Archives for the month of: May, 2011

It’s hard to write a restaurant review, without sounding like one of those self-proclaimed cuisine experts with their indigestible “resto-lingo,” or like an article from Gourmet Magazine. I’ve almost given up on restaurant reviews altogether. Even so, I’m going to recommend Top Thai Restaurant in Portland.

A key to restaurant success is location, location, and location. Unfortunately, Top Thai is in the wrong place. There’s a tattoo parlor next door, a homeless shelter a few blocks away, and a Greyhound bus terminal down the street. If that doesn’t put you off, the restaurant sits on busy street overlooking an aging strip mall.

How did I find it? Eric and Paul stumbled on it by accident while attending the DDD Summit Conference last week. They were walking back from Radio Shack and were too tired and hungry to go to another place. Accidents sometimes have pleasant results.

Top Thai doesn’t offer haute cuisine, but it does have a good selection of dishes that are reasonably priced. It’s an example of how ordinary Thai food can be great. I recommend the steamed “Butterflies.” You can drop in and have a good meal without a lot of fuss.

The food is fresh; and Pom, the proprietor, is warm and friendly. At the moment, Pom is both the hostess and the waitress until the restaurant gets off the ground. Let me add that part of the restaurant’s appeal is Pom who is so engaging that she could sell oil to the Arabs.


Top Thai
267 Saint John Street
Portland, Me.  
207.773.8988

Open from 11 AM – 10 PM
Closed on Sunday

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It’s hard to write a restaurant review, without sounding like one of those self-proclaimed cuisine experts with their indigestible “resto-lingo,” or like an article from Gourmet Magazine. I’ve almost given up on restaurant reviews altogether. Even so, I’m going to recommend Top Thai Restaurant in Portland.

A key to restaurant success is location, location, and location. Unfortunately, Top Thai is in the wrong place. There’s a tattoo parlor next door, a homeless shelter a few blocks away, and a Greyhound bus terminal down the street. If that doesn’t put you off, the restaurant sits on busy street overlooking an aging strip mall.

How did I find it? Eric and Paul stumbled on it by accident while attending the DDD Summit Conference last week. They were walking back from Radio Shack and were too tired and hungry to go to another place. Accidents sometimes have pleasant results.

Top Thai doesn’t offer haute cuisine, but it does have a good selection of dishes that are reasonably priced. It’s an example of how ordinary Thai food can be great. I recommend the steamed “Butterflies.” You can drop in and have a good meal without a lot of fuss.

The food is fresh; and Pom, the proprietor, is warm and friendly. At the moment, Pom is both the hostess and the waitress until the restaurant gets off the ground. Let me add that part of the restaurant’s appeal is Pom who is so engaging that she could sell oil to the Arabs.


Top Thai
267 Saint John Street
Portland, Me.  
207.773.8988

Open from 11 AM – 10 PM
Closed on Sunday


What would I do without the Internet? How did I function in the dark ages before the World Wide Web? Remember the days when we depended on CBS, NBC and ABC? Today, entertainment options are just a mouse click away. 

For example, on YouTube.com, you can see entire movies and television shows. The other day, I came across Miranda, a charming British comedy series that is reminiscent of the classic American sitcoms of the 1970s (Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart, Carol Burnett, Jim Rockford, and Rhoda).

Miranda follows the exploits of its title character played by the actress Miranda Hart. Miranda is a tall (6’1) Rubenesque woman who runs a toy/joke shop. She’s unmarried and doesn’t have a boyfriend, all to the dismay of her overbearing mother.


Miranda doesn’t fit in socially, and everything she does seems to go wrong. She’s the definition of un-cool. She’s clumsy, listens to 1980s pop music, and is embarrassingly inept around men. Moreover, Miranda is hopelessly in love with Gary, the handsome chef, who works at a nearby pub.

Miranda is a pathetic character, you can’t help but love. I watched one episode and then another. Each succeeding episode gets better. You want Miranda to succeed, despite the odds against her.

After 131 postings and over 2500 page views, OneFootinBerlin is one year old today. It’s been a slow start, but the audience is building. When I started the Blog, I didn’t know where it would go or what to expect.

I’ve learned what people like to read and what they don’t. Human interest stories about animals and children are the most popular. Stories about politics, the least. It turns out that the death of Polar Bear Knut, Oprah’s encounter with the Koala, and the Schultüte were among the most popular postings. You never know what people will find interesting!
The late Knut celebrating his Birthday

And while most of my audience is from the USA and Germany, a surprising number of readers come from South Korea, France, Great Britain, Israel, and Russia.
I’m often asked how much time it takes to write a posting. It varies. Some postings take as little as 5 minutes and others take over an hour. It depends on finding photos, links, and, of course, writing the post. Some days, the writing just flows; and other days, my mind is a blank.
As I look toward to the coming year, I’ve already made a few changes to the Blog’s format. I’ve added a photo of Portland Maine to the header (to reflect my connection to the city), and there’s now a sidebar with an archive of popular postings. It’s always interesting to see what other people are reading.
Over the year, OneFootinBerlin has become my online diary. It’s been an opportunity to share my thoughts. But more importantly, writing the Blog is my time to be alone and away from the complexities of daily life. In a word, the Blog is my therapy.  

After 131 postings and over 2500 page views, OneFootinBerlin is one year old today. It’s been a slow start, but the audience is building. When I started the Blog, I didn’t know where it would go or what to expect.

I’ve learned what people like to read and what they don’t. Human interest stories about animals and children are the most popular. Stories about politics, the least. It turns out that the death of Polar Bear Knut, Oprah’s encounter with the Koala, and the Schultüte were among the most popular postings. You never know what people will find interesting!
The late Knut celebrating his Birthday

And while most of my audience is from the USA and Germany, a surprising number of readers come from South Korea, France, Great Britain, Israel, and Russia.
I’m often asked how much time it takes to write a posting. It varies. Some postings take as little as 5 minutes and others take over an hour. It depends on finding photos, links, and, of course, writing the post. Some days, the writing just flows; and other days, my mind is a blank.
As I look toward to the coming year, I’ve already made a few changes to the Blog’s format. I’ve added a photo of Portland Maine to the header (to reflect my connection to the city), and there’s now a sidebar with an archive of popular postings. It’s always interesting to see what other people are reading.
Over the year, OneFootinBerlin has become my online diary. It’s been an opportunity to share my thoughts. But more importantly, writing the Blog is my time to be alone and away from the complexities of daily life. In a word, the Blog is my therapy.  
Siegesäule in the heart
of the Tiergarten

For people visiting Berlin for the first time, I certainly  understand the temptation to visit all the “attractions.” But you miss the local flavor of a city if you only visit the “sites.” In Berlin, people always go to the Brandenburger Tor, Check Point Charlie, the East Side Gallery, the Siegesäule, the Alexanderplatz Fernsehturm, Unter den Linden, Schloss Sansocci, and Museum Island. These are all great places, but why not try something unique, even if means missing one of these famous spots. 


Here are six Berlin sight-seeing recommendations not found in most tour books:

English Theatre Berlin:  Sure the productions are in English, but the flavor and audience is definitely Berlin. Moreover, you can actually see a live theatrical production in Berlin and understand it. The plus: it’s not very expensive!

Britzer Garten: A 90-acre garden that offers art, restaurants, concerts, sports, health facilities, animals; and above all, beautifully manicured gardens and nature. In May there is an amazing Tulip show and in the fall a huge Dahlia exhibition.

Gärten der Welt im Erholungspark Marzahn: This park contains seven “Gardens of the World.” It has the largest Chinese Garden in Europe, as well as gardens from Japan, Korea, the Middle East, Bali and a “Christian” garden.  It’s my favorite place to go for a quiet Sunday afternoon. Try some tea at the Chinese Pavilion overlooking the small lake.  And while you’re in Marzahn, check out the block after block of Soviet Era apartment buildings.  


Public Swimming Pools: What? Some the best examples of Art Deco architecture and design can be found at a few of these wonderfully restored pools. My favorites are Stadtbad Charlottenburg, Stadtbad Neukölln, and Stadtbad Mitte. Check out the links for the 360 decree view of these facilities.

Turkish Market: It’s a real Turkish Market selling exotic delicacies from the Middle East. Located in Kreuzberg, it’s in the heart of Turkish Berlin.

The Headstone reads: Here I stand
at the mile-stone of my days

Berlin-Schöneberg – Friedhof Schöneberg III: Cemeteries are miniature versions of cities except all the people are dead.  Each headstone is like the front door of some one’s house, each with its own unique style and nameplate. I try to imagine what the person was like and how they died.  I really enjoy the cemetery experience!


Friedholf Schöneberg III is a beautiful place to stroll; and when you’re there, why not visit the graves of two of its more famous citizens:  the actress Marlene Dietrich and the photographer Helmut Newton.

 
Finally:

Get a copy of Zitty and/or Tip Magazine: Both publications give you the low down on what’s happening in Berlin. They have information concerning opera, music, film, theater, literature, and it even activities for kids. They’re in German, but if you know just a few German words, you’ll be able to discover a wide range of activities to enjoy. You should also check out the English language magazine, The Ex-Berliner.
Siegesäule in the heart
of the Tiergarten

For people visiting Berlin for the first time, I certainly  understand the temptation to visit all the “attractions.” But you miss the local flavor of a city if you only visit the “sites.” In Berlin, people always go to the Brandenburger Tor, Check Point Charlie, the East Side Gallery, the Siegesäule, the Alexanderplatz Fernsehturm, Unter den Linden, Schloss Sansocci, and Museum Island. These are all great places, but why not try something unique, even if means missing one of these famous spots. 


Here are six Berlin sight-seeing recommendations not found in most tour books:

English Theatre Berlin:  Sure the productions are in English, but the flavor and audience is definitely Berlin. Moreover, you can actually see a live theatrical production in Berlin and understand it. The plus: it’s not very expensive!

Britzer Garten: A 90-acre garden that offers art, restaurants, concerts, sports, health facilities, animals; and above all, beautifully manicured gardens and nature. In May there is an amazing Tulip show and in the fall a huge Dahlia exhibition.

Gärten der Welt im Erholungspark Marzahn: This park contains seven “Gardens of the World.” It has the largest Chinese Garden in Europe, as well as gardens from Japan, Korea, the Middle East, Bali and a “Christian” garden.  It’s my favorite place to go for a quiet Sunday afternoon. Try some tea at the Chinese Pavilion overlooking the small lake.  And while you’re in Marzahn, check out the block after block of Soviet Era apartment buildings.  


Public Swimming Pools: What? Some the best examples of Art Deco architecture and design can be found at a few of these wonderfully restored pools. My favorites are Stadtbad Charlottenburg, Stadtbad Neukölln, and Stadtbad Mitte. Check out the links for the 360 decree view of these facilities.

Turkish Market: It’s a real Turkish Market selling exotic delicacies from the Middle East. Located in Kreuzberg, it’s in the heart of Turkish Berlin.

The Headstone reads: Here I stand
at the mile-stone of my days

Berlin-Schöneberg – Friedhof Schöneberg III: Cemeteries are miniature versions of cities except all the people are dead.  Each headstone is like the front door of some one’s house, each with its own unique style and nameplate. I try to imagine what the person was like and how they died.  I really enjoy the cemetery experience!


Friedholf Schöneberg III is a beautiful place to stroll; and when you’re there, why not visit the graves of two of its more famous citizens:  the actress Marlene Dietrich and the photographer Helmut Newton.

 
Finally:

Get a copy of Zitty and/or Tip Magazine: Both publications give you the low down on what’s happening in Berlin. They have information concerning opera, music, film, theater, literature, and it even activities for kids. They’re in German, but if you know just a few German words, you’ll be able to discover a wide range of activities to enjoy. You should also check out the English language magazine, The Ex-Berliner.


Take your mind off all this rain and gloom. It can always be a sunshine day, at least metaphorically. 



It’s been raining for the last 5 days and the forecast is for more rain until Sunday. It’s damp, cold, and gray.  Here’s a video to make it a “Sunshine Day.”

Detroit has a lot of problems: a declining population, crime, drugs, unemployment, and poverty. But Detroit faces another problem. According to Detroit Dog Rescue (DDR), there are 50,000-100,000 stray dogs running loose in the streets of Detroit, and 90 percent of dogs picked up are euthanized. DDR was started this year after city officials refused to allow access to a network television series that would have documented the lives of these abandoned dogs trying to survive in Detroit. I guess the city fathers decided it would be too embarrassing to document the way Detroit treats some of its most vulnerable citizens. Watch the YouTube video and see how you can help.