Seville: Casa de Pilatos

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You may be surprised to learn that I did more than eat my way through Seville?! In between meals I walked a lots and did some proper sightseeing. Although I usually skip some of the usual tourist attractions (at least if they involve a long queue) but enjoy the smaller, less crowded ones. IMG_9724.JPG

Like this Andalusian palace built in the 1500s – Casa de Pilatos. It’s a vision of statues, mosaics and general grandeur.

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Most walls are tiled like these, with small tiles making up lovely patterns in greens, blues and yellows.

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Amazing details everywhere.

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The gardens are just as grand, with low cut ledges framing the trees.

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And the most amazing bougainvillas in bloom.

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Look at the details outside too. Not a petal out of place.

Casa de Pilatos, Pl. de Pilatos, 1, 41003 Sevilla, Spain

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Copenhagen: Street Food at Papirøen

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Being from the south of Sweden, I sometimes feel like I have two countries, and definitely two capitals. Stockholm, of course, because it IS my capital, and Copenhagen because it is a capital and so close by. It’s the airport I travel to and from every time I go home to Sweden, and it’s one of my favourite cities. Partly because I know it so well, but also because it’s just fantastic. It’s pretty, not too big, has lots of water and parks interspersed, it’s easy to get around and the people are friendly.

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And they take food seriously. On my last visit, in August last year, Daniel, Maria and I were all super excited to have lunch at The Corner of Rene Redzepi’s No. 108. As we approached in the torrential rain we noticed they were closed, but luckily we were only a few minutes away from Copenhagen Street Food at Papirøen (which I was dying to visit anyway)  so we had lunch there instead.

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It was the perfect place to take shelter from the rain. And walk around the different food stalls and pick a nice buffet lunch. For as you can imagine, it’s impossible to only eat one thing here. pap19.jpg

We started with traditional Danish smørrebrød (openfaced sanwiches) and they were very good.

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Then we shared some yummy tacos and had a little breather. The hardest thing was finding somewhere for us to sit, so make sure you secure a few chairs before you go looking for food, unless you’re happy with a quick bite standing up.

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Next I had the best thing ever; a GOURMET hot dog. It had mayo, crispy onions, parmesan – the works and was the best hot dog I’ve ever had. So yummy!

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I was seriously full after these different snacks but we decided we could share one more dish before throwing in the towel.

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And this is what we went for; fries topped with duck meat, creamy dressing and pickled red onions. It was seriously greasy but absolutely delicious and a perfect ending to our meal.

I just read on their website that Copenhagen Street Food is closed until May this year, but hopefully the same vendors will be back then.

Copenhagen Street Food, Hall 7 & 8, Papirøen (Paper Island), 14 Trangravsvej, DK-1436 Copenhagen, Denmark

Gotland: going south

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Our second full day on Gotland we wanted to cover as much of the remaining half of the island as we could. We drove south and the first stop was near Djupvik to try to get a glimpse of the two islands called Karlsöarna. The large one is barely visible to the left but the small one you can see very well to the right in the photo.

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The coast here is gorgeous with wild flowers and clear water. It was too cold for a dip, sadly, but still enjoyable.

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We got back into the car and drove further south, stopping when a photo opportunity presented itself (which it did quite often). The roads here are quite small so it’s easy to stop and get out with the camera.

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Eventually we made our way down to Burgsvik and got out for a walk around the little harbour.

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The local smokehouse had a food truck there, so we bought some lunch to take with us to our next stop.

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Which was Hoburg, on the south-west corner of the island. There are large stone formations here, just by the waterfront. One of the large rocks is shaped like the face of a man and so the rock is called Hoburgsgubben (the old man from Hoburg).

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I struggled to see it though, but apparently this is him, but from the wrong angle.

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It was lovely to just walk around here, though. And grab one of the picnic tables and eat our lunch. We had smoked prawns (they are SO delicious!), aioli and fresh crusty bread from a bakery. So lovely!

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Next we stopped at Folhammar to look at more raukar (the unusual stone formations local to Gotland). It’s so cool to see and so different to the part of Sweden where I grew up.

 

Gotland: Amazing cider and local produce

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This is a restaurant review I would have liked to post a lot earlier; straight after our visit to Gotland in August. But life happened and suddenly it’s February and about time. 

My childhood friend Karl is a person I very much admire, he has so much drive and passion when he starts a project I wish I had even half. A few years ago he started making cider together with his friend Mikael under the name Fruktstereo (‘Fruit stereo’). It’s made from 100 % fruit, without any additives, so have more in common with crafted wines than commercially made sweet cider.

Mikael hails from Gotland, Sweden’s largest island and a real summer paradise, so when my parents and I went there in August, we made sure to book a table at his restaurant Nyplings Mat & Vin in Visby. It’s a summer pop-up serving local ingredients like vegetables from the family farm and meat and dairy from the island.

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It’s sustainable and delicious and we enjoyed our evening here so much! Especially because we started the meal with a bottle of their cider, called Ciderday Night Fever. It was dry and refreshing and so unlike all other ciders I’ve had. In a good way. This was far better!

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We started the meal with a selection of tender raw beans from Mikael’s family farm (picked the same morning!) and a lovely dip.

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Then we moved on to the starters. Dad I wanted to sample them all, and so decided to share two. The ewe tartar with beetroot, cress mayonnaise, wild garlic ‘capers’ and shoestring fries was absolutely delicious!

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But the other starter (which my mother also had) was lovely too. It was a poached creamy egg (almost like a 63 degree egg where the texture of the white and the yolk are similar) with kale, hazelnuts and caramelised whey.

Somewhere here the cider was finished and my mother and I wanted a glass of wine each. We tried to describe what we wanted (two very different wines) to Mikael, and like he could read our minds he poured us a glass each of what we had tried to describe! Very impressive!

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Then we moved on to the main course (we all had the same) of melt-in-the-mouth slowcooked chuck steak with parsnip and radish. We all loved this dish!

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The Swedish summer weather in general was quite poor but we had lovely sunny days on Gotland, although after the sun had set behind the rooftops we got a little cold sitting outside and moved inside the restaurant for our final course.

Which was this humble bowl. Underneath that caramel coloured layer hides blackberries and cookie crumbs, covered by that smooth and fluffy topping of yoghurt, caramelised milk and liquorice. Great flavours and textures to finish off the meal!

We had such a lovely evening here, and it was great fun to try my friend’s cider and meet his very talented business partner. Let’s hope this pop-up is here to stay.

Nyplings Mat och Vin, H10, Hästgatan 10, 621 56 Visby, Gotland, Sweden 

Dublin: bars and pubs

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When I visited Dublin last year I had the perfect tour guide; my Irish friend Sinead who lives there. After brunch, shopping and a mid-shopping coffee on the Saturday, we were ready for some vino in the afternoon. The first place we went to was the cute The Bailey Bar with stripy canopies and pastel colours. We managed to snag one of the outdoor tables and spent an hour or so chatting and people-watching. What a treat at the end of October!

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Next we went to one of the most famous pubs in town; Kehoes (try pronouncing that!), and I realised I had been there when I last visited Dublin. It’s a great mix of tourists and locals here, and it still feels genuine. Plus it has the prettiest ladies room I’ve ever seen in a pub!

The Bailey Bar, 2 Duke St, Dublin, Ireland

Kehoes, 9 South Anne Street, Dublin, Ireland

Cape Cod: Spanky’s Clam Shack in Hyannis

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The second day in Cape Cod, we managed to catch the boat to Nantucket and explored the pretty island for the day (top tip: book your ferry in advance!). When we arrived back into Hyannis, we headed straight for dinner, eager to eat at a more socially acceptable time than the evening before.

We went o Spanky’s Clam Shack, which seemed like the place to eat in this little town, and joined the queue at the bar. I’m really not a fan of waiting or queuing in general but when I can sit at a bar and sip a drink (in this case frozen strawberry daiquiri) I really don’t mind.

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When we were shown to the table (after only a ten minute wait) we got snacks straight away, like they could sense our hunger. I really liked the crab dip and crackers, although the presentation could have been improved on. But this is one busy restaurant so I can see why they like plastic bowls and wrapped crackers.

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We got our starters quickly too. Sinead got another mountain of crispy calamari with a tomato chilli dip.

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I tried something completely new for me; a stuffed quahog (no, not a Family Guy reference, it’s the actual name of the clam). It’s a huge clam filled with breadcrumbs, butter and herbs, and I really liked it. But it’s quite compact and therefore really filling.

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While we were munching on our starters we saw lobster after lobster leaving the kitchen.

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We got the main courses while we were still eating our starters (we had already sent them back once so felt bad if we did it again). But considering the size of the starters it would have been nice with a pause in between courses.

Anyway, Sinead’s chicken with kale and fries was really nice.

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But I think my clam bake was even better. The lobster was huge and perfectly cooked and the corn was the best I’ve ever had. I also had a plate full of a local type of clam and as I hadn’t come across them before I got a lesson in how you peel and eat them from our lovely waitress (it required removing them from the shell, pull of a membrane and then soak them in stock for quite a while to remove the sand). It’s always fun to try new things, and the clams were quite nice but I prefer the regular sweet ones. I also got a baked potato which I barely touched as the lobster, corn and clams were more than enough for me.

I really liked this place, but be prepared for big huge portions and a quick pace.

Spanky’s Clam Shack, 138 Ocean St., Hyannis, MA 02632

Cape Cod: Black Cat Tavern in Hyannis

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The first evening in Cape Cod, we decided to have dinner at one of the restaurants in the Hyannis Harbour. We’d been driving around the Cape during the day so got to the restaurant we had decided on,  Black Cat Tavern, quite late. We were the last guests to arrive and eventually we were the only people left (bar the staff).

We thought that was why our main courses arrived while we were in the middle of eating our starters. I don’t like to be rushed when eating as it always give me a stomach ache, but we were to polite to say anything as the restaurant was emptying out around us.

But the following evening when we went to another restaurant, the same thing happened, although we had dinner much earlier and the restaurant was full. In the middle of our very substantial starters, we actually told the waitress we wanted to wait. She completely understood but the kitchen seemed to insist to get the food out, so when it arrived again, after five minutes we let them put it on the table.

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I don’t understand this culture of rushing your guests through a (large) meal. Is it just in this area, or is it because of tourist season or what’s the reason?! Please do tell me if you have an idea.

Anyway, the food was nice in both the places, and I really like how understated the seafood is here. In Europe where oysters and lobster are luxurious and quite expensive it’s served a certain way or in certain places. Here, where you have lobster and oyster in abundance, you can enjoy it in your flipflops straight from the beach and I really liked that.

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At Black Cat Tavern I had Oysters Rockefeller (baked oysters with a spinach and cheese topping and in this case cured ham as well) as my starter and they were really nice. Generous portion too!

Sinead had a minor mountain of calamari with a chillie dip – also really nice!  As I was a little bit stressed by the time our maincourses arrived I only manage to snap a picture of my own plate of bakes scallops (a first for me), with baked potato and creamy lobster sauce, but I do know that Sineads food was nice as well.

Black Cat Tavern, 165 Ocean St, Hyannis, MA 02601, USA