Saturday, February 18, 2012

Hotel Stella Maris - a presentation from

Being nestled in the city center provides tremendous convenience for this Hamburg accommodation. Guests can walk from the Hotel Stella Maris Hamburg to the harbor, St. Michael's Church, History Museum, Hamburg Old Town, Market Square/Town Hall, Post Museum, and the famous shopping street, Reepenbahn.

Rating Stella Maris Hotel, Hamburg Germany

Vis North Germany from A-Z 2007-2012 i et større kart
We chose Stella Maris Hotel after browsing through tripadvisor that ranked it as one of the better hotel in the North German metropolis. We found Stella Maris Hotel an agreeable place to stay in Hamburg.

Rating Stella Maris Hotel, Hamburg: BBBB- (3,56 points) 
  • Location: BBBB+
  • Service: BBBB
  • Room: BBBB-
  • Breakfast: BBB
  • Facilities: BB+
  • Price: BBBB
Stella Maris Hotel - backyard
Stella Maris Hotel is located in St. Pauli area, a 15-20 minute walk from the city centre and a five-minute walk away from Landungsbrücken S and U-bahn station. This is a mixed business and residential area with small shops and restaurants close to the Hamburg harbour.

Good service from breakfast staff, and partly the receptionists. I say partly, as we were not taken seriously when complaining on the very unreliable (and free) wireless Internet access.

Stella Maris Hotel - room
Good sized rooms, mine with a walking closet (!). Very comfortable bed. I would have preferred a wider bed, but I was given a double room with two narrow single beds.

Neutral and rather boring interior design with a hint of maritime style. The exception was the bathroom that had been redecorated up to a very hign standard with designer tiles, new sink, and very nice and roomy shower cabinet.

Walking closet
New immaculate bathroom
Shower cabinet
Room was very well maintained and bathroom was immaculate as it was brand new. On hygiene the main issue was the carpet. Not that it was dirty but it is hard to keep up a high hygienic standard with wall to wall carpeting, but sadly these carpets are still chosen as main floor covering, even in new hotels.

Except carpets we were very satisfies on the hygienic standard of Stella Maris Hotel. No dust on surfaces, picture frames, and bathroom was shining after it had been cleaned by the staff.

Breakfast was not included in our price, but the price (€7) was so low that we decided to order breakfast for four days.

It was a decent breakfast for that price. You could pick a boiled egg, different breads and rolls, sandwich spreads, cheese cold cuts as well as fruit and cereal. Great freshly brewed coffee or tea was served in separate pots at each table. To quell your thirst you could pour sparkling water, apple or orange juice in your glass. 

Stella Maris Hotel can offer very few facilities. There is no bar at the hotel, but you can order drinks at the reception and enjoy it in the adjacent library / pool room.

There is no fitness facilities, swimming pool, spa or wellness areas. The hotel offers a free wireless internet but it was highly unreliable, when working, and out of order most of our stay. You can use the extra PC available in the lobby.

At € 100 per night Stella Maris Hotel is a low price and satisfactory hotel in Hamburg Germany. Good sized rooms in a nice neighbourhood close to the city centre is its assets. Absence of an inhouse restaurants and bar is not important as the area is packed with places to eat and drink.

The hotel is obliged to offer proper wireless Internet access to its guests, as more and more of us wants this service when traveling. I would rather pay a small fee for a proper service than being offered a non-working system for free.
Hotel Stella Maris
Reimarusstraße 12
D-20459 Hamburg
Phone: +49 (0)40 - 319 202 3

Other German hotel stories on Enjoy Food & Travel  

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Rating D. José, Hamburg Germany

We had our first meal during our stay in Hamburg at  D. José just around the corner of our hotel in St. Pauli. D. José had a Mediterranean theme follow the interior as well as the food but neither of the interpretations were very convincing. 

Rating D. José, Hamburg: BBB+/BBB (3,38 points - excluded free soup 3,10)
  • Location: BBB+
  • Service: BBBB
  • Interior & atmosphere: BB+
  • Food: BBBB- / BBB-

D. José is located in St. Pauli, a 15-20 minute walk from the city centre and a five-minute walk away from Landungsbrücken S and U-bahn station.

Landungsbrücke station
This is a mixed business and residential area with small shops and restaurants close to the Hamburg harbour.

The interior at D. José is Mediterranean in a Disney fashion  - walls decorated with fake stones and colourful scenery. A fake plastic vine climbing around the bar located in the middle of the restaurant. The interior theme is also reflected in the terracotta coloured tiles on the floor.

We were seated on solid wooden furniture with a generous space around us.

There were nobody at D. José for lunch, except us. That should have served as a warning. We were given good service. We gave our order and were served with no delay.

I ordered tortellini filled with ham and cheese in pesto sauce. My friend Ketil chose a plate of dried sardines.

Free soup - a delicious treat
To our surprise we were served a soup before our lunch. It seemed to be a good foreboding to our coming meal. It was a creamy vegetable-based soup, good balance between salt and sweetness, and topped with deliciously crunchy croutons.

Our main meal at D. José was a disappointment. The tortellinis loced extremely appetizing, immersed in fresh green pesto and covered with light snow flaked parmesan cheese. I could not wait to tuck in.

But! The tortellini were cooked al dente - too al dente. I could have sworn it had the same taste as the dried Barilla tortellinis you buy in your supermarket. This was certainly freshly made pasta!!

These tortellinis may look good, but were not
An I also have serious doubt that the pesto was fresh and the whole pasta experience slided towards disaster as the tortellini started to swell in the mouth when getting to the end of the meal.

The tortellini at D. José was an unpleasant experience, so much so that I rated the meal at BBB- or 2,6 of 5 on my scale. Two factors saving this meal from total disaster were price and presentation.

The rest of the meal deserved the sole one point in my rating system.  The much more favourable rating of 3,7 of the food is given included the delicious free soup.

I will not recommend a meal at D. José. There are countless other restaurants to try in the area. We tried to other and they served much better and equally inexpensive food.

D. José
Ditmar-Koel-Straße 11
20459 Hamburg, Deutschland
Phone: 040 5201-5724

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

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The trade in Pangasius fillet worldwide

Pangasius is a catfish indigenous to the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. It grows fast; the flesh is white and firm, and does not have many bones. Pangasius is easily fileted and is inexpensive even when exported halfway round the world to Europe.

Here is an information video on this fish from German Deutsche Welle. It shows how export of Pangasius from Vietnam has been entangled in the intricate web of international trade and barriers to trade.

Fried pangasius fillet

A topsy-turvy photo of this dish - the fish and lobster should have been in the foreground, not the rösti potato!!
I invited my friend Ketil to dinner, and improvised a four course dinner. For the first time I prepared pangasius fillet, and I made the dish into a luxury feast, adding lobster, scallops and tiger prawns. Yum!!

My biggest challenge in describing what I do when I cook is that I improvise my cooking. This means that none of my meals taste the same. It also makes it impossible for me to supply cooking facts.

I have never prepared pangasius before. This catfish is mostly served fried, and my friend Terje warned me not to boil or steam it, and I followed Terjes recommendation.

One frozen package contained 4 fillets weighing 360 grams / 13 oz. I mixed flour with seafood spices - I used Tone's spice mix for salmon and seafood. I covered the fillets in flour and spices and fried them 2-3 minutes on each side in hot butter. 

Lobster stew with scallops and tiger prawns

Before frying the fish, I made a very luxurious sauce from one small, frozen Canadian lobster. 365 gram / 14 oz lobsters, as this one, are referred to as chicks in the US. Here in Norway you would never be allowed to catch lobsters this size, as the local Scandinavian stock of European lobster is close to depletion, and small lobsters are left to grow and breed before they are legal catch.  

This Maine lobster is much bigger than the one I used
The amount of meat in a lobster this size is small,  and mainly found in the tail and the claws. Much of the taste is found in the rest of the carcass, and claws providing an excellent base for a delicious lobster sauce.

I plucked the small amount of meat,  and then placed the carcass and claws in a pot with the salt water it had been frozen in. This after I had removed the stomach (close to its mouth) as this may cause severe discomfort if eaten.

Do not boil the stock too long, as this may affect the taste. I allowed it to simmer for 15-20 minutes before draining the stock.

I made a bechamel sauce from the stock adding  single cream as the end. As the base was the salted water I needed a balance and used tomato ketchup, for sweetness, acidity, and the delicious red colour of a proper lobster sauce.  

I had fried 5 large scallops and 10 raw tiger very quickly in a pan, adding them to the sauce literally minutes before serving in order to avoid the shellfish getting tough. The rich shellfish sauce was a perfect match to the fried pangasius fillet.

I served rösti potatoes and steamed spinach aside the fish. 

More lobster stories on Enjoy Food & Travel

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Lyon on Enjoy Food & Travel from A-Z

View Enjoy Food & Travel in Lyon, May 2008 in a larger map

I visited Lyon, France in May 2008, and have written many stories from this beautiful ancient city in central France. Here is a complete list of stories on Lyon published on Enjoy Food & Travel. Enjoy!!

Food stories:


More treasures of Musée des beaux-arts de Lyon

Ascension du Christ by Pietro Vannucci called Pérugin 1496/1498

Musée des beaux-arts de Lyon has a beautiful collection of art spanning thousands of years. Here are a few of them from very different periods of human history.

Merovingian period (481 - 751 AD)
Roman art. Displayed is a fragment of a marble sarcophagus from the Merovingian era dated to the 7th century AD

15th century Europe
The painting was created in Haute Alsace by an anonymous painter and depicts the trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirity, flanked by Virgin May, Saint John and four angels.
This painting from 1460 comes from the Lake Constance area and depicts Judas kiss in the olive garden. Anonymous painter
19th century sculpture
Recognize her? This is a downsized sculpture from Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, the father of the Statue of Liberty on display in the Museum of Art in Lyon, France
Marble statue "First communion" in marble by René de Saint-Marceaux from 1893
Early 20th century furniture
These superb examples of early 19th century Jugens furniture originates from l'Hôtel Guimard in 122 Rue de Mozart in Paris

Monday, February 13, 2012

February 2012: New flights from Bergen Airport

Scandinavian Airlines and Lufthansa launch new direct flights from Bergen Airport in 2012.

The airlines will start flights to the following destinations:
  • Barcelona (ES): Air carrier: Scandinavian Airlines
  • Berlin (DE): Air carrier: Lufthansa
  • Malaga (ES) Air carrier: Scandinavian Airlines
  • Manchester (UK) Air carrier: Scandinavian Airlines
  • Newcastle upon Tyne: Air carrier: Flybe
  • Palma de Mallorca (ES) Air carrier: Scandinavian Airlines
  • Split (CR) Air carrier: Scandinavian Airlines
Tickets on the new flights by Scandinavian will be available from October 20th 2011. 

Flybe start direct flights Newcastle - Bergen May 2012

Photo: Flybe Bombardier Dash-8-400 takes off from Manchester Airport by Arpingstone
British air carrier Flybe will start three weekly flights between Newcastle upon Tyne, UK and Bergen, Norway May 5th 2012.

There has not been direct flights between the two twin cities for some time, so this is a welcome piece of news for citizen on both sides of the North Sea. Earlier there were ferry connection between the cities.

Newcastle may become a good alternative to London for the citizen of Bergen with its shopping, restaurants, pubs and nightlife.  

Flights between the two cities will be on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.  

Vis JANUARY 2012: All non-stop flights from Bergen Airport Flesland i et større kart