Ein Laden

— A way to relax

Need more of...soothing scene near Snoqualmie Falls.

My husband and I went to a cafe bar and sat there for more than an hour. This isn't normal. Whenever we leave the house to grab food, it's more like a chore we can't wait to complete.

This evening we wandered around looking for a place to eat. All the places we had in mind were closed.

While heading home, we stopped in a cafe I'd once admired. 'Let's stop for drinks and while we're there, figure it out.' I was skeptical about the food at the cafe. Cute cafe bars are usually all about drinks, brunch and snacky cold food. I couldn't imagine there'd be anything tasty.

The interior of Ein Laden is filled with flea market finds, antiques. There are old windows, stained glass repurposed to create separations between the dining space and kitchen. Exotic dried plants and fresh flowers make it feel like an herbal apothecary. The wooden surfaces add cozy warmth. Although all upcycled, the place is more elegant than most Berlin cafes.

The cafe front was opened and we sat behind a couple facing the street. There was plenty of fresh air and a bit of rain had started sprinkling. When a musician came to sing and play his guitar, I found myself wishing I could also sing and play. I felt like staying.

Looking at the menu, I didn't know what to get. Antipasti, burrata, salads, and maultaschen, the menu is identical to cafes in the area. I didn't think anything could be that tasty.

A voice inside encouraged me to give it a chance. 'These menu items are so common, served differently in so many places, you don't know until you try.' Other guests were having dishes that looked great. Just because I had a cold sandwich at a place similar doesn't mean it's always going to be subpar.

We started with antipasti. There was a variety of veggies and baby red onions. I've never had it before. It was surprisingly sweet and mild, unlike raw onion. All veggies were tender, flavorful and refreshingly light.

The anitpasti was served with bread that came with pumpkin seeds. So soft, the bread tasted freshly baked.

Now that I tested the food, I was convinced they'd do a good job. I went for the maultaschen. It's a German dish that's kind of like stuffed pasta but the filling is not Italian in flavor. It's a filled dumpling.

The maultaschen was better than expected. It's comfort food, makes me lazy, but it was served in pesto sauce along with a side salad which made it less heavy. My husband and I slowly shared bites. I was unprepared to have such a pleasant dining experience.

Even my drink, thyme tea, was something new. Since it was herbal, I felt cleansed. My husband had his beers while we nibbled on veggies and talked.

I haven't felt that relaxed in a while. Maybe this needs to become a regular occurrence.

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