Creator Of Awesome Berlin, Shows Mr. Eatler The Brighter Side
You know the saying opposites attract? Well, when it comes to a general Berlin outlook, nowhere is that saying more applicable than between Awesome Berlin and Eatler. Where Eatler likes to sarcastically point at the absurd, Awesome Berlin sees the good, the beauty, and the true awesomeness of what this magnificent city can offer. And nowhere is this energy of awe and passion embodied more than in the awesome Tulio Edreira, creator of AwesomeBerlin. Tulio sat down with Mr. Eatler for an hour to talk about Berlin, it’s people and it’s food. Will Mr. Eatler give into the awesomeness or will Tulio come over to the dark side of snark? Here it is, without further ado, Awesome Berlin’s Tulio Edreira:
I’ll just come out and ask it. You ever feel like you are a slave to Awesome Berlin?
For me it is different than for you. You cover the Berlin restaurant shit and I write about things I love, like a gallery, or a park, or a pond, or the angle of how I like to look at that church. You know the overall idea of Awesome Berlin started with me wanting to re-inspire people to look at Berlin in a positive light. If for any reason I catch myself writing about something that I’m obliged to, or I don’t feel like doing it, it defeats the purpose. And if that happens I don’t think Awesome Berlin could survive, I’d be like ‘fuck Awesome Berlin.’
Has the awesomeness of Berlin faded for you at all?
My first post was three years ago, but the website really went live about two and a half years ago. My love has not faded. Sometimes I think about it, though. You know, I travel somewhere and as I come back I fall in love with Berlin all over again. Like when I was just now in Italy, I didn’t even remember that Berlin existed. But the second I got off the plane, I realized how much I missed this city. I go around town. I observe people, I observe life, and then my heart starts pumping. Exploring the city, living the city never gets tiring.
What hooked you on Berlin, was there one thing?
I think the moment I realized how people lived their lives and thought about life in Berlin. The first time I came to visit I really liked it, but I didn’t fall in love with Berlin. The second time I was able to meet locals, chat with them, see how they lived their lives, learn about their outlook, and that is what really changed it for me.
What was that outlook?
Its a different way to see life, the way you prioritize what’s important to you. The idea that what matters is who you are. Not necessarily where you came from, or how much money you have, or any kind of previous successful career you had. For the longest time, after I moved here, I started noticing that people never asked what I did. When I lived in California(for nine years), that was the first question they asked me, ‘so what do you do?’ Because I came here with a different purpose, because I abandoned my corporate life, I wanted to live an adventure. So my partner and I thought Berlin would be fun place to do that. We told our family we were going to test drive Berlin. A week after we arrived we were sitting down for dinner, we looked at each other and we said “we’re never leaving here.”
When you say adventure, what does that mean?
The interesting thing about adventure, considering my background, is that I was never really adventurous. I had everything organized. I had plans, five years, ten years, fifteen years ahead. After I flipped my life, I thought it would be a great opportunity for me not to plan ANYTHING. So living an adventure meant not having a plan at all. Just going somewhere and being open, feeling and letting things happen. The first place we went was Berlin. For me it was an opportunity to detach myself from that “planner” side of me. And Berlin is a great place to just feel. You can go out all the time. You can relax.
What’s your take on the “brutally local” thing?
I like the concept of using as many local ingredients as possible (assuming they taste good). I think that in life in general you can take it to extremes… You can set yourself up for failure if you are too extreme or brutal anything. You can’t be a hundred percent everything. You do it as much as you are able. I think that because we are in the early stages of creating our food culture in Berlin, we are seeing extremes emerge. There are the people that don’t care at all, which account for like 80% of food in Berlin, where you don’t feel the passion. They just go to a mass market, buy their “stuff,” put a nice sign on the door and they get lines of people to eat their crap. Why would they change? People keep coming back for crap! But in time, people will realize, that is not necessarily good food. The other extreme, brutally local evangelists come as a reaction to the old Berlin food culture. You get this urge to build something that is completely different from what you always had.
Do you think you’re a foodie?
I’m not a foodie. I like to eat. I’m not super attached to trends. I like to go to restaurants that have good food, but also deliver an overall great experience. There is nothing that I like less then a place where you can hear the silverware on the plates. Where you can’t chat and laugh. About three years ago I stopped going to Michelin star restaurants. I would go here and there and at one point in my life I felt that seal of quality was important, and it was something that I should follow. I found myself having very unsatisfying experiences. Now what I expect is to go to a place where I can just have fun and good food. If you give me a restaurant that has amazing food but crap atmosphere, I will not want to go back. If you give me a restaurant that has good food and a great atmosphere, then I feel that it’s a good combination.
What kind of restaurants would you like to see gaining traction in Berlin?
I really like mid range restaurants with great food and good atmosphere. I see it developing. There aren’t a lot of options. I see very committed chefs finding the perfect chanterelles, that are 3cm tall and purple and then you go to dinner and you sit down and you hear them talk about the food for half hour. For me that’s not fun. I do see people having fun doing that, and I think that its always going to have a place. But for me, I want the food scene to have more mid range solid gastropubs that are truly great places to go and meet your friends, have fun, but also eat well. There are some restaurants that give me that feeling in Berlin.
One that I really like is Lode & Stijn. I like Industry Standard, and Kin Dee. I like the flavors at Khwan a lot. The fact that you feel the passion is the most important thing. You know that they are putting their hearts into that place. Its a place that I feel like going every week. With Kin Dee and Khwan, I really get that great flavor spectrum of Thai food I am obsessed with.
What food genre has to arrive in Berlin?
MEXICAN PLEASE! It’s not even a trend! I mean the latest trend going on is what? Hawaiian Poke Bowls? Sure, there are some Mexican places, but the thing I don’t get from Berlin Mexican food is consistency. I’ve had some good Mexican experiences, but more along the lines of what the world thinks Mexican food is, Tex Mex or burritos and tacos, and it’s fine. But then I’ve gone back to the same places a month later and it’s a crappy taco. I think that if we can get more consistency, refine the concepts, and finally get a few great Mexican restaurants it would be really great.
What’s the future look like, for you, for Awesome Berlin?
I don’t know. And for me, I get comfort in not knowing where things will happen. For Awesome Berlin, I, or anybody who takes over will continue doing it for as long as we truly WANT to do it and continue to get inspiration from Berlin. Right now I don’t see an end for Awesome Berlin. One thing I do want to do is travel even more. I just spent a month in Italy, earlier this year we spent three weeks in Japan. Those journeys were so special, so I want to keep doing that. And it also inspires me when I get back to do even more for Awesome Berlin. You know, I never plan a post. Every day, what you see posted is decided in the moment. I don’t know what I’ll post about tomorrow. It’s fun to keep experiencing Berlin that way.
Well Tulio, you’ve certainly given Mr. Eatler a run for his snarky money, but just maybe he got a little snark out of you too, 3cm chanterelles and all… HAHAHA (that was a maniacal laugh) Check out Tulio’s posts at AwesomBerlin.net and follow along as he travels the beautiful streets of Berlin.