Saturday, February 03, 2007

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Lunch in Copenhagen

Open sandwiches at Peder Oxe

The salad buffet

My sister had two sandwiches and salad buffet (not completely true, though - she loved the buffet so much, that she left me half a sandwich). She loved it!!

Open sandwiches at Peder Oxe - Øl og dram!!

O Joy! There is nothing as a dripping cold beer and a glass of Rød Aalborg Aquavit, poured from a bottle taken out of the freezer!! In fact, this is what you are supposed to drink with open sandwiches. So if you want the full Danish experience - do it!!!

Lunch in Copenhagen

Open sandwiches at Peder Oxe

Thin slices of lightly salted veal with horseradish cream

This was a new open sandwich experience. As a horseradish fan, I know that it may be very sharp in taste, but mixed with this cream and horseradish julienne on top it was a great contrast to the lightly salted meat.

Lunch in Copenhagen

Open sandwiches at Peder Oxe

Hen salad with ruccola and bacon

This is not a chicken salad (or at least in its name, it´s not), but a salad made from a hen. It is mixed with sour cream and mayonnaise dressing (I think), added a little curry powder. Served with a slice of good Danish bacon and fresh crispy ruccola it is a hit!!

Lunch in Copenhagen

Open sandwiches at Peder Oxe

Open sandwich with double smoked salmon

This double smoked salmon sandwich was served without what I am used to, scrambled eggs. I tried to find out what the double smoking process this salmon had been through, but whatever - it tasted great. Before I started, I poured a few drops of aquavit on the salmon slices. Yum, yum!!!

Lunch in Copenhagen

Open sandwiches at Peder Oxe - review

The Food: BBBBB

The open sandwiches served were as expected, large, i.e. covering the whole slice of bread, made from excellent and fresh ingredients, thus extremely filling. I can just say that enjoying open sandwiches for lunch at Peder Oxe is a must for those of you eager to try a great Danish speciality!!

Dyrlegens Natmad (The Vets Nightsnack)

Liverpaté with thin slices of meat, slices of raw red onion, aspic and cress. A new variation of the liverpaté sandwich sandwich often served with bacon instead of the slices of meat.

Lunch in Copenhagen

Open sandwiches at Peder Oxe - review

Service: BBBBB

On top of each lamp there is a green lamp. If you want service, press the button.

We visited Peder Oxe early lunch, and when we pressed the lamp, we were given good and professional service immediately. We will not speak for the service during peak opening hours, but the fact that they have installed these inventive little lamps, indicates that you deal with people genuinly concerned with their customers.

As we were in Scandinavia, where Norwegian have no problem communicating with Danes, we did not need an English menu, but there were, and I am convinced that you will be given the best of service. If not, let me know!!

Lunch in Copenhagen

Open sandwiches at Peder Oxe - review

The interior: BBBBB

I absolutely love the interior you find at Peder Oxe. It is definetely Denmark, but also a sence of Provence, and I also get the feeling of being at our old summer house at Sørlandet.

It is decorated in a light yellow, ochre colour with white painted wooden details. Beautiful, blue tiles decorate the area around the salad buffet. In the middle of the main room you find this wonderful large fire place.

At Peder Oxe, you do not find the impressive table settings. On the contrary, the tables gives you a quintessential Scandinavian feeling, elegantly set with white table cloths and napkins, simple glasses and cutlery.

Lunch in Copenhagen

Open sandwiches at Peder Oxe - review

Total score: BBBBB (4,88 points)

I visited Peder Oxe for the first time the summer of 2005. It was great to sit outside in the heat, orderring open sandwiches, beer and aquavit. Returning to Copenhagen, I was determined to to get more of the delicious open sandwiches and beer and aquavit, ofcourse!!

Peder Oxe is a feast!! There is hardly nothing to put your finger on. This is great food and drink, in a beautiful, honest and very Danish environment.

Location: BBBBB

Gråbrødretorv is a great location for such a restaurant. Some of the beautiful old houses around the square are close to 300 years old and they create a perfect atmosphere for an exquisite meal. This particularly during summer where you can enjoy your meal outside. On location; Gråbrødretorv may, however, be quite difficult to find if you walk along Strøget. Consult your map or ask in your hotel.

Price level and quality: BBBBB

Peder Oxe has a large menu. For lunch (11 AM - 4 PM) you can choose from salad buffet and open sandwiches. I highly recommend two options - three open sandwiches or two sandwiches and salad buffet at DKK 138 (€16). For dinner you can choose from a wide variety of starters (€10-17), main courses (€11-23), and desserts starting from €4,50. They use ingredients in season and their beef are organic, from free range cattle.

Price of wine goes from around €25 and up. If you want a bottle of Château Mouton-Rotschild 1993, 1ère cru classé you will have to pay up - a little over €350. Beer from €5 and if you want a glass of Aquavit costs €6.

Paying DKK 138 for open sandwiches at Peder Oxe is worth every cent. You dive into a uniquely Scandinavian lunch tradition well taken care of by Peder Oxe.


Friday, February 02, 2007

Sights of Copenhagen: The City Hall

At the end of Strøget, you will find the impressive City Hall built in the period 1892-1905. The inspiration for the architect, Martin Nyrop, was the Palazzo Publico, in the city of Siena, Italy.

This was a new location for the City Hall. The older had been situated on Gammeltorv / Nytorv since 1479. The previous building used for this purpose, built in 1815, can still be seen there.

The city hall is a truly impressive building, with a bell tower of 105 metres. The facade is decorated with splendid guilded sculptures.

Within a walking distance from the City Hall you have access to other great sights as:

  • New Carlsberg Glyptotek housing a great number of sculpture from the antiquity in wonderful temperate old greenhouses, as well as more contemporary sculptures and paintings from famous masters
  • Tivoli Gardens of Copenhagen, housing an amusement park, restaurant and a great park with reproduction of monuments from different parts of the world
  • Louis Tussauds wax museum, located by the Tivoli Gardens

Sights of Copenhagen: Gråbrødretorv

This square with buildings dating back as far as 1730 used to be called Ulfeldts square after the Lord Chancellor Corfitz Ulfeldt. After his treason against his brother-in-law Frederik III, a monument of infamy was raised to him in the middle of the square, and in 1841 the square's name was changed to Gråbrødretorv.

The square is named after the old Fransiscan monastery there used to be situated on the square from 1238-1530. Today it houses several great restaurants. Le Pavé, (french), Jensens Bøfhus, and Peder Oxe, where we had our danish open sandwiches. The square is also used as an outside venue for different arrangements, as the Copenhagen jazz-festival.

Sights of Copenhagen: Kringlegangen

Leave Strøget, follow the the small street, and on the wall you find this door with this sign, Kringlegangen. If you enter, you will find that this narrow passage leads you to Gråbrødretorv, where I will take you next.

Sights of Copenhagen: Helligaands kirke - the plaque

Here you see the plaque outlining the history of Helligaands kirke.

Sights of Copenhagen: Helligaands kirke

This church is situated between Amager Torv and Højbro Plads. Above the door there is a memorial plaque where you get a short history of this wonderful church building.


This old church was first a part of the old Helligaands hospital


In the reign of Christian I, rebuilt as church as the old church first was a part of the old Duebrødre monastery. (Duebrødrene was an undergroup of the Augustine Monastic Order)


Here, in the year 1530, the lutheran reformation was proclaimed


In the year 1537 turned into on of the citys parish churches and by the grace of rigshovmester Christoffer Valkendorf in the year 1582 and 1594 was given tower and spire.


Burnt with a large part of the city in the year 1728


Rebuilt the following year and often since repaired


Now in the 16th year reign of reign of Christian IX, once again completely restored and given two towers.


The parish to help and in Gods honour the year 1878-1879

Sights of Copenhagen: Christiansborg Castle - Folketinget

At Amagertorv you have a great view of Christiansborg Castle housing the Danish parliament, Folketinget, the supreme court, and the government.

Denmark is the only country in the world housing all the three supreme powers in the same building.

There have been palaces on the site for over 830 years. The palace as you see it today was, however built as late as 1928. The first Christiansborg dates back to 1733 and burnt down in in 1794. The second was finished in 1828 in empire style, and burnt down in 1884. By then the royal family has moved to Amalienborg Palace.

Sights of Copenhagen: The Sankt Nikolaj church tower

The Church of Sankt Nikolaj by Amager Torv was built in the 13th Century, and was one of the three oldest churches in Copenhagen. The old church burnt down in the large fire in 1795 but the tower was still standing after the fire.

Until early 19th century there were a house with stalls for local butchers connected to the tower. The tower itself has also served several purposes, i.e. as a tower to prevent the tragedy of the 1795 fire to happen again.

Connected to the tower is a smaller building built in 1912. It has housed a navy museum and the citys main library. Today it is an art exhibition area. The tower as you see it today is partly reconstructed in 1909, based on the old tower.

Sights of Copenhagen: Strøget

Strøget is the pedestrian area reaching from Kongens Nytorv to Rådhuspladsen (City Hall Square). Strøget is a chain of old streets and squares, and is the centre of the Copenhagen shopping area. Here you find the famous department stores Magazin Du Nord and Illums, as well as most of the famous Danish brand names. So, your euros may fly out the window - if you want!

While shopping, along the way you can also see some different Copenhagen sights. You can also take a highly recommendable brunch on the two famous cafés on Amager Torv, the art nouveau Café Norden, and on Café Europa. So, Strøget has much to enjoy. I will take you along to see some of the sights of Copenhagen.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Having a drink in Copenhagen

Hviids vinstue, anno 1723

Hviids vinstue is situated in the basement in Kongens Nytorv 19. The interior is rustique, and the spare lighting in the dark rooms gives it an intimate atmosphere.

You can get three open sandwiches for DKK 68,- (€7), and the beer and the Gammel Dansk Bitter is reasonably inexpensive. If we had not made up our mind, I would have liked to have enjoyed my danish "smørrebrød" at Hviids. But the Carlsberg and the Bitter tasted great.

Do visit Hviids vinstue. It has a wonderful old world ambiance, and represent what is the typical Danish way of life.

Having a drink in Copenhagen

Hviids vinstue, anno 1723

At Kongens Nytorv you find the oldest drinking establishement in Copenhagen. Hviids vinstue has served beer, wine and aquavit to the citizens of Copenhagen the last 286 years.

We went there to have a beer and a Gammel Dansk Bitter or a "pilsner og en lille en", as they say in Denmark. This as we were determined to eat open sandwiches in another very well known restaurant, Peder Oxe.

Breakfast in Copenhagen

The Café à Porta

You could order a larger breakfast with omelet. We ordered a plain breakfast with cheese, ham, bread, jam and fruit at a price of DKK 50 (€7,50). Simple ingredients, but it was so much more....

I do not know whether it was the whole cafe à Porta experience that made this into a great breakfast. The ingredients were standard, but we had freshly made, still warm, toast of white bread and the scrumptious danish rye bread. The grapefruit, pineapple, and grapes were so fresh. Even the cheese, ham, and jam tasted much better than they normally use to taste. Did someone wave their magic wand? I do not know. Maybe it is all about freshness.

The caffe latte (not included DKK 40), made from freshly ground italian coffee beans was equally perfect!!!

Breakfast in Copenhagen

The Café à Porta - the interior

The interior brings you back to the fin de siécle, to drink, dine and have your conversations with the city's cultural elite.

Breakfast in Copenhagen

The Café à Porta - the interior

As you enter from the busy street outside, you cross a sound barrier, as only low background classical music is played in the room. You also cross a time barrier, as the room sets you back to the early part of the previous decade, and maybe further.

The interior is exquisite, with baroque style gold coloured leather (Gyldenlær) in panels on the wall and the ceiling. Predominantly dark wood has been used and the large windows have heavy dark curtains.

In the dining area there are dark leather chairs and beautifully set tables.

A place to feast on, with all senses, and we did......

Breakfast in Copenhagen

The Café à Porta

My sister had read about the café in a paper. We knew nothing about it. Now I know where I will eat danish "morgenmad" when I visit Copenhagen in the years to come. Closer to perfection is difficult to come.

The café is named after Stephan à Porta, that opened a café in an older building by Kongens Nytorv as far back as 1857. This café became very popular with the city elite, and the famous fairy-tale writer Hans Christian Andersen used to be visitor at the café, as he lived close by.

Starting a day with breakfast at Café à Porta is a wonderful experience. I do not have enough experience to give the café a full review, but I will still give it room here at Enjoy Food & Travel as it is not simply a place to eat - it is an experience to be enjoyed with all senses!!

Adress: Kongens Nytorv 17

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Oslo - Copenhagen, sights on our way

The Øresund bridge

When I visited Malmö as a kid, I had to cross Øresund by boat. In 1999 all this changed when the bridge over Øresund was finished, and when you see this impressive monument, you know you are getting close to Copenhagen.

The bridge has one of the longest cable-stayed main spans in the world at 490 metres. The height of the highest pillar is 204 metres. The total length of the bridge is 7,845 metres. It creates a new city area uniting the Swedens third larges city Malmö with Copenhagen. The bridge over Øresund has also a railway link and on the way over, you pass Copenhagen international airport Kastrup.

Oslo - Copenhagen, sights on our way

The island of Ven

Along our way to Copenhagen, we passed the island of Ven. This small island is situated strategically mid way between Denmark and Sweden. This location has made Ven a source of conflict between the two kingdoms during their long history. It has been Swedish since 1660.

But Ven had an interesting history at then end of the 16th century, when the famous astronomer Tycho Brahe built his palace Uranienborg and his observatory Stjerneborg. Brahe was not only famous as astronomer, but was also known to have worked with astrology and alchemy.

Today these landmarks are long gone, and now around 370 people live on Ven. You can get there by ferry services from Landskrona and Helsingborg in Sweden and from Copenhagen during the summer.

Copenhagen - a shopping paradise

If you love tradition or good design, Copenhagen is definitely the place to go. You can buy designer furniture at Illums bolighus in Strøget, or you can buy high quality china from Royal Copenhagen, or maybe some fancy stereos or a phone at Bang & Olufsen.

The Danes are in the forefront in so many areas and most of the elegant shops are lined up at the long pedestrian area called Strøget, starting at Kongens Nytorv and ends at the City Hall Square. Here are some more specific things you can look for.

If you want to find things that you never new existed or that you even needed, you should take a peek into Søstrene Grene by Helligaandskirken. I have never ever seen anything similar to this shop. You can buy the strangest nick-nack you never saw before, to the lowest price imaginable.

Designer shoes, do look for the Bianco shops. I bought two pairs of the smartest designer shoes for less than €20 a pair in the Bianco shop in Fiolstrædet not far from the Synagogue and Runde Taarn Observatorium.

Women could try their luck in one of the designer shops. We visited Bruuns Bazaar in Kronprindsens gade and Munthe plus Simonsen in Grønnegade. At the latter my sister bought the smartest jackets, a combination of knitware and leather. Its before price was €250 but was priced 60% down. No wonder my sister was satisfied.

The Danes are also famous for the silversmiths and jewellry. Copenhagen is a great place to buy jewellry made from amber.

You should also consider visiting the two large department stores situated by Kongens Nytorv, Illums and Magasine Du Nord.

M/F Crown of Scandinavia

Eating at bistro Latitude

The cheese platter - four delicious, four well temperated cheeses, served with crackers and raspberry jam. A great way to end a dinner!

M/F Crown of Scandinavia

Eating at bistro Latitude

On the menu was redfish with warm vegetables and potatoes. Funny enough the redfish was white. The redfish tasted less than the winter salad. A decent dinner still, though.

M/F Crown of Scandinavia

Eating at bistro Latitude

We were served a delicious wintersalad with roasted red pepper, roasted parsnips, red onions and fresh green salad. On the side was served a turkey skewer. This was definitely our favourite!!

M/F Crown of Scandinavia

Eating at bistro Latitude

The Bistro Latitude is situated at the 8th deck, close to the bar. It shares kitchen with the three á la carte restaurants. It has a relatively small menu to choose from.

The interior: BBB

It is hard to find an intimate atmosphere on board a ship. This also with Bistro Latitude. It is situated on both side of the walkway. The furniture is in light wood, blue carpets, red chairs. There are no glasses, cutlery, or china placed on the table. So very spartan impression, indeed.

Price level and quality: BBBB

It offers a relatively small number of salads, entrees, and desserts. The price of the food are low, from €8 to €15. You can also get a reasonably good bottle of wine in the price range €15-20. The quality is good, and you get real value for money. Big portions, well prepared vegetables, fish and meat.

Service: BB

The service at Latitude was very poor. It took ages even to get our drinks. This due to (what we noticed) the fact that it was seriously understaffed. The waiter (2nd day - waiters), took their turn in the other restaurants. So this is a real drawback for this restaurant. There are menus in English as well as in Scandinavian languages.

Food: BBB+

The food was good value for money. A delicious winter salad and a salad with warm goat cheese, a red fish with salad, that was a little bit more plain. and a Mexican sandwich with salsa, guacamole, and nachos. The meat in the sandwich was very tender, but it did not taste very much.

We were served a very good apple pie, and a very rich chocolate gateau. But they best thing - they served a delicious cheese platter!!!

We shared a bottle of red wine wine on our way down and up. A ships wine (Laroche), and a Paradyskloof from South Africa. Pay the €2,50 extra to get the Paradyskloof. It tasted so much better.

Bistro Latitude - overall score: BBB+

Good food, but appalling service turns this into a highly mixed experience.

M/F Crown of Scandinavia - eating on board

There are several restaurants on board the Crown of Scandinavia, so you do not have to starve on board. Be adviced to make your reservation by the start of your journey, especially during peak season. But there are other alternatives that gives you better value for your money.

There are three á la carte restaurants, Marco Polo Gourmet restaurant, Blue Riband restaurant, and Explorer restaurant. At Marco Polo you can get a 4, 5 or 6 course dinner from €50 to €65. At the Blue Riband, the price of a two or three course dinner varies from a little under €30 up to €40. At the Explorer you can choose up to three course dinner for €35. There is also a buffet restaurant - 7 seas, where you can enjoy a Scandinavian dinner buffet for €25.

There are, however, less expensive alternatives. There is a coffee shop with rolls with salads or ham. We chose the bistro Latitude. That was a good choice, foodwise. My review of our dinner experience at Latitude follows.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The crossing from Oslo to Copenhagen

The cabins on board - different options

On our crossing from Oslo to Copenhagen, we were given cabin 7205, on the 7th deck, was situated in front of the vessel, and in the interior of the ship. The cabin had separate beds and a tiny, but functional bathroom with a toilet, shower and sink. There are no radio or television so if you are easily bored, bring a book or a paper if you want to spend some time in your cabin.

There are different cabins of different size, from large suites, on the upper decks, larger outside commodore cabins down to small cabins below the car decks. Some of these even have bunk beds, and are extremely small and crammed. So beware, if you end there, you may have truck over your head. So there are many different options for many different sized wallets.

Still, our cabin was very satisfactory, and I would like to ask you where you would get a double room on a hotels for less than €50 , for two nights! So this is truly a bargain and a tiny vacation in our busy lives. But beware, these prices are off season. During holidays and the late spring, summer and early fall you would have to pay much more for the same cabin.

Wonderful, wonderful, Copenhagen...

Sunday, January 28th, we boarded the Crown of Scandinavia bound for Danish capital Copenhagen. The DFDS operates a daily service from Oslo, and the passage takes 16 1/2 hours, leaving Oslo at 5 PM, arriving in Denmark 9.30 the following morning. The route took us out the Oslo Fjord, over the area where the Skagerak meets the Kattegat, along the eastern swedish coast down to the narrow Øresund separating the cities of Copenhagen and Malmø.

The Crown of Scandinavia is one out of two motor ferries that operates this route. During the winter you can easily get very inexpensive tickets for the crossing, and you can even get tickets for free. We paid €20 each for a roundtrip ticket, including inside double cabin for two nights. You can, however, change the crossing into a luxurious minicruise if you order a Commodore cruise, including a large cabin, champagne, meals, but you have to pay up. This experience will cost you around €260, for each.

On board you have have a large restaurant, a bistro, and a cafeteria, a nightclub and a disco and a cinema. There are shops where you can buy duty free goods, as Norway (regrettably) is not a member of the European Union. I will present some memories from our crossing, and tell you what to eat. You do not have to spend much to get a decent meal. Beware that the ferry company will try to take as many euros as possible out of your pocket, and an inexpensive ticket can turn into a very expensive experience if you drink and eat very much.

So I will tell you where you can get value for money. Start you luxurious minicruise by buying a bottle of sparkling wine in the duty free shop. It will cost you €6 and you can get that little buzz for a nice price. Take breakfast in the cafe, this will cost you €5-6, the buffet cost more than the double price. And eat in Copenhagen!! It is a wonderful city to have a good breakfast and lunch.

So I will give you some information the following days and join me for a trip to wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen!!