Saturday, October 23, 2010

Old South Meeting House, Boston

When you walk down
Washington Street in the Downtown Crossing area, you can watch everything from new high rise buildings as well as architecture from the 18th to the 19th century. One of the oldest official buildings in the city is found here. The Old South Meeting House from 1729 played a crucial role during one main event that were to create today's United States of America.

The present building looks like, and was, originally, a church. It was built in 1729, but the history of the congregation goes back as far back as 1669. It was used as a church from 1729 to 1872.

On December 13th 1773 5,000 people met in the Old Meeting House to show their strong opposition to British taxation. This to show they resistance to the Tea Act, passed by the British Parliament in 1773.

Colonists objected to this piece of legislation as they it violated their right to be taxed only by their own elected representatives.

What followed is today known as the Boston Tea Party. A group, partly disguised as American Indians, raided a vessel with a large shipment of tea on Boston harbour, and threw all overboard. This was one of the main event leading up to the war against the colonists that ended up with the Declaration of Independence.

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Non-stop Oslo New York with Scandinavian Airlines from March 2011

Photo: An Airbus 380-300 operated by Scandinavian Airlines, by Magnus Manske
We are experiencing a boom in direct flights between Scandinavian capitals and US destinations. In March 2011, Scandinavian Airlines will be the latest air carrier to start daily non-stop flights between Oslo International Airport and Newark International Airport in New York, and more competitors are waiting to do the same.

This is certainly good news for us that wants to trade our everyday life with a stroll along Fifth Avenue. Coming summer 176 flights will fly each week between the US and the five Scandinavian capitals.

Oslo International Airport has flights to the Big Apple all year operated by Continental Airlines, and US Airways operate flights to Philadelphia from late spring to early fall. These flights have been highly lucrative for the two air carriers, and other airlines are waiting to catch travelers eager to cross the herring pond.

Scandinavian will use their Airbus A330-300 on their flights, a much larger plane than the ones used by Continental, taking 257 passengers.

Scandinavian is not the only air carrier that is planning direct flights from Norway to the US. Norwegian Air Shuttle has announced that they will start flights during 2011. The small Norwegian-Swedish Feel Air is also in line. This competition will mean lower prices, at least in the short run. If the airlines are trying to catch the same number of passenger, that is. Then one or several will lose out in the long run.

But if the lower prices tempt more travelers, the new competition will be a win-win for all air carriers. As long as the value of the USD is low compared to the Euro and other European currency, Norwegian travelers will find the US as affordable as destination as many European countries.

I am crossing the Atlantic regularly, and I welcome the completion from Scandinavian Airlines. Having only one carrier offering non-stop flights on these crossing means fewer deals for travelers. Four airlines means more choice and better deals, and what could be better than that?

Latest transatlantic stories  

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A delicious pork and chicken dinner

You have been to work, and you're tired, in fact so tired that you have no energy to prepare your dinner. If you're lucky you have a well stocked supermarket close to where you live. Close to my cousins house in Salisbury Beach there is a large Market Basket, and one evening during my visit we decided to buy some ready made dinner. 
My cousin thinks that the grilled chicken from DeMoulas Market Basket is close to what you may prepare yourself. Annes husband Pete is not very fond of chicken, so we bought some thick slices of pork roast. It had the most delicious mahogany glaze. 
I usually buy ready prepared chicken in supermarket when I'm too lazy. Buy the one just prepared and warm, and do remember that this meat is best the evening you buy it, and if cold it will not take cooking very well. So if not eaten warm, use in salads or in sandwiches.

Buy a raw chicken if you prepare a casserole or a curry.

We heated the chicken from DeMoulas slightly in the oven and served it and the pork with mashed potatoes and brown gravy. It is a nutritious and lean dinner.

Other easy ready-made dinners on Enjoy Food & Travel  
See other stores, bars, restaurants and sights in the Salisbury-Seabrook area. 

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    Wednesday, October 20, 2010

    Rating Memphis Café & Bar, Oslo

    Thorvald Meyersgate in the Grünerløkka area
    At Memphis Café & Bar you order burger - only! This was the advise from a friend that lives in the neighbourhood. I ordered pasta. That proved my friend right!

    Rating Memphis Café & Bar: BBBB- (3,66 points)
    • Location: BBBB+
    • Service: BBBB
    • Interior & atmosphere: BBB
    • Food: BBB
    • Beverage: BBBB
    The main asset of Memphis Café & Bar is its location. It is located in the trendy Grünerløkka area, a downtown area just a short walk from Oslo Central Station. This is an area packed with restaurants, bars, and coffee where you can relax after you've roamed around the area shopping in the many small boutiques.

    Interior; trendy - grey and black, with large windows facing the street, you are on display while eating. The large stone tables and black chairs are comfortable, but I find the interior a little impersonal in my mind. Seated along the windows there are generous space into the room, but a little bit cramped towards the other tables in the row.

    Decent service at Memphis Café & Bar, having a staff that smiles at you and takes your order swiftly is a good thing. I ordered a pasta dish with bacon in a cream sauce. I got my beer without delay, but I did have to wait a little bit too long for my food.

    I do not mind wait for the food if the quality is high, in fact it may mean that the cook prepares the food carefully from scratch. I am sad to say that this was not the case with the pasta at Memphis Café & Bar. The penne rigate was either overcooked, or hard as a result of the dish being baked in the oven before serving. The bell peppers had a nice crunch and must have been added fresh to the dish.

    But where was the taste? The dish had hardly any seasoning added by its creator. To add a little interest to what I ate, I asked for X-tra parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and I even added a little Tabasco to get an interesting dinner. With the help of all these ingredients, the pasta dish finally started to taste of something, but I really doubt whether this was what it was supposed to taste.

    The salad served on the plate was hardly of interest either. I most often find that the tasteless salad leaves and the watery tomatoes are added as a politically correct gesture, as an order from a nagging nutrition-nanny saying;
    "You need to have some greens in order to have any reason to eat what else  (unhealthy) that may be left on your plate.  Eat your greens!!"
    Do not misunderstand me. I am for a tasty salad, but made from good ingredients with care and served on a different plate. 

    So I am definitely going to listen to my friend IF I dine at Memphis Café & Bar again and order Burger. This as he definitely enjoys a good meal and clearly sees what is good and what isn't. And this is a piece of advise for you to follow as well.

    Memphis Café & Bar
    Thorvald Meyers gate 63, N-0552 Oslo
    Phone: +47 22 04 12 75  

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    Tuesday, October 19, 2010

    Stoughton Hall, Harvard University

    The architect Charles Bulfinch has left behind a rich architectural legacy through a large number of buildings throughout the East Coast of the US, among them US Capitol, the State Houses in Maine, Connecticut and Massachusetts and the University Hall at Harvard. Another building designed by him is Stoughton Hall, a dormitory building found at Harvard Yard.

    William Stoughton around 1700

    The present Stoughton Hall goes back to 1804. It is named after William Stoughton, that funded construction of the first building bearing its name at the university in 1698. Funding of the new building was aided by a State Lottery.
    Stoughton Hall is one of the dormitories housing first-year students at Harvard College.

    Each room is shared by two students. Here are a few more known students that shared rooms at Stoughton Hall:
    Harvard college with the old Stoughton Hall from an engraving from 1720

    Monday, October 18, 2010

    Food court at Boston's South Station

    To dine in Boston, as any other large US city, may end up as a costly affair. If you spent too much on oysters or Maine lobster the day before, it is a good idea to lunch at one of the many food courts found around the city. It will relieve a stretched budget, and it tastes decent. One fooud court is found at South Station, in the heart of downtown Boston.
    I had not spent too much, but had missed the train to Greenbush the day I arrived in the US. To kill some time waiting for the next train, I decided to take a snack in the food court. Strolling around, looking what was offered from US cuisine and beyond, I decided to try a noodle dish with beef as served at Master Wok.
    Food served at one of these food courts is inexpensive for more than one reason. For one, this is serious street food as the dishes are prepared in advance and you do not eat in style. They are served in Styrofoam containers and you eat with plastic cutlery. This means that the prices are lower than in a restaurant or bar.
    Secondly, you are not obliged to pay the compulsory 23% tip paid in restaurants. But I suspect that the staff behind the counter would need a pay rise, so I strongly recommend you to throw in a few quarters as courtesy for those working hard to serve you.
    And do not expect to have a great culinary experience. In this price range the food is good or decent, but not gourmet. Add a little soy sauce, and it will certainly fill you up. For me it brought me to my cousin’s supper at the end of a long journey.
    What else to find at South Station:
    • Cajun, Cajun - cuisine from the deep south at its worst, if you read these five reviews at Yelp. Maybe the expectations were too high, but you may consider trying something else to be completely sure.
    • Pizza Regina - better, but overpriced according to other reviews at Yelp, saying that this is definitely for tourist. $4 price for a slice is not expensive where I come from, but you may get cheaper meals at South Station.
    • Au Bon Pain - even better. Here you may get healthier meals as a sandwich, orange juice , yogurts, and more and enjoy a decent brew of coffee.

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    Two other food courts in the Boston Area

    Prudential Centre, Back Bay

    This is an elegant mall with a food court, as well as bars and restaurants. You may take a coffee at Starbucks and visit Barnes & Noble, before heading off for a meal at the food court.

    I found it very appealing and many others did as well, according to the reviews at Yelp. A wide range of different styled food.

    111 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02228

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    Cambridgeside Galleria

    A large food court at the end of a vast mall close to the Science Museum and Lechmere here you find many traditional chains as well as Sushi, Tex-Mex, Thai and Italian food.

    100 CambridgeSide Place, Cambridge MA 02141

    Sunday, October 17, 2010

    Lamb Methi Malai

    I discovered the the Kohinoor sauces in my local Turkish supermarket, and I use them regularly in my cooking. This Methi Malai cook-in sauce is one of my favourites. A rich creamy North Indian sauce flavoured with fenugreek leaves. Perfect for a hot lamb dish during fall.

    I have had a Turkish green grocer close by, and could indulge in fresh vegetables and intriguing new sauces and spices. I found this, and a few other varieties in the shelf, and fell immediately for the product.
    Photo: Company website
    Now I am as happy. Since moving out of downtown Oslo, I am pleased to see that even Turkish grocers have found that living in the suburb is a good thing, and even doing business there.

    At Holmlia, there is a large immigrant population and, thank God, I found one butcher and one grocer, both Turkish (ish).

    And guess what I found at my grocers? Yes, you're right, the same Kohinoor products.

    That led to a Lamb casserole Methi Malai the other day. Remember to buy the cheaper cuts, as they will take the long cooking process.

    Here is what you'd need.

    Lamb Methi Malai (feeds at least six)

    1 kilo / 2 lb's lamb meat, rough cheap cuts
    5 cl oil
    4 cloves garlic, minced
    2 onions, diced
    2 red peppers, diced
    2 bags of Kohinoor Methi Malai Cook-in sauce
    10 cl / 3,5 fluid oz water
    1/2 can white beans
    20 cl / 7 fluid oz coconut milk

    Seal the meat on two batches in hot oil and lay aside on a large plate.

    Add garlic, onions, and peppers to the hot oil, and allow the vegetables to get slightly brown.

    Place meat on top, add Methi Malai sauce, and water. Stir to distribute liquid. Place lid on top and allow the mixture to simmer over low heat for 2 hours.

    After 2 hours, add beans and pour in coconut milk. Allow to cook for another 1/2 hour. IMPORTANT: DO NOT PLACE LID ON TOP AS THIS WILL MAKE COCONUT MILK SEPARATE. 

    Serve Lamb Methi Malai hot with rice, and Nan-bread.

    Curry dishes on Enjoy Food & Travel