Saturday, December 31, 2011

Restaurants on Enjoy Food & Travel November 2011

Lamb tagine with apricots served at Café France, Marrakech
To make it easier for you, I have compiled all the rated restaurants and other restaurant stories on Enjoy Food & Travel for the year 2011 on this page. Enjoy!!

Rated restaurants 2011


Read about rating system here

  1. Bistro Hotel de France, Ferney-Voltaire: BBBBB- (4,63 points)
    The Bistro Hotel de France in Ferney-Voltaire is the one of two best meals I have in 2011. Superb service and outstanding food and wine package at a very decent price. I am happy to say that Bistro Hotel de France was so different from the Hotel with the same name.
  2. Sanguine Brasserie, Oslo: BBBBB- (4,59 points)
    This is certainly not the last time I will take a Saturday lunch at Sanguine Brasserie. In spite of it being a little pricey, you are bound to be happy when you leave. I and my company chose three different dishes, and all were thrilled by the quality of the meal.

  3. Tandori Curry Corner, Oslo: BBBB+ (4,40 points)
    I have serious doubts, but if you are a guest in the Norwegian capital and determined to have a budget meal, I strongly recommend Tandoori Curry Corner. Here you get a good Indian / Pakistani meal for around €10.

  4. New Galata Restaurant, Istanbul: BBBB (4,08 points)
    Eating dinner on the Golden Horn is what you do if you dine in the New Galata Restaurant. This as it is located under the Galata Bridge connecting Sultanahmet and Karaköy. This was, as close to a tourist trap, you could get in Istanbul.

  5. Cafe Jardin Majorelle, Marrakech: BBBB (4,07 points)
    Café Jardin Majorelle is located in the Majorelle Gardens in Guëliz, the modern part of Marrakech. The gardens were created in 1924 by Jacques Majorelle and is a must to see when visiting Marrakech. Here you can eat or take a cup of coffee or mint tea. Decent modern food and a great location.
     
  6. Food Story Oslo: BBBB (4,02 points)
    I had visitors from out of town last weekend. They had read a favourable review of the restaurant Food Story in the paper, so we decided to give it a try. Informal, uncomfortable, rustic are words to describe the experience, and the food was great and reasonably priced. 25 EUR for a "all-you-can-eat" tapas menu is not bad!

  7. Cafe Argana, Marrakech: BBBB (4,01 points)
    Every major destination have their tourist traps, even Marrakech. Some of the restaurants around Djemaa el Fna offer great views to the square, but the food is over priced and mediochre. One of these are Café Argana.

  8. Sakura III, Playa del Ingles: BBBB (3,94 points)
    Fine dining is hard to find at Playa del Ingles, even though every kind of cuisine is present at this large resort. Japanese was probable one of the best choices we made. Food at Sakura III was good and reasonably priced

  9. Usaka Sushi Bar, Sitges: BBBB (3,93 points)
    A few of my experience with Asian food in Spain, have been disastrous. This cannot be said about the sushi served at Usaka Sushi Bar in Sitges, but it wasn't intriguing either. My advise is; eat Spanish food in Spain.

  10. Rei O Tartes, Sitges: BBBB (3,90 points)
    Italian at O Rei des Tartes in Sitges was hardly what you could call haute cuisine. Our encounter with a Canneloni may be described as bland if not plain boring, but the staff provided good service.
     
  11. Råda Rasta, Hagfors: BBBB (3,87 points) 
    I visited Värmland this weekend, and was recommended to try the abundant open sandwiches at Råda Rasta by the Råda Lake. They are famous throughout the county and even beyond, and people travel to this small roadside cafeteria to indulge.

  12. Restaurant le Vismet, Brussels BBBB: (3,85 points)
    It is all a pity really, as I liked the atmosphere at Restaurant le Vismet, but judging from the seafood risotto, I would certainly look for another a place to eat seafood at Place Saint-Cathérine.

  13. Eguzki-Lizarran, Sitges: BBBB- (3,73 points)
    I love Spain, and I love Spanish tapas. My favourites are the Basque style pintxos, small crispy slices baguette with delicious toppings. In Sitges, Eguzki-Lizarran is definitely the place to enjoy this specialty.

  14. Unknown kneipe; Kiel: BBBB- (3,58 points) Germany is not known for light food, but rather rustic and rich dishes. I personally love German sausages. When we were in Kiel this spring, we ended in a kneipe. Sadly I have forgotten its name, but there we tucked into a tasty fried sausage or bratwürst as it is called in the native tongue.

  15. Caffe Graziani, Salem MA: BBBB- (3,57 points)
    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.

  16. Bougainvillea Café, Marrakech: BBB+ (3,52 points)
    Bougainvillea Café is a popular café located in the Marrakech souq. It is set in a beautiful courtyard dcorated in a typical Moroccan style. The food, was, however a disappointment. Bougainvillea Café is great for a cold refreshment, but go elsewhere for lunch or dinner.

  17. Red Cow, Playa del Ingles: BBB+ (3,52 points)
    It is a long time since I ate lasagne at Playa del Ingles. So long, in fact, and in absence of good photos, it would not be right to give a full review, but it was not a memorable experience.
     
  18. Grand Buffet - M/F Color Fantasy: BBBB- (3,51 points)
    Buffet restaurants are certainly not among my favourites, and dining at the Grand Buffet at M/F Color Fantasy did not change that. Packed with people and little personal space was the down side of our experience, and the food was decent but not very memorable. We've had it all before!

  19. D'Angelo, Boston: BBB (2,86 points)
    D’Angelo is a New England fast food chain. The first opened its doors as Ma Riva's Sub Shop on March 1, 1967, in Dedham, Massachusetts. The philosophy was to "put the best quality meats, cheeses and toppings in the freshest breads and serve it friendly and fast." It serves sandwiches, salads, wraps made to order. I grabbed a sandwich at its shop at Boston Bus Terminal. It was cheap, but that was it 
    Restaurants around the world on Enjoy Food & Travel 2011

    Best restaurants on Enjoy Food & Travel 2011

    Our delicious starter: Foie gras of duck with forest mushroom at Bistro Hotel de France
    1. BEST RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR: Bistro Hotel de France, Ferney-Voltaire: BBBBB- (4,63 points)
      The Bistro Hotel de France in Ferney-Voltaire is the one of two best meals I have in 2011. Superb service and outstanding food and wine package at a very decent price. I am happy to say that Bistro Hotel de France was so different from the Hotel with the same name.

    2. Sanguine Brasserie, Oslo: BBBBB- (4,59 points)
      This is certainly not the last time I will take a Saturday lunch at Sanguine Brasserie. In spite of it being a little pricey, you are bound to be happy when you leave. I and my company chose three different dishes, and all were thrilled by the quality of the meal.

    3. Tandori Curry Corner, Oslo: BBBB+ (4,40 points)
      I have serious doubts, but if you are a guest in the Norwegian capital and determined to have a budget meal, I strongly recommend Tandoori Curry Corner. Here you get a good Indian / Pakistani meal for around €10.

    4. New Galata Restaurant, Istanbul: BBBB (4,08 points)
      Eating dinner on the Golden Horn is what you do if you dine in the New Galata Restaurant. This as it is located under the Galata Bridge connecting Sultanahmet and Karaköy.

    5. Cafe Jardin Majorelle, Marrakech: BBBB (4,07 points)
      Café Jardin Majorelle is located in the Majorelle Gardens in Guëliz, the modern part of Marrakech. The gardens were created in 1924 by Jacques Majorelle and is a must to see when visiting Marrakech. Here you can eat or take a cup of coffee or mint tea. Decent modern food and a great location.
       

    Friday, December 30, 2011

    Hotel stories on Enjoy Food & Travel December 2011

    Spacious room at Hotel Armada, Istanbul. Photo: Hotel website
    To make it easier for you, I have compiled all the hotels on Enjoy Food & Travel for the year 2011 on this page. Enjoy!

    Rated Hotels on Enjoy Food & Travel 2011

    1. The Inn at Harvard: BBBB (4,05 points)
      I wanted us to have one night in a nice hotel, and I was pleased to get a comfortable hotel room at the Inn at Harvard. It was pricy, indeed, to stay there ($335 per night), but it was all in all a pleasant hotel experience.

    2. Riad Libitibito, Marrakech: BBBB (4,04 points)
      Marrakech offers a wide range of accommodation to tourists. Staying in a riad in the Medina, the old city, is something to consider, for those of you looking for a piece of the real Morocco. We chose to stay at Riad Libitibito for a week, and we did not regret that choice.

    3. Suite, M/F Color Fantasy: BBBB (3,81 points)
      I have traveled on luxury class on ferries before, but most often I have attended conferences thus not having to worry about how much to pay. My experience is when staying in any exclusive cabin on ferries sailing between Norway and the continent that you will not get a product according to the price you pay.

    4. Hotel Port Sitges Resort, Sitges: BBBB- (3,70 points)
      We had high expectations to our stay at the Hotel Port Sitges Resort. We wanted to stay outside the town, and enjoying seafront views and especially silence.

    5. Park Inn Oslo Airport, Oslo: BBB+ (3,59 points)
      I had expectations when booking a room at Park Inn Oslo Airport. Not only is it one of the newest hotels in Oslo, but the design is supposed to be best Scandinavia has to offer.

    6. Hotel de France, Ferney-Voltaire: BBB+ (3,44 points)
      I had high hopes for my stay at Hotel de France. I dare say that I was quite disappointed. It felt budget and was overpriced compared to what you paid.

    7. City Living Hotel Schøller, Trondheim: BBB+ (3,37 points)
      Hotels rooms are getting increasingly expensive throughout Norway. Rooms in first class hotels in major Norwegian cities, are among the most costly in Europe. With this in mind, I got away with a modest expense when staying in City Living Hotel Schøller in Trondheim, but what was offered were the bare necessities.
      Other hotel stories on Enjoy Food & Travel   
      1. Acommodation in Oslo for under €100
        For tourists, Oslo is an extremely expensive city to stay. Hotel prices are among the highest in Europe, but there are exceptions. Recently I discovered Gjestehuset Lovisenberg, offering hotel rooms from €65 and up. 

      2. Airbnb.com - private accommodation worldwide
        Decent accommodation is getting more and more expensive. On hotel booking sites it is hard to find hotels under 200 USD per night in cities as New York or Boston, unless you want to stay way outside the city centre. The alternative is private accommodation, and at airbnb.com, you can find budget rooms in people’s homes. 

      3. Aria Resort & Casino i Las Vegas in a $ 373 million lawsuit
        The Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas is experiencing a legal nightmare. Five guests have filed a huge legal claim after supposedly having contracting legionnaire's disease from what they claim is contaminated hot water.

      4. Coming up: Hotel de France, Ferney-Voltaire
        From June 9th to June 12th I will visit Geneva, Switzerland. As accommodation is, as everything else, expensive in this country, we will use the city’s proximity to neighbouring France to our advantage

      5. CANCELLED - COMING UP IN DECEMBER 2011: Kempinski Nile Hotel, Cairo
        When booking our Christmas trip to Cairo, Egypt, we chose Kempinski Nile Hotel as our base during our one-week stay. In Cairo you get much hotel for your money, and I guess we would have paid three time the price for a similar hotel at a European destination.  

      6. COMING UP JULY 2011: Hotel Port Sitges Resort
        Summer is finally here, and one week in July will be pent in sunny Espana!!  Our choice of hotel in Sitges in 2011 is Hotel Port Sitges Resort.


      7. COMING UP SEPTEMBER 2011: City Living Schøller Hotel, Trondheim
        In September, I will attend a conference in Trondheim, in the mid part of Norway. Trondheim once was the religious capital in the country with the shrine of Saint Olaf and Nidaros Cathedral. Here I will stay at City Living Hotel Schøller.

      8. COMING UP OCTOBER 2011: The Inn at Harvard, Cambridge MA
        Coming month I will have my annual trip to New England. This time I will travel with my nephew, and I have decided to treat him to one night in a hotel in Boston. This time we will stay at the Inn at Harvard, by one (or maybe the) most prestigious university in the world.   

      9. Hotel Port Sitges Resort - my feedback to hotels.com
        I will soon present my total review on Hotel Port Sitges Resort. What I always do, is to give my opinion to the hotel booking sites when asked. There was not much to put your finger on at Hotel Port Sitges Resort. I gave the hotel a 9,6 out of 10 on my review on booking.com. 

      10. Hotel Port Sitges Resort - photos and videos from the marina and neighbouring areas
        Here are two films from my YouTube account and a few extra snapshots to give you an idea about the Hotel Port Sitges Resort and the neighbouring area. 

      11. Hotels.com in trouble?
        In recent days there has been focus on hotel booking sites on the net, and in particular hotels.com. Who or what party does hotel booking sites represent, affiliated hotels, the customer, or merely themselves?

      12. Hotels in Brussels
        I have very good experiences with Brussels hotels. Compared to neighbouring Paris, you can get weekend rates at very comfortable prices. As Brussels is the European capital, rates may be two, three even four times during the working week.

      13. Inn At Harvard - interior and rooms
        The Inn at Harvard has been the best hotel experience in 2011. Here are a few pictures from the hotel not added to my previous review.

      14. NEW JANUARY 2012: Stella Maris Hotel, Hamburg Germany
        In January I will send a weekend in Hamburg Germany. After browsing the hotel booking sites, we ended up choosing Stella Maris Hotel. This as it was inexpensive and highly ranked both in tripadvisor and among guests at booking.com.

      15. Palais Donab, Marrakech - an exclusive riad
        Marrakech has accommodation for all wallets. Backpackers may find inexpensive rooms at a much higher standard than in Europe. For those of you with a comfortable bank balance, there are wide range of luxurious hotels and riads, as the Palais Donab close to where we stayed in January this year.  

      16. Radisson Blu awarded best national and international hotel chain
        Radisson Blu has been awarded best national and international hotel chain in the Norwegian Grand Travel Award by Norwegian agents. Radisson Blu, former Radisson Sas Hotels, was taken over by German Rezidor Group a few years ago. Rezidor is also running the Park Inn hotels.

      17. The Thayer Hotel, West Point N.Y.
        When visiting West Point I was impressed by the elegant Thayer Hotel.  It is located on the grounds of West Point Military Academy in New York State. It goes back to 1926 and has undergone several expansions since then.

      18. Top 5 hotels 2008-2001
        Enjoy Food & Travel has ranked 50 hotels around the world since 2006. We revised and standardized our reviews in 2008, and here is a list of top 5 hotels ranked on Enjoy Food & Travel the last 5 years.

      19. €300 per night for regular hotel rooms in Bergen? Maybe, but not in November!
        Bergen, Norway, is one of the most expensive cities in Europe for tourists to stay in. Norwegian papers reported that you may to pay up to €300 for a moderately sized room. Expensive hotels and bad service threatens Bergen reputation as one of the most popular destinations for tourists in Norway. 
      More hotel stories on Enjoy Food & Travel

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

        Top five hotels 2008-2011

        Hotel Stanhope in Brussels is ranked as best hotel on Enjoy Food & Travel

        Enjoy Food & Travel has ranked 50 hotels around the world since 2006. We revised and standardized our reviews in 2008, and here is a list of top 5 hotels ranked on Enjoy Food & Travel the last 5 years.

        1. BEST HOTEL: Stanhope Hotel, Brussels (2010): BBBBB (4,82 points)
        Stanhope Hotel is absolutely one of the best hotels I have stayed in for a long time, and by far the best during my years in Brussels. Be aware that my price is a special offer, and you may end paying 4-5 times as much  during weekdays. I will however look for another bargain when I visit Brussels in 2011, and I hope I get one.
        Stanhope Hotel: The beautiful interior of the Willoughby Suite
         2. Eden Andalour Spa & Resort, Marrakech Morocco (2010): BBBBB-  (4,68 points)
        Naming a hotel Eden, is an ambitious thing to do. Eden Andalou Spa & Resort did, however, meet our expectations to the fullest. Behind high walls you found an Andalusian Style Palace set in a beautiful garden run by a staff that did their utmost to give you a great hotel experience. Staying at Eden Andalou Spa & Resort was one of the best hotel experiences for years.
        Interior from the lobby area of the Eden Andalou Spa & Resort
        3. Santa Maria Hotel, Sitges Spain (2008 and 2009): BBBBB- (4,61 points) 
        We returned to Santa Maria Hotel in Sitges for the second year for an early summer vacation. We had a great stay last year, and our expectations were high. We had booked a room with a mountain view this year to get a more quiet stay. We were not disappointed, as we got a room with a rooftop terrace and a view exceeding our expectations
        Front rooms of the Hotel Santa Maria face the beach
        4. Irving House, Cambridge MA (2009): BBBBB- (4,55 points)
        A classic Bed & Breakfast in a quiet charming area of Cambridge MA. Greater Boston area easily available by subway and bus-services. Harvard square with restaurants, bars and shops nearby. Highly recommended by Enjoy Food & Travel. We will certainly go back.
        Iriving House: Simple, but highly attractive and clean rooms in Cambridge MA
        5. InterCity Hotel Schwerin, Germany (2008): BBBBB- (4,51 points)
        During our stay in Schwerin we had booked three nights at €79 per night at InterCityHotel Schwerin. This was certainly a nice price and we got good value for money.

        Read full rating of Hotel InterCity Schwerin here
        Interior: InterCity Hotel Schwerin
        Where to (and not to) stay around the world. 


        See our list of 50 hotels here

        Thursday, December 29, 2011

        NEW JANUARY 2012: Stella Maris Hotel, Hamburg Germany

                    Room at Hotel Stella Maris, Hamburg Germany. Photo: Company website
        In January I will send a weekend in Hamburg Germany. After browsing the hotel booking sites, we ended up choosing Stella Maris Hotel. This as it was inexpensive and highly ranked both in tripadvisor and among guests at booking.com.
        Photo: City hall by Aida
        Germany is a inexpensive country for Norwegians to stay in. You can get high standard accommodation at low prices, and the food is good and inexpensive. When I and my friend and Enjoy Fopod & Travel co-writer discovered that we could get round trip air tickets with Norwegian Air Shuttle from Oslo for under NOK 800 i.e. under €100.

        Hamburg is one of the largest cities in Germany and is only one hour flight away from Oslo. It has much to offer, with a hectic nightlife, good restaurants, historic sights and cultural events.

        We found the Stella Maris Hotel. Ranked as number 28 of 322 Hamburg hotels in tripadvisor and priced at around 600 NOK (€75) it was one of the best bargains available. Only 6 out of 90 on tripadvisor found this hotel to be bad, whereas 77 found it very good or excellent. 228 guests reviewed it as very good (8,5 points out of 10) on booking.com

        Stella Maris Hotel is located directly at Hamburg’s harbour, The infamous Reeperbahn and the lively St Pauli district are just a 10-minute walk away. Underground and S-Bahn trains run directly to Hamburg Central Station from Landungsbrücken Station.

        The Stella Maris Hotel offers 49 rooms with private bathrooms and cable TV. It has a maritime interior and free Wi-Fi. There are free internet terminals are available in the lobby, and you may relax a cosy library with fireplace, and a lounge with table football and billiards/pool. Breakfast is not included in the price, but could be ordered at a modest €7, and we ordered breakfast for all three days.

        Stella Maris Hotel will be the first hotel to be rated on Enjoy Food & Travel in 2012. If the ranking is correct we may have found a perfect place to stay in Hamburg. To find out, stay tuned for my review in January coming year.

        Address:
        Hotel Stella Maris
        Reimarusstraße 12
        D-20459 Hamburg
        Phone: +49 (0)40 - 319 202 3


        Vis North Germany from A-Z 2007-2012 i et større kart

        Wednesday, December 28, 2011

        Sévrina Tajine de Poulet - hardly a taste of Morocco

        Sévrina Tajine de Poulet was a great disappointment for those of us in love with Moroccan cuisine


        For those of us passionately in love with Morrocan cuisine, making a proper tajine is a labour of love. That was certainly not the version manufactured by Sévrina. It is food in a can, and tastes like something out of a can. Morocco is never there......

        The Tajine de Poulet or tajine with chicken is produced by the COVI Group in Bressuire in France. It is sold through the Lidl Group in Europe. I bought mine in Lidl at Hagfors, Sweden.

        Moroccan tajine pot. Photo: Iron Bishop
        I am passionately in love with tajines, as they are among the culinary wonders of Morocco. Casseroles named after what they are prepared in, terracotta pots with lids placed directly over open fire to simmer for hours, releasing all the fantastic tastes in the process.

        And the cooks use a wide range of all the spices available in the souqs, and they will also use sweet ingredients as sultanas, prunes, or honey to balance the dish.

        The Sevrina Tajine de Poulet was a far cry away from the real stuff. It had a little sweetness, but the sauce was thin and tasted of stock cubes. The "chicken" was tough and dry, and felt more like beef in texture and taste.

        The vegetables were overcooked, and the only thing satisfactory was the couscous that was to soak in hot water for 4 minutes.

        I added some chili and dried ginger bought in Marrakech and these spices lifted the taste a great deal. Still the end result was boring.

        Conclusion: Find a recipe and explore the wonders of Morrocan cuisine. You will never need the help of Sévrina. It does not provide anything near the wonders of Moroccan food.

        The Sévrina Tajine de Poulet went down by adding chili and dry ginger bought in the souqs of Marrakech. This will be my first and last tajine offered by the COVI group, but I have a couscous left. I will keep you posted. 
        Here are a few tajines I have enjoyed in Morocco and beyond  
        We declare: Enjoy Food & Travel has no commercial interests in products or brands

        This blog post contains information on products or specific brands. Our staff will ensure our readers that we have no commercial interests in, or are paid to promote these or other products, brands, or labels.
          

        Tuesday, December 27, 2011

        Food stories on Enjoy Food & Travel December 2011

        Photo: Aspic with eggs by Anthony Georgeff
        Here is a list of food stories published on Enjoy Food & Travel 2011

        A 
        • A culinary gift (November 15th 2011)
          My good friend, and Enjoy Food & Travel co-writer Dagfinn Skoglund had his 52nd anniversary last Friday. As one foodie to another, I decided to offer him a culinary gift, and I assembled a few goodies from some of my travels.
           
        • An excellent taste of toasted onion (February 20th 2011)
          I bought one box of Victoria Taylor's Toasted Onion Herbs Seasoning at Milk & Honey in Salem MA. If I had know how excellent it was, I would have bought two or even three. Now I am sadly running out of this delicious spice mix. 

        • An Indian feast (August 21st 2011)
          My friend Dagfinn served up an Indian feast for me when he arrived at my summer home this summer. Three, reasonably priced Indian casseroles, all vegetarian, of different tastes and strength.

        • A short instruction to some known and unknown edible mushrooms (August 14th 2011)
          Here is a short instructional video found on the YouTube showing some of the most familiar edible mushrooms found in the UK. Here are the chanterelles emphasized as one of the best mushrooms except the precious porcini.
        B
        • A Belgian treat (March 20th 2011)
          During my last visit to Brussels, I bought a packet of duck liver foie gras. To my surprise it did not only contain the liver but a second treat that made serving so much easier.
        C
        • Chicken caramba! (May 30th 2011)
          Caramba!! Solvinge Chicken with mango and chili was hot stuff. Too hot, in fact, and too much salt, but the idea is good. Solvinge has to adjust the product, adding less salt and more sweetness to enhance the mango flavour.
        • Chicken carcass for sale - real budget food! (April 15th 2011)
          This may be a business option for those of you that waste good leftovers by chucking away a carcass of chicken. In Sitges they sell them in the market. Why not? Much of the meat is gone, but much taste remain for a good chicken stock.
        • Christmas 2010 - looking back (December 24th 2011)
          From Vesterålen to Cairo, from the Arctic Circle to the Sahara. That was what I thought would be the case from last Christmas to this one. Instead I sit in Oslo in fog and rain, in the warmest Christmas recorded here in a very long time.

        • Cohen's kosher starters (April 9th 2011)
          It's not just Kosher, it's Cohens! This slogan was found on a brightly purple box of frozen, Jewish style finger food that my family in New York State used as starters in a party in my honour.
        • Crizpy-cheezy-crackerz!! (November 28th 2011)
          You are what you eat, or that is what some claim. In that case I am just junk. I have a tendency to get addicted to highly suspicious varieties of snacks, like these filled cheese crackers I picked up at the local Carrefour Supermarket in Ferney-Voltaire.
           
        • Cut your own meat - save money (March 16th 2011)
          I was given an electric cutting machine by my friend Terje. I have already saved money by thinly slicing my own cold cuts, bacon and cheese.
          D
          • Delicacies at the Spice Bazaar (September 26th 2011)
            The Istanbul spice bazaar encapsulates mysteries of the east. My friend Suanne roamed its arched passages to catch the mysteries eastern cooking through her camera. Here are a few of her photos.
          E
          • Emmenthal and Gruyere - two hard Swiss cheeses (August 3rd 2011)
            One of my favourite foods to bring home from a destination is cheese. If you have a long journey in front of you, it is wise to choose a mature semi-hard or hard cheese, as soft cheese may melt during transportation. That is why I chose two Swiss cheeses, when visiting the local Carrefour supermarket in Ferney-Voltaire in France.
          I
          J
          • John & Manfred Bearnaise Sauce - a great product (May 26th 2011)
            I am definitely too lazy to make my own butter sauces. I have experienced that making your own Béarnaise and Hollandaise sauce is such an effort. I have found that my favourite brand until now is the Béarnaise manufactured by John & Manfred. This is a sauce that is as close to the home made as you can get.
          L
          • Løten nærstasjon - local food and railwaystation (June 8th 2011)
            There are a growing number of old railway stations that are left unused. Luckily, a few enthusiasts may transform a seemingly worthless property into a meeting place. This is what has happened in Løten, a small community north of Oslo. At Løten nærstasjon you may catch a train, and get a cup of coffee and do some local shopping as well.
          M
          • Mushrooms - fascinating forest delicacies (August 14th 2011)
            Summer of 2011 has provided near perfect conditions for forest mushrooms. Heat and humidity made all kinds pop up as early as July. But beware! As some may be exclusive ingredients in your cooking, others may be harmful, even deadly.

          • My brothers "kabaret" (February 8th 2011)
            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".
          S
          • Saturday food market at Ferney-Voltaire (September 6th 2011)
            Every Saturday the centre of the little town of Ferney-Voltaire, located close to Geneva, is transformed into a large food market.
             
          • Sévrina Tajine de Poulet - hardly a taste of Morocco (December 28th 2011) 
            For those of us passionately in love with Morrocan cuisine, making a proper tajine is a labour of love. That was certainly not the version manufactured by Sévrina. It is food in a can, and tastes like something out of a can. Morocco is never there......
          • Sitges food market (April 14th 2011)
            When you have gotten enough of sun, sand, and sea in Sitges, you should visit the large food hall in Sitges. Here you can get a glance of what culinary products Catalonia may offer you.

          • Sommerlykke - a July sandwich snapshot (August 10th 2011)
            Delicious, and easy to make. Scandinavian open sandwiches are like tapas, you move from the traditional to new and intriguing toppings on different kinds of bread. July 2nd I and Enjoy Food & Travel co-writer Susanne Koch enjoyed an open sandwich jam session in my kitchen.
          T

          • Traditional Turkish cuisine (March 3rd 2011)
            Mediterraneans display food in a completely different way than us Northerners. In Galata in Istanbul I ended up admiring foods in a window of a local deli. The only words I understood on the signs was dolma and köfte, but judging from appearance I would not have hesitated to have had a serving.

          • Two terrible products (May 4th 2011)
            I am not into home made foods as many thinks. After a day at work I often look through grocery's shelves, refrigerators or freezers looking for at least something decent or if I am lucky, something very good.
            More food stories on Enjoy Food & Travel:

            Christmas 2011 in retrospect

            We had roast duck for Christmas in 2011
            I spent Christmas 2011 with my friends and Enjoy Food & Travel co-writers Per and Susanne Koch. They served a wonderful Christmas meal. Here are a few indecent culinary exposures to remember it by.
            Brussels sprout soup with sweet crispy bacon
            Love bacon.......
            Susanne served a very unusual soup as a starter, with Brussels sprouts as the main ingredients, and potatoes as a thickener and creme fraiche. Thick and creamy and with a gentle sweetness from the sprouts, sprinkled with crispy, crunchy honey fried bacon.
            Roast duck with red rice and mushroom stuffing, cranberry relish and amandine potatoes
            Our main dish was a tasty and rich treat, as a good Christmas meal is supposed to be
            The main dish was an America meets Europe dish. The duck had spent its time in a medium oven (150C / 300F) for two hours, and Susanne had turned it up to 180 C / 355F for the last thirty minute, finishing with the the hot air fan fuction in order to get a crisp skin. 
            The stuffing had red rice as a base, but contained onions, portobello and shitake musrooms, one diced pear and one diced apples as well, and a dash of white truffle oil was added before serving. 
            Cranberries from Virginia was our American guest at the table and the amandine potatoes roasted in duck fat until crisp. 
            What a swell Christmas that was!!!

            Say cheese
            I love the French passion for cheese - these were creamy and tasty, reflecting the wide range of cheeses France has to offer
            One good Roquefort, a white goat's cheese and a soft cheese, all French,  enjoyed with a Fleur du Cape Late Harvest wine from Sunny South Africa. Creamy, sweet, salt - aromas melting into a higher entity.

            A rich sweet treat at the end 
            Getting tarty! This indecent rich tart tempted us at the end
              Nut base, sprinkled with coconut shavings and a dollop of chocolate cream on top. The cream was enriched with pureed avocado (!) A really tarty end to the evening, filling up the last void in our stomach to capacity. So much so, in fact, that we managed to get down half-a-tart only.
            I would really thank my hosts for a magnificent festive meal!! Wish I could wind the movie back an have another helping.

            Monday, December 26, 2011

            Arendal butterfly park - a short film clip and location


            Here is a shortfilm clip from Arendal butterfly park. On the map below you will also find the location of this great sight. It is a place to rake the kids. They will love the feeling of being in a rain forest with all the tropical butterflies, and there are also snakes and reptiles on site as well. Enjoy!


            Vis Sights on Enjoy Food & Travel 2011 i et større kart

            Sights on Enjoy Food & Travel December 2011

            Photo: The Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakech taken by Neil Jones


            To make it easier for you, I have compiled all the sights on Enjoy Food & Travel for the year 2011 on this page. Enjoy!!

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            • Ali Ben Youssef Mosque, Marrakech  (November 25th 2011)
              All mosques in Morocco are, sadly, out ouf reach for tourists, as only Muslims can enter these important historic monuments. One of the most important mosques in Marrakech, besides the Koutoubia is the Ali Ben Youssef Mosque just outside the souqs in the eastern part of the city.

            • Arendal butterfly park, Tromøy Norway (December 26th 2011)
              Last summer I visited the butterfly park at Tromøy, Norway. It is a wonderful place to experience tropical insects in a truly tropical climate. Here are a few pictures from my experience that day in July.
            B
            • Ben Youssef Madrasa, Marrakech (April 28th 2011)
              The Ben Youssef Madrasa in Marrakech is one of the most beautiful places in this vibrant North African city. 
            C
            • Charter Street Burying Ground, Salem MA (January 26th 2011)
              The town of Salem in Massachusetts is the proclaimed witch capital of the United States. This due to the gruesome witchcraft trials that took place here in the 17th century. One of the main judges in these trials is buried in Charter Street Burying Ground that dates back to 1637.

            • Chateau Voltaire, Ferney-Voltaire (November 8th 2011)
              Near Ferney-Voltaire, a village on the French-Swiss border, you find the home of the famous philosopher Voltaire. It was built from 1758 to 1766, and he lived here for twenty years.
               
            • The Cisterns of Istanbul (April 4th 2011)
              Istanbul has an exceptional number of historic sights above ground. One (or rather several) is (are) located below the surface. Those are the old cisterns built to store water, but they rather look like interior of churches or a mosques than giant water tanks.

            • Column of Constantine, Istanbul (February 10th 2011 )
              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.
            D
            • Decker Fort, Port Jervis (March 2nd 2011)
              This gray stone building is the historic Decker Fort in Port Jervis located in the Tri-State area. It dates back to 1793. Two memorial plaques tells its dramatic story.
            E
            • Eglise Notre Dame et Saint André, Ferney-Voltaire (August 22nd 2011)
              Eglise Notre Dame et Saint André is the parish church of Ferney-Voltaire, a small village on the Franco-Swiss border. This small town was the home of Francois-Marie Voltaire for twenty years, and proudly bears his name.
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            • First Church - Salem MA (June 1st 2011)
              Here you truly are on historic grounds. The congregation in this neo-gothic church gathered here the first time in August just 9 years after the pilgrims on Mayflower landed on Plymouth rock, making it one of the oldest Christian congregations in North America.
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            • Galata Bridge - a 1500 year old crossing point, Istanbul (June 22th 2011)
              Whereas many cities count their history in decades or centuries, Istanbul counts it’s in millennia. During the last two, there have been 6 bridges crossing the Golden Horn, and the first one was built during the reign of Emperor Justinian that lasted from 527 to 565!
                
            • Galata Tower, Istanbul (September 25th 2011) 
              Galata Tower has watched over the Galata for over 650 years. It was built during the years when the Black Death wiped out a large part of of Europe's population.

            • Galerie Ravenstein, Brussels (September 10th 2011)
              The Galerie Ravenstein connects Brussels Gare Centrale with the Uptown.  This 1950's shopping centre is currently empty, with just a few shops and very brown cafés left. Galerie Ravenstein encapsules the architectural style typical of the first decade after World War II.

            • Gernerska Mausoleum - Sigtuna Sweden (May 17th 2011)
              By Mariakyrkan in Sigtuna you find the Mausoleum of the Gerner family (Gernerska Gravkoret) dating back to 1757.
            I
            • Istanbul: Ancient columns of the old Hippodrome (November 7th 2011)
              The square named Sultanahmet Meydanı by the Blue Mosque used to be the Sporting circus in old Constantinople.  Here you find three fascinating columns from the Egyptian, Greek, and the Byzantic cultures.
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            • Jardins de Koutoubia, Marrakech (February 23rd 2011)
              Les Jardins de Koutoubia is the park area surrounding Koutoubia, the largest and oldest mosque in Marrakech. It is a great escape from the noise and fumes of the roaring traffic near by.

            • Jardin de Majorelle, Marrakech (January 11th 2011)
              Jardin de Majorelle or the Majorelle Garden is a secluded oasis in the middle of Marrakech. This is a place to visit if you want to relax from the busy streets in Gueliz, the modern part of the city and the commotion found in the narrow streets of the Medina.  
            • Järnbärare Peterssons hus - Göteborg, Sweden (August 6th 2011)
              The Haga area is one of the oldest areas in the present city. Her you find a large number of houses from the 18th and 19th century. Among the oldest is Järnbäre Pettersons house.
            M
            • Marrakech: The Mellah district (July 6th 2011)
              The Mellah districts found in some Moroccan cities are monuments of a tragic past of this countries fascinating history. The name of these districts is derived from Arabic ملاح, probably from the word ملح, Arabic for "salt", and were the walled ghettos of the Jewish population of Morocco.
            N
            • Nikolaikirche - Kiel, Germany (March 19th 2011)
              The oldest building in the city of Kiel, Germany is the Nikolaikirche. It dates back over 700 years and has a long and troubled history. 

            • Næs Jernverk - a Norwegian manor house  Tvedestrand (August 15th 2011)
              Næs Verk is a stately home that has belonged to the Aall family since 1799. It is one of the largest stately homes on the southern tip of Norway. 
            O
            • Obelisque of Tuthmosis III (November 7th 2011)
              The oldest of the monument is the Obelisk of Pharaoh Tuthmosis III, originally erected at the Temple of Karnak in Luxor.
             
            R
            • Royal Palace, Brussels (May 6th 2011)
              The Royal Palace in Brussels is located half way between Grand Place and the European quarter. The building is massive and fully comparable to other royal residences in Europe. The grounds, however, are very restricted - just a small rectangular garden between the street and the massive complex.
            S
            • Serpent Column (November 7th 2011)
              The Serpent Column was brought from Delphi by Emperor Constantine. It is also known as the Tripod of Plataea and is 1000 years younger than the Egyptian Obelisk

            • Setterbergska kvarteret - Gothenburg (March 5th 2011)
              This wooden house in the historic Haga district dates back to 1849. The Setterbergska kvarteret is one of two houses left by the trader R.G. Setterberg.
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            • The Walled Obelisque (November 7th 2011)
              The Walled Obelisk was built Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus in the 10 Century AD.
            Y
            • Yves Saint Laurent memorial Marrakech (January 11th 2011)
              The garden opened to the public in 1947 and it has been owned by Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé from 1980. Yves Saint Laurent's ashes were scattered in the Majorelle Garden when he died in 2008.

            View Sights on Enjoy Food & Travel 2011 in a larger map


            More sights on Enjoy Food & Travel

            The butterfly park, Tromøy Norway

            Last summer I visited the butterfly park at Tromøy, Norway. It is a wonderful place to experience tropical insects in a truly tropical climate. Here are a few pictures from my experience that day in July.
            The rain forest
            Here is a glance of the lush foliage of the mini rain forest providing a hot humid climate. Banana plants, palm leaves and flowering plants is the home of a wide varieties of tropical butterflies.
            Birth of a new butterfly
            A new butterfly is in the process of breaking free from its small pupa. The differences in size and colour of the butterflies are even reflected in the different shapes of the pupas.
            Feeding on a banana (or what is left of one)
            A golden, ornate butterfly with strong golden patterns in deep concentration while feeding on a decaying banana, allowing us to get close and capture this magical moment.
            A blue angel
            This magnificent blue butterfly is among the largest butterflies found in the park. It easily fills the palm of an adult.
            In restless motion 
            I was luck to catch this short moment of the life of a golden butterfly as it moved restlessly among the leaves in the tropical garden. 
            Looking for nectar 
            A beautiful spotted butterfly sucking nectar from a tropical flower.

            Other similar stories on Enjoy Food & Travel 

              Sunday, December 25, 2011

              Recipes on Enjoy Food & Travel - December 2011

              Photo: Norwegian open sandwiches by tuey

              To make it easier for you, I have compiled all the recipes on Enjoy Food &Travel for the year 2011 on this page. Enjoy!!

              A
              • A bird in a bag - an American food story (November 24th 2011)
                Today it is Thanksgiving, and to celebrate this family event, I republish one of my first stories here on Enjoy Food & Travel from November 2006, where my cousin Ann tells an inventive way to prepare a turkey. 

              • A 50th Anniversary buffet menu (September 3rd 2011)
                I turned 50 in July, but I have decided to celebrate this event with my friends this September. As the first date approaches, I will share the buffet menu for the party today, Saturday September 3rd.

              • A midsummer barbeque (August 17th 2011)
                Summer solstice, the longest day of the year. Here in the far north we have just a few hours of night or dusk, rather. This year I celebrated mid summer in Sweden, with my friend Terje and his mother, and what else to enjoy this day than a meal from a hot grill.

              • Albondigas in tomato sauce  (March 22nd 2011)
                Another classic tapas, this one more in line with my famous Meatballs cosa nostra.

              • Aquavit marinated salmon and whipped salmon mousse on French toast (January 5th 2011)
                In Norway open salmon sandwiches are served on scrambled eggs. I am inspired by the Jewish  bagels with cream cheese and lox served in many delis in the US. Why not add salmon to cheese as well as the topping for double delicacy.
              B
              • Baked lobster with scallops (October 19th 2011)
                On and off you are given a special offer at the supermarket that is hard to resist - three small frozen Canadian lobster for NOK 99 ($16 / €12). This summer I prepared baked lobster with scallops as appetizer at my summer home

              • Bone-in rib steak or entrecote - a delicious cut of meat (March 9th 2011)
                This cut of meat, bone-in rib steak or entrecôte in French, is, according to many the very best cut of beef you can get. This as it is marbled with fat, thus remaining more moist and succulent than the fillet.

              • Build your own burger (December 13th 2011)
                A hamburger buffet is a winner. Informal, as everyone may build their own burger, as I did. A double decker to die for with two large moose burgers and nearly all the ingredients on the buffet. It was so tall that I had to impale them with a wooden skewer in order for the stack to stick.

              C
              • Chorizo in sherry wine (April 5th 2011)
                I love the spicy Spanish chorizo sausages, bursting with spicy paprika powder, garlic and olive oil.
              D
              • Delicious home made sashimi (September 12th 2011)
                Making sushi requires skills, whereas preparing sashimi, you basically need a very sharp knife. Back in 2007 I was given a Japanese knife with a ceramic blade. With this precision instrument, I can slice meat, fish or vegetables wafer thin.

              • Different ways to poach an egg (August 17th 2011)
                There are more ways to skin a cat, or poach an egg. Enjoy Food & Travel co-writer Susanne did it the way shown on this film clip on YouTube. There are, however, other ways that may work equally good. Here are a few other films on the subject that may be of interest to poachers.

              • Duck liver paté (September 21st 2011)
                I love duck meat, and recently I made my first duck liver paté, and I found the process extremely easy and the end result excellent! There is no reason why YOU should not make your own, provided you get hold of good quality duck liver. You can also substitute the duck liver with chicken liver.

              E
              • Egglet with frankfurters (July 23rd 2011)
                My good friend Dagfinn certainly knows how to make a good egg, sunny side up. He prepared a delicious "egglette" with Danish bangers for breakfast when staying at our summer home.

              G
              • Ground chicken and bacon meatloaf - an easy and cheap dish (September 2nd 2011)
                Making a meatloaf is probably one of the easiest ways to use ground beef. Here you just mix all the ingredients in a food processor. Instead of shaping the ground beef mix into meatballs or larger sized hamburgers you just place it all in a bread tin and bake in the oven.

              H
              • Hotter than hell Buffalo wings (October 9th 2011)
                I served Buffalo Wings at my 50th anniversary buffet. These were among the favourites of my friends. I used ready made Buffalo Wing mix bought in the US. 

              • How to improve a Knorr pepper sauce (August 17th 2011)
                I gladly admit that I resort to a packet of Knorr sauce when I am in a hurry. I do, however, NOT serve it as it is, as most of these products turn out bland, if not enriched with a few basic ingredients

              I

              J

              L
              M
              • Marinated fillet of moose  (June 9th 2011)
                My sister brought a fillet of moose from her freezer, when visiting a few weeks ago. We decided to marinate it for three days before baking it, and as helped us to our first serving, I asked myself; why do I not do this more often.

              • Menu: My final 50th anniversary party (September 27th 2011)
                My second 50th anniversary was celebrated on September 17th, in my appartment. This tine I prepared a Danish Open Sandwich buffet. Here is the menu I presented to my guests.

              • Midsummer barbeque (August 17th 2011)
                Summer solstice, the longest day of the year. Here in the far north we have just a few hours of night or dusk, rather. This year I celebrated mid summer in Sweden, with my friend Terje and his mother, and what else to enjoy this day than a meal from a hot grill.

              • Mini croissants (April 5th 2011)
                I love Swiss croissants. I use premade Sara Lee croissants dough. 

              • More duck confit - with dried figs (February 17th 2011)
                Making duck confit is probably one of the most stress-free dinners you can think of. In spite of this, you will be seriously acclaimed by your guests for this dish, as this is one of the finest dining experiences I know. 
              N
              O
              • One minute bechamel (June 20th 2011)
                As I urged for a white sauce topping, I was forced to improvise, and I waived my magic culinary wand, and presto! A one-minute-bechamel-sauce, literally made within a minute.
              • Open sandwich with poached egg and Spanish serrano ham (August 10th 2011)
                Susanne has told how she explored and finally mastered the art of poaching eggs earlier on Enjoy Food & Travel. That evening she initiated me into the secrets of this process. I was very happy that she did, as I am a fan of poached eggs, particularly when served as toast Benedict.
              • Open sandwich with prawns, artichoke hearts and ruccola (August 10th 2011)
                We bought enough prawns for two open sandwiches, i.e. around 1/2 kilo or a little more than a pound. We toasted one focaccia each, allowed some Kviteseid butter to melt into it, topped the bread with peeled prawns and a large dollop of Hellmann's mayonnaise.
              P 
              • Pacific oyster - an invasive species prepared on the grill (August 17th 2011)
                As my friend Dagfinn stayed on the Swedish east coast this summer, he did his turn combatting the Pacific Oyster, an invasive species, that spread in our waters. Doing this, he enjoyed a delicious meal in the meantime.
              • Preparing pork rib: How to crack the crispy crackling code (December 6th 2011)
                Last Wednesday I made my first of the year, and I did it just the same way as last year. Prebaking it in a very low oven, increasing the heat, using the fan-function in order to get that xtra crunch.  

              • Prunes with bacon (March 22nd 2011)
                Another classic I have prepared may times before. One of the easiest of my tapas, I confess.
              R
              • Roasting turkey in a paper bag? Yes, it's possible! (November 24th 2011)
                Back in 2006 when I wrote my cousin's story, I did not check whether using a brown paper bag was a well-known way to roast a turkey. Now I checked YouTube and found numerous references to this method. Here is one, as an example on how to do it. Just look, learn and Enjoy!

              • Rømmegrøt - a culinary bombshell for Christmas? (December 25th 2011)
                Norwegian rømmegrøt or Sour Cream porridge may get a renaissance in these low-carb times. If made the right way, it will have fat in abundance. It is usually made for festive occasions, and the Americans above serve it for Christmas.
              • Salmon sashimi - a light starter (February 17th 2011)
                Japanese food is getting mainstream, as the eyes of more and more of us are opened to this delicious cuisine. Even I am getting brave enough to make Japanese-style raw dishes at home, as this plate of Salmon sashimi served as a starter a few weeks ago.
              • Salmon Swirls (April 5th 2011)
                Salmon swirls are one of my favourites. Cut the slices of salmon into strips. Mix cream cheese with thai chili dipping sauce. 

              • Sommerlykke - a July sandwich snapshot (August 10th 2011)
                July 2nd I and Enjoy Food & Travel co-writer Susanne Koch enjoyed an open sandwich jam session in my kitchen. She sent me a small poster yesterday to sum up our delicious summer meal on my terrace.

              • Stuffed mushrooms (March 22nd 2011)
                A very clever way to serve mushrooms. Remove stalk and stuff the cavity with sweet chili, honey or crema de balsamico.
              Y
              • Yikes - a giant moose burger coming! (October 16th 2011)
                There is nothing like a good burger. The day before leaving for the United States, I made one helluva burger for my two visiting nephews, and I used ground moose meat. Yikes! That was one of my best burgers ever.