Saturday, January 16, 2010

UPDATED January 2010: Hotels with free wireless access in Oslo

View Hotels in Oslo: Free wireless network available in a larger map

For us addicted to our laptop, and in need for free wireless access, it is always nice to know what hotels that offers free internet access to their paying guests. Here is a short list over where I have found which hotels that offered free wireless access in Oslo per August 27th. This list will be continuously updated. Kindly contact me if any of these hotels can not offer a free wireless service or if you know other hotels in Oslo where free WLAN is included in their price.

Bed & Breakfast Villa Frogner

Best Western
  • Anker Hotell
  • Bondeheimen (notify if you want internet access)
  • NEW: Kampen Hotell
  • West Hotel
Carlton Hotell

Catalina Apartment Hotel

City Hotel

  • Collection Hotell Bastion
  • Collection Hotel Savoy
  • Hotel Royal Christiania

Cochs Pensjonat

  • Hotell Børsparken
  • NEW: Hotell Oslo

  • Hotell Millennium
  • Hotell Grims Grenka

Golden Tulip
  • NEW: Rainbow Stefan Hotel
Hotel Continental

  • Gaustad Hotell
  • Karl Johan Hotell
  • Saga Bed & Breakfast
Park Inn
  • NEW: Park Inn Oslo
  • Hotel 33
Radisson Blu
  • Hotel Nydalen
  • Hotel Plaza
  • Scandinavia

  • Bygdøy Allé
  • Grand Hotell
  • Helsfyr Hotell
  • Holberg Hotell
  • Holmenkollen Park Hotell
  • Oslo Hotell
  • Travel Hotell
  • Victoria Hotell
  • Byporten
  • Edderkoppen
  • KNA
  • Sjølyst
Thon Hotel
  • Astoria
  • Bristol
  • Cecil
  • Europa
  • Gyldenløve
  • Linne
  • Munch
  • Opera
  • Oslo Panorama
  • Slottsparken
  • Spectrum
  • Stefan
  • Terminus
  • Vika Atrium
More wireless access in Oslo:

Oslo - bars with free wireless internet access

First Park Inn Hotel opens in Oslo

German Rezidor group is investing heavily in the Norwegian hotel market. They have taken over as main investor in the Radisson Blu Hotel Group after Scandinavian Airlines. Now they are planning a large number of Park Inn hotels in Norway.

A prime location at Øvre Slottsgate, a stone's throw away from Karl Johans gate, and low prices are the main assets for Oslo Park Inn Hotel that open January 13th 2009.

The Park Inn chain aims for those that are looking for no-nonsense accommodation. Park Inn offers bare essentials as safe, ironing board and free wireless access. They have a sensible standard, and offers bar, restaurant, and meeting facilities.

I have stayed in Park Inn hotels in Arendal and Berlin, and have been extremely satisfied by the standard offered by these hotels.

When Park Inn Oslo opens, offering rooms at NOK 995, it place itself on the lower end of the Oslo hotel market. The price will be higher during the working week, due to the business travel.

(Photo: Hotel website)

More on Park Inn Hotels on Enjoy Food & Travel

Read review of Park Inn Arendal here

Read review of Park Inn Alexanderplatz, Berlin, here

Friday, January 15, 2010

No Hooter's in Stavanger

An overwhelming majority in the city council of Stavanger voted Thursday to deny license to serve alcohol to the first Hooter's restaurant in the city, but the politicians avoided all controversy in their discussion. They simply claimed that they did not want another licensed restaurant within the city centre.

Hooter's has stirred up a lot of controversy in Norway's oil capital. On Facebook there has been groups for and against Hooter's. The pro-group has managed to get 10000 fans , whereas those critical of the restaurant's image count around 1000 on Facebook.

The possible result of tonight's vote has been no secret. Politicians chose, however, in their hypocrisy, not to go the core of the matter, i.e. to discuss the controversial image of Hooter's, as reason to deny its license. They simply defined the location of the new restaurant to be within the so called "skjenkering" i.e. the area where politicians want to restrict the number of licensed bars and restaurant to avoid problems connected to alcohol consumption.

So to avoid further alcohol related problems, the city council voted against Hooter's. The three votes in favour of the restaurant came from the representative of Fremskrittspartiet, Norway's ultra right party.

This may however not be the last word in this case. Tore Lie, the developer behind Hooter's in Stavanger, claims that the location cannot be regarded within the central area of the city, and that politicians cannot use this as an argument to deny Hooter's license to sell alcohol.

The whole matter may end up in court, as the investors behind Hooter's Stavanger suspect foul play.

I will keep you posted!

(Photo: Inside of a Hooters restaurant in Chattanooga, Tennessee by CrazyLegsKC)

Bridgewater MA: More grub for hockey mams

September 25th 2009, I, my cousin, and her kids went to Bridgewater MA for a game of hockey and American footie! That meant sports and grub, hockey mum style, ringside. - chicken and American chop suey made by a Russian cook. Only in America!

This was food served in styrofoam containers and eaten with plastic cutlery. Still it was surprisingly good.

I am annoyed by the fact that I have forgotten the exact name of my dish, but it was much food, and even more rice, and I agreed with my cousin that it was wickedly good.

My chicken was very tender chicken and vegetables were well prepared, with a bite to it.

My cousin Erica chose American chop suey. I do remember, as I expected it to be a Chinese or Chinese inspired dish. Oops! I had forgotten "American."

I love wikipedia, as it had a very enlightening section on American chop suey. I found that the only Chinese with this dish is the name.

American chop suey may also be called American goulash (not remotely Hungarian) or more correctly Macaroni and Beef. At least that explains what is in the dish.

Beef, macaroni, tomato sauce and as here; cheese, makes it into more of an Italian-American dish. I had a bite, tasty very decent sized serving.

Erica told me that the food had improved greatly after they had a new Russian cook.

Italian style food, with a Chinese or Hungarian, name cooked by a Russian in Massachusetts. True fusion! Only in America!

More hockey mam stories

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A hidden wine treasure

In a basement in New England, I found a secret treasure of great wines. Great French wines in cases!

As I visited my cousins in September, one acquaintance of them revealed that her husband was an ardent wine collector, and she asked my to take a look, to see whether there would be something of interest.

I am no great wine expert, but I know my ABC of good wines, and particularly the French wines of some significance. Chateau Petrus, Chateau Lafite Rotschild, Chateau Palmer and Chateau d'Yquem are names most of us knows as la creme de la creme of wines.

When I ascended into her basement, I discovered that I had struck gold. She had a case of six dusty bottles of Chateau Lafite Rotschild 1999, wine from a prime producer in Pauillac in her cellar amongst many other dusty bottles of wine.

The famous wine taster Jancis Robinson has this to say about thie 1999 vintage in the Bordeaux region:
"A vintage that the French are already drinking but which seems a bit callow to anglo-saxon palates. Pauillac did especially well although so did Chx Lafleur, Margaux and Figeac. Talbot and Mouton-Rothschild stablemates d’Armailhac and Clerc Milon are bargains, the Lynches and Pichons reliable."
Another site has this review of this particular vintage:
"What can you say about this wonderful, proud, noble, elegant, silky and complex wine with intoxicating perfumes...Nothing finally, only that perfection has been achieved..."
A quick research revealed that this case of wine was worth more than $3000!! There were numerous other Spanish and American wines as well, most probably of high quality.

I told her there and then, that this was great stuff. I made a query on the internet when returning to find the price.

I am looking forward to meet her again to see what she has done with this wine treasure. I hope she and her husband open a bottle to taste. She should be aware, though, that the expert recommends that these wines reach their peak from 2017, depending they are stored under good conditions.

(Photo: Mikecase00)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Will Hooter's conquer Norway in 2010?

American Hooter's is a chain of restaurant that may seem incompatible with the politically correct culture found in the Scandinavian countries. It is therefore a surprise that it has applied the city council of Stavanger, Norway's oil capital, to open its first restaurant in Norway. No wonder our women's lib' movement is angered. Will the city of Stavanger dare to open up for Hooter's lightly dressed waitresses?

The Hooter's chain is well known through the American TV-series "Married with children" starring the frustrated, underpaid shoe salesman Al Bundy and Peggy, his voluptuous, sex-starved wife.

Hooter's are found over much of the US, and is known for its sparsely dressed waitresses. The prospect of it opening up in Stavanger, is not entirely surprising. As the center for the lucrative Norwegian oil industry, it has a large and wealthy population of foreigner, among whom many are American.

In the application to the city council to take over after the former restaurant "Sjøhuset Nilsen & Wold" they present themselves in this way (translated).
"The restaurant has a beach-theme, and the menu consists of seafood, salads, hamburgers, beef, and spicy chicken wings as special offer. Even though the chain is not targeting families with children, the can offer a separate menu for kids. The selection of beverage is, with a few exceptions, is the same in all restaurants over the whole world. It may be compared to the Hard Rock Café in Oslo, and the interior has much the same character found in Peppes Pizza restaurants. "
It sounds innocent enough, and we'll see whether the city council will give its permission. The decision will come tomorrow.

The radical women's group Ottar has challenged Hooter's, calling its business idea as "a cold wind from the past", and claims that it is in direct conflict with Norwegian legislation.

Agree or diagree? I will keep you posted on this story!!

(Photo: Hooters Calendar girl by Mattes)

More on Hooter's?

See what more the chain has to offer(!) in this commercial.........

Light dining at Latitude

I have dined on the ferries between Oslo and Copenhagen countless times, and have had a wide range of meals. For those crossing the Kattegat, do not expect fine cuisine. The meals go from decent/satisfactory to boring or uninteresting. The last time I dined on board the DFDS ferries, I had a late meal at Bistro Latitude on board M/F Pearl of Scandinavia.

Location: BBBB+

Very few restaurants has a location like Latitude. As you eat, you may experience the crossing from Oslo to Copenhagen.

Magnificent views while traveling either the Oslo fjord or the strait of Øresund with the Swedish coast on your left and the island of Sjælland on your right. And when the weather is great, what could be better than this.

On your way, you pass Kronborg Palace in Helsingør, that inspired Shakespeare in his play Hamlet.

The windows were a little worn or dirty, obscuring the view somewhat.

Service: BBBBB-

Our waiter did his best to make our meal worthwhile. We did not have to wait long for our food, and as we discovered that the cheese platter was available in the grill on the other side of the walkway, he organized it to be served to us, off the menu.

Interior & Atmosphere: BBB

It is hard to find an intimate atmosphere on board a ship. This also with Bistro Latitude.

The bistro is found on one side of the walkway, separating it from the café further in..

The furniture in light wood with (fake) leather seats were a little worn. No formal table setting, neither glasses, cutlery, nor china placed on the table. Very spartan impression, indeed.

Food: BBBB+

I traveled with my sister and we decided to order to dishes to share. One was salted cod with tagliatelle and asparagus (see top) the other was crispy fried chicken on bulgur wheat. One cheese platter to share for dessert.

We were pleasantly and positively surprised by all the dishes. The chicken had a delicious crunchy and very tasty crust, covering moist and tender chicken meat. The bulgur was tender and all was served with an aromatic tomato sauce.

The fish was lightly salted and steamed to a point where it was firm, still tender. There were less contrasting flavors in this dish, than in the chicken dish, but it was all in all a decent culinary experience.

As both me and my sister have no sweet tooth, we often choose a cheese platter to conclude our when available. The cheese platter was not on the menu at Latitude Bistro, but the waiter did an effort, and presto - we had a cheese platter.

Three differently matured Danish cheeses, hard, medium and soft served with salt olives, and sweet marmalade.

Not much, but providing us with three interesting tastes and consistencies to end our meal.

Wine: N/A

Rating Restaurant Latitude: BBBB+ (4,16 points)

You do not choose to dine at Bistro Latitude due o its interior or atmosphere, but surprisingly tasty food and very good service on board M/F Pearl of Scandinavia.

On the trip:

More on DFDS services Oslo-Copenhagen

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bunker Hill Monument, Boston

Walking the Freedom Trail in Boston to its end, you end up by the Bunker Hill Monument. The first monument here was erected by Freemasons commemorating the first battle between the British and American forces during the American Revolution. It was replaced by the current monument in 1843

This year I walked the whole Freedom Trail, ending in the historic area of Charlestown. This is a charming part of Boston, with a large number of old, partly historic houses and packed with sights from the time of the American Revolution and much further back.

When you walk up Bunker Hill, you are actually ascending Breed's Hill, and it was here the fighting between the colonial and British forces culminated June 17th 1775. Through intelligence sources, the Americans learned that the British were to occupy nearby hills overlooking Boston. As a response they used the days before the battle to fortify both Breed's and Bunker Hill and parts of the Charlestown peninsula.

After three assaults, the British managed to recapture the hill, but suffered heavy casualties. The colonial forces retreated to Cambridge. For the British it was still a hard blow, as they lost a large number of officers, whereas the colonial troops could regroup for new assaults.

The first monument at the site was created in memory of their Masonic brothers and fallen Bunker Hill hero Joseph Warren in 1794 by King Solomon's Lodge of Masons. It was replaced by a obelisk finished in 1843 made from granite from Quincy, Massachusetts.

More on my freedom trail

Read story on Along my Freedom Trail: Old North Church and the Paul Revere Statue here on Enjoy Food & Travel

More on the Masonic legacy in Boston

See story on Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in Boston

See story on the Chinese Masonic Lodge, Boston

Here is a shortstory on the Battle of Bunker Hill

Monday, January 11, 2010

Zucchini soup with mint and star anise

A very simple soup made from leftover zucchini and spices bought in the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul. I ran the star anise in my liquidizer by mistake, but that was a jolly good idea.

What do you do when you are left with half a zucchini. You may chuck it in your bin, or think creatively. It ended up as a very good soup. Waste not, want not!

Zucchini soup with mint and star anise (serves 4)

To make this soup you'll need (approximately)

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 large zucchini, roughly diced
1 tbsp flour
7o cl / 1,5 pints chicken stock
2 star anise
2 tbsp dried mint
1-2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp white wine vinegar
10 cl / fluid oz light cream

Heat butter in casserole. Add garlic, and allow to get golden, then add zucchini. Stir.

Add flour and mix well, pour in stock. Bring up to boiling point. Add mint, star-anise and enough sugar to get right balance. Allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes. Balance taste with vinegar.

Place all in a liquidizer. Blend until smooth, pour back into pan and add cream. Bring up to boiling point.

Serve as first course, or serve in shot glasses as a Amuse-bouche before a meal.

(Photo: fruits of star anise by Brian Arthur )

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Norwegian Air Shuttle's seasonal flights - status March 2010

View International non-stop flights from Oslo Airport - status January 2010 in a larger map

Norwegian starts up seasonal non-stop flights from Oslo Airport to 8 European destinations in March 2010.

The airline extends its non-stop services from Oslo Airport to the following destinations:
  • Billund, Denmark
  • Chania, Greece
  • Dubrovnik, Croatia
  • La Valetta, Malta
  • Larnaca, Cyprus
  • Malaga, Spain
  • Palma de Mallorca, Spain
  • Pisa, Italy
  • Split, Croatia
More on Oslo Airport?

See updated information page here

New destinations from Rygge Airport - March 2010

Norwegian Air Shuttle will also open non-stop flights to two seasonal destinations from Rygge Airport in March 2010. These are:
  • Athens, Greece
  • Palanga. Lithuania