In the Cradle of Brutalist Architecture

This summer, I have become nerdy about architecture. Not that I know anything about it, but I have expanded from food and wine pictures to buildings (still in the category of things that don’t move). So for our summer road-trip, M planned a quick stop in Rotterdam, the cradle of experimental and brutalist architecture. And we had a blast. Not only did I enjoy running around with my camera (I was so distracted that I walked into a pole), M and our travel companion P, were pleased with the coffee and food offering. I can warmly recommend Rotterdam as a weekend destination.  Continue reading “In the Cradle of Brutalist Architecture”

Hackney on my Mind

I took 4000 pictures a week ago when visiting London. 4000! I had to go and buy an extra memory card because the ones I had with me were full. It was a sunny week and the weather could not have been better for shooting for the Tripsteri London book, and I was very happy to visit Hackney for the first time as the author lives there. So I thought that I would add a few pictures and recommendations from there as a little treat on this rainy Sunday. Continue reading “Hackney on my Mind”

The Era of the Neighborhood Bistro

Someone just mentioned the other day, that most restaurants that pop up these days are the same: cozy and simple with a focus on local produce and/or vegetables. It’s the era of the neighborhood bistro. Small cafes and tobacco-shops are converted into trendy cafes and wine bars with specialty coffee, organic wines and brunch. The answer to my friend’s comment was that I actually don’t mind – this is the type of restaurant I prefer (as long as they do what they do well). Sidney’s is a perfect example of a place I would really love to have around the corner from where we live: fresh menu complemented with a good list of wines, both classic and nature, with a green footprint. Continue reading “The Era of the Neighborhood Bistro”

Tallinn – Wine City!

It has become a bit of a summer tradition (two years in a row is tradition, right?) for us to take a mini vacation in Tallinn. It’s a small city, and one can easily get around by foot, and there are many fantastic restaurants to visit. Additionally, price level is low compared to Sweden; a glass of nice wine costs less than 10 euros, and the most expensive glass might take you back 20. It’s so funny, you cannot even get a glass of house wine in Sweden for that price. However, as with any other destination, finding the good places requires some work and good eye. So here are a few recommendations for foodies and friends of the fermented fruit in the capital of Estonia. Continue reading “Tallinn – Wine City!”

The Little Red Riding Hood

When I still lived in Helsinki, my objection to it was mainly that it was too silent. I traveled for work, and longed for big city life with a plentitude of bistros, bars and terraces. I imagined myself mid-March holding a Cappunico on a sunny terrace in Paris, or having cocktails in a speakeasy in London’s’ Soho. Somehow Helsinki was quiet, monotonous and grey, and I felt a belonging somewhere else. Maybe it just felt like that at the time, however, looking at Helsinki now, it has changed. The atmosphere is more open, people like to go out, and that Parisian terrace, and many like it, can be found right there, close to the center of the City. For example, Le Petit Chaperon Rouge, which is a French wine and snack bar in Katajanokanranta, just a stone throw away from the Senate square. Continue reading “The Little Red Riding Hood”

Wine Review – Sandhi Santa Barbara County Chardonnay

A wine review at last. It has been ages since I have written one. Not that I haven’t had good wines, but perhaps not that much worth singling out. Sandhi Santa Barbara County Chardonnay was such a bottle. We bought it on our last trip to New York a year and a half ago. It was one of those bottles worth flying over the Atlantic.  Continue reading “Wine Review – Sandhi Santa Barbara County Chardonnay”

Wineweek 141: At Home

This weekend we planned to be mainly at home. How unusual. I don’t know why I have such restless feet, as our (new) home is actually quite nice. We have space in the kitchen and a big balcony, M makes great food and the best wine selection in town is right here in our living room in our Climadiff wine fridges. We even bought this small electric grill to be able to get the barbecue-experience without having to go to a restaurant. So to make sure we stayed at home, we invited some friends over for dinner, both Friday and Saturday.  Continue reading “Wineweek 141: At Home”

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