Das Foodie: Experience Berlin’s culinary renaissance

In a city where communism became kitsch and bunkers are converted to galleries, it’s fitting that Berliner cuisine would be full of throwbacks to old-world foodcraft. The epicenter may be Markthalle IX (Eisenbahnstraße 42/43), a large indoor market in the street art mecca of Kreuzberg. Built in 1891, the structure was taken over by commercial supermarkets after the fall of the Berlin Wall. But in 2011, enterprising foodies restored the space to its original purpose, welcoming back butchers, bakers, cheesemakers and vendors like Big Stuff Smoked BBQ.

You might think to skip the pulled pork while in Berlin, but Big Stuff co-owner Tobias Burger actually smokes his meat in the tradition of Czech and German immigrants who brought the techniques to America. Sauces are locally-made, and the buns on which he piles slices of dry-rubbed brisket are crafted from a 19th-century Scottish recipe. You’ll want a chunk of his 14-hour smoked pork belly on one of these, served “pure,” as Burger calls it, with just a sprinkle of crunchy salt.

Around the corner is Glut & Späne, named for the smoldering beechwood shavings over which Michael Wickert smokes his sustainably-chosen fish. After studying aquaculture and managing a trout farm in France, Wickert settled in Berlin and opened  G&S last October. With whole cured rainbow trout hanging behind him like jeweler’s display, he serves salmon fillets and gravlax draped over spelt bread with a shmear of horseradish cream.

Berlin’s Museum Island is bordered on the east by Mitte, a small, chic neighborhood studded with high-end boutiques. After visiting the Pergamon, stroll over to Lebensmittel in Mitte (Rochstraße 2), a small café/market serving tightly curated “lebensmittel,” or everyday provisions.

A standout (and a steal at under $4) is the homemade leberkase, a traditional Bavarian dish that’s hard to describe without invoking its literal translation, “liver cheese” (it contains neither). Probably named for its texture, it’s a ground mixture of pork and beef shaped into a loaf, baked, and served in slices on a crusty roll. You’ll never see people in Prada eat meatloaf with such abandon.

Where better to worship the past than a flea market, and on Sundays Berliners head to the Mauerpark (Bernauer Straße 63-64) to pick through broken Bavarian china and 80’s-era Doc Martens. Refreshments are vintage, too: In the beergarden, twentysomethings in tight pants slice strudel next to Turkish grandmothers hand-rolling dough for kebab wraps.

Flea marketing is a warm-weather sport, but in fall and winter you’ll find plenty of cups of glühwein (hot, mulled red wine) to keep your hands warm. Also appreciated is the stand serving rustic, bacon-laced vegetable stews and, in a nod to their neighbors, Turkish lentil soup. “WIR BENEUTZEN KEINE KUNSTLICH EN ZUZATZE” declares the sign at the register, written in ransom-note font. Translation: “We use no artificial additives.” Homemade is the new punk.

Where to stay:
Berlin offers plenty of small, affordable rooms for single or coupled travelers–some no wider than the beds they contain. At the cheaper end, in a quiet corner of Kreuzberg, is Die Fabrik (www.diefabrik.com), where single rooms start at $49.56. Bathrooms are communal but clean. Just east of the Spree river but incalculably hipper is The Michelberger (www.michelbergerhotel.com), where $91.30 will get you a “cosy” room a short walk from a preserved stretch of the Berlin Wall and the majestically minimalist architecture on Karl-Marx Allee.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Gunther from 'Friends' talks Central Perk

We spoke with Gunther (James Michael Tyler) at the preview for new pop-up Central Perk, based on the cafe in "Friends."

Local

Central Perk opens in SoHo

Central Perk, of "Friends" fame, is giving out free coffee in SoHo through Oct. 18.

National

Beer sponsor Anheuser-Busch reproaches NFL over domestic abuse

Anheuser-Busch chastised the NFL for its handling of domestic violence cases, making it the first major advertiser to put pressure on the league.

Local

Sen. Krueger dishes on prospect of legal marijuana…

New Yorkers may see the legalization of recreational marijuana use as early as 2015 if State Senator Liz Krueger (D) gets her way. The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act will…

Music

FREEMAN makes Freeman a free man from Ween

For nearly 30 years, Aaron Freeman was known endearingly to his listeners as Gene Ween. But with "FREEMAN," he makes it clear that he's gone somewhere else.

Television

'Outlander' recap: Season 1, Episode 6: 'The Garrison…

Whipping, punching, kicking and a marriage contract. "Outlander" is not for the faint of heart this week with "The Garrison Commander."

The Word

The Word: Hey girl, it's a girl for…

It's a girl for Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes, who reportedly welcomed a daughter last Friday, according to Us Weekly. The super-private couple managed to…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 16: 'New Girl,'…

Check out the season premiere of "New Girl," as Jess competes with Jessica Biel for a guy's attentions.

MLB

5 top contenders for NL Rookie of the…

The outing rekindled award talk for deGrom, who appears to hold the top spot for NL Rookie of the Year honors. Metro breaks down a few other contenders.

College

College football Top 25 poll (AP rankings)

College football Top 25 poll (AP rankings)

NFL

Tom Coughlin says Giants 'beat themselves' against Cardinals

Head coach Tom Coughlin, who had a day to cool off and reflect, still sounded like he had a gnawing feeling in his gut.

NFL

Marty Mornhinweg accepts blame for Jets timeout fiasco

Jets fans looking for a scapegoat for Sunday’s timeout fiasco found a willing party on Monday: Marty Mornhinweg.

Style

Rachel Zoe: New York Fashion Week Spring 15

Rachel Zoe goes 'Glam bohemia' for Spring.

Food

Where to find SweeTango apples

Introduced in 2009, SweeTango — a hybrid of Honeycrisp and Zestar — is a sweet apple with plenty of crunch.

Style

London Fashion Week recap

London Fashion week gets in on the action with politics, heritage and summertime living.

Food

Padma Lakshmi's recipe for green mango curry

Padma Lakshmi shares her recipe for green mango curry in UNICEF's new book, "UNICHEF."