My Name is Not Roberta

Late this afternoon husband and I went out for a jog. Instead we ended up eating käsespaetzle—German macaroni cheese—washed down with a half-liter of gruner veltliner at a tiny diner called Roberta kocht (Roberta cooks). And how could we not? When we passed by the chef herself was standing outside wearing an apron and knitted cap, smoking a cigarette, drinking a glass of champagne and beaming from ear to ear. She noticed us checking out the place and explained she didn’t usually drink champagne on the job. It’s just that today she and her neighbors were celebrating the historic victory of the Green party in Baden-Württemberg, the southern German state from which she and the food she cooks hail. I am more or less ignorant of German politics, but even a die hard conservative would have been won over by the ebullient mood. And so we went inside to let the woman we assumed was Roberta cook for us.

Inside there was music playing on a record player and a thimble-sized, gold-rimmed glass of champagne to greet us (I assume the complimentary champagne is reserved for historical political moments). A German doppelganger for kd lang brought us a plate of homemade bread and some olive oil as a precursor for the main carbohydratic event: käsespaetzle topped with fried brown onions. In my three months in Berlin I have become something of a käsespaetzle connoisseur, and though it pains me to play favorites, this was the best—looser and creamier than the others I’ve tried, not to mention those onions.

As we heaped compliments on the chef, she told us more about the restaurant. It is only open Thursdays through Sundays because, as she explained, she only has that much love to give. And most importantly no, her name is not Roberta. (It turns out Roberta was an Italian singer, but that’s a whole other story.) I don’t care what her name is, the lady can cook.

Zionskirchstr. 5, 10119 Berlin
+49 157 73346020 

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