Saturday, March 20, 2010

TRAVEL+LEISURE: LONG LUNCH v. LONG WEEKEND


The April issue of Travel + Leisure has my story about a tale of one city, done two ways. The idea was simple: Pick a European city; go there and eat a long, leisurely (and absurdly expensive) lunch at one of its top Michelin-starred restaurants; then take the receipt from lunch and try to live for three full days (hotel, meals, everything) for the same price. We picked Facil (above left) a civilized room that feels like a glass box at the edge of a forest, even though you’re actually on the fifth floor of a hotel near Potsdammer Platz. Lunch for two, with some pretty decent wines, came to €522 or about $750. So for the next three days we stayed at a great new cheap, funny hotel called The Michelberger across from the Warschauer Straße U-bahn station in the east (more on this place later) and subsisted on all-night burger joints and places like Curry 36, a famous place for that ubiquitous odd Berlin street food, currywurst (above right). About this hot dog thing: The motto on the sign said “…ganz schön scharf unsere Curry” which my computer translates as “completely beautifully sharply our Curry.” There’s nothing remotely sharp or curry-like about it but there was something beautifully, boldly bland about it. It's one of those things, like grape soda or opera, that I enjoy while it lasts and then don't need for a while. Berlin itself I'm eager to get back to when the sun's there too. We arrived in the cold black darkness of winter, when the city had retreated into itself and was quiet and empty, still interesting but not the whole show. Have a look at the story here.

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