Food Art: Mondrian Sandwich

Mondrian Sandwich

Mondrian Style Sandwich

As I’m based in The Hague, the city where De Stijl, an art movement where Mondrian belonged to, was born I had to share this idea with you.

Via Low-Commitment Projects.

5 Tips for Visiting Vienna in Luxury

Vienna-XMass-MarketThe Rathaus (City Hall) Christkindlmarkt (Chrismas Market) in Vienna

1 General
Over 40 years I visit Vienna almost annually. Hence I may have visited it over 40 times already. I may be biased, but for me Vienna is the number 1 city destination, especially around Christmas. It has a lot of Old World charm and elegance.
When I checked my Vienna category here, I noticed I had only one post labeled correctly with Vienna, while I have mentioned it in over 30 posts.
So it’s about time to cure the huge omission of not having written about Vienna in detail with tips and so. As one of my travel blogging friends will heading there I’ll rather do it now than later, to be able to help her a bit. Because I have so much material, it certainly will take several posts.
As Vienna has one of the best tourist sites at Wien.info, you should always check it out before you visit Vienna. You can even link through very easily to order theater tickets online or make restaurant reservations via its Search and Book widget at the right.
It may also be an idea to look for free audio/video tours at Itunes. I found this one, but haven’t checked it out yet.

City Airport Train (CAT)The Vienna City Airport Train or CAT

2 Getting There
Traveling by air you’ll most likely arrive at Vienna’s Airport which is located south of the Danube river between the little town Schwechat and the village Fischamend and only approximately 15 miles due east from the city.
From there the best connection with the city center is the City Airport Train (CAT) follow the signs. Traveling with the Cat you’ll end up in the city center and if your hotel is in the city center (roughly in the neighborhood of the Ring), it is somehow easy to reach walking from the CAT city terminal. It is also good to know that you can check your luggage in there for your return flight. Especially handy when you have a late flight back and want to do a bit of last minute shopping. You can check your luggage in in the morning and don’t have to return to your hotel. Before you get on board of the CAT it is maybe handy to buy a public transport pass for several days.

Vienna tram with Christmas decoration at the KarlsplatzEven the trams have Christmas decorations in Vienna

3 Public Transport
Vienna has a tightly knit net of bus and tram lines. As it spreads across the city like a spiderweb, it is not always easy to find the right connections.
Vienna is one of the last cities that has realized a small metro network which means it is fast and efficient. When I’m not using my car I use the metro, or U Bahn in German.

Style Hotel Vienna with Café CentralLeft Café Central, Fiakr in the middle and the entrance of the Style Hotel in Vienna right

4 Hotels
Austrian Hotels are usually very good and Vienna has many good and also more affordable hotels, but my favorite hotel is the Radisson Sas Style hotel. It is right in the center, two steps away from the “Goldene Meile” (the Golden Mile) shopping area of the Kohlmarkt and from the Graben. It is close to the Royal Palace and various theaters and museums. It is opposite Café Central where you can have a better breakfast for less than that in the Hotel. When you are on a shopping spree, you can drop your finds underway while shopping. It is not too big with 75 rooms and the personnel is very friendly. I find it really nice to hear the “clippediclack” of the horse hoofs and their echoes through the streets early in the morning, because one of Vienna’s great tourist attractions, the Viennese Fiakrs or horse carts that do the tourist routes from the Stephans Dom, always come along this hotel on their tours.

Café Landtmann in ViennaLandtmann

Sacher Torte!

Elephant Decorating at Demel ViennaElephant Decorating at Demel Vienna

5 Coffee, Coffee, Coffee and Cake!
Vienna is all about Coffee and Cake. They practically invented the Café and have maintained the old Café traditions throughout. A Konditorei is more of a cake selling shop or pastry shop where they serve coffee and tea and lunch as well. Usually the Konditoreis are less relaxed than the cafés, but usually they offer better quality (the ultimate quality) cakes.
Some of my favorites are:

  • Café Central off course
  • Restaurant Café Landtmann, just opposite the City Hall.
  • Hotel Sacher. It has its own café and on your first visit to the city it is a must to taste their very own world famous Sacher Torte.
  • At Dehmel you should try and find a place in the back (you’ll have to go through a door in the back of the shop with coffee bar) in front of the huge glass separation with the kitchen where you can follow the decorating of the wonderful cakes they make.
  • Oberlaa, Neuer Markt 16, Konditorei & Restaurant is one of our faves as well.
  • In summer you shouldn’t forget to visit the Café in the Gloriette, a pavilion in the Garden of Schloss Schoenbrunn.

More to follow.

Cake Cam

Cake Cam

Just a little Intermezzo. Recently there was a short twitter discussion between a British Apple Pie lover @Mikeachim and an American Cake Guru @nerdseyview about the question whether a pie is or is not the same as a cake. For me the internet is all about association. So I devote this post to those two and to the lady who published this Cam Cake on Flickr and apparently left Flickr afterward as a Self Confessed Diaper Changer Extraordinaire.

And before I forget, my friends of Freshome inspired me to this post.

10 Questions for (34): Ellie Brik – a prolific Dutch travel writer

Ah, and here is another real travel writer and not-so-frequent-blogger to introduce to you:

1) Who Are you?

I am Ellie Brik and I was born many many years ago in Rotterdam. About 10 years ago I wrote for publisher Mo’Media in Breda (www.momedia.nl) my first book “52 zondagen wandelen & lunchen” (52 Sunday walks and lunches) which was very successful (100.000 copies and on the Top 100 list of best sold books in 2002). I’ve written 12 guidebooks up to now. All about the good life: visiting lovely towns and villages, having great lunches and dinners, and staying in the best hotels.

2) What do you like about what you do?

When I am working every day is a holiday. After all these years I am still surprised by all the beautiful cities in Holland, Belgium and Germany which I visit for my job.

3) What don’t you like about what you do?

I don’t like the traffic, so I try to avoid it by leaving my house early in the morning.

4) Please tell us all about your blog and your aims with it.

With my blog http://elliebrik.web-log.nl I love to combine private and business matters.

5) Your top 3 destination experiences you’ve ever stayed to date and why?

Although it is not my favourite drink: having tea at the Ritz hotel in Paris (just passing by), the Amstel hotel in Amsterdam (seeing rich friends who spent 3 nights in a royal suite) and hotel Des Indes in The Hague (writing an article about the hotel, see below). And last but not least the trip with my two daughters to Berlin in September 2009. We had a lovely high tea at the Adlon Hotel (www.kempinski.com) in Berlin after biking the whole day through this beautiful city.

View from the Adlon terrace on the Brandenburger Tor in Berlin [been there too Ellie:-)]

6) Your top 3 accommodations you’ve ever stayed to date and why?

For a Belgium magazine I wrote an article about Hotel Des Indes (www.desindes.nl) in the Hague. I enjoyed afternoon tea, stayed one night and had a lovely breakfast. Because I live in the Hague I traveled by bike!

For an other article in the magazine Hotels of Mo’Media I ‘had’ to stay at the Bliss Hotel (www.blisshotel.nl) in Breda. I’ll never forget the strawberries, chocolate and champagne which I found in my room after a lovely dinner in their restaurant Chocolat.

In February 2010 I shared a room with my best friend in hotel Duo in Paris (www.duo-paris.com). He is the rich guy who always stays in the most famous hotels in the world, but he had to admit that breakfast at a large wooden table at Le Pain Quotidien (www.lepainquotidien.com) is not bad at all.

7) Your top 3 most memorable food / wine experiences to date and why?

The best shrimp croquettes in Belgium on the terrace of Zuiderterras in Antwerp (www.zuiderterras.be) with a fantastic view on the river Schelde.

A perfect sandwich at the roof terrace of the Kurhaus Museum in Cleve, Germany (www.museumkurhaus.de) with a fantastic view on the historical park.

A glass of white wine at The Walvis (www.walvis.org), a beach restaurant on the island Terschelling, with again a fantastic view on the Waddenzee.

8) Your 3 worst destination/ accommodation /food experiences to date and why?

My stay in a bed & breakfast in Belgium, where the owner gave me the wrong room. I was a bit surprised by the heart of rose leaves on my bed, the many candles around my bed and the present which appeared to be a bottle of man’s perfume. But at 23.00 hrs when I was deep asleep a young Belgian couple opened the door with a key and the lady was furious about the fact that I had thrown the rose leaves away and opened her present for her lover. The owner of the B&B who came in a hurry, let me stay in my bed and the young couple got a room next to me. I could hear them yelling for half an hour!

My stay in a hotel in Friesland, where I got a single room which looked more like a prison cell with very thin walls. In the middle of the night I heard my neighbours entering their room, screaming because a pigeon was under their bed and did not want to go out.

My stay for three days in a hotel in Nijmegen where I got three breakfasts and three dinners served at a single table opposite the single table of an Englishman. Everytime I looked up I looked into his eyes….

9) Can you offer the readers 3 destination/ food / accommodation / things to do tips about the city you are currently living in?

Try the shrimp croquettes at Dendy (www.restaurantdendy.nl),
the Caesar salad at Oker (www.restaurantoker.nl),
both at the Denneweg in the Hague, and the fusion kitchen of Wox (www.wox.nl).

Stay at the Haagsche Suites (www.haagschesuites.nl), the best in town,
at Hotel des Indes (ask for a room with a view on the LangeVoorhout), or
at the Paleishotel (www.paleishotel.nl)

Visit the Gemeentemuseum (www.gemeentemuseum.nl),
the Mauritshuis (www.mauritshuis.nl)
and the Panorama Mesdag (www.panorama-mesdag.com)
all three a must.

10) Any Question(s) you’d expected me to ask that you would like to answer?

What are you doing at the moment?

In August, October and December 2010 I’ll write a four pages article for the magazine “Heerlijkheid”, published by Mariënwaerdt in Beesd (www.marienwaerdt.nl), it’s all about the good life in The Netherlands.

My Take:

For English language guide books 100.000 copies sold may seem nothing, but I believe it is the equivalent of selling 10 mio copies in the English language…And MoMedia guides are very handy, short and to the point!

Although we live practically around the corner from each other, I hardly meet Ellie ever when shopping, which is strange as we seem to share the same preferences. Just when I was editing the interview of Patrick Goff, who wrote the first full English language review of Haagsche Suites, I ran into Ellie who wrote the first ever Dutch review for a guidebook of Haagsche Suites.

Ellie with a Galerne Baguette

We met at our favorite Breton (France) patissier Philippe Galerne here in The Hague from whom we both love the bread, the chocolate and the cake. I’ve a feeling we now will meet soon again. Thank you for your cooperation Ellie!
Update: You can find Ellie on Twitter now: @EllieBrik
Last edited by GJE on June 15, 2010 at 1:30 pm

Best Xmas Turkey

Nude-Turkey-_MG_2916
Frequent readers of this blog know I like to play around with words and search engines. So I have tagged above photo “Nude Turkey”. BTW nothing so depressing as the view of a nude turkey 🙂

We have some British subjects in the family and usually have visitors from across. Last year it was the same and off course turkey was on the Xmas menu. Last year’s turkey was excellent, but I forgot how I prepared it. Luckily one of last year’s guests remembered we had used Delia Smith’s guidelines and came up with a very helpful link How to roast turkey.

Turkey-with-Coppa-_MG_2919

Then I realized I had forgotten to buy streaky bacon rashers. After inspection of the fridge I found some Coppa (Italian dried ham), even better than bacon I would think.
Buttered-up-Turkey-_MG_2920

Next problem was the butter, that was much too hard to easily spread over the beast. So I found a roll of salted butter that I cut in parts and really buttered the turkey up!

The tricks are:

  1. Wrap it in aluminum foil, butter it up and cover it up with bacon (or coppa or whatever is alike)
  2. First 1/2 to 3/4 hour in the oven with high temperature (approx 220°C)
  3. Then 3 to 4 hrs at approx 170°C
  4. Finally you take the foil down and let it get crispy in 1/2 to 3/4 hr at approx 220°C again

Best-Turkey-Ready-_MG_2925

The end result was fabulous again! Nice crispy and juicy! Thanks Delia. I wrote it into this blog to not forget your secrets next year.

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