"Our lives are not in the lap of the gods, but in the lap of our cooks!"
We have eaten at good, better and even bad restaurants, hung out in sleezy bars and lofty joints, spent time in hat shops, spas and other imaginative locaities. It's impossible to even pretend to know much about any of them, still ... here's a very uncomplete list of a little bit of everything:
Adelaide - we spent a great week here in 2011, playing WOMADelaide, one of the nicest festivals we've ever been invited to. The Fringe happens at the same time ... magic. And when not at one or the other ... we hung out at Central Market for Breakfast, Afternoon Tea, Coffee, and more!
Austin - our first tour anywhere outside of Berlin brought us to SXSW in 1996, where we played at Scholz Beergarten along with Bad Livers. We came back in 2006 and again in 2008. We enjoyed sitting on the deck of the "world famous" Cedar Door, went for swims in magical Hamilton's Pool (just outside of Austin), spent hours at the Hatbox, or the Violin Shop (where Christopher bought the uke he still plays on stage), and felt very much at home in the Hole in the Wall club, kind of feels like Berlin.
Bad Boll (near Stuttgart) - we stay at Gasthof Krone, because hotels in Stuttgart are in a similar category as those in Tokyo. It's on the A8 and a good hotel. The food is worth a detour.
Berlin - "we live 'ere" (Eddie Izzard) so here's a longer list of restaurants and other places to eat that we've have all tried and liked, along with a few other nice places to hang out in.
- Bar - (late night) - Schwarz Sauer, the place we seem to end up ... after shows.
- Bar - Z Bar. Small, reasonable priced, with their own cinema in a back room.
- Beer - der Prater is the oldest Biergarten in town, and still going strong!
- Breakfast - the Kakadu up in Wedding is a nice place to spend weekend mornings.
- Breakfast - in Friedrichshain Park, the Schoenbrunn has a nice terrace.
- Burgers - late at the Burgermeister, an ex ... oh, go and see.
- Burgers - if meat in a bun is what you go for, go for The Bird.
- Cake & Coffee - Sowohl als Auch also own the flower shop across the road.
- Chicken - if you love them grilled, die Henne is ... original!
- Chinese (dumplings) - "Wok Show is awesome" says Ed Ward. We agree!
- Chinese - this bistro style Asia Deli is not romantic ... but authentic.
- Cake & Coffee - Barcomi's in Kreuzberg. They invented better coffee in Berlin.
- Cake & Coffee - Oh my! Albrechts Patisserie make these yummy little tarts!
- Coffee - Berlin is full of coffee shops, Impala roast their own!
- Coffee - the best anywhere: Double Eye.
- Coffee - Manolo has the best view on tourists looking for the hype.
- Coffee & View - sit by a top floor window of Galeria Kaufhof and watch "Alex".
- Currywurst - THE Berlin fast food ... queue at Curry 36.
- Garden - the Botanischer Garten, with it's amazing green house to survive winter!
- Garden - Gardens of the World are nice little places to "get away" in.
- Kebab - the OTHER Berlin fast food! Good is Imren (Grill 2).
- Falafel - simple, fresh, and very good at Baharat.
- Fish - Der Fischladen is a fishop and a bistro style resaturant. One of our favs!
- French - The Themroc is in the middle of Berlin's new food hub and worth it.
- French - La Cocotte specializes on dishes in a ... cocotte.
- German (modern) - Weinstein serves wine and very good local dishes.
- German (traditional) - the Prater, also server their own beer.
- Italian - Herr Rossi is stylish, full, modern, and worth the wait.
- Italian - Marcello, our tour caterer.
- Japanese - book in advance for the whole range ... Sasaya, more than Sushi
- Korean - Arirang just moved from Wedding to Charlottenburg.
- Market - the Markthalle Moabit, off the beaten track, and worth it.
- Market - the Winterfeldtmarkt on Saturdays is more about food then groceries.
- Museum - the Museumsinsel is almost too much to take in. A must see.
- Museum - Modern Art in an old railway station, the Hamburger Bahnhof. Nice.
- Meat - Filet Stück make their own salami, and are all about serving the best meat.
- Outside - get on the S-Bahn to Erkner, get on a boat and paddle the woods!
- Outside - spend a day (or two) cruising the lakes on a houseboat.
- Pizza - The Papà Pane is often crowded, very Mitte ... and serves good Pizza.
- Pizza - loud, rowdy, and good: Due Forni run 3 joints. This one is the best.
- Sauna - Zur Bleiche is the best place outside of Berlin.
- Sauna - Liquidrom is a great place to spend an afternoon in Berlin.
- Turkish - more than Kebab at Hasir (they run a few places all over town now)
- Vietnamese - Monsieur Vuong is always crowded, and still quite good
Big Sur (California) - driving up Highway 1 in 2009, on our way from LA to a gig in Santa Cruz, we spent two days at the Spirit Garden, playing music, slurping coffeee and munching some of the best cake in world at Big Sur Bakery.
Brecon (Wales) - on our way to Irland we spent 2 surprising off-days here in 2008. We climbed Pen y Fan and had high tea at Gliffaes hotel (they have a pretty garden)!
Cologne - is in Germany they say, but for us it's almost in another country. The EWG is the first place in Germany outside of Berlin that we played at. Otherwise they have their own beer and different pubfood at the Früh (your old school place, where you don't order ... you get! And never order Alt here), or at the Päffgen (a branch of Nico's family). Hang out at the Stadtgarten (in a park) for concerts & coffee. The Cologne carnival looks daft on TV, but if you get into it, it can be outragous! If you go for history Köln is almost as fill as any house in Rome is ... the Römisch-Germanisches Museum, is great and all about ... Romans & Germans, and Funkhaus Europa is one of the few stations left in Germany that is worth listeng to.
Crozon (Brittany) - as far west as one can get on mainland France. Climb Menez Hom, get sardines in tins in Douarnenez (canned fish was invented here) and fresh oysters at Aulne Maritim.
Edinburgh - climb Arthur's Seat, and eat pizza at Mamma's, just below the castle walls. And look for your classic B&Bs bang in the middle of town near Gilmore Place.
Hamburg - the Westwerk is part gallary, part concert hall and a good place for a late vodka.
Jerusalem - we played here in 2009 on our way to Amman. Jerusalem is special in a very different way. We started our Metamorphosis project here in 2012. Great hummus at Lina! And if you can ... stay at The Austrian Hospice is in the middle of the old town. If that's full ... scale their roof for the view and have Apfelstrudel in their garden.
Lafayette (Louisiana) - we came the first time in 1996 to hang out. Then we came back in 2008 and played at the Festival International. Both times we looked at a dead gator nailed to a log on a Mcgees swamp tour. We also had loads of crawfish on Mcgees porch. And we danced at the Blue Moon Saloon after dining at Café des Amis in Breaux Bridge (just a few minutes drive away).
Luxey (south west France) - two hours drive south of Bordeaux this tiny village hosts Musicalarue, our favourite festival. Always in August, always fun! It's about an hours drive from Gujan-Mestras (where Romain comes from) and that's about 20 minutes away from the Dune de Pilat, so there!
Madison (Wisconsin) - Willy Street Fair has invited us quite a few time to their loveable little festival with good food stalls and better music. We played here in 2007 (along with Campell Brothers) and again in 2008. By then the best pizza we had ever eaten on a street fair had moved on.
Moscow - oh my, we spent a week here in 2006, playing here and there with Les Hurlements d'L'eo. We hung out at the Ogi a lot.
Munich - for reasons beyond reason Berliners don't like the place. Don't listen to them. It's 4 hours drive away from the shores of the Mediterrainian Sea, is right next to some amazing mountain scenary, has some of the best restaurants in Germany, and people actually are genuinely friendly. How can this place go wrong? Even the Hofbräuhaus serves good food! The Haxnbauer is not as touristy, then again the Englischer Garten and the Chineese tower are, so who cares? Want more? The Fraunhofer is a trad. place with a more modern approach to trad. Bavarian music the Hofpfisterei is one of Germanys best bakerys, the Bar Centrale is an Italian coffee place at it's best noth of the alps (and they can best be visited a train ride and a cable car ride away, on Sonnenalm). Then there is the Goa, a good Indian restaurant. Never miss the Viktualienmarkt if you have a kitchen, if not eat at Weisses Brauhaus.
New York - we've played here a few times: once at the Knitting Factory when it still was where it was when it started, once at the Poisson Rouge and some other places. And we've met great people and hung out a bit, bought hats, and banjo cases. Our hang out in East Village is Zum Schneider is. Cup & Saucer, is great for breakfast, so is Veselka. The Ninth Street Espresso boys have time and coffee. Favourite question at Rudy's Music: what's a bouzouki? So head out to Chelsea Market, it makes one want to have a kitchen on tour. Stay on a budget (for NYC) at Bed & Coffee in East Village, and always listen to Soundcheck a great program on WNYC, hosted by John Schaefer.
Paris - after Berlin, this is the town we have played most in. Here we really started to be a touring band ... busking in front of Notre Dame, untill the police kindly asked us to get knotted. We later played in a police car, but that's a differnt story. Lunch at Chartier is legandary and surprisingly reasonable! we signed our only ever record contract at the Lalou in Belleville, spent long nights at Aux Noctambules, listening and singing with Piere Carré (... c'est mortel!) Don't miss the daily street market on Rue Montorgueil and tune in Pont des Artistes on French radio!
St. Paul - we played a short show at a music convention at the Fitzgerald Theater and had breakfast at Mickey's Diner. World famous.
Tel Aviv - start the day with breakfast and coffee at Landwer on Rabin Sq, walk up the sea front to the old harbour area (we played here in 2009), eat hummus and groove at the Abu Dahbi, and don't miss the touristy Carmel Market, and make sure to spend time down in old Yaffa.
Thun (Switzerland) - right by the shore of beautiful lake Thun MC Anliker is an impressario to save your soul. His festival Am Schluss (at the very end), under a ferris wheel and in full view of mount Eiger is a place to be. And his Cafe Bar Mokka a place to see.
Vienna - now ask any one of us how they like Vienna, and you'll get contradicing answers: great, musty, happening, gone. You need to hang out a bit ... eat at the Reinthaler Beisl, a local institution, good, and reasonably priced, or have coffee at old school Bräunerhof, or 50s style Café Prückel or classic Café Schwarzenberg. They all serve food. Don't miss the Albertina, one of the best of it's kind in the world.
Zurich - take the train S10 up to the very end, find the Planetenweg (planet walk) and walk it. Awesome.