ambivalence and bergmannstrasse

i’m trying to think of some positives to attach to my unwanted acquaintance with the common cold this past week.

on Friday, i was walking by the Bergmannstr. Fest with one (used) tissue to last me the way home and a spontaneously runny nose. quite vile. and disappointing. while kreuzberg jazzt! (und kocht!), it was looking like most of my weekend would be spent in bed.

like most of my journeys down Bergmannstr., it was filled with mild annoyance, chased down my a large glass of haterade.

i don’t mean to hate on Bergmannstr. in spots, it’s kind of overpriced for Kreuzberg, 8eur for a pad thai at Pagoda, 5,70 for a put-it-together-yourself lox and cream cheese bagel at barcomi’s. but i have to admit it’s still pretty nice when the sun is out and people are lounging at espressolounge.

except when you are working. then bergmannstr. is the type of place that can really get on your nerves. you start to wonder who are all these people who continually keep the sushi, indian, and coffee joints packed at all hours of the day, every day of the week, beer or latte at hand and how can you be down. if bergmannstr. is the face of germany unemployed, then there isn’t a frown to be seen… they can’t be all students, although student in berlin seems to mean from 3-39, and they can’t be all tourists. uh so…what’s the deal?

despite my strained relationship with bergmannstr., when i felt well enough to inhale something other than my own 2-day old exhaled sickness stagnating in the apartment, i went to see what was jazzing down at the fest.

the music coexisted seamlessly with the street fair ambiance going on, not bad enough to force you to take your caipi and sit somewhere else but not good enough to bother to actually listen. there were enough crazy contraptions to keep kids of all ages satisfied. and the stands were filled with more boutique-y type items than the average run-of-the-mill street fair fare.

but i really wanted to see what was cooking. at chamissoplatz, kreuzberg’s gramercy park without the famous key, all the kreuzberg chefs with a capital k and c were serving. (only le cochon bourgeois was noticeably missing i think) not just cooking, serving. like dipping, working the bain-marie, holding tongs, plating. i had the pleasure of Thomas Kurt of E.T.A. Hoffman slicing a salmon and pike perch roulade over an aspargus ragout. the experience was probably dulled by my aspirin+c tastebuds but it was still good to me. if i had been in full form, i would have probably gone down the line from amuse gueule to cheese plate and dessert.

Bergmannstr. – gejazzt und gekocht – was a real treat. today it’s back to ambivalence.


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