I lived in Berlin for a year as an exchange student. Long ago. The wall was gone but Berlin was still finding itself and rebuilding. The whole city was under construction. Potsdamer Platz had the most cranes of any site in Europe.
Fast forward to my 2009 birthday weekend and a four day jaunt to the city where I first began to understand wine, had (almost) unlimited freedom and was exposed to more theater, museums and art than a girl from Red Deer would have ever thought possible. There is nothing like being 16 and in a foreign city to make you grow up.
So C & I went back to this (for me) mythical place. We had Italian with friends of a friend (Thanks T&K!), who then took us to Ron Telesky Canadian Pizza. Sadly the restaurant was closed and we weren't able to sample the Gourmet Canadian pizza with chili maple syrup. Just one more reason to go back, I guess!
Ate Turkish pizzas in Spandau (just like I remembered - the pizzas,not Spandau, that has changed SO much.) Had beers in the Brauhaus, just like the old days.
And then. Then we went for my birthday dinner. And oh what a dinner it was!
Pasta Divina. A tiny restaurant with maybe ten tables. The (rather good looking) chef in an open kitchen.
We knew we wanted a bottle of wine. There's no wine list. You tell the lady what you're going to order and she ponders the wall of bottles, picks one and yells at the chef who gives his opinion. We ended up drinking a Spatburgunder - a German pinot noir. It was surprising and lovely and delicious.
Reading the menu was a bit of a challenge. Though I got a compliment on my Germen (woot - still got it!) I wasn't entirely sure just what Gansekase (goose cheese?) or Rehrucker were but we ordered them anyway. (I think it was David Lebovitz who wrote that every time he ended up with something unexpected on his plate he considered it a language lesson.)
First plate: Artichokes in a gentle vinaigrette. Goose cheese, it turns out, is pate. And this goose cheese is a revelation of richness. Absolutely divine. Possibly the best pate I've ever had. Definitely the best goosecheese ever. ;)
Main: Feta and sundried tomato ravioli. Simple but simply decadent. C had roasted venison with shallots and a chestnut puree. It was the special. We weren't sure what it was going to be. I didn't know half the words.
Dessert: A warm brownie with mango chili sauce. (my mouth is watering as I write and I'm suddenly peckish.)
Dinner was an event. It was perfect for my birthday, perfect for me and perfect for a weekend in Berlin.