Wineweek 143: Tales from Tallinn

As many of you know, I am from Helsinki, and I visit quite often. My family and many of my friends still live there. I am around almost every other month. But it has been an embarrassing 10 years since I have visited Tallinn. No, I have no secret estonian relatives, but Tallinn is only 80km – a short boat ride away. Traveling from Helsinki, It’s a great destination for a day trip or even an overnight. Its almost a Finns national responsibility to check it out every now and then. It was actually M that came up with the idea a few weeks ago. And before I had even time to blink, he had mustered up a credible list of twentysomething restaurants, cafes and wine bars worth checking out. So we booked a hotel and the boat trip and off we went. And the trip was every bit as great as we thought it would be. Here are some of my best tips for a foodie in Tallinn. Continue reading “Wineweek 143: Tales from Tallinn”

My Best Tourist Tip in Town – The Flying Elk

I often get questions from friends visiting Stockholm: where would I recommend to eat. You would think this is a question I love answering, however, I actually find it a bit hard. I could recommend tons of places, but I run into hesitation. Why? Three things. Firstly popular restaurants in Stockholm require advance booking. A lot of advance booking. So all of those who are not extremely well planned (90%), will just hit a wall when trying to score a table. Which is a bit discouraging. Second, many visitors will find the Stockholm price level for food high. I find it inconsiderate to suggest something that will cost an arm and a leg, so I need to really think of those price worthy places that are easy on the wallet . Third, people like eating different things, and I am generally suspicious of restaurants that think they can master several cuisines (if you advertise that you master everything – I suspect you master nothing). And as you know, I never, ever, recommend something that I don’t think is good. Continue reading “My Best Tourist Tip in Town – The Flying Elk”

Yakitori and Japanese Cocktails at Yardbird – Hong Kong

As I sat down to write this post, I realized, it is already a month since we came back from Hong Kong, and I haven’t even started going through all the places we visited. There were some pretty awesome restaurants there, and it would be a shame to keep them just to myself. Yardbird is one such place: well known by local expats, but rarely mentioned in tourist guides. Perhaps for the reason that you cannot reserve a table, so who wants a bunch tourists queuing to get into your favorite restaurant.  We were lucky enough to be tipped off by a friendly waiter at restaurant Amber, so there we were, a quarter before Yardbird opened, waiting to get our hands on some of that awesome yakitori.  Continue reading “Yakitori and Japanese Cocktails at Yardbird – Hong Kong”

Under the Grapevines at Klimaty Poludnia

July is here and it has brought with it a calm that I have long been craving for. I have time to sit around, write and think. Our trip to Krakow was like a tipping point. The point where my mind started to wander and tense muscles relax. There was this specific moment on the terrace of restaurant Klimaty Poludnia (“Climates of the South”) where my brain acknowledged that I was actually on holiday.  And if you see the restaurant, you will understand why. The place was practically medicine for the soul. Continue reading “Under the Grapevines at Klimaty Poludnia”

Close to Nature at Krako Slow Wines

I just love the name of the place: Slow Wines. It has a nice ring to it and gives an expectation of a relaxed atmosphere. And that it has. Slow Wines is a great place to go for winding down after a hard day at work. I assume the name stems from the focus of the bar, which is nature wines. I guess one can say that nature wines are produced in a “slow” way – without help from any additives, on their own pace. Maybe that is why they are so good.  Continue reading “Close to Nature at Krako Slow Wines”

Wineweek 139: Midsummer in Krakow

Midsummer in the Nordics is a festival of light. It is the longest day of the year, and in the north, people can even enjoy a midnight sun. Now that it is over days will start becoming shorter again. Contrary to its name, Midsummer is actually just the start of the real summer here in Sweden. July and August are the warmest months of the year, and also when most people take their summer holiday. We will both be working though, so that we can take our holiday during our annual Christmas escape to Asia. *sigh*. But that is still far away. Luckily we got some holiday while spending Midsummer in warm and cozy Krakow. Here are some pictures and highlight from our trip. Continue reading “Wineweek 139: Midsummer in Krakow”

Wineweek 136: A Postcard from Hong Kong

Greetings from Hong Kong! Its day no 3, and we are soon half way through our trip. Felt appropriate to give an update. The purpose of our trip was to relax, get some sun and to eat our way through the famous culinary scene of the “New York” of Asia. The quality has been varying. We have been positively surprised as well as somewhat disappointed during the same day. So here are my first thoughts about whats good and whats not.

Pro’s. Its warm. Really warm. And humid. Summer has arrived to HK. I keep reminding myself that this is what I wanted, so I will not call it a con at any time. Second, its easy to get around. We took the bus from the airport straight to our hotel, the tube is fast and efficient, and walking around is made fairly easy. And last but not least, we have found fabulous restaurants here. We had perhaps the best steaks ever at Beefbar as well as great Iberico Bellotta and nature wines at La Cabane. Specialty coffee scene is vibrant. Even Starbucks has opened an upscale branch, Starbucks Reserve, that serves single origin coffees as pour overs and awesome cold brew coffee. That is kind of disturbing, but fantastic as I have previously associated Starbucks with very low quality. The disturbing part is that it might be that I have to stop mocking them…

Cons then? The first and most visible con for a Swede is the price level and currency. The Swedish crown is weak, and the Hong Kong dollar relatively strong. The price level in the city seems to be high: a hand brew coffee costs between 50-80$ (6-9€), and a glass of wine from 90$ (10€) and up.  I didn’t come all the way to Hong Kong to cheap out, so will not start obsessing over my bank account now, but perhaps I am in need of another shopping ban after I come back. Another clear con is that local food seems to be very bland in taste. If you look at the street food we have been peeing at, nothing has been very tempting. Luckily this is a hub for all kinds of cuisines, so no need to stick to just local recipes.

Here were the first thoughts from the city. Three full days left, and lots of nice areas to visit. My camera has been in constant use, but there are persistent clouds above the city disturbing the quality of my shots. It seems that they are not moving before it rains. I am keeping my fingers crossed for that, or otherwise the panoramic city pics from Victoria Peak will just remain a dream.

xx Soile

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Mong Kok street buz
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At Causeway Bay
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Din Tai Fung dim sum overdose
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Pork dumplings at Din Tai Fung
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The weather was not misty, my camera lens was

Wineweek 116: Unprepared in Helsinki

I am not a fan of January. It’s dark, cold and long until spring and summer. This weekend it paid off though, big time, as there were not that many people going out in Helsinki. I was finally able to visit BasBas (or at least their wine bar), the restaurant I have been raving about for over a year, yet not been able to get a reservation.  Continue reading “Wineweek 116: Unprepared in Helsinki”

Sweet tooth in Bangkok

I have a vague recollection of making a promise before our long trip, to cut down on cakes and other sweet stuff. Asian desserts are not that good anyway, I thought (wtf!!). I don’t know what I was thinking. Bangkok is full of cafes with creamy cakes and delicious desserts. We also hang out in the Japanese expat areas where sweet stuff is appreciated. Here you have a few good tips of where to get your sugar rush in Bangkok. Continue reading “Sweet tooth in Bangkok”

Eat Me – Don’t Mind if I Do

Cold, dark and windy – that is what Stockholm is like right now. Regardless of the weather, I am starting to recover from the shock of returning home. Browsing through pictures from the previous weeks is a bit depressing, but I will still torture myself further by writing about Bangkok for a while. There is so much good there that I want to recommend. Eat Me, in this case, is not an invite to come and chew off my arm, but the name of one of my favorite restaurants in Bangkok. It is absolutely amazing quality and for a fraction (well perhaps half) of the price of Europe.  Continue reading “Eat Me – Don’t Mind if I Do”