Welcome to our first addition of Foodie Friday. Your host this afternoon is none other than Amy Bertelsen, lover of foods, breaker of diets, and your guide to eating around the world!

Aaaaalright. Since we missed last week’s installment of Foodie Friday, we are going to have to give you the brief rundown of what we have been consuming. Fortunately this week was spent cooking in and getting used to the kitchen, so nothing super crazy was made.

Last week, however, we ate out a lot. And we found, as previously mentioned, a lot of good eats. Not only did we have some delicious traditional Finnish cuisine, but we also ventured out and found some good Chinese, Malaysian, Mexican, and Burger places.

Unfortunately, I am a spaz and I haven’t take photoed everything I consume (I am really embarrassing to eat out with, I always take pictures of my food) but here are the highlights in chronological order:

Traditional Finnish.
The first night we ate at a well rated place to get traditional fare. Unfortunately, I didn’t snap a photo, but let me paint a mental picture for you: Jimmy ordered venison sausage with red cabbage and potatoes. I ordered Rudolf on potatoes with a lingonberry sauce.
Both plates came out with a massive load of virtually pureed mashed potatoes with a healthy serving of butter. The sausages were rich and flavorful. They had a bit of a smokey flavor that was really nice with the red cabbage kraut. The reindeer was also pretty good- gamey sort of shredded &  stewed meat that was complimented well by the berry sauce. It was a great comfort food option that really just warmed you up from the inside.

 Market Fresh:
For lunch one day while Jimmy was away working, I ventured into the indoor trade market. It was, like most markets of its nature, full of stalls that carried sweets and treats, meat and fish stands, tourist wares, and lunch counters. After a brief tour (it is rather small) I passed by a booth where people were eating large bowls of soup. It sounded about right. So I popped in line, ordered (Pumpkin soup with feta cheese) and grabbed a seat at on of the community tall tables. Each table had a basket of bread -both light and dark- and a pitcher of water. I was brought my soup with a small dish of basil oil for dipping and tucked in. Most of the Finns, I have noticed, eat with intention. So I followed suit.
Sweet and tangy pumpkin soup with salty feta cubes….my gosh.

We went to a burger place close to the hotel that I had found on a “eat like a local” type of site. It said “cold beers and hot food.” Sign me up.
They are well known for their burgers, so we each ordered one and a local brew and parked it. The beer, Karhu, is one of Finlands main beers. As it was cheap and we had heard it was alright, we tried it.
We found out why it was cheap. Its the PBR of Finland.
But the burgers helped it go down. Jimmy had a BBQ chicken burger that was gone before I could take a picture and I had a goat cheese burger.
It did not have the green “vegetarian” indicator next to it on the menu, so naturally, I was expecting a burger with goat cheese and garlic and aoli and all the other goodies that we listed. I was wrong. It was a burger of goat cheese.
Fortunately, I love goat cheese. But now I think I know the difference between “vegan” and “vegetarian” on the menu.

Another traditional dish, I ordered this at the art museum’s cafe. It came with a buttered malt bread (seeing a theme here?) and sprinkled with dill.
I was certainly tasty, but slightly bland. More pepper, people!
But it was a very pleasant place to grab a bite and sip tea and write post cards.

When one recommended Chinese place was inexplicably closed, we landed on this place just down the street. Ravintola Chinese. Literally, Restaurant Chinese.
I ordered peppered udon noodles and Jimmy had something that was listed as spicy. Both were completely approved. It was flat delicious.

We eventually went back to the other place, New Bamboo Center and it was not as good. SO happy to have found a great place for Chinese.

There are a few Mexican places in town, but seemingly Patrona and Cholo are the best. Owned by the same people, Cholo is a quick and dirty taco joint where Patrona is the more meal-sized place. We tried to go to Patrona last  night but it was packed. Cholo, however, was totally open for lunch over the weekend.
You walk in to this funky restaurant and choose Taco, Burrito, or Enchilada. Then you pick your insides (chorizo & beef, pork, chicken or veggies basically) and then one of 3 salsas. Boom, bang, done.
Its no Parilla Grill or Chipotle, but it will cure a hankerin for a burrito (also known as a hangover).

From the Food Stands:
While meandering around downtown last weekend, we stopped to try something from one of the food stands of sizzling foods. The smells as you walk around are pretty intoxicating in the crisp fall air. Opting for the Reindeer Special,” we received a plate of veggies, potato balls, reindeer sausage, and elk gyro (because they were out of reindeer meatballs).
The sausage was not memorable, but good (of course I am partial to a good bratwurst) but the elk gyro was amazing. No idea what was on it, but it was cheesey and garlicy and prompted us to go have a drink on a barge directly after.

Nearly everything here comes with a slice of dense bread smothered in butter. Butter! Remember that good stuff?! It exists here and its not associated with sin. And damnit, now I remember how good it is. I think for the time being, I will enjoy this freeing food culture and welcome the carbs and all the good things they come with. After all, winter is coming and I need to put on that extra layer of warmth…

So there you have it. Highlights of food. Hopefully in the future, I will just post what I am cooking off and on throughout the week and focus Friday one particularly awesome meal.

Hope you are all hungry now!


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