Saturday, March 21, 2009

La Nansa - Sitges

La Nansa was the second restaurant recommended by the locals in Sitges. This is a restaurant that remains open during the whole year. La Nansa is place to visit, even though the bill at the end of meal is higher than at other restaurants in the city, you get superior quality food. You should make a reservation, though, as La Nansa has been discovered by many of the tourists that visit this beautiful city by the Mediterranean.

Location: BBBB+


La Nansa is located in Carreta 24, a small charming street in the old part of Sitges, very easy to get to, if staying in the town. If you are visiting from Barcelona, you just have to walk for 15 minutes from the railway station.

Service: BBBBB

You will find brilliant service at La Nansa from start to the end of the experience. The staff was very kind and welcoming, gives excellent advice on food and drink.

The food was served within reasonable time and what food!!!

Interor and atmosphere: BBBBB-

La Nansa has a rustic and very charming interior with white walls and dark wooden panels. A large number of different objects on the walls, without being too kitchy and out of taste.

There were a relatively large number of tables, and the restaurant may, when fully booked feel rather over crowded. We did however not experience this as as we dined earlier than most Spaniards.

The tables were elegantly set with wine glasses, cutlery, and napkins.

Food: BBBBB-

Entree - fried squid: BBBBB


I have eaten enough fried squid in my time to recognize a well prepared portion of this delicacy. Often you find that it is covered in too much batter and that it is too greasy. No such thing at La Nansa.

Less is more. The squid was elegantly presented on a white paper napkin on a white plate with only half a lemon to squeeze over it. Well seasoned, crunchy outside and tender on the inside.

This is how good seafood should taste like.

Main course: Tenderloin of veal with foie gras and truffle sauce: BBBBB

This is one of these dishes that sounds like pure culinary indecency and is just that. I think the veal tenderloin was the best and most wicked dish I have eaten in a long time.

Presented on a simple white dish, one decent sized piece of meat topped with a slice of goose liver and immersed in creamy mahogany coloured sauce, served with dauphinoise potatoes.

The beef was served medium rare and tender until perfection. The foie gras had nearly melted by the heat of the sauce. The potatoes was tender with that little crunch.

Perfectly balanced - you were nearly knocked out by the pungent truffle and foie gras aromas.

Dessert: Lemon sorbet with cava: BBBBB-

Another definite winner. There is nothing better than to end with a sorbet. This fresh sorbet had the sweet and bitter aromas of its ingredients.

It had an additional undefineable taste, and I found that the cook had boosted the alcohol level with a little Spanish brandy. The sorbet was a knock-out experience in more than one way.

Wine: BBBBB

We ordered a Spanish red wine, a perfect choice for the dinner.

Rating the La Nansa Experience: BBBBB (4,78 points)

My favourite in Sitges. A five-star experience at a very decent price. Book a table and enjoy a terrific meal. Enjoy Food & Travel highly recommend La Nansa and will certainly return for another meal the coming summer.

Address:
Restaurant La Nansa
Carreta 24, 8870 Sitges
Phone:+34 938-941-927
Fax:+34 938-942-525

Do you want to know more about Sitges?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Bedřich Smetana was here.....

I love walking through historic cities. For centuries, even millenniums people have lived and worked, and bridges, churches, palaces and houses are left behind as memories of the generations that once were there. Often it is difficult to find people connected to the houses you pass when you travel. As a tourist I am therefore always happy to find plaques that tell a story one of its inhabitants.

Until I passed a house in Göteborg I had now idea that the famous Czech composer Bedřich Smetana once resided there, but now I know. He was an important part of the musical life of the city for 6 years and continued to keep close links to Sweden.

When he stayed there Göteborg was an important commercial centre, but was a backwater, culturally.
This is why Smetana was offered the post as conductor for the Symphonic orchestra in 1856.

As we walked along one of the canals that makes up the old defenses of the city, we passed a house built in gray bricks. There I found this plaque:

HAR BODDE
ÅREN 1857-1858
DEN TJECKISKE
TONSATTAREN
BEDRICH SMETANA
CESKY HUDEBNI
SKLADATEL
BYDLIL ZDE V LETECH
1857-1858





Bedřich Smetana was born in 1824 and is most famous for his symphonic work Má Vlast. He was also politically active and left Bohemia in 1856, for political reasons, and settled in Göteborg and stayed there until he returned in 1861.

He became an important figure in Göteborg's music life. He was conductor for Harmoniska Sälskapet and other choirs and orchestras in the city.

After six years his longing for his own country had grown strong and he decided to return to Prag. He suffered from syphilis, an illness that made him deaf, and gradually he also grew mentally ill. He died in 1884.

This gray building in Göteborg's city centre was suddenly not just any old house, but a famous name had been attached to it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Some travel projects - spring 2009

Spring and summer are on our doorstep. This means new trips, new experiences. I will share what spring experiences that will come here on Enjoy Food & Travel.

Springtime on Norway’s South Eastern coast


There is nothing like Scandinavia during springtime and summer. As Norway is located so far north the differences between summer and winter are enormous.

At winter solstice December 20th it is barely light during daytime, whereas during summer solstice it is hard to fall asleep as there are hardly no darkness during night.

Springtime, when trees and flowers are waking up from hibernation, is a time when I enjoy to stay at our summer home. As Easter is extremely late this year, the spring will be in full progress during this vacation. Enjoy Food & Travel will share Easter highlights from Sørlandet in April, as I will open up the house and prepare for for the 2009 summer season.

April 2009: Copenhagen times 2

Copenhagen is the destination I visit at least two times a year, thanks to the cheap and comfortable ferry services from Oslo to the Danish capital. During the month of April I will travel twice to Copenhagen, first as a participant at the annual Security conference, where I will travel in style in a first class Commodore cabin.

Just one week later I will cross the Kattegat again, with my sister in a tourist cabin. I will explore more restaurants and sights in Copenhagen during these two trips.

Read more on the DFDS Commodore De-Luxe Cabin Experience on board Pearl of Scandinavia 2008 here

Read more on the DFDS Commodore Cabin experience on board Pearl of Scandinavia 2007 here

Strasbourg – France, May 2009

May 14th to May 17th I will travel to Strasbourg in the eastern part of France. This old and charming city has a history going back to the Romans.

I will stay in the old charming Hotel le Cathedral, facing the impressive façade of Strasbourg Cathedral and the 500 year old Maison Kammerzell. There are so many old sights to explore and you may tuck into the Alsatian cuisine, based on the best traditions from German and French cooking.

Read more from my last visit in Strasbourg here

Barcelona and Sitges, June 2009

Visiting Catalonia is an annual ritual for me. I leave Norway for sunny Spain one week each June. This year we will leave with Lufthansa on Friday June 12th and return June 20th.

June 12th to 14th we will book two nights in Barcelona and enjoy all the good food, culture and nightlife this busy metropolis has to offer.

June 14th we will jump on a southbound train for Sitges, the beautiful summer resort located 40 minutes south of Barcelona. We will stay at Hotel Santa Maria (as last year), but will continue to enjoy all this beautiful seaside resort has to offer us. Enjoy Food & Travel will keep you posted!

Find a short guide to Sitges here

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Successful pre flight booking for Air Berlin for new service Oslo Berlin



















Air Berlin introduced earlier this winter a new service from Oslo to Berlin from April 24th
. The interest from the Norwegian public has been overwhelming, and the airline consider extending its previous flight plan before the new service has started.


We are very pleased with the booking after we introduced our new service this winter. We have experienced an overwhelming interest both in the Norwegian and German market, says Head of Information Nadine Bernhardt in Air Berlin to Aftenposten.no.

The original flight plan Berlin Oslo had one flight daily Monday to Friday, but the airline will now also have one flight during Sundays as well. We are pleased on behalf of those of us traveling abroad during weekends. The airline will also consider extending its flight plan further according to the demand from travelers.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Gran Canaria - a botanical mystery solved

I wrote a story on flowering plants and trees at Gran Canaria here on Enjoy Food & Travel last week. I did some research and managed to identify most of the species I had seen, except this magnificent blue flower and two more plants. My good knowledgeable friend Dagfinn Skoglund wrote me to tell that the beautiful flower climbing on a wall at Puerto de Mogán was a Thunbergia grandiflora.

This is what I love in the process of creating stories on Enjoy Food & Travel. The everlasting learning process. The Thunbergia grandiflora is named after the famous Swedish botanist Carl Peter Thunberg that lived from 1743 to 1828.

The Thunbergias (as there are many subspecies) originates from the tropical areas of Madagascar, Southern Africa and Southern Asia and may be vines or shrubs growing up to 8 metres tall, as the one climbing on the bright white building at Puerto de Mogán. They may be too vigerous for certain regions they are introduced to and where they do not have any natural enemies, as Australia where certain Thunbergia species are regarded as invasive. That is certainly a thing to consider for those of you that may import seeds to plant where you live.

Another mystery solved and more to learn!

Read the full story on flowering plants and trees on Grand Canaria here

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Danish Frokost at Madam Reiersen

If you happen to be in my hometown Arendal during a weekend, I would highly recommend lunch at Madam Reiersen at Tyholmen, in the oldest part of the city. During weekend they serve Danish frokost, a traditional buffet with all the delicacies our Scandinavian neighbours have to offer. I went there a Saturday in March, and ended up very satisfied and a little tipsy. But I would recommend that you made a reservation as this is a popular event during weekends.

Location: BBBB+

Madam Reiersen is located in one of the old houses at Tyholmen, where you find wooden houses built during 4 centuries. The restaurant has the ground floor of a mid 19th century house just a stone's throw away from the bus and train station.

Tyholmen is a wonderful quaint part of town and from April to early October you may sit outside admiring the old harbour, Pollen, and the beautiful houses nearby.

Service: BBBB+

A young staff presented us with their lunch menu, but we knew what to order. They had a special offer to the buffet, 65 NOK (7 EUR) for one bottle of Carlsberg (37,5 cl) and 2 cl Aquavit to follow the buffet. If you want to drink and eat as a Dane, this is what to order. The staff were professional and gave us good and swift service.

Interior & atmosphere: BBBBB-

Madam Reiersen has a charming interior in shades of caffe latte and brown, and dark brown floor boards. Everywhere you have wonderful rustic details shows that this is a house with a past. The character is underlined by traditional decorative elements. One part of the resturant has traditional tables, whereas the other has a bar interior with bar stools, tables and sofas in light brown leather.

The food: BBBB+

The frokost buffet was a feast for the eye. You were given warm plates and you could eat as much as you wanted for NOK 135 15 EUR. In bowls and trays you could help yourself to:

Traditional herring
  • Tomato herring
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Smoked almon
  • Liver paté with onion, bacon and musroom topping
  • Roast beef with raw onion
  • Danish salami
  • Breaded fried fillet of plaice
  • Pork roast with crispy cracklings
  • Danish hamburgers with soft salty-sweet onion
  • Accompanied by: Mustard and dill sauce, remoulade, pickled cucumber, mayonnaise, raw onion, pickled red cabbage, brown gravy, and salad.
  • Danish rye bread, and three fine and grain breads. Butter.
Presentation: This was a true feast, delicately presented for us to tuck into. The dishes were well seasoned and balanced, but there are a few rules to follow when eating at a Danish buffet.

Enjoy your main dishes with ingredients on the trays. Choose pickled cucumber to the liverpaté and the Danish cucumber. The sweet- and bitterness will provide a delicate contrast to the salt dishes. Choose the dill and mustard sauce to the smoked samon. It will not feell very greasy, even though it is partly mayonnaise based, and it is deliciously sweet. Choose remoulade to the plaice, and pickled red cabbage to the pork. Breads: Rye to the liverpaté and hamburgers, fine bread to plaice and salmon. The only traditional part of a genuin frokost table that was not there were small shelled shrimps.

Texture: The breaded plaice fillets were warm, but a little soggy. None of that crispness you get when perfectly prepared. Hamburgers were a little tough and dry, and the liverpaté was not luke warm, as it should be.

Taste: It worked very well. The hamburgers were a little salty, but all in all the dishes blended in perfectly with the sauces and garnish.

Drink: BBBBB-

Do enjoy a beer and a lille en to your buffet. The refreshing beer the is perfect drink, and the aquavit will, besides the delicate herbale taste, also provide relief for your digestive system.

Rating the Madam Reiersen Frokost experience: BBBBB- (4,56 points)

Dejligt, as the Danes would say passionately. A Danish frokost is a meal with delicacies in abundance. If the stretch of sea called Skagerak did not separate Norway and Danmark, I would say that Madam Reiersen is a part of Denmark during weekends. Do not hesitate - try it, when visiting Arendal!!

Address:

Madam Reiersen
Nedre Tyholmsvei 3
4836 Arendal
Phone: +47 37 02 19 00
www.madamreiersen.no