Monday, December 21, 2015

Salad day

Helsinki, December 20, 2015—
THE LAST OF thirteen days in Scandinavia — how we've enjoyed this visit! The day was spent mainly riding trams, to get a feel for the dimensions and configuration of Helsinki, and to enjoy its architecture. A deep engagement with its undoubtedly notable restaurant scene was the furthest thing from our minds.

We had lunch in a typical restaurant in a typical downtown mall — little more than a food court, actually, though the ambience had clearly been considered as important as the cuisine. I suppose such places are a result of the professionalization of the hospitality industry — that was my impression after visiting the entertaining restaurant-and-hotel museum earlier in the day.

I ordered a Caesar salad, stipulating that I wanted it with neither chicken nor shrimp. The waitress seemed a little surprised: a "plain" Caesar salad wasn't on the menu. I suppose we can do that, she said, and came back a little later with the salad you see in the top photo. The romaine was chopped, as you see; and a quartered tomato perched on top, amid leaves of arugula; and there was little garlic and no anchovy to be found. But it wasn't bad.

House Sauvignon blanc
•La Grill Steakroom (sic.), Harman Foods Dv, Mannerheimint 18-20, Helsinki; 050 4387693
SINCE WE WERE taking a very early flight next morning we decided to check into this evening's airport hotel before dinner — and found, somewhat to our chagrin, only one possibility for dinner: a bar-"restaurant" at another hotel, across the street, in airport boondocks. There was nothing appealing on the menu.

I settled for a ham and cheese plate, and was served the combination you see in the second photo. One thing interesting: the very slightly cooked piece of fennel, brushed with Balsamic vinaigrette. Oh: and those little seeds, which I never quite identified, but I think they were a kind of pine nut I haven't otherwise encountered. A small slice of Gruyere, a cheese I particularly like; a thin slice or two of mock prosciutto, not unpleasant; a few leaves of lettuce.

Again: unmemorable Sauvignon blanc
•Ravintola Congress, Robert Huberin tie 4, Vantaa; 09 4157 7100
Restaurants visited in 2015 are listed at Eatingday's Restaurants (but not today's)

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