Sunday, 8 June 2014

Food, glorious food!

This week saw the last of the research seminars in Nordic/general archaeology and we had the last of the postseminars in one of the restaurants in Södermalm. I did not attend every session due to travel home to England or to Italy, but I got quite a good idea of the local offerings. Naturally, I and my family (when on a visit) have been quite loyal to the local “Näset” in the suburb of Näset on the island of Lidingö. It is a true through back to the late 1970s or early1980s – they even play the local ‘oldies hits’ radio station with Europe and Abba. The steaks are on planks and smothered with béarnaise sauce. But essentially: it is very good. My bookmaker’s toast has been constantly a quality meal for 100 krona and better than in much trendier and central “Belgobar”.

A little bit of Finland - or Åland - in Stockholm

“Belgobar” was our restaurant twice, but since I cannot eat mussels, I cannot enjoy the most Belgian of dishes. The beers are good but the food is a bit ‘mah’, but they bring nice bread before the standard hamburgers and the like. With Gavin Lucas we headed to the famous “Zum Franziskaner” when I had barely arrived. Really nice interior and lots of character and tradition, but pricey food, even if so-called ‘beer friendly’ and the standard was not really above the “Weatherspoons”, even if the prices were manifold. “Weatherspoons” came to mind of the “Bishops Arms” in Gamla Stad: food was quite cheap and the menu offered fishcakes and hamburgers. Inoffensive and good for beer.

The end seminar of Ingrid Berg now in the spring was celebrated in the Greek “Esperia”. It was not like any Greek restaurant I have visited before. The food looked beautiful and tasted excellent. The prices were far from cheap, but really modest, when you think about the quality of ingredients and presentation. Naturally, wine is painfully expensive in Sweden, but we shared a very lovely bottle – or actually two...

Of the traditional Swedish restaurants “Tennstopet” was superior to “Zum Franziskaner”, although the dinner room cannot really accommodate bigger groups. But the meatballs were lovely and, once again, bread was really nice. Nevertheless, we visited the best place last. The prices in “Kvarnen” were on the low side and the food was tasty and well made. The beer selection was excellent and the decor was older in a mix of German and Swedish style. We ate in the so called German hall and my reindeer in cream sauce was spot on. And the beer was cheaper than any were in the city centre I have seen. A krona cheaper than in Näset! I want to go back – and sooner the better.

Babas stand in the Taste Stockholm event

This weekend was Smaka Stockholm, Taste Stockholm, event. I passed by this lunchtime before heading to swim with the idea of having a lunch in a food festival atmosphere. There even was a Sweden’s best cook competition on the main stage, but I must say having cooks higher up and looking at a giant screen in order to actually see the cooking and food in the bright sunshine, is not as good as watching Mastercook in your own home. Nevertheless, the ‘Latino burger’ with beef stripes, red onion, tomato, avocado and chilli mayo was extremely good. I was really full, even if the portion had looked small. The stand was “Babas Burgers and Bites” that had been mentioned among the best hamburger places in Stockholm by the Arlanda Express onboard magazine. They were right. Now I just have to use a bit of Google Map in order to find where their restaurant is in the suburbs...

Sunday saw me finding out that I do not like ceviche, Peru's national food. As a consolation to all Peruvians, I do not like Finnish or Swedish sill either, no matter which sauce this herring has been put into and no matter how Finnish I am living temporarily in Sweden for work. Now I know how this hipster food tastes like, so I do not have to taste it any more. I also tasted some inoffensive, if soulless lamb curry with beer in the afternoon. Sadly, I could not fit in a pulled pork sandwich I saw some ladies munching.

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