There is that time when you need to buy big toys for your kids, and let's face it, if you don't have a big kids room, then you are doomed to have toys everywhere in the house. I am super annoying when it comes to my flat. I worked my ass off to make it look pretty, and I was so afraid it will get filled with different kinds of wood and crazy colors. So when Pepa asked to have a Kitchen for her second birthday, I started planning the "partner look" with my kitchen.
I looked for every kitchen possible and checked the possibilities of "hacking it," and the best one was IKEA Duktig. It is already pure and mostly white like the kitchen at home. But it has a lot of greys and a different kind of wood. But that isn't too hard to change.
First things first, Open the box and decide which colors you need. Separate the parts and plan what will you do with every piece. Doing this will make it easier to work. I finish this in several days, and I took each part out when needed - this avoids unnecessary chaos.
You need to find a varnish that is kids friendly; I found the ALPINA Weißlack für Innen that is made for toys and can get licked without being worried about poisoning. Please check this! Don't forget it is a children's toy and need to be children safe. The color that matched my kitchen fronts was Cremeweiss and silk matt finish.
The working surface of the Duktig is already varnished. If you are good varnishing, you can buy a colored varnish, and after some small sanding, you can add layers of it until achieving the right color. On my case, I wanted it to seem like oiled wood. For this, you use a sanding machine like my BOSCH PMS 160A or just sand off the old vanish by hand. When you are varnish free, clean and change the wood color with wood stain. I used CLOU water-based stain in the same color as the surface of the kitchen: OAK. You can add many layers of it. Every layer will get darker than the one before. Don't forget to use gloves and a sponge for better results and cleaner fingers.
I added a coat of varnish in super matte as I am sure that Pepa will use water on hers. you can add some wood oil as well.
My kitchen sink and tap are black, so it was just intelligent to make them black as well. These parts are plastic. Use a base spray to avoid flaking and then using a kid's safe varnish spray. Cover the area you are working over as you don't want to ruin your floors. Let it dry and repeat until it is all covered.
The DUKTIG kitchen doesn't come with a wall. And that makes it easier for a kid to drop things through that gap, ergo, chaos. I measured the back of the kitchen and bought a cheap MDF/wood thin plate. Then, nail from the back. Then I bought some "tile stickers" and pasted them. You can paint it in color, or use any folie as well.
To finalize the kitchen partner look, I needed leather grips. I made my kitchen grips last time. But it would have been too expensive and time-consuming to recreate them. I found IKEA makes leather grips but not in black. I always have leather stain or dye for Pepas shoes. I just dyed the grips to black and achieved the same look.
This was a very subtle DIY hack, but I am so in love with the results. It fits my kitchen. It doesn't look like I have a toy laying around. It is like a mini-me partner look kitchen standing there. I bought plastic baskets at Superbazaro (from Maedchenitalienber) in the Mulackstraße in green for Pepa to store all the toys she uses in the kitchen. Don't they look fantastic? Add a little plant, some, and you will be ready to do some cook-offs with your toddler.
I hope this was helpful for you guys and if you have any questions, shoot!
Finally my Barcelona blog post online. As I don’t like talking wrong about people, I will say most of my pictures were “lost.” So after gathering some of the images, I downloaded to my Mac, iPhone pictures and some other ones I got back. I finally finished this.
Last year I needed a vacation. So why not Barcelona? Haven't been there since I became a mom, love their food, and they happen to speak one of my mother languages. But to be honest, I was a bit skeptic about being in my old "Party Town" with a toddler. We were invited to spend some days at Barceló Raval. It is a beautiful and centric hotel in Barcelona filled with art, elegant interior and the most beautiful (sexy) light for selfies or bed games if you are not traveling alone ;)
The cool thing about the location of this hotel is that you can walk around the city and leave your car parked. As a celiac, it is always hard to travel. Many countries have no gluten-free alternatives (Sorry France for bashing you), But Barcelona was a tremendous Gluten-free destination.
From small stores full of fresh fruit to huge markets offering cured meats, and seafood. A paradise for Gluten intolerants. Of course, you can have bread, but who needs this when you can have oysters with Cava and Ibérico with cheese?
I love traveling off-season. In October it was like Norwegian Summer, some days were pretty hot, but in the mornings a trench was needed. Here you can see Pepa early in the morning wearing a Mint & Berry Trenchcoat, Tiny Cottons t-shirt, Zara kids Jeans, Adidas Stan Smith kicks and Acne Studios beanie at 7 am. And before we were wearing shorts and sandals.
My favorite breakfast/brunch place was Caravelle: A very cool and Scandinavian style place that serves fantastic coffee. It was so good; we went there two times. They have a large gluten-free selection — for example this tortilla staple with poached eggs and avocado.
Or these "sunny side up" fried eggs with mushrooms and avocado. All eggs were on point and the second time around I had the Spanish breakfast that had pork with pork and a side of pork :)
Walking around Barcelona was fun. No need to move too much, and for a two-year-old, it was quite ok. The narrow streets and balconies are a must-see. Pepa was wearing a jumper from 1+family, a Nike jacket and Suicoke Sandals with Hipsterkid sunglasses.
Pepa wears a "coord" tank top and shorts from Gray Label, Nike jacket Socks with Adidas Stan Smith sneakers.
Another place I enjoyed wasDüal Café. A tiny spot next to the market hall. They had as well many gluten-free things (if you aren’t vegan) like this tortilla with mushrooms and tomatoes or a massive amount of delicious Iberico ham with a poached egg with hollandaise sauce.
After a great breakfast and walk, we needed a Mom-Daughter nap, but first some time at Barceló Raval´s terrace, they have an incredible 360° view terrace, and you can see the whole Barcelona from up there while tanning or cooling down in the pool. At night, that terrace turns into a hot summer party with live music and cocktails.
At Barceló they have a great gluten-free selection at breakfast and in the evening as well. They made the whole dinner gluten-free. Starting with some bubbles and cheese chips, Toast with hummus, patatas bravas, and zucchini rolls deliciously filled.
For the mains, fish with steamed veggies and for me a tender beef with sauce over mashed potatoes, I was not missing gluten at all!
A must do for someone that hasn’t been in Barcelona yet or if you are traveling with kids is go to Barcelonetta beach and enjoy the view while sipping Sangria and eating some mussels. Be sure to ask if they come with flour cause some of them do. Some Patatas Bravas are always welcome as well.
There is a fair as well, where kids can do some bungee, drive cars and do some vehicle crashing or drive on the Ferris wheel. I always have loads of fun and Pepa had a blast.
Pepa wears jumper from and hat from MarMar, I wore: Do nothing club shirt, vintage shorts, bag from Ebeth and sunglasses from Ace & Tate, and my favorite fun lipstick from MAC: Ruby Woo.
One of the things I like about Barcelona is that you can take the car and drive around, finding beaches and small towns and that is what we did. We saw beautiful beaches and hidden pearls when we decided to drive up north along the coast.
Most places were closed because it was off-season, but at least one restaurant per beach was open. They were very friendly about me not eating gluten and added extra eggs or meat. I didn't felt bad or left out because of gluten.
My tiny mermaid loves water so much that she was in every beach, pond or swimming pool wearing swimming diapers you can find at every supermarket in Barcelona or with her favorite bathing coord suit from Tiny Cottons with SPF 50 protection we got from Littlehipstar. The flamingo was from the store next to the beach in Lloret de Mar.
If you follow me on Instagram, you could have seen some outtakes of the trip and videos like this one. Yes, I was in love with this oversized T-shirt from On vacation club, I wore it almost every day as a dress or at the beach. Hooray for huge shirts.
I will return to Barcelona for sure. It is very celiac welcoming and kids friendly, the off-season is my favorite season as it isn’t full of cars and tourists, but you can still enjoy the warm weather and beaches.
Pepa´s Birthday is in May, but last May I was swamped with work and it was just impossible to pull off a big birthday party. We celebrated together at home on the actual birthday and made a cake, but she was asking for a birthday party... So why not make a "Half Birthday Party"?
Halloween was the date... So I opened Pinterest and started my mood board... Halloween without scaring all the kindergarten kids... The main thing about planning a birthday table is to check how many stuff fits in your table. I arranged plates around and ended up with 14 dishes. And here I will show you what they were:
Here is the Table. It is important to keep the taller plates at the back and the cakes in the middle. I have to accept that I didn't attempt to make my own cakes. I used instant cakes for all these recipes... No room for mistakes. 2 days before the party I baked the cakes for the cake pops. I mix them with frosting, made the small balls and froze them.
My favorite cake pops were eyeballs on forks. You can make them with just dipping the cake pops in candy melts or white chocolate and painting the veins with food coloring. The iris was candy melts as well and I added a bit of chocolate glaze to it.
For the savory treat, I carved a pumpkin and put inside a plate full with cheese sauce, added nachos and a guac-mayo sauce... I couldn't get the adults away from that corner!
The witch cake was supposed to be Witch Pepa. I baked 2 boxes of cake in three forms. Covered it with cheese frosting and started making the witch.
The legs were made with the tubes where the rolled fondant came. The legs were my dad's work. He covered them with fondant and colored the rest of the fondant with red color and piped the stripes. Thanks, dad!
With the rest of tule from Pepas costume, I made the witch skirt and I added mini marshmallows for the "underwear/skirt"
What is a Halloween party without ghosts? For this ghosts, I made cupcakes and added frosting over it. Then I put a mini Chocolate Kiss on it and covered it with a circle of rolled fondant. Then I decorated the eyes and mouth with decorating glaze in black.
Worms on earth... I made this 2 days in advance as well. Made some chocolate boxed pudding and put it in small cups, added a gummy work in it and then cover with chocolate powder. I put chocolate in my food processor and done.
During Halloween times the store LIDL has red apples... all red. That means they are red outside and inside. The best thing about this apples is that they don't oxidate. I cutted slices of them and added spekulatious cream (you can add peanut butter instead) and paste teeth gummies. If you don't have these apples, you can use regular red apples and don't peel them. And if you don't find teeth gummies (found them in IKEA) just add mini marshmallows.
The boxed cakes came with glaze. So I used them to make these monster cupcakes. I dipped them in the glaze and add a decorating eye and then piped the glaze over it to make the hair... these were my favorites.
No Birthday is complete without a chocolate cake. And I made this one. I baked two chocolate cakes in 4 forms and made chocolate mousse. The decoration is 2 spekulatius cookies as graves and a twig my mom found outside that looked just like a dead tree. Thank mom!
For the third cake pops, I used the chocolate glaze that came in a cake box and then I added some white glaze lines to make these mummies... The eyes came in a decorating set for bees.
For the hungry kids, I made vegan sausage mummies. I cut a sheet of dough and rolled it over sausages. Then baked them and added 2 eyes with piping color.
They are super simple to make and were gone after a few seconds... I make them for Pepa at home all of the time.
My mom made the ghost lollipops... Can you imagine I had only 4 left after the birthday party?? They are regular lollipops covered on a napkin and with 2 stickers on them.
For the sugar-free kids, there was some food as well... Mandarines painted as pumpkins are one of the best healthy treats IMHO.
And for drinking, besides water, I made a red punch and added some fingers inside. Plastic ones of course.
Four the adults was a separate table with chips, punch, gin, and beer... Who says it is not possible to have fun as an adult on a kids party? I love that Kettle Chips make orange and black bags.
We were witches and here you can see our costumes... My mom made Pepa's skirt without sewing. Making this all work and look good was hard, but Pepa was a witch as she wanted and she finally got her birthday party...
Thanks, Sophia for grabbing my camera and taking pictures as I was walking back and forth with all the kids and Pepa.
RESTAURANT // QUA PHE
One of my favorite places in Berlin. Qua Phe is not only is cozy and the food delicious, but I feel right away like I am on vacation. Qua Phe brings back my backpacking days with Pepa through Vietnam eating delicious food and meeting the super nice Vietnamese people.
This restaurant is in Mitte just 100 meters away from my hairdresser and all my favorite stores, SoI love stopping by for a cold Vietnamese coffee in summer and for getting away of the cold in winter while enjoying delish food! So this had to be in the Advents Calendar. And next door is Banh Mi: From the same owners but only serves Vietnamese Sandwiches... 2 kinds: Vegetarian and non vegetarian! BEST EVER!
Max-Beer-Straße 37, 10119 Berlin
Telephone: +49 3097005479
PRODUCT // TRY FOODS
FEED YOUR CURIOSITY. Aren't we all curious about different tastes? like how does this kind of salt taste? or would I like this vinegar? which is my favorite olive oil? Sadly, we cannot buy the whole delicatessen store. We could, but why do that?
To feed our curiosity, the TRY FOODS set combines a pleasurable tasting experience with an informative approach to the product. It introduces us to well hand-crafted foods so we get a taste of the world of quality products.
TRY FOODS want to encourage people to try out. Because they are convinced that our trained taste leads us to good, fair and sustainable food.
Pappelallee 7, 10437 Berlin
Telephone: +49 30 43659349
RESTAURANT // CRACKERS
What happens when one of the most awesome clubs in Berlin closes? The location gets transformed and an amazing new bar restaurant is born: Crackers. From the same owner of Cookies Cream, Crackers is one of the many awesome creations of Heinz Gindullis. This place is just luscious! High high ceilings, modern furniture and dimmed lights. You feel like getting in a film set right away!
If you never went to Cookies Club, it might be tricky to find it. You have to walk through an alley and you feel like you are in the wrong place. Until you see the Chesterfield Sofa and the 2 doors: One to Cookies Cream and one to Crackers.
This is the grand Finale and last prize of the #TFEAdventskalender! You can participate in Instagram at @twofoodieseating and the winner will be drawn on December 31st. This prize can be redeemed from January 2nd.
Friedrichstraße 158, 10117 Berlin
Telephone: +49 30 680730488
Open sesame! That is what the invitation to the Simsim opening party said, and it came in a cute small envelope filled with sesame seeds. Who doesn’t like a real printed invite and even better, one that is as cute as this?
The Levantine cuisine trend had come to wow us and to stay. Berlin is a melting pot of cultures and every time a new culture comes to stay, the Berlin cuisine transforms and gives place to the new influences.
Since a couple of years, Germany has been a refuge for people since the whole Syrian trouble got out of control, and this brought their culture and food and you can see some many new restaurants and places coming up like Simsim, Kreuzberger Himmel and Prism.
The Levantine kitchen is the traditional cuisine of the Levant, known in Arabic as the Bilad ash-Sham and Mashriq, which covers a large area of the Eastern Mediterranean.
We already knew many dishes like hummus and baba ganoush but some many delicious dishes like Muhamara Aleppo hasn’t been featured that much in gastronomical Berlin.
Simsim is a homey Levantine eatery serving authentic dishes, both traditional and modern, in a contemporary setting. Simsim draws inspiration from the regions rich and luscious cuisine along with its hospitable nature with dishes typifying the ancient Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese kitchens which date back multi-millennia. A key virtue of the Levant is its food and hospitality. At Simsim you can experience this culture the right way, through their food and ambiance. Simsim bridges the gap between authenticity and modernity; preserving ancient traditions while pursuing innovative techniques. Something you can see on their food and the beautifully designed space.
One of the most used sayings in the Levant says “the guest is always king“. What is not to love about that??
I arrived at Simsim 2 days prior their opening as I was already at their awesome opening a week before and I just wanted to share this with you guys (#notanAD) I met the owner Marwan that is part of a culinary family. His parents actually have a restaurant in Jordana where his brother works as well. So he isn’t a stranger on “the” restaurant life. Super babe Sophia was on her way to help me eating and enjoying this food.
We started our meal with a Turkish coffee first. It was a stronger version of a French press with a full aroma and taste of cardamon seeds.
Marwan told us their food is meant to be shared, hence their “tapas-like” menu, he said that with their food they aim to make patrons experience typical Palestinian, Lebanese and Syrian traditions, by epitomizing the essence of the region which is embedded in sociability and culture. The cuisines history stretches back to the cradle of civilization; inspired by a lot of cultures from the Turks to Greeks and to some extent the European colonialists, the cuisine nevertheless knows no borders.
Their goal here in Prenzlauer Berg is to enrich the guests and unify their spirits with theirs. They strive to employ modern adaptations to traditional methods and continue to synergize their food with the people... a very important thing to do in this ever-changing culinary Berlin.
We order a bunch of things, as the restaurant wasn’t officially open, we just went for cold servings like Arnabeet Mekle a fried cauliflower with cumin lemon and garlic, The Raheb salad: grilled eggplant slices tomato Paprika and pomegranate molasses, Muhammara Aleppo a hat pepper, and walnut spread pomegranate molasses cumin served with ka’ak bread, Wara’enab vine leaves stuffed with rice parsley onion and olive oil... And last but not least, their mouth-watering hummus.
Have you ever tried Levantine cusine? I am so happy this restaurant opened on my hood! and cannot wait to come by and try the whole menu... including the chicken liver! And to remember Johnny Quest: Sim Sim Salabim!
OMG! December starts tomorrow and I can't wait for you to see all the prizes I got for you guys. Every Saturday there will be a blog post showing you the brands that will be in the next advent's week.
All prizes are just for people over 18 years old and living in Berlin-Brandenburg.
Every morning. I will post a picture on Instagram with the prize of the "door" and how to be the winner of the day. I will post a video of the draw each day to show the fairness of the contest. So now here are the first-week brands (not in order):
RESTAURANT // BLEND BERLIN KITCHEN AND BAR
Berlin is known for its highly diverse population - primarily the Turkish, Eastern European and Eastern- Mediterranean nationalities are broadly represented. This is also reflected in Berlin’s culinary landscape with its many restaurants, street food stands and other food shops of this kind. The food style at BLEND is inspired by this and has many influences of the German, Turkish, Eastern-Mediterranean and Eastern -European cuisines.
The food concept at BLEND aims to embrace the "Berliner food culture" and is best described as a fun dining kitchen inspired by the (ethnic) cuisines and ingredients of Berlin. Dishes are served in a fun way and creatively with a certain twist given their use of ingredients, preparation method or way of serving. As much as possible, dishes are regionally sourced and in season.
BLEND Berlin Kitchen & Bar
Budapester Straße 25, 10787 BERLIN – GERMANY
Telephone: +49 30 2696 2696
RESTAURANT // JOLESCH
Located in the middle of trendy Kreuzberg, but away from the hustle and bustle, the restaurant Jolesch offers you since nearly 25 years delicious Austrian cuisine in a cozy and authentic atmosphere. Enjoy traditional alpine dishes like Wiener Schnitzel (as well vegetarian and gluten-free option), Tafelspitz, and Kaiserschmarrn as well as modern creations of chef Tobias Janzen.
Muskauer Str.1, 10997 Berlin
Telephone: +49 30 - 612 35 81
ICE CREAM CAFÉ // PAUL MÖHRING
Homemade soft serve ice cream - with a pinch of madness. You can build your own creation with a wide variety of toppings such as olive oil & sea salt or choose from the range of specials they offer such as "The Butcher": Creamy vanilla ice cream, maple glazed bacon, whiskey sauce. There are also a couple of more traditional options if you prefer more traditional flavor combinations.
Paul Möhring also offers great coffee, perfectly poured, with beans from Bonanza Coffee.
During winter Paul Möhring also serves homemade cakes and brioches which you can garnish with their toppings. They also offer hot apple strudel or nice little chocolate lava cakes. When it's freezing cold outside you may also want to warm yourself with hot buttered rum, Glühwein or cardamom hot chocolate.
Paul Möhring - Tradition & Wahnsinn
Oranienburger Str. 84, 10178 Berlin
DRINKS // BULMERS CIDER
Made with apples and tradition. Bulmers cider is a refreshing alcoholic beverage made with apples and tradition. That’s because, in Hereford England where Bulmers is made, apples have a long and tasteful history. For more than 130 years the H.P. Bulmers Ltd. has been producing premium ciders and exporting it – for the world to enjoy.
All these years later, the entrepreneurial spirit lives on through a new generation of apple growers, sourcing only the highest quality apples – making every Bulmers an original.
COFFEE SHOP // %ARABICA
%Arabica Coffee is one of the newest coffee spots in Berlin. You can find this hidden gem hiding in a backyard in Kreuzberg. The first thing you notice is the minimalist interior, a mix of Japanese simplicity and that follows as well the iconic Braun designer, Dieter Ram. Japan meets Germany.
In the middle of the store, it is a big open kitchen surrounded by glass, like an aquarium. And that kitchen is run by Tyler. Tylers has worked in some awesome places I had the honor to visit, like Noma, Momofuku Milk Bar and Torissi (that is closed now but it is a spot everyone still talks about).
In addition to that resume, he makes all handmade fresh pasta and uses all local ingredients who he visits regularly for sourcing. His mindset is sustainable and all those dishes he prepares are carefully sourced and prepared simply to bring the power of ingredients out on to our pallets.
% Arabica Berlin Kreuzberg
Reichenberger Str. 36, 10999 Berlin
Telephone: +49 1515 9899294
BREWERY // BRLO
BRLO BRWHOUSE is a Brewery, Restaurant, Bar, Beer garden, and above all the home of BRLO and the Berlin craft beer movement. They have such an affinity with this city that their roots are apparent in their very name. BRLO is the old Slavic origin of the name Berlin (Hard to pronounce until you’ve had a few).
With the BRLO BRWHOUSE they created a Craft beer playground, in the heart of Berlin. Here they have not only realized their vision to provide contemporary brewhouse gastronomy, but also a venue which caters to beer culture, the culinary arts, crazy ideas, and one of a kind individuals.
A unique concept deserves a unique venue. It is not only their offering which is one of a kind but also the venue in which it all takes place. The complete structure is composed of 38 up-cycled shipping containers. The modular nature of the structure means it can be quickly disassembled and reconstructed anywhere in the world. As they only have this site for a few short years they will once again be in search of a new home for their BRWHOUSE. This one of a kind concept and structure is the brainchild of world-renowned architects GRAFT.
Schöneberger Straße 16, 10963 Berlin
Telephone: +49 30 55577606
VEGAN CAFÉ // ATAYA CAFFEE
Ataya is probably the best hidden vegan pearl in Prenzlauer Berg. It lays in the middle of a very residential neighborhood and probably if you have been there it's because someone told you about it or you googled for the best vegan in town.
What is makes this place so special is the kind of cuisine they serve. The owners come from Senegal and Sardinia, making every plate a fusion dream. Their ingredients are all organic, vegan and they don't use plastic at all. Even they don't use paper cups for coffee-to-go.
Ataya in Africa is a place where the community gathers to talk, eat and drink tea. From men to women and even children. They drink tea together and solve problems while grabbing a bite as well. And you can feel this when you go inside their cozy café.
Zelterstraße 6, 10439 Berlin
Telephone: +49 30 33021041
I am Andrea, or as my friends call me, Jinx. I am a foodie living in Berlin, eating my way through life. Here are my recipes, cooking events, dining experiences and more...