Travelin’ the Globe: American eats in German seats

Alison Kemp and Alison Kemp

SALZBURG, Austria – Food is the one thing when I travel I usually don’t care about.

In Holland, I ate a lot of my meals from grocery stores. In New York City, I limited my restaurant meals, mostly because it was so expensive. It’s the same in Salzburg. In Croatia, I ate out only because it was cheap.

But this weekend, which I spent in Berlin, was different.

Because I had been to Germany’s capital twice before, there weren’t a lot of sights on my list of must-sees. Instead, my plan was centered on food.

I was most interested in hamburgers, because they are the food I miss the most. I learned of a burger joint owned by Americans when I was in Berlin this past November, but I couldn’t convince any of the Americans I was with to eat there with me.

For this trip, The Bird was at the top of my list, even if I had to go alone.

The fact that this restaurant was owned by Americans was key. Unlimited ketchup was free and patrons were instructed to eat the burger with their hands, because Germans and Austrians have an obsession with paying for condiments and eating everything with a fork and knife.

I was greatly anticipating this burger and definitely had high standards. My favorite hamburger and fries combination for years has been from Outback, and is one of the first things I want when I get home.

But that burger has now been surpassed by The Bird’s Ghetto Deluxe (meat and cheese) with bacon and fries that were as fantastic as fair fries.

This burger was particularly unique because it was served on an English muffin, which I had never eaten with a hamburger before, but it was satisfactory.

I was an exceedingly happy camper on Friday night.

On Saturday for dinner I had a second hamburger, this time from Kreuzburger, which is a play on one of the Berlin neighborhoods Kreuzberg, and it is located at an intersection, which is Kreuz in German.

This burger was not as good, though it was one-third of the price of the burger from The Bird and served much faster.

It wasn’t made by Americans, which significantly altered its presentation, which included a mystery sauce that wasn’t mentioned on the menu and ketchup wasn’t available.

The burger and fries were good, but just on an average level.

The other food item on my list was a milk shake, and what I purchased was mildly disappointing.

I ordered a raspberry shake from Cafe Sybille, which was a very nice place with very nice prices. Things were so cheap that I decided I should have a brownie as well.

The brownie was warmed and covered with chocolate sauce, which was glorious. The shake, on the other hand, was almost as liquidly as straight milk, and therefore not what I had anticipated at all.

I also had another meal at a pizzeria called Fat Ass Pizza. It was New York style, meaning the slices were large and thin.

I had a moment of bravery and ordered pizza with brie and cranberries, when I usually eat my pizza either with only cheese or with ham and pineapple.

The brie-cranberry combination was quite delicious, and I will probably try making pizza with those toppings myself.

Even amongst all of this eating (I had a bagel from Dunkin’ Donuts and a muffin from Starbucks as well), I managed to see the few sights in Berlin on my list, so I left not only full of the American cuisine I was missing, but also quite content.