Sunday, December 31, 2006

Sights of Barcelona: Placa Reial

Placa Reial is the ultimate place for a romantic evening. This wonderful square, the old street lamps designed by Gaudí, and the tall palmtrees creates a great background for a good dinner or an evening drink.

Placa Reial is a favourite. It is situated just a stones throw away from La Rambla, and the entire square was constructed in the 19th century. There are arcades around the whole square housing bars as Colon and Cerveseria Canarias, where you can get a drink and some tapas. You can also get a great dinner at Les Quinzenitz, Taxidermista, or Santa Monica.

So a visit to this beautiful old square is highly recommendable. It ended up as our favourite area to eat and drink. I will share our culinary memories from four restaurants and bars around the square.

So enjoy!

Eating in Barcelona - Bilbao Berria

The interior


A rare moment at the bar, as some guests just left. On the main counter you can see the large selection of pinxtos to choose from, and on the other side you can treat yourself to hot tapas. There is also a good selection of sweets to choose from.

Eating in Barcelona - Bilbao Berria

Assorted pinxtos


If you want to make pinxtos, you can see some examples here. To the left you have bread with two different fish pates, one with tomato or pepper, and one with herbs. In the middle you have a pinxto with grilled red pepper stuffed with a mayonnaise based tuna salad. Right you see a pinxto with thin slices of smoked salmon and a smoked white fish, garnished with red peppers and black fish roe.

Eating in Barcelona - Bilbao Berria

Sometimes it is really a pity that you cannot eat for two. This especially the case if you go to Bilbao Berria, a restaurant close to the cathedral serving pinxtos, tapas from the Basque region. This is a must, if you want to eat good and cheap, but you may have to fight to get a seat. And when you want to get the bill the waiter counts the number of long and short sticks on your plate.

Location: BBBBB
The restaurant is situated at Placa Nova, a ten minute walk from Placa Catalunya in the heart of the old city. If you choose to enjoy your pinxtos outside, you can admire the cathedral and watch the action at the large square. Location is nothing less than superb.

Atmosphere: BBBB+

The restaurant is always packed with people and at times it may be difficult to get access to the pinxtos, as people tend to eat directly at the bar. The interior is very traditional and rustique with tables and benches / chairs made from solid wood, very charming.

Price: BBBBB
€15 for two pints and a more than average number of pinxtos is unbeatable!

The service: BBBB
The restaurant is based on self service so you get what you see. The staff mainly serves drinks and counts the wooden sticks when you want to pay. The overall service at the restaurant is good.

The Food: BBBBB!
The food served is divine!! Pinxtos are small slices of white bread with different toppings, as thin slices of cured ham, red peppers stuffed with tuna salad, fish patés with olive and mayonnaise, slices salmon, and skewers with hot spanish chorizo. The tastes are varied and superb and sometimes very inventive. A few years ago I grabbed a slice with manchego cheese, orange marmalade and chili. Great!

Total score: BBBBB- (4,75 points)
One of the best places to eat in Barcelona.

Address : Plaça Nova, 3, Barcelona
Area : Barrio Gótico
Opening hours : Every day from 9am to midnight.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Restaurant "Mona Lisa", in Hammerstein / Idar Oberstein

Antonio Caiazzo, one of Andreas' best friends, is the owner of the restaurant in Hammerstein, Andreas hometown. It is also the village kneipe, the local pub.

I was invited to a meal at the restaurant. As starter, I was served onion soup, served in a deep plate made from a pizza dough. Antonio insisted on a main course not on the menu, the famous Saltimbocca alla Romana, made from rabbit thighs and veal, served with french fries. He served a Sangiovese di Romagna 2003 to the Saltimbocca, followed by a great number of grappas........

Luckily, Andreas and his family will move into the building that house the restaurant in 2007. Conveniently close to Antionios great food and company.

This article has been written by Dagfinn Koch. You will find link to his website on Enjoy Food & Travel under the label "Friends">

Restaurant "Alt Oberstein" in Idar-Oberstein

If you would like to know how to prepare and eat traditional German food, I highly recommend a visit to Idar-Oberstein, the renowned gemstone-centre in Germany.

The most famous dish here is the Spiesbraten. It is a marinated piece of steak either from beef or pork, roasted on an open pit over a wooden fire. The restaurant "Alt Oberstein" has made thise one of its specialities. I visited this great restaurant with my friend and collegue, composer and producer Andreas Röhrig, who lives in Idar Oberstein. The owner recommended at 350 gram (12 oz) spiesbraten dish, which was not a part of their menu. It was served with Bratkartoffeln, made from sliced fried potatoes, onions, bacon and sweet cucumber. It was served with a Puerta de Alcala Reserva 2000 from Spain, making this a memorable meal.

We were also invited to see how the roasting process was conducted in a nearby building. The grill reminded me of a large wheel hanging down from the roof. The chef rotated the wheel slowly over the fire.

And we were served a brandy made from hazelnuts, made exclusively for the restaurant.

This article has been written by Dagfinn Koch. You will find link to his website on Enjoy Food & Travel under the label "Friends"

A great bargain in Barcelona: Hotel Atlantis

Staying at Hotel Atlantis

We ordered our rooms through http://www.hrs.de/, and I think we got a better deal here, than if you had booked at the hotel website. Paying less than €70 a night is nothing less than a bargain. Enjoy Food & Travel strongly recommends this hotel and we will tell you why!

Location: BBBBB
The hotel is situated at Carrer Pelai, just five minute-walk from Placa Catalunya and the higher end of La Rambla. From the hotel there is also easy access to the metro system as the station Universitat is at the other side of the street. At Placa Catalunya, you can take the bus to the airport leaving every 6th minute. So - the location of Hotel Atlantis could not be better!

Service: BBBBB-
The service is very good, both at the reception and in the breakfast room, and even the cleaning staff smiles at you. One of the maids at the breakfast room seemed, however, to be short-temperred and rather in a bad mood, but when you are going to serve so many hungry guests in such a short time, who could blame her!

Hygiene: BBBBB
This hotel is clean all over!

Rooms: BBBB+
I had asked for a quiet room, and if it had not been for a fan outside my window, it would have been very quiet. Room 310, faced a small and narrow passage in the middle of the building providing fresh air, but not much light. It had TV with spanish, german, and french channels, BBC World and Sky News, and a well filled minibar. The bathroom had beautiful marble tiles, with a bathtub (great) and a bidet, all very well maintained and clean.

Breakfast: BBBBB-
The breakfast was included in our price. It is, however, not included if you book at the hotel web-site. The breakfast buffet should cater to any taste. Scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, potato croquettes, and fried mushrooms. Cheese, and cured meats, as well as muesli and jam. Brown and fine bread, rolls and pastry. Coffe, tea and hot milk (great). Youghurt and juice. The orange juice was a little thin. All in all, the breakfast will provide you with all the energy you need until lunchtime.

Facilities: BBBBB-
The breakfast-room is a little small. Close to the breakfast room you'll find comfortable white sofas and a free WLAN for the guests. For those of you travelling without your computer, there is a PC for guests in the reception area, free of charge. There is a small bar, that also serves snacks until 10.30 PM. There are also comfortable sofas at designated areas at every floor.

Price: BBBBB
Paying less than €70 is a bargain, you get MUCH for your money.

Total rating: BBBBB-
Enjoy Food & Travel strongly recommends Hotel Atlantis to those of you visiting Barcelona.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Christmas in Barcelona - the city of lights!

As I booked tickets for Christmas in Barcelona, early November, I did not know what to expect. One of the main reasons was that I have never been a tourist during the Christmas season before. Secondly, I had no idea how spaniards celebrated their festive season, and how that would influence the city as a destination. The conclusion is!! Barcelona is a great destination, even during Christmas. No problems getting fed, or being entertained!! And it was truly a city of lights!! Highly recommendable!!

The weather made its contribution! Blue skies, sunny, highs in the high 50s (+14-+15C), lows in the low 40's (+5-+6C). When you were sitting in the sun you could easily enjoy your drinks wearing a thin sweater or even a T-shirt. The weather we experienced was a few degrees over the seasonal average.

Shops were closed during Christmas day and Boxing day. For us northerners, celebrating Christmas Eve December 24th, it was strange to find that most of the shops were open this day, even as the day this year was a sunday. Most shops were opened for business December 28th.

A great number of restaurants were opened Christmas Day and Boxing Day. A piece of advice, though. In order to get a table of your choice, go to the restaurant of your choice 15-20 minutes before it opens. We found that long lines formed outside many restaurants. But with this in mind, we always got a table. And! We did not have to book before we dined.

Most major attractions are closed on Christmas Day, and some during Boxing Day. We found that Parc Guëll were in business December 26th. The two famous houses by Gaudi in downtown Barcelona, Casa Mila and Casa Batllo, were however open from December 27th.

So, the nearest week I will provide you with information on our hotel, the restaurant and bars we visited, and the lovely sights of historic city of Barcelona.

The airline experience, Oslo - Barcelona and back - Rating Lufthansa

We booked our tickets on December 23rd on LH 3151 from Oslo to Hamburg, travelling on with LH 4486 to Barcelona. The return took us on the LH 4453 to Frankfurt am Main, with the corresponding flight LH 3134 to Oslo. The rating confirms Lufthansa as a good and reliable airline for the traveller, leaving them with with four B's, with a small minus. The biggest potential - the food!!

Punctuality: BBBB+
Overall the planes left on time and the boarding went smoothly. The reason why it miss a full score is a 15 minute delay in Frankfurt, where we were left in the airplane, with no information on the delay.

Price: BBBB
We paid all in all around 300 Euros roundtrip, including taxes. A strong price for the ticket, and the airline experience is worth it.

Comfort: BBBB
The seats were comfortable on economy class, maybe a little narrow, but with adequate room for the legs.

Food: BB+ Meals were included in the price, but if it had not been for the warm lunch served between Hamburg and Barcelona the airline would have been awarded a miserable two B's.

On the flights from Oslo to Hamburg, and back from Barcelona to Frankfurt, we were served sandwiches with either cheese or beef/turkey. I chose sandwiches with cheese on two flights. They were very dry and uninteresting. A leaf of lettuce or even a slice of tomato, would have provided a more moist experience and left a better impression of the food. As I chose the sandwich with turkey to Oslo, I found it slightly better, due to the moist provided by the sliced turkey, but the bread was as dry as ever.

The warm meal served from Hamburg to Barcelona was much more delicious. Bulgur wheat with pesto and a mediterranean vegetable stew - deserves BBBB. But all in all, the biggest potential Lufthansa has on its european destinations is the food, at least when they serve sandwiches.

Drinks: BBBB
Coffee, tea, softdrinks, beer and wine, including sparkling wine were provided, free of charge. I would, however, have liked to have a gin & tonic, but sadly.....

The total score: BBBB-
Lufthansa is still a reliable and good airline and it deserves its score. The biggest potential to become an even better airline is definetely the food, if it has the overall standard we met on the trip. But still - a good airline experience!!

B is for Bargain - new rating system at Enjoy Food & Travel

Enjoy Food & Travel would like to help you in your quest for the best bargain when travelling. To help you to know how to travel, where to stay, what to eat and what to see we now introduce the B-rating. We will rate airlines, hotels and restaurants on a scale from 1B, - "never again", or "stay away" up to 5B's, - "highly recommendable".


Rating airlines

In a increasingly competitive world, airlines perform a difficult balancing act, where you, as a customer, may suffer, through declining service and comfort. Enjoy Food & Travel will use our Bargain-rating to describe the airtravel experience on the following criteria.

Punctuality: Does the plane leave when it is supposed to leave, and if not, does the airline provide you with enough information?

Price: Is the price to the destination competitive and does it reflect the service you are given on board?

Comfort: Personal space. Is your seat and surroundings comfortable for the economy class traveller?

Food: How is the quality of the food served on board? Freshness, quantity and taste. Will will rate this only when meals are included in your ticket price.

Drink: How is the assortment of free drinks on board? Will will rate this only when drinks are included in your ticket price.

The airtravel rating: Being the average of the five (or three) criteria ratings.


Rating hotels

When you book a hotel you get what you pay for, or are you? It should be obvious for you that you should expect a better standard if you book a five star hotel than a hotel with two or three stars. However, there are things you never should accept, what ever rating, hygiene and service being the most important. Enjoy Food & Travel will give you a rating on the two criteria and on other facilities according to the rating awarded to the hotel.

Location: Is the hotel well located, according to the information you are given when booking the hotel. Does the location have a WOW-factor?

Service: Does the staff in the reception, in restaurants, and in other facilities treat you well as a paying customer? How do they respond to your requests?

Hygiene: Is it obvious that the surfaces in hotelrooms, in the reception, breakfast room and corridors are cleaned regularly? Is the hygiene in the bathroom well maintained? What about your bed linen?

Room: How is your quality of the room? Size, interior design, quality of bathroom, and other important factors.

Breakfast: How is the breakfast? Does it give you, as customer, the breakfast of your choice?

Facilities: How is the breakfast room? What about other areas you can use? Does it meet your expectations according to the rating?

Price: Does the price you have paid reflect what you get according to the hotel rating you have paid for?

The hotel rating: Being the average of the six criteria ratings.


Rating restaurants on the destinations:

Some restaurants may leave you as a victim of a total rip-off according to the price paid at the end, the quality of others, however, may be sky high. Here the general rule is, the more you pay, the more you should expect to get for your bucks. At the lower end, however, you may be amazed by the quality!!

Location: Is it easy to get to the restaurant? Does it have any wow-factor?

Atmosphere: Interior design. Is the interior inventive and creative? The presentation of the table? Do you sit comfortably?

Price: How is the general price level? Does it reflect the quality of the food?

The service: Is the staff polite? Do they give adequate information on the menu? Are there an english menu? If yes, is it obvious to you what you order?

The food: Presentation, is the ingredients well prepared? How is the texture and above all how does it taste? What about the wines on the menu?

The restaurant rating: Being the average of the five criteria ratings.

The first destination I will use this rating on will be Barcelona, having returned yesterday after a five day christmas vacation!

Enjoy!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Around the world in an hour

As I was browsing the net, I stumbled over an interesting page on the CNN website. I strongly recommend that you spend some time reading the articles under the heading Trips of great taste .

Are you a foodie? How do you tip where? How do designers change the iconic american diner? These are topics on this great page. I was up for the challenge that would determine once and for all whether I am a foodie or not. I was a foodie, at some questions by knowledge, others by deduction. The animal bit in the creme brulée question was the most intriguing. Try it, and see whether you are a foodie?

Another intesting article was how to tip in different parts of the world, on safari, in New York when the bartender buys you a round, and do you leave a tip when you leave the cruise-liner?

In Europe the guests tip moderately, as the waiters usually have a decent salary. In the US, however, the tipping rules are very, very complicated. Basically because hard-working professionals in the restaurant industry are grocely underpaid, relying on the tip from the guests. This reflects, in my opinion, a corporate greed from owners who want as much as possible of the profit for themselves.

And this is spreading to other professionals too. The last time I had a haircut in the US I had to pay for the haircut and then pay a tip to the hairdresser! I had to have my cousin (who is a qualified bartender) explain where to tip and where not to tip and how much to tip. After this article you are a little wiser, but not much.

There are articles on trends, on how the greasy old american icon, the diner, are turning into designer eateries, and how the American staple-dish, the hamburger, is getting a serious gourmet makover in the hands of trendy cooks.

And if you want to eat cheap in Reykjavik, or as expensive as possible in Barcelona, you get some of the information you need. So dive into this page and see this and more, and have a great time!!

Enjoy!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The last of the Eastman Secrets

My cousin Ann Eastman McDonnell sent me the last secret recipe in her portfolio. This is the Cheddar Chicken - and I'll tell, this is absolutely delicious!!

Ingredients:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into serving sized pieces
4 cloves of garlic smashed or minced
Olive oil for frying
Seasoned bread crumbs...you can season them yourself with Italian seasoning
1 cup of white wine (dry)
2 cups of shredded Cheddar cheese

Heat oil and garlic in a frying pan. Do not singe the garlic!

Roll chicken pieces in bread crumbs. Fry chicken pieces until just brown, but not cooked.

Place chicken pieces in baking dish. Pour oil and garlic over them, pour white wine into bottom of dish. Sprinkle cheese over the top.

Bake until chicken is done (about forty minutes at 350F) and cheese is melted.

I sometimes line the pan with spinach leaves just for fun and add a bit of
cream and it is the same, but a bit different. Sauteed mushrooms also make a good topping under the cheese

Nice dish to serve with a salad or mashed potatoes.

Enjoy!

Roast duck with stuffing - the result!

This was the end result of yesterdays struggle. After nearly five hours on a very low heat the meat was extremely succulent and tender. I increased the heat the last 30 minutes to 200C / 400F. This made the skin crisp and enhanced the flavour of the spices in the marinade.

The last 40 minutes I placed the brussels sprouts in the oven with the duck and they roasted in the fat and the seasoning in the bottom of the roasting tray. The gravy was made from some of the duck fat mixed with flour, then adding some chicken stock, double cream and some cherries to sweeten the sauce.

To this I also served boiled potatoes and sauerkraut, Norwegian style, made from red cabbage.

We had some gode bottles of red wine served to the duck:
- Barao de Vilar, Douro 2005, a wonderful wine. Spicey with red berries
- Dolcetto d'Alba, 2005, smoother than the former but much the same character

And the film was great, too!!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The day of the duck - dusk

Prawn soup with fennel and red pepper


The wonderful saffron-colour of this soup comes from the red pepper. The red pepper, the fennel, and the sweet thai chili dipping sauce gives this soup a unique aroma. The sweetness must be balanced with some vinegar, and do taste until you are satisfied. I also used 1/2 box of Fish-Suppen Paste in the recipe, produced by Jürgen Langbein, purchased in Karstadt in Kiel. These pastes are great in soups and sauces.

Ingredients
500 grs/ 1 lb prawns, shelled
1 medium sized red pepper, diced
1/2 a small bulb of fennel, diced
1 oz butter
1-2 tbsp flour
750 ml / 1 1/2 pints of stock, made from the shells, water and Fisch Suppe Paste
2 tbsp sweet chili dipping sauce
Salt and pepper
5 cl Dry vermouth
1 tsp tarragon vinegar
100 ml / 4 fl oz. double cream

Fry the diced pepper and fennel in the butter. Add flour, stock, sweet chili pepper and salt after personal taste. Stir and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Pour mix into blender and blend until smooth. Pour back into pan and add vermouth, cream and vinegar. Taste to season.

Add shelled prawns at the end of cooking time. I will serve this with toasts with Rouille Provencal. I bought some in Marseille produced by the firm Moulin J. Ramade, in Nyon.

Yum!

After lunch - the day of the duck

Preparing the stuffing


A stuffing made from apple, onion, bacon and sage is absolutely perfect served with poultry. The same combination of tastes is perfect even for pork. This time I used a rather hot variety of chorizo - chorizo fort, produced by César Moroni and bought at Monoprix in Marseille.

I used Grevens Cider from Hansa Breweries in Bergen, but any apple cider will do. Grevens Cider is a quite sweet apple cider. If you use a similar cider, I do recommend to increase the amount of salt a little. But beware - the salt content in the different chorizos or types of bacon may vary, so do add salt at the end of the process, so it will not be oversalted.

1 1/2 oz / 45 gr butter
1 large / 2 small apples, diced
1 regular sized onion, diced
1 1/2 oz / 50 grs chorizo sausage, diced
4-5 leaves of sage or dry sage
2 oz / 60 gr croutons
3 fluid oz / 1 dl applecider
Salt and pepper

Allow to cool. Stuff the duck. Close with wooden toothpicks or string. And now the duck is in the oven and will roast for four hours.

Quack, quack!!

Dawn - to prepare the duck

I bought a "canette", a small duck produced in France, weighing close to 2 kg / 4 lbs. These birds are perfect for two to three people. As we have only a small domestic production of ducks in Norway, most of the them are usually imported frozen. Allow to thaw for two to three days in the fridge. Remember to wrap it thoroughly as some of the juices may leak out and may be a source of food contamination.

When preparing raw poultry, wash knives and cuttingboard thoroughly before preparing other food stuffs!

Take a fork or a knife and and make small holes or incisions in the skin.

I always use a marinade when I prepare poultry. You can use any spice mix containing salt and pepper, as long as you add some sweetness to it. I use 2-3 tbsp Montreal Steak Seasoning. Then add 2 tbsp of olive oil and 3 tbsp of sweet thai chili dipping sauce. Stir into a paste and allow to infuse for 1/2 hour. Then brush this paste thouroughly on the skin of the duck. Cover the duck and allow to rest in the refridgerator for another two to three hours.

Then you can go out and have a good lunch, as I intend to do now.

See ya!

The dawn of the day of the duck

I have a few traditions during the year. One of them takes place close to Christmas when I and my friends Ketil Zahl and Thomas Evensen gather for the Tante Pose evening. Tante Pose is an old norwegian film produced in 1940. As fortysomethings, we think back on the christmas of our childhoods. This film was as important to get you into the christmas mood as pork rib with crisp cracklings, and even the christmas gifts.

Thomas' mother Dorthe, is danish, and in Denmark many prepare a roast duck for christmas dinner. It is served with sauerkraut made from red cabbage, brown gravy, brussels sprouts and caramellized potatoes. So - we decided to have a roast duck for this traditional evening.

I will take you from dawn to dusk, this day of the duck. I will tell you how I prepare the duck before you put it in the oven, and I will present the stuffing I use for poultry. I have used the samme stuffing in a chicken recipe I published here on Enjoy Food & Travel early September.

The duck will roast in the oven on a very low heat (100C/210F) for five hours. You will of course see the end result as well. I will also prepare a fish soup as a starter and a chocolate mousse with brandy as dessert.

So Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Christmas in Barcelona - a short guide

I am on a seminar out of town, and as I had some spare time after the lessons I looked for useful informations on the net for those of us who will stay in Barcelona during Christmas.

The tourist guide for Barcelona gives you, in short, some very useful pieces of information as:

- I am very happy to inform you of the fact that we do not have to expect a white christmas in Barcelona.

- For the shopoholics you better do your shopping either on December 24th or from December 27th. Christmas day and Boxing day all shops are closed.

- Most restaurants will be open during the whole vacation, but the price of a meal may be higher. You are also adviced to make a reservation at the restaurant of your choice in order to get a table.

- Most attractions of the city are closed Christmas day, but some of them are open Boxing Day. You are adviced to check the opening hours as they my be shorter than usual.

So if you are doing the same as we, study the information on this site carefully. I have!

Enjoy!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Coming up in December - Christmas in Barcelona

This christmas I am finally doing what I've been thinking of for years. To leave christmas behind and travel abroad during the festive season. This year I am doing just that. I am leaving a cold and dark Oslo, for Barcelona, the jewel by the Mediterranean. I am not travelling alone, I have the best company - my good friends Susanne Koch and Per Koch.

I have been to Barcelona once, three years ago. Then I stayed for a weekend. I was so impressed by the architecture of the old gothic quarter, the cathedral, la Rambla, La Sagrada Familia and the numerous buildings designed by the famous architect Antoni Gaudi.

Barcelona is really a great place to eat and drink.Tapas, paella, cured meats and fresh fish in abundance from the Mediterranean to mention some of the treats you can choose from. The city has an impressive food market situated at La Rambla, a must for a foodie, a real feast for the eye. I will roam around in this beatiful city with camera ready and provide you information on where to eat, where not to eat and what to eat. I am particularly eager to revisit a great catalan tapas bar, by the cathedral, and treat myself to the delicacies I ate there a few years ago.

We are staying at Hotel Atlantis, a stones throw away from the narrow streets of the old Gothic Quarter close to the hectic the night life on the main street la Rambla. I will, after my stay, give you my view of this hotel - the rooms, the location and the service.

So - stay here at Enjoy Food & Travel in December for the sites, the smell and taste of Barcelona.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Berlin - culinary memories from Munchs hus

This is duckbreast, served with "viltsaus" a norwegian sour and sweet gravy. The duck is served with red cabbage and cranberries. The dumpling are made the way they prepare them in Trondheim. Dumplings are made in various forms in most parts of country using local ingredients.

This dish from Munchs hus combines some highly unusual elements. Roast duck is usually served in other ways. Serving it with dumplings, or raspeballer, as we call it in Norway is a new twist.

This article has been written by Dagfinn and Malin K. You will find link to their websites on Enjoy Food & Travel under the label "Friends"


Berlin - Culinary memories from Munchs hus

It wasn’t patrionism than led us to the Norwegian restaurant, Munch’s Hus when we visited Berlin lately. Quite the contrary, we usually try to stay away from anything Norwegian abroad. But this time we were invited, and we entered the restaurant without knowing what to expect.

Surprisingly, the whole experience was very good! The style was clean - in short very Scandinavian. Our friendly waitress turned out to be Swedish, so even I, who cannot speak German could communicate easily with her. What a relief after days twisting my brain trying to find the right words in German.

We ordered three different meals, starting out with a glass of Prosecco for me and a ”moose blood” (vodka with a strange consistency, made of berries) for the guys.

I ordered moose to eat, though (picture), and it tasted fantastic! Perfect meat, moist and tender served with mashed potatoes and a lovely gravy flavoured with juniperberries.

Our companion were served fish, and my boyfriend had to try the totally strange dish duck with dumplings (raspeballer). This combination is unheard of here in Norway, but it tasted great.

And the restaurant served proper water. I am not fond of bottled water abroad. I was very pleased to be served the Norwegian water ”Voss”. The bottles have been designed by Neil Kraft, and was given the award by Norwegian Design Council in 2001 for good design. Kraft has previously designed for Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren.

All in all, visiting Munchs hus, was a wonderful experience, and thankfully not THAT typically Norwegian. It’s defintely worth a visit.

If you want to visit Munchs hus the adress is:

MUNCH’S HUS
Bülowstrasse 66
D-10783 Berlin-Schöneberg

This article has been written by Dagfinn and Malin K. You will find link to their websites on Enjoy Food & Travel under the label "Friends"

Co-writer on Enjoy Food & Travel - Dagfinn Koch

I would like to present one of the co-writers on Enjoy Food & Travel. Dagfinn Koch is a well known Norwegian contemporary composer. He is engaged to be married and he and Malin, his charming fiancé will present some culinary memories from Germany here on the website.

This includes articles from Idar Oberstein, Lübeck and Berlin. Here comes the first report from Munchs House in Berlin.

Enjoy!

Marseille - a walk on the wild side

The Get Bar


The last evening I visited Marseilles only gay bar. The Get bar is situated in rue Beauvau by Vieux Port. It is really strange that a city of more than 2 million inhabitants have one gay bar. The proprietor told me that Lyon, a city of the same size, had 7 bars.

Wednesday November 29th a Chic & Mumm party took place at Get bar, sponsored by Mumm, the Champagne producers. We were handed free champagne, served from large bottles in ice buckets on the bar counter. As it was really early, a relatively small number of guests had gathered, but they obviously knew each other very well. I heard some of the music mixed by Antione de Chery, but I did not get to know who Shana was, whose presence was announced on the bar website

As we were leaving the next day, and I knew what too many glasses of champagne can do to you, I left early and went back to our hotel room.

This little walk on the wild side, concludes my stories from Marseille, this time. And there will be a next time, for sure!

Beef stew with beer - the end result

This is the end result. I served this stew with rösti-potatoes and baked vegetables. If you want a sweet supplement I would recommend cranberry-jam.

We had a rich red wine to this meal. A bottle of El Coto, Crianza 2003.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Beef - cheap cuts

For me a good stew is the ultimate food during the winter. And to prepare one, you can settle for the cheaper cuts of beef. The cheaper cuts have more fat, and have to be boiled for a long time. After 3-4 hours, however, the once tough meat is tender and moist. Saturday I am expecting a friend for dinner, and I have decided to prepare a classic meal for the cold season.

In France they use red wine in their preparation of their famous Boeuf Bourgognion, and in Belgium they make their stews adding strong dark beer. Stout like Guinness or Caffreys are also great to use. I use ordinary lager. In these stews it is vital to use enough sugar to balance up the saltness and the bitterness from the beverages added.

Beef stew with beer

To prepare this you need the following ingredients

2 fluid oz / 50 cl olive oil
2 lbs / 900 grs of cheap beef cuts, diced roughly
2 small onions, sliced
2 small tomatoes, diced
One stalk of celery, sliced
1-2 tbsp flour
6 oz / 150 grs of mushrooms, sliced
1 pt / 500 cl of lager
1 pt / 500 cl of water
2 stock cubes
3-4 teaspoons of sugar
Dried herbs (thyme, parsley, bay leaf, etc.)
6 fluid oz / 150 cl single cream

Heat the oil, brown the diced meats in 4-5 portions in the hot oil. Remove meat from pot. Brown onions, celery, mushrooms and tomatoes, the stir in flour properly to avoid lumps. Then add meat. Add the lager, water, sugar and stock cubes, and leave to boil for two hours.

Remove meat from pot. Place vegetables and remaining stock in blender and blend until smooth. Then pour the sauce back into pot, Add cream, and boil for another hour. Serve with rice or mashed potatoes.

Food Markets in Marseille - baking bread for 200 years

Close to Saint Victor I found this bakers shop. Four des Navettes has provided bread and pastry to the citizens of Marseille since the era of the French revolution and claims to be the oldest "boulangerie" in Marseille. I do not think it has much competion.

Food markets in Marseille - fish and shellfish

Marseille is of course a great place to buy fish and shellfish. The most famous place is the fish market at the Quai de Belges by the Old Harbour, where local fishermen sell their catch every morning. Here you find fish, shellfish, and squid of every variety fresh from the sea. Walk down and have a look. This fish market was situated in a sidestreet to rue Canébière and sold oysters, prawns, lobsters, and fish. The prices were high though, but freshness is definetely worth paying for.

Food markets in Marseille - Rue Longue des Capucins

Rune Longue des Capucins is a great street for foodmarkets. Here you can buy sweets, fresh meat and pultry, vegetables and already prepared meals. It has definetely a North African atmosphere. If you want to visit this street be aware of the presence of petty criminals though. Two young men tried to steal my wallet as I walked around, but I had placed it my backpack. So promise me - do be careful.

Friday, December 08, 2006

News flash: November 30th to December 6th

Don't be a fart - on a plane!

The latest security scare in American aviation took place on an American Airlines flight bound for Texas. The plan took an emergency landing in Nashville, Tenn., as the passengers resported a strange smell on board. The cause of all this was a women that, due to the smell from a fart, had lighted a match to mask the smell of the gas.

Read the rest of the story at WSMV Nashville

How to survive a dinner party.

Do you avoid entertaining due to the stress before and during the party? If you do, George Erdosh, an American upscale caterer let you in one some of his secrets that will make the evening more enjoyable both for the guests and the host of the party. The three steps includes who to invite, how to organize your grocery shopping and how to prepare your meal efficently, and how to choose serving style. So maybe by reading this article you will get the necessary courage to entertain your friends.

Read the story in Christian Science Monitor

German Wings give up low budget flights from Norway

German Wings gives up the its last service from Oslo to Cologne february 2007. When the German low price carrier launched flights to Norway it flew from Oslo to Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne. The carrier has had strong competetion on these routes and gives up the Norwegian market due to bad results.

Read more at Forbruker.no (Norwegian only)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Eating at La Daurade - Sorbets

The Blackcurrant and lemon sorbet served as desserts were simply delicious - nothing more, nothing less. All in all, sorbets turned out to be our favourite dessert during our dinners.

Eating at La Daurade - The Bouillabaisse

Marseille is famous for its Bouillabaisse. It was therefore natural for us to choose this as our main course. It was served with small toasts with rouille. The toasts and the rouille are supposed to be added to the soup itself. Our bouillabaisse was served with moules and two types of fish.

In spite of the beautiful saffron colour, I am sad to say that I found the bouillabaisse at La Daurade very uninteresting. It was just salty, lacking the aromas from the herbs or the other ingredients that are supposed to be added to the soup during the preparation. It was not close to the experience Arthur Che had from the restaurant Chez Michel, described in his blog Arthur Hungry. So read his description, and we will certainly visit Chez Michel for the famous fish soup the next time.


Eating at La Daurade - Profiteroles au foi gras de canard

Profiteroles or crem puffs, are usually served for dessert. We were therefore intrigued by the chance to have profiteroles filled with duck liver. Our expectations rose as the entrée arrived at the table. A cream puff floating in a puddle of light brown gravy. The latter was delicious, but as the fork sank into the profiterole itself, an important question materialized. Where are the foi gras de canard? We had expected a good amount of the stuff, but the amount of duck liver was very small, indeed.

So we felt slightly disappointed, but finished our plate waiting for the main event of the evening - the serving of the Bouillabaisse.


La Daurade - the definite tourist trap

We passed La Daurade during the evening, and the interior looked very charming. We decided to try one of their menus but the meal turned out to be a great disappointment. It looked charming but it was really a tourist trap.

The €18 meal looked extremely intriguing, the main course being the legendary "Bouillabaisse" the fish soup from Marseille. After visiting La Daurade, however, my advice is, go to another restaurant and eat Bouillabaisse and pay more than we did. Then you get the real thing.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Marseille: Notre Dame de la Garde

The church of Notre Dame de la Garde can be seen where ever you are in Marseille. This neo-byzantine basilica with its large golden statue of Saint Mary is situated on the signal hill of la Garde, 162 metres over the sea level.

It replaced a 13th century church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The construction of the basilica started in 1853 and the work lasted for 11 years.

My sister and I decided to see the church and admire the view from the Signal hill. It was fascinating to climb up the steep streets leading up to this magnificent monument. Reaching the summit we were amazed by the wonderful church and the stunning view over the city and its surroundings.

If you can, make the trip to Notre Dame de la Garde into your own little pilgrimage. Reaching the top is nothing less than a religious experience.

Marseille: The fortifications protecting Le Vieux Port

Large fortifications protect the narrow passage into the old harbour. The work on these impressive constructions was started by King René I of Naples in 1447 and the work lasted for 6 years.

The engineer Jean Pardo planned the defences and Jehan Robert, the mason of Tarascon, carried out the work. You may take a walk on the defences on the left side of the port by foot, but it is limited access to much of the fortress, as it still is a military area.

Marseille: The Remains of the Saint Victor

These are the remains of the patron saint as it rests in the Abbey dedicated to him. In another niche you can see the remains of John Cassians skull

Marseille: The Abbey of Saint Victor

The Abbey of Saint Victor has been standing on the same place since 416. At that point Marseille had seen the rise and fall of the Greek and Roman empires, and was close to a new important epoque, the Merovingian era.

That year, the mysterious monk John Cassian, founded a church dedicated to the patron saint of the seafarers, St. Victor of Marseille. The remains of the patron saint and the skull of the abbeys founder John Cassian still rest in the church.

The Abbey looks more like an old medieval fortress than a church, as it is situated on a hill overlooking the fortifications protecting the old harbour. Only a small part of the current structure, close to the old doorway, goes back to 5th century. The church as it is today, dates back to the early 11th century. Part of the old church was demolished during the French revolution.

It is a wonderful experience to enter the darkness in this small mysterious basilica, built in the romanesque style. It is probably the oldest piece of archictecture left in Marseille from a turbulent and important time in European history.

Marseille - a few historic sites worth visiting

The city of Marseille goes back 2600 years. Still it has no old town and very few grand monuments, but there are a few, and they are witnesses to an long and dramatic history of this city.

The Chateau d'If (picture), was built as a fortress on the smallest island in the Frioul archipelago 575 years ago. This fortress, was converted to one of France's most famous prisons, immortalised in the novel the Count of Monte Christo by Alexandre Dumas.

Today you may visit the old prison by taking a ferry from Quai de Belge in the Old Harbour. Sadly, we did not get the chance to visit the Chateau d'If. Still we managed to see a few other interesting historic sites and I will present them to you.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Eating at "Coquillages" - desserts day 1 and 2

I have no sweet tooth, so the Profiteroles with chocolate was out of the questions. The remaining options, however were tempting.

Both days I ended my meal with cheese, lightly sprinkled with walnut oil and pepper. The small triangles of blue cheese, camembert, and chévre were served a little too chilled for my taste, but I found this to be the perfect end of my meal.

My sister ordered the sorbet of her choice, passion-fruit, pear or lemon. The first day she ordered lemon and got pear, the 2nd day she got the lemon. If I had not chosen the cheese I would have taken the sorbets. As we shared desserts, I got a taste and found them delicious.

Eating at "Coquillages" - main dish day 2

Fried salmon with creamed green pepper sauce


This was really delicious!! The salmon was perfectly prepared, the interior being slightly undercooked. The mild, creamed sauce, given a little heat from the whole green peppercorns tasted great with the fish.

The salmon was served with slices of courgettes soaked in butter (out of this world!), a baked tomato with herbs and rice.

This is definitely a dish I would recommend, and order again!

Eating at "Coquillages" - entrées day 2

Salad with seafood and salad with baby squid

The base of these to entrées was more or less the same, green lettuce with an oil and (hvite-wine?) vinegar dressing, mixed with small bits of lemon.

My sister were served a mix of shellfish, shrimps, and squid, and I got a large heap of whole baby squid. The taste from the dressing and lemon was very well balanced by the lightly salted seafood. However, I found the baby squid surprisingly tough. A result of overcooking, maybe?

Eating at "Coquillages" - day 1, Duck breast with dried porcini mushrooms.

My sister chose entrecôte with green pepper sauce, and I ordered the duck breast with dried porcini- mushrooms.

The breast was perfectly prepared, moist and tender and the creamed sauce had a wonderful taste from the porcinis. The mushrooms were very lightly soaked in water before added to the sauce. The french fries were perfect.

A real hit!

Eating at "Coquillages" - entrées day 1

Oven baked oysters with herb and garlic butter


I am ashamed to tell you that I am no fan of raw oysters. This as every gourmet tells you that they are a real treat. In spite of this, I decided to try the oven baked oysters served the same way as escargots, baked in the oven with butter, parsley and herbs.

As I had my first oyster, it felt oversalted. When eating the 2nd and 3rd, however, the other tastes came through, but I was not captivated by the dish. As we switched entrées during the meal, my sister loved the oysters prepared this way. For me, however, this dish will not be a favourite memory from this trip.


Moules Farcies Provencal style

The moules in this dish was lightly breaded, buttered, and baked in the oven added garlig and herbs. We both agreed that this way to prepare moules gives a delicious result. For us both this was a perfect hit!

"Coquillages"

I have placed the name of this restaurant in quotation marks, as I did not take a picture of the sign displaying its real name. Having said that, it is easy to find as it is situated over street from La Daurade, that I will tell you about later.

My sister and I had different feelings for this restaurant. She loved it, I thought it was a tourist trap. It had menus varying in price from € 12 to €18. We got excellent service from our waiter but asking for the menu one or two of them clearly disliked our choice and showed us! This shows a disrespect of us as customers and I have to admit that this made me feel less welcome here, than on other restaurants we visited on our trip.

You could choose one entrée, one main dish and a dessert from the menus. My sister and I did not share our main dishes here, as she found her favourite - entrecôte. I, however made my choices.

Tourist trap or not - this restaurant was very popular, and was packed with people. It had a large menu, and the staff were busy preparing oysters, and large trays of fish and shellfish were prepared for La Bouillabaisse. So maybe I was wrong here. If you visit this restaurant, give me its official name and let me know whether you agree with me or my sister.

Couscous at Un Escale à Marrakech

I have eaten Couscous as a dish in Maroccan resturants a few times and I have loved it. We decided to try the dish served with chicken and merguez-sausages. On earlier occations couscous, vegetables and meats were served on one large tray, but at Un Escale à Marrakech the semolina, the vegetables and stock (picture) and meats and chickpeas, were served separately. The dish was accompanied by small bowl of harissa-sauce.

Couscous is no fancy dish, but made with good honest ingredients. The mild herbs from the stock, vegetables and couscous was perfectly balanced by the heat from the merguez-sausage and the harissa-sauce. When I return to Marseille I will most certainly have a larger meal here.

To the meal we enjoyed a chilled bottle of Maroccan rosé-wine, Boulaouane.

Une Escale à Marrakech

This restaurant is situated further out on the west side of the Vieux Port. As we passed it on one of our walks, we decided to return to dine there. The restaurant serves a Maroccan or Northern African menu. Une Escale à Marrakech is really the most beautiful restaurant we ate in during our stay, decorated in an arab style with ornate walls, exotic lighting and wonderful painted panels. We were flown over to the other side of the Mediterranean in a flash.

It was clearly a popular choice for many as we succeeded to get a table in a corner in the back of the restaurant, as the rest of the place was packed with people. We had one meal here - a traditional couscous, and I think this is too little to make a review of the restaurant. I am, however, convinced that this may be a very good place to enjoy the maroccan cuisine. If anyone visits this place once, or on a regular basis, let me know what you think.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Eating at La Coupole - Lasagne with white goat cheese (chévre )and smoked ham

At this point my sister and I had stopped being creative. We both wanted this treat for ourselves. The lasagne was made with less tomatosauce than usual. But! On top of the layers of the bechamel sauce was placed thin slices of chevre that melted as it roasted in the oven. To the tomatosauce was added wonderful Jambon Cru. This was certainly more than a mouthful, but I bravely opened my throat and swallowed the goat!

Eating at La Coupole - Salmon Raviolis with a creamed leek sauce

This was the most normal dish we ate at La Coupole. That is, the least extravagant, but still it was delicious. Red raviolis filled with salmon. I am not sure whether the filling was smoked or plain salmon filet. Still it tasted great, with a good sprinkle of black pepper and freshly grated Parmeggiano Reggiano!!

Eating at La Coupole - The Gourmand Salade

For those of you that think salad always is a healthy option, think again! This is definetely not a salad health prophets would recommend!! Three large slices of Foi Gras de Canard on toast, on side smoked, and lightly salted duck breast, thinly sliced. On top a quails egg, and to emphasize that it really is a salad different varieties of the leaves with an oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. A gourmands dream come through, and I'm still dreaming.

Eating at La Coupole - Ducks legs in peach sauce, with fried aubergines and roasted potatoes and leeks

I was surprised by the peach in the cream sauce. Cream and peach sounds more like pudding time than duck time. Still, the cook, once more knew what he was up for. The Duck legs were roasted so tender that they melted in your mouth. The aubergines were cut into strips, probably lightly salted to dry them a little, then breaded and roasted in oil. The diced potatoes and leeks were fried soft. It all worked perfectly. Another hit on the same day!