Saturday, June 13, 2009

UPDATED: Barcelona from A-Z

View from Palau Nacional towards Plaça d'Espanya, Barcelona by Baikonur
To make it easier for you I have made one site, where you may find links to all articles on Barcelona here on Enjoy Food & Travel.


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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Coming up in June 2009: Viva Catalunya!!!

For the third year in a row, I leave Norway for Spain in June. What draws me back to Catalunya? Nice people, brilliant food, interesting historic sights, and sun and sea!! Viva Catalunya.......!

First time, in 2006 we stayed a whole week in Barcelona. We explored what this intriguing metropolis has to offer us Scandinavians. We also left to visit the Montserrat monastery and Sitges, a fashionable seaside resort 30 minute south of Barcelona. There we met two friends that enjoyed Sitges one week every year. We loved it and returned in June last year. A great success.

This June we will start with one weekend in Barcelona, and then we will leave for a whole week one the beach. In this way we get the best of two worlds.

Barcelona from A-Z

Vis Barcelona and Catalonia on Enjoy Food & Travel i et større kart

Barcelona is an intriguing city. The beautiful city located by the Mediterranean may be one of the best destinations Spain has to offer. For those interested in culture and history you may explore Barri Gothic, the old part of the city or visit the Picasso museum. You may dine at Els Quatres Gats, or take a pintxo - a Basque tapas at Bilbao Berria.

Barcelona is a haven for foodies! You may visit one of the hundreds and hundreds of restaurants and have at least one new culinary experience every day. We do have our favourites ofcourse, but I will try new and interesting eateries to provide you with the do' s and don'ts when looking for a nice place to eat.

And do visit one of the food markets in the city, and tap into the rich culinary culture of Catalonia. The best is found at La Rambla, the main street leading you from Placa Catalunya down to the harbour.

This map shows some of what Barcelona has to offer. Restaurants, hotels, and historic sights are marked on the map. After this year I will update the map with more sights worth seeing.

(Photo: WelcomeInSpain)

Sitges from A-Z

Vis Barcelona and Catalonia on Enjoy Food & Travel i et større kart

Sitges is a charming seaside resort south of Barcelona. Besides being an important playground for the Barcelona elite, the city has a reputation as a liberal community. It used to host an important artist colony, and is now one main destination for gay and lesbian travelers in Europe. Here you may enjoy a wide range of restaurants, bars, and night clubs.

The city is not regarded as a ghetto though. Many families with children enjoy the fine beaches Sitges has to offer or roam the narrow passages in the old part of the city. We will repeat the success of last year, and stay at Hotel Santa Maria located on Passeig de Ribeira - the city's beach front promenade. The stay yesterday was one of the best experiences in 2008, and I do look forward to another week in this traditional hotel.

(Photo: Werner Lang / Wela49)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ryanairs O'Leary asks travelers to hold water during flights

(Source: Aftenposten, June 7th 2009) Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary has done it again. First he introduced pay-per-visit to on board flight rest rooms. Now he will chuck 2 out of 3 restrooms out of the planes to squeeze in 6 more seats for travelers. And to those of you traveling with Ryanair in the future, his advice is clear. Go to the toilet before boarding and hold your water during flights. The question is, however, whether this mean attitude may provide another nail in the airlines coffin. I certainly hope so!

Ryanair has been extraordinarily aggressiv to squeeze costs. Some of the measures proposed by O'Leary is understandable and reasonable, as e.g. to substitute check-in counters with self-service machines.

But the airline has also been very inventive to introduce extra (and often high) fees for their travelers, e.g. for checked-in luggage, extra tax-free shopping bags taken on board and pay per visit to in flight toilets. But there are limits to what humiliation an airline may subject paying customers to. Asking their travelers to restrain their bodily functions during flight is way past any such limit.

O'Leary points to the fact that the airline operates flight on an average of one hour in Europe. What he forgets though, is that one hour may easily become two or more, including the time needed for boarding and taxing. Denying the public access to only one restroom during flight is highly irresponsible. What if several of their guests turned ill during flights? Their suffering and the inconvenience to fellow travelers on such a "hold-your-water-flight" would certainly make many think again before booking another flight with Europe's meanest airline.

So Michael O'Leary is adviced to come to his senses. If not, travelers will turn their back to Ryanair. I have! I have found that the airline is not that cheap, anyway, compared to other air carriers, when you include all of O'Leary's clever fees.

(Photo: Abutcher15)

More Ryanair stupidities on Enjoy Food & Travel

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Mill Wharf, Scituate MA

(Reviewed September 16th 2008) Mill Wharf is a place I feel deeply attached to as I have enjoyed snacks here often during my annual trips to New England. I happy to say that it still holds the standard. Dining at Mill Wharf is a treat - try it!!

(Photo: Company website)

Location: BBB+

Mill Wharf has a stunning location, as it rests by the scenic Scituate harbour with a beautiful view to the sea.

The low score is due to the fact that Scituate is hard to get to, as long as you do not have a car available. Scituate is located 30-40 minutes by car south of Boston. Until recently the only public transportation available were buses driving to and from Boston during peak hours. Now you may take the new suburban rail line to Greenbush, but you are still a 3o minute walk to Scenic Scituate.

Service: BBBB

Good service from a professional staff. You do not have to wait unnecessarily for either the food or to get the bill.

Interior: BBBB+

Mill Wharf has a charming interior with a distinct maritime character. An open construction in light wood. The restaurant has two levels with a bar in the centre.

The interior is given added charm by all sorts of nick-nack on the walls.

You sit comfortable by the table and there are generous space between the tables.

No tables are set, you are given cutlery and napkins when food is served.

Food: BBBB+

Caesar Salad with grilled prawns

I ordered Caesar Salad priced at $6,95 with added anchovis ($0,50) and grilled prawns ($6). The total price included tip is $18,85 or €13,30.

Very nicely presented. A large portion as always, delicious lettuce with one skewer with four large prawns.

Delicious texture, - very fresh, crispy lettuce - prawns perfectly cooked, crispy and succulent.

Great balance in seasoning and taste. An aromatic caesar dressing, added character with freshly grated parmesan cheese and salty anchovis. Sweet and mild prawns.

A good, well balanced meal, all in all.

Drink: BBBBB

What to drink. Some would buy a glass of white wine - I chose a pint of Samuel Adams Boston Ale, served fresh from the bar. Well carbonated and chilled, with a slightly sweet taste. A definite winner for a late summer lunch.

Rating the Mill Wharf experience: BBBB+ (4,29 points)

A great place, sadly nearly out of bounce for those depending on public transportation. Good quality food served at a good price. If staying in Scituate a meal here is recommended.

(Photo: Company website)


Mill Wharf Restaurant
150R Front Street
Scituate, MA 02066
Phone: +1 781 545 3999
See restaurant website with menus here

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Samurai Sushi - Tøyen

Sushi is one of my favourites, and I could not believe my luck when I got a sushi restaurant as neighbour. I have enjoyed great sushi there many times, and a few weeks ago, I decided to dine there. Samurai offers great Japanese treats at an agreeable price.

Area: BBB+

Samurai is located at Tøyen, a mainly residential area at Oslo's East end, easily accessible by all eastbound metro lines. Leave at Tøyen / Munch museum. The restaurant is located at Kolstadgaten, behind the centre.

Service: BBBB+

You are met by a kind and professional staff. All the sushi is prepared for you from scratch, and you do not have to wait long to be served.

Interior and atmosphere: BBB+

The room used to be a dry cleaners shop, and it has a industrial character. Samurai has a very simple traditional Japanese style interior.

Not very comfortable seating though, you sit on hard chairs, and the room is a little crammed - little distance to the neighbouring table.

Food: BBBBB-

The food is delicious. We ordered menu 3 priced at NOK 141 (€15,80), more than enough to make you happy. 9 sushi og 6 maki. They were.

Sushi: 4 salmon, 2 tuna, 1 halibut, 1 scallop, 1 boiled shrimp.
Maki: 6 salmon maki

We were served an esthetically pleasing plate, with brightly colored ingredients.

Both texture and taste were perfect! Deliciously sticky rice, high quality fish, prepared tender towards perfection.

Great balance of mild honest taste, pickled ginger, salty soy and hot wasabi.

Beverage: BBBB+

I prefer a bottle of Kirin, the best known brand Japanese beer. Fresh and neutral, with a subtle bitter after taste. Perfect, as it does not overpower the mild taste from the sushi.

Rating the Samurai experience: BBBB (4,22 points)

Samurai Sushi is definitely a place to consider if you want to eat sushi. Restaurant a little overcrowded, but Asian guests tend to prefer the place, - a sign of quality.

Sushi Samurai
Kolstadgata 17, N-0652 Oslo
Phone: +47 22 68 28 88
Restaurant website incl. menus here (Norwegian only)