Thursday, August 30, 2012

The day of food

There are certain days that one completely devotes to food. These are a rare occurrence since I moved to Helsinki (in fact I can probably count them on the first two fingers of my hand if I really thought hard about it...and that might even be buffering for a lot), but sometimes they do happen. And when they do, they're pretty glorious.

This past Sunday was one of those days. Having been too busy to meet up with some new friends O and J, German K, Hong Kong P, and I finally had time in our schedules to do a meet cute. Being foodies, this naturally circled around food. And lucky for us, Sunday had something unique to Helsinki: it was a day for pop-up restaurants.

Now, before moving to Finland I had never heard of pop-up restaurants, generally speaking. We don't have a need for them in the States; we have restaurants everywhere, things are open all night long, and people have cars. Why would you need a pop-up restaurant? If you want to set up a stand and sell some food, you temporarily try your hand at a farmer's market or maybe as a moving stand (like a hot dog vendor). Perhaps you might even go so far as to fundraise online or at your local community fair. But these are pretty small and not considered big deals. Perhaps the food truck trend that has taken over America is the closest thing to what I'm about to talk about.

Pop-up restaurants seem to be in a class of their own though. There are dedicated days for pop-up restaurants to occur - they happen twice a year (once in the summer and once in the winter...though generally the winter one happens more in the fall because no one is interested in standing in line while it's snowing/raining/flurrying outside), and there are huge Facebook events about them first.

People who set up their own pop-ups don't need to be professional cooks, or need to even have cooking experience (they can get their family members to help them out, for example), and as long as they designate a space and register it with the pop-up restaurant board (or whatever the equivalent is), then it's fine.

The types of restaurants that pop up are usually ones that don't exist normally in Helsinki. We're talking family recipes or unusual fusions, but in either case, completely homemade. Usually on the FB events these people record their progress in the days leading up to the events. They usually start prepping about a week before.

Our target of choice for that given Sunday: Korean Explosion. There is only one Korean restaurant in Helsinki at the moment (aforementioned Korea House), and it's terrible (or so I've heard from multiple Asian friend accounts). Therefore, this pop-up Korean restaurant was definitely going to be tried.


Unfortunately it decided to rain that day (after a gloriously beautiful day of 25 degrees C the day before), but whatever. We still waited the hour in line for our bounty.

And bounty it was.


I paid 5euros for this little tray of goodies, but it seemed like an appropriate choice. I was secretly hoping for something bigger and a little more authentic, like maybe some bulgogi, but whatever, can't be picky in this town. :P

What I have in the tray (from left to right): marinated bean thread noodles with red and yellow bell peppers and egg, Korean "sushi" rolls with (one with tuna and one with kimchi), and rice cakes with cut star carrots in spicy kimchi sauce.

It was definitely delicious. J definitely ordered the all-you-can-sample platter and tried everything they had made. It looked incredible...he said everything was amazing.

After standing out in the rain for that long we were a bit cold and still hungry (portions were not exactly huge), so we decided to head to Cafe Ekberg for some hot coffee and goodies. The gorging continued.


There I ordered my traditional chai latte (classic coffee house order, since I don't drink coffee and decaf tea is a joke here), and the very traditional Swedish Princess cake.

Princess cakes are sponge cake layered with whipped cream and sometimes a little jam (mine had raspberry, quite fancy). The entire thing is then covered in a thin layer of marzipan. This one was to die for.

Not being someone who generally likes or eats sweets I admittedly didn't finish it all, but O came to my rescue and finished it for me. :)

I also ate some of J's dessert, an amazing Napoleon:


And if that weren't enough, after some chatting and warming ourselves up, we decided that though we were sugared-out...we were still craving some salt. Or maybe some sour/tang.

So we went out to get more food.

After some debate about what might be open still and delicious (all of the pop-up restaurants by this time were closed, being 4pm), we decided to go to Tamarin, a very popular Thai restaurant chain.

It was not a mistake. This will definitely become my standby whenever anyone wants Thai and comes to visit me. It reminds me a lot of Takhrai back in San Diego (before it changed ownership), or Erawan back in San Jose. Delicious, and fairly reasonably priced.

I had the Tom Kha Gai:


Coconut milk-based, creamy, and oh-so-fulfilling, I was extremely happy. It had tons of chicken, and the flavors of lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves were intoxicating.

We ended up talking there for another few hours before calling it a night. By then we had been out for a solid 6 hours of basically nonstop eating. I think I spent a grand total of 35euros that day. All on food and beverages.

I could not have been happier.

Ekberg
Tamarin

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Toasty McToasterson

That's what I officially name this dish, instead of its real name. Which is realistically, skagen toast.


Traditional to the core and available at basically every restaurant you sit down in, I actually took my sweet time (nearly 5 months) to get around to trying this. And man, I should have tried it sooner.

It was delightful!

Imagine a perfectly toasted piece of bread - crispy on the outside, but thin, so just the thinnest part of the inner bread is still soft.

This perfect piece of toast is then layered with crayfish, mayo, dill, onions, and whatever else they make this magnificent cream out of. I'm pretty sure I've bought it from the deli at S Market, but thought it was just a delicious creamy seafood salad (meaning I was probably a fatass and ate it by itself). I'm also pretty sure you can buy it in every refrigerated section of every supermarket I've been to. And now I'm pretty sure I am going to buy it every time I'm grocery shopping.

Nuff said.

While eating said toasty mctoasterson, I was lucky enough to be eating out with my girlfriends at a restaurant (Primula) that offered excellent wines as well. One of which British F had had before and heartily recommended. So we ordered a bottle and had a merry time:


Glorious wine. Subtle in all the right ways and warming to the soul. I've not really had many good wines since I've come here (Alko tends to have a midrange selection - both in flavor and in price), so this was a rare treat. It wasn't even that expensive - 40euros a bottle. Very affordable.

Needless to say even after the bottle was finished, a few of us still bought individual glasses (rather than buying another entire bottle).


Ah, good eats Helsinki. You are so very rare and usually expensive.  But I do enjoy you, so, keep 'em coming.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Weekend Festival...Day 2

Why...you ask, would I go back to a festival that was absolutely horrifying?

Because I bought a 2 day ticket and my girl, Hong Kong P, had only bought a Saturday ticket.

Plus, being an older person, despite the risks of being trapped in the forest again, I thought I could somehow beat the system the second time around. Call it pride. Or stupidity. Depends on the outcome I suppose.

German K was admittedly hesitant to go again. After some discussion we decided we would leave the amount of festival time completely up to Hong Kong P. It was her day to shine this time, though we would give her all of the dirty details of the day before to temper her expectations.

After visiting some friends in the park, we met Hong Kong P at the train station for an admittedly smoother start to our festivus day 2 - we decided to buy into the shuttle system and skip the whole public transportation bit. The only thing it required of us was to take a city train to a different train station. No big deal, it's covered by our futuristic transit passes, so we got on the train and made our smooth way to our shuttle area.

On our way there, Hong Kong P realized that although she's printed our shuttle tickets she's somehow forgotten her actual festival ticket. Panic ensued. Through the strength of our collective technological powers, we were able to sync enough of her email folders to get the email with the PDF of her ticket from her inbox just long enough for her to forward it to my phone before her phone battery died. I got it on my phone and enlarged it so the barcode was big enough for the man at the entrance to scan it. Phew, disaster averted.

And that was the end our troubles for the day. :) The rest was pure normal festival hooliganry.


Still Trash City? Yeah, absolutely.


But at least this time it was a lot less crowded (I think people were scared away by the disorganization of the day before) and the crowd did seem a little older. It might also have been the bands playing, but I'll get to that a little bit later.


One of the cooler things about this festival were the vendors - Ray Ban-esque sunglasses in every neon color imaginable, and for super cheap (nothing in Finland is cheap, and these were like 5euros, so this was rather novel), neon plastic flower leis, cheap clothing, stainless steel jewelry (in the ridiculous ghetto way)...basically anything you could ever want to look like all of the Bobby Teenagers that were walking around.

Speaking more about these Bobby Teenagers. I'm not exactly sure what you would call their style. Generally speaking it's some variant of hipster, but not as cool, stylish, or nature-loving. In fact it's not nature-loving at all. It was the opposite. It was sloppy and cheap. Oh, a good example of this is like the clothing line of American Apparel...but its more tacky cousin. Hong Kong P said it should be called "distasteful."

I decided I would call them Neophytes and call it a day.

So Neophytes it is.

If you look up the Wikipedia definition of a neophyte, this is actually a fairly good description for people of this age group. I'll leave it at that.

Anyhoo, just imagine young people wearing cheap Ray Ban-esque sunglasses, tank tops, tight colored skinny jeans, any loose fitting tee in any neon color that exists, thin beat up sneakers of various kinds (this usually involved things that looked like (but weren't) Keds, Converse, and other flat sneaks), and flat caps. Boom, you've covered 85% of the population that went to this event. Maybe throw in some sheer tops with neon bras for good measure.

But again, I digress. I was here for the music, and had actually arrived within reasonable limits (generally speaking within an hour and a half instead of the four hours of yesterday), so the music is what we listened to.

First up? Random DJs on the Party Stage.


This was actually the loudest stage there...and the tiniest. It was like a little vinyl cave. Filled with "DJs" that literally couldn't have been older than say...17? Maybe? There was an entire entourage of them inside when we went (like literally five or so)...most of whom weren't contributing to the music at all. One was holding a light inside (shirtless), another seemed to be in there just to dance, another was fist pumping to get the crowd pumped up...well, you get the point.


It was pure ridiculosity. But it was fun at the same time. They played all of the normal hits and they didn't train wreck too badly inbetween songs (which is more than what most DJs in the Helsinki clubs can say...most don't even bother to blend one song into another as they transition).

Eventually we floated away to the main stage though, where the biggest headliner of Saturday was about to come on: a band called Hurts, from the UK.

Now, I'd never heard of Hurts before buying into this festival. Apparently they're huge in Finland but completely unheard of in the UK.

I was about to find out why:

They were absolutely ridiculous. Like completely ridiculous.


We're talking melodramatic, slicked-back-hair, skinny suit, skinny tie, black and white video, super emo ridiculous.

Let me describe.

Their show started off with a woman, hooded in a black mini dress with bare legs and high heels, carrying a black flag (it may also have been a different color but I couldn't tell because their video feed was black and white and I'm too short to actually see the stage most of the time). Lightning flashed and she sort of lamely danced around with said flag (pretty sure she was never actually in color guard). At some point in time the singer slowly strode into the spotlight, to extreme applause from the Finnish audience. He grabbed the mic stand dramatically, all of the lights flashed behind him, and he began his set.

Oh, it gets better.

During the sets (this happened again and again, much to my squeals of laughter), he would fish out long stem roses from the sleeves of his suit, kiss the flowers, then dramatically throw them into the audience.

This actually happened. I'm not kidding.

And the audience absolutely loved every minute of it. As the camera was panning over people, it stopped on this one girl in the front who was holding a sign that said, "Because of you my life has meaning." Yeah.

The funny thing was, the music was completely forgettable. By the third song the only thing I could think to myself was, "I've heard this song before...haven't I?"

But the Finnish audience was completely eating it up. A lot of times the singer would pause, point the mic towards the audience, and everyone would be singing along (very loudly and clearly, I might add). They were louder for them than they were for David Guetta. It was unreal.

Anyway, it was extremely entertaining to me and my girlfriends, either way. Horrible music and really ridiculous stage performances but entertaining nonetheless. I figure I'll watch the music videos at some point in time when I want to have a good chuckle. I was pretty much busting a gut during the concert.

We left maybe 3/4 of the way thru their set to see the person we were really waiting to see that night: Sebastian Ingrosso of Swedish House Mafia.

And he was magnificent.


We didn't get that close because apparently people had been lining up for some time before his set started so it was pretty crowded, plus he wasn't at the main stage (because Hurts was still pouring their guts out on the stage), so we stood a good distance away to hear the music and stay away from the very thick mob.

And good thing we did too, because as we watched the set go on, the party inside, while it looked like a lot of fun, got pretty insane. We saw a guy that was basically twice as tall as someone else - meaning that he must have been on the shoulders of someone who was on the shoulders of someone else. I can only imagine what that must have really been like in a mosh pit.

We didn't stay until the end, not wanting to get into a situation like yesterday, despite our shuttle tickets, and walked back to the entrance. From what I heard only 17,000 tickets were sold for Saturday, so less people to get stranded in the forest.

The shuttle was a lot smoother going back. I think we waited in line maybe 45 minutes before being dropped back in Helsinki. Then we called it a night.

Much better than the day before, though my ending opinion: not going back to Weekend Festival again. Pretty sure many people shared the same sentiment, though it's also probable that many Neophytes had the time of their lives and would pay good money to go again, so I imagine I'll see signs for it next year, despite all the bad publicity it has gotten in the news.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Weekend Festival

...or more commonly known as, The Worst Planned Festival I've Ever Been To (tm).

But let me back up and start from the beginning. That's only fair.

Friday started off as a pretty swell day. I had a chill day at work - free design lunch, heard a lecture on the new design of a certain line of cruise ships, and after a coffee catch up with a work friend, set off early so I could meet up with German K to catch our bus.

Now, we had planned it so we would get to the festival about 40 minutes before our first desired act, which in this case, was Skrillex. We set out for our appointed bus 20 minutes early, which was supposed to pick us up at 4:39pm.

...we waited there for half an hour before thinking something was wrong. The bus never came.

Thinking that maybe German K had just used an illegitimate transportation site (she used one I had never heard of, though I trusted that she'd likely used this site before and it normally had trustworthy information), I rerouted us on a different bus to take us further down our desired bus path to a different stop.

...and then we waited there for two hours. Our bus literally never came.

By this point there were others waiting at the same stop for the same buses, since this festival was taking place out in the middle of the forests of Espoo. Not exactly the most populous place for bus routes, so there were only two or three going that way. From a lot of roundabout (and slightly drunk) teenagers, we found out that there had been two serious accidents on the only freeway that leads from Helsinki to Espoo.

We didn't know how long ago these accidents had happened, but apparently they'd been serious enough to completely halt traffic. And bus routes. This is pretty crazy considering buses have their own lanes on the freeways here.

Anyway, since we were there so long we made friends with another girl waiting for the same buses and eventually she remembered reading about another bus route on the event website that lead to a stop that wasn't so far away from the event. We actually had seen this bus pass by us a few times, so obviously it was still running.

About 40 minutes after we realized this, that bus came around again, and we got on.

It was still slow going, since traffic really was stopped, and at a certain point it took us a full hour to go 10 kilometers (about 6 miles). I could have literally gotten off the bus and run faster. But since I was with German K (who maybe couldn't have run that fast...and would likely have not appreciated the challenge), I decided to keep my butt in my seat and just bear it.

We eventually did make it, though the closest stop was a bit further away than it should have been. We still had to walk a good 2-3 kilometers to get to the festival. But we did make it.

...just 4 hours late.


By the time we got there we had completely missed Skrillex. I had resigned myself somewhere during our hour plus bus ride that I would likely miss him. Disappointing, since he was the second person I wanted to see at the festival, but I figured I would live. Plus, I had no idea what was still in store for us.

We get there and...

It was disgusting. Absolutely disgusting.

Now, this was due to a combination of things:

  1. This was one of the few festivals where people under 18 were actually allowed in. Not to be insulting, but, well, I will not so fondly refer to these people as "children." Nothing in their behavior has allowed me to think otherwise about them. And most of them were completely and utterly, wasted.
  2. Because people of underage were allowed to enter, but not allowed to buy alcohol once they got inside, they usually got smashed before entering (which would only make sense). So right before they got in, they usually pounded whatever cheap beverage they had brought with them (this varied from horrendously cheap beer to entire bottles of salmiakki to appallingly cheap bottles of scumpa), and then would throw them wherever they thought was appropriate - which was anywhere.
  3. Food was relatively speaking fairly cheap and only came in the cheapest, flimsiest containers. We're talking extreme paper plates and paper containers. No styrofoam or plastic of any kind. This means people dropped food more often than not, and actually didn't finish it a lot of the time (it was also of the extremely greasy variety).
  4. Whoever planned the trash bin placement in this establishment obviously never read or heard of the study done by amusement parks - which is that bins need to be placed every 3 meters/10 feet, otherwise people will literally throw things on the ground. I am not making this up, this is actually a studied and true fact. Deviate from this standard but by a foot or so, and you're gonna end up with Trash City. And Trash City is what we ended up with. I had to tip toe around to make sure I stepped on grass instead of trash.
  5. Because of the excessive amount of drinking that was going on, people were urinating and vomiting all around. The urinating is pretty normal (this is surprisingly common in public, even in Helsinki), but the vomiting added a new dimension.
  6. Glow products of all kind were being sold...and disposable things...well, are disposable. Nuff said.
Anyway, I digress. Bottomline: Trash City.


I tried to keep my camera above the ground so I wouldn't have to remember the state of things.



So we entered and saw the top artist we had really come to see: David Guetta.


He was the one highlight of the night.


His show was pretty awesome. And he played for a solid two hours. The funniest thing he said? "I can't believe I've waited this long to come to Finland! You guys are awesome!" Little did he know the horrors that would await him after his show...

...which involved trying to leave the festival.

German K and I decided to leave a little before the end of his set because of the horrid time we'd had trying to get in. We also knew, because we had checked, that there were only 3-4 buses before the end of the night and buses stopped running.

Now I mean actual number of buses. Not number of bus lines running. Physical buses coming. 3-4 buses to carry people from the forest to the city. Three or four.

So we left the grounds, walking back to an earlier bus stop than the one we had gotten off at, meaning we would be further up the bus route (faster to get on, higher probability of actually getting on a bus).

We were in a line of thousands.

You see, what these organizers had failed to realize, is that when you sell 25,000 people tickets to a show on a Friday night to a venue that's in the middle of the forest...you actually need to plan for a way for these people to leave.

...and they didn't.

At all.

German K and I got in line for the bus around 11:30pm. We stood in line for about an hour and a half before doing the math of the people in front of us and realizing we would never make it, even if the rest of the buses still continued as planned and they filled at our stop to full capacity (which was about 70 people, on a good squeeze).

Did I also mention that the temperature had dropped to about 9 degrees (this is in the 40's F)? We could see our breath as we waited. Most teenagers around us were wearing shorts and tank tops. Luckily we had dressed appropriately in jeans, sweatshirts, and scarves, but even then eventually I had to give my socks to German K because she was wearing flats and I was wearing sneakers.

When it became very apparent that we were never going to make the bus, German K started trying to reach any friends she could to come pick us up. Reception was terrible (because there were so many people around and we were out in the middle of the forest) and both of our batteries were running out. It was starting to look really bad.

We knew things were getting really dire when the rest of the thousands around us realized the same thing (this happened in varying degrees sometime later). Hundreds of teenagers tried to hitchhike off of the relatively meager but still steady stream of cars that were coming down the two lane road. Girls were holding out 20euro bills to try to entice strangers to take them with them to anywhere remotely close to civilization. Teenage boys literally jumped out in front of cars to stop them. I was wondering to myself if their intoxicated minds knew that this was no video game, and that jumping in front of the car didn't make you magically become one of the passengers of said car. This didn't seem to stop them, either way.

Eventually German K did convince one of her friends to drive from Vantaa to come pick us up. Apparently he'd seen on the news how bad it was and realized we weren't just being stupid girls about the situation. People were going to be stranded here for the night. And by the look of the disorganization, it was going to be thousands. Remember: 25,000 tickets. 3-4 buses that hold about 70 people. Few people own cars here. There was a shuttle system that you could buy into, but you had to have bought the tickets ahead of time online. And there was no way to buy tickets there. Eventually even those buses stopped, from what I could see.

25,000 people.

We agreed to meet our ride at the gas station we had passed about 2-3 kilometers up the road. We walked along the road, trying not to get hit by the cars that passed us, also dodging the more and more desperate hitchhikers. To be honest I think I only saw a handful actually get into cars. The rest? Never even got stopped at.

Eventually we made it to the gas station, which was completely swarmed with people. We saw again how bad the situation was - people huddling together for warmth, more hitchhikers...even groups of teenagers running after buses down the road. Buses that didn't stop...at all.

I suggested that we continue up the road, since we knew what direction our driver was coming from. It was very likely that our person wouldn't be able to see us in this sea of people, and it was bumper to bumper stop and go traffic anyway. It would be faster if we walked to him.

And so we did. For about 5 kilometers (a little over 3 miles). Down the road. No sidewalks. At night. In the middle of the forest.

The look on German K's face as we recognized his car is unforgettable. Our knight in shining silver Mercedes.

I've always loved being in cars. I grew up with cars. But this was bliss, absolute bliss. It took us about an hour to drive home and I remember every single moment of it. We commented every time we passed another group of people who had walked further and further down the road from the festival. We even saw people 35 minutes down the road (driving mind you...so they had walked at least a good 20 kilometers). Some still tried to hitchhike. Our driver didn't stop.

When we finally got home, I thanked our driver, V, profusely, and offered to pay for his gas money, at the very least. He, being too Finnish, politely refused. What makes his actions even more heroic is the fact that he was running the marathon the next morning as a pacer (the person who holds up the speed for a certain time - i.e. you want to run the marathon in a certain time, you stay up with him and you'll make it at that official time).

We were at our destination once again. Just 3 hours late. It was around 2am.

And thus ended our adventure from the worst organized festival I'd ever been to in my life.

We considered ourselves lucky, since we had actually made it home. We tried not to think about all of the people who never made it, or who had no one to call, or who were too intoxicated to know what to do but lay down in the grass (hopefully somewhere a little cleaner), and just wait until morning.

I wish them the best though, since it was pretty rough. Or maybe I'm just getting old.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Scrimshaw!

This entry is dedicated to my sister, who I know has always found unbounded delight in my ridiculous hobby.

Yes, it's true, I am someone who absolutely loves the art of scrimshaw. What is scrimshaw, you ask? Imagine this: you are a whaler from the 1800's. You spend months upon months aboard a ship, sailing into the deep oceanic waters, alone with your bearded, dirty, all-male crew, waiting to catch a glimpse of your ever-elusive and massive prey. And yet one of these days you finally see it, and you give it a hearty chase. Harpoons fly through the air and the water is thick with blood and lard. Your victim is caught, a floating massivore in the middle of the ocean. You join your crew as you hack apart this once-peaceful sea creature, knowing that its meat and fat will catch a handsome price at the nearest port. As you settle in for the night, you smile to yourself at the day's catch and look forward to seeing your wife, whom you left eight months before, still round with your unborn son.

But what do they do with all of those whale bones? You ask.

Well well, dear reader! Now that is a great question.

Having a lot of time on their hands and not wanting to necessarily waste parts of their precious catch, many whalers took up the art of scrimshaw, or the art generally described as, "elaborate engravings in the form of pictures and lettering on the surface of bone or tooth, with the engraving highlighted using a pigment."

What does that mean exactly? It means I enjoy art on the weirder side of things and when I have time on my hands this is what I do. (Yes, I understand that every time you imagine me doing something now it will never be quite the same).

Anyway, yesterday was the first time I was able to find the time and motivation to do scrimshaw in Finland. I was stoked.

I pulled out my tools and went to work:


Currently at the moment I'm a bit limited on materials, since it's whatever I shipped from the States with me (I've not been able to successfully visit an art store to save my life here...they all seem to be closed on Sundays...which is when I typically find the time to go shopping for anything), so I'm working with what I've got. Which is: my etching tool, waterproof black India ink, Q-tips, one mechanic's paper towel, and several pieces of material that I am willing to scrimshaw on (in this case various mah jong tiles made of bone, a plain shell pendant, and a necklace I'm interested in experimenting on). There is also a very small square of fine grain sandpaper, in case I make mistakes...but in general I'm not a fan of using it.

My first forays into scrimshaw started a little over a year ago, when I was introduced to the art at the Festival of Sails with my girlfriend Christine/Sue. I bought a starter kit and have since never looked back. Unfortunately my first project was tried on a glass pendant, which I couldn't successfully etch, so it turned into a pen and ink drawing instead:


Still cool, but not scrimshaw.

Anyway, my current projects have been more successful. Definitely more authentic. I am starting to feel the blood of the whaler calling within me...

(ignore the meanings, they're going to be gifts for friends):


I'm super excited for future projects. My technique is improving and I can't wait to get my hands on some larger materials so I can do more detailed drawings. These in reality are about an inch long (if that gives you any perspective).

Since I'm here in Finland I think my real mission should include befriending some hunters...I've heard antlers make a fine material for scrimshaw. :) I think my teammate hunts so maybe I could ask him for some...

But I digress. Just wanted to share some stuff that I'm doing, since I find it so exciting.

SCRIMSHAW!

--------------------------------

(And just for the record, the finished products:)


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

For the love of potato patties

In my quest for convenience food I scoured the frozen section of Alepa last time I was there to see if I could find something easy to make that didn't require me dirtying any more dishes than necessary.

Frozen burritos? Instant ramen? Maybe some easy microwave meals?

The answer? Generally speaking a resounding no.

They did have some frozen fish sticks (not a huge fan of those, even in the worst of times) and generally speaking a lot of french fry variants...but without my microwave oven (which I unfortunately did not ship with me), it's a bit of a pain to make.

A bit defeated, I bought nothing.

Later, I was checking out my fridge and freezer, scrounging around for something to eat and I rediscovered something I had bought a few months before and previously forgotten and/or saved (depends on how you look at it, really).

Potato patties!

Hilariously none of the instructions are in English (which is by no means a surprise, since I have yet to see almost anything in English), but they're not even in Swedish either...as far as I can tell. They do come in Russian though...which helps me not.

Anyway, after some serious debating and staring at the unhelpful wording on the back, I decided that I was too lazy to heat up the oven just for a couple of potato patties and so popped a few on a plate and nuked them (i.e. put them in the microwave).

The prognosis?

Complete and utter success.


Not as crispy as say, a McDonald's hashbrown (or crispy at all, for that matter), but pretty delicious. Instead of being plain potato, these things actually have little bits of onion and seasoning in them, much to my elated surprise. They're really good!

YES on frozen food convenience success. Finally, something I can make without needing to do almost anything.

Very dec. Something I will definitely buying again in the future, if I can remember where I bought them (likely S Market). Clearly a product worth looking into again though, should I ever find it.

There may be hope for the frozen food industry here after all.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Horse food attempt #2

So I was shopping this past weekend and...after some serious thought and browsing...decided to give this whole cold cereal thing another chance.

Why, you ask? Especially after my neutral-to-slightly-negative response last time?

Well, generally speaking there are a few reasons. I will outline them here.

  1. Cold cereal actually isn't all that bad. In fact, I think it's alright. That's not high praise, naturally, but generally speaking, I'd eat it if it were around...which is what happened last time.
  2. I've been losing weight at an astonishing rate, since my LGN plan has started (probably the increased exercise and better eating habits), so I actually do need something highly caloric around to eat on a regular basis.
  3. There is a serious lack of convenient food available in this country, and cereal is about as convenient as it gets (sad, I know).
  4. I looked really hard at the packages and I think I'm smart enough now to figure out at least one or two types that I may like (YES experience may win out again).
So, because of these reasons, I decided to give it a go again. Seems logical, right?

The outcome: mixed...though it was not particularly the cereal's fault.

So I went to the grocery store (this time the Alepa near my apartment...I was too curious and too lazy to travel all the way back to my normal Lidl) with high hopes and stood in the cereal area for a good 10 minutes before making my choice.

I studied the packages like an archaeologist searching for clues to a lost civilization, and at last I selected one that looked as though it fit my criteria: once again a muesli (gotta be high calorie and healthy), had hella dried fruit (raisins, papaya, and banana chips...gotta get the sweet), and looked like it contained none of the loathed nuts. Looked very promising. Promising indeed.

I also picked up a liter of milk (after much debate, since I had forgotten the words for normal milk...like I knew "maito" was milk but I was faced with six different varieties at this store and knowing the differences between them without the normal helpful percentages, i.e. "1%"/"1.5%" took me a long time) and with a few other items for sustenance, made my way home with my bounty.

Upon opening said package, it still looked pretty good:


No nuts, as I had hoped. A decent amount of fruit, though unfortunately not as luxury as the last mix I had bought. Overall it seemed a decent choice so far.

I poured in some milk from my last carton, and took my first spoonful.

Bitter.

WTF?

I took another bite.

Still bitter.

What the hell was going on?

I smelled the bowl, wondering if something was bad. But alas I had put on some scented lotion earlier in the day and that was all I could smell.

So I drank some of the milk from the bowl by itself.

Bitter...bingo.

This is where I will fully admit that I'm a botard. Being one of the many adults in this world who does not buy, drink, or consume fresh milk on a regular basis, I failed to do one of the most basic things in the world - check the expiration date on the carton.

I quickly opened the fridge to verify what I knew already to be true - my milk had expired more than a week ago.

The reason I couldn't smell it? The scent of my lotion was too strong.

Absolutely disgusted with myself, I dumped out the milk from my cereal and dumped the cereal in the trash.

Sigh, this was going well. Already wasted a cup of cereal due to my own stupidity.

Luckily I had bought a fresh carton of milk at the grocery store (no matter that it took me forever to figure out which one to buy).

And started again.

This time? Success. Or at least my milk wasn't bad.

The cereal itself was fine - no nuts, as promised. The fruit was sweet and good, as it should have been. It could be crunchier, since the oats in this one are a bit soft...but on a whole this will do. I now have an entire kilo of horse food to keep me sustained at night and during various weekend days. I shouldn't starve out of inconvenience anymore...or at least not for awhile.

Moral of this story? Don't wear heavily scented lotions if you want to smell if your food has gone bad.

Oh, and check the expiration dates on your milk cartons regularly.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

BeautiFlow

And since you've all seen pictures of the stages and different tents, here is a different side of Flow: the grounds. It really was a beautiful festival, so hopefully these photos give you a better perspective than the other, more documentary shots I posted before.




(The lighted sphere to the right is actually a stage called the Wastelands. Unfortunately didn't see any artists there but it looked really cool.)

(This is just a hilarious picture I took because they brought their own stool to stand on so they could always see the stage...something I should really consider doing).

(This is a view from the Nokia Lounge, with the top of the blue Nokia Tent on the left. Helsinki Energy is the smoke stack in the back).



Will I stay or will I Flow?

And at last we came to Sunday, glorious Sunday. We were experts by this point. All wearing layers, all brought gloves (for the inevitable slightly chilly night), all wearing our dancing shoes (which in this case meant sneakers...because no one can walk and stand around for three days in a row and expect not to collapse unless wearing comfortable shoes), and all ready to rock.

And rock we did.

Luckily the line up for Sunday was awesome, and the weather was incredible. We even got a little hot! (Realistically we're only talking like 15-16 degrees C / 60-62 degrees F...but that's like great for the weekend...stupid, I know).

As German K and I walked in, we heard the sounds of Manna playing and stopped to listen as we sipped our first drinks. Ah, the gloriousness of summer music festivals.


After, we headed over to the Nokia Blue Tent (different than the Nokia Lounge, note), and listened to Pepe Deluxe, a Finnish DJ. Good beats all around we continued to the Nokia Lounge to listen to a different DJ and meet up with friends.

Soon, however, it was time to head back to the main stage to see French Films, the band German K and I ridiculously missed (due to a wardrobe malfunction on my part) when we went to Garden Party earlier this summer. Not wanting to miss out on seeing them again, we hurriedly made our way and saw their entire set.


Hilariously, since we didn't know what kind of music they were beforehand, I was a little surprised. Imagine all of the cute innocent love thoughts you had as a middle schooler or innocent high schooler (if you were one of those...I certainly was) and squeeze them into songs you could play at a school dance/mixer. That's what this band sounds like. It was awesome! Remembering what it was like for love to be sweet and kind instead of complicated and full of confusion...ah, those were the days. :)

Generally speaking I'm pretty sure most people would not consider French Films good music, but they put on a lively show and I enjoyed them for what they were and what they did for me. Who doesn't like to be reminded of the good cute times? :)

Next up, after a food run for Hong Kong P, was Feist. I was super excited to see her perform live. I've been listening to her for over a year now (being introduced to her through Pandora and the awesomeness that is the 500 Days of Summer soundtrack), and disappointed I was surely not. She was incredible live. Absolutely incredible. She even gave a shoutout to my people (North Americans)!


Probably one of the most hilarious parts of her show though, was that she admitted this was her first time in Finland and it was apparent that no one had given her the memo on Finnish audiences. They're silent, and not particularly participatory. So when she asked everyone to join in and sing "ahhhh" at a certain point, it was basically silent. You could actually hear her still singing even though she stepped away from the microphone and was dancing all over the stage. That kind of silent. I felt a little bad, but being awkwardly uncomfortable with karaoke myself, I dared not save her from embarrassment for fear of embarrassment myself. Sorry Feist, no give.

A gloriously unintentional part of her show: hot air ballooners that floated up around the stage during her set. Absolutely beautiful.


Just happened that they were there. We never saw them on any other day or during anyone else's set and it definitely wasn't around sunset...maybe the weather was just good. Anyway, those lucky ducks got to see her set from x thousand feet in the air. Must have been incredible...because it was already amazing on the ground.

After her set my friends and I took a small break in the champagne red carpet hallway (we named it something else but I'll not say it here) and I snuck away for yet another food break. This time I ordered a vegan Vietnamese sandwich. Unfortunately nothing like the real banh mi back at home (naturally, since it's vegan), but well, expectations were metered from the start so I wasn't wholly disappointed. It was basically a pita pocked filled with marinated cooked veggies (cabbage, red onions, carrots, zucchini), covered in cilantro. Tasty and filling...guess that's all I can ask for.

And then it was time to line up back at the main stage. Unfortunately I lost my friends at this point because I was shoving food in my mouf and moving through the crowd, but I figured this was my one chance to see this artist and I wouldn't likely get another chance...so...yeah.

Who was it, you ask?

Bjork.

After several cancellations, Bjork had finally made it to Finland. According to various Finns I've talked to since this festival, she'd had to cancel twice in the past (much to their anger and dismay), so this was a long anticipated arrival.

Finally, Bjork had arrived.

And man was her show awesome.

Now at first, the exact opposite was true. Either they were having technical difficulties or she asked specifically not to be video taped (there were rumors that she dislikes having her photo taken and will refuse to step on stage if she sees fans holding cameras), but for whatever reason for the first four or five songs the screens that project what is normally happening on stage were completely blank.

This means, for example, that short people like me, who can't actually see the stage most of the time, couldn't see what was going on. It was like being blind. But kind of worse, since all I could see were the pushy (and mostly drunk) hipsters in front of me.

When the screens did come on a little while later, they showed only the background graphics that were being displayed on stage. Again, still a fail. Although the graphics and videos she chose as background were wicked interesting, what I really came to see was her, not her taste in animations and shorts.

I was this close to walking away and listening to a different artist when they finally fixed the screen problem and projected her show for the world to see. And then it was amazing.

She definitely lives up to her reputation.


She was wearing a black metallic dress completely covered in coils on the front and a wig in purple, blue, and black that looked like an old Victorian bun. Accompanied by an entire female choir (also dressed in sequined sack dresses, who undulated to her beats and dance moves), a guy on synthesizer, and a guy on every weird instrument imaginable, she definitely rocked the stage.

And true to form, she didn't play the songs you would expect. I mean she played "Hunter" and one other song that was fairly popular, but generally speaking she skipped the songs you would want her to play. I was really hoping for "Army of Me" personally, but alas, my wish was not granted. Maybe it's too hard screaming at every show. Oh well, I was not disappointed anyway, so, one's First World Problems can only be taken so far. ;)

She played for over an hour and a half.

You know, if you really listen to a lot of her music, it really is like the craziest rave you've ever been to. Unfortunately the Finnish audience just doesn't have that sort of persuasion. Perhaps I will have to see her in another country, just to have this experience.

After her set ended my friends and I met up again in the champagne red carpet hallway to dance it out for another hour, then headed home. At midnight Cinderella turns back into a pumpkin and needs to call it a night because work beckons the next day.

And thus ends the wonder that is Flow. Thank you Flow Fest, for showing me the best musical time I've had since coming to Helsinki. I can't wait to see what's in store this coming weekend with Weekend Festival. :D

...let the games...continue!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

And it's just keeps Flowing and Flowing...

Since Friday was so freezing, most of us came doubly prepared the next day, expecting the potential worse. Also, since we were going to be there so much longer (from say, 4pm - 2am instead of 7pm - 2am), we didn't want to take any chances. I bit the bullet and decided I wasn't past wearing a peacoat in August. So that is what I did. (I had freaked out on Friday and decided to just wear a thick sweatshirt...this was a terrible idea in hindsight).

Luckily, the weather was better on Saturday - we actually got some sunshine! And it continued to improve throughout the weekend (we actually got to "warm" by Sunday). The coat was still necessary, but most of us weren't forced to dance or otherwise make friends with strangers just to keep warm.

It was another day full to the brim with music, though admittedly the line up was not as good as the previous day. Still, we managed to squeeze in quite a lot: Just Paha DJs, Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators (from the States and Finland), Roberto Rodriguez, Mika Snickars (a really awful retro DJ that happened to start right after Roberto Rodriguez), Horace Andy & Dub Asante, Nicolas Jaar, Saint Etienne, and The Black Keys.

Naturally the ones I gravitated to were Saint Etienne and The Black Keys.

Saint Etienne was fine live, though admittedly I was expecting a bit more. Somehow it didn't translate well on stage.


The Black Keys, on the other hand, completely rocked. I danced to their entire set and it was awesome. Adding them to my to-buy list as well.

Unfortunately I was dancing so hard that I forgot to take pictures, but by this point I'm pretty sure you know what the main stage looks like, and I pretty much stood in the same spot each time (so our group could always find each other, even in the crowd), so you get the idea.

This was also the first day where I broke down and bought food. Tons of restaurants were representing at Flow and all of them were pretty awesome. My girl Hong Kong P purposefully didn't eat ahead of time so she could eat 4-5 meals a day and try them all. By the end her mission was accomplished. I was duly impressed. Especially since most things were anywhere from 10-12euros each and were the size of very small appetizers. But to each his own, and good on her for putting food high on the priority list (something I need to relearn to do).

What did I break down for, you ask? Vietnamese spring rolls. God I miss Asian food. Strangely enough it came from a food tent called Tokyo Girl (awkward, I know), but it was pretty good. I opted for the tofu version instead of salmon, not wanting to mix two things I think should vaguely stay away from each other (and wanting to go more traditional), but after trying Hong Kong P's salmon version, it was clear I had made a mistake.

Again, no pictures, since it takes many hands to eat things while standing up, edging through crowds, juggling your drink, dancing, and listening to music, so you'll have to excuse the lack of record again. But generally speaking they looked like normal spring rolls - nothing special, visually.

We ended the night grooving out to the sweet beats of Lauri Soini, a Finnish DJ spinning in the Nokia Lounge. Crowded though it was, we had a good time, and ended up closing out the festival at 1:30am. (Btw most of my Finnish friends were complaining how early this was - apparently last year most of the last sets went until 3am...apparently someone must have put a noise ordinance out this year...how lame).

Anyway, end of Day 2. Exhausting once again, but so much fun.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

All set and ready to Flow!

So the weekend of Flow Festival was finally upon me and I was ready to go. This weekend I would definitely not skip any of the days I had faithfully paid for. At 130euros, I was going to get my full money's worth.

And I'm happy to report, I made it all three days.

...And it was amazing. And exhausting. And exhilarating. And completely, utterly, worth it.

I saw every artist I set out to see, plus some others that friends wanted to see that I'd never heard of. That's the beauty of festivals - you never know what you're going to see or do and discover. And it's wonderful.

So, Day 1. It's Friday, and after a very short day of free design lunch at work and failing to get to a design exhibition for a team outing (so instead we went out for drinks as my boss is in town and wanted to do something together, since all of my team is actually here in Finland except one...this is a very rare occasion indeed)...I went home, took a short nap, stuffed myself full of horse food round 2 (I'll write a post about that after I tell you all about Flow), and set out to Flow, Flow, Flow.

First off, I'll say right off the bat: whoever did the graphic design for Flow this year did a fabulous job. I was blown away by the colors, typography, and layout of the website, and the festival itself was no different. Whoever that person is, I would want to hire them for something, at some time. Gorgeous.

But I digress. I took a short metro ride with some friends to the festival and we were immediately swept into the utter festivus mood that is Flow. Hipsters surrounded us and we were engulfed in the sights, sounds, and smells of music...everywhere.

My first goal: to see Yann Tiersen.

After falling in love with his compositions for the Amelie soundtrack, I knew I wanted to hear more. Whoever this man was, I knew whoever could make up this kind of musical delight could only make more beautiful music. And I was not disappointed. His show was already started (by about 10 minutes) by the time I walked to the main stage, but it was wonderful. His compositions did not disappoint. And after listening to more of his stuff on Spotify this past weekend...his albums are definitely on my future buy list.


He had a violin solo that was particularly amazing and it only continued from there.

And this was just the start of amazing music to come.

We stayed in the main stage area to see Miike Snow, who put on a good show as well:


Before skipping to the Black Tent to check out Araab Muzik from the States and Four Tet + Caribou from the UK/Canada.


Araab Muzik was great - recognized a lot of their songs and had an amazing time dancing. It was also nice to be "inside" for awhile, as once again Finnish summer reared its ugly head and it was a blistering 9 degrees C outside (i.e. somewhere in the mid to high 40's F, otherwise known as "bullshit"). Amazingly, or maybe not so amazingly, it was a lot warmer just being around other people and underneath a vinyl tent. I will never again underestimate the power of plastics.

Four Tet + Caribou was unfortunately not very exciting, so we skipped out after awhile to get some food and meet up with other folk. We could hear from the main stage that Lykke Li from Sweden was playing, but alas she wasn't sounding too good either (rather mellow and ballad-like), so we passed and made the best decision of the night: we went to check out Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires.

As you could probably guess from the name, they're from the States. Think James Brown plus every awesome lounge singer you've ever met.



  • Yes, he was that 70-year old black man in the tight polyester suit covered in rhinestones. 
  • Yes, he did tell us that he loved us between every song. 
  • Yes, he did have the sweetest dance moves I've ever seen (minus Ghostland Observatory because he is still the fanciest dancer I've ever seen and probably will ever see...see link at bottom for example).
  • Yes, he did do a wardrobe change halfway through his show and change from a black suit covered in rhinestones to a gold lamé suit.
  • Yes, his background videos did involve red and white roses.
  • Yes, he did wear chunky gold rings.
  • Yes, he is called "The Screaming Eagle of Soul."
  • Yes, he did come down into the audience to hug people at the end of his show.
  • Yes, he did come back onto the stage after hugging people to talk about how it doesn't matter how small your dream is, because all dreams are love, so it's all good.
  • Yes, he did cry when he talked about all dreams being love.
  • Yes, it was the best show we saw that night.



Charles Bradley is what we would call "Smooth Magic," back at home. Ohhhhh yeah.

And that concluded Day 1 at Flow Festival. I think I got home around 3am. Man it was good. And there was so much more to come.

Fancy Dancer
Screaming Eagle of Soul

Monday, August 13, 2012

Word of the day

I was reading an article about paying attention (hilarious, I know), and stumbled upon a word I'd never seen before: enchiridion.

I quickly googled it (because what else would you do in this day and age), and it means, "a book containing essential information on a subject."

Fascinating. Pronounced, "en-kah-rid-ee-on."

Just goes to show, learn something new everyday. Thought I'd share that little tidbit of knowledge with you all. :)

tSH

pay attention

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Yes, I finally saw the film I have been waiting months for. And it was glorious. And in 3D.

I once again braved the 3D cinema and risked looking like a granny with the biggest sunshades ever. This time I was smart enough to hold them away from my face most of the movie though, so I didn't have a crushing headache by the end. YES, lesson learned. :)

The movie: absolutely just as awesome as I had expected it to be. I can't wait to read the book (which is waiting at my parents' house in the States for me). I have never been more proud of a president and his deeds (a complete exaggeration, but you get my point). Who knew that the conflict between the North and the South was really about vampires? It does make sense, if you think about it...if you pull in the stories Anne Rice has been telling for decades it really does all come together...it was only a matter of time before New Orleans was brought into the picture and all was told. Fantastic.

Abraham Lincoln...you've always been one of my favorite presidents, with your awesome stovepipe hat and all, but dang...you just climbed the ladder to basically the top. Not sure how anyone will beat you now.

This movie doesn't even get two thumbs up. It gets my silly peace sign of approval.


Totally worth my 12,50euros. Totally.

Friday, August 10, 2012

A Finnish red herring

...actually that's just a joke, it's really just herring.

This past Saturday I had dinner with a friend and we went to Ravintola Kannas, a more traditional Finnish restaurant.

Despite there being loads of crazy looking stuff on the menu (including kidneys, livers...bunches of things I'd never heard of but will one day no doubt try), I decided to go super traditional and go with what the waitress recommended.


In this case, the herring.

Baked to a crispy golden color in butter and stuffed with onions and dill, it was surrounded by mashed potatoes, pickled beets, and pickles. Doesn't get more traditional than that, I'd say.


Now, it's altogether likely that I've had herring before and just don't remember. I've had many types of fish I've never bothered verifying before consumption, so it's actually very probable that I've had this type of fish before and simply forgotten or just not known.

In either case, this is the first time I'm successfully recording and remembering it intentionally, so let's pretend for the sake of this post, that this is my first time trying it. Anyway, it's the first time I've tried it in the Finnish fashion, so that should at least count for something.

My verdict: tasty (as anything cooked in large amounts of butter always is), but a little scary. Herring, as far as I could tell, is one of those fishes where you eat all of the bones...whole. Though the bones are thin and hair-like, instead of thick and requiring you to pick them out of your mouth as you eat (which is what I was afraid of doing, as I was in slightly polite dinner company), it was a bit terrifying swallowing them as well. They tickled a little as they went down. I'll admit - it was a little less comfortable than I would have wanted.

Other than that, the taste and texture of everything else was wonderful. Pickled veggies were as they should, and mashed potatoes were glorious. Either I'm becoming too much of a European or this portion was abnormally large because I didn't actually finish everything that was on my plate. Perhaps it was the bones...anyway, I was satiated by the end of the meal.

And this dish didn't even cost me that much - 14,50euros at the end. I didn't order any drinks or extras, just drank carafe after carafe of water - wanting to make sure all of those bones washed down properly.

Overall, satisfying, though probably not something I would order again in the near future.

Thanks for the herring, but I'll likely stick to easier fish to fry.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Actual sunbathing

This weekend it actually got fairly warm. We're talking like...21-23 degrees C. That's pretty dec. The most dec we've had all summer.

Since I was feeling kind of down and I had no real plans, my girlfriend German K and I decided it was high time we used the beach near our respective apartments and do some serious sunbathing. Soak up some much needed vitamin D.

A few months back when my sister was visiting me, I found myself in a very embarrassing situation. As we were walking to dinner one of the nights, she looked down at my legs and said, "are you wearing nylons?", "no," I replied, "...why?", "because your legs are so pale!".

Oh yes, I'd become ghostly white. I don't know how it happens, but something in the air or the water, or something makes your skin actually get more pale here. This is an observed fact. Evidence to support:

  1. Finns are always extremely pale.
  2. The people who aren't Finns who have been living here for any amount of time have become deathly pale.
  3. Anyone who isn't from here who goes back home gets comments on how pale they are.
  4. My feet do in fact, look slightly cadaver-like.
Anyway, because of all these reasons, the beach is where we headed. Two days in a row. For some serious sunbathing.

Luckily this beach is only about 10 minutes walk from us, and is actually a sand beach. And is actually pretty clean. I consider this a win in many ways. But since the weather has been so bad lately and other factors...I wasn't able to take advantage of this until this weekend.

True to form I'm lame and forgot to take pictures, so you'll just have to bear with me. This is a picture from Google Maps of the beach we were at:


It is a lovely beach.

And I did in fact go into the water (which is the Sea of Finland). It was cold. I was a wimp because it was windy, and only went up to my knees. But I can say that I have been in the Sea of Finland now. And that's something. One of these days I will actually swim in it, since it's one of my life goals to swim in every ocean.

I found out a fun fact as well - remember that hilarious wooden proxy of myself I found on Suomenlinna? The seagull on the post wearing boots? Apparently this is what they put up to symbolize when there is a lifeguard on (or not on) duty. The seagull means there is someone on duty. Learn something new everyday. Apparently I mean safety. :)

Anyhoo, after two days of sunning myself I finally look like a sort of normal person again. Well, slightly. I look like I do normally in the wintertime in California. You do what you can, I guess.

Sure did feel good getting out in the sun after all these months!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Update: The Doritos are gone

Yes, it's true, I finished the bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos in...5 days.

That's actually pretty good, considering. You could look at it as holding out for 5 whole days, rather than snarfing the entire thing in less than a week. It's all about perspective.

There were entire days where I didn't eat a single chip...I...wait, no, that's actually a falsity. Sorry, redact that statement.

Anyway, it was good. Nay, it was fantastic. I didn't even get indigestion this time. And my LGN plan wasn't even derailed by that much. I just ran a little more yesterday and I felt right as rain...which was good, because it started pouring again last night, despite the awesome weather we had over the weekend.

Ah, taste of America...guess I'll just have to wait another several months until I taste you again. Or until I break down and buy a ridiculously expensive version of you at the supermarket. But I know it won't taste the same...since I'll know you're not technically the real thing.

Thanks again, Canadian M...for making me feel the little joys of home, here in Finland.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The taste of America

Recently my friend Canadian M came back from his month-long trip to Canada and the States. What did he bring back for me as a special treat?

Wait for it...

The holy mecca of States snacks. Something I know I will likely finish in the next three days despite horrible bouts of indigestion and a complete halt to my LGN plan...

it's...


Freakin' Nacho Cheese Doritos.

Yes, that unholy of holy snacks. God I love these things.

He once presented me with an open bag of Cooler Ranch Doritos (of the same size) as a thank you present for something I did for him and I inhaled them in less than two days (hence the historical reference to indigestion and horrid bloating due to over consumption of sodium).

Salty savory snacks are my eternal weakness. Nachos are just a subset of this category. Nacho cheese flavored snacks...uuuugggghhh...so dangerous.

I tried for as long as I could, to resist opening this bag...but...well, I only made it a few hours before tearing open the damned thing.

I can't help it! It's the taste of utter chemically-researched glory. I know this was engineered to be my best flavor friend. And man does it remind me of home. Glorious, delicious, savory home.

He even stressed to me that he had brought me a bag from the States, not Canada. Apparently there is indeed a difference. As a joke I said that it's because ours is made with more corn. And likely partially hydrogenated soybean oil. No one got my joke, but I still laughed.

Anyway...I will now be spending the weekend trying to keep myself from tearing this bag apart and then licking the insides of what I know will be a few steps backward in my LGN plan. But then again, everything in moderation including moderation, right? ^_~

Thanks Canadian M, for reminding me how delicious home really is.