Author Archives: andberlin

The Best of the Wurst – 6 of the Best Currywurst (Buden) in Berlin

Close up of Currywurst & Chips (Currywurst & Pommes) at Curry & Chili Berlin

Currywurst has been a Berlin snack staple since 1949 when Hertha Heuwer combined the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and curry powder she got from some British soldiers and poured it over grilled sausage.  Over the years, thousands of stands and restaurants have opened in the city and finding the best Currywurst in Berlin is no mean task.

I ate Currywurst as my very first meal in Berlin during my original visit to the city in 2009 and ever since I moved here in 2011 I’ve been scouring the city on a hunt for the finest Currywurst – my quest to find the best of the Wurst.

Not all sausages are created equal.  My search has taken me beyond the usual suspects and I now have a list of six Currywurst sellers that I’m happy to recommend.  Clicking on a name will take you to a post dedicated to that Currywurstbude.

Currywurst and Chips (Pommes) at Curry Baude in Berlin GesundbrunnenCurry Baude – Gesundbrunnen
Everything here is homemade and fresh and you can tell. The sauce is thick, tomato-ey and delicious. For me, this is the best Currywurst in Berlin.
My Advice: Ask for your Currywurst ‘ein bisschen schärfer’ – the extra curry kick makes the world of difference.

 

Currywurst and Chips (Currywurst mit Pommes) at Zur Bratpfanne in BerlinZur Bratpfanne – Steglitz/Lichterfelde
Don’t be surprised when you have to queue, no matter what time of the day you arrive – zur Bratpfanne is very popular with the shoppers on Schlosßstraße and for good reason.
My Advice: Order 2 x Currywurst with chips because it’s so tasty here that one just won’t be enough.

 

Currywurst & Chips (Currywurst & Pommes) at Curry & Chili BerlinCurry & Chili – Wedding
Laying claim to the title of Deutschlands schärfster Imbiss (Germany’s spiciest snack bar), this is the place for those who like their Currywurst to ‘burn baby burn’.
My Advice: If you’re going to tackle the spicier sauces, start low and work your way up – you may be surprised at just how fiery they are.

 

Currwurst and Chips (Currywurst mit Pommes) at Curry Mitte BerlinCurry Mitte – Mitte
This Imbiß is centrally located on Rosenthaler Platz, making it an ideal spot for a pre-drink, mid-drink, or booze-fuelled snack.
My Advice: Check out the special offers – a combination meal: Currywurst, chips and a soft drink or beer is cheaper than ordering the individual items.

 

Currywurst & Chips (Currywurst mit Pommes) at Curry 66 in BerlinCurry 66 – Friedrichshain
The basics – the sausage, the chips, the sauce – are good but like Curry & Chili it’s the option to up the spice levels that make it special.
My Advice: Study the sauces menu – names like Dirty Devil and Black Death are a good indication that some are really spicy – the Scoville values confirm it.

 

Close Up Currywurst at Schmidts Imbiss BerlinSchmidt’s Imbiss – Lichterfelde
A family run Imbiß near S-Lichterfelde Ost with over 40 years experience, where Dieter Schmidt serves up his speciality – steamed onions.
My Advice: If you don’t fancy the trip to Lichterfelde you can find Schmidt’s at the market at John F Kennedy Platz, Schöneberg on Tuesdays and Fridays.

 

So by now some of you may be wondering why Berlin’s most popular Currywurst stalls – Konnopke’s Imbiß and Curry 36 – are not on the list.  Of course, I’ve eaten at both and enjoyed the Currywurst there but I find the sauces a little too ketchup-y, a bit too sweet and lacking in the curry stakes.  The six Currywurst above are simply more suited to my tastes.

With so many Currywurst options in Berlin it would be an almost impossible task to try every one of them, which is why this list will always be ‘6 of the best’, not the best Currywurst in Berlin’.  If you have a favourite Currywurst in Berlin and it’s not on the list please let me know in the comments.

Sunday Documentary: Playin’ Berlin

Streetball in Berlin - Still from Playin' Berlin

Photo: Still from Playin’ Berlin by Alex Smetana x Adidas

Alex Smetana produced his documentary, Playin’ Berlin, highlighting the streetball (think basketball pick up games) scene in Berlin with the support of Adidas.

Basketball is like jazz because it’s a team concept but it gives the soloist space for self-expression.

Playin’ Berlin offers an insight into the motivations and skills of some of the best players in what is a thriving streetball scene in the German capital and the documentary presents one aspect of the vitality of street culture in modern Berlin.

Playin’ Berlin

You Are A Marvel – Herakut

Still from 'You Are A Marvel - Herakut' by Two Dollars Please - street art in Los Angeles

Photo: Still from ‘You Are A Marvel – Herakut’ by Two Dollars Please

You Are A Marvel is so much more than just another street art videoJasmin Siddiqui (aka Hera) reads a beautiful quote from Pablo Casals, a Catalan cellist and conductor, as we watch her create a huge mural in Los Angeles with her partner Falk Lehmann (aka Akut One), the other half of Herakut.

You Are A Marvel – Herakut

Tommi’s Burger Joint – Making of a Bacon Cheeseburger

Bacon Cheeseburger at Tommi's Burger Joint Berlin by Highsnobiety

Photo: Still from ‘The Making of Tommi’s Burger Joint’s Bacon Cheeseburger’ by Highsnobiety

The good people at Highsnobiety have been to Tommi’s Burger Joint in Berlin and made a video to show us how their amazing Bacon Cheesburger is made.

After watching I’m pretty sure you’ll be running out to get a burger so to help you decide where have a look at my ‘6 of the Best Burgers in Berlin’ post featuring Tommi’s Burger Joint.

The Making of Tommi’s Burger Joint’s Bacon Cheeseburger

// via Highsnobiety //

I Found Love in a Hopeless Place

Love On An Abandoned Glass Factory in Friedrichshain in Berlin

It’s strange how sometimes little details jump out at you. I was checking out this abandoned glass factory near Ostkreuz in Friedrichshain, Berlin the other day and the ‘LOVE’ graffiti grabbed my attention.  It made me think of a previous series of posts entitled ‘It’s Friday, I’m in love’ and once the lyrics to that song became quiet in my head I could hear Rhianna’s ‘We Found Love’.

Schmidt’s Imbiss – It’s a family affair

Close Up Currywurst at Schmidts Imbiss Berlin

Dieter Schmidt knows a thing or two about Currywurst.  He has been running Schmidt’s Imbiss for 40 years in various locations around Berlin, including the last five years at its current spot around the corner from S-Lichterfelde Ost.  Dieter’s wife Doris and son Frank are also part of the family business.

Schmidt's Imbiss in Berlin

I elected to forego the speciality – steamed onions – and went for 2 Currywurst mit Darm (with skin), small chips (Pommes, fries) and a 330ml bottle of Berliner Kindl, which set me back 6,50 €.

Currywurst and Chips at Schmidts Imbiss Berlin

As usual, I asked for the sauce to be ‘ein bisschen schärfer’ (a bit spicier) but for me it was still lacking in the spice department.  I also thought that the sauce was a little thin and sweet in comparison to Curry Baude and zur Bratpfanne.  That being said, the sauce was still better than most and the sausage and chips were tasty and well cooked.

If you’re ever hungry in Lichterfelde I would recommend the Currywurst at Schmidt’s Imbiss as well as the Döner around the corner at Balli.

The Schmidt’s Imbiss at Königsberger Strasse 1, Lichterfelde is open Monday to Friday 10:00 to 19:00 and the Schmidts also serve Currywurst to the hungry people of Berlin at the weekly markets in Kranoldplatz, Lichterfelde (Wednesday and Saturday) and John F Kennedy Platz, Schöneberg (Tuesday and Friday).

Adam Magyar – Stainless, Alexanderplatz

Still from Stainless, Alexanderplatz by Adam Magyar

Photo: Still from Stainless, Alexanderplatz by Adam Magyar

I am constantly amazed by the incredible effects that some people are able to create with a camera and editing techniques I could only dream of mastering.  One of the most mind-blowing Berlin videos I have seen is Stainless, Alexanderplatz by Adam Magyar, a Hungarian photographer based in Berlin.

Stainless, Alexanderplatz is a super slow motion video of people standing on the U-Bahn platform.  The video was shot with a custom built system based around an industrial camera, generally used for quality checking items produced on factory assembly lines.  Over the years, Magyar has honed his equipment to suit his techniques.

He started out using a tripod for his work shot from the underground train platforms but a fine from the transport police in New York led to him finding a way to shoot handheld with his scanner in his backpack.  To further improve his mobility and draw less attention to his equipment he developed his own iPhone application for processing and viewing the images he shoots.

This is how he sees his work:

In STAINLESS I scan rushing subway trains arriving to stations.  The images record a number of tiny details of this moment.  We see people staring towards their destinations standing at the doors framed by the sliding door windows.  They are scrutinizing the uncertain future. Similarly to all my images, their main motivation is arrival.  The darkness of the tunnels deep below the city turns these chemically clean mock-ups into fossils of our time.

Stainless, Alexanderplatz

Stainless, Alexanderplatz, shot in Berlin, is just a small part of a larger project that has taken Adam Magyar to a host of other cities across the world – check out his Vimeo channel and website for more details and more incredible videos and I highly recommend you watch the presentation below for PopTech where he talks about his techniques and equipment.

Adam Magyar: Photos of Time

Vermibus – NO AD Day 2014

Still from NO AD Day 2014 by Vermibus

Photo: Still from NO AD Day 2014 by Vermibus

Berlin-based street artist Vermibus was part of a global action on 27 November 2014 called NO AD Day – an attempt to reduce the exposure of consumers to advertising on Black Friday – and has now published a video documenting the project.

Vermibus describes NO AD Day in the description of the video on his Vimeo channel:

Over-consumption and the unchecked use of our natural resources to serve that consumption, is wreaking havoc on our environment and on our minds. Our unabated need for the latest products and ideas leaves us only wanting more, at the expense of the world around us. Fueling this unchecked desire is a commercial media whose goal is the promotion of more consumption through every outlet known. Newspapers, Magazines, Television, the Internet, and even the Public Space that we collectively share, all serve to promote our desire for more.

In an effort to examine the issue of over-consumption, “Buy Nothing Day” began in 1992 by artist Ted Dave, and participants were asked to refrain from purchasing goods for 24hrs. 22 years later this single act of defiance has grown into a worldwide movement that now takes place in 65 countries and includes thousands of participants. We have begun “NO AD Day” in solidarity with the “Buy Nothing Day” movement, and as an extension of our activist projects dealing with outdoor advertising in Public Space. Participants in “NO AD Day” are asked to remove as much outdoor advertising as they can the day before Buy Nothing Day, in an effort to eliminate the commercial media messages which dominate our public spaces.

We believe that curbing our over-consumption requires we take a hard look at the commercial messages which dominate all media outlets, and whose conceits we cannot escape. We also believe that extraditing ourselves from the commercial media system is the best way to gain control over our consumption behaviors. Our public spaces, dominated by commercial media, make gaining distance impossible. By eliminating the commercial media which dominate our public spaces we can begin to more fully gain control of our desire to consume, and address the issues surrounding “Buy Nothing Day”, and the rampant over consumption which threatens our civilization.

“NO AD Day” is about controlling the over saturation of our minds and environment by commercial media, so that we might address our consumptive needs in a more meaningful and productive way.

NO AD Day 2014

If you’d like to see more ad-busting street art from Vermibus in Berlin and across Europe check out Vermibus – Berlin Fashion Week Interventions 2015 and Vermibus – Dissolving Europe: The Ad-busting Street Artist At Work.

Schloss Charlottenburg – Aerial Footage

Schloss Charlottenburg Aerial View by Gil Holten

Photo: Still from The Castle of Charlottenburg by Gil Holten

My parents were in Berlin last week and top of their must-see list was the interior at Schloss Charlottenburg, built in 1699 as a summer palace for Sophie Charlotte, by her husband, Friedrich I, then Friedrich III, the Elector of Brandenburg.

We visited the Palace Gardens at Schloss Charlottenburg during their last visit in the summer of 2013 but unfortunately the palace itself was closed as I took them on a Monday.

Whilst searching for a documentary about Schloss Charlottenburg for my Sunday Documentary series I came across these videos of drone footage with great aerial views of the palace, the gardens and the Belvedere.

The Castle of Charlottenburg

Schloss Charlottenburg

DJI PHANTOM 2 // GOPRO BE // BERLIN CHARLOTTENBURG

Sunday Documentary: The Candy Bomber

Children at the fence at Tempelhof Airport Berlin during the Berlin Blockade of 1948 and 1949

Photo: Still from The Candy Bomber by KUED

The tale of Gail ‘Hal’ Halvorsen and his role as ‘The Candy Bomber’ (or Rosinenbomber for Germans) dropping chocolate and sweets for the children of Berlin during the Berlin Airlift must be one of the most moving and uplifting stories of the Cold War.

In 1948 as tensions in Berlin mounted and the Cold War began the Soviets blocked road and rail routes to West Berlin cutting off all supply lines.  Determined to hold on to a strategically and symbolically important part of the country the Western Allies launched Operation Vittles and kept the people of West Berlin alive by flying in thousands of tonnes of supplies during the 15 months of the blockade.

Gail Halvorsen was a pilot in the US Air Force flying C-54s loaded with food, milk, coal and other essentials. In his free time Halvorsen liked to explore West Berlin with his video camera and on one of his breaks he met a group of children at the fence at Tempelhof Airport.  He was touched by the warmth of their greetings and their gratitude for the job he was doing. Impressed by their restraint, as they didn’t beg him for anything he decided to reward them with sweets and chocolates.

He explained that when he flew in the next day he would drop chocolate and chewing gum from his plane for them. Concerned that they would not know which aircraft to watch out for Halvorsen explained that he would wiggle his wings as he flew over a beacon at the airport, earning him the nickname Uncle Wiggly Wings (Onkel Wackelflügel).

As the popularity of his missions grew, word reached Halvorsen’s commanding officer, who summoned him. Fearing a reprimand, he was surprised to be praised for his act of kindness and candy drops were eventually officially approved by the commander of the Berlin Airlift, Lieutenant General William H Tunner.  The sweet drops became known as Operation Little Vittles, a play on the full operation’s title.

Produced by KUED and aired on PBS, The Candy Bomber tells the touching story of Gail ‘Hal’ Halvorsen and the joy he brought to the children of West Berlin during the Berlin Airlift.  I have only been able to find a 5-minute excerpt from the full documentary so if anyone knows where to watch the whole program I would love to know.

The Candy Bomber