The neighborhood loses another landmark. It used to be that on a nice summer’s day, the best extreme people-watching used to be the sidewalk tables outside of C Matto, the restaurant/bar formerly known as Cibo Matto on Rosenthaler Str. This outpost of hip was owned and operated by the people who had the popular Kreuzberg bar, Bar, and the place next door to it, known for good burgers. It could be that the band Cibo Matto forced the name change, but that didn’t stop the more colorful Japanese tourists from flocking there, nor the wildest-(un)dressed inhabitants of Mitte. But on a visit to the Wochenmarkt at Hackescher Markt today, I was walking back home and noticed that C Matto’s windows had a garish paper covering all the windows, announcing the imminent opening of a “China Food” restaurant. Just what we need! More brown slime on noodles! I don’t know if this is indicative of a decline in fortune for the Bar folk, Mitte’s declining hipness, Rosenthaler Str.’s rising rents, or what. Now if you want really terrible “Asian fusion” food, you can go across the street to Mitte’s worst restaurant (with the best design), Pan Asia. But don’t.
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Another sight on the walk was next door to Kunst Werk on Auguststr. Workmen have taken over part of the vacant lot next door, where some luxury construction project has been stalled for at least five years after a hole was dug for it, and, on the strip of land immediately adjoining KW, they are assembling a very old, weathered cottage. I figure it’s either art or some Christmas shop — or both — but it’s weird to see something that looks like it’s on the verge of falling down being built instead of torn down.
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I used to think that the worst name for any product ever was the line of children’s bicycles built by PUKY, with which German toddlers endanger sidewalk users daily. That’s changed, though, now that an Italian firm has set up over at the supidmarket selling stoves (which look wonderful — if you have gas, which very few people here do any more) and refrigerators in colors that are guaranteed to make you eat less. Its name, emblazoned across the front of each refrigerator in inch-high chrome letters, is SMEG.
Incidentally, there really is a city in Albania called Puke, which, ironically enough, is supposed to be a delightful place.
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