.

Vapianos has three locations in Berlin: Potsdamer Platz, Unter den Linden, and just off of Ku’damm.