Exploring Berlin: East Berlin

Hey friends,

Berlin was amazeballs and the four days we spent there were pretty good to explore the city, soak up the culture and enjoy the few days off. In this post Exploring Berlin: East Berlin we will explore Prenzlauer Berg, Friedrichshain and Mitte neighbourhoods and will share some nice places to eat, drink coffee, shop and visit while in Berlin.

 

We stayed mostly in East Berlin during our trip since our hostel was located in the heart of Mitte – Generator Hostel Berlin Mitte. It’s pretty cool, quite big and definitely a central location where everything is just around the corner! The reason why we decided to stay in a hostel? Cause we haven’t stayed in one in ages and this one seemed pretty nice!

 

Coffee Shops in East Berlin

We looooooove coffee (is that even newsworthy?) and love stopping in a nice coffee shop, seat down and enjoy the free WiFi free time so here are some our favourite coffee shops in East Berlin.

The Barn Coffee Roasters

 

RöststÀtte Berlin

 

Father Carpenter Coffee Brewers

 

KaffeeMitteKaffeeMitte Berlin

Shops and Bookshops in East Berlin

We didn’t spend much time shopping as there are far better things to do when visting a new city however we are suckers for books, magazines, everything stationery and pretty shops that have all of the above (plus coffee). We popped for some coffee at the The Store at Soho House – such a beautiful concept store with pretty decor, awesome-but-can’t-afford nice clothes and plenty of books and magazines.

 

Other nice places where – Soda Books, as the name suggests, to buy books and magazines with a selection to die for and Granit a homestore full of nice things and since we love buying kitchen goods we had to control ourselves (we couldn’t fit all in our luggage even if we wanted!).

Soda Books

 

Granit

 

Places to Eat in East Berlin

We never make big plans about on where to eat since we like to explore a city and discover new places along the way. So, we stumbled across a few nice places that caught our attention. The first one was BĂ€ckerei und Konditorei W Balzer – a pretty and very much like the old Portuguese bakeries so we decided to go and try some one of their baked goods. That ‘palmier’ was pretty delicious (yeah!, we came for more the very next day!).

 

The second time was Bun Bao – a nice Vietnamese restaurant in Prenzlauer Berg where we sat outdoors on a sunny Sunday and had an A-M-A-Z-I-N-G vegetarian bao <3. After that we went all for vegan ice cream at Tribeca Ice Cream and our choice of flavours were hazelnut (always hazelnut, always!) and blue coconut. We don’t even know why it’s called blue coconut but was one of the best ice creams ever.

Bun Bao

 

Tribeca Ice Cream

 

We didn’t go on a night out so can’t talk much about it but we did go for a few drinks twice. The first time to Strandbar – which is by the river with such a beautiful view and the perfect place to end a Sunday. The second time was to a cafĂ©-bar in a corner near where we were staying just because it was open until late – Keyser Soze.

 

Places to Visit and Things to Do in East Berlin

There are millions things we could have done but we combined things we love to do with things to visit such as a Sunday in the park and playing a visit to the most remarkable monuments, otherwise it’s just simply boring.

Things do Do in East Berlin:

Watch the sunset by the river at James-Simon Park (facing Berliner Dom)

Exploring the (Flohmarkt ) Flea Market at Arkonaplatz

Relax in Mauerpark on a Sunday

 

 

Places to Visit in East Berlin:

Berlin Wall at GedenkstÀtte Berliner Mauer (our favourite and less touristy) and East Side Gallery;

Explore Alexanderplatz and Berliner Fernsehturm

Visit the Berliner Dom and Museum Island

 

We hope you are enjoying this Exploring Berlin: East Berlin and next week we will bring you part two – Exploring Berlin: West Berlin. If you want more tips and nice places to check while in Berlin visit We Blog You (only in portuguese, sorry #notsorry :D), Stil in Berlin and Monocle Guides.

See you guys next week,

Ta-ta!

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Cooking with.. Yotam Ottolenghi: Chocolate Birthday Cake

Hey kids!

Sorry for our absence but it was a pretty busy few weeks (in a good way). Berlin, Tiago’s Birthday, friends came over and a week later family came to visit but here we are to share with you the recipe for this Chocolate Birthday Cake. ‘Cooking with.. Yotam Ottolenghi: Chocolate Birthday Cake‘ is the first post of our series of ‘Cooking with..’ here on the blog, where we grab recipes from books we love, tried them and then ate them share them here with you!

Tiago loves cakes, loves chocolate, loves chocolate on cake, loves cake on chocolate and loves chocolate cake. Got it? Basically, anything that involves chocolate and cake so last year I (Nuno) promised that for 2018 I would bake him a proper chocolate cake (you can last year’s cake here).

Why this one from Ottolenghi‘s Sweet cookbook? First, it’s pretty easy (we like to keep things simple in the kitchen). Second, it’s said to be ‘World’s Best Chocolate Cake‘ (by Ottolenghi himself). Third, as soon as Tiago saw it on the book could not stop thinking about it. So there you have, 3 reason to bake this cake and a fourth one – IT IS THAT GOOD!

chocolate-birthday-cakeChocolate Birthday Cake

1 cake

There are two small changes to this recipe: first, the cooking chocolate is 85% cocoa instead of 70% (at Tiago’s request) and second, we didn’t add the 2 tsp. vanilla extract as in the original recipe. Then after baking the cake we decided to top the chocolate with our favourite combination – greek yoghurt and mascarpone with fresh berries!

ingredients (for the cake):

  • 250 g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 2 cm cubes, plus extra for greasing
  • 200 g dark cooking chocolate (85% cocoa), chopped into pieces
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp. instant coffee granules, dissolved into 350 ml boiling water
  • 250 g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 240 g self-raising sifted flour
  • 30 g cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat the over to 175ÂșC. Grease two 20 cm round cake tins and line with baking paper, then set aside.
Place the butter, chocolate and hot coffee in a large heatproof bowl and mix well until everything is melted, combined and smooth. Involve the sugar by hand until dissolved in the mixture. Add the eggs and whisk again until the mixture is smooth. On the side mix the flour, the cocoa powder and salt and then whisk into the chocolate mix.
Pour the mixture into the two prepared cake tins and bake in the over for about 50-60 minutes or until a skewer is inserted and comes out clean.

Notes on baking this cake:

  • you don’t require a hand mixer for this cake;
  • the batter is liquid – don’t freak out!;
  • the top will crack a little but it’s supposed to.

ingredients (for the topping):

250 g mascarpone cheese
250 g natural greek yoghurt
1 tsp. powdered sugar
400 g fresh berries – raspberries, blueberries and strawberries

Mix the mascarpone cheese, greek yoghurt and powdered sugar in a bowl and beat it until well involved and creamy, for about 2 minutes.

assembling the cake:

The cake layers must be around 3 cm tall. They don’t need to be perfect, but relatively uniform.
Place the first cake layer on a cake stand, spread half of the mascarpone and yoghurt mixture in an uniform and flat way and place some berries to cover the surface. Place the second cake layer on top, spread the rest of the mascarpone mixture and on top add the remaining berries.
Place in the fridge until serving time.

Enjoy it (cause we certainly did  – at least with friends around there was plenty of us to eat it all!) and see you next week!

Ta-ta!
chocolate-birthday-cake