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And now, from our popular category “news that surprises literally no one”: it’s still winter in Copenhagen – freezing temperatures, icy wind, and the occasional bit of snow, only sporadically interrupted by a little sunshine.

So I’m taking you to warmer realms today, in another post from our US road trip last year. Prepare for a serious dose of Fernweh coming your way!

What’s Fernweh, you ask? It’s only one of my favorite German words, ever. It is the opposite of “Heimweh”, homesickness, and the closest literal translation is probably something like “farsickness”. It means a longing to travel, a sort of wanderlust, a yearning for faraway places. I read somewhere that it’s a homesickness for a place you’ve never been, and that fits really well.

Anyway, after this short excursion into German words that are un-translatable but perfectly descriptive, let’s hop over the pond and onto the Southeast coast of the United States, where I’ll take you to three perfectly charming small coastal towns in the state of South Carolina!

Folly Beach

Only a short drive from Charleston, Folly Beach is a popular weekend and summer getaway (although I don’t understand how you could want to get away from Charleston, it’s such a lovely city!).

The most popular sight is probably the big pier, but there are plenty of cute stores, cafés and restaurants along main street. There are also countless vacation homes and beachfront hotels, so if you’re ever thinking of visiting the Charleston area, planning in a few leisurely days in Folly Beach might be an idea!

Foregoing the “shack-tacular” seafood we instead stopped for breakfast at the Lost Dog Cafe, where we dug into generous servings of French toast and biscuits and gravy (a Southern staple that I got acquainted to quite well during our trip!).

Yes, there are biscuits under all that thick sausage gravy! The iced caramel latte was basically a meal in itself!

Bellies filled, we wandered along the pier and afterwards spent about an hour on the beach, even diving in the water for a quick swim.

Ugh, imagine my disappointment when I learned I wasn’t going to be catching any sharks that day!

Edisto Beach

On our way from Charleston to Savannah, we stopped in two more coastal towns, the first one of which was Edisto Beach. It’s a sleepy town full of beautiful beachfront vacation homes stretched along the main road, Palmetto Boulevard. There wasn’t a lot going on there, but we took our time and wandered around on the beach, soaking up the sun and collecting seashells – there were so many seashells, and big ones, too! We can only dream of that here in Denmark.

But the main reason for our visit was a stop at a small local seafood shack, Whaley’s. It was named one of South Carolina’s best seafood restaurants by Coastal Living magazine, but I read about it first in this Boston Globe article, which called it “the Old South in all its glory”.  In short, it seemed like just the type of authentic place I was looking for, and it didn’t disappoint!

The boyfriend had a shrimp and mussel bisque with a grilled cheese on the side, and I opted for the crab cake sandwich. I am by no means a big seafood person, but boy, do I love a good crab cake! And this sandwich was the best I have ever had, hands down.

The softest, squishiest bun, a crab cake as thick as three of my fingers, crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, a slice of tomato, a lettuce leaf, and the most amazing creole mayo – perfect in its simplicity.

As soon as I had finished eating it, I got sad, because I knew it’d be a looong time until I’d get to eat it again (if ever). Edisto Beach is worth a visit only for this sandwich!

Beaufort

After our lunch in Edisto Beach, we continued our drive and put in our final stop in Beaufort, a ridiculously quaint little town. It was actually named the South’s Best Small Town 2017 by Southern Living Magazine, and let me tell you that there is no shortage of charming small towns in the South, so that’s quite an accomplishment! As Southern Living writes, “you can’t turn a corner without swooning!”

The marina invites for a stroll, as does main street with its small stores – shop for decorations, antiques, books, and art, or simply sit down for an iced coffee in a cafe or restaurant.

Stop by Lowcountry Produce Market & Café to browse through Southern specialties and produce, or for a glass of lemonade. You can feast your eyes on all its adorableness here.

Venturing off the main roads is also a good idea, as you’ll be able to spot beautiful houses and mansions all over the place.

We really enjoyed South Carolina, and I for one would have loved to spend many more days just driving through the state and discovering hidden gems like these three. These three small towns were all very different from each other, but each of them had that Southern charm that just makes you want to go back!

What do you think – which one’s your favorite?

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It’s time for another taste test!

This time, I ventured out into the world of noodle soups and stopped by three ramen-yas all across town to slurp my way to the best ramen in Copenhagen.

As far as my research goes, there are only three “real” ramen places: Papa Ramen, Mikkeller’s Ramen To Biiru, and Slurp Ramen Joint. I’m aware that there are other restaurants that serve ramen, but those are of the “Asian Fusion” variety and for this Grand Tour de Ramen, I wanted to focus on the spots that specialize in the Japanese noodle soup.

Let’s dive right in!

Papa Ramen

Vegetarian ramen with shiitake broth, mushrooms, sweet corn, sprouts, and a poached egg Tonkotsu ramen with braised pork, leek, garlic chips, and a poached egg

Papa Ramen has a large selection of different types of ramen – from classic shio and shoyu ramen to more extraordinary varieties such as tonkotsu chorizo. I went with the veggie version, while the boyfriend opted for a tonkotsu ramen (creamy broth made from pork bones).

The veggie ramen was generously loaded with toppings including mushrooms, sweet corn, burned garlic, a poached egg, and a variety of sprouts. The shiitake-based broth was delicious, and the charred garlic added some depth to the dish. The noodles were delicious, too.

Prices at Papa Ramen are fair – a bowl of ramen will set you back between 110 DKK (veggie) and 125 DKK.

Rating: 

Papa Ramen, Skydebanegade 16 and Studiestræde 67, paparamen.dk

Ramen To Bíiru

Vegetarian ramen: Kombu (seaweed) broth, mushrooms, seaweed, spring onion, and egg Spicy Goma ramen: Spicy chicken broth, minced chili chicken, spring onion, and pak choi

Mikkeller’s Ramen To Biiru (“ramen and beer”) was a first mover on the Copenhagen ramen scene (I’ve actually written about them before, here). They started out in a tiny shop in Nørrebro, but have since expanded to a second location in Vesterbro, close to Enghave Plads. Their menu has a lot of variety and includes monthly specials, such as Kimchi ramen.

Again, I opted for the vegetarian version, which is based on a seaweed broth and topped with mushrooms, seaweed, and spring onions. I have to say that this was probably my least favorite veggie ramen of the three – it’s not that it was bad at all, but it felt a little bit lackluster, as if it was added to the menu as more of an afterthought.

Along the way, I found myself wishing I had chosen as wisely as the boyfriend, who clearly had the winner of the night: spicy Goma ramen with chicken broth, ground chili chicken, spring onion, and pak choi. That was a bowl of spicy-hot deliciousness that really stood out.

Prices start at 100 DKK for the classics and go up to 125 DKK for specialty ramen. You only get half a soft-boiled egg, so make sure to order extra if you – like me – love egg in your ramen!

Rating: 

Ramen To Biiru, Enghavevej 58 and Griffenfeldsgade 28, ramentobiiru.dk

Slurp Ramen Joint

Shio ramen with pork, spring onions, negi, red pepper, and egg Veggie ramen with a mushroom broth, roasted oyster mushrooms, portobello mushrooms, red onions, egg, and salad

Slurp Ramen Joint has quickly become a local hot spot, and that honor is well-deserved. The menu is very small, covering only three classics: shio, shoyu, and veggie ramen, as well as one specialty ramen that changes regularly.

Their veggie ramen was my favorite – it’s heavy on the mushroom side, with a rich mushroom broth and topped with different mushrooms, but it’s simply so, so good! The noodles are thin and have a great texture, and the fresh onions and salad give a nice crunch. Their eggs are brined and served whole, which is a bit challenging to eat – seriously, any actual tips on what I’m supposed to do here (stuff the entire egg in my mouth? Try to take a bite? But how do I hold the egg with the sticks? It’s all very confusing) will be very welcome.

Their shio ramen was well received, too. The pork was thin and tender, and the toppings included spring onions and yuzu (Japanese citrus).

At a 135 DKK per bowl, Slurp is the highest priced of the bunch, but it’s worth splurging!

Rating: 

Slurp Ramen Joint, Nansensgade 90, slurpramen.dk

Where’s your favorite ramen spot in Copenhagen? Let me know in the comments!

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I promised you a boatload of posts from our US trip last fall, which have been collecting dust in my drafts folder over the last couple of months, so here’s the first one of hopefully many!

Are you ready? We’re heading to the Big Easy, Crescent City, the Paris of the South, or simply N’Awlins, and I’m taking you to lunch. And we’re having sandwiches!

“Sandwiches”, you say, confused, “you’re talking about Po’Boys? Or a Muffuletta, maybe?” No, Ma’am. You’ll have to be patient for a little while longer for a post on New Orleans classic must-eat foods.

Today, I’m taking you to America’s Best New Restaurant 2017, according to Bon Appetit magazine: Turkey and the Wolf. Yup, turns out the best new restaurant in the US is a sandwich shack with “weird and whacky appeal” (I’m quoting here). So obviously we had to head there for lunch!

The shop is located in a small red house on Jackson Avenue, a short walk from popular Magazine Street, and it was crowded when we got there. Lots of people ordered their food to go, so when we got the opportunity, we snatched a spot at the bar with a semi-view into the kitchen, and the chance to chat up the bartender and hear a bit more about the place.

While I might not have phrased it the same way myself, I do understand what Bon Appetit means when they talk about the vibe. This is the kind of place where everyone, staff and patrons alike, have colorful sleeve tattoos, where the walls are painted bright colors, where the cocktails have names like “Hillbilly Hotbox” or “An Extraordinarily Tall Child”, and where you get a set of hot wheels cars and a toy dinosaur as a placeholder for your order.

In short, I loved it.

The drinks menu boasts a number of interesting cocktails, but as it was a characteristically hot and humid fall day in New Orleans, we opted for ice cold lemonade instead.

The menu is pretty straightforward: five sandwiches, five “things that are not sandwiches”, and vanilla soft serve with various toppings for dessert.

I went with the collard green melt with slow-cooked collard greens, Swiss cheese, pickled cherry, and pepper dressing on rye bread. It might not be as impressive-looking as other sandwiches, but don’t let that fool you, because it was bursting with flavors that complemented each other to perfection. A truly delicious melt-in-your-mouth affair!

The boyfriend went with the most visually stunning option on the menu: the Fried Bologna. I mean, just look at it.

Feast your eyes on this masterpiece of a sandwich!

Fried bologna, hot English mustard, lettuce, mayo, American cheese, and a generous heap of potato chips are piled high on thick slices of delicious, buttery toasted white bread.

Is it nearly impossible to eat? Yes.

Does that matter? Not in the slightest.

Next time you’re in New Orleans, do yourself a favor, swing by this place and wolf down (get it? ha!) one of their amazing sandwiches!

If you, like me, don’t have your next trip quite booked yet, Bon Appetit magazine actually managed to get a hold of the recipe for the Collard Green Melt, so give that a go (on a related note, does anyone know if you can get collard greens in Europe?!).

Turkey and the Wolf  |   739 Jackson Ave, New Orleans  |   turkeyandthewolf.com

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Hellooo, and a very belated happy new year! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful holiday season.

It’s been very quiet on the blog since mid-December; it seems like I’ve gone into some sort of hibernation. With the busyness of the Christmas season, a nice old cold right before the holidays, and my general sensitivity to the cold and dark weather, it seemed like a good idea to take some time off and recharge.

I think a lot of people have similar feelings in the cold and dark months at the beginning of the year – for me, it often manifests in a general feeling of tiredness and weariness, like any activity other than cuddling up on the couch with a hot tea and a book or Netflix series would be too much.

Which is interesting, because at the same time, January is a month of new beginnings, good intentions, and grand plans – lots of people make new year’s resolutions to eat healthier, work out more, drink less, or generally be better somehow. This year, I’m abstaining from resolutions, as they’re often too ambitious and thereby easily broken, meaning we crush ourselves with the weight of our own disappointment when we don’t manage to adhere to them all, 100%, all of the time.

This has also happened to me quite frequently with the blog – it’s easy to look at other bloggers with their seemingly endless energy, regular posting schedule, amazing photography and video skills, and get drawn into a spiral of self-doubt and chastising. “I should be posting at least three times a week!” or “I should really learn how to make video content!” or “Why isn’t my Instagram following growing more?”  So, I decided it would be a good idea to take myself out of that maelstrom for a little while.

So, am I coming back?

Yes! Absolutely. I love the blog, and I love interacting with all of you. I’m just taking things slowly right now and getting back to why I got into blogging in the first place – sharing things I enjoy. I might be posting a bit more irregularly, though, going with the flow of what inspires me.

What’s in store for 2018?

By the looks of it, 2018 will be a big year for me. In some personal news, I will be getting married in the fall, and I’m taking my first yoga teacher training over the summer, so there’s quite a bit of planning going on, which will only intensify once those dates draw nearer.

As for the blog, I’ll still be focusing on the things I love best: good food and Copenhagen! I also still have a huge backlog of pictures and post ideas from our US trip last fall, which I really want to share with you!

I hope you’re staying warm and hyggelig out there, and I’ll see you soon!

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New restaurants open in Copenhagen all the time.

And while a lot of them are good, some even great, there are some that generate a lot more buzz than others. Those are the ones that you’ll see on everyone’s Instagram for weeks after opening.

Not many manage to generate that much buzz before they open, though. But when word gets out that Rosio Sanchez, former pastry chef at Noma and founder of taqueria extraordinaire Hija de Sanchez, is opening her own restaurant, you best believe that everyone was excited!

Simply called Sanchez and located on Istedgade, the new place is intended to be laid-back and serve honest, delicious, down-to-earth food that tastes like someone cooked it for you in their own home. We headed there on opening night, because I, too, wanted to be a trendsetter for once.

The atmosphere is indeed cozy and relaxed, and we were seated at a high table that gave me a perfect view into the open kitchen. Score!

We opted for the 5-course menu, but decided to start out with a cocktail and some chips and guacamole. A very good choice – I wish I could have a bucket of that guacamole in my fridge at all times! Chunky, zingy, and overall amazing. Once we ran out of chips, I ate the rest with a spoon, and I am not sorry.

The kitchen and dining room were already pretty busy serving the first round of guests.

Before long, our first course arrived: crispy tostadas with cauliflower salsa and avocado. Crunchy, succulent, and deliciously dressed with a spicy, creamy sauce.

Next up were empanadas with homemade queso fresco – I am a huge fan of queso fresco, and I always get it at Hija de Sanchez (if it’s on the menu that day).

These empanadas were deep-fried and stuffed to the brim with the fresh cheese – a good squeeze of lime on top and you’ll have yourself a party!

Next up was the only dish that didn’t contain any tortilla: an avocado and onion soup. The soup was creamy, drizzled with a bit of chili oil and topped with charred onions and some more avocado. But then again – can you ever have enough avocado, really?

(That’s a hypothetical question. The answer is obviously no.)

Following the soup was even more green, as we were served panuchos (bean-filled tortillas), loaded with all sorts of delicious greens: carrot tops, parsley and coriander. They were a bit tricky to eat, but definitely delicious!

For our final course of the 5-course menu, we got “dirty carnitas”, braised pork tacos with a simple topping of sliced onion and cucumbers, which allowed the flavor of the meat to shine. I could easily eat two, or three, or seven of these!

You already know that me skipping dessert is not very likely, so we opted for one to share (meaning I ate like 85% of it). Obviously, our choice fell on the churro, topped with vanilla ice cream and bitter orange cream. Crunchy and creamy, sweet and bitter – turns out you can have it all in one dessert! I strongly recommend you try one!

All in all, a lovely evening with some really delicious food.

I did think that the menu was very tortilla-based, but as they say, never change a working system, or something like that. Hija de Sanchez tacos are arguably the best in town, so of course it’s an easy choice to work with what you know. In the future, I’d like to see a bit more variety on the menu, though.

If you’re a fan of Hija de Sanchez’ tacos, you absolutely won’t be disappointed in Sanchez – the food was on point, service was super friendly and accommodating, and the atmosphere was relaxed and fun. I’ll definitely be back soon!

Sanchez  |   Istedgade 60, 1650 Copenhagen  |   lovesanchez.com

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You’ve heard me talk about ”hygge” before – the Danish way of creating cozy moments in everyday life. Essential elements include candles, cuddly blankets, fuzzy socks, and a cup of tea – or a glass of red wine, if that’s your preference!

December and the entire Christmas season are high times for “hygge”. While it’s cold and dark outside, you’ll find us cuddled up inside with a good book, enjoying a candlelit meal with friends, or strolling Tivoli Gardens with a warm gløgg in hand.

When I think back to all the Christmas seasons I’ve had back in Germany, before I even knew what ”hygge” was, an essential part of getting warm and cozy was my parents’ wood-fired oven. Our house had a central heating system (and floor heat on the ground floor, which is so great!) but every night during winter time, we’d light a fire in the oven.

(Side note: No, this is not my parents’ house, it’s actually the in-laws’ summer house, which is an unexpected, but excellent destination for some fall-time hygge!)

It’s not only the additional warmth that seems to reach all the way down to your bones. I could sit in front of the fireplace for ages, just watching the flames and listening to the crackling and popping of the wood. I’ve long said that when we move out of our apartment and into a house, a fireplace is a must!

But while a fireplace certainly ups the “hygge” factor in every home, it’s also not as climate-friendly as one might think. I was surprised to find out that wood-burning ovens are the biggest source of health damaging soot and fine dust particles in Europe! The video below, published by the Danish and German Economic Councils, explains this in more detail.

But not to worry!

This isn’t to say you’re going to have to miss out on the hygge factor of a wood-burning stove in your home. The Clean Heat project has a number of guidelines and tips for making sure your oven is as eco-friendly as possible.

You can read more about the Clean Heat initiative here.

What are your thoughts on wood-burning ovens?

This is a sponsored post. As always, all opinions are my own.

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Oh my gosh, how is it December already?!

Is anyone else surprised by the sudden arrival of Christmas season? It might have something to do with the fact that we always celebrate American Thanksgiving in late November, so when most of Denmark starts drinking gløgg and putting twinkly lights in the windows, I refuse to get the Christmas decorations out of the basement before Thanksgiving is over.

This year, I kicked off Christmas season with a visit to a few Christmas markets last Sunday, including in Nyhavn and Kongens Nytorv.

But my first stop was at Odd Fellows Palæ, a town mansion close to Amalienborg Palace. The Christmas market plus flea market is an annual event and the proceeds go to charity, so why not stop by and browse around?

We couldn’t see all of the building, unfortunately, but what we could see was really beautiful. The mansion is from the Rococo area, built in the 1750s, and it boasts high ceilings with golden decor and shiny chandeliers.

The flea market was set up in the great hall, and we took some time to browse around for treasures.

Like any good flea market, we found books, old records, jewelry, kitchenware, paintings and even furniture. I might have even bought a little something as a Christmas present…

The rest of the market was full of handmade little Christmas products, sold by lovely elderly ladies and gentlemen who were happy to strike up a conversation.

There were knitted baby clothes and animals, crafted Christmas birds, ornaments, and figurines, home-baked cookies, and all sorts of other holiday-themed things. I took home some chocolate cookies and a jar of homemade pickled vegetables – I just LOVE anything pickled, really!

After we were done browsing the market, we sat down for this year’s first round of gløgg and æbleskiver. If you’re like “what the heck is æbleskiver?!”, check out my post about Danish Christmas foods here!

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sure to check out as many Copenhagen Christmas markets as I possibly can – one of my favorites is still the one on Højbro Plads, because they have authentic German “Bratwurst” (hey, I’m German, let me get excited about grilled sausages, okay?).

This weekend, I’m planning to get the Christmas decorations up in the apartment – it feels like I’m way behind already!

How is your holiday season going so far? Did December sneak up on you, too?

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Wow, guys – I have such a backlog of posts from our US trip! Not to mention the gazillion pictures, most of which are still unedited…

I’ll try to catch up, because I have some cool stuff coming your way – like how to visit Washington in a day and a half, our favorite places in beautiful Savannah, southern barbecues, and the best sandwich in New Orleans – so I’m hoping to get those to you over the course of the next few weeks.

Of course, I won’t be neglecting my beautiful home town either, so there’ll be more Copenhagen content coming your way as well. As a little teaser, I’m currently on a hunt for the best ramen in Copenhagen – let me know what’s your favorite place!

But for today, I want to share a little gem from London with you. As you well know by now (sometimes I feel like I’m repeating myself constantly), we started our trip in London to watch the NFL game between the New Orleans Saints and the Miami Dolphins, before hopping over the pond to start our road trip. By the way, allow me to gloat for a minute, because the Saints not only won that game, they actually won the past 7 games in a row and are leading the NFC South! Who Dat!

But I digress. Anyways, after spending Sunday with beers and hotdogs at Wembley Stadium, we opted for bit more of an upscale lunch on Monday. Our choice (my choice, really) fell on Trishna, a Michelin-starred Indian restaurant in Marleybone.

Growing up in Germany and now living in Copenhagen, I’ve mostly known Indian food as take-away butter chicken (uh, YUM!) and curry dishes, so I was super excited to check out the higher end of the spectrum of this enticing cuisine.

The restaurant is situated on a quiet street in Marleybone. The decor is quite restrained, elegant and almost minimalistic – instead of thick carpets or heavy gold-rimmed curtains, the only pointers to the cuisine are vintage posters from colonial times.

We got settled in and started off with some drinks: a Slumdog cocktail with scotch, coconut milk, lemon, egg whites, and toasted rice for the boyfriend, and a signature G&T with Tanqueray Rangpur gin, Indian lime, coriander seeds, and cardamom tonic for me.

We also got some papadam bread with a spicy tomato relish and a sweet mango chutney to nibble on.

I loved my G&T – you can’t really go wrong with Tanqueray, although I’d never tried the Rangpur. Looks like I’ll have to add that to the bar cart soon!

Soon after, the starters were served. I had opted for aloo chat (potato curry with masala chickpea, tamarind, and sweet yogurt) while the boyfriend went with nandu varuval (soft shell crab with green chili, white crab salad, and tomato chutney). Both were delicious, but mine was the clear winner, if I say so myself! It struck a perfect balance between rich, spicy and sweet, and I could’ve easily eaten another portion.

 

Next up was the second course: Paneer tikka anandarna (paneer cheese with mango, mint, sweetcorn, and pomegranate) for me, and Partridge pepper fry (Keralan spices, black pepper, Indian onion, and parotta) for the boyfriend.

The paneer was my favorite dish of the day. It was just utter perfection – I love paneer cheese, I love mango, I love corn, I love pomegranate, so that was an easy one, really. I loved the creamy texture of the paneer and the tangy pops of flavor from the pomegranate seeds.

For main courses, we were served a real feast. The boyfriend’s choice fell on the nilgiri chicken kurma (chicken thighs with coriander, curry leaf, and coconut); while I went with the lamb nariyal masala (lamb with curry leaf, coconut, and coastal spices). They came alongside wild mustard potatoes, dal, basmati rice, and naan bread.

I can’t even begin to describe the wonderful smells of all these different dishes – and don’t they look absolutely beautiful? I wish all my lunches were this colorful! It was hard to decide where to start, but eventually we did tuck in, spooning the delicious sauces onto rice or dipping pieces of naan into them.

The naan was just incredible. I do have an actually quite doable recipe for homemade naan, so I really ought to make that again soon (although I have no illusions of coming close to the perfection of this). The potatoes were amazing but incredibly spicy, so I wasn’t able to shovel them into my mouth with the speed I would’ve preferred to.

Eventually, we had to admit defeat, even though we loved the food so much we could’ve licked the plates clean!

Our final stop of the day were desserts: Fig and cardamom kheer with pistachio and fig kulfi for me and Date and caramel mishti doi (baked yogurt with banana chips and chashew nut chikki) for the boyfriend.

The boyfriend is not the biggest dessert eater (I know – what a weirdo! But more for me, so I’m a-okay with it), and he wasn’t overly excited, but I really loved my kheer. Is it just me or are pistachios just totally underrated?

We finished our meal utterly satisfied, having dived head-first into a world of flavors and spices. We were so full that we merely managed to walk back to the hotel (that was like a 5k walk, though), flop down on the bed, and take a nap!

The four-course lunch menu, which is more than plenty of food, costs GBP 35. For GBP 67, you get the menu plus a wine pairing, but we didn’t feel like getting too hammered for lunch, so stuck with our drinks only.

I really loved the food at Trishna – it was a completely different experience to the standard Indian take-out I’m used to from Copenhagen. Everything was intense, flavorful, exotic, and absolutely delicious. That paneer with sweetcorn was probably one of the most exciting dishes I’ve ever tasted.

If you’re into Indian food, Trishna should be on your London list. The lunch tasting menu is comparably affordable, and it’s worth every penny!

Have you been to Trishna, or another high-end Indian restaurant? Would you try? Let me know in the comments.

Trishna London  |   15-17 Blandford Street, Marylebone Village, London W1U 3DG  |   trishnalondon.com

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As were heading towards what feels decidedly like winter, with icy cold and frosty mornings where you can see puffs of breath forming little white clouds in the air, I thought I’d bid goodbye to fall with this little throwback post from sunny Virginia.

After heading down the winding mountain roads of the Shenandoah Valley’s Skyline Drive, we took a trip to a local orchard that seemed to be extremely popular with the locals.

The sun was blazing in the sky and it was just below 30 degrees, but the leaves had already started turning and the orchard was offering its colorful harvest of apples and pumpkins. It felt a little like we were stuck in an odd limbo between summer and fall.

We wandered around and admired the fruit being offered, and browsed the little shop for souvenirs of the edible and decorative kind. Fall and Thanksgiving decorations were abundant, and we strolled past shelves upon shelves stocked with apple butter, jams, and other delicacies.

After some time in the sun and heat (hey, we live in Denmark, we don’t get those kinds of temperatures very often!), we took the opportunity to cool off with some delicious apple cider slushies. If you’ve never had one, it may just change your life!

There were heaps and heaps of pumpkins in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

And, of course, a big ol’ pumpkin patch!

There were hayrides through the orchard, or just venturing out on your own to pick apples at your heart’s desire – pay by the pound.

Feeling a bit lazy, we instead opted to sit on the terrace by the small cafe, enjoy the view over the rolling hills of the Shenandoah Valley, and sink our teeth in some pumpkin donuts.

Yes, they were as good as they sound!

We ultimately did take a little stroll into one of the orchards, but the trees were growing so wildly that it was a bit too much of an obstacle course for our taste (and our shoes).

I’m currently day-dreaming myself back to the sunny hills of Virginia, with its beautiful orchards and wineries (see one of them in this post). I guess I’ll just have to make another cup of apple-cinnamon tea and turn up the “hygge” instead…

Do you know any pick-yourself orchards around Copenhagen? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to go sometime!

Carter Mountain Orchard  |   1435 Carters Mountain Trail, Charlottesville, VA 22902  |   website

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Two of my favorite things about being a blogger are the exciting events I sometimes get invited to, and the awesome people I get to meet that are just as crazy about certain things as I am, and love sharing their passion with others.

So when those two things are combined, it’s basically like hitting jackpot.

Add some insanely delicious food on top, and I am pretty much in paradise!

I was a little preoccupied with vacation, so I haven’t had the time to share this amazing dinner with you yet, but in September, I was invited by foodie extraordinaire Anders Husa to participate in a private dining event with him, Hedda from Hedda over Heels, Rasmus alias feinschmeckeren.dk, and Peter from CopenhagenFoodie.

Anders and Hedda are Oslo-based, but travel to Copenhagen very often and have a dining schedule that I can only dream about, and it was Anders that was invited to put together a group of like-minded food afficionados to test-drive the new private dining project by Mads Cortsen in Helsinge in the northernmost part of Zealand (sjælland).

Mads Cortsen participated in the Danish version of the cooking show MasterChef in 2015 and finished second. After a few stints at top restaurants in Århus, he opened his Private Dining concept earlier this year, and has most recently moved to a beautiful farmhouse, Hemmingstrupgård, to expand the concept beyond classic private dining (i.e. the chef coming to cook the food at your own house). At Hemmingstrupgård, Mads is able to welcome small groups for an intimate, luxurious dinner experience.

The Danish late summer allowed us to start with a glass of champagne and snacks on the patio, surrounded by fields and the woods.

Irish oysters with crème double and creeping cucumber Shrimp croquettes with squid ink and citrus emulsion

We soon moved inside, where dinner was served in an open kitchen, allowing us an unobstructed view into the magic that Mads and his co-chef, Jeppe From, were performing.

The team was completed by sommelier Thomas Lysgaard, who is one of the more eccentric of his craft and knows how to entertain – for example by comparing wines to pieces of music. His wine pairing was extravagant and really made me wish I didn’t have to drive home (alas, how else was I going to get home from Helsinge?!).

The menu consisted of more servings than I can count, many of which contained caviar and truffle – I honestly don’t think I’ve ever eaten a menu with more caviar in my entire life. Not that I mind, but in my humble opinion, some of the dishes didn’t really need it – they could have worked on their own. But hey, I’m not complaining!

Quail egg with Australian winter truffle Crispy chicken skin with citrus and caviar

Brill with caviar and champagne sauce

I think the above was my favorite dish of the dinner – the flavors were subtle, but really well balanced, and that champagne sauce… heart eyes!

All dishes were beautifully presented, too.

Marbled tuna, avocado, and caviar Tartar in sesame cone with pickled green tomatoes

Left: Smoked venison with fermented garlic; right: leg of quail with butternut squash and pomegranate reduction

Venison and pheasant soufflé, potato with truffles

Before desserts, we were treated to a goats cheese by Norwegian cheese maker Bo Jensen (yes, I totally looked his name up on Anders’ blog) and it was absolutely epic!

Of course, we were treated to Mads’ signature dessert: a sugar globe filled with exotic deliciousness. The sugar globe might not be the most spectacular gustatory experience (it is just sugar, after all), but it showcases enormous technical skill and finesse – plus, it’s super fun to eat, because you get to crack the little ball with your spoon to reveal all the deliciousness stuffed inside!

Champagne sorbet

The Grand Finale: sugar globe filled with an exotic cocktail

In summary, this was an absolutely fantastic evening in great company and a truly extraordinary dinner.

If you’re interested in private dining for a small, exclusive event at your home or at Hemmingstrupgård, I can warmly recommend Mads. The signature menu costs DKK 1.250 per person, while the signature prestige menu will set you back DKK 2.100. Corresponding wine menus clock in at DKK 900 and DKK 1.900, respectively. Finally, there’s a special New Year’s menu available for DKK 995 – however, you will have to pick it up, heat, and serve it yourself.

Have you ever tried private dining?

Cortsen Private Dining  |   Hemmingstrupgård, Helsinge   |   cortsendining.dk  |   Facebook

Disclaimer: I was invited to participate in this private dining event. All opinions are my own.

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