New Orleans Haus

by James Glazebrook

I visited New Orleans back in 2001 and, to my shame, didn’t eat any Cajun or Creole food. In fact, I’m not sure I ate anything, choosing instead to drink my bladderweight in beer until I fell out of my hostel bunk bed. I party so hardy. Anyway, it seems I’ve been given a second chance, because when we moved to Berlin, we settled around the corner from New Orleans Haus. Glowing reviews from the likes of Exberliner have sparked much debate about whether the place really provides an authentic Louisiana eating experience, but the ex-pat-twat naysayers are missing the point: they can eat GUMBO. In BERLIN. And if they happen to be football fans, they can watch the Superbowl there. They can even learn German for free there, if they want to complain about the less-than-ginormous portion sizes in the mutter tongue. I may not be an expert, but I loved the food – especially the crab cakes, cornbread and pecan pie – enjoyed washing it down with a Diesel (beer and coke), and reveled in the welcoming, homely atmosphere. We’ll be going back, real soon.

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Soma? So-meh.

by James Glazebrook

Soma, the Carsten Höller installation at contemporary art centre Hamburger Bahnhof, is currently Berlin’s hot ticket. Occupying a unique middle ground between art event and Yuletide petting zoo, Soma has something for all ages: reindeer for the kids and hallucinogens for the grown-ups (both frustratingly just out of reach). What it doesn’t have – like much of the post-sixties work on display in the rest of the gallery – is a solid narrative. If you want to find out what Höller’s “scientific experiment” is meant to explore (good luck!), The Guardian recently ran a great review – but what visitors to the exhibition actually walk away with is the tang of deer piss in their nostrils and, in the noggin, a confusing confluence of canary scales, mushroom clocks, mice boxes, and the suspicion that in reality none of these animals are high on their own supply (of urine). Still, Hamburger Bahnhof is well worth a visit, if only to marvel at the stunning architecture of this converted railway station or the occasional flashes of genius (Dan Flavin etc.) in the permanent collection – and Soma made for great photos at least!


Happy New Year!

by James Glazebrook

Fireworks mayhem on Oberbaum bridge, Kreuzberg.