Copenhagen Cuisine & Nightlife

If you are wondering how Rhubarbara Streisand and Kung Foolish got their blog names*, look no further than our bar tab at Kung Fu II in NØrrebro.

They were appropriately named because Rhubarbara Streisand happened to be on the continent because of her job as a market manager at Purity Vodka, whose headquarters are near Malmo, Sweeden.   If you haven’t heard of it, you should.   It’s 34 times distilled and the smoothest liquor that Gabe & I have ever tried.

It’s meant for mixology – the art of science of cocktails.  Bartenders use seasonal ingredients, even herbs and spices to deliver a drink that resembles more a work of art than the type of cocktail I was used to seeing.   They also come with creative names, such as the ones we selected for our visiting friends blog names.

Rhubarbara’s colleague had recommended Kung Fu 2 to her, as they had this type of mixology.   We were a little skeptical as the name sounded like a fast food chinese place.  However, what we found couldn’t be further from the naive expectations we had.

Enjoying a drink at Kung Fu 2 / Isakaya bar

The Rhubarbara Streisand drink – amazing!! It was made with homemade rhubarb soda which was in season and accentuated the Purity.

The wasabi gimlet made with Purity. Wow.

After cocktails, we were seated at our table and we selected Omakase service.  This basically means that the chef recommends a tasting menu that is brought out slowly.   We loved all six small courses, thoroughly enjoying every one.

Kung Foolish & Rhubarbara Streisand

We’d highly recommend Kung Fu 2 and sitting in the bar area.  The barmen were incredibly experienced and they really created an enjoyable memory for our first night in Copenhagen.

The second night, we went to Radio.  It was listed as the 2nd best restaurant in Copenhagen.  Noma is the 1st and impossible to get into because it is actually also the 1st in the world since 2010 (although our friends Lady J & The Man scored a reservation at Noma).

We felt fortunate to get a table at Radio, even though it was 5:30.  Early bird special.

Radio, image courtesy of Nile Guide

The food was absolutely incredible.  Five courses of inventive Nordic cuisine, including amazing homemade bread, a salad with foam dressing, asparagus starter, fish, meat and a tasty pear dessert.  Gabe opted for a sixth, a pork belly, that came prior to dessert, and claimed it to be the best.   He is still talking about it.  Anyhow, Radio left us full and happy.

After, we walked to Salon 39, recommended by Rhubarbara’s colleague.  The barman, Michael, was a friendly chap who entertained us as we sat in the old-world style cocktail bar.  We loved watching his creative take on our request for Purity.   My favorite drink of the weekend came from this charming place, the Eucalyptus Daiquiri.

Image courtesy of Salon 39

After a round, we moved onto Ruby’s Cocktail Chronicles in the centre city.  When we arrived around 10pm, there was already a line.    The interior was really neat – it felt like we’d taken a step back into the Roaring 20’s and we enjoyed the scene while we sipped our cocktails.

Ruby’s image courtesy of worlds best bars

After a drink, we moved onto a bar by Kung Foolish’s requests – Charlie’s Bar.  He’d heard from two separate people as being the best bar in Copenhagen.  We got beers and sat next to a local and soon we were engaged in a 2 hour conversation that lasted until 2am.

Image courtesy of Flick river

It’s always fun to run into locals when enjoyed the nightlife in a city.   It really is the best part to learn about the culture and feel of a place.   This guy was really interested in why we selected Copenhagen to visit.  We explained we’d only heard good things and loved the water, the food and the progressiveness of the city.   Our conversation varied from everything to the triathlon he’d just participated in, to healthcare, to public transport, and politics.   After an enlightening evening, we said farewell, jumped into a cab and headed home.

So, Copenhagen gets a great review for food & drink.  If you head to this Nordic city, expect a happy belly.   Living in Geneva, we need to experience this every once in awhile 🙂

*Most everyone on our blog has a “blog name” to protect their privacy.  We started calling everyone by their first initial until Henry Birmingham asked if he could suggest a name.  Since then, we force ask everyone to come up with a name.  If they don’t, we come up with it ourselves.  For instance, Kung Foolish’s was going to be Weinerstang after this interestingly named Danish pastry:

FreeTown Christiania

I think I first heard about Christiania through one of Rick Steve’s videos.   This little area located in the Christianshavn area of Copenhagen is unlike anything else in the world.

Gabe at the entrance to Christiania

It is a freetown, an autonomous village that has its own laws and governance.  About 1000 adults, 200 kids and 200 dogs live there.   You freely pass through, as this is one of the only requirements that Denmark has for their continuance that it be a public place.

Rhubarbara Streisand at the entrance to Christiania

They only have a few laws:
-no stealing
-no violence
-no hard drugs
-no weapons

Also, if you walk down Pusher Street, they add a few:  no photos and no running.   Once you walk around and notice that everyone is in their own ‘state’, you understand how someone running would upset the mental order.

Image courtesy of Zen Aida – I was too afraid to take photos of even the no photo sign

You might be asking yourself how this came about?   In 1971, squatters took over this area which was previously military.  Back then, the area was quite a seedy place and land values are low.

A view of Christiania residents enjoying the water from our canal tour the day prior.  I didn’t take a photo of the guy  sunbathing in the nude on the dock prior. 

However, it has become quite controversial recently now that the area has become trendy and all the nearby buildings are being refurbished and sold for big buckaroos.   I heard its on the brink and that it would soon likely become extinct.  Thus, I really wanted to visit.

Christiania is located in the green area that forms the triangles.  Image courtesy of ehrasmussentrip.blogspot.com

This was an old boat house and now is condos, just opposite of Christiania. Image courtesy of arc house.

Boat houses converted to modern office spaces, across from Christiania. Image courtesy of Flick River

I was glad we checked it out.   It was interesting how the residents of Christiania have formed their own utopia.   However, it made me realize how important social norms are in establishing what feels like a utopia.   To these folks, this free society was heaven on earth.   For me, I was bothered by the trash and walking down Pusher Street so it was foreign to my concept of a home.

To each his own.

 

Related links:

Rick Steve’s Copenhagen / Christiania video (starts at 1:05) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v57JVVD6-ag

 

 

Colorful Copenhagen

This weekend, we met up with Kung Foolish and Rhubarbara Streisand in Copenhagen.

Copenhagen is in Denmark.   We like cities on the water, and Copenhagen fell into this category.

Image courtesy of Nation Master

I think the coolest thing about the city is how the water was integrated into day-to-day life.   Copenhagen just isn’t on the water, life there is all about the water.

Our canal tour leaving from colorful Nyhavn harbor

Pulling out of Nyhavn, all the locals were enjoying a beautiful summer day, sitting on the sides of the harbor drinking beers (mostly BYOB or out of vending machines)

A few of the naval museums.  Including a ship (left) and a submarine (right).  Being on the water, the Danish navy presence had to be big.

Armory / naval building

Ship pulling out of the harbor

This guy isn’t afraid of the frigid water

There were many boat bars and waterfront bars. We enjoyed a round at Badlejing.

Also what was neat is to see the blending of architecture, old and new.  The Danish are very progressive and very green.    Their modern buildings were balanced quite well with their historical sites.

The Opera House

View into the centre of town at the old architecture of Amalienborg Palace

Beautiful modern buildings juxtaposed with classic Danish buildings

Classic architecture in the centre town

Looking down Straegrade street at the pastel buildings

I am a sucker for colorful buildings.

Enjoying the beauty of the architecture in Nyhavn harbor

Beyond the water and the architecture, we really enjoyed the food & nightlife.  But we’ll save that for tomorrow.

Related links:

Schwingen in Switzerland: Danish Bike Culture & My Fanboys Experience

Schwingen in Switzerland: Something was rotten in the state of Denmark…It was Us

Swiss Sports: Tobogganing

On our Neuchâtel fun day, we drove through La Vue des Alpes on the way home for what else but the view of the Alps.

The view wasn’t bad:

Forests, lakes and Alps. The average view in Switzerland 🙂

As we walked back to the car, we saw a chute underneath where we were standing….the place offered tobogganing!

The three bravest members of our fivesome decided to try it out.    The other two of us decided to partake in another Swiss sport: regional wine drinking.

T and I enjoying the Neuchâtel white….

When they passed, we left our perch to watch.

What goes up…..

……must…..

come down!!!!

They really enjoyed their adventure sports and joined us for a glass after they finished.  The warm sunshine and views of the Alps were quite nice.

The big find of the stop for me was a little farmer stand in the parking lot.   I adore buying things from local places.   I bought a pack of copa, a type of meat that was Gabe’s favorite delicacy from our trip to Italy.  It all has to be eaten in one sitting so think we’ll save that for when we have special visitors this month!

Gratitude Friday: Happiness on the Homefront

I just got back from the USA.  It’s always so nice so see everyone.   I had nine awesome days.

However, instead of just being grateful for my trip, my gratitude Friday post goes out to my thankfulness for everyone’s health and happiness.    All the friends and family I saw are doing well.

Adding on to the thankfulness for joy, many friends are enjoying parenthood for the first time, or just enjoying their families expanding.     On last Friday alone, I visited 14 children, all under four.  3 of whom I’d met for the first time.  Many prayers have been said over the last few years hoping for these sweet little ones to be born healthy.  It is pretty neat to see how it’s come to life 🙂

As a bonus, I got to see my 4th infant on Monday, hours before flying out.  You’ll be happy to know that Gisele (from Zermatt &  Mt Blanc blog adventures) had a baby girl just in time for me to meet her in route to the airport.

It’s not like me to not take photos…but I was having too much fun visiting to bring out the camera.  I literally didn’t remember it until Saturday at the pool cookout that R & R threw.  So here are a few of the ones I took that day:

A special cookout – so good to hang out with everyone!

Bon weekend, everyone!

Switzerland vs. Google

There was an interesting article in the NY Times this week on Google Maps and Switzerland.

If you are familiar with Google’s “Street View” on Google Maps, you know that you can see an image of a building if you have an address.

It’s been pretty helpful for me to use in Geneva to research buildings that I am going to for the first time, so that I’ll recognize them.   It was quite helpful when researching bike shops to find out which ones did repairs.    I couldn’t find an address or a name, but knew what it was next to:

Preliminary research, courtesy of English Forum

Drilling down to Street view of the known address, Auberge de Saviese, to find Hot Point

 

I never stopped to think about how this might be taken by the Swiss, who have a high value on privacy.  As the article suggests, many Swiss citizens don’t have their name on their letterbox to protect their privacy.

I am glad they reached an agreement – I use the application often for seeking businesses.

What do you think of Google Maps?

A Page from the Swiss Rulebook: The Swiss Kiss

It’s been a year we have lived here and I think that it is only now I am getting used to “The Swiss Kiss”.

When people great each other, they kiss cheeks to acknowledge and welcome each other.

I had some exposure to this when I was working in the US, as a lot of the advertising folks I worked with at our agencies were European.   I just usually followed their lead in what was appropriate.  I do remember it being a tad awkward for us Americans who preferred a shake and we were afraid we’d “mess up” when it came to professional kissing.

Swiss camels perfecting their Swiss kisses.

Living in Europe it becomes more secondhand.    Here are a few guidelines:

–Swiss Romandie (French speaking Swiss) people greet each other with 3 kisses:  left cheek, right, left.

–The French version includes just two kisses – left, right.

–Just barely touch the person’s cheek or the air next to their cheek.  I usually do the air and make a slight smacking sound.

–When in doubt, just watch what other people are doing and follow their lead.

If you are visiting us, I hope you are perfecting your Swiss kisses.

Related links:

Gydle:  how to Swiss Kiss

World to the Wise: Swiss Kiss

Great demo video:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEV60lYHaIM