Thats right, Joel and I are entering the final countdown of our return stateside. London has been real, but we are eager to get back to our first love, NYC.
I leave the rest of this explanation in the capable and romantic lyrics of Europe
While living in London, I had a very limited number of cookbooks at my disposal for 2 reasons – 1. They are heavy; try carrying just two in your carry-on along with most of your most important items (it’s no fun!) and 2. I really wanted to try to utilize the seasons and be inspired by our new, local cuisine.
That all said, I am reeeeeady to get back to my books and dig in to some oldies but goodies such as Ad Hoc by Thomas Keller or The Jimtown Cookbook (all-time favorite). Since we are mere weeks away from returning to the US for good, I’ve been scoping out the new Fall round up of cookbooks. And there are a lot. Here are some of the books I will be ordering upon touchdown in the good old US of A as well as a great round up of whats available from Eater.
The Smitten Kitchen by Deb Perelman – I’ve been anxiously awaiting this one. SK is one the best food blogs around and I’ve been utilizing her recipes for years. The best part about the cookbook – Perlman claims that the 100 recipes are “almost entirely new”. All new SK? I’m so in.
Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller – Hi. I’m Sharon and I am a Bouchon nutterbutter addict. This has got to be the best cookie on the planet and now, TK is just giving me the recipe (with book purchase of course)? I’m doomed. And elated. All at the same time.
Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi – This one isn’t new, but I’ve yet to get my hands on it. I have, however, been enjoying the recipes first hand at our local outpost of the shop by the same name, Ottolenghi. This one is a vegetarian heaven.
Sprouted Kitchen by Sara Forte – I LOVE this blog. Delicious, mouth-watering recipes (tried and tested!) paired with incredible photos… it is pure food porn and I am ecstatic that they decided to put it all into a book.
True Blood by Gianna Sobol – I’m going to be honest and say I’m intrigued. I love the show, but I do not love blood. I do however also love Southern food and so they claim, this book is full of it. Therefore, I think it’s worth a look and cook. Will definitely have to post on my True Blood cooking success/failure.
Happy cooking to you all! Kale, squash and the Holiday season is around the corner and I for one, am beyond excited.
Joel and I have had an ongoing affair with Switzerland. While most of England feels that it’s too “boring” to spend any amount of time there, we beg to differ. I’ve been to Switzerland for work this year more times than I can count and have fallen in love with it. Switzerland is where nature and outdoor sports prevail. It is the most beautiful country I’ve visited by a long shot (plus their pizza is on-par with NYC!). I’m not one to post 1000 pictures of nature and trees, but Switzerland brings it out in me.
Having heard great things about St. Moritz in the winter from my parents (who ski there), Joel and I thought that our last vacation from London should take place there. If it’s great in the winter, why wouldn’t it be in the summer?
We started out our day long journey to the remote village by way of the Glacier Express. This train is unique in that it has a glass panoramic ceiling so everyone gets a view – and the views are incredible. The Glacier Express, although difficult to access in the summer (3 trains from Zurich later!), is worth the trip. It travels through a UNESCO world heritage sight – a distance of land that curves through mountains, glides over rivers and cuts through small villages and cantons.
Once we arrived at the village, we headed to the hotel of choice in St. Moritz, Badrutts Palace. This hotel is very historical with a staff and reputation that has withstood the test of time. The lobby is so elegant – there is even a dress code after 7pm – that you feel as though you’ve stepped back in time where people cared about how they looked when they traveled or went out to eat.
Our room was amazing. A corner room with breathtaking views of the glacier blue St. Moritz Lake. Everyday waking up to that view was a privilege and we’ll remember it forever.
We wanted this trip to be itinerary free and relaxing so we chose some points of travel, and attended to them at times we saw fit. Activities included trams up to the top of the mountain several times (where cows happily grazed and only the sound of cowbells was to be hear (really!), window shopping (this town is made for the wealthy!), swimming, walks around the impeccably blue St. Moritz Lake, eating many world famous Hanselmanns nut torte, beaver spotting (no, really) and of course, enjoying the best pizza east of NYC. We were also lucky enough to have been there when an awesome vintage/fine automobile show was going on in the main street.
Although a short visit, every second is worth it in Switzerland. It may be the only country we’re ever sad to leave. The people are kind, intelligent and welcoming. The food is perfect – be it in a 5 star restaurant or a local tavern. The views are one of a kind and the way that people care about nature and their health is astounding – Skiing is for the winters while rafting, hiking, boating, fishing and walking the lakes are for the summer.
Switzerland is our favorite place in Europe and St. Moritz only added to our love. We will surely miss how close it is when we head back to the other side of the ocean…
Summer has ended in London and Fall has come early (as expected). It’s time for flannel shirts and wool socks as well as our heater to come on. So on that note, we bring you a Fall themed “Ten Things”, for the last time from Londontown.
- Fall TV programming is back! Old favorites like The Office, Parks and Rec. and Up All Night are joined by hopeful newbies such as The Mindy Project and Revolution
- Kale is back in season! Some great recipes here
- Fall beers are in season (read: PUMPKIN!). One great Fall example over here is The Kernel Big Brick Red Rye Ale
- INCREDIBLE archive of Typographische Monatsblätter (TM) 1960-90, Swiss type journal
- Jason Scott at dConstruct 2012
- The ever-talented Woody Batts’s new I Skull NY t-shirt design
- This impressive interactive art installation ‘cloud’ composed of 6000 light bulbs
- These hand-drawn greeting cards from Wit & Whistle
- Of course, a Fall “Ten Things” wouldn’t be complete with a list of cozy sweaters
- And finally, no link here, just a fact – American Customer Service. We can’t wait to see you again!
Bonus! FOOTBALL IS BACK. For the love of god, we missed you.
Our Scandinavian adventure started in Norway and ended in Sweden. Stockholm, Sweden. While Norway was full or trolls, Sweden said Vikings to us so we began our quest to find them.
We arrived in Stockholm in time to eat so we set off to find some good Swedish brews and food. Joel discovered a fantastic beer bar that served famous moules frites, several different ways called Akkurat. I’m never one to pass of muscles and fries but paired with craft beer – I’m in! We grabbed a spot outside and dug into some great beer and food.
As said before, Stockholm is a series of smaller islands so we wanted to see as much as we could which meant – boat time! I love love love being on a small boat so I was super excited that Joel discovered the trip to Fjäderholmarna for our second day in Stockholm. The island itself was very small, we could have walked it in 30 minutes. But we took our time, taking in the sea and some organic cherry ice cream (yes, even at 10:00am). While the island was great to see, the boat ride was more our style. We hopped back on the boat after an hour and headed back to the mainland for some shopping and lunch.
Sweden is known to be the most expensive city in Europe and while having lived in London for almost a year, I completely agree! That said, we decided to do some window shopping instead of real shopping. We stopped at the famous NK department store where I got some new ideas for a dining room table. Then off to the chocolate shop, Chokladfabriken (The Chocolate Factory) for some mint chocolate buttons (awesome!).
After all the shopping and chocolate, it was time for some real food so we decided to head to the more “Williamsburg” part of Stockholm and enjoy a lunch at The Urban Deli. It is here were I discovered my new found love, smoked shrimp. Of course shrimp should be smoked! *Shouldn’t everything?* This shrimp was so incredibly smoky and good, I could have eaten 1000 times more (and I did during the remainder of the trip). It was also at The Urban Deli where we discovered some new Scandinavian brews – Vuur & Vlam, Södermalm Hipster Ale, and an IPA from the local Sthlm Brewing Co. All were worthy beers and great samplings of Scandinavian style beer.
While a bit tipsy from the strong beers and incredibly happy/stuffed from the smoked shrimp, we headed back to the main island but not before accidentally running in to this place – Parlans Konfektyr. That basically translates into ‘caramel heaven’. They hand make 15 flavors of caramels that melt in your mouth. My favorite was the passionfruit. Finding this place was the most happy accident of the trip.
And finally, on our last day, we got down to the business we came for – Viking hunting. While we technically didn’t find any real vikings, we found a very cool shipwreck from the 1600′s at the Vasa Museum. This museum was nicely laid out, dark and damp – all the qualities you want from a shipwreck museum. We throughly enjoyed it.
And we throughly enjoyed Stockholm. It actually reminded us a bit of NYC. The water, the people and the speed of the city is very similar and it made us feel right at home. Expensive or not, Stockholm is a place well worth visit.
Ever since Joel and I saw the amazingness which is Trollhunter, we have wanted to go searching for trolls in Norway ourselves. Scandinavia is actually a mere 1.5 hours away from London so we saw an opportunity for an awesome long weekend. Norway and Sweden, here we come!
As we were only taking 4 days to travel and see Scandinavia, we chose to stick with only 2 cities – Bergen, Norway and Stockholm, Sweden. Norway was up first in the hopes that we could spot a few trolls or at least some reindeer.
Bergen, Norway is actually considered the ‘gateway to the fjords‘. If we had an extra week and I actually liked cruises, we’d be on one of those boats in a heartbeat. But, since I can’t stand the thought of being trapped on a ship with that many people (fjords or not), we stuck to the mainland. Bergen is one of the most beautiful places we’ve visited yet. Nature reins supreme here as well as fish and history. The main part of town, Bryggen, is actually a UNESCO world heritage site. It is worth walking up and down the alleyways and noting that the crooked yellow, red and brown buildings smell of cedar and the sea.
As we’d hoped, Bergen was misty, but not rainy. Although it was the end of summer, Norway had a constant feeling of Fall about it. Even when it was sunny (which wasn’t often), a mist loomed over the mountains which are within walking distance from the center of town. Or, if you’re up to it (and we were) – a funicular ride. We rose early (highly recommended to go first thing!) to catch the funicular to the mountain top and do a bit of troll hunting. The mountains were spectacular – while visitors were plentiful, there was still silence as we walked further into the mountain paths. We also stumbled upon some trolls!
Aside from the nature and hiking, Bergen has the absolute best fish we’ve ever tasted. It was so fresh, so simple yet so creative and flavorful. Some highlights were from the lovely Brugeloftet & Stuene. We loved it so much that even though we were only in town for 1.5 days, we ate there twice. Salted cod stew, fresh Norwegian cold and hot smoked salmon, halibut… it was incredible. The fish alone was worth the visit.
When looking for tips on Bergen, we found very little information so we wanted to share our choices, from our limited visit –
Brugeloftet & Stuene – Even though this is in Bryggen – the touristy area– it was not crowded at all and had reasonable (for Norway) pricing, pleasant service (also not something they are known for) and the best fish EVER.
The Moose Shop – Everyone should get a moose something or other from Norway. Also located on the main wharf of Bryggen
DLK – Small coffee shop located up the stairs from the funicular. They are famous around Norway for their coffee making skills. Try the kaffe Istanbul. Made with cardamom and brown sugar, it is incredibly fragrant yet still packs a kick (note – cash only!).
We stayed at the Clarion Collection Hotel Havnekontoret. It is at the end of town, but still along the water. Rooms were small, as expected in Europe, but clean and quiet. The building itself it quite old and beautiful. Breakfast in included and (!) pancakes mid-day.
Last tip – take the Floibanen up to the top of Mt. Floibanen. Trolls and mist await you!
Although Norway isn’t on the top of most people’s travel bucket lists, I suggest it moves up. The scenery, love of nature and fish makes Bergen an awesome, different place to visit. And if you enjoy a cruise, go for the fjords!
Joel and I have been busy-busy traveling as much as we can before the summer comes to and end. Since the summer isn’t technically is over here – although London’s weather is saying otherwise – I thought I’d share some still colorful and fun things that are inspiring us…
I have been cheating a bit on food and fashion with home decor. Scandinavian home decor to be exact. My Pinterest account is now loaded with new DIY ideas and inspiration for furniture to come. One blog helping with my addiction is My Scandinavian Retreat. LOVE it.
Lastly, a bit of fashion – Even though fall is rearing it’s ugly head t us here, I’m still wishing I could own/wear every single thing on this site. Mara Hoffman creates beautiful, colorful prints and utilizes them on everything from swimwear to scarves to even… condoms! One must be stylish (and careful) at all times. Mara even collaborated with another favorite of mine, Bona Drag on a collection of scarves, 0ne seen here.
As I said, we’ve been traveling a ton these last few weeks. I’m in the process gathering all of our photos and evidence at the moment. Travel posts to follow soon!