Tell some people you're going to Berlin for the food and you get pitying looks. Knackwurst, Bratwurst und indigestion? But over the past few years, reports have been filtering in about the city's art scene and its avant-garde fashion and design. Surely the food must have followed?
In our former lives at the New York Times as a writer and an editor for the Sunday Styles section, this kind of scouting had been our beat. Now we only get to indulge our fascination with culinary and pop-culture trends when we're on vacation. Berlin seemed a promising destination, thriving but still emerging and full of discoveries: For instance, the eastern part of this once-divided city is now where all the action is, culinary, cultural andironicallyconsumer.
Our hotel was the Ku'Damm 101 (Kurfürstendamm 101; 011-49-30-520-0550; doubles from $100), a rare outpost of hipsterism deep in West Berlin whose concrete columns and apparent ban on broadloom had throngs of club kids crawling through the bar. But a walk down the Kurfürstendamm (a.k.a. "the Ku'damm"), a boulevard of brands all too familiar to an American traveler, made it clear that the real action must be in the East. We were about to write off the entire West, until we met Horst Reinwald, master oystermonger.