I spent about 2.5 days in Berlin, which was way too short to take everything, but long enough to get a sampling of the city. The day I arrived, I discovered I had left my apartment without a map, so of course I got lost and missed that evening’s much-anticipated opera performance of Der Rosenkavalier at the Staatsoper. The next day, I toured Museum Island, and had the chance to see the bust of Queen Nefertiti at the Neues Museum. Talk about beautiful. We’ve all seen images of the famous bust, but seeing it in real life was so exquisite! The fine wrinkles around her mouth and fine bone structure are just so stunning to see. The Pergamon Museum had several reassembled, imposing city gates. I also hung out in the Alte Nationalgalerie, where I was content to hang out amongst the German romantic paintings by the likes of Caspar David Freidrich (I could have spent all day just staring at his works!), Karl Friedrich Schinkel, and Carl Blechen. The paintings were so deliciously moody, a perfect way to spend a dreary Berlin December day.
Unfortunately, I got a bit sick that evening, so my second day was a little less exciting. I did have another flammekuche, though, and discovered this wonderful fashion designer named Lucrecia Lovera. She was a sweetheart. We chatted for probably an hour as she shared with me her story and vision. I’m so happy to say I walked away with a sweater that she made with her own two, talented hands.
Despite falling sick, I was determined to eat one awesome meal in the city. I headed over to a restaurant named Vino e Libri, in the Mitte district. There, I ordered a Sicilian dish, gnocchetti sardi allo zafferano con ragù di salsiccia , but it’s what I saw while eating it that really struck me. I was sitting across a cut wheel of Parmesan cheese. It was the lower part of the wheel, with the inside hollowed out. As I watched, amazed, a waiter brought a large bowl of pasta up to the wheel, sprinkled some alcohol into the wheel, lit it with a match, and began stirring slowly. When enough cheese had melted, he dumped his pasta into the cheese and began mixing the two. He plated two plates of pasta, broke out some black truffle, and shaved it onto the heaps of pasta. “I ordered the wrong dish, “ I thought, even though mine was delicious as well. So here’s my advice to those who are going to Berlin—if you go here, order the pasta with parmesan and black truffle. Just do it. For me. Then tell me how it was!