Saturday, October 16, 2010

Merrimack Masonic Lodge building, Haverhill MA

When visiting the A1 Deli in Haverhill MA, I saw something very familiar to me. Just across the street, I found this red-brick Masonic Building.

Haverhill in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts was settled in 1640 and was named after Haverhill in Suffolk in the UK, where many of the settlers originated from. 

The Merrimack Lodge goes back as far as 1802, making it the second oldest lodge in this district. St. John's Lodge in Newburyport was founded already in 1766.

It is located at 111 Merrimack Street in downtown Haverhill. It belongs to the 11th Masonic District in Massachusetts.

Freemasonry in Massachusetts goes back to goes as far back as 1733, i.e. 40 years before the revolution, and before the first Norwegian masonic lodge, Saint John to the White Leopard, was founded in 1749.

The first freemasons met in taverns, one being the famous Green Dragon Tavern that is still found in downtown Boston. This building may be from the last decades of the 19th or first of the 20th century, judging by its appearance.  

More stories on freemasonry on Enjoy Food & Travel   
Location of the Merrimack Lodge Building

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Friday, October 15, 2010

March 2011: More non-stop KLM flights Trondheim Amsterdam

Photo: Fokker 70 lands at Leeds Bradford Airport by 54north
KLM provides a direct connection to Schiphol Airport from several major Norwegian Airports. From March 2011 the Dutch air carrier will increase from two to tree daily flights from Trondheim.

Schiphol is a major European hub for European and long-haul intercontinental flights. KLM offer travelers access to this network from Torp, Kristiansand, Stavanger and Bergen, as well as Oslo Airport.
NEW: Maps of all non-stop flights from main Norwegian Airports - see story here

From March 2011 they will fly three times to Schiphol from Værnes Airport, Trondheim each day. Good news for the region, that considers the Netherlands as one of its most important European markets.

See all non-stop flights from Værnes Airport here

View NEW: All direct flights from Trondheim Airport Værnes - September  2010 in a larger map 

Latest stories from Trondheim, Norway  

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Marhaba Palace, El Kantaoui Tunisia - a review to share

Enjoy Food Travel Co-writer Dagfinn Skoglund has just been to a two weeks stay in Tunisia. He stayed at Marhaba Palace in El Kantaoui. He gave feedback on this hotel on tripadvisor a few days ago. He was very content, as he awarded it a full top mark.   With his permission I give his review on Marhaba Palace here on Enjoy Food & Travel.

I picked this hotel because I was travelling with my old mother, who has difficulty walking much. The hotel is practically ON the beach, and has short walking distance to the marina where most of the restaurants are, and is otherwise compact and well laid out, so in that respect it was the best possible match. We had booked two rooms but on arrival was offered a junior suite (close to the elevator) which was perfect for us.

It had two bedrooms, two balconies, two TV's etc., and offered us separation when we needed that and company when that was required. Again perfect match. The staff is excellent and very helpful. We had a couple of small things that needed fixing in our room and within 5 minutes of notifying the reception someone was there to fix it.

The maids were similarly very friendly and did a super job with the cleaning. The breakfast room is very spacious and the food great and varied, we only had B&B so we didn't visit the buffet restaurant, but tried the "a la carte" a couple of times. There were not many people there but the food and service was good. The pool area is also very nice and tidy and the pool good and of average size. It has a good bar and lunch restaurant. The beach is a real gem, one of the best in the area.

Well tended, clean, and with good security. I must mention Marcel, the young man who fetches us sun beds, because he does such a super job and is always happy, obliging, alert and running around. There is also a spacious and very pretty beach restaurant with good and varied food and we took most of our lunches there.

There is a nightclub (which wasn't open when we were there), a "Moorish" café (which we didn't try), but the "American Bar" has a good ambiance, whereas the central (lobby) bar is a bit noisy (especially on Karaoke night), and a rather large shop with a good selection of various items.

There seem to be mainly British and German guests here, and we didn't speak to one who hadn't been there at least once before, so this is clearly a favourite hotel for many, and I can totally understand them. It was a very comfortable and good holiday, and the best hotel (out of quite a few) we have stayed at in the area.

Read more on this hotel on tripadvisor

Vis Hotels on Enjoy Food & Travel 2006-2011 i et større kart

More on Dagfinn Skoglund on Enjoy Food & Travel 
Dagfinn Sigridsson Skoglund is 50 years old (forever) and is living in a studio apartment in downtown Oslo. He is working as a designer and art teacher, and is an excellent cook.

Dagfinn is a passionate lover of music, botany and is an experienced traveler - and he hates popcorn!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Restaurant Larsen, Oslo

View UPDATED: Oslo on Enjoy Food & Travel October 2010 in a larger map 

Restaurant Larsen has been located in the same house at Majorstuen since it opened in 1951. I visited it a few times just after I had moved to the Norwegian capital in the early 1980's. Then it had rooms over two floors. A few eeks ago, I visited Restaurant Larsen for the first time in close to 30 years. I discovered that it is definitely a place to enjoy a Norwegian open sandwich.

Rating Restaurant Larsen: BBBB+ (4,26 points)
  • Location: BBBB
  • Service: BBBB+
  • Interior & Atmosphere: BBBB
  • Food: BBBB+
  • Beverage: BBBBB-
Restaurant Larsen  is located in the busy Majorstuen downtown area of Oslo. Close to the Oslo subway system, and ideal for a snack after you have visited Vigeland Sculpture Park close by. 

Here you enjoy your food in  a quaint traditional interior, otherwise found in the numerous log-cabin style restaurants found in the wooden areas of the Norwegian capital. Even though the building is built just before the war, you get a Swiss chalet feeling when sitting down. Rough wooden walls, rough worn furniture and filled up with vintage nicknack's.

I found a table by the window and was instantly served by a charming young waitress. I ordered a cold pint of beer, and after I had studied the menu, I decided to try the "Karbonade" open sandwich,  usually a buttered slice of bread with a large hamburger, fried or raw onion, and pickled cucumber.

Sadly Oslo has a very few places that serve this Scandinavian specialty, but I discovered that  I could add Restaurant Larsen to the list, and judging from my open sandwich they are good at it. A decent sized, home made "karbonade" made from proper ground beef, succulent, well seasoned high quality meat. It was served on a crispy slice of rustic bread, served with all the necessary garnish.

We were traveling to our summer home by car, and I remained completely satisfied by this substantial meal until I stood in my garden on the South Eastern coast. So having an open sandwich here is a good idea if want to indulge in proper Norwegian comfort food and avoid getting hungry quickly. Add a pint of beer to it all, and you will stay happy until dinner.

Restaurant Larsen
Sørkedalsveien 1 C, 0369 Oslo
Phone: 22 60 64 92

Stories on open sandwiches on Enjoy Food & Travel  


    Tuesday, October 12, 2010

    COMING UP: New England 2010

    Boston: Golden dome of Faneuil Hall with the Marriott's Custom house in the background
    I have been to the US yearly the last 23 years, and I, usually, like a migrating bird, return to the same place. This year I am leaving late October and I will making an exception to the rule. I will travel from Boston to Albany through Worcester, Springfield and scenic Berkshires to visit family in Upstate New York. The rest of the time will be spent on Boston's North and South Shore.

    I will travel with Icelandair, as usual, even though they offer very little complementary extras. Here you get no meals, no drinks, just a seat. This in spite of the fact that the fare of NOK 4995 (851 USD / 614 EUR), is not a very competitive price compare to what many other air carriers offer over the Atlantic.

    Why do I then travel Icelandair? It has so much shorter traveling time compared to the transatlantic flights taking off  from Europe. A little over 2 hours from Oslo to Reykjavik and only 4 hours and 50 minutes from Iceland to the US.   

    Flying Icelandair Fall 2009 - see rating of airline here

    I will travel to Logan International Airport, Boston. After one night staying with my cousin in Scituate, I will take a Greyhound Bus from Boston Bus terminal To Albany, the capital city of New York State.

    This ride will bring me from Boston to Newton, traveling on to Worcester and Springfield, the third land fourth largest cities in New England.

    From Worcester we will drive through the scenic Berkshires, bordering New York State on to Albany. This is a densely forested area with much wildlife. My friend and Enjoy Food & Travel co-writer Susanne Koch once stayed at a Yoga retreat in Lenox in the Berkshires and was warned that bears roamed free on the grounds of the retreat centre. 

    I will visit my relations living in Schenectady and Port Jervis staying for 5 days, returning to Scituate in time to celebrate Halloween. The rest of the time will be spent in this beautiful town and at Salisbury Beach on Boston's North Shore. Then I return to Europe by Icelandair two weeks later.

    Traveling to New England during fall is an annual ritual usually taking time around Labour Day. My travel this year has been postponed by me moving and getting settled into a new flat in Oslo.

    Earlier stories from New England on Enjoy Food & Travel. 

    There is a large number of stories from New England on Enjoy Food & Travel. From this map you may maneuver yourself to the story of the sight, bar, restaurant, or hotel of your choice. Rest assure that there will be published more interesting stories from this year's visit to Northern New England and New York State.   

    View New England and New York State on Enjoy Food & Travel 2006 - 2010 in a larger map

    Latest published stories from New England on Enjoy Food & Travel 

    Monday, October 11, 2010

    1001 teas at Hazer Baba

    At the Spice Bazaar or Egyptian Bazaar we discovered the wonders of teas and spices at Hazer Baba. Here you may find flavours to bring home and infuse your own teas with countless familiar and surprising aromas, and think back on your Eastern adventure.

    The Spice Bazaar, (Turkish: 'Mısır Çarşısı', or Egyptian Bazaar) in Istanbul, is one of the oldest bazaars in the city. It is the second largest covered shopping complex after the Grand Bazaar.

    The building was completed in 1660 and is connected to the Yeni Mosque, located by the  mouth of the Golden Horn. Most of the spices found here was originally imported from Egypt, hence the name.

    We used hours walking around in the beautiful ornate arcade just to see what was offered. This is definitely the place to go to buy spices. I ended up with a bag of the omni present dried mint, star anise, and a strong pepper mix perfect for stews and soups.  

    Another thing to explore is the Turkish passion for tea. In my Turkish grocers I've already discovered the large numbers of varieties, and I tried a few. The apple flavoured tea is a perfect  hot drink during winter time. 

    But at the Spice Bazaar you may choose from so many other intriguing tastes. At Hazar Baba's stall and were fascinated by the wide range of teas flavoured with fruit, oils or spices.

    Here you could choose from both familiar tastes and highly surprising mixes. Ginger, rose, pomegranate, carcade (Hibiscus) are flavours that you may consider adding to your brew. For tea purists you may choose the house special mix (or maybe that may contain even more strange flavours), or a simple green tea.

    One thing is for sure; the Spice Bazaar is an exotic dream for foodies. Here you may purchase and bring home a taste of Turkey in a small plastic bag to be served on a plate or a mug. I even sometimes just open up the bag to inhale the aromas of the spice bazaar.

    Where to find the Spice Bazaar

    View Istanbul A-Z 2009 Updated January 6th 2010 in a larger map

    More stories on spices on Enjoy Food & Travel   

    Sunday, October 10, 2010

    Quick Croque Monsieur à la Kavli

    Photo: A croque monsieur sandwich still in the oven after broiling by Michael Brewer
    A Croque Monsieur is simply a toast with ham, garnished with bechamel sauce and baked in the oven. Simply is though not the word, as I rarely have white sauce at hand, but have to make it from scratch. Yesterday I had a bright idea that made a decent croque so much easier to make.

    In Norway, the Kavli company has provided us with soft cheese spread with different flavours since I was a kid. Originally you could get just a few varieties, one with bacon and another with prawn taste, either out of a box or a tube.  Lately they have extended their range to include more exotic tastes.

    I bought a box of bacon flavoured cheese just after I moved. The soft spreadable cheese proved to be a very good substitute for a white cheese sauce, thus the  first Quick Croque à la Kavli saw the light of day.

    Quick Croque Monsieur à la Kavli (Serves two)
    Photo: Company website
    8 slices of bread
    4 large tbsp spaghetti sauce
    4 slices of boiled ham
    150 grams / 5 oz cheese, grated
    150 grams / 5 oz kavli bacon flavoured cheese or another soft cheese variety

    Arrange four slices of bread on a baking tray.

    Spread tomato sauce on the sliced bread, and then one large slice of boiled ham on top of the sauce. Then place half the grated cheese on ham. Press the second slice of ham on top.

    Spread Kavli cheese equally on top of second slice of bread, and add grated cheese on top.

    Bake in a medium oven (175-200C / 340-400F) until cheese is golden and Kavli cheese is melted.

    Serve with salad and a glass of red wine.

    Latest toast and croque stories on Enjoy Food & Travel