Jan 312011

Blog-memes seem to be rather rare beasts, and mostly replaced by notes in facebook these days.

However, this “list 15 important bars”-list was attractive enough a topic to catch up on.

I’m pretty sure the list is more or less accurate, but I’m leaving spot #15 unfilled just in case there happens to be a pub that I’ve gracelessly forgotten:

  • Kuparipannu (first beer ever, long gone from Korkeavuorenkatu and replaced by multiple pubs and restaurants since – currently Gastone resides in the location).
  • Tavastia (my first ever genuine bar gig was in the biggest Scandinavia’s biggest rock’n'roll club, and I’ve been back plenty of times since).
  • Rendez-Vous (the not-so-hot-pub in Forum was the first place I ever got tossed out of ).
  • William K @ Annankatu (the first proper beer bar I got introduced to – the widening horizons beyond eurolager have deep roots here).
  • The Pie (the closest beer-serving location to the campus at the U was a frequent haunt during the exchange year of 1993-94).
  • Talentti (inception of SIG, a group of like-minded co-workers, conveniently next door to the office on Valimotie).
  • Macondo (SIG 2.0, after the move to Hiomotie facility, far grungier, but had reasonable opening hours).
  • Base (SIG downtown these days [albeit rarely] and a fine rock’n'roll bar, with a respectably metallic soundtrack).
  • Sling In (forcibly introducing the concept of tall and borderline sweet drinks).
  • American Bar (the finest in Helsinki).
  • Kaisla (still my #1 choice of a beer bar in Helsinki).
  • King City / Mr. Lau (neighbourhood joint for a decade).
  • Plevna (the second most common extra-curricular location in Tampere, after Swamp Music).
  • Boston Beerworks (always something truly interesting on tap).

Purposefully left out a couple of good candidates.

The bars in Ruoholahti are not that common haunts yet (though both Amsterdam and One Pint are pleasant indeed), there’s no bar worth a mention in Espoo (might change on the first visit to Gallows Bird).

Jan 302011

The “see a movie and a gig once a month” new year’s resolution evolved into a culinaristic theme this year. Each month (at least on average, if not chronologically) should see a trial run on a new ingredient or a method of food preparation.

The first exploration was a doubleheader: we set out to try out both an ingredient and a method in one sunday afternoon.

The new thing on the plate was a duck breast. Which turned out quite good and wasn’t at all a complicated item to prepare. Bought the piece of fowl at Stockmann’s, frozen, and chose the recipe from Helsingin Sanomat. Duck contains a lot of fat to say the least, and as such the frying of it didn’t require any extra oil on the pan. The duck required quite a bit more time in the oven to get well-done than the recipe indicated – might have been a big bird or an undershooting guide in the recipe. The red wine sauce was oilier and not thoroughly mixed, clearly some failure in execution. Fortunately the taste in either of the main subjects didn’t leave anything to be desired – will definitely try out duck again. And the accompanying dish (multiple mushrooms and pine nuts) ended up getting a repeat within a week, the nuts complement the shiitake mushrooms very well indeed.

The dessert was a chocolate soufflé. Which is, according to wikipedia: “a light, fluffy cake”. Which is exactly what the dish ended up being – well-tasting, but not exactly as pretty as the picture in the original recipe (from Olivia-magazine, as far as I know). Took the long route in preparing the dessert: the cups with dough were deposited in the freezer for 18 hours before baking them. Messed up egg-whipping, they did not acquire the required consistency but remained in mostly liquid form. The culprit was the sugar added too early, on a rebound (with the sugar pured into the whipped eggs) everything went just fine. The dessert turned indeed good, and with the opportunity to explore a lot more ingredients, the official soufflé cups will see plenty of use in the future as well.

Final verdict was definitely positive, and the practice shall this continue with new elements throughout the year.

No pictures, sadly, the later explorations ought to have visual proof of at least the results, if not the progress. Hence the beautiful picture of a souffle is nabbed off flickr instead.

And even if the move to Nöykkiö bit the head off the traditional resolution, I’m definitely looking forward to movies and concerts on a regular schedule as well.