Copenhagen: dinner at Bæst

IMG_2394.jpg

As you know I like to eat, and when I once a year have my day with friends (who luckily also likes their food) in Copenhagen, we make the most of it. Which is why we could fit in tacos for lunch (followed by some smørrebrød because why not?!), fika at our favourite place, wine and cheese pre-dinner at this nice little spot and then still had room for dinner. The August heat and the walking helped though.

IMG_2433.jpg

Bæst, our dinner spot for the evening was recommended by Daniel and all three of us loved it. It was laid back and cosy, and obviously a popular spot because it filled up as we sat there.

IMG_2401.jpg

IMG_2405.jpg

The menu reflects the casual atmosphere and has the emphasis is on good local organic produce and sharing plates. Just what we like!

IMG_2407.jpg

The grilled courgette and kale salad what we started with was really nice. It had texture, a nice charred flavour on the courgette and acidity and freshness as well. It’s the kind of vegetable dish that makes you feel good.

IMG_2409.jpg

Next up we had a huge plate of chicken wings, covered in a herb-y finger-licking sauce. Delicious! And a lot fresher on the palate than regular buffalo wings (which I love, but this version was more interesting).

IMG_2414.jpg

After that we were ready for the main event; the pizzas!

Cooked in a 500C (!) oven these blistery, still soft but cooked just enough pizzas are to die for.

IMG_2425.jpg

Especially the classic margherita. With a delicious tomato sauce, their own (!) mozzarella and basil.

IMG_2430.jpg

I mean, look at this. Pizza perfection.

Bæst, Guldbergsgade 29, 2200 København N

Copenhagen: wine and cheese at Vinhanen

IMG_2381.jpg

It’s difficult to explain the difference between Denmark and Sweden, or the difference between Stockholm and Copenhagen, especially as both countries and cities have different areas with different vibes, but overall I would say Denmark is just so much more relaxed.

Sitting like this, on a wobbly bench on the pavement outside a wine bar amongst parked bicycles drinking wine and using an old IKEA stool for a table is very Copenhagen. The bicycles are definitely a part of the scene and I like the no-fuss approach to basically everything.

IMG_2376.jpg

I actually can’t remember how we found this wine bar, but it was on our way to the restaurant where we had dinner after, and tired of shopping we just fancied a glass of something cold and some nibbles.

IMG_2379.jpg

And that’s exactly what we got at Vinhanen. Lovely cold wine (much needed in the August heat), crusty sourdough bread and yummy cheeses. The owner was lovely and chatty and we got to try the different wines so we got one we really liked. So nice!

In the store (you can also fill a bottle and take it away) they have big barrels of wine on tap, so you can order a bottle, a glass or a carafe. Clever!

Apart from the good booze and cheeses Vinhanen also offers a nice eclectic mix of people and fun people watching on the street. It’s the kind of place you want to hang out in all night. And that’s exactly what I intend to do next time.

Vinhanen, Baggesensgade 13, Nørrebro, Copenhagen

Copenhagen: Hija de Sanchez

IMG_2289.jpg

When an ex-Noma chef opens a taco restaurant you just know it’s going to be good food. On my day trip to Copenhagen this summer with my usual Copenhagen travellers Maria and Daniel, we didn’t have enough time to go to the restaurant but got to taste Hija de Sanchez’ tacos at our favourite lunch place; the food market called Torvehallerne.

IMG_2291.jpg

There are several restaurant stalls here, so you can sample a bit of this and a bit of that. But we went straight to Hija de Sanchez and ordered a plate each of tacos.

IMG_2296.jpg

And some cava. Because why not?!

IMG_2301.jpg

All three of the tacos were (of course) delicious! The one with cheese and avocado (queso fresco) was nice and fresh but I also really liked the one with fried runny egg and guacemole. And the barbecoa was the best I’ve ever eaten (and I’ve sampled a few…)!

Next time I really need to go the restaurant – can’t wait to sample the whole menu! Which I’m sure my travel companions are up for.

Hija de Sanchez, Taquería and market, Torvehallerne, Frederiksborggade 21, Copenhagen

Skanör: quick lunch at Linda’s Fingermat

IMG_2934.jpg

After a day at the beach in Skanör we packed up our things and headed to the harbour for a late little lunch at Lindas Fingermat.

IMG_2938.jpg

I hadn’t been before but my friends go here quite often so I followed their lead and ordered the slightly spicy lamb salsiccia in brioche bread with avocado, salsa and mayonnaise (it also came with sauerkraut but I asked for mine without it).

IMG_2942.jpg

It was really yummy and the perfect after beach snack. We had our lunch in the outdoor seating area which is really chilled out, still in our beach clothes, and it’s perfect for children too; my friends’ three kids enjoyed hotdogs, fries and empanadas. The mix of Swedish with Latin American food really works and it’s a nice varied menu with something for everyone, including the little ones.

I like this place for a snack on the run or a chilled out lunch. Next time I want to try one of the burgers because they looked really good too!

Lindas Fingermat,  Hamnvägen 1, 239 30 Skanör, Sweden

Stockholm: fika at Mr Cake

mc3.jpg

mc1.jpg

On the top of my to-do-list for the long weekend in Stockholm was, of course, fika. And not just anywhere, but at a recently opened café by Roy Fares, incorporating American pastries with Swedish fika.

It’s a concept that totally works, and it’s nice to find things like American pancakes on the menu, as well as deliciously looking doughnuts and more traditional Swedish buns.

mc4.jpg

We came here on the Sunday morning, rather late as I’d had to work a bit, and after a chaotic few hours it was so nice to sit in the sunshine and enjoy our (very) late breakfast. We had some bread rolls with ham and cheese, American pancakes with maple syrup (so yum), smoothie, juice and of course some sweet pastries.

mc17.jpg

The piece de resistance here is definitely the red velvet croissant. And it’s utterly amazing. Imagine flaky pastry filled with the cream cheese frosting on a red velvet cake. It’s butterly, sweet (but not too sweet), flaky and creamy all at the same time. Yum, yum, yum!

We also shared a rhubarb and strawberry custard bun with crumble on top that was lovely, but nothing could beat the hybrid croissant of dreams. This place is a must for anyone visiting Stockholm.

Mr Cake, Rådmansgatan 12a, 114 25 Stockholm, Sweden

 

Stockholm: dinner at Hillenberg

hill1.jpg

Saturday night in a sunny Stockholm. After a long day walking around the beautiful city we had a little breather in my friend’s flat before we got ready for a night on the town. It was actually a relief for my tired feet to swap my flats to heels, and taking a taxi to the restaurant obviously helped too.

Hillenberg, the restaurant I had booked, is the more relaxed one of Niklas Ekstedt’s (quite the frequent guest on Saturday Kitchen in the UK) two restaurants and I was super excited to try his cooking.

hill4.jpg

On arrival we were shown to our table (with a sofa each to sit on) and started to study the menu. The service was a little slow at times, but that meant I had enough time to translate the menu and plenty of time to ponder it too.

Although I would have liked to try many things, I couldn’t resist the classic Toast Skagen, which I expected would come with a little twist. And indeed it did, as it was a deconstructed version. It was really lovely and I especially liked the dill dust on the side. Amazing mayonnaise too. Yum!

hill2.jpg

My dinner companion had the nettle soup with äggost (a type of curdled cheese) and trout roe. Delicious!

hill15.jpghill11.jpg

I was really indecisive when it came to my main course and so let our waiter influence me to try the monkfish bourguignon. It was really delicious and the “meaty” fish worked well with the powerful flavours. But the highlight was almost the velvety potato puré that was served alongside it. So rich, but beautiful!

hill10.jpg

My dinner date had the lamb and was presented a very generous portion with lamb rack, artichokes and aubergine. Really lovely as well!

Unsurprisingly, we were too full to even be tempted by pudding. Instead we sat back (loved those sofas!) and finished our bottle of wine and just enjoyed life. Very content we weren’t completely finished with our night out and so walked around the corner to Riche for another glass of wine and lots of people watching.

Hillenberg, Humlegårdsgatan 14, 114 46 Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm highlights

sth32.jpg

Unless you’ve been to Scandinavia in the summer, I don’t think you could understand how magical the summer is there.

Of course, summer in Britain is gorgeous too, but in Scandinavia summer is what everybody lives for. The dark and cold (and frankly, rather miserable) winter months are so depressing that summer is the goal; the light at the end of the tunnel.

sth211.jpg

It may sound dramatic, but it’s true. So to experience the gorgeousness of Swedish summer already in the beginning of May was such a treat, I don’t think I can explain the elevation I felt.

Stockholm is a pretty city all year round, but in summer it really comes to life and is more beautiful than ever.

So the highlights I am about to share with you, are in majority linked to this beautiful summer weather. We didn’t see the point of being indoors in a museum when the sun was shining. Alas, there are many many more great things to do in Stockholm, especially in other seasons, this is just a selection.

sth8.jpg

tsh6.jpg

Brunch with friends

On the Saturday dear friends of mine invited us over for a delicious brunch in their home, and afterwards we sat in the sun on their balcony, sipping rosé and eating a crumble with strawberries and ice cream. Such a wonderful start to our weekend!

sth17.jpg

Exploring Gamla Stan (Old Town)

I’ve been to Stockholm many times before but as it’s my capital I have not explored it the way I have London. Therefore it was great fun seeing the city through a non-Swede’s eyes. We found beautiful churches and statues I had never heard of, and obviously checked out the palace and Storkyrkan as well.

sth31.jpg

Fika!

We do eat a lot of fika in Sweden and it’s so easy to walk to a bakery, order something yummy and sit in the sun to enjoy it. We had amazing cinnamon buns at Fabrique, who also have a café in London.

sth19.jpg

Exploring the city by foot

Stockholm is perfect for walking or cycling and it’s by far the best way to explore the city. When we felt we “knew” the way pretty well we went on detours to explore some more.

sth33.jpg

Visiting friends in the suburbs

An old friend of mine has recently moved to Täby with his family, so we went to visit them and it was so cosy and serene outside of the city. I would recommend visiting Zetas Trädgård (a beautiful nursery with a café) for a similar experience.

Djurgården

This beautiful island is easy to get to by tram or boat and is Stockholm’s equivalent to Richmond Park. The nature is beautiful and you can go for amazing walks here. There is a beautiful nursery with a café/restaurant; Rosendals Trädgård, as well as the fairground Gröna Lund and several museums.

st34.jpg

sth35.jpg

Good restaurants

We had lunch at Rolfs Kök and nibbles and wine at Tranan.

I have a few more great places to tell you about, in more detail, so stay tuned!

 

Málaga: Jamon for breakfast and exploring the Alcazaba

IMG_0329.JPG

Holiday for me is all about relaxing and not waking up from alarms, but, being a night owl, that means missing breakfast at the hotel every day. So instead I’d get ready and venture outside for breakfast.

IMG_0327.JPG

Luckily I had a nice café near my hotel, it’s a chain of cafés in fact, offering everything from sandwiches to cooked food, pastries to cakes and even a delicatessen with cheese and charkuterie.

This ciabatta filled with a general helping of Jamon Iberico was a perfect start to the day and set me up for my day of sightseeing.

IMG_0352.JPG

I’m quite choosy on what I spend my time on, but for the the Alcazabar was an absolute must!

IMG_0476.JPG

This impressive citadel, overlooking the city and its harbour is very well preserved and an absolute dream to discover.

IMG_0466.JPG

It was built in the 1000s and is still standing firm offering incredible views as well as beautiful gardens and amazing architecture.

IMG_0380.JPG

IMG_0383.JPG

I mean, look at this view – incredible isn’t it?!

IMG_0384.JPG

IMG_0394.JPG

And the details to the building. Especially dating back that far is rather incredible.

IMG_0395.JPG

IMG_0396.JPG

But my favourite part was the gardens. So beautiful and serene I could’ve spent all day here.

IMG_0416.JPG

 

IMG_0461.JPG

But I didn’t, as I had more things to explore.

IMG_0486.JPG

Like the ruins of a Roman theatre just below the Alcazaba. It’s been around since the first century BC and is still part of the city landscape. At night it’s lit up beautifully and during the day one can just walk in, sit down and take a break.

IMG_0509.JPGIMG_0482.JPG

Surrounded by the hustle of bustle of modern life, I find it amazing how this old ruin is a part of modern day Malaga (and not closed off).

Alcazaba of Málaga, Calle Alcazabilla, 2, 29012 Málaga, Spain

Málaga: gourmet tapas and the best waiters!

ma7.jpg

I found Malaga a lot more touristy than Seville, and the type of tourists differed too. In Seville most tourists seemed to be Spaniards from different parts of the country but Malaga with its harbour, seem to attract tourists from all over Europe. And because of this there are copious amounts of tourist trap style restaurants littered around the central parts, which as you know, are not my thing.

ma8.jpg

Instead I did some research, and found La Cosmopolita mentioned lots of times as a nice restaurant.

And it was! I had a wonderful dinner here and almost went back a second time. Looking back, I regret not doing that, as where I ended up for lunch was a lot inferior, but I was rather embarrassed from almost fainting on my first visit.

The waiters were very sweet though, and made sure I got a chair (as I was standing in the tapas bar), water and something sugary. One waiter even followed me to a taxi to make sure I got home alright, which was really sweet.

But the service was like that; thoughtful and sincere, even though the restaurant was buzzing with people and all waiters were rushing around seeing to everyone.

ma13.jpg

ma14.jpg

The cooking was on par; and I thoroughly enjoyed the best Russian salad (with Jamon Iberico on top!) I’ve ever had, the most amazing cod tempura with shiso, and bread. I would have liked to have more, but as I didn’t feel very well I thought it best to go back to the hotel and lie down.

ma23.jpg

ma29.jpg

The tapas portions (which were not on the actual menu, but the items were) were quite large though, so I doubt I would have needed much more, but I would have like to try more dishes!

La Cosmopolita Malagueña, Calle José Denis Belgrano, 3, 29015 Málaga, Spain

 

 

Seville: Triana and food market

IMG_9877.JPG

My hotel in Seville was located just across the river from Plaza de Armas, so it was close to the centre but still quiet. Every day I would walk across the bridge and explore the centre of Seville, but one day I decided to explore my more immediate surroundings; Triana.

This is where travellers and bohemians lived before, as they were not allowed to stay within the city walls. The past has of course shaped this neighbourhood that offers a different charm than say, Santa Cruz.

IMG_9851.JPG

It’s a little run-down, but charming all the same. And of course the orange trees are lining the streets here as well.

IMG_9873.JPG

IMG_9867.JPG

It was actually only in this part of town that I saw actual oranges on the trees. Not many, but it was still nice to see!

IMG_9860.JPG

Triana is probably most known for its pottery, and there are several shops where you can see the typical Seville patterns on bowls etc.

IMG_9861.JPG

And just like in other parts of Seville some buildings are very ornamental. Some have etchings and some colourful tiles with angels and saints on. So pretty!

IMG_9883.JPG

I eventually came to another bridge and as I crossed the river a little further away from my hotel I could enjoy a spectacular view!

IMG_9901.JPG

Seville is such a beautiful city, and it was lovely to see it all a bit from afar.

IMG_9894.JPG

IMG_9906.JPG

There was also a lot of activity on the river; people kayaking and cruising along in boats.

IMG_9908.JPG
IMG_9922.JPG
IMG_9914.JPG

And on the bank on the other side people were basking in the sun amid the palm trees. I didn’t join them though, as I had a destination in mind.

 

IMG_9927.JPG

The Mercado Lonja del Barranco; a rather nice looking food hall with lots of seating both inside and outdoors.

IMG_9931.JPG

IMG_9934.JPG

It was rather empty when I arrived in the late afternoon/early evening but that suited me well as I could easily walking around and checking out the different stalls. There were lots of pulpo (one dedicated stall in fact), and several types of prawns (my favourite!).

IMG_9941.JPG

But also different types of croquetas…

IMG_9938.JPG

IMG_9963.JPG

… and of course Jamon Iberico!

 

IMG_9960.JPG

I had my eye set on the prawns from the start though, so ordered some cooked a’la plancha; quickly grilled and seasoned with salt. They were still a bit raw inside which I love (these are delicious completely raw as well!) and so fresh! From one of the wine bars I got a glass of lovely Albarino to accompany my little seafood snack.

After a little sit down I ventured outside again and walked along the river by the palm trees and thought about how grateful I was to explore this amazing city.

Mercado Lonja del Barranco, Calle Arjona, s/n, 41001 Sevilla, Spain