Saturday, December 26, 2009

The murderous mind in room 411

Room 411 at the legendary Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul is a shrine for a crime lover. That was the location where Agatha Christie wrote her crime novel "Murder on the Orient Express" in 1934.

The Hotel was built in 1892 to accommodate travelers with the Orient Express.

It is a lavish rococo style hotel designed by the French-Turkish architect Alexander Vallaury. It is the oldest European hotel in Istanbul. It has lived through the decline of the Ottoman Empire and is still thriving in Modern Day Istanbul.

Apart from Agatha Christie, the Hotel Pera Palace has been the home of many celebrities during the ages. The long list includes people as Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, King George V of England, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary and Czar Nicholas II of Russia.

The Pera Palace Hotel has always been well known for its restaurant and bars. At restaurant Agatha you may order specialties of multi-ethnic İstanbul cuisine. At the Orient Bar you may enjoy the nostalgic ambiance and privileged service and choose from a wide range of wines and spirits, cocktails.

Brasserie 1892 is a place to see and be seen. It has a refined menu, enchanting atmosphere and terrace in summer. Having tea at Kubbeli Salon and Tea Lounge used to be a tradition among the İstanbul elite. The nostalgic Patisserie de Pera, is the place to choose creative pastries.

I am afraid we will only see the exterior of this institution, as the hotel is undergoing a full renovation expecting to last until April 2010.

(Photo top: Room 411 at the Pera Palas hotel in Istanbul, Turkey, the room where Agatha Christie wrote Murder on the Orient Express. Photo by Steve Hopson, November, 2004. See more photos at [ Steve Hopson Photography]. )

(Photo middle: Facade of Pera Palace Hotel by Chapultepec)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Beaches of Northern New England

Much of the coastline in New Hampshire and Massachusetts is made up by beautiful white beaches. Public access to many beaches may, however, by restricted. One reason is that they are private property, and if there is direct access, parking your car may pose a challenge. There are exceptions, however. Here are three beautiful beaches to enjoy.

Hampton Beach, New Hampshire

Hampton Beach is located south on the short coastline of New Hampshire. This is a busy resort during the summer season, and you can rent a house or a condominium , or travel up for the day.

The beach is not very long, but much wider than most other found on the coastline. It is made up by beautiful fine white sand. The drawback is that you may have to share it with many other guests to this summer resort.

See review of the restaurant La Bec Rouge, Hampton Beach N.H. here

Salisbury Beach, Massachusetts

Salisbury beach and Seabrook Beach runs along the shoreline of a barrier island shared by New Hampshire and Massachusetts. This is a beautiful and easily accessible beach for the public, and there are good parking available.

Seabrook has a few restaurants and one convenient store. Eastman's Docks is a great place to dine and go for a drink during summer time. On the other end of the island you find Salisbury Beach Resort with more bars, restaurants and shops. This was just a few years ago a resort way behind its prime. Lately, however, Salisbury Beach has undergone large renovations with construction of new block of flats. The old entertainment park has been torn down. What looks like a Roman temple is the local strip joint, so all sleeze is not gone.

Even though the coastline is full of holiday homes, you may walk directly to the beach via walkways cutting through the grass covered sand dunes. Be aware that there are restrictions on what to do on the beach followed by heavy fines.

Boston, North Shore: Salisbury Beach and MA Seabrook N.H. - see story here

Nantasket Beach, Massachusetts

Nantasket Beach is located in Hull, a small holiday resort south of Boston. This is a nice place to travel to, if being in New England during summer. Nantasket Beach is a wide and long beach, with fine sand.

Nantasket Beach is an ideal spot for for a day trip for families wioh kids. Here you have easy access to parking and a wide range of restaurants and shops, if you get tired of basking in the sun.

Some do's and don'ts when looking for a US beach
  1. Check whether a beach is public before entering.
    Whereas Scandinavians and many Europeans are used to public access to the coastline, the situation in the US is very different. Much of the coastline is privately owned and some owners may deal with trespassers harshly. Other beaches may only be available to inhabitants of a community. You are therefore well advised not to enter any beach if it is not clearly marked as public.

  2. Check, and live by the rules set by each beach.
    Many public beaches have clear conditions to those that use it. This may be connected to littering, tents, pets, open fires, alcohol, etc. Even though these rules often are not rigorously upheld, live by them. If caught, you risk a heavy fine, often for each individual offense.

  3. Observe rules of decency.
    In many European resorts it is not necessarily regarded indecent for a woman to be topless on a beach. Many American resorts uphold stricter rules on decency. Observe the code on your beach and act accordingly.

  4. Check whether parking is permitted.
    On beaches connected to larger resorts as Hampton and Hull, you will find good access to parking. On smaller public beaches, you will often have to look for parking in nearby streets. Check with the locals where you may place your car, and observe the rights of private property.

  5. Be aware of petty crime.
    Some beach town resorts attract large number of people during summer, and some may not have honorable intentions. Do not leave valuables unattended when going for a swim. Likewise, do not leave valuables visible in your car if you want to avoid criminals.

Location of Hampton Beach and Salisbury Beach

View New England on Enjoy Food & Travel 2006 - 2009 in a larger map

Location of Nantasket Beach

View New England on Enjoy Food & Travel 2006 - 2009 in a larger map

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ma Cuisine - Göteborg

Back in March, we went looked for a great old-fashioned café I had visited earlier. To my disappointment, it had been replaced by a French style bistro. Ma Cuisine did not have any of that traditional coziness of its predecessor. Still we decided to enjoy a French style lunch.

Location: BBBB+

Ma Cuisine is located at Kyrkogatan 32, an ordinary street in the historic centre of the city, near Göteborg cathedral and the shopping district. Reasonably easy to get to by foot.

Interior & Atmosphere: BBBB

The interior of the old, charming coffee shop had been kept intact, and was pretty much in style with the new French bistro. Cream, gold and white colour scheme with highly ornamental details.

Seating was not very comfortable though. Chairs were OK, but we were seated so close to the tables behind and besides us, that I could hardly move.

Service: BBBB+

Service was OK. We could order promptly, and we were given our food without delay. Waiters were, however, greatly stressed by all, guests and provided no personalized service.

Food: BBBB-

Susanne ordered Mediterranean style fish bisque (top), served with rustic bread. It was very aromatic with the traditional ingredients, as tomatoes, fish stock, herbs and garlic.

I ordered a quiche lorraine, French cheese and bacon pie. Decent sized portion, served on a bed of lettuce sprinkled with balsamic vinegar.

Creamy consistency, crust a little soggy, but it had a pleasant taste.

Wine: N/A

Rating the Ma Cuisine experience: BBBB (4,11 points)

An overall good French bistrowith a charming traditional interior in downtown Göteborg. Overcrowded when we visited it, affecting the service. Too many tables made it very uncomfortable.


Ma Cuisine
Kyrkogatan 32
41115 Göteborg, Sweden
031-711 77 11
Official website (Swedish)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Ladies and Gentlemen! The Festive Season is upon us all.


Så til alle dere i Norge, Danmark, Sverige og Finland:


Meine Damen und Herren. Ich wünsche euch alle:


Mesdames et messieurs ! Je veux souhaiter nos publiques des pays francophone:



Norwegian Air Shuttle to open 20 new long-haul flights

(Source: Aftenposten, December 8th 2009) Norwegian Air Shuttle has announced its plans to open non-stop flights from Oslo to Bangkok and New York 2010 or 2011. Its overseas ambition does, however, not end there. It plans 20 new long-haul flights from Oslo, Copenhagen and Stockholm to different regions of the world the coming 5 years.

Norwegian will not only compete on destinations serviced by SAS, but also launch flights to cities with no current direct connections.

The CEO of the company, Bjørn Kjos, says that it considers non-stop flights to cities as Beijing, Shanghai, New Delhi, and Miami.

The flights will be operated by a separate company, and will lease larger airplanes for these flights than those the air carrier use today.

Other similar stories

UPDATED: Long hauls flights with Norwegian may start 2010

Feel Air - a new long haul airline with a fresh breath

Favourable transatlantic air fare available fall 2009

Non-stop flights from Oslo Airport to destinations in Europe, Africa, The Middle East, Asia and the US

See map here

(Photo: Scott Wright)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Pork tenderloin Wellington

Few dishes creates such an awe from the guests,than a chunk of meat baked in puff pastry. As when I served Pork Tenderloin Wellington Wednesday December 16th. The biggest challenge is to assure that the pork is well done and that the pastry is fluffy and crisp.

Tenderloin of pork Wellington (Serves 3)

One whole tenderloin of pork (540 grams / 1,2 lb's)
Seasoning (Salt, pepper or a ready made seasoning)
1-2 tbsp butter

One sheet of puff pastry
2-3 tsp Dijon mustard
1 egg, beaten

Season the tenderloin. I used Grill Mates® Montreal Steak Seasoning, but salt and pepper will do perfectly well.

Heat butter in a pan until brown. Seal the surface of the beef well. Allow to rest and cool down.

Fold out puff pastry. Spread the mustard on the sheet, except on 1-2 inches by the edges.

Place pastry on top of pastry. Brush the edges with the beaten eggs.

Fold the edges by the fillet's narrow end over the beef, the fold the other two edges over. Seal the parcel properly.

Make small incisions on top, and brush the parcel with the egg.

Allow to rest for 20 minutes in room temperature.

Place the parcel on a greased baking tray in a medium hot oven 160C / 240F for 30 minutes. Turn the heat up to 200C / 400F until pastry is golden brown. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

More puff pastry on Enjoy Food & Travel

Swiss croissants - breakfast for champions

All the goodness inside!!

Vol-au-vents with mushroom and sherry sauce, with wild rice and asparagus.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Enjoy Food & Travel - recipes from A-Z 2009

To make it easier for you, I have compiled all the recipes on Enjoy Food & Travel for the year 2009 on this page. Enjoy!!