The Berlin Inn
3131 SE 12th Ave (at Powell Blvd), 236-6761

Some people think German food is all density and fat. That's only part true. At the Berlin Inn, only a few dishes on the menu are smothered in gravy, and they use Canola oil wherever possible. Density? My beef roulade was only about 1.5" x 3", but weighed over 10 pounds. It took me three days to eat the leftovers. But you know what? It was really delicious, even the fifth time around.

I enjoyed an appetizer that challenged many of the German food myths. A plate of sliced sausage loaf with potato pancakes was light, crisp, and easy on the stomach. The cold loaf, sliced thick, was marinated in a sweet and acidic dressing and sprinkled with fresh green onions. It was the perfect complement to the warm, crunchy potato cakes, which were even better than my old Aunt Fern's latkes.

Vegetarians need not run from the Berlin Inn. The numerous veggie options are where the kitchen's creativity comes into play. How about an eggplant schnitzel, or a vegetable-stuffed version of the potato pancakes? So you see, it's a cute, quirky little restaurant, where the fresh, thoughtful food outweighs the occasional missteps. If you get an itch for a schnitzel, I can't think of a better place to scratch it. PL

Soup and Soap

4236 N Mississippi, 281-3926

With a heavy soul food influence and crazy breakfast combinations (waffle, chicken wings, and eggs for $7.95 or potatoes, red snapper or catfish, and eggs for $9.50) the Soup and Soap is completely unique. Inside, there's a sunny, diner atmosphere, which is a surprise in the unassuming yellow building. More noteworthy, though, are the waitstaff--some of the world's friendliest ladies--who have no pretension or stiffness.

S 'n' S opens every day at the late hour of 7 am, and serves about 20 different combinations of breakfasts, most of which include eggs, bacon or pork, hashbrowns, and grits. Highlights include the pan-fried breakfast steak, which is thin, lightly breaded, and just greasy enough. After consuming it along with two eggs, toast, and a side of potatoes, you're full all day. And just think, now everytime you need to do a load of laundry, you have an excuse to go back. KS