Nothing’s free

Cheesy 80’s pop fills the air. That is why I first noticed Lovebakken’s existence. 

The fairly simple, boring menu of Christiana (on the map) drove me to check out this place next door (off the map).  Initially the prices almost scared me off.  In the end what made me walk through the front door was the pan-fried Monkfish with citrus risotto and pickled red onion.  I just couldn’t walk away from a treat like that, despite the nearly $40 price tag. 

I went in.  A clean atmosphere that bustled in a busy yet low-key way, greeted me inside the door.  Next came the hostess who sadly informed me that they had a special function going on that evening and that I could only get the 12+ tapas they had out for free, there was no access to the regular menu.  Seriously?  Yes.  I walked in thinking I would be spending at least $50 on dinner and it actually was more like zero.  I was out of luck with the wine menu as well.  The were only offering one special (which tasted like a Merlot) that was cheaper than my previous glass by several dollars and tasted good. 

American Pie ends and now ‘What a feelin’ comes on. 

Among the tasty treats set out for guests (customers isn’t the right word when it’s free) 
– Watermelon, feta and cucumber salad with red onion
– Tomato, olive and rosemary Focaccia
– Piles of soft smoked salmon
– Pork with either a slice of bacon or a strip of its own fat- either way it was delicious!

‘Take your passion.  Make it happen…’

I am so happily full right now.  Feeling tired, as well, as the lack of sleep catches up with me.

In the end I paid for two glasses of discounted wine and left with my belly full.

Norway, Day One

It’s gray and raining here and I have a feeling that this is often the case.  People seem to either be prepared with rainjackets and umbrellas or to go on with their walking unfazed. 

The strangest thing happened at the airport.  I got off the plane, picked up my luggage and walked out the door for nothing to declare.  All of a sudden I was at the exit.  No questions.  No passport check.  No stamp.  No ‘look this way’ as they snap your photo to compare to a database of terrorists.  Does Oslo trust Amsterdam to not let bad people on the plane?  The only person I saw working was on the side where you could declare goods taken into the country and she looked like she hadn’t seen action in awhile.

I almost feel guilty about this ease of transit.  First, I get to keep my shoes on going through security in Amsterdam, and now no one harrasses me into the country?!  What is the world coming to?

Maybe the Norwegians rely on their rediculous prices to keep bad people out.  69 Kroner (~11.50 USD) for a glass of house wine.  Holy Crap.  Of course the struggling US dollar doesn’t help the situation.  At least the wine tastes good.  If it didn’t I might be more pissed about the cost.  It is definitely a different experience going from having the A/C on full blast to wondering if you can turn on the heat in the hotel room…

Postcard from Cuba

Old Havana View
Old Havana View

Hello,

I have been sitting in my hotel room for the last hour trying to think of what to tell you about Havana and of Cuba.

The short of it is that it is exactly the same and completely different than I imagined. There are old buildings that haven’t been taken care of and those that have been restored so well that seeing them brings tears to my eyes, they are so beautiful. Of course, I also find the beauty in the ones that are falling down.

The food is worse than I expected – I was thinking it would be alright. There are no vegan options, and few vegetarian. I have felt hungry more often than not, even when full of rice and beans. I am craving vegetables! Lots and lots of fresh vegetables that aren’t deep fried. I have had a few good meals and one great.

The cars are fascinating. The older later 50’s era vehicles have definitely been patched and repainted quite a bit, but it is neat to see. Interspersed with these older cars (a status symbol) are new imports. There is little traffic, and roads are in good condition.

Hasta Luego!

PS Check my twitter feed on this site for more pics.