Friday, October 7, 2016

Finishing Finland With Fabulous Foodie Finale

As Wife and I sit in the Scandinavian Airlines Lounge...pretty much by ourselves...having arrived at 6:00 AM for our 8:00 AM flight to Nice, be told that your connecting plane to Stockholm is running two hours late.. and I endure the glares of a sleep deprived Wife wanting to know why we had to get up so early (did I ever mention that the beloved Wife really, really, really hates to have to get up early in the morning...I mean really, really, really, hates it)...I find I have time to make the post that blog readers are clamoring for (at least one was I think)...the Finnish Food Post.

Our eating experiences in Finland were affected by the pace of our sightseeing, the cold temperature and our staying in an out of season tourist location. The former meant that often we were eating whatever we could find given where we were at and the time of day it was, the second that we frequently didn't want to brave the cold at night to go searching too much, and the latter that most things we wanted to go to were closed for the season.

Overall I'd say that none of the food knocked our socks off. We had some pretty good meals and some just okay ones. It was a little bit of a let down after the unexpected quality/value in Estonia.

While in Helsinki we ate twice in the hotel restaurant because of the above mentioned cold and our fatigue from being out touring in the cold all day. These were meals that we enjoyed a lot. As in Estonia, throughout our time in Finland we were impressed with the quality of the food presentation (in the better restaurants)

Cream of Salmon Soup
Evidently something of a national dish during this part of the year.
We saw it everywhere. Where we didn't eat it was at the big open air market as we were always at the market in between feedings
And a braised Ox Tail that was very good, tender, full of flavor
We appreciated that the portion sizes were not too large so we never left feeling stuffed
This restaurant had two red wines by the glass, a NZ Pinot Noir and a Spanish Garanacha that were both good quality
This mac and cheese accompanied the Ox Tail
Never thought to make one with orzo pasta
It was creamier and less thick than many I've had
Don't know what the cheese was but it was quite yummy
Out an about during our tram tour day, we stopped at a market and had a bowl of seafood soup with bread and flavored oil

I also finally was able to get a small serving of herring
We also stopped at the oldest Cafe in Helsinki
For coffee and pastry
I really loved the pastry layered with caramel and Wife loved the chocolate cake 
We had a lovely chat with a woman who had been an exchange student to Wesleyan College in Middletown Connecticut decades ago
 We ate again at the hotel
Wife had a grilled beef fillet she was quite impressed with while I had a salad with crayfish and an appetizer plate with some herring, cured salmon, house pickled vegetables, and pate.

Moving on to the Alund (south of Finland), the tourist area, we were mostly frustrated with so many places we sought out being closed even though there web sites said they were opened - evidently according to one of the hotel owners, they don't update the websites that regularly.
In one town for lunch there was just one place opened and we ended up having a grilled fish and salad. Even here the presentation was pretty nice

 In Ekenas the only place opened was named Santa Fe!
We did not eat southwestern US food here.
Wife had a sauteed fish and I had Wiener Schnitzel - both reasonable/good but nothing spectacular

Finally on our last night we ate at the airport hotel, a Hilton
During our stay in Estonia and Finland we have been impressed that the hotel restaurants have been uniformly good and their prices no more than what we've seen elsewhere
Another thing that has impressed us is the overall quality of bread and the potatoes
We finished with one more rendition of the cream of salmon soup and a roasted red deer
Having had the experience of sous-vide cooking of meat by my nieces recently, I'm pretty sure that the deer was cooked this way because of the uniform wellness it was cooked to and the texture.

One final food note
We stopped for lunch driving from the Alund to the Airport and stopped in a town that was not a tourist area. We ate at a Middle East joint with kebab and pizza. One of the owners (a husband/wife team of a Syrian and Laplander!), the wife whose father was in the US Navy in San Diego, was amazed because they never get tourists. She was lovely. But Wife warned me but I did not listen. Getting kebab made for local tastes is always a loser. In this case they put this weird cabbage salad with a mayo/sweet dressing in the kebab wrap. Sigh, have to wait until I find a real Turkish person for kebab.


Renee Michelle Goertzen said...

I generally think your idea of off- season traveling is brilliant. If you did Finland again, would you go during tourist season?

de-I said...

I think we would be more likely to go at the very end or very beginning of the tourist season.

alexis said...

if you go somewhere like that I guess you have to try to determine beforehand if they live and die by the tourist to get an idea if it's a ghosttown you'll be visiting out of season.