Saturday, February 12, 2011

Shopping stories on Enjoy Food & Travel February 2011

Photo by Jim

Here is a list of shopping stories published on Enjoy Food & Travel 2011. Enjoy! 

  • A Belgian grocery bag (February 5th 2011)
    I always love to roam through grocery shops abroad and see what I may bring home for my cooking. When in Brussels I always visit Delhaize in Anspach Laan 63 to buy a few goodies  to take home. Here is what I found in the supermarket shelves.

  • Lights of Marrakech  (August 19th 2011)
    These lamps were to light up the summer night. I bought them in the mysterious souqs of Marrakech, where lamps in all shapes were available, from those crafted in wrought iron to those made from food cans.
More shopping stories on Enjoy Food & Travel


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Historic Salem, MA - stories to come on Enjoy Food & Travel

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

On this map you'll find bars, restaurants, sights and other information to come from Historic Salem here on Enjoy Food & Travel .

Gnocchi at Café Graziani, Salem NY

In the middle of the historic centre of Salem MA, Caffe Graziani is tempting with Italian specialties. Language spoken inside is Italian, and it has a kind of a Italian atmosphere. Food, however, did not tickle my taste buds. The two courses did not match the food I have eaten in the home country.

Rating Caffe Graziani: BBBB- (3,57 points)
  • Location: BBBB
  • Interior & Atmosphere: BBBB-
  • Service: BBBB
  • Food: BBB

Caffe Graziani is located in Washington Street, in the heart of historic Salem in Massachusetts, a nice neighbourhood close to Salem Railway station serving commuters travelling from Newburyport to Boston’s North Station. A visit to Salem is recommended for those of you visiting the Boston area.

The interior has a certain charm to it, reminding you of similar interiors in Southern Europe. No fancy colour schemes or trendy details - small wooden tables in a more neutral interior livened up by pieces of nick-nack decorations. Good room between the tables and comfortably seating.

Caffe Graziani is a family run restaurant as the waitress was the wife, and her husband was in charge of the kitchen. Cook Giovanni Graziani is a native of Piglio, Italy, a small village located 30 miles south of Rome, and the conversation between them were conducted in Italian - very charming.

The waitress was politely interested in you, well trained in small talk as she took orders and  as she was serving, and I did certainly not have to wait long to get served.

I chose to order the soup of the day and gnocchi, potato and flour dumplings served with tomato sauce.
I am sorry to say that I did not appreciate the home cooking at Caffe Graziani. First the soup.

Soup of the day was a tomato based, minestrone-style vegetable soup. You could decide whether to have a cup (small) or a bowl. I decided to order the latter. It was served in large bowl, and it looked promising, by the look of it.

The soup was chunky, and vegetables was not over cooked having a nice bite. My biggest problem with the soup was the fact that it had far too much salt. This increases the bitterness in the tomatoes, and to balance the salt, you will need more sugar. The soup of the day was not good, and I ended up with too much heartburn due to the acidity of the food.

The gnocchi looked good as well - a large number of rustic dumplings immersed in a thick clearly home made tomato sauce.

Sadly I ended up disappointed again, due to consistency and lack of balanced seasoning.

I found the gnocchi  tough and sticky and  hard to eat . Once again the tomato sauce was bitter, rather than sweet and well balanced. If I had known, I would have ordered mineral water, rather than red wine to my lunch.

I clearly would have chosen anything else, if I had another chance. The Italians are masters when serving tomato based dishes. They may use sweet, sun-ripened tomatoes in their cooking, and  when served a tomato sauce,  the result is nearly always a success. Sadly the Caffe Graziani did not match what I've eaten in Italy

Caffe Graziani
133 Washington Street, Salem, MA 01970
978-741-4282   /   Fax 1-866-897-7152

More gnocchi stories

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

The Column of Constantine, Istanbul

As you walk Divan Colu Cd. in central Istanbul you see a strange structure. It reminds you of a tall chimney, a remain of a factory that once was there. This assumption could never have been further from the full truth. This is one of the oldest sights in the city going back 1680 years to the foundation of what used to be Byzantium.

The tall structure in question is the large Column erected on Emperor Constantine’s order in 330 AD to celebrate the foundation of the new capital of the Roman Empire. It used to be the centre of the Emperors forum, which does not exist anymore.

The fact that this column still exists, is amazing. There have been winds and earthquakes, reducing it from 50 to 35 meters in height. There used to be top decorations depicting Apollo (image right)  and later a cross, the first fell down, during gale force winds in 1106, the second was removed as the Turks conquered the city in 1453.

On the base there were different relics and ancient artifacts including:
  • Parts of the crosses of the two thieves who were crucified with Jesus Christ at Calvary
  • The baskets from the loaves and fishes miracle
  • An alabaster ointment jar belonging to Mary Magdalene and presumably used by her for the washing of the feet of Jesus
  • The palladium of ancient Rome
  • A wooden statue of Athena from Troy
All gone now. Other decorations have been removed or even looted.

It is wonderful to see such an impressive monument still standing, reminding you that in Sultanahmet you are on historic ground, or you are even threading into history.   

100 000 visitors at

3900 visits from Rahway, NJ in January to February 2009 makes it this small city number 2 directing visits to my site after Oslo Norway. Photo: Mojerzey
I changed to Google Analytics, November 5th 2008. Since then, I've monitored the number of visits increase little by little. By February 5th 2011 100 006 had visited my website.

This is not, by any means much, compared to large professional websites. I am, however, elated to have passed this magic number. The fact that my visits originates from 179 countries make me feel that I belong to a truly worldwide web.

Who are the typical
  • 2 out of 6 comes from the US, and 1 out of 6 from Norway
  • You live in one out of 179 countries or territories on all continents
  • Around 8 % (11986) of you live in Oslo, Norway
  • The country with most visits on each continent is: 
    • North America: US - 30590 visits
    • Europe: Norway - 18193 visits
    • Oceania: Australia - 1688 visits
    • Africa: South Africa - 1280 visits
    • Asia: India - 857 visits
    • South America: Brazil - 523 visits
  • You do not live in: 
    • AFRICA - South Sahara, Niger, Chad, Gabon, Central African Republic, Somalia, or Eritrea
    • SOUTH AMERICA - Suriname, French Guyana, and Nicaragua 
    • ASIA - Uzbekistan, North Korea, or Papua New Guinea
  • You are located in more than 10920 cities or communities worldwide
  • 62 % use American English , around 10 % use Norwegian as language
  • You visit in average only 1,4 page per visit and 
  • You are restless, as you only stay 58 seconds on my page in average (do stay longer!!)
  • 88 % only visit once, and 4 % return for a second visit. 1879 of you have visited my page more than 100 times (thanks!)
  • 55 % are directed through google
How interesting to know all this. Thank you to all of you that browse through my page, even though you visit only once. Kindly let me know if there are things you like or dislike.

Tor Johnsen
Enjoy Food & Travel  

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Kristiansand: New and better Super Speed ferry back in traffic

Photo: Super Speed sails daily between Norway and Denmark by Magnus Manske
SuperSpeed1 ferry sailing between Kristiansand and Hirtshals has been extended with a new restaurant increasing the number of passengers by 450 on each sailing. It is back in traffic from February 1st 2011.

Kristiansand, Norway by Tomasz G. Sienicki
Color Line operates the SuperSpeed ferries. SuperSpeed1 provides the fastest crossing between Norway and the continent from Kristiansand harbour. In just 3 hours and 15 minutes you get from the southern tip of Norway to Northern Jutland. SuperSpeed2 sails to Hirtshals from Larvik in 3 hours and 45 minutes. From Hirtshals you may drive to Germany in just a few hours on modern motorways.

The new and larger SuperSpeed1 from Kristansand offers passengers access to BlueFins Pizza, Europe's largest pizza restaurant, seating close to 500 guests. In addition to this, there is an extended play area for kids and the selection of duty free goods has been extended through a renovation of the shopping area.

View Ferry services from Norway to European ports in a larger map

More ferry stories on Enjoy Food & Travel  

My brothers "kabaret"

My brother and sister-in-law are great cooks. Every Christmas they prepare a large buffet for friends. One of my favourites on the buffet table is "kabaret".
Photo: Aspic made by Toro - company website
The term "Kabaret" has two meanings. One is a form of entertainment performed on stage at a restaurant or nightclub. The other is a dish in which ingredients are set into a gelatin made from a meat stock or consommé.

Kabaret - Aspic dishes used to be more popular in my mothers generation, but you still get aspic dishes on buffets, and you may purchase them ready made at your grocers.

Making a Kabaret is an assembling job, more than cooking really. This as the aspic-consomme is bought ready made in packages, as this Norwegian product made by Toro. My brother makes an aspic with fish and seafood products.  

My brother and sister-in-law use fresh peeled shrimps, hard boiled eggs, canned asparagus, peas, and other vegetables. My mother used to dice fish balls as well.

Place vegetables in a large bowl. My brother placed the sliced eggs in the bottom (i.e. top of the kabaret, as it will be turned around). Boil up water, dissolve aspic powder in the water and pour over the vegetables, eggs and shrimps. Place in refrigerator until aspic is completely stiff.

Serve with bread and mayonnaise.