Saturday, August 30, 2008

Lyon's mysterious passage ways

The old part of Lyon is criss crossed by traboules, narrow sheltered passage ways that runs through the old buildings of the city. They are mostly found in the Croix Rousse and old Lyon areas. Most of them are closed to the public, but I found a few. As you entered, you were immediately removed from the the new world. The traboules were the domain of the canuts, the silk weavers of Lyon.

The name is derived from the Latin verb transambulare via vulgar Latin trabulare meaning "to cross". As many of the old blocks were very long , with no crossing streets, passages were built in order to more easily come over to the parallel street, without having to walk around the whole block.

It also allowed the canutes to move their precious fabric through the enclosed streets, sheltering them from the weather.

I found the long Traboule, between 27 Rue de Beouf, and 54 Rue de Saint Jean. It covers four different buildings though low tunnel-like passages as well as large dark courtyards.

The traboules are unique to Lyon and a few other old French cities. They hold you in excitement as you enter into the darkness of Medieval Lyon. I got much of the same excitement along the narrow passages at Bryggen in old Bergen, but here the passages are even more mysterious.

During World War II they sheltered members of the local resistance, as the Germans never managed to get control of the secret streets in the Medieval part of Lyon.

Today many of the passages are private property, and can not be accessed by the public. Some of them have been kept opened as the the traboule longue.

An agreement signed by local authorities and its owners grant access during daytime, under the condition that the local authorities secure proper cleaning.

Traboule de la cour des Voraces" ("Traboule of the Voracious Court") is the most famous, located in the Croix-Rousse quarter. I never managed to see this particular passage.

The passage way on the left is another located the Croix Rousse area. It is open to the public, and is called "Le Passage de l'Abbaye de la Deserte" and under the sign it states that this passage was built here in 1304. So here we are in a pre Black Death period.

As you come to Lyon wander through the Traboules that you may find. If you find other beautiful passages, please send a picture and a short text.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Zum Stadtkrug, Schwerin - honest German grub!



















Germans serve rich food. Large chunks of meat, rich creamed sauces, "pommes", digested with at least two beers and one Underberg to avoid heartburn. We were introduced to German kitchen à la Zum Stadtkrug in Schwerin twice nights in a row, and I was pleasantly surprised. No heartburn, just good company!

Location: BBBB

Gaststätte Zum Stadtkrug Altstadtbrauhaus is located in Wismarschestrasse, in downtown Schwerin, close to Schlosspark Center.

Atmosphere: BBBB+

We entered into a wonderful traditional German bierstub, light walls and colourful beamed roofs. A welcoming warm interior, where you just wanted to sit and have a beer and a good time.

The presentation at the table was informal, i.e. there was nothing. Blank dark tables with no glass or napkins. As we were traveling as a group, we were seated together. Too many people around the table in fact, but my how nice this was.

Price: BBBBB

As we paid our fair share one one bill, I did not get the exact price of my food. The price range for one main course and two beers each night was in the €15-20 mark. Definitely a bargain - much food at a good price.

Service: BBBBB


The staff at Gaststätte Zum Stadtkrug were brilliant. They served a large group professionally, food and drink was brought to our table without having to wait, and we even managed to pay our fair share on the bill and a generous tip - I hope!

Food: BBBB+

Chicken and turkey fillet with cheese, mange-tout and pommes frites: BBBBB-

Doesn't it look good? One turkey and one chicken fillet with a slice of cheese in the middle. Served with a generous amount of French fries. Very moist, very rich. The mange-touts were definitely overcooked. A few minutes less would have given a little crunch as well.

The amount of "pommes" was so big that I would have had severe problems if I had eaten all.

Yum!!!

Flammkuchen: BBBB

Flammkuchen or Tarte Flambée is an Alsatian specialty, a Northern European pizza variety. Thin crust covered with creme fraiche, onions and bacon. At Zum Stadtkrug they served one traditional and one Mediterranean variety. I chose the traditional.

I was served a thin crispy pie baked in a very hot oven.

It tasted very good, but I had expected that Flammkuchen would be more moist, but it was dry, and the crust was slightly burnt.

The beer: BBBB+

Good light beer, dripping cold and pleasantly carbonated. Perfect to our German grub.

Rating the Gaststätte Zum Stadtkrug Altstadtbrauhaus experience: BBBB+ (4,48 points)

Zum Stadtkrug is absolutely recommendable. Lovely interior, excellent service, good food at an unbeatable price.

Address:
Gaststätte Zum Stadtkrug Altstadtbrauhaus
Wismarsche Str. 126
19053 Schwerin, Germany
0385 5936695

Thursday, August 28, 2008

More Italian: Torricelli in Strasbourg




















Having spent a considerable sum on two meals, at L'eveil des Sens and Brasserie Flo, we decided to listen to the sad sobbing of our wallets. This meant budget dining. We ended up on a small square in Le Petit France. Torricelli had decent food, decent wine, and a very nice price.


This was not a meal that deserves a full review. One pasta dish and one bottle of wine does not tell anything on the overall quality of a restaurant.

Torricelli is located at Place Meuniers a small square in Le Petit France. We decided to be seated outside to enjoy a brilliant summer evening. Place Meuniers is hardly the most beautiful spot in this part of Strasbourg, but it was nice to sit outside.

Torricelli offered seriously inexpensive food and if you look for a decent budget meal, it is definitely the place to go.

Ravioli with creamed tomato sauce

I ordered a plate of ordinary and spinach ravioli in a creamed tomato sauce. A generous portion of well prepared as pasta should be, al dente - meaning; "for your teeth".
The sauce had as most tomato sauces are, too little sugar to break the acidity in the tomato. A little more would have lifted it up on a completely other level.

On top - roughly grated Parmesan cheese. I have sadly not kept the bill, but we both agreed was that this is an inexpensive and good place to eat.

Valle d'Oro Montpulciano d'Abruzzo

Italian food deserves Italian wine. Valle d'Oro Montpulciano d'Abruzzo was a full bodied wine, ruby red colour. Rich fruit and spice aromas. Soft tannins.

A joy in mid summer night.

We were happy, our wallets were happy! Torricelli was a win-win for all.

Address:
Torricelli
3, Place Meuniers
67000 Strasbourg, France
+33 3 88 32 60 18

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Le Laurencin - a bargain in Lyon

Lyon is the culinary capital in France, and is particularly known for its bouchons or steakhouses. I dined in three traditional restaurants and le Laurencin offered a good meal at a reasonable price on the second evening of my stay in Lyon.

Location: BBBBB

Le Laurencin is located in Rue St. Jean in old Lyon, in a house from 1568. An area steeped in history is prime location for a good restaurant. The nearest Metro station is Old Lyon, 500 metres further south, by the cathedral. See location on map here.

Atmosphere: BBBB+

It is extraordinary to dine in a 450 year old house, but I say that far more could have been done to create a more historic atmosphere. Beautiful walls in solid stone, were given a strong contrast by strongly painted yellow wooden details. Hardly a perfect combination. Patinated dark wood would have created a more historic interior. The tables and chairs were simple, in light wood.

The tables were set with wine glasses, forks and knives, and napkins - plain and simple.

There were not much room to sit in there as there were too many tables in the room, and if the restaurant had been fully booked, I would have had far too little space to sit.

Price: BBBBB

A three course dinner priced around the €20 mark is inexpensive, and the food was very good.

Service: BBBB

Good service. I did not have to wait long to be served. The wine was served with a highly unusual amuse bouche, and the three other dishes followed without delay.

Food: BBBB+

Amuse Bouche

I love to get a small appetizer, and at Le Laurencin I was served a very special pre-meal snack. This was certainly not anything for those of you with a high cholesterol.

This was cold, fried pork crackling, and it was not only crispy, but a thick layer of fat lined the skin. It was seasoned with salt and pepper.

It tasted well, but if you dive into food this rich before a meal, it may seriously affect your appetite, so I just had a modest nibble. It was good!

Escargot with herb butter: BBBB+

Escargot with delicious herb butter is a safe choice as a starter. I know many of you have reservations, and a few could never consider eating snails, but when well prepared they are a delicacy. A taste of mushrooms and mussels. Yum!!

6 snails arrived on a traditional escargot plate and a funny spoon to hold the hot shells in your hand as you try to get the snail out. The herb butter had too little herb and garlic for my taste but they had a good texture and taste.

Poached salmon in a creamed sorrel sauce: BBBBB

Sorrel is certainly not anything for people with kidney problems, as this leaf vegetable has a high content of oxalic acid.

I hesitated before ordering, as I have had kidney stones twice, but I gave in as sorrel has a great citrus taste that would match red and white fish.

This was the best part of the meal. Salmon well seasoned and cooked to perfection, a rich, creamy sauce with delicious lemon/lime aromas and well cooked rice. This was a delicious choice, and the best I had during my stay in Lyon. I would return here just to eat this again, if coming to Lyon at a later date.

Cheese: BBBBB-

I did not order any dessert when dining in Lyon. A well matured unpasteurized cheese is so much better.

The waitress offered to local cheeses and I chose the soft Saint-Marcellin cheese with a very creamy, nearly runny consistency. Served with a crisp salad with walnuts and a good vinaigrette.



Wine: BBBB+

I ordered the rosé wine à la maison, well suited for chicken, veal and fish. This was an excellent choice!!

Rating Le Laurencin experience: BBBB+ (4,48 points)

This was a seriously good meal, at a very reasonable price. Enjoy Food & Travel highly recommends the salmon with creamy sorrel sauce. Unforgettable.

Address:
Le Laurencin
24, Rue St Jean, 69005 Lyon, France
Phone: +33 4 78 37 97 37

Monday, August 25, 2008

Schwerin from A-Z


View Larger Map

Here you have a map on sights, restaurants, and hotels visited during our stay in Schwerin. We will write more on them in coming articles here on Enjoy Food & Travel. So stayed tuned.

Other Maps here on Enjoy Food & Travel

To help you find sights, restaurant and hotels Enjoy Food & Travel have visited on our travel, we have introduced maps on our site, to help you on your way. You get a larger and more detailed map by using the +-sign, and every point has its explanation. If you want to know more see the links underneath the map.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Schwerin - the city by the lakes




















I have spent my last four days in Schwerin, the capital of Bundesland Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in northern Germany. It is a city of around 100 000 inhabitants with a long and interesting history. My reason to visit the city was an exhibition of Malin Kjelsruds works, where I was one of the models. Here are some highlights for the days to come at Enjoy Food & Travel.


A city by lakes

Schwerin is located by several smaller and larger lakes. The smallest, the Pfaffenteig, is located within the city centre. The Ziegelsee stretches north from the Pfaffenteig.

At the west of the city centre you have the Lankower, Medeveger and Neumühler lakes. On the east you find Schweriner See, by far the biggest. This image is taken from the Castle of Schwerin. By its banks you have villas with big gardens, as well as beaches and forest.

History

The city's history covers most of the previous millennium. The city escaped bombing during World War II, and therefore you find many old houses and monuments along the narrow crooked streets.

Of particular interest is the Schweriner Dom, dedicated to Saint John and Saint Mary, a huge red brick gothic cathedral.

Another sight worth seeing is the Schweriner Schloss, the homes of the Dukes of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, and is now the seat of the local parliament - das Landestag. I will return to both of them later.

A haven for foodies

The city is a haven for those that love good food and drink. On many a corner you find bakeries offering the most sinful sweet cakes imaginable. We were gloating outside this display at the main railway station.

You could buy street food, but if you wanted to get a good meal inside, there were some very decent restaurants serving high quality food at very reasonable prices.

Shopping

Schwerin has everything to offer a shopoholic. You will have no problem to use a fortune on clothes, shoes, bags, or accessories. Along Mecklenburgerstrasse you find everything you can desire.

Another place to consider during a rainy day is the Schlosspark Center. Located in the downtown area you will find everything from from apples to CD-players, cosmetics to jewelry. If you get tired you may sit down in a small coffee shop of snack bar and have something to eat.

Here you also find a very good supermarket to buy things for foodies - I did.

If you like antiques, I would like to recommend Friedrichstrasse. Here you will find a wide variety of antiques and art dealers.

How to get there

We went there by plane, from Oslo to Hamburg. Take the airport express bus to Hamburg Hauptbahnhof. We took a train in bound for Stralsund. The trip took an hour and the fare was €25 each way.

And this was a few highlights

Stay tuned for more on Schwerin here on Enjoy Food & Travel.