Last weekend, I helped my mother buy the supplies for a dinner party she was having. We went to Karl-August-Platz for vegetables, and planned to go to Karstadt to buy the fish. But then we ran into a friend of hers standing in line for fresh pasta and he said, "Why aren't you buying the fish at Lindenbergs?" To which she answered, "Oh! Lindenbergs! I forgot about that place." (Or something. I hate writing dialogue.) Anyway, we got in the car and drove to a little, nondescript street behind Otto Suhr Allee to find the most awesome grocery store in all of Berlin, if you may permit me a little bit of hyperbole.
First of all, it's not called Lindenbergs anymore (that's what it used to be called, back in the 1970's, when my folks first moved here). It's now called FrischeParadies. It doubles as a whole-sale market for a lot of Berlin restaurants: the cashiers will ask you if you're there "geschäftlich" or "privat", but there's no membership or fee.
Second of all, keep your eyes peeled when you drive into the Morsestraße, because you could blink and miss it. It's in a nondescript hall-looking type of thing in the back of a lot filled with construction equipment (apparently, they're expanding).
Third of all, how on earth could my mother have forgotten about this place?
Fourth of all, GO NOW. (Well, not now. It's closed on Sundays.)
Because where else are you going to find entire wheels of Brie de Meaux and Fourme d'Ambert alongside industrial-sized packages of Spätzle and Schupfnudeln? Ail rose de Bretagne next to loose lemongrass stalks and Thai chilis? Brick dough for Moroccan b'stilla and Mexican flour tortillas? Boiron fruit purées and Iranian pistachios? Fresh goat meat? Marinated boquerones? Moutarde violette? Tomato vinegar?
In truth, it's almost overwhelming. I dare you to walk the aisles without visions of dinner parties or even dreams of opening your own restaurant dancing in your head. There's another location in Prenzlauer Berg that looks a lot ritzier. But I love the scruffiness of the Charlottenburg one.
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