After sleeping in a bit and making myself breakfast, I headed out around noon to the Turkish Market, since I had absolutely nothing left in the kitchen. I’d like to think that I won the game of Turkish Market today, as I spent no more than 15 € and I came home with 1kg of ripe pears, 1kg of cherry tomatoes, 2 huge cauliflower heads, 2 large cucumbers, 4 stuffed grape vine leaves, 200g of olives, 1kg of red onions, 4 heads of fresh French garlic, 1 bunch of hot Thai peppers, 2 bunches of green onions, about 250g of strawberries, a bunch of mint and 2 bunches of coriander. I was especially excited about the coriander (Korianda in German, apparently), which I haven’t been able to find since I got here. The boy running the stand asked me what the hell people do with coriander, anyway, and I tried my best to explain salsa and pretty much all Latin-American food to him, but to no avail.
So I bought myself a cappuccino from the little coffee&cake stand at the market and sauntered home with my culinary prizes, very satisfied with myself.
I spent the rest of the afternoon finally writing up my notes from the weekend. Just before I could post the notes to my blog, 18h30 rolled around and I had to run. I had a date with friends at Monsieur Vuong, a Vietnamese restaurant in the Häckischer Markt / Rosa Luxembourg Platz area that is known for doing very good upscale Viet-Thai food. In many ways, it reminded me of the restaurant Spring Rolls in Toronto, before it morphed into a sort of chain of restaurants.
I tried the artichoke-leaf tea, which is was surprisingly subtle and a little bit sweet, and we shared an appetizer course of spring rolls (curiously rolled in panko bread crumbs, I think) and papaya salad. Very tasty, although smaller and not quite as crispy-fresh-crunchy as the same kind of rolls I would get in my neighborhood in Chicago. We all got the “lukewarm” fish noodles, which were really great; it included wide rice noodles, a fair bit of sweet soya sauce, chunks of pangasius catfish, crushed peanuts, onions, shrimp and the usual handful of fresh herbs that one finds in Viet food. Overall, very tasty and I think we paid roughly 18€ each for the meal.
From there, we took a long schlep over to a cocktail bar in Prenzlauer Berg called Fluido, which had one of the largest cocktail menus I’ve seen in a long while. We got a couple of rounds of complicated and exotic drinks, including something with absinthe, a classic Manhattan, a mojito of some sort, a frozen peach-mint thingy, and a couple of very boozy whiskey-based drinks that you could strip paint with. The drinks were all really well mixed and clearly used good quality liquor, but there was a price to pay. Two drinks each cost us around 18€ as well…as much as a full meal with appetizers and drinks back at Monsieur Vuong.
Conversation ranged from the Vast Swedish Pop Music Conspiracy, to Lars von Trier’s directorial style, to Linda Hutcheon and irony theory, to porn star memorials and other things that I’ve no doubt forgotten. After all of that, we each stumbled home in our respective directions and called it a night. I couldn’t quite get to sleep (despite the alcohol), so I kept myself entertained reading MetaFilter until my body decided it was time to sleep.