Wine review: Dopff Riesling Reserve

26 01 2013

Vintage 2011 Dopff Riesling Reserve ‘Cuvee Europe’ comes from Alsace, Dopff au Moulin vineyards, France. It is commonly available at Royal Ravintolat restaurants Teatteri, Strindberg and Salutorget, Helsinki Finland, which we regularly visit. Also have tasted this white wine quite often at those restaurants.


Pale yellow, acidity can be seen quite well in the glass


Fruits and raisin, some apple and petrol


Crisp dry taste, light petrol and herbs, acidity follows in after taste

Dopff Reisling Reserve

Facts & figures:

Alcohol: 12,5% by volume
Extract: 24 g/l
Acidity: 6,6 g/l
Energy: 80 kcal/100 ml (330 kJ/100 ml)
Closure: metal screw cap

Excellent wine for white fishes and shell fish. Suitable also for aperitif before good dinner. However favourite rieslings come from Austria and Germany.


Wine review: Hewitson Miss Harry

25 01 2013

Miss Harry comes from nick name of Harriet Hewitson, daughter of Dean Hewitson. Like the name, not too complicated. Wine comes from Barossa Valley, Australia.

Tasted vintage 2010 grapes are GRENACHE (44 %), SHIRAZ (39 %), MOURVÈDRE (8 %), CINSAULT (4%) and CARIGNAN (4%). Note: Alko is selling vintage 2010 but grape information is misleading, it is older vintage 2009.


The colour of 2010 Miss Harry is dark red; young vintage no hints of brown color


The aroma was quite difficult to describe, found red/black berries, spices and herbs. Because of grape selection really difficult task


The palate is full, showing ripe black berries and maybe plums. But again, amount of different grapes made the task difficult. The finish was long and fresh. However, wine that I liked.

Miss HarryHewitson Miss Harry

Facts and figures:

Alcohol: 14% by volume
Extract: 29 g/l
Acidity: 5,5 g/l
Energy: 90 kcal/100 ml (370 kJ/100 ml)
Closure: metal screw cap

Miss Harry is tasty red wine, suits perfectly for red meat. But grape selection opens up many food choises.


Taste of Italy

22 01 2013

As being fans of Italian food like to prepare basic Antipastis on monthly basis. This time these included Prosciutto Crudo, Salami Picante, Mozzarella di Buffala, Rucola and grilled Zucchini.

Antipastis were complemented with Chianti Baroncini in an old fashioned bottle which is available at Alko’s.


Had noticed earlier in our favourite supermarket Piadina flatbreads and decided to prepare them. Piadinas stuffed with mozzarella, prosciutto crudo and rucola are excellent snacks. Unfortunately flatbreads were glutein free and therefore did not work so well because they crumbled and were too thick. However, after warming very tasty reminder of holidays spent in Italy.


Grapes of Chianti were SANGIOVESE (85 %), CANAIOLO (10 %), MALVASIA (5 %). Suitable red wine for antipastis and piadina and even for pastas. Would not recommend for red or game meats.


Buon Appetito!

Restaurant review: Sundmans Krog

20 01 2013

Sundmans KrogSundmans Krog II

Opposite of the Old Market Hall are two restaurants with almost similar names, G.W.Sundmans and Sundmans Krog. However, difference is quite huge. Restaurant G.W. Sundmans used to have Michelin star but is still one of the most sophisticated restaurants in Finland.

Sundmans Krog is more laid-back restaurant with one speciality, fish buffet which you can order for starter or for main course. For main course it is maybe too modest, might need some additional dishes.

Fish buffet at Sundmans Krog

Because of a freezing weather (-15C degrees) had to get something warm to drink and were served rum and cassis toddies. No more mulled wines at this time of the year.

However started one menu with Sundmans Krog’s traditional fish buffet with dill potatoes. Potatoes were brought to the table and there were like just picked up but spiced salmon was too salty.

Fish plate

For main course ordered Salmon Wallenberg with Cauliflower and Remoulade sauce. Usually this traditional food is made from meat. Changed Cauliflower to vegetables which hopefully did not change ensemble. Delicious combination!

Salmon Wallenberg

For dessert some Sorbet with fruits because all other desserts included milk products. Simple but tasty.


One menu consisted of HELSINKI MENU with WINE MENU.

SAVUSTETTUA SILAKKAA, FENKOLIA JA KATAJANMARJALLA MAUSTETTUA LEIPÄÄ Smoked Baltic Herring, fennel and bread spiced with juniper berries. When waitress opened lid of the container, gray smoke rised from it with smoky smell, great experience!

Baltic herring

YLIKYPSÄÄ KARITSAN POTKAA, KUIVATTUA PUOLUKKAA JA “SÄRÄJUUREKSIA” Overcooked Lamb Shank with dried cowberries and roasted root vegetables. Really delicious, lamb melted in the mouth and you could have eaten it with spoon.

Lamb shank

“OMENAPIIRAKKAA”, VANILJAVAAHTOA JA VANILJAJÄÄTELÖÄ Apple Pie, Vanilla Foam and Vanilla Ice Cream. Too small portion for me! Could have eaten 4 of them because it was just so scrumptious

Apple pie


Riesling `L´, Dr. Loosen, Mosel, Germany – matched well with starter

Chemins de Compostelle, Antoine Moueix, France – Merlot was too strong grape for mild flavors in main course

Moscato, Gatti piero, Italy – apple pie did not need wine, just more pie….

Restaurant Sundmans Krog was popular despite of the freezing weather even at late lunch. Stockmann has offer menu for its regular customers and this offer seemed to be popular. Would change backgroud music from Glenn Miller to more classical music because of the old building and decor. Waitering was partly professional and partly uncertain depending on the waitress.


English menu has not been updated when it changed 1st of January.

If you get window table you can see Market Hall and Market Square.

Sundmans Krog window

15 BEST restaurants 2012 in Tallinn (Estonia)

19 01 2013
It takes only 2 hours to cruise to Tallinn, which makes it easy to visit there regularly. Nowadays there are lots of good restaurants in Tallinn, worth to visit for that reason.
Ranking below is made by Eesti Maitsed based on the votes of the key employees of various Estonian restaurants. Each voter compiles a personal list of 7 restaurants that he or she thinks are the best in Estonia. The voters must have visited these places and the list cannot include the voters’ employers or restaurants related to their personal property. List includes all restaurants in Estonia but I have picked up Tallinn restaurants.

Winner, restoran Tchaikovsky, definitely earns 1st place. It is part at hotel Telegraaf. We were impressed by it’s style, food and service. Restoran Ö has won 1st place 2009 and 2010 in Tallinn but still was really sophisticated year and a half ago but has lost several places. Both restaurants as well as Chedi, Bocca and La Bottega are owned by Sparkling Group

2. Chedi
3. Leib
4. Moon
5. Neh
6. Bordoo
7. Ribe
8. Bocca (

9. La Bottega
10. Dominic
11. Ö (below, visited 30.7.2011 but did not make review)

12. MEKK (

MEKKrestoran MEKK

13. Horisont

14. Cru
15. F-Hoon

Whole list can be found via link

Taste of Mexico

14 01 2013

Nachos and Fajitas, basic Mexican dishes, taste always delicious (if you like strong spices).

Basic elemens for perfect Nachos are Salsa sauce, Jalopenos, Creme Fraiche and Grated Cheese. More heavy you get if you add minced meat, chicken or peas. Mozzarella, although it is far from Mexican, suits perfectly for Nachos. 5 minutes in oven and you are ready to eat everything what is on baking tray. Therefore it is important not to make too big portion!

Of course you must sip Mexican beer like Corona or Sol with slice of lime.


Best Fajitas you make by using Chicken breast, red Onion, sweet Pepper, fresh Avocado, Salsa sauce, Creme Fraiche, Jalopenos and Tortillas. Have found really tasty Fajitas powder which quarantees our Fajitas are better than in restaurants. Guacamole is best to make yourself, it does not need anything else than avocado and some lemon juice in order to avoid darkening.


In Helsinki there are not actually really good Mexican restaurants. You can try Cantina West, so far best Fajitas eaten or Santa Fe, popular summer terrace now owned by S-Group as well as Amarillo’s. Hard Rock Cafe serves pretty good Nacho’s but without being too arrogant, think our home made Mexican Nacho’s and Fajita’s beat the ones in nearby restaurants.


12 01 2013

KUNGFU GIRL – what a name for a riesling wine!

First time tasted this wine in the summer 2012 during vacation and was not impressed. Propably bottle had been open too long because acidity was lost and it had not been stored in enough cold place. Also as a fan of really dry rieslings Kungfu Girl tasted too sweet (see sugar amount below).

Second time with asian food changed opinion. Enough well chilled and wine tasted already as a aperitif promising.

Wine comes from Charles Smith Wines, Columbia Valley. New wine producer made his succes really quickly winning prizes.

When local wine magazine Viinilehti, nominated Kungfu Girl as one of the three best white wines 2012 and finally selected it as a winner, wine ran out of Alko’s; very typical if wine gets some publicity in Finland.

Kung Fu GirlKung Fu Girl RieslingDSC03311DSC03314

Light yellow with some light green, close to colour of straw

Fruits, a hint of petrol but much more less that most rieslings

Some minerals and quite sweet fruits compared to drier rieslings, easy aftertaste

Facts and figures:

Alcohol: 11% by volume
Extract: 39 g/l
Sugar: 18 g/l
Acidity: 7,8 g/l
Energy: 80 kcal/100 ml (320 kJ/100 ml)
Closure: metal screw cap


Wine was promoted heavily at Food, Wine and Good Living event in October 2012. Do not try with white meat fishes or shell fish. Asian spicy food is perfect match!


Special restaurant review: Strindberg

10 01 2013

This review is special because we had the honour to dine at restaurant Strindberg at the same time with our President Sauli Niinistö and his spouse Jenni. When the presidential couple left, changed light nods with the president.

Also this is special review due to 1st anniversary of Strindberg was one of the first reviewed restaurants in 2012.

Restaurant Strindberg, cafe’s and bar are located in Gallery Esplanade (ex Kämp Gallery) at North Esplanade. At street level is internationally fashioned café, very popular among tourists as well as Helsinki citizens. Just sit down, if you find a table and wait to be served, there is table service available. Mari cafe is behind main cafe, you can use Marimekko dishes and see Marimekko textiles.

On the second floor there is Strindberg à la carte, where we had dinner which also was the first restaurant reviewed in Helsinki 2013. The atmosphere at this restaurant is urban, but at the same time pleasantly peaceful. Sometimes loud discussion might make hearing difficult. Remember to ask for window table when making reservation! On the 5th January Christmas lights were still on the trees at Park Esplanade.

Park Esplanad

Library bar has become a popular rendez-vous spot for many. Worth a visit too although you would not dine, because you can observe diners through glass window. For us most visited bar, if having glass of wine after shopping.


For starters had Toast Skagen and Chargrilled Arctic char tartare with horseradish crème fraîche, both very Scandinavian and Finnish dishes. At Strindberg you can always count on quality of Toast Skagen. Chargrill tasted suitably in Arctic char, really nice combination.

Toast SkagenArctic Char tartar

For main courses ordered Pan-fried lavaret, Puy lentils and beurre blanc with dill seeds and Braised veal cheeks with garlic and potato purée and thyme sauce. Instead of lentils asked for vegetables which was extremely succesful side dish for white fish. Cheek of veal was delicious because of long cooking time, really soft and crisp at the same time.

Cheek of vealWhitefhis

Desserts were French toast (Köyhät Ritarit) and Chokolate cake La Nègre and cardamom ice cream. French toast is traditional dish and sometimes it is still made at homes, actually quite easy. With add-on’s it makes your mouth drool, worth to try! Chokolate cake was served with fresh berries because we asked to leave ice-cream out.

Poor knightsCake

Food was excellent and overall grade gets good points because of location, decor and window view. Unfortunately this time service was not at the normal level either due to lack of personnel or tension due to visit of presidential couple. However, we got espresso, green tea and glass of grappa for free without whining. Proof of service attitude anyway.


Wine reviews: Gramona Xarel-lo and Cordillera Carignan

6 01 2013

This wine review is based on recommendation for cheeses by Copas y Tapas waiter when we had dinner there just before Christmas. Being conservative, cheeses need port wine or similar, this food and wine pairing was pleasant surprise.

After asking for sweet wine with the cheeses, which restaurant did not have, we were suggested to try wine from Gramona with Xarel-lo grape and Cordillera with Carignan grape by Miguel Torres (Chile).

Torres should be quite familiar to everyone but Gramona was unfamiliar to me. Gramona is family owned 125 year old wine yard in Penedes producing cavas and wines. Tasted wine comes from Font Jui site. Gramona also uses riesling in one of they white wines.

Because we were not so sure if red wine or dry white wine would be more suitable, decided to taste both.


Gramona’s red wine was dark ruby red with hints of purple on the edges. Cordillera white wine was light yellow, close to gold.


Gramona’s bouqet was quite sweet for dry white wine, some pieces of white fruits. Cordillera was warm and dense aroma reminiscent of spices and forests.


Most important thing was the perfect paring with the cheeses. If tasted separately these wines might feel too modest although they might be ok also separately.

Gramona had white fruit and some oak barrel taste. Sustained tartness, and pleasantly sharp white fruit finish with lasting aftertaste. Cordillera’s barrel ageing had added touches of vanilla and smoke. Although wine is quite strong, alcohol did not taste through.

We had Assortment of 5 cheeses: Manchego, Comte, Livarot, Gruyrere goat cheese and Ossay-Iraty. None of the cheeses were over salty or too greasy which were base for a perfect match to the wines. If one of the cheeses would have been blue cheese or really strong and greasy, more deep wine might have been needed.

Cheese plate

Facts and figures (Gramona):

Total acidity 4.6 g/l
Alcohol content 11.5% Vol.
Reducing sugars <; 2 g/l

Facts and figures (Cordillera):

Alcohol: 14 t-%
Extract: 33 g/l
Acidity: 5,5 g/l
Energy: 90 kcal/100 ml (380 kJ/100 ml)

These recommendations prove that restaurant Copas y Tapas service is professional also when it comes to wines. 4+ comes from pairing to cheeses. Note, Cordillera Carignan should be available at Alko.

REVIEW: OVERALL GRADE 4+/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK ++ / +++,Carignan,Syrah

Restaurant review: El Churrasco (Spain)

5 01 2013

Restaurante El Churrasco operates already in Las Palmas and was established at Gran Hotel Lopesan Costa Meloneras premises in August 2012. Succesfull move because original hotel restaurant was always empty and it seems to be that El Churrasco  is always busy.

El ChurrascoEl Churrasco

Dined twice at this restaurant, dinner and lunch. Review is combination of these experiences.

Starters at dinner were Gambas al ajillo and Croquetas. Both were delicious and fresh. Shrimps were perfeclty done, not too dry and croquettes right sized, in some places they are too big and therefore too soft.


Starters at lunch were Tomates rellenos and Jamón de Jabugo 5 Jotas. Filling in tomatoes were excellent and tomatoes itself were scalted; easy to eat. Jamon was tender, thought first it would be chewy when saw portion.

Stuffed tomatoesIberian ham

Main courses at dinner were pescados Lubina and Sole. Fish is only available at this restaurant, not in main restaurant in Las Palmas. El Churrasco is Steakhouse and focuses only on meat dishes. However tried fishes which were quite OK, but you might get more luxorius experience at real fish restaurant.

Sea bassSole

Main courses at lunch were Solomillo de Novillo Argentino and Pollo al limón. Fillet steak was ordered as medium but the thickness of steak made it too raw in overall. Chicken breast was a little bit dry. Otherwise well prepared dishes.

Fillet steakChicken

Desserts were at dinner Sorbete de Limón, could have been more soft like at Ambassador. At lunch Chocklate cake and Fresh Fruits  which were actually strawberries. Cake was scumptious and had to eat all of it. Strawberries were also enjoyable. These desserts can not be found at restaurant web site.

SorbetChocklate cakeStrawberries

Interesting detail was that restaurant had Riesling on wine list. Quite rare to get Spanish riesling but had to try. OK, but quite modest wine.


El Churrasco is in perfect location, remember to book window table. This also raises overall grade. The food also is good compared to many other restaurants nearby.



Restaurant review: El Senador (Spain)

4 01 2013

El Senador

Restaurante El Senador is situated by the Maspalomas beach and very popular at lunch time. Have visited El Senador several times since 2006.  Because of the location it is quite expensive compared to the restaurant facilities. Afternoon restaurant is always quite full both dining areas and bar.  Tapas have always been fresh and portions large; sometimes too salty.

For starters usually have Pimientos de Padrón fritos fried salted small green peppers, Ensalada de tomate y cebolla tomato and onion salad and of course Papas arrugadas con mojo picón boiled potatoes in salt water and spicy sauce and Pan con ajo, crujiente.

Mojo sauce is the best at nearby locations and potatoes always soft (not too dry and crusty). Too much too eat for two person if ordered with few other tapas at the same time.



Of course you have to order Pulpo a la gallega con pimentón de La Vera. Very tasty and crisp tapas but usually can be shared with 3-4 person if one of the tapas dishes.


El Senador is cozy place to sit for beer or glass of wine or even enjoy long lunch including Paella which is very popular at this restaurant.

REVIEW: FOOD 3,5/5 – SERVICE 3,5/5 – OVERALL GRADE – 3,5/5

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