Tag Archives: cafe/restaurant

a very particular shade of green

Know how you often buy yarn in the same colour that you’re wearing? Well, I went to the Tampere craft fair like this:

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And bought this:

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Which became this:

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The sweater is a basic bottom-up raglan, knit using Elizabeth Zimmermann’s percentage system. I bought the yarn (Cascade 220) from Tampere two years ago, from the booth that’s in the background in the photo. (The sweater made a brief appearance in a post in March, so it’s been in the works for quite some time. Also, I am obviously obsessed with bright green.)

The yarn I bought this time is from Villavyyhti‘s booth, sparkly sock yarn by Lanitium ex Machina. I know they currently carry another sock yarn by the same dyer, but not this sparkly version. (You could always ask, though -at the Villavyyhti Ravelry group, for instance.)

I knew pretty much at once that I wanted to knit a fancy beret out of my green skein, but struggled with the particulars at first. My first attempt didn’t work and got ripped. I then decided to go top-down and to use two yarns. I got the idea to use a mohair/silk laceweight from the Simple Pleasures pattern (available for free). Mine isn’t Alchemy’s Haiku, though -it’s a very old stash yarn and probably another yarn company’s version of Rowan’s Kidsilk Haze.

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(Neither of the pictures shows the crown, but I used yarnovers for the increases.)

I am awfully pleased with the brim. The picot cast off took about 1.5 hours (or two episodes of Pushing Daisies, which might be the best show ever) but I like the result. Very fancy and girly.

And in case you’re wondering, the pictures of me modelling the beret were taken in Turku. We went there for a mini-holiday last weekend.

For a lunch in Turku, I would highly recommend the cafe Turun kirjakahvila. It’s all vegan and near the Turku Cathedral. 

 

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Fall in Pictures

August-September 

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Walking in Vanhakaupunki (literally “Oldtown”).

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The Girl Hat That Was On Fire (Slable by Woolly Wormhead)

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Even though I dislike Juha Tapio and have seen Kaksi vanhaa puuta lyrics used in way too many wedding invitations, the song still makes me cry every fricking time.

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My mother insisted on celebrating my graduation somehow. Because I threatened not to show up if I didn’t get to do the planning, the guests very few and all food vegan. The menu was:

Mushroom Focaccia (recipe from Chocochili)

My father’s Waldorf Salad, recipe for vegan dressing from Papu, porkkana ja hillopulla by Marianne Kiskola

Rachel Ray’s quinoa salad with roasted bell peppers (shown in the photo)

Soyballs from Veganissimo (shown)

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Dessert: modified version of the cake in Puputyttö ja vohvelisankari (featuring Airy & Creamy soycream) and banana-lingonberry cake (Chocochili)

October

More walking:

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Featuring yet another hat! This one I testknit for Stefanie Bold. The cardigan is also a handknit, but was made by my mother at least 20 years ago.

More eating:

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Vegan cupcakes from Niia’s Cupcakes. They have a stand in Forum Shopping Center and I’m pretty sure also do catering and stuff. The strawberry cupcake=piece of heaven.

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(Yep, more hats. Also featuring the Essayist Sweater.)

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We’ve been really enjoying the Great Outdoors this fall: mushroom picking with my father, walking in Keskuspuisto…It probably helped that temperatures were pretty high for most of September and October. However, it snowed last night so this weekend doesn’t look that promising. But I’m very happy I enjoyed it while it lasted!

Deutschland! (Part III)

The last post about my summer vacation -and about time too, since summer is pretty much over!

Part I (Berlin) is here.

Part II (Dresden) is here.

And my report on my excursion to the Wollmeise store is here.

Now all that remains is Münich.

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View from the tower in the Olympic Park. Note the huge BMW logo. If you ever go to Münich with a car-enthusiast, the BMW museum is a must. Even for me it wasn’t too dull.

It might be because we stayed in Münich longer than in the other cities, or because there we got to experience some serious summer heat, but it might have been my favourite. It’s not as huge as Berlin, so walking was easier, food was great, the weather was warm and people less homogeneous.

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We did a lot of the basic tourist stuff. There are a ton of beautiful churches in Münich -my favourite was one that is on a small shopping street, nestled between clothing stores and cafés. To step from a busy 21st century shopping area to a highly ornamental 19th century church feels surreal. There was also a small yarn store nearby, that I came across simpyl by accident. And it wasn’t even the only time – I found another LYS near the Filmmuseum of Münich. Even if the Wollmeise store wasn’t just a train ride away, Münich would still be a great place for knitters.

When it comes to the restaurants, there were a few definite highlights. The first one is Max Pett.

An all-vegan restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, the place was just the perfect one for dining on a hot July night. Fancy enough for special occasions, but not so formal as to make me uncomfortable in a tank top.

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This photo was taken the night we ate outside. My starter salad had a Asian vibe (with mushrooms and seitan meat), and was very delicious. The drink is rhubarb juice mixed with sparkling water. It’s hard to buy good rhubarb juice in Finland, so I used every opportunity for it in Germany,

We ate at Max Pett twice and I can’t recommend it highly enough. If you are planning to go, do reserve a table, however -the place got very full on our first visit.

For a compeltely different meal, I recommend Royal Kebabhaus, located at Arnulfstrasse 5 (right next to the main railway station):

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Yep, vegan kebab! The place was open pretty late, and the staff was very friendly and understood English. Especially great if you have only a short time in Münich.

So, that’s pretty much it! I had so much fun on the trip that I could seriously imagine going again. 

Deutschland! (Part Two)

From Berlin we went to…Guess where?

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I’m going to a town that has already been burnt down

(Rufus Wainwright: “Going to a Town”)

Well actually Rufus is referring to Berlin in that song, but it does seem to describe Dresden as well.

We didn’t originally plan to go to Dresden because we both remembered from history lessons that the city was destroyed in WWII -we didn’t think of it as a very tourist-y place. My mother then of course told us that in fact, most of the historical centre of the city has been rebuilt. In many cases some of the original, burned bricks were used alognside new ones, resulting in a mix of dark and white colours.

Arriving to the (rebuilt) Altstadt over a bridge from the Neuestadt, all the churches and opera and Zwinger palace do look very impressive. They seem to loom over you, fairly close together, with discoloured walls and blackened statues.

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I loved playing a tourist in the Altstadt, and Galerie Neue Meister was one of my favourite museums on the trip. It was, however, the Neuestadt that made us feel at home.

The population in Dresden is almost the same as in Helsinki, so it might be that the city just felt like the right size -something you can conquer on foot, that doesn’t overwhelm you, but that still has the sights and sounds of a big city. The area that our hotel was in also had a very Kallio-esque vibe (in a good way; other Finns will understand).

There were two eco supermarkets close to our hotel, in addition to one all-vegan restaurant. Two vegan-friendly places were also nearby, and for lunch we went to the Laden Cafe that is right in the middle of the tourist-y area in Altstadt. I would especially recommend the Laden Cafe and the vegan restaurant Falscher Hase:

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This dish was apparently a veganized version of a German classic. And waffles for dessert! A good and hearty meal.

I didn’t visit any yarnstores in Dresden and really only knit on the train and while watching football. So no knitting content this time -but I’m pretty sure that the next post will make up for that 😉

 

 

Deutschland! (Part I)

I’m back from my two-week vacation in Germany! There’s just so much to tell that I’m going to divide my report into multiple posts (probably one for each city we visited, plus one special entry for Wollmeise).

Part I: Landed in Berlin

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After another production of “The Flying Dutchman” / I landed in Berlin

(Rufus Wainwright: “Perfect Man”)

As our last two trips were to Amsterdam and Copenhagen, Berlin by comparison is huge. My legs hurt from trying to walk everywhere.

Tiergarten

Won’t you walk me through the Tiergarten / Won’t you walk me through it all, darling

Doesn’t matter if it is raining / We’ll get to the other side of town

(Rufus Wainwright: “Tiergarten”)

We walked in Tiergarten on a very cloudy, humid midday. Birds sang and we saw very few people. The place was definitely one of my favorites.

When me emerged from the peacefulness of the Tiergarten, we were confronted by the huge screens and beer advertisements of the UEFA “fan area”. Then it was empty, but on the eve of the Germany-Greece match half a million people gathered to watch the game there.

Food-wise, we mostly relied on restaurants listed on HappyCow.com, or improvised with Asian places that seem to be hugely popular all over Germany. Also, if we had stayed in a place with a kitchen, the numerous eco-supermarkets would have served as fine; they always seemed to have soy milk, soy cheese, tofu and vegan candies. Still, a few times during the vacation I was forced to eat just pommes frites, or pasta arrabiata, ohne käse” bitte (without cheese, please). 

For my daily dose of caffeine, I relied very heavily on Starbucks. Probably slightly more expensive than the local average cup of coffee, but they also have free wi-fi and don’t charge extra for soy milk.

Since we visited so many restaurants, I’m only going to give the highlights of each city. In Berlin, our favourite was Vaust (address Pestalozzistrasse 8; info on Happycow here). The dishes showed some imagination, in my opinion:

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A watermelon “steak” with peas and rice. It was really good! I do love tofu, but it’s nice to eat something else sometimes.

Our other favourite was Veggie Chinese Gourmet Cuisine (infopage here). Really good value for the price, but we had severe problems getting understood in German or English. The service, while extremely friendly, also wasn’t the fastest. Still, the best Satay Tofu I’ve had:

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Because I knew I was going to the Wollmeise store later, I did hardly any yarn shopping in Berlin. I only visited one shop, Handmade Berlin:
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The cafe kept dear BF happy while I browsed. I did in the end buy one skein of a locally dyed sock yarn (Yarn Edition Socks by Tulliver).

 

 

Copenhagen!

This year, my busy April also included a trip!

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My Travelling Sock Picture (à la Yarn Harlot). The sock is the second of the pair (first one was finished before we left).

Although I had knitting in my bag for most of the time, I actually knit very little during the trip. Most knitting was accomplished on the plane to & from Copenhagen. I also managed a few rounds while waiting in line at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. I even received a few comments from another Finnish tourist who was also a knitter. I gave her the address of the yarn store in Copenhagen I had already visited. Speaking of which…

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The store is called Sommerfuglen, you can see it behind the water fountain. It’s not the only yarn store in the city, but I’ve understood it is the best. I didn’t buy very much since a lot of the US import brands would be cheaper for me in Finland, because of the current Danish Krone-Euro -exchange rate. But it was the first time I saw Namaste bags in person. I have one I bought online and was seriously tempted to get a different one.

That’s pretty much all the knitting-related stuff about our trip. But I have some excellent restaurants to recommend!

For starters: I got all my information about where to get vegan food in Copenhagen from HappyCow. It has always served me well. If I went travelling in Finland I would also check the restaurant reviews from Animalia’s website.

Firefly

Homepage here

We went here on the first night, rather exhausted from a day of travel. It’s all-vegan and pretty near some of the other places we ate at. The place looks rather trendy which I always find scary, but the staff was friendly. At least on a weekday night, other customers seemed to be tourists as well.

The dinner was excellent -too pricey to be eaten every week but a perfect beginning to our vacation. I especially loved the desserts:

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I had raspberry cheesecake (the “cheese” made from cashews), the BF ate buckthorn berry sorbet. I loved the cake so much that we actually went back to Firefly another day, just for desserts.

Green Sushi

Homepage here (we only visited the restaurant on Gronnegade)

There aren’t that many places in Helsinki where you can get good vegan sushi, so in Copenhagen this restarant was a must. It isn’t all-vegan, but had a decent selection and vegan items were clearly marked on the menu.

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I had the 11-piece vegan set for lunch. Yummy! Very reasonably priced too. We came back another day for dinner and weren’t disappointed then either.

Naturbageriet

Homepage here

As the name suggests, this is a bakery. It’s pretty small but located near the Firely and Kalaset (see below) restaurants and had good vegan carrot cake 🙂

Kalaset

Info here

Very laid-back, nearly packed on a Saturday afternoon. Not all-vegan (or even all-vegetarian) but again, everything was clearly marked on the menu. I had the vegan burger:

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The (homemade) ketchup was like a revelation and the burger plenty big. Also: good beer!

SimpleRaw

Homepage here

All-raw, all-vegan, small place with a very Scandinavian decor. Menu was only in Danish but the waitress offered help (and I still remember some Swedish). We shared a meze-plate that had small portions of everything (pretty good, especially the lentil steak) but were too full to try the desserts. They looked delicious, though.

Finally, I have to mention Kokkeriet. It was recommended to us by a vegetarian couple, yet it’s by no means a vegetarian restaurant. I have no idea how they got the idea to eat there. However, I can testify that if you notify the restaurant ahead of time, they can prepare a vegan menu that is well-thought-out and definitely suitable for special occasion dinners.

The Fine Art of Condensing (part 2)

This time: our tip to Tallinn, Estonia!

A few weeks ago, I had the whole weekend off work so we decided to make the most of it. We left on Friday around noon from the Helsinki harbour (with the fastest ferries the trip’s only a few hours), had most of the Friday and all of Saturday there before coming back in the late evening. Turns out you can do a lot in day and a half.

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We were just passing through the bus station to get to the Viru (Shopping) Center and noticed these knit graffitis! Pretty cool. Also, I’m wearing the Anastasia hat I wrote about in the last entry.

For knitters, there is a place in Tallinn that ranks no 1 on the must-visit-list. I am of course referring to Karnaluks, the huge store where I have bought yarn for two of the sweaters I’ve knit. It’s the place to go for cheap 10-skein packs of yarn, including some of the discontinued variety. For more information (if you are planning a visit), it’s best to check the Ravelry forums (or this blog, if you understand Finnish). I bought Rowan bamboo and organic cotton dk. Now I’m of course kicking myself for not checking whether they had Rowan Calmer, as I’ve just heard it’s been discontinued! I still haven’t knit with it (and have only seen it once, in Amsterdam) and I really want to try it before it disappears.

In addition to yarn, I also did quite a bit of just general shopping. I found a nice sweater for myself, a birthday present for my mom and a new oven mitt that has cute sheep all over it.

Food-wise, Tallinn is not the best vacation destination for a vegan but since it was such a short trip, I could manage. The Italian restaurant Vapiano (a chain that also has restaurants in Finland) had multiple pasta options – I just had to say no to the parmesan, which wasn’t difficult since they asked about it. The breakfast at our hotel was also surprisingly good -beans, mushrooms and toast plus fresh fruit. They didn’t have soy milk, but there’s at least one Robert’s Coffee in the city centre so we stopped there after shopping.

The real highlight of the trip, however, was the restaurant Aed. I had read good things about it, so when the place was full around eight we decided to get drinks elsewhere and come back -I sure am happy we did that since the place was awesome. It’s located in the Old Town, but not in the most tourist-y part of it, which means that the prices are very reasonable. I had a salad, red beet cutlets and chocolate cake as well as bread, wine and tea. All this cost about 18€.

The next day we went back to Aed for lunch since sometimes you really can’t have too much of a good thing. I had a vegetable pasta and sorbet for dessert as well as coffee with soy milk.

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I would definitely recommend Aed for everyone -it’s not all-vegan so it’s not perfect, but on the other hand I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so good vegan food at a mainstream restaurant.

So that’s about it 🙂 Next time: a book review!