I’m rather averse to celebrating my own birthday with a crowd, even with good friends. In the six years we’ve lived in Berlin, I think I only celebrated my birthday with friends twice: once when the handsome-and-talented husband organised a surprise birthday party for me at home, and another when he twisted my arm to take friends out for a celebratory Sunday brunch at Industry Standard.
No particular reason for my aversion. Perhaps it stemmed from my childhood when birthdays were celebrated with only the inner circle over a family dinner at an eatery we liked: birthday boy/girl gets to pick the place and my father picked up the tab no matter how old we were turning.
As an adult, I just prefer the company of the handsome-and-talented one on the evening of my birthday, eat great food, drink fabulous wine and/or cocktails, either trying out a new place that’s on our ever-growing list or going somewhere we are familiar with, depending on our mood really. Some birthdays I’m more introverted. I was definitely feeling introverted this birthday! Let’s go to somewhere local, and easy.
Riva Fish and Wine has been open for half a year or so, just off Rosenthaler Platz. After years of waiting for a decent local fish and seafood place, I finally got one, and a fabulous one at that! Before, it was always a cross-kiez trip to Charlottenburg for seafood. In addition to Riva, I now also have my “fish guy” in the form of the very French Jean-Michel after years of moaning, “Oh Mitte, I don’t need another coffee shop, I just need a great Fischerei and deli” (but Jean-Michel is another story)…
Riva Fish and Wine swings Italian in their kitchen, with a weekly changing menu focusing on oysters and seafood. Always ask for specials, because they would adjust the menu on the fly, depending on what fresh fish they’d been able to get. Fabrizio always takes great care in recommending dishes and wine, just the right amount of friendly and attentive without being smothering.
On my birthday, someone finally switched on the summer button. This kind of sudden switches may only happen in Berlin. It was warm and sunny the whole day, and proper heat, where the warmth remained after the sun went away. Girls and guys were suddenly wearing less clothes, I’m seeing bare arms and legs and people are smiling more, sunglasses over crinkly eyes or tucked on their heads.
We sat outside at Riva, and watched the chaos of cyclists and cars cross Rosenthaler Platz. First warm day of the year where the fair-weather cyclists come out of winter hibernation, awkwardly, if not dangerously, negotiating the traffic to get to the nearest Biergarten or park. I love watching people and making up stories about their lives and the destinations they’re rushing off to.
The handsome-and-talented husband + an attentive Fabrizio on beck and call + fabulous fresh seafood + chilled wine + lots of passers-by and cycling chaos to observe + warm May weather = I’m a happy birthday girl.
Also, I made myself a birthday cake to bring to work. I wholeheartedly love this southern German tradition of bringing cake to work for colleagues, for whatever reason whether birthdays, promotion… 95% of my Stuttgart visits, we have cake at work! How awesome is that!
Lemon-lavender cake with vanilla icing and fresh blueberries. So yum!
Thanks for reading! See you in the next blog post!