Kein Bex, kein Latte, kein Bullshit und dann auch noch Selbstbedienung

The place: Berlin. The mission: experiencing new eateries.
  • I had quickly discussed top eats in Berlin last year, but an update is necessary. In the end, one has to eat, right?
  • Life is simple and easy logic applies: ITTT = If This Then That. If “great food” Then “happiness”. Everyone can code.
  • I briefly touch the subject of gentrification and share a fun clip illustrating this principle.

What’s better than meeting a friend again after many years? Meeting a friend again after many years and having burgers! Great burgers! It was a truly amazing summer day in Berlin and I was waiting for a Brazilian friend at Hermannplatz in Berlin.

Meeting a Brazilian friend in Berlin. The world is damn small. As a glomad (global nomad), I realize this every day. Everything and everyone gets connected and most dots on the map can be reached from another dot in about a day. It’s of course imperative that the adventurer continuous the hunt for the unexplored dots. Yes, indeed, the exploration should never stop.

 

Back to Berlin.

 

Roberto arrived. He looked tired. The always-happy-let’s-rock-the-world-and-life-is-a-beach spirit that he stood for when we first met on Ipanema beach in Brazil was completely gone.

I carefully asked, “Tudo bem?”

Roberto hesitated, but then replied, “Aah, nein, nicht so gut.” He shrugged his shoulders and said, “Some personal issues, you know, nothing special. Tudo bem com você?”

Looking at his bicycle, I tried “Yes, all good with me. Com’on mate, the weather is nice. Nice bicicleta by the way, pretty oldskool!”

The bicycle put a smile on Roberto’s face and he said, “Just found this one! You never actually own a bicycle in Berlin. You merely look after it for the next owner.”

“Sounds like a famous slogan for expensive Swiss watches,” I joked. “Let’s go for burgers, you will feel much better”, I concluded and we continued our multilingual conversation while walking through sunny Neukölln.

 

A short walk later, we arrived at BBI or Berlin Burger International, a hidden gem in Neukölln (Pannierstraße 5, 12047 Neukölln, Berlin) that offers a burgalicious bite!

 

We both ordered the El Gordonita, at 7.50 EUR the most expensive item on the menu. It’s always nice to pick the most expensive item on the menu. Inflation will kill our savings. That’s why we should spend it all on burgers! And what a great choice! El Gordonita features a juicy beef patty, guacamole, beautiful bacon, cheese, fried potato, tomato, salad and a variety of sauces. It’s big, but it comes alone. Therefore I recommend adding wedges for the ultimate burger experience (2 EUR). Burgers don’t like to be lonely.

 

To hell with therapy! It’s amazing what great burgers can do.

Roberto completely sheered up while devouring his Gordonita. One hour and a Club-Mate later, I understood the problem. Roberto had quit his job in Rio to marry this German girl. It sounded like the perfect love story (“She was lost in a favela and I saved her.”), but the story took a wrong turn.

“We were too young to be together, you know. She was still studying and then the kid came. We were not ready for parenthood, put simply. We thought we could combine things, but we both realized in Berlin that it was impossible. So she moved out, took the kid, and lives with her parents now.”

“What about the kid?”

“Oh man, one can mess up his life in many ways. Some get in trouble with gambling or alcohol, but a kid is really the next level. You can’t imagine. Anyway, I’m getting my life slowly back on tracks. And that’s a good thing.”

 

It was getting dark, the tables around us were empty, and the waitress had told us twice that they wanted to close and move the tables inside.

 

We walked a few blocks and on the Thielenbrücke we hugged and simultaneously said, “Das Beste, meu amigo!”

 

Roberto jumped on his fahrrad and headed home. Burgers make great friends. Friends make great burgers.

 

Berlin Burger International (findingberlin.com) Berlin Burger International 2 (findingberlin.com)

Pictures: findingberlin.com

 

My culinary crusade continued two days later. An attentive colleague offered me to explore the famous Babel Teller, a Lebanese dish served by Babel in Prenzlauer Berg (Kastanienallee 33, 10435 Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin). You are likely going to cue up, but it’s worth the effort. The Babel Teller is a large plate of Lebanese specialties including fresh falafel, haloumi, kofta, moutabel, and of course, hummus. At 10 EUR (including a drink) it’s a great steal. Don’t expect any haute cuisine, the restaurant is self-service and you sit on wooden benches outside where you can mingle with other hungry Berliners. Guten Appetit!

 

Babel (ota-berlin.de) Babel 2 (larsdideriksen.com)

Pictures (including featured image): larsdideriksen.com & ota-berlin.de
 

Talking about self-service, the title of this blog post is still not clarified. Kein Bex, kein Latte, kein Bullshit und dann auch noch Selbstbedienung – what does this mean?

This excellent video clip visualizes the gentrification problem that many Berliners face. What is gentrification? According to Wikipedia, “gentrification is a shift in an urban community toward wealthier residents and/or businesses and increasing property values.” Put simply, Berliners can expect a yearly letter of the landlord informing them that the rent goes up with at least 10%. And it only gets wurst. A certain bar, Freies Neukölln, tries to address this problem in the clip. Many great quotes, here’s one that stands out:

“Ich hätte gern ein Latte Macchiato.”
“Latte Macchiato haben wir leider nicht.”
“Warum Nicht?”

In sum, there are too many students and hipsters asking for a latte in Neukölln. Meanwhile, the bar has its own “alternative” Facebook page – who is the next one to order a latte?

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