“Ich bin ein Berliner”, the famous words Kennedy spoke as a show of support. A sentence that was, and still is, breathing a mentality, not necessarily a place. Love and respect for a city that exhales it’s history, supports art and it’s makers and is heaven for nocturnal animals called people-who- like-to-party; Berlin.
One of my many homes, whether for business or leisure, as a photographer or -a model, for peace and quiet or a weekend out, this place offers me something new each and every time I run into its arms. From secret islands and underground clubs to its chilled water side cafes and fine dining restaurants. Especially, on my birthday…
#1 Hotel Das Stue
Luxury cars out front, the smell of spring leafs blowing through the street. Big glass doors inviting us into a foyer with massive staircases on each side and a carving in the shape of a crocodile, organically leading us to the front desk. A pleasure upon the first foot set inside. “I can inform you, we were able to upgrade you Miss Mous”, were the words the incredibly attentive staff member spoke. YES!! Music to my ears! It was after all my birthday at midnight… My friend Roel and I, who had decided to make this a double celebration weekend with our closest friends, despite the fact I had to work, were beyond excited to go upstairs, dance in the suite we were generously given and sauna away before dinner in their restaurant. We weren’t leaving this place, that much we knew. Many great cocktails to drink and laps to swim before Friday would knock on our door.
First, a drink in the garden, in a sizzling 24 degrees Celsius accompanied by a cool breeze, with a view over the park. A Dirty Martini and a Tom Collins on their way to stay classic and a pack of Marlboro lights, freshly delivered by the waiter, hugged by a black sleeve branded by the hotel. Many places in Germany put these on or have them at the machine. Smart move, as no one really wants to look at the ‘what ifs’ of smoking, feeding one fear by their own behavior. Especially when you only really light one in good company with a beautiful drink and have something to celebrate.
Then; the restaurant. A simple, but chic looking one that had us drooling over steak in a berry sauce and red wine before we made our way back up with a cheese platter for the room. Needless to say, the Waltz we could have danced in this space got bumped for a bath and a digestive while listening to Madonna through the speaker system before my eyes had to claim their much needed rest in anticipation of the full on one-woman-show set day that was about to run away with my thirty-first birthday. Though I can now say; I couldn’t have asked for a better one…
#2 Tim Raue
Michelin stars are not something you go and pick up by the dozen like a box of eggs. They are hard to come by and more often than not well deserved. Having one, gets people from all over the world in, to see for themselves how much of a culinary feat the chef and his/her apprentices have to offer. Any fan of the show Chef’s Table would be interested in going to Tim Raue’s restaurant, named after himself since it has two. Pointless to pretend I don’t live for food the way a dog lives for licking your hand though you told it six times to stop. So, I needed a reservation here and what do you know? Roel, who is a chef himself had beat me to it and reserved a month in advance; just in time to be seated at a table for two a shocking four weeks later, so it proved.
Now, I’m more of a visual person than I’d sometimes like to admit. I go by the looks of something very easily. I blame it on the industry I have been in for the past decade and a half,
which consists of imagery, celebrating selected forms of beauty. Though maybe it’s just human, to be focused on one of your senses more than one of the others. Whatever the case may be; if a place doesn’t visually invite me, it’s hard to persuade me to go in and if I do, the presentation better be good. Trading the hesitating of even daring to ruin it because it looks so pretty, for my taste-buds’ curiosity. In occasion of leaving the visual aspect of food out, I go to a street vendor, not to a much discussed and massively celebrated restaurant.
This, was my one challenge for Tim Raue; satisfy my eyes as much as my stomach. I mean, not that he would care much about what I think, but you might… So without further adieu, I will simply paint you a picture in digital penmanship.
The salmon sashimi with cumquat and carrot, followed by scallop-bamboo-mushroom dim sum in chicken broth and the Riesling we were drinking (that is specially developed for the restaurant and comes in an extra large bottle), could have been surrounded by a more beautiful restaurant design in my opinion, but were absolutely stunning dishes and didn’t taste any less than delicious. I just had to see if this place was able to top those by something extraordinary that would make me forget all about the walls I was surrounded by, so the question was; were they able to offer something I never eat, but couldn’t resist in a rare case of an exception? Uhm… yes, guilty… The forbidden fruit (this time) came in the form of Peking duck. It was to die for. I can certainly say the food had me talking about what I ate for a few days and was all presented in a way I just knew was going to compliment any form of cutlery. And don’t worry, we paid the bill. You’re welcome…
#3 Be Edgy
When I hear Berlin, I immediately, without fail, think of a few things; my friends who live there, the wall that used to separate the West from the East, the Holocaust Memorial, a nightclub which’ name I’d rather not disclose (we all know)), schnitzel at Borchardt, the biggest bed in Europe at the Soho House and last but not least; Be Edgy, a brand based in this heartbreaker of a place. When I met its owner Robin for the first time, I felt like I had known him for years and felt I would for many to come. Some beers, shenanigans, industry talks and laughs later, we decided to collaborate on something fun. Adding yet another ‘thing I do’ to the list, I started customizing some jackets for friends. A very welcome addition to this Jack of all trades and needless to say I now only wear customized jackets and have quite a collection of paint and other art supplies in my already too small apartment. But man do I enjoy it!