A Jet Set Lifestyle: Flødeboller – Copenhagen

Or in English “chocolate covered marshmallow treats” at this point I’m not sure which is easier to say. Let me say these aren’t like stay puff marshmallows. These are soft, delicate, and don’t feel stale as you bite in.

Apparently flødeboller is a thing in Denmark. I did some research to figure out where to go. I picked two spots that were my first two destinations (after checking in to my AirBnB).

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I went over to Magasin which is where the classic are supposed to be one of the best. I wanted to bring some home for family they had a box of 12 mini classics so I bought that. While there I definitely wanted to try one. So I got a regular sized one that was basically a classic but the chocolate was then covered in coconut flakes. This place was basically a food Hall with mainly just multiple chocolate stands. It was basically a chocolate lover’s paradise. Unfortunately, seating was limited so I had to have my first taste of flødeboller while standing.

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This marshmallow was so fluffy it’s what I imagine biting into a cloud would be like. As I think back, I believe I had one in Norway last year, but from 7-11 which is not the idea place to try food for the first time. (Though I must say the 7-11s in Scandinavia are a step up from those I have seen in the states.) The marshmallow in Norway’s 7-11 was similar to the marshmallow I know in the states. So this one here was a lovely surprise.

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After that I headed over to Lagkagehuset which is a bakery chain and tried another I read about. First off this one was gigantic! At least double the size of the full size one I bought at Magasin. This particular one was covered with hazelnut on the outside. It had a water bottom to try to help support it’s massive girth but in the end did little in that regard. Biting into it the marshmallow was similar to that at Magasin But getting to the center I found a sweet treat. Caramel! And sweet it was indeed. Too to all the sugar and it’s size I realized I probably shouldn’t be eating the entire thing, at least not after already having one though smaller at Magasin

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In the end I think I liked the one from Magasin better. It was easier to handle due to size, it was less messy due to size, and it was less sweet due to size and no added caramel.

Everyone talks about Summerbird, but I actually did not try theirs. If you have, or if you’ve tried Flødeboller from Magasin, Lagkagehuset, or another I didn’t mention please do tell me your thoughts!

A Jet Set Lifestyle: Bæst – Copenhagen

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I do a ton of research on a city before I go. I like to make sure I’m seeing the sites and eating the best food, planning the best travel routes to optimize time and have extra time for unexpected things that may come up.

So as I did my research on places to eat Bæst popped up. A pizza joint? Being from 15 minutes outside of New Haven, living for a long time in New York City, and having visited my family’s roots in Napoli pizza is kind of my thing. I often deny myself the pleasure of pizza due to dietary concerns, but hey when in Copenhagen…. Wait that’s not right is it?

Anyway, I headed off to Nørreport to give it a shot.

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It’s off the main drag in the trendy Nørreport and on a small side street. They opened at 8 pm on the day I went and I arrived a little at 847 pm. It took about a minute for a gentleman to greet me. He returned a minute or so later to tell me he’d be right with me. I said okay, thank you.

Upon his return he asked how he could help me. I told him a table for one. He said he had nothing available that I could give my name, wait at the high counter, and have a glass of mine. He also advised me to hang my coat.

I hung my coat feeling uneasy about it. Granted Denmark is one of the friendliest countries in the world (I happened to read it lost the number 1 spot to Norway right before my visit, 2017.) but it isn’t without it’s stories of pickpockets. And not that I necessarily wanted to tip a coat check person because seriously how hard is your job? You take a hanger, place a coat on it, rip off half the ticket and give it to the person that just gave you said coat. Later you match those numbers and give the coat back. A child could do your job.But there’s a small layer of added security at least. I just don’t think I should tip for that and they should just be paid a living wage.   I’m getting off track, I kept my phone, keys, wallet, and camera on me and hung the only winter coat I took with me on the trip, hoping for the best.

I made my way over to the counter to wait. The same gentleman placed a drink menu in front of me. After about 5 minutes I got his attention and told him I couldn’t drink alcohol and asked if I could please have some water. He asked if I wanted still or sparkling and went with still. From there I waited.

It was probably about another 10 minutes or so until I had a table. A woman comes by and says, I have a table for you.” They seat in communal tables of 6. I was on the end. In the middle were two Asian girls and at the opposite end I learned very quickly two Americans. I sorry Denmark. One went on about he was a Doctor in New York but the two discussed being from San Francisco. So, from his looks and behavior I believe he is probably a resident doing rotations in the Bronx because he does not have the well practiced manners or grace of Manhattanites. At least not the UES types I’ve come to know in my adult years rather the the LES types of my youth. But I digress.

The woman that sat me comes back with a menu and explains it to me. She not so subtly pushes the tasting platter which I currently am unable to eat. It takes close to another 10 for her to come and take my order, chicken wings & a margherita pizza.

The gentleman from earlier comes back with a beer. I stare at it confused. He asks, “you didn’t order a beer”. I say no, he walks away. It gets worked out and we learn that it was a different Asian girl at the table. Awhile later he brings over polenta and starts explaining what it is. I tell him I didn’t order that. He takes it away. I sit for another 10 minutes or so and he comes backs and asks, all you ordered was the pizza? I say no, the pizza and chicken wings. He walks away. A little under 14 minutes later the wings are brought out by a second gentleman he explains they are made from a blend of their own spices.

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There were about 6 pieces in the order, a mix of wings and drums. They were much smaller than the overly processed steroid Terminator chickens back in the states. They were fine. Nothing to write home about (blogging is a different story). The spices were okay. I have a very high tolerance to heat, so I’m not the best judge as to weather they were really spicy or not. They weren’t saucy like a buffalo or BBQ, but they also weren’t like a dry rub, so I did appreciate that. As dry rub I find to be boring. I finish them quickly as I am starving by this point.

I sit and wait for my pizza. During my wait the Asians leave and I’m left with the loud Americans. They have the same woman server. They ask to speak with her manager. Guess who walks over? The very first gentleman. They then go on to please the fine service while I’m sitting there baffled by this conversation, not just because of the mistakes but because she hasn’t come to check on me once. Now I assume this conversation comes from the fact they wanted to do some ungentlemanly things with this young woman as again these Americans were loud and obnoxious and I heard it was their last night in town and I heard them rating women on a scale of 1-10 as they walked by outside, the highest I heard anyone get was a 7 by the way. It may sound like I’m a bit off track again, but here’s the thing, they went in for sometime and then the manger walked away. He was gone for a few more minutes before coming back to tell me my pizza was the next in the oven, so he walked right by me after his conversation with the Americans and didn’t say a word and continued to let me sit there. He could have given me a “I’m going to go check on your food now” or something.

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My pizza arrived about 15 minutes after my pizza at 9.55 pm. The sauce tasted fresh. It was tangy and acidic. It tasted like they fresh crushed tomatoes but added no other ingredients to the sauce. The mozzarella is made fresh daily there and was of a good quality. The dough was cooked to a little bit of burnt char on the underside in their wood fired oven. The ends of the pizza which I often hate as they are traditionally cheese-less and sauce-less weren’t hard and crunchy but chewy and more palatable to my mouth. The basil was fine. There was a good ratio between sauce, cheese, and dough with sauce and cheese being equal to each other and the dough being slightly less. I suggest letting the pizza cool slightly if you’re the type to pick it up and eat with your hands. Once I had finished my first slice of the personal pizza I realized on my second the dough cooled just enough to firm up slightly and make it much easier to hold the mozzarella and cheese.

I scarfed down my food as my appetite was not satisfied by the wings alone as I had gone in at 845ish hungry. I asked for my check the server apologized asked if she could get me coffee or tea I said no just the check I paid and left. Tipping is not required in Denmark but is for exteamley good service only. Needless to say I didn’t leave one.

Maybe I’m a dumb American who doesn’t understand the leasirely meals in Europe, I feel I get behind them in Italy as they are large affairs with various courses but when I think Pizza and wings I don’t think it should take over an hour, butagain, maybe just a dumb American.

All in all was the food worth the hassle? No. If you could go in and it was pretty dead and you could sit right away, and order right away, and the server staff isn’t overwgelmed sure go in and try a pizza. It was pretty good comparative to other areas not bring Italy, New York, or New Haven.

A Jet Set Lifestyle: Street Art Tour – Austin, TX, USA

Street art is big in a lot of cities across the globe, Austin is no different. Throughout the city you can see the work of many artists. Some of these works of art have become quite famous. During my brief time in Austin Stephen and I were able to check out a couple of the murals. Located at 1720 S. First Street, on the southern exterior wall of Roadhouse Relics is the Greetings from Austin mural. Only about a 12 minute walk away (.6 miles) you can find the I Love You So Much mural on the side of Jo’s Coffee located at 1300 S Congress Ave. Amy’s Ice Cream is across the street. I had wanted to check out the You’re My Butter Half mural but it was out of the way from where I was. But if you get a chance to get over to 2000 E Martin Luther King Jr Blvd check it out, it’s cute!

 

A Jet Set Lifestyle: Mount Bonnell – Austin, TX, USA

Mount Bonell is a hike in Austin that is fairly easy. If you take the path it could be a bit steep at points but they also have a route that is all stairs. The stairs can get tiring but it’s possible to break when necessary. Once you get to the top you get to an overlook of Lake Austin. For a few minutes you can forget you are in a city at all. Stephen and I headed up shot some photos and we’re back down in less than an hour. So it’s not a long Imb to the top by any means. It is a bit on the outskirts of Austin but still worth taking the time out to check out. As with an hike, even these short ones, inform someone of where you are going, bring a way to communicate for help, and drink/bring plenty of water. Below you can check out some photos from my hike.

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A Jet Set Lifestyle: The Cake Boss – NYC

So Carlo is from Jersey. He got famous with his show The Cake Boss. He opened up a store front in Times Square New York City. The line is always really long. But today I had two hours to kill near Times Square and was in the mood for sweets. So I braved the crazy and headed over. All in all from getting in line to eating it was 20 minutes.

I’m sure many of you won’t take my word for it, but this place is not worth your time or money. I promise you, you have better things to do with both.

I got the chocolate hazelnut cupcake. The yellow cake was tasteless. The frosting was I think supposed to be chocolate but was bland and tasted like it was at least a day old. There was a dollop of a Nutulla style hazelnut spread in the center of the frosting and it was really the only taste of hazlenut thought the entire cupcake.

It cost $3.81 including tax, but even for that price, please skip it.

A Jet Set Lifestyle: Local foods Part VII Amy’s Ice Creams Austin, TX, USA

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While beginning my research on Austin, TX I came across one of my favorite things– Ice Cream and Gelato! Apparently they have quite a scene for both. One that popped up multiple times was Amy’s Ice Cream.

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On Amy’s Ice Creams’ Official website it states that Amy’s Ice Creams was “established in 1984, Amy’s handcrafts artisan super premium ice creams, dairy-free fruit ices and frozen yogurt! Home of the world famous Mexican Vanilla Ice Cream. With over 350 flavors in rotation your every visit will be a new flavor adventure! We’ve grown up in Austin, Texas and now have shops in Houston and San Antonio!”

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According to Yelp Amy’s Ice Cream has 4 stars. I myself would probably give it 3 stars. It was good, but it wasn’t great, and it certainly was not the best I ever had.

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I visited the Amy’s Ice Creams at 1301 S. Congress in Austin on January 1, 2017. I got the Zilker Mint Chocolate as I unfortunately didn’t know about the Mexican Vanilla being what Amy’s Ice Creams was known for. The ice cream didn’t taste as fresh as I would have expected and seemed like it was perhaps a couple days old. It didn’t seem as if it were very creamy. It’s a stand that has a cute atmosphere for sure, but isn’t a place I’d go running back to anytime soon.

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A Jet Set Lifestyle: Local foods Part VI – Torchy’s Tacos Austin, TX, USA

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I stopped into Torchy’s Tacos on the morning of Saturday December 31, 2016.  My travel companion on this trip and I went to the UT location located at 2801 Guadalupe St in Austin, Texas on our way to the Bullock Texas State History Museum.

I have long heard about the breakfast tacos in the south and when a friend currently living in NYC by way of Austin, Texas told me to try Torchy’s Tacos I decided my search for where to have breakfast tacos was done and I would check this place out.

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Through a little research I learned that Torchy’s was originally a trailer and now had multiple locations not only in Austin but acorss Texas and a few other states as well.

According to The Dallas Observer Torchy’s Tacos “first opened in August 2006, the original Torchy’s Tacos outpost was a patina-ed trailer watched over by a devilish cupid. It’s still parked in the South Austin (at South 1st*) trailer-park food court and joined by five other locations, the latest in North Dallas.”

A further update from Everipedia says that Michael Rypka aka Torchy “first attracted customers by (hopping on his scooter and handing out free chips and his award-winning salsa*) and invited them to his establishment. When they tried his Tacos they replied that they were “Damn Good,” and the motto stuck to the Torchy Taco’s brand. Today, Torchy’s Tacos operates 30 stores and a food truck in Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado.”

According to the official site “The first menu was filled more with experiments than meals. So whenever Mike heard his customers holler “damn these tacos are good!” they were added to the menu.”

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I ordered a #2 Breakfast Taco which is potato, egg, and cheese as well as a #5 breakfast taco which is potato, pinto or black bean, and cheese.

On both you can decide the sauce and if you want a corn or flour tortilla. I did corn on one, and flour on the other. They actually did not ask me about the type of sauce I wanted. I did black beans on the #5 and added green chilies to both ($.25 extra per taco.)

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My travel partner, got 2 #5s with pinto beans.

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We both enjoyed our breakfast tacos, but overall I wouldn’t say it is a must visit. Next time I am in Texas I would prefer to check out some other taco joints and see what they have to offer. I personally have a high tolerance for spice and didn’t find them he least bit spicy. My travel partner didn’t use the sauce they gave him for his tacos and so I used his as well as mine. They had an okay flavor, but they were definitely fast food style and the shells were a bit wilted (I understand they are soft shell tacos, but they was a bit much). I feel they could have been stuffed a bit more as I do believe I could have easily eaten a 3rd. But then again, I do have an appetite.

I’d say if you have a few days and can check out multiple spots, sure, add Torchy’s to the list, but if you don’t have a lot of time, skip it and find something else.

But the price wasn’t bad. 4 tacos, 2 with added green chilies, 1 coffee, and 1 orange juice was a total of $16.16.

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A Jet Set Lifestyle: Local foods Part V – New Haven Style Apizza at Modern Apizza New Haven, CT, USA

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So we all know pizza comes from Italy, more specifically Napoli. But here in America we have some well known pizza hubs, New York City (and for whatever reason) Chicago deep dish. But if you’ve watched any travel channel or any cooking channels (and I assume if you are reading this, you must have at least a bit) you have probably heard of New Haven style apizza.

New Haven style (as well as New York style) is based off of the style straight out of Napoli, but obviously there are differences between the three (they wouldn’t all be called different styles otherwise now would they?). First off New Haven pizza is called Apizza which according to Thrillist is pronounced “ah-beets” and is derived from the dialect of the people who settled in the New Haven area from Italy. And do you know what area of Italy that is? Napoli of course 🙂 Fun fact: (Something that Thrillist is wrong about, or they need to update their article with new information.) The Neapolitan “dialect” is not a dialect at all and is considered Italy’s second national language according to UNESCO (and a tour guide I met in Napoli). According to Thrillist New Haven pizza is distinct because of the New Haven water quality, the dough’s long fermentation, and the coal-fired ovens. New Haven apizza has a thin crust, lots of char, tangy tomato sauce, and sometimes cheese. According to Wikipedia in a New Haven-style pizzeria, a “plain” pizza is crust, oregano, and tomato sauce with a little bit of grated pecorino romano cheese sprinkled on. Mozzarella, “mootz”, is considered to be a topping; a customer who wants it must ask for it. It tends to be drier and thinner than, but closely related to, traditional New York style pizza.

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Chicken

My father is 2nd gen American but all four of his grandparents are from around Napoli. I’ve spent time trying various pizzas in Napoli (Brandi is my favorite thus far) and New York City. But growing up about 30 minutes outside of New Haven, I have come to know the New Haven style well. Everyone will talk about Pepe’s which has topped many lists for best pizza in America. But then there are the Sally’s purists, and those that love bar. Trust me all will have their day on this blog. But today, today we talk about my favorite, Modern Apizza.

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Hot peppers, onions, and broccoli

Modern founded in 1934 is just a short drive from Wooster St (the Italian section of New Haven where you will find Pepe’s, Sally’s, and Libby’s pastries) over on State Street. The dough at Modern is the usual thin style with a chewy texture. They are known for their Italian Bomb pizza which is bacon, sausage, pepperoni, mushroom, onion, garlic, and peppers. At Modern they use a wood-fired stove and their apizzas come out in an uneven round shape cut into wedges. Other pies to try at Modern include the Clams Casino, (Clams, Bacon & Peppers) and Pizza Margherita. FYI: Pepe’s invented the “white clam pie.” so if you are doing a tour of New Haven apizza joints you may want to save that one for Pepe’s.

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Half clam, half pepperoni

Read the full Thrillist article.

Read the full Wikipedia article.

Read more about New Haven apizza at Eater

A Jet Set Lifestyle: Merriman Christmas House in Torrington, CT

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Torrington is a small often overlooked town about 30 miles west of Hartford, CT. But one family, the Merriman have been transforming their house into a wondrous Christmas display for the last 35 years (As of 2016). You may have seen Christmas light displays before, but I don’t it’s hard to come by something quite like this, at least in the state of Connecticut on private property.

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My aunt who we would visit every Christmas Eve during my childhood lives about 3 blocks away from this house, and so it was an annual pilgrimage to the Christmas House every year.

Not only will you see thousands of lights across his lawn and house, you will also hear Christmas music playing and see 100’s of animatronic displays on his lawn too. But that’s not all! If you get there during open house you can actually GO INSIDE THE HOUSE where you will find 100’s more animatronic dolls, trains, knick knacks and various other Christmas displays as you wind your way up and down the stair cases to each level of the house. (Please don’t those without the ability to walk will be unable to go inside as it is not handicapped accessible.)

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On your way out you will be greeted by hot chocolate and a final donation box. All of this is free but donations are kindly accepted. By ready to possibly have to wait in line to enter the house, so dress warmly and since the house is on main street be careful with your children and car traffic.

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The address is: 258 Main St, Torrington, CT USA

Hours(as of this writing Dec 2016): Inside from 6 pm to 9 pm. Outside: 6 pm to 11 pm