Daily Archives: 14 September 2016

The Scene meets Pigalle

The magic formula to turn vegetarians back into meat-lovers has been found. No kidding. It goes like this: π + gal + le, and uhm… okay. We lied. It’s not actually a formula. It’s a restaurant – which is great for people like us who prefer meat over math.

Pigalle is the third and yet largest addition to the popular Filetstück restaurants (translates to “filet piece”). It’s located in a former brothel in Neukölln whose name they inherited and we’re glad they aren’t breaking tradition. The place still pleases the desire for meat – but with more taste. Do not be irritated by the painting on the wall depicting a man seperated into the parts relevant for butchers. We investigated a little and to our relief we found out the chef’s name is NOT Hannibal Lector.

For starters we enjoyed the distinctive Pigalle snack -  black pudding served with a vodka shot, to be had for as little as 5€. The meat stems from the same supplier that also supplies the court of the Queen of England, but pshhht… don’t tell anyone in Neukölln… some people here are still allergic to luxury. The main course really spoiled us: Dry-aged meat so tender the first bite completely erased our memory of vegetables for a minute. Apparently we weren’t the first ones: Filetstück’s story began as a little eatery in hipsterhood Prenzlauer Berg, where their meaty snacks created a cult among people who usually insist on not getting within a 5m radius of anything meaty. Now they’re regulars.

The restaurant’s inside feels very straight and honest, allowing the focus to be where it should be – on the food. You can get your steak either as a filet or entrecôte and honestly, they both were so juicy, we kept dreaming about it for a week. The sides aren’t bad at all, but after tasting the spectacular meat it feels like they’re a bit behind. All in all Pigalle is an absolute must-visit for anyone who enjoys quality meat in an authentic atmosphere off the usual main drag steakhouses in Mitte. We will be back!

Global Hotspot – L.A. Downtown

Has there ever been a city name more befitting than Los Angeles (“The Angels”)? Legend has it the city’s high-rises tickled the skies so the stars fell down from heaven and landed in Hollywood. In a big car. In front of their villas. Ready to party. As far as we are concerned, the trend-setting metropolis could very well be the flashiest places in the milky way.

L.A. is mainly known for its sand beaches, tanned movie stars, nonstop nightlife and more celebrities than anyone cares to count. But when you look beyond all the eye-candy, you’ll find vibrant multicultural neighbourhoods with very distinctive personalities. A mixture of the most fascinating areas can be found in Downtown L.A., where each neighbourhood has a unique style and the district’s soul is determined by a mix of cutting-edge and classic influences.

Known as one of Downtown’s most energetic districts, the Historic Core is what brought L.A. on the world’s map in the first place. From the Broadway Theatres to galleries and contemporary food destinations, the Historic Core offers an exciting insight into the city’s turbulent past.

Highlights

Downtown wasn’t on an insider’s coolness radar for a long time. It has undergone a revivification over the last two decades, growing well beyond the borders of the business center. It’s still a little rough around the edges, but the ongoing cultural renaissance is slowly turning it into a stronghold for culture, architecture, amazing sights and of course – parties. We’ve compiled a list of attractions that you wouldn’t want to miss.

1. Walt Disney Concert Hall – 274$ jewel with an open platform stage, gallery and roof garden

2. Music Center – Consists of the Ahmanson Theatre, Mark Taper forum, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and Walt Disney Concert Hall

3. Bradbury Building – Downtown’s oldest commercial building (Blade Runner’s final scene was shot here)

4. Grand Central Market – European-style food hall with great eateries

5. The Broad – LA’s newest contemporary art museum

6. Grand Park – 50k sqm park – great for people-watching

7. LA City Hall – A huge conrete tower ideal for enjoying the view over Downtown

8. Union Station - Beautiful rail station with marble tiles, wood beamed ceilings and Art Deco influences

 9. El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument – The oldest section of LA, where it was first established in 1781

10. Broadway Theaters – Movie screenings, musical performances and live theaters

Restaurants

While L.A. in general offers some of the best restaurants in the USA, it’s Downtown’s culinary scene that has seen a real boom over the last years. Finding more than a few great restaurants was quite a mission not too long ago, but now you’ll have a hard time ignoring the tasty odors filling the air on almost every corner. Acclaimed chefs have conquered Downtown to leave their mark in the history of one of America’s hippest culinary bastions. With so many great restaurants around, it can be hard to keep track. Read on for our personally compiled list of amazing treats.

Otium (top pick!) – contemporary restaurant that draws from the rich culinary heritage of Chef Timothy Hollingsworth. Otium boasts a vertical garden, wood-burning oves and the best food in Downtown!

Spring – French cuisine with stunning open kitchen and relaxed&sophisticated atmosphere

Cicada – Extraordinary fusion of Art Deco and contemporary design

71 above – Breathtaking oceans views and elevated American cuisine at 290m

Shibumid – Kappo-style service and cuisine like in Tokyo

eatwinsome – Great neighbourhood restaurant with typical LA cuisine and warm interior

Baldoria – Hybrid bar-restaurant with easily sharable plates and hearty cocktails

Baco Mercat – Low-key eatery where every snack is a revelation

Redbird – Modern American cuisine in a vast open space

The Palm – Renowned for prime beef, lobsters and its authentic Italian cuisine

Coffee shops

Some like to call the Art’s District “Coffee District”, and rightfully so. The surge of ambitious coffee-nerds-turned-business-men has caused a real boom for trendy&tasty coffee roasteries over the last years and rumour has it that without the coffee, Downtown’s renaissance would be a long time coming. Here are the 8 best coffee stops in town.

Verve coffee roasters (top pick) – Lovely espresso bar with automated pourover brewers, cold presses juices, seasonal specials and slick furniture

Coffee Colab – Serving Suits & Knifes roasted coffee

Urth Caffé – pioneers in health conscious coffee making

Poppy + Rose – classic American diner fare prepared with honest ingredients

Mendocino Farms – Passionate eatery with great comfort & friendly staff

Demitasse - Coffee geeks shop where every barista has his speciality

G&B Coffee - Award-winning, warm, unfussy location in Grand Central Market

Cliftons – The biggest public cafeteria in the world

Bars

All the roasteries and restaurants in the world are no use if you want to have a REALLY good time. Where life pulses, drinks aren’t far behind – and in Downtown, the life beat is constantly speeding up. In a town full of plastic surgery and sunshine, Downtown’s bars offer a refreshing mix of gourmet and edgy. From a beer with friends to cocktails with the stars – a Downtown night has lots to offer.

Perch (top pick) – Art Deco roof top bar with upscale casual vibe and French-inspired menu

Ace hotel roof top – Sophisticated decor, strong cocktails and great DJs

The Standard roof top – Waterbeds, Bikinis, beers and an amazing view over Downtown

The Varnish – Located in an old storage room with drinks that are spot on

Seven Grand – Premiere destination for whiskey enthusiasts

La Cita - Theme-based bar nights in an old-school Mexican bar

Barrel Down – American craft beers from over 40 taps

Far Bar – Dynamic setting and amazing bartenders – more than 400 whiskeys

Villain’s Tavern – Unpretentious and off the beaten path

Redwood Bar & Grill – The pirate decor will make you feel like you’re in Pirates of the Carribbean

Clubs

The Downtown clubbing scene has come a long way. Its variety and uniqueness easily puts it at eye level with the legendary Hollywood parties, creating even more hype for the up and coming Downtown scene. From hipsters to hip hoppers, from subtle to all-out, from easy-going to full-blown sound systems, you can find it all in Downtown. Dance your feet off!

The Edison (top pick!) – Multidimensional club in a former power plant with old brick walls & generators

Exchange LA – Art Deco building turned into a modern club experience with House, Techno and Trance DJs

Club Mayan - Two-level main room with the look of a Mayan temple

The Crocker Club – Part of the club is inside a former safe deposit box in an old bank building

Elevate Lounge – Upscale nightclub located 21 floors above ground level

Hotels

Downtown’s hotel scene is spoiling travellers from around the world. Luxury and glamour are just around the corner, but you can also find more affordable hotels for budget-conscious travellers. The current generation of hotels boasts anything from intimate one-of-a-kind boutique hotels to timeless classics and luxurious digs with panoramic views over the city. Whatever kind of accommodation you’re looking for, Downtown won’t let you down.

Ace Hotel (top pick!) – Upscale boutique hotel with amazing roof top and unique personality

The Standard - Stellar 24-hour restaurant that boasts a rooftop beer garden serving traditional German food and beer

Millennium Biltmore - The choice of celebrities, presidents, and dignitaries. Absolute luxury! 

Ritz Carlton - Luxury hotel with world-class service, exceptional dining and dramatic views over the city

Omni Los Angeles Hotel At California Plaza – Low fuss, high-class hotel experience with an amazing staff

The Line Hotel - Modern interiors, lounge styled by Koreatown natives and a lifestyle boutique shop

SoHo Warehouse - Coming soon to Art’s District!

Hotspot – The Art’s District

While Downtown enjoys a lot of attention, the Art’s district is the area’s real jewel. For everyone creative, cool and aspiring this is the place to be. Creators from all over the world have found a home in the ultra cool hood consisting of warehouse wasteland and stylish galleries, trendy coffee shops and some of the best bars & restaurants in town. Don’t miss these hotspots and enjoy your trip to LA:

Bestia (top pick!) – A multi-regional rustic Italian restaurant focusing on a “from scratch” approach, offering house-made charcuterie, handmade pasta and pizza

Zinc Cafe – open kitchen and peaceful courtyard dining area provide a nice respite from the hustle and bustle of Downtown

The Spring – Health space with fresh food, yoga, wellness & workshops

Stump Town Coffee – 99 problems, but a cup of coffee ain’t one

Little Bear – A cafe pouring Belgian and domestic beer on draught with a kitchen showcasing Belgian food favorites

Blue Bottle Coffee – U-shaped bar, where you can see both the mess and the magic of coffee-making unfold

Bread Lounge – Contemporary artisanal bakery and café

American Tea Room – Retail shop, tea lounge, restaurant, cafe, and bar with 7.5m living wallscape and fire pits

Art’s District Brewing – Craft brewpub with onside brewhouse, 9 original beers and space for 300 guests

Eighty-Two – Innovative bar with more than 50 classic arcade & pinball machines, DJs, food trucks and game tournaments

The Wheel House – Community-centered bicycle and coffee shop

The Factory Kitchen – Traditional Italian fare in a comfortable yet interactive environment

Useful web pages

The Downtown LA web page

Historic core web page

Explore artsy Downtown

Downtown Muse

On Tour – Follow the Flamingo

We have demanding customers who’ve already seen it all. They’re bored by Ibiza, St. Tropez and the likes. In their last desperate attempt to find a new jetset hotspot, they turn to the right place – to us. Our tireless missions around the globe make us the perfect fit for extraordinary traveling desires, as we spot trends long before they hit the mainstream. It’s time to give you a sneak peek at how Berlinagenten’s brand new tour concept works its magic in a hotspot that’s still off the mainstream radar. We invited our friends from a Swedish internet company to Follow the Flamingo to lovely Sopot!

Whenever we bring the Berlinagenten experience abroad, the Flamingo already heralds our arrival from the distance. In Sopot he’s had one drink too many an excklusive vodka tasting, accompanied us to a bike tour along the coastline,  was absolutely no use when we tried to flee the Sopot Escape Room, and even had a second helping at the White Marlin, Sopot’s best fine dining restaurant. Of course our Flamingo is as much as an hedonist as we are and helped us conquer stylish rooftop venues, shaked his non-existing plastic feathers in pumping nightclubs and laughed at us when we presented our gourmet-trained bellies at Sopot’s most fashionable beach clubs.

In aspiring Sopot, you can see anything from simple pedals boats to imposing yachts at the waterfront and naturally we didn’t opt for pedal boats. In no time we were out on the blue sea on our sleek luxury catamaran and enjoyed a decadent vibe that’s usually reserved for Sopot’s rich and famous. What happened in internationals waters… better stays a secret. Let us tell you this much: They were loud complaints when we set sail for mainland again. No-one wanted to go home.. or even knew where home was, exactly.

If you’re thinking about booking a custom-made Berlinagenten tour, don’t hesitate. With the help of our Flamingo, we bring the Berlinagenten experience to a worldwide level!

Red Carpet – Henrik’s Speech

Berlinagenten has quite a history. More than 10 years ago Berlinagenten CEO Henrik Tidefjard founded one of the foremost lifestyle tour agencies in Europe. Berlinagenten has been a success story from day one and it’s important to share your values and experiences with the world and help young aspiring founders to find inspiration for the careers that lie in front of them.

At the Junior Chamber Club (a sub-organization of the Swedish chamber of commerce) in Düsseldorf, Germany, Henrik held a speech in front of JCC members, ambitious founders, interested parties, career experts, company representatives and board members. He advised them to look beyond their framing, to find their own path in a world where so much already seems to have been achieved. To not be envious of someone else’s success but to live and give life to the fullest, so the world can benefit from your energy and you can benefit from the world’s energy.

We hope we managed to inspire some of the thinkers and doers of tomorrow, not so they can follow our footsteps, but so they will leave their own.

Insiders – Monika Vögel

This month’s interviewee is former model, night club owner and make up artist Monika Vögel. She was one of the biggest icons in Berlin in the 1970s and has worked internationally until recently.

Hey Monika. We’re so glad to have you! First off – you’re 70 years old and still radiating with life. What’s your secret?

The secret is: There IS no secret. I’ve always been this old, but younger… which is also the title of my forthcoming book, by the way.

What are you best known for?

I started modelling at 14, ran two night clubs and a student restaurant, I’ve released an album and I’ve worked as self-taught make up artist for many years for TV, movie and big opera productions. People used to say for a joke that I don’t belong to the scene – I am the scene.

You came to Berlin in 1966. The hippie era was just taking off – what did you do then? What was Berlin like?

Berlin was super super super super SUPER! I was really fascinated by the hippie culture and soon became a hippie myself. Sex, drugs and Rock’n’Roll, baby! Well, for me it was sex, love and Rock’n’Roll. I never liked drugs, but in the hippie time, people were crazy for them. Berlin was crazy back then. There was so much freedom, love and joy in the air. I had friends from all over the world from Turks, to Italians to Germans to my neighbour and even to David Bowie. If you think Berlin is crazy today, you should have seen it in the 70s!

In your time as a night-club owner you must have lived through some crazy stuff. What comes to your mind when you think back to that time?

I had this friend, Jean-Claude Baker. He opened a mixed club for heteros and gays in Berlin called „Pimm’s Club“. Since I already had some experience with running a club from my time at Sgt. Peppers, I took over the Pimm’s Club when Jean-Claude left for New York to open the first French cable TV in the USA. There were more scandals at Pimm’s Club than I could tell you about in a lifetime… once a month I did a travestie show with my friends, even playing myself, bunt gemischt mit freunden. It was the best time ever. Once I had to take up a fight with all the street pimps, because I wouldn’t allow them in the club. They lured me outside and formed a circle around me, ready to attack. I told those assholes that I knew all their bosses, and if anyone so much as dared to touch me, they would be dead! I didn’t have trouble with them again after that.

You left Berlin in 1981 and didn’t come back until almost 15 years ago. Where did you and why?

I left for Frankfurt to work as make up artist in TV shows and advertisements. I landed a good job as make up artist for a cinema production from Wien and later met my 4th husband, Tommy, in Wien. After that, I stayed for love. It wasn’t long after that until I found myself confronted with a dog every day… I did make up for more than 200 episodes of Kommissar Rex (Inspector Rex)!

So… did you do the dog’s make up too?

Haha, screw you. I used to say I did his lipstick. Luckily the cast was bigger than just the dog.

You were also good friends with Falco. How did you become friends?

I was hanging at this bar in Wien when some guy approached me and invited me to a glass of champagne. I’m not crazy for drinks, but he was really nice and it was hard to say no. After the barkeeper told him my husband was Tommy, he started laughing. He knew Tommy well and from this point on, we were friends. Tommy did set design for Falco’s videos and I started doing the make up for all of Falco’s videos. One day I met Falco in the city and we talked for the best part of hours without sitting down or even moving. Four weeks later he was dead…

The best die young… well, except for you! You were quite a musician yourself in your time – in 1987 you released your album “Sag ja” (Say yes) and stormed the charts. What was being a musician like?

There was this film scene where my band and me performed 6 songs live in 22 minutes which created a big media echo and my first album did pretty well. (Un)fortunately my band was full of great artists, and of course after they didn’t like the commercial direction it was taking. I would have needed a new band, so I thought: What the hell. I’m done anyway and I need a paying job. That was right before I started with the Kommissar Rex, opera and TV productions.

With so much going on in your life, we can’t help but wonder: What are you working on these days?

I’m collecting input for my memoirs and writing poems. The book will be called „I’ve always been this old, just younger“. Expect to read a lot about the untold scandals from my days… it will be worth the wait.

Thank you for your time, Monika… we can’t wait for your book!

The Scene – 5 Best Summer Openings

The end of summer often marks the hour of truth for the thinkers and doers who opened new establishments this year. Success, or just another person’s dream crushed by the sometimes harsh Berlin reality? Though Berlin still has lots of space for culinary treats, not everyone manages to hit the nerve. We journeyed though Berlin’s raw, sexy and hip districts to find those who we believe will stay for good.

Fechtner Delikatessen

Opening a restaurant near Rosenthaler Platz isn’t exactly the most innovative idea of the year, but it admittedly still works well. Especially if you’re going with the times and open a lunch spot for health-conscious foodies looking for a quick snack. Fechtner’s emphasis lies on fresh and regional ingredients, both healthy and of highest quality. Expect great salads, sandwiches and self-made smoothies.

893 Ryotei

On busy Kantrstraße there’s a building that looks like a vacant, run-down supermarket with a mirror front panel. But don’t be fooled, beneath the dreary outside lies a culinary shrine for gourmets! Inside lies 893 Ryotei, the latest restaurant by food guru and chef The Duc Ngo, who already brought us Cocolo Ramen and legendary Kuchi. Sitting around a vast open kitchen you’ll find some of the finest fish creations in West Berlin, all the while being amused by the people outside who check their looks in the mirror panel, believing the place was deserted.

Coda Dessert Bar

You can expect greatness when a renowned restaurant designer and a leading pâtissier work on a new concept, and at Coda you get no less than brilliance. Newly opened in Neukölln it offers the perfect symbiosis between dessert and beverages. Many of the drinks are self-made and innovative – you won’t find them anywhere else in the world. They’re paired with world-class desserts and create a unique food experience starting at 15€. Absolutely new concept, unseen in Berlin. Check it out!

Panama

A beautiful two-story restaurant in a Schöneberg backyard paying hommage to Janosch’s children’s book “Oh, wie schön ist Panama” (“Oh, how beautiful Panama is”). It’s the story of a bear and a tiger who go on an adventure to look for an exotic place called Panama. When they finally find a beautiful and exotic cabin by the river, they believe they found Panama – not realizing it in fact is the very home they had left behind. The restaurant’s interior feels exotic but familiar – everything it contains was crafted in Germany. Chef Sophia Rudolph also pays hommage to Janosch, using local ingredients to create exotic tongue-pleasing flavours. 10 points from us!

Shiori

Shiori is a very well-kept Japanese secret in the heart of Mitte. There’s only 10 seats in total, creating a very intimate and private atmosphere that invites you to get in touch with other guests. The food is as brilliant as the minimalistic design – the perfect combination. Be advised: Reservation in advance is mandatory!