Dolores - Mission style Burritos in Berlin
We had a real "America-Fuck Yeah" eating kind of weekend. To keep up our energy while apartment searching we checked out the much hyped Dolores. Berlin has got the goods on food and cheap bites are the city's specialty, but good Mexican food is scarce. When we arrived in Berlin in 2007 restaurants billed as Mexican were more often Spanish - or not even close. Today's growing taquerias are getting closer, but pickles in the salsa, poorly treated tortillas, and an absolutely pathetic spice level still has us missing the Mexican food of home.
We were excited to try this place, based on San Francisco Mission style Mexican. We were surprised to enter and find a cooler Chipotle-style restaurant. Ian ordered a burrito with beef, awesome cream (Ian's re-named sour cream FYI), and an unusual spicy peanut sauce. I went for a burrito bowl, which most resembled nachos with house-made corn chips, corn salsa, and mole tofu. Innovation & flavor! Not authentic to Mexico, but some seriously tasty food for under 5 euro. Dolores, we are in your debt.
The Bird - American Burger Joint in Berlin
On Saturday we ended up at another joint billed as Americana. The Bird has a bit of a kick-ass attitude and tells it's diners how to eat. In all fairness, Berliners, and Germans in general, appear to have a serious deficiency when it comes to dining. They won't use their freakin' hands! The Bird addresses this:
"Note: Burger eating does not require a fork and knife
It ruins the burger, violates several laws of nature and drives the cook nearly to the point of running amok with a hot spatula. We don't provide big rolls of paper towel for nothing. Please pick it up and get it into you, it's just better that way."
We have twice seen a German take apart a burger in this cruel & bizarre manner, taking a bite of pure bun. What are you doing!? French fries are provided with tiny forks, we've watched burritos be dismantled this way, and the sausage vendors appear to be the only ones selling food that escapes this terrible fate. I like a fork & knife. I am embarrassed to say I am a little finicky on picking wings etc. apart with my hands. But the atrocity of eating a burger with knife & fork will not stand, man!
The burgers at the bird were tasty, but unfortunately a bit too expensive & served on a roll that more resembled an english muffin. Good for right then, but doubt we'll be back. Keep up the good fight on table manners guys.
My evolving feelings on this place can be found on Yelp
German Bill Etiquette
We have thoroughly been schooled on one thing we are still trying to feel comfortable with. In Germany, you have to ask for the check when you are ready to pay. None of this rush-you-out-the-door, waiters gotta make that money, table turnover, attitude. Feeling guilty about asking, we think it is nice to say "When you have a minute, can we get the check?" Our German friend explained this is actually kinda rude. Sounds like we are being sarcastic, like "If you can stop being lazy and bring us our check that'd be grrrrrreeeat." Touche. German manners.
For some real burgers that bite, check out this crazy animated short. BEWARE: it's bloody & beautiful.