Posts Tagged With: hiking

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 – Cambridge Bay, Canada

Great Arctic Eats – Cambridge Bay, Canada

Do you like to eat well, but hate crowds? Do you quail at visiting the same local restaurants one more time? Do you wish to chill out in new soundings? Well, I have the place for you. It’s Cambridge Bay in Nunavut, Canada. Chilling out and shunning teeming urbans mobs will be easy peasy in this getaway  above the Arctic Circle.
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There are four restaurants listed in TripAdvisor(tm).  So, the competition for your dining dollars will be fierce. Let’s sample the local cuisine.
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The top rated dining establishment is the highly regarded Kuugaq Cafe. They serve the best muskox that I know of. You simply cannot visit here without dining on their tasty muskox chili and muskox chili. And if you love fish, may I suggest their delicious Arctic Chow chowder? Kuugaq Cafe regales its dinners with superb lattes and baked goods. The owners don’t neglect the international culinary scene either. Try their tasty Trinidad stew and pizza quesadilla.

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Next on our restaurant tour is the fine Saxifrage Resto-Cafe. This cafe cooks great Arctic Char. (I mean Cambridge Bay really is the only place in the world for serious Arctic char connoisseur to visit.)  Saxifrage also delights its customers with juicy hamburgers and truly good fries. This cafe is known for friendly service. The staff also provides Chinese food to go on Sundays 4 to 6 pm. What more could you want? How about free medium coffee with every meal? There you go.
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Winning the culinary bronze medal is Arctic Island Restaurant. It serves a good breakfast. It’s specialties are Caesar’s salad and Black Forest cake. Visiting workers will be pleased to know that they can have their meal waiting for them at their hotel room when they come back from work.

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Honorable mention goes to the KFC/Pizza Hut restaurant. People have complained of its cost, poor quality, and lack of variety. For Pete’s sake people, this KFC/Pizza Hut lies 400 miles north of the Arctic Circle. It’s by far the best fast-food combo that far north. I’m amazed that KFC/Pizza Hut had the courage to build a restaurant in such an isolated place. All their ingredients must be flown in from over a thousand miles away. Not many many vendors of fresh pepperoni near the North Pole.
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Ahem.
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Speaking of flying to Cambridge Bay, the best way to get there really is by airplane. Hikers will surely be discouraged by the miles and miles of open water between the end of the North American continent and Cambridge Bay’s Island. And I have to imagine that you really won’t be able to carry the tons of food you’ll need to get there. No, fly to Cambridge Bay, even if you adore white landscapes. Book that flight to Cambridge Bay Airport (YCB.) You’ll have to fly the last leg by charter. There are no flights that go all the way from your North American metropolis to this Arctic outpost no matter what those air-fare sites will claim.

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Speaking of hikers, lovers of outdoor rambling will love the trail of Ovayok Territorial Park. See the awesome panoramic views, the wildlife, and the trails when the visibility is good.

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You won’t want to miss the Canadian High Arctic Research Station. It’s open to the public. Does your city have an Arctic Research Station open to the public? No, I didn’t think so. You must reserve your guided tour. I never suspected you’d need to do this. Is it like trying to get tickets for the next Star Wars(tm) movie? By all means, make the reservation. You don’t want to sleep outside in a sleeping bag in that frigid air just to reserve your place. Or just show up and look at the station’s brochure.
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Do you hate coming home only to find out that you’ve missed a hot-spot tourist attraction that everyone has raved about? Don’t let this happen to you. Stampede the Arctic Coast Visitor Centre. They’ll fill you in.
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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: Arctic eats, hunks, international, things to see and do | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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