30 Sep 2009
I pay for myself when travelling on business but it is not bad to be able to do so in the wonderful city of Paris... Oysters on the menu, how could I resist oysters? And clams... How many times I have oysters this month? A few... I have produced my share of empty shells...
Unfortunately there will not be as many trips to Paris, France now, I suspect, as my dear friend H who has lived there for a couple of years is on his way to move back to Sweden. Poor guy... Well, OK, I should not project my feelings onto other people ;-) I am sure he will have a great time back in Sweden. But it sure is odd... Life in Sweden changes when one is away too, it is not just the person leaving that changes. For us it feels like things should always be the same, it's like a summer house that you leave. There may be some traces of mice when you come back in the spring but you expect all the furniture to be where you left it and the unread books to stay where they were. And it all IS the same. But for Sweden, I assume things will have changed. You can never go back to the Sweden, or the country in general, that you just left.
But to you want to?
I want to go back to Paris though, if for nothing else for more oysters ;-)
28 Sep 2009
- Chop the garlic and the onion, as well as the ginger.
- Cut a bunch of carrots into little carrot coins.
- Put a pot on the stove, turn on the heat, and heat up some olive oil. Put the ginger, the onion and the garlic in the pot and fry it slowly until the onion looks see through and has started to get a bit of a surface. Careful. Remember that you can't see when oil is hot, it's not like butter. You don't want to start a fire!
- Put the carrots in. Wait a minute or two. That's just to let them soak in the
- Add water so that it covers the carrots. Perhaps a bit extra too.
- Add some broth if needed, or some salt. I prefer vegetable broth. If you have the dry ones you obviously need more water, if you have the fluid you need less. But that goes without saying if you just use commn sense. Common sense is a good thing when cooking.
- Taste, add the spices you need - salt is what I normally use.
- Let the carrots simmer for a bit until they are soft . 20 minutes or so... Remember to try and make sure you
- While the carrots are boiling slowly, press half an orange - lime or lemon juice would also do, if you don't have an orange - into a glass or directly into the mixing bowl of a blender.
- When the carrots/ginger/onion soup is finished boiling, i e when the carrots are soft, pour the whole mix into the blender, together with the orange juice (directly from the fruit, no sugary artificial stuff, please!), and mix it.
23 Sep 2009
22 Sep 2009
21 Sep 2009
20 Sep 2009
18 Sep 2009
first I saw on the menu. Served with a sauce and with dried parma ham,
that married perfectly. Additionally I had fresh potatoes. Very nice!
Matched with an excellent light Pinot Noir from Domain Lurton, from 2006. Don't understand why the menu only specifies the grape and the producer though, and not the name of the wine... But that is a totally different issue...
Food was anyhow excellent!
Again at Lacroix in Philadelphia by the way, been here sightseeing today. Not in the restaurant obviosly, but in the city. More about that later.
Today I am at another place, down in Philadelphia and guess what, they have a ginger drink too, ginger gimlet. No fresh ginger but it works OK also with the ginger syrup. But fresh would have been better.
Think I see a trend here! Ginger! My kind of taste!
(by the way, how come American drinks are always less alcoholic than European? It's not bad, just different. Perhaps because this is a country depending on cars so people want to be able to have one drink and then still drive? Don't know...)
17 Sep 2009
Very interesting to see where this is going, they surely have ambitions in this place. Started with a "tomato soda", which was on the house. Must have been green tomatoes, because the little drink/starter was completely green. And yummy!
Waiting for an excellent dinner too, decided yesterday to head down to Philadelphia to see a bit of the city - there is quite a bit of history here that I want to see more of - and lo and behold, there is a restaurant festival going on, with plenty of good options - well worth every penny. Actually the menu -3 course - is just slightly more than a single glass of champagne...
For starter; Cured Pork Loin, with potatoes and Parmesan.
Main course will be trout, with tomatoes, black garlic, palm heart.
And most likely sorbet for dessert, all at Lacroix at the Rittenhouse Hotel. Fancy fancy :-)
(On the other hand the rest of the hotels on this trip have been bonus point nights etc...)
I'll let you know how it went!
16 Sep 2009
15 Sep 2009
12 Sep 2009
And now: oysters. I know oysters are supposted to be first but I don't
Mystic River (Conneticut)
Bluepoint XL (Long Island)
Windy Bay (Alaska)
Hunters Point (Washington)
Oyster Bar at Grand Central station. Love this place!
She also has a bag the has in her lap, like it was a baby that would die if she didn't hold on to it...
Not to mention the whole routine around traveling, little pillow inflated, earplugs in, and so on, and so on. Her husband is in the seat in front of her - I'm assuming they couldn't agree on who should take the aisle seat? But they are constantly communicating except when she is asleep - she is pulling at his chair, he tells her about the film and so forth. Luckily she sleeps a lot though.
Me? I'm happy where I want to be, at the window where I can sleep - which I did immediately after boarding... Woke up in time for food though, only to fall asleep again after. I don't mind flying :-)
And by the way, the champagne is cold, dry and free - just like Churchill liked it... ;-) Or well, not completely free of course, I paid for the ticket.
In the beginning it was just the immigration that asked the questions, then it moved to the airline, and now you have to declare it 72 hours before (no spontaneous visits here...), preferably via the web.
How surprised I got at CDG airport in Paris, Flying out, when the only question was "May I see you return ticket".
The only question I never received before... Wonder if it was just easier for them to ask that question than the whole list - no need to worry about languages...
(and how do you show a return ticket when you travel on an e-ticket? Luckily I received a print when I checked in. Well, I guess I could always have showed her the email, thankfully I have it on my iPhone. But don't expect me to start printing e-tickets, then it's not an e- ticket anymore...)
We shall see. I will use my running shoes frequently. I will use a pair of hiking boots once during this trip. I am not going to over pack, and have to drag loads of lugguage around - I am not going to be staying in just one place. Chances are that it is hiking boots that will have to stay at home, and by the way; Worst case I can always turn back and find my way through the tracks... I have a feeling that the area will be pretty well organized as everything else having to do with nature in US, it is not like in Sweden where anybody can go out anywhere in the forest, the forest may belong to someone but everybody has the right to spend time there (but not destroy anything, also not to hunt etc - but berries and mushrooms are free for everybody to pick, if you pick for yourself and your own need). Hence the "forest hiking" in Sweden is far less organized.
It will be interesting to see how it goes...
11 Sep 2009
I have spent a lot more time on the west coast than I have on the east coast, namely in California, as I have friends and family on that side, and the climate fits me well as well. Most of the time that I have spent on the east coast I have been on business, so I haven't really done that much outside of meetings etc - especially not touristy things. I also (used to) know far more people on the west coast than on the east coast, and I love to visit friends when I travel - not for the whole trip but for parts of it - so when I am in the States it was in the past more natural to go west. OK, the whole of US is west of Europe, I know, but you know what I mean, FAR west...
Anyhow; I have always known that there are some differences between the East coast and the West coast, California is in a way a country of it's own (with a huge economy, second biggest in the world or something like that - at least it used to be until the crash), and I think many can sign that statement.
On Wednesday one of the big differences between the east coast and the west coast became apparent to me... Distances. In California the distances are vast, the cities are few, and you can drive long stretches between cities and you mainly see cows and fruit orchards, and some small villages here and there. Then again around the cities the density in population is quite remarkable, not to mention the density in cars... So you have well populated spots and then empty land, and in the populated areas you have traffic jams - try to get into San Francisco on a busy day... I have only done it when I had no deadline, I don't want to imagine how stressful it could be with tired and hungry kids in the car or a deadline to meet... Anyhow, in California people are married to their cars. The distances are long, and I have known people who would drive for around three hours to meet up with friends, only to drive three hours back in the evening, to get home and back to work the day after. Three hours may be a bit extreme, but a few hours per way and still make it home the same day is not unusual, in my experience.
And then on Wednesday I spoke to a dear friend who just moved back from Düsseldorf to US, to the East coast (New York). As I am going over and will be there the coming week, I will of course visit her too - she is one of the main reasons I decided to go to US again so shortly after I was there. I never planned to spend the whole holiday with her but chunks of it -after all she has to work, and I love to see things on my own as well, I don't want someone to be with me all the time... However an opening came up and Tuesday-Wednesday we decided to do something - a two day trip somewhere. While chatting about it and trying to chisel out what we want to do - somewhere outside the city, preferably upstate, and I would love to be close to the water - she asks me again about my schedule. I haven't got a very firm one but I have a few things that I want to fit in so Tuesday morning to Wednesday evening is what would be suitable. And this is where the east/west kicks in.
"Well" she says, "Well, I need to know your schedule, because we can't go too far away".
"We can't drive for four hours to get there, then we would just be in the car".
I sit there as a question mark, what does she mean, four hours drive is nothing, and not if you spend the night (and there are no cranky kids in the car, and none of us has any). I mean, after all we are talking US with long distances... And that is when it REALLY hits me! That is why I have friends further down along the coast that hasn't been in NYC (even though they like the city) for years and years, even if the city is only a few hours away and there are even trains. On the east coast that IS quite a distance while, being born in Sweden - we also have quite a long drive especially if you are up north - and having visited California many times I personally consider the cities of the American East coast to be very close together... It is my perspective that is different than the perspective of the people on the East coast. But then again my perspective is not quite as extreme as the Californians. I am somewhere in between when it comes to how far I would be OK to drive in one go...
OH, by the way; The difference between the east coast and the west coast is the same as between the Swedes and the people from central Europe and UK. Many Germans and Brits are shocked when I say it takes me 40 minutes to get to work. It is what I am used to, but to them it is like I am going to another planet when I go to work...
10 Sep 2009
9 Sep 2009
I do not like Microsoft, I really really don't. I use their products still, at least some of them, but what I really don't like is their inability to communicate. For a long time I have been trying to reach them to get rid of a news letter they send to my office address. The subject is
"Security for Home Computer Users"
And let me repeat what I just said: To my OFFICE address. My OFFICE address. And "Security for Home Computer Users". Hello??? Something is not right here...
Unsubscribe you say: Tried that. Doesn't work. Either the mail bounces - when I send it back to them with "Unsubscribe" in the title as I am supposed to - or I can't log on. You see, you can log on to "update your profile". Except with my office address I don't have an account at Microsoft... And when I try to log on with one of my Hotmail addresses - yes, I have those too, for different purposes, one that I use in the blog and another one that I use when signing up for different lists which could potentially cause spam - none of them are connected to any Microsoft mailing lists, nor to my office address.
Trying to find a Microsoft mail address on their website? Forget that, they don't want spam I guess... And trying to ask for help via any of their forms? Forget that. They just tell me to follow the instructions in their spam message. Yes, I call it spam as there is no way to get rid of it, it seems. Got the latest today: "Security for Home Computer Users: New Microsoft site offers latest online safety information"
I have also tried to call them, they refuse to talk to me, or tell me that they can't help and address me to the website. When I am even able to get to them that is, because of course it is very difficult to find a phone number to them... Don't know how many hours I have spent trying to get rid of this %&¤¤#= (ugly swearword) newsmail that I really really really don't want, and especially not to my office address.
Can I report them? After all spamming is illegal in the Western world, is it not? And it doesn't matter if I originally signed up myself - don't know if I may have or if they started to send through some address they bought or got somewhere - as long as I can't cancel the thing I certainly consider it to be spam. Frustrates the hell out of me! And it has been going on for YEARS!
I am caught in Catch 22. For YEARS they have been bugging me. Let me put it like this:
I have left Windows behind and switched to Mac last time I got a new computer at home. This was one of the reasons.
I have abandoned Microsoft Office at home - I now use Open Office.
Whenever I can chose another supplier I do.
I am now writing about them here.
I am certainly not going to help them gain more customers!
If anyone from Microsoft happens to read this: I wouldn't mind if you contacted me so that we can get this sorted out. This is ridiculous!!! I DO NOT WANT YOUR NEWSLETTER FOR HOME USERS!!!
(Did I mention that I work in IT. Hence I know how to unsubscribe etc. From normal newsletters etc that is. Not from Microsoft's obviously...)
8 Sep 2009
And there are a few days left, still! But soon you will be able to read more travel reports in the blog, and I will also update you a bit on the latest trip, or at least that is the plan.
7 Sep 2009
Düsseldorf Airport, Terminal B. There are plenty of English/German speaking people, especially in Germany. Plenty of people who could have helped with the translation. But maybe strange translations are just a gimmick for airports, to keep people amused, while waiting in long lines? What do you think?
About the text: Take a bowl? Isn't it more of a basket? Or a box? It is a square grey little "bowl", and has nothing to do with what I normally think of as a bowl, a round little thing to for example have liquids in. Or crisps (chips for those who prefer American English).
And "inlay the objects"? I am pretty that it normally says "place your items in the (box/basket/whatever)" or something similar. "Inlay the objects" I never heard at least...Lost in translation...?
(Sorry for the poor picture quality, I was in a hurry and only had the mobile available for picture taking...)
5 Sep 2009
They are digging in Düsseldorf. I am fascinated by these digs. A new underground line is on the charts, which means there is even a purpose for the digging. Great. Except I learned this week that it is supposed to carry on for six years??? Can that really be true? SIX YEARS? Not with open holes in the ground, I hope? I really keep my fingers crossed that six years is the total time that includes also the finishing of the line, the stuff they can do in the tunnels once the tunnels are there...
4 Sep 2009
I am using the bathroom at the local Starbucks. I go there now and then for coffee, not to the bathroom but to Starbucks (well, it does happen that I go to the bathroom too but not with the coffee...). Anyhow, entering the bathroom. And while I am in there I hear a strange sound, it's like something breathing out. A puff.. Of something. I wonder what it is, but only for a while. A very very short while. And then, when it gets hard to breath, and the stench of perfume is killing, I realise what it is. It's the machine you see here, releasing a heavy perfume into the air. A perfume that is probably supposed to be an air refresher but the air is anything but fresh, it is so heavy that I feel sick almost immediately and feel that I just have to get out of there, to get some air. I am choking. Really.
And I am not even allergic...
(Please Starbucks, if anyone reads this; It is not a good idea to make your customers nauseous - NOT good for business. And someone who is allergic could actually have a pretty bad reaction... Go easy on the perfume)
3 Sep 2009
2 Sep 2009
Who knows, perhaps I am eating soap when I was hoping I was eating something healthy and very popular Japanese food...
Well, it's like I have said before: Be adventurous...
And normally you can guess depending on what else is in the same part of the shop. As long as you then keep it in a good place in your home you should be fine :-)
1 Sep 2009
While I don't have ANY of the fabulous picture the blog author on Brilliant spread has on her blog I am anyhow curious. But I don't just want to know what your favourite food city is - it is difficult - but I would love to hear tips about different things - and perhaps different restaurants - to try in different cities.
I'll go first; If you are in Düsseldorf, what you can't miss is Japanese food. We have a huge Japanese population here and that is reflected in the food. The quarters around Immermannstrasse, not far from the main station, are the Japanese quarters. Full of Japanese shops, including supermarkets, and restaurants. I always check so that there are Japanese people in there, so that I don't get stuck in a tourist trap but I have actually never seen a tourist trap around Immermannstrasse, at least not among the Japanese places.
Avoid: Japanese in Altstadt, "old town". Old town is good for meeting up for a drink and people watching but all the food, except possibly Fischhaus, an excellent fish restaurant, and possibly a few more (that I am not familiar with) on a weekday, not a weekend, are restaurants that are more adjusted for tourists than for the "real" people, real Japanese and those of us who want some authentic Japanese food in this case. Those of us who have been around a bit. Not that I have been to Japan but I have been to Japanese restaurants and being served by Japanese in many cities....
So; Avoid Altstadt. There is nothing wrong with the food there but it is adjusted for tourists and German. Thai food that is a bit to tame, Korean that doesn't have a lot of spices, Spanish tapas the way they would taste anywhere in the world. I e not very exciting... Not when we can get the real stuff!
If you want a hamburger or a German sausage you will find excellent in Altstadt though, food that fits people that are a bit tipsy they surely know how to make. But that was not what this posting was going to be about.
When it comes to Japanese on and around Immermann strasse; There is not just sushi, the Japanese kitchen is extensive. Some of the food may seem a bit "odd" to some of us, but I swear; If you don't try you are missing out. Big time! Time to think out of the box. Skewers with chicken hearts for example. Excellent. Cod liver. Octopus. Various vegetables. And so forth. There are sushi places, there are noodle bars, there are Japanese grills, where they prepare the food while you watch it, and so forth.
And you know what? The Japanese places are GREAT to visit alone as well, because often you can sit by the counter and watch the chefs work, and you don't feel lonely. You may be approached by a shy Japanese who wants to practice their English (or their German), and in general; You will enjoy if you just keep an open mind.
Found, for example, a new Noodle bar on Saturday, an excellent lunch place. They make everything from scratch, including the noodles, and still you get your food pretty quickly. The name? My Noodlehouse, you find them here: http://mynoodlehouse.de/
I only have ONE problem with Japanese food... Knowing how to eat it - at least in some cases. But in a place full of Japanese I just watch and learn. And you know that Sushi you are allowed to eat with your fingers if you want?
Some days I feel the need to just run up to some people and give them a hug, see if it would help.
Normally I just smile big. Makes some smile. That is good. Puts some out of balance. And THAT is fun! It's a win-win situation... :-)