Posts Tagged With: good traveling

Great Arctic Eats – Utsjoki, Finland

 

Great Arctic Eats – Utsjoki, Finland

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Are you a diner who shuns crowds, but loves saunas* and watching reindeer ? Do you love words with “aa” in them, such as “kalastaa,” the Finnish word for “fish?” Indeed, do you love Finland but feel uncomfortable with large crowds of Finns who often congregate in the country’s large cities? Do you wish to dine above the Arctic Circle? Well make your way to Utsjoki, Finland, the little town that has it all.
* “Sauna” is “sauna” in Finnish. See? You’re speaking like a native already.
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There are five restaurants listed in TripAdvisor(tm).  So, the competition for your patronage will be fierce indeed. Let’s  visit the local eateries.
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The top rated dining establishment is the esteemed Restaurant Deatnu. They serve traditional Sámi dishes. Yes, they do wonders with reindeer, local berries, and fresh fish. The restaurant has a nice view and a friendly staff. But please, please try the salmon soup.

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Next on our restaurant adventure is Restaurant Aurora Holidays. They serve great local food. Try their delicious reindeer and cod. For dessert, you would do well to order their great sticky cakes. The restaurant looks out on a soothing river. Maybe you’ll even see some wildlife. This pleasant restaurant is run by the family who owns it.
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Winning third place is  Utsjoen Kylatalo Gilsa. It’s known for its hot drinks. Not only is it a charming cafeteria will the flavor of local culture, it also has a grocery store. It’s your one-stop place for food. And remember, you’ll love their buns.

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All self-respecting towns will have a great hamburger joint. Annukan Grill fits this bill nicely. And oh my gosh, oh my gosh, they have a reindeer burger. I want to go there!
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Honorable mention goes to Restaurant Pub Rastigaisa. It serves pizza and has a bar. This restaurant received many reviews written in Finnish, so you know the locals frequent it.
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Utsjoki, unlike many of the other towns reviewed in Great Arctic Eats has a road going in and out of it. It can even boast of a spectacular bridge going into Norway. So you’ll be able motor into town. No dog sleds and hiking needed to get to Utsjoki. Well, I suppose you could charter a plane from Helsinki, but if you want to travel by yourself and see soothing scenery, travelling the last leg of your trip by car really is the way to go. Anyway, there are many must-see sites in Utsjoki.

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Be sure to visit Kevo Strict Nature Reserve.  This place boasts of extremely beautiful hiking routes. You’ll find you self losing track of time while viewing the entrancing scenery. So, be sure to bring a watch with an alarm on it, as the park gets dark at night.

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By all means, see the enchanting church huts. They’re beautiful in their simplicity. All in all, it’s wonderful way to learn Finnish history while staying outdoors. None of that entering the bowels of a stuffy museum for us. The site sports a splendid, little craft shop and a waffle cafeteria. What more could want?

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Drive over the nearby Sàmi Bridge. It’s boasts an elegant, yet impressive dressing. It’s perched over a river dividing Finland from Norway. The bridge and its surrounding are especially beautiful in the twilight. Plus, it doesn’t take much time to take it all in. Just drive your car over the bridge. If you want a quick bit of beauty, this bridge is for you.

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Try to see the beautiful Utsjoen Kirkko. This is the northernmost church in the European Union. So there. The church’s architecture is both pleasant and impressive. Go inside and spend some soul-soothing time with God.

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If you prefer guided tours rather than thrashing about by yourself, look up Aurora Holidays or Tundrasafari Finland. And at the end of a glorious visit, simply unwind at Utsjoki DiscGolfPark.

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As always, “Good eating. Good traveling.”

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– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

Categories: Arctic eats, humor, international, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Great Arctic Eats – Kotzebue, Alaska

Great Arctic Eats – Kotzebue, Alaska

Are you an introvert who loves to dine out? Did you visit Florence, Italy only to be terrified by the mobs of tourists who completely fill entire streets? Do you love Chinese and Italian food, but simply cannot live without fresh reindeer stew? Is southern Alaska too urban for you? Well, I have the place where you can chill out where it’s chilly and feast where it freezes. It’s Kotzebue, Alaska!
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There are five restaurants listed in TripAdvisor(tm).  So, the competition for your cuisine cash will be intense. Let’s take in the local cuisine.
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The top rated dining establishment is the highly regarded Little Louie’s. They serve a scrumptious reindeer sausage. Yet Little Louie’s is also vegetarian friendly. They make their own sweets. Hooray!  It has great pizza. All its food is good. They pour great coffee. The service is good. What more do you want?

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Next on our restaurant tour is the Bayside Restaurant. Their Mongolian beef platter is great. (Probably because Kotzebue is about as far west you can get in the continental U.S. before hitting Mongolia. Indeed, the Bayside Restaurant is a beacon in the Western Alaskan culinary scene.) Vegetarians will find themselves welcome here. All diners will appreciate their friendly service.
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Winning the culinary bronze medal is  Nullagvik Restaurant. While known for good food, you really must try their reindeer stew. Does your hometown serve great reindeer stew? No, I didn’t think so. Don’t leave Kotzebue without dining on reindeer stew at the Nullagvik Restaurant.

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Next on our list is the Empress Chinese Restaurant. It has the best Chinese food in town. If you crave Chinese cuisine by the Bering Sea, then the Empress Chinese Restaurant is your dining destination.
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Honorable mention goes to the Uutuku restaurant. People have complained that it was only okay, but that it did serve good spicy chicken. For goodness sakes people, how can it be only okay if it plates good spicy chicken? If you’re still not impressed, let me tell you that there isn’t a restaurant within hundreds of miles that makes spicy chicken as good as they do here. And they’re open until midnight. So there.
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Flying to Kotzebue is by far the easiest way to get there. I suppose you could find a way to book passage on some ice breaker or fishing boat. After that, the ease of getting to Kotzebue by other means, such as by car or unicycle, drops off dramatically. Anyway, there are many interesting places to visit here.

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Be sure to visit The Northwest Arctic Heritage Center. It’s run by the National Park Service. It’s chock full of interesting displays and films that help you discover the rich cultures and natural wonders of the Northwest Arctic Circle. The staff is pleasant and helpful. What more do you want?

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By all means, by plane really, go to the Noatak National Preserve. See polar bears, seals, peregrine falcons, and wolves. Just don’t be gauche and complain to your tour leaders about the lack of cell-phone coverage. Don’t make me come up there.

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Immerse yourself in the Northwest Alaska Areas. The best way to get there is through Golden Eagle Outfitters. See grizzly bears and local birds. Go fishing for char, salmon, and Arctic grayling.
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Go to Serpentine Hot Springs where you can witness caribou migrations if you go during the right times of the year. If you appear during caribou-free months, forget your cares in the private bath house. Luxuriate in hot water from Serpentine’s hot spring.

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Other things to see are: Cape Krusenstern National Monument, and Sulianich Art Center (not to be confused with a sandwich center).

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119 people moved to Kotzebue from 2000 to 2010. No doubt, more moved there in the eleven years since then. So don’t wait. See Kotzebue before it turns into a bustling metropolis.
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As always, “Good eating. Good traveling.”

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– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Great Arctic Eats – Archangelsk, Russia

Great Arctic Eats – Archangelsk

Do you like to eat well, but you’re an introvert? Do you find social distancing difficult in your crowded, bustling metropolis? Well, I have the place for you. It’s Archangel in northern Russia. It’s perfect for those who can’t find authentic Russian cuisine near their home and absolutely have to turn the thermostat down whenever the office gets above 40 degrees.
As of press time, Archangelsk’s population was 351,000. The temperature was 12º F.
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SPECIAL NEW FEATURE! Top rated restaurant that delivers: Presto/Presto Pizzeria. Click here for menu.
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SPECIAL NEW FEATURE! Top rated restaurant with outdoor seating: Paratov Club & Restaurant
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If you traveled to Russia to get an authentic Russian meal, by all means, make your way to Velvet. People love this restaurant; I can tell by its good ratings. However, what customers raved about is a mystery to me as all the comments are in Russian. Commenting in Russian for the Russian restaurants seems to be a thing for the inhabitants of Archangelsk. It’s quite likely this occurs from the nearly all Russian population of Archangelsk. By the way, the Russian language has a word for everything.
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However, the best restaurant in Angelesk is El Fuego. It’s a Latin Steakhouse where they serve amazing food. No, Latin does not mean the menus are in Latin and that the waiters speak Latin. Rather, this establishment serves Latin American specialties.
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Fine diners who meant to fly to the French Riviera, but accidentally boarded a plane to arctic Archangelsk, can at least feast on Mediterranean fare at restaurant Rika where they serve beautiful food at a great price. Although you may wish to sample Restaurant Pochtovaya Kontora 1786. It also serves Mediterranean cuisine. However this restaurant is known for good food AND comfy seats. With all that, I am at a loss to know why Poctovaya Kontora 1786 doesn’t score higher than Rika.
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Hungry travelers who meant to fly to the French Riviera but ended up here can also drown their sorrows in alcohol at the gastropub Lock Stock Pub where they serve excellent beers and good food.
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What whirlwind tour of frigid Archangelsk would be complete without dining on the fine Czech dining to be had at Stare Mesto? One customer summed his experience up by simply saying, “The Meat.” What more do you need to know?
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Finally, don’t let your culinary adventure of the pizzeria capital of Arctic Russia end without visiting Dodo Pizza. Its customers can’t stop raving about it in Russian.
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In my mind, the most exciting thing to see in Archangelsk is a British Tank Mark V from World War I. How it got here beats me. Did it break through German lines in France and simply through lack of orders keep going until it ran out of gas in northern Russia? How did it manage to go so far on one tank of gas? How did the German air force and army not even notice the tank plodding ever forward on its epic journey across nearly all of Europe? Disappointingly though, it’s enclosed in glass. You may not take it for a spin.

The Small Korela Wooden Architecture and Folk Art Museum comes highly rated. It’s unclear if: the museum is small in number of buildings, if it’s buildings are actually small as in three-feet tall, or if it’s named after Ms. Korela Wooden who was small. If you go, please let me know.

Visit Archangelsk Gastiry Dvory, This museum tells the story of the area through stone objects, bone carvings, Middle Ages’ stuff, church icons, and other stuff. This is a must-see stop for lovers of stuff.

People who love to ride horses should go on the Horse Lovers Tours. The name says it all, doesn’t it?

Jazz lovers will feel at home at Jazz Club JAZZ WORKSHOP. I don’t know why jazz workshop is completely capitalized. Perhaps their caps-lock button got stuck.

Similarly, lovers of puppet theater, must visit the Puppet Theater.

Many fine churches and monasteries adorn Archangelsk. Be sure to visit the Holy Trinity Antony of Siya.

Northern Tourist Company provides a multi-day historical-and-heritage tours.

As always, “Good eating. Good traveling.” See the city’s points of interest, the countryside, and snow.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

Categories: Arctic eats, international, things to see and do | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Good Arctic Eats – Uummannaq

Good Arctic Eats – Uummannaq

Do you like to eat well, but you’re an introvert? Do you find social distancing difficult in your crowded, bustling metropolis? Well, I have the place for you. It’s Uummannaq in northern Greenland. It’s location is a perfect who ache for Greenlandic cuisine but find Nuuk, Greenland just too darn far south.
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There is only one restaurant  listed in TripAdvisor.  This is because there’s only one restaurant in town or, as I like to think, its food beats the pants of all the other restaurants. Perhaps Uummanaq has enormous problems retaining Michelin-quality chefs as the great Parisian restaurants keep stealing them away. Who can say for sure? I like to think so.
This restaurant, the only one worthy enough to be listed in Trip Advisor, is Cafemma. It’s reputed to be easy to find, although I would have thought nearly every place that far north would be easy to locate.  It’s also the place to go if you’re in Uummannaq. But you can go as well. Hop on those planes, probably at least four, and go there. Enjoy its classic food. Take in the town’s wondrous views of a fjord and magnificent mountains. Spend the night there. Cafemma has rooms to stay in as well. So forget about rush-hour commutes from your hotel to your dining experience..

 

Uumnannaq’s restaurant

The population of Uumannaq is 1,407 when you are not there and 1,408 when you are.

The most exhilarating tour is the Living in Nature as An Inuit.  You’ll be hunting and fishing just an Inuit would. It’s a seven-day adventure where you get from place by dogsled. It also costs $4,050, but it really is a once in a lifetime experience. Heads up, it’s not wheel chair accessible.

But fear not. There’s a four-wheel drive excursion. and can take your pick of tours that cruise the harbor and the neighboring fjords.

For those who need to flee the crowd of the town, for those who wish to catch their own meal, but want to stay close to home, I certainly recommend an ice-fishing tour. Sure, you could do it yourself, but do you really want to lug your all your gear and your ice-fishing hut from Miami? Then you’d have to get all that out onto the ice. Yes, take the tour. You’ll be glad you did. And boy, oh boy, won’t your fresh fish taste good?

Dog sledding, ice fishing, cruises, super fresh fish, what more do you want? And Northern lights? Uummannaq has that too, usually, at least sometimes.

As always, “Good eating. Good traveling.”

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

Categories: cuisine, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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