Friday, October 29, 2010

The Book Bindery

I've always been annoyed by immediate reviews (or blogs) about restaurants that have just opened. It doesn't seem fair to me to officially review (or even blog about) a place that is brand new. But I couldn't stay away from the Book Bindery.

So, uh, just to be clear, this is not a real review, but more of a "Hurray-it's-finally-here-and-even-though-I-loved-every-minute-of-the-meal-and-thought-the space-was-super-cool, I-can't-say-a-whole-lot-about-it-in-fairness" kind of thing. 

It's excruciating to have to restrain myself in this manner. Will definitely be going back for more in a month or two, once the subtle whiff of fresh paint dissipates.  And we'll have a second glass of that toasty and insanely marvelous champagne (Agrapart 7 Cru Cote de Blanc) at the gorgeous marble-topped bar. 

Hopefully we'll see Patric Gabre-Kidan again, and his laid-back, quietly awesome and gentlemanly presence, who no doubt recognized us from many a night hunkered down over plates at all those other good restaurants he's been a part of. The postprandial peek inside the adjacent winery and bins full of grapes, was neat to see. 

Highlights: Can't tell you. (Handmade Cavatelli with forest mushrooms, Duo of Pork, a chocolatey pot de creme dessert with a salted graham cracker, the verrry drinkable Almquist Family Vintners 2008 North Ridge Malbec)

Disappointments:  um....I've got nothing.  

Mr Pants: More impressed than I've seen him in a while. Hankering to go back. 

The Book Bindery on Urbanspoon

Thursday, October 28, 2010

foodie notes: Stockholm

Swedes apparently combat a tendency toward melancholia with strong cups of coffee and large quantities of cake. (See previous post) And lots of fast walking. Stockholm was full of tall, long-striding Swedes with a gait that was far quicker than my own, and I'm known as a fast walker. I waddled along, full of cake, trying to keep up.   

I liked this city of islands and bridges, tolling church bells, ringing bicycle bells, Baltic winds and long sunsets. 
Swedes also seem to have the best tasting tap water and best tasting shrimp I've ever consumed. 
I ate well. A good, heavy meal was had at Pelikan, meatball in a creamy gravy, mashed potatoes, lingonberries, with a gullet-warming Snaps (an aquavit, this one fragrant with Elderflower) as my dessert. 

Eriks Bakfickan was a great spot for dinner, where I opted for a lovely, rich bouillabaise (though they called it the "seafood casserole")

Ate this lovely duck confit over bacony saurkraut with a side of potato puree at a neighborhood bistro that I long to return to, called Aubergine. This was a perfect plate. I think of it still. 

The Ostermalm Saluhall, a great food-market, with eateries throughout, in a rambling red-brick building with a perfect lunch spot at Lisa Elmqvists, where I dropped shrimp on my shirt, and, though I loved what I ate, I envied the man next to me with his buttery fried perch and wild mushrooms.  I'd be eating at the saluhall daily if I lived in Stockholm. 

Last dessert in Stockholm- at the old-school, clubby Restaurant Prinsen:  It was as showy and decadent as the waiter, who flattered me with his "Mademoiselle" s and his overwrought descriptions of the dishes, including this one as "like gold."  It was, actually, like gold. 

I didn't get to most of the restaurants on my list. Though, I can't say I regret being persuaded to visit a suburban karaoke joint. Oh. My. God. Those Swedes sure can drink.  The woman who did a face plant onto the stage, the other woman who said she was from Brazil, started to dance lasciviously to someone else's song, occasionally flashing the now slack-jawed crowd.  Good times. Will have to return with Mr. Pants. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fika in Stockholm

Fika is the Swedish term for a damned adorable concept. It describes a coffee break, generally in the afternoon, involving a sweet pastry. Kanelbullar (cinnamon buns) are the prevalent, popular choice.

I was devastated to learn that I'd been oblivious to Sweden's National Cinnamon Bun Day, or "Just another manic bun day" as stated in The Local, a Swedish English-language paper. October 4th it was.

I was wondering why I smelled cinnamony baked goods everywhere on the streets of Stockholm. Thought perhaps Stockholm just smelled that way, and it added to the allure of the city.

The pastry offerings at the fashionably old-school Vettekatten were too tempting to pass up. The hasty shot below is a little blurry because I was too eager to have at it. Great espresso macchiato, too.

One thing about Fika I found annoying. These places were packed, with every table taken. I was left wandering around the various rooms of these establishments, looking for a seat, coffee in one hand, pastry in the other, pacing there like a dimwit. Not sure about the seating protocol, in these joints, but eventually in each case, someone took pity on me and allowed me to sit with them.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Stockholm: Shrimp!

I've been eating a lot of tasty shrimp in Stockholm. I don't really know why it's so tremendously good here, but there you go. Super fresh, tasting of the sea. This dish was eaten at Lisa Elmqvist's bar in the Ostermalm's Saluhall, a rambling beautiful red brick structure jammed with foodstuffs for the buying, and the eating.

This little snack was purchased at the Fotografiska, a photography museum/gallery in Sodermalm. Had many lunches at museum cafes, as they tend to be good quality, and a little more reasonably priced in spendy Stockholm.

These dishes are variations of "Toast Skagen", basically a piece of toasted bread, with shrimp and other varied ingredients. The top dish doesn't show the chopped hard-boiled egg and white bread underneath the lettuce. The second shot shows shrimp over a great slice of brown bread.

With the amount of shrimp consumed on this trip, I'll come back even more pink.