Between the years: A Danish and German winter wonderland

Good morning everyone, I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and some great days off to enjoy with your family and loved ones. If you’re anything like me, you have practically been eating non-stop these past couple of days, and are now feeling like you need a break from food in general! But I’m still at my parents’ house in Germany, and my mom will not stop serving me delicious stuff to eat, so my resistance is futile. I guess I’ll just have to eat extra healthy come the new year (what an original New Year’s resolution!).

I’ll be posting in more detail about the fun Danish Christmas I’ve had once I get back home. But I we were so lucky to have snow both in Denmark and here in Germany (well, re-define lucky when your 8am flight gets delayed because the aircraft needs de-icing), I wanted to share some nice snowy pictures with you!

In Denmark, it snowed in the night from Christmas Eve to Christmas Day, so we woke up to everything covered in a thin white blanket. I love the smell of snow and the freshness it brings to the air, so I went out in the garden to take some pictures.

Down here in Germany, we arrived early on the 26th and there was no snow at all, but again, we woke up to a world in white on the 27th. I had received an amazing new prime lens for my camera, so my dad and I went for a hike through the forest to take some pictures. Aren’t the woods in the snow just so magical?

Have you had snow for Christmas?

A feel of home: Two German spots in Frederiksberg/ Vesterbro

Who doesn’t know the feeling of being a bit homesick? Yes, no matter how lovely Copenhagen is, sometimes I just miss some good old German stuff. Sometimes I ask my mom to send me a care package of things I can’t buy here. This usually includes Gemüsebrühe (German vegetable stock), because the Danish “bouillon” just doesn’t taste the same to me. Other things include a curry-lentil sandwich spread (I’m planning to try to make my own though, so if and when I succeed, I’ll post the recipe) and German Remoulade, which is significantly different from the Danish remoulade not only by pronounciation!

Anyway, in the recent weeks I’ve been led to discover two German-inspired places in the hip Frederiksberg/ Vesterbro border area:

The first spot is Berlin Bar, self-described as “Copenhagen’s German beer bar”, with over 140 different German bottled beers and more on tap. Located on Gammel Kongevej, it’s a cozy dimly-lit, no-frills sort of dive bar - the type of spot you end up in late in the night, since you probably started out somewhere more fancy. The walls are decorated with German plaques, posters, signs, soccer scarfs etc. and behind the counter you can see part of the selection, which includes regional specialty brews as well as some well-known brands. They get major plus points for mixing me a “Berliner Weisse mit Schuss” (i.e. wheat beer with raspberry syrup). Some minus points for not having my home-town beer Krombacher (even though it’s one of the most popular and most sold beers in all of Germany!).

 

Wall decorations

Wall decorations

Berliner Weisse (slightly wrong glass, but tasted fine)

Berliner Weisse (slightly wrong glass, but tasted fine)

Never heard of this brand, but would love to try

 

The second place is located on Vesterbrogade, right on the border between Frederiksberg and Vesterbro. It’s called Von Fressen and the owners proudly produce a lot of what they sell themselves, including for example the Ginger Ale. I went there for dinner and cocktails. The menu is very German-inspired, including classics like Wienerschnitzel (I saw one being served to some other guests, and it looked very good!). They also do brunch, which sounds quite nice as well from the menu alone.

Menu at Von Fressen

Menu at Von Fressen

As a pre-dinner drink, I chose a cocktail called “dasein” (impossible to translate), which had gin, cucumber, sours and ginger - definitely recommended, but only if you like ginger, because there’s a LOT in there! They have some signature cocktails which have names like Schopenhauer or Karl Marx, which are also very tasty. During happy hour, there’s a 2 for 80DKK offer which is a steal. I think happy hour starts at 6pm, if I’m not mistaken.

"dasein" cocktail

“dasein” cocktail

For dinner, I chose one of their burgers. Mine had goat’s cheese on it and was simply delicious. All burgers can be selected on rye bread or a bun, with classic beef, chicken or falafel. Choose the potatoes as a side, they are baked golden brown and melt in your mouth. They also come with a very nice dipping sauce.

Goat's cheese burger

Goat’s cheese burger

All in all, Von Fressen is certainly a hip place, and not on the cheap end of the scale, however, not on the super expensive end either. I would also simply go there for a coffee and maybe sample one of their desserts. There were of course also cakes and cookies available, café-style.

So if you’re a German in Copenhagen, next time you get homesick, grab a Wienerschnitzel or an “Opa’s morgenmad” (grandpa’s breakfast) at Café Von Fressen and then head a couple of streets over to Berlin Bar to drown your sorrows in one of their many, many beers - Prost!

Perfect sunny family weekend in Essen

Last weekend, I visited my sisters in Essen in the Ruhrgebiet in Germany. The weather forecast was on my side already, promising sun and warm temperatures - much, much needed, since Denmark does not seem to grasp the concept of spring… We do get sun, too, but it’s really tricky, because it’s still super cold and windy, so even though it’s April, I’m still wearing my winter coat. I did give my beloved trench a try, but soon regretted it and switched back. But it can only be a matter of weeks now until it gets warmer…

Anyway, in Essen, the weather was beautiful all weekend! I arrived late on Friday, and one of my sisters had to work, so we didn’t really do anything big Friday night. We used Saturday to catch up on some sleep and started with a big homemade brunch, before we headed out to the city to get some shopping done! My parents came out to Essen as well, so we had a lovely family “reunion”, enjoying some coffee in the sun before heading back home for a sort of “pot luck” early dinner - we basically bought and prepared all kinds of food, everything we were in the mood for, and not necessarily with a concept - awesome!

Coffee and wine - perfect spring combo!

Coffee and wine - perfect spring combo!

Saturday night, it was time for some cocktails, and we chose Neon Café & Bar (http://www.facebook.com/neonessen), where they have a happy hour arrangement and make killer cocktails. Plus, the super cute server brought us free shots with cassis flavor. Definitely recommended!

Cheers!

Cheers!

On Sunday, we went to Unperfekthaus for brunch. This house is awesome, it’s relatively central in Essen, a huge, 5-story building with a large café/ restaurant area on the ground floor, and the top floors are occupied by artists’ studios, music practice rooms, community areas, etc. It’s very hippie-like, and a super laid-back atmosphere. You basically pay a time-fee, based on how long you stay (they write down your arrival and departure times) and are free to help yourself to drinks the entire time (i.e. coffee, tea, and soft drinks). To this, you can add various amounts of food, e.g. just one plate, or the full buffet. We chose to pay 12,50 EUR for the brunch buffet, and we were not disappointed! Starting with standard breakfast items (bread, fresh rolls, yoghurt, fruit, cereal, jams, cold cuts, cheese etc.) to more brunch-like stuff (baked beans, eggs, bacon, sausages) all the way to full-on meals, such as gnocchi in a creamy sauce with herbs, soups, lasagna, potato salad, etc. Of course there were also cake, muffins and pudding for dessert! So basically, we spent the first 2 hours of our stay trying to stuff ourselves with as many of the yummy dishes as possible. Let me tell you now, it’s completely impossible to try everything - even if your choice is limited, e.g. by being a vegetarian like my sister! Afterwards, we strolled through the different floors, peeking into the studios (part of the deal is that the artists let visitors walk through their studios), all the way up to the roof top terrace, where we sat in deckchairs and enjoyed the sun for another 2 hours or so. All in all, a brilliant day, and I can only warmly recommend the Unperfekthaus (http://www.unperfekthaus.de)

Unperfekthaus, Essen

Breakfast of champions!

Funny table for sale at Unperfekthaus

Enjoying the good life - roof top tanning!

Enjoying the good life - roof top tanning!