Friday, April 30, 2010

Sweden Week: Day 5

Since it's my last day posting about Stockholm (yes, I will post about a couple of other places in Sweden, so it isn't "Stockholm Week"), I need to put in some of my favorites that just didn't make it into the other posts.
Favorite restaurant in the world.  P.A.&Co.  Yes, it really is my favorite.  I think I could eat here every night.  I'm not sure why it's so magical, but it is.  In fact, I randomly met a woman at a party who said that she had gone to P.A. with her family (two small kids!), after reading about it in Cookie, and it really made their whole trip.  There's just something about the staff, who are cool, but also super warm...the space is cozy, but not too much...and the food is exactly what I want to eat, no matter what mood I'm in.  There is no set menu, but they have a chalkboard up every night, with what's being served that night, and it's always inspired by what is in season, with influences from Sweden, Asia, the Mediterranean, and the U.S., and others. We had a nettle soup there once that was so good, but I also remember having an outrageous cheeseburger. We always went there with Clara, and the staff was really sweet with her, and she loved whatever we ordered.
Favorite area to walk around: Gamla Stan.  I love the old town. It's pretty small, and we would just meander for hours, in and out of little shops, antique stores, and cafes. Check out the Stockholms Stadsmission, which is their version of the Salvation Army--but they have fantastic Swedish finds, for pretty close to nothing. My husband is going to kill me for telling you that. We ate at this lovely restaurant, Den Gyldene Freden, which is apparently the oldest restaurant in the town, dating back to 1722.

Best shopping for Mom and Dad: Filippa K. I loved this store so much, but maybe now that there's Uniqlo, I wouldn't love it as much. It's very basic, cool, minimal, and chic. Mostly black, grey, navy, and khaki colors. I just read that they've opened a Second Hand that might be worth visiting.

Best shopping for kids: I love Polarn O. Pyret, which I always think is called POP, but it certainly isn't, when you're trying to Google it. I see they now have their line available on a U.S. website, but I still think that going to their shops is great.  They have kid play areas, and they even have stroller ramps in the store. The best thing to get there is their raingear. The Swedes know raingear--get the rainpants, and the raincoat, and get them extra big, so your kids will have it for a long time. I also like their socks. Most of the socks have the little rubber dots on the bottom, so they don't skid. (It's on Hamngaten Rd.)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sweden Week: Day 4

As promised, I am doubling up on my posts today.  I was discussing with my friends how expensive Stockholm can be, and a smart way to cut down on the biggest cost is to rent an apartment, or to do a home exchange.  Check out this apartment I just found on Home Exchange:
And look at this one!
Okay, this is my last one...but I could keep going...there are so many good ones.  The thing you have to know to look for is when they (the family who has the house/apartment you like) want to travel, and if they need to do it at the same time as you need to.  Home Exchange costs around $10 a month to join, and then you can start emailing with the owners. Now, if I have this wrong at all, let me know...because I am just reading that off the site--I haven't actually done an home exchange myself.  I have a friend who does it all the time, and has never had a bad experience, with people in her house, or in the homes they've stayed in. I am thinking that I need to look into this for a late August trip to Greece!
Here's the last listing for the night!

Sweden Week: Day 3

I'm a day late on this, but I'm going to make it up, I promise. So, here was my favorite park in Stockholm, Humlegarden. It's in the Ostermalm area, with has huge grassy areas where kids can run, a gated children's area which was perfect for a 3 year old, a climbing wall, and apparently also a skateboard ramp.  Check it out...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sweden Week: Day 2

Rather than wax on about what to do in Stockholm, I'm just going through my pictures, and my notebooks, and give you the list of what we loved the most (and not everything in this one post--I have save something for the rest of the week)...
The Royal Palace: watch the changing of the guards, and then the kids can play dress-up in the Royal Armoury.
The Vasa Museum: a ship that sunk right in the harbor, and was dug up and still so well preserved, that they turned it into a museum.  Awesome.
These are my cards from the places I really loved...of course they are probably way too small and annoying to try and read, so I'll give you the greatest hits:

If you need to rent a stroller: Bonti rents them by the day. We picked one up at the store, and then they picked it up from our hotel.

Best Food Court Ever: Ostermalms Saluhall.  It's an indoor market with some great restaurants, the best being Lisa Elmquist, a fantastic seafood restaurant.  You must order the skagen--which is something like a shrimp salad on white bread.

Tuss: really classic, simple lines, kid clothing line.

Asplund: nice shop with the best in Scando design.

Skeppsbron32: kids shop that had the coolest modernist doll house, made by Lundby.

Ecovarhuset: where to pick up organic diapers, organic shampoos, creams, etc...they also have a whole line of chic organic clothes.

Androuet: great cheese store. 

Ohlssons: fabric store that had waxed linen in white, black, and natural, for cheap--and we bought it for our outdoor tablecloth.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sweden Week: Day 1

(I am pretty sure that's the Grand Hotel in the background, but do correct me if I'm wrong!)
Some of my dear friends are going to Sweden this June, and are travelling with their kids.  I've promised them I would pull up all of my notes from my two trips there, and I think I will have enough to fill out a whole week.  I think they are spending most of their time in Stockholm, and at least one of the families is staying at the Grand Hotel.  Great choice, as long as you aren't expecting a small boutique hotel--it's big, and can require some patience at check-in (I remember when we checked in on a Saturday, there were lines just to check in), but once you are sorted out and in your very comfortable room, it's fantastic (beds are Hastens, and try to book a room in the new wing--very soundproofed).  The restaurants (there are two) at the hotel are done by Mathias Dahlgren, one of the most prominent young chefs in Sweden. We went two nights in a row to The Food Bar/Matbaren. It's the more casual of the two restaurants (both of them designed by Ilse Crawford , founding editor of British Elle Decor), and the menu is very Swedish, simple, and smart. The hotel is in a very central location, so it's easy to wander around right from there.  
(skansen even has rides and carousels)
Day One in Stockholm, you must hit Skansen, on the island of Djurgarden, which is a living history museum, park, zoo, with over 200 historical Scandinavian homes and buildings that you can wander in and out of. Woven into the park are areas that have native animals, but it doesn't feel like a typical zoo--it seems like they just belong there.  And there are amazing restaurants, shops, and workshops. You can watch them making candles, spinning wool, making butter...and then you can buy the things they are making.  We bought some great pottery, and fantastic candies with perfect packaging. The gift shop at Skansen has a great edit--and is a perfect place to pick up presents for home.
(this is the Konsum (co-op) shop, from the thirties)
 It's also right next to Junibacken (I did a post on this a couple of weeks ago), the theme park that honors Astrid Lundgren, the author best known for her character and book, Pippi Longstocking. And it's also nearby Rosendals Tradgard , one of my favorite places in the world--a garden that has a fantastic organic cafe.  Make sure to buy a cookbook from the Rosendals Tradgard .  Even if you can't read a word of it (maybe they've translated it from Swedish by now?!), it's worth buying and bringing back--it's so beautifully photographed and laid out.
(delicious restaurant, Cafe Pettisan, in Skansen)
(some of the traditional Scandinavian houses at Skansen)

Friday, April 23, 2010

More on LA

My husband is going to Nashville next week, and I just saw on his computer screen that he was reading a post that GOOP did on Nashville. I sometimes forget to look at GOOP, but when I do, I'm always interested in everything she writes about. So I scrolled down, and saw she had done a big post on where to eat in LA, and I think it's a good one to know about, because the selections are great.  There's everything from the best Korean taco truck, to old school Italian place in Bev Hills, to the great organic sushi place on Abbot Kinney, Shima.  I'm going to go get out my Moleskin LA notebook right now, and write down every one of her suggestions.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Farmers Market LA

I'm not talking about 'a' farmers market....I'm talking about the Original Farmers Market...the one that's been around since 1934, and is completely caught in time, provided you cover your eyes when you pass the outdoor mall (The Grove) that's right next to it.  I love this place.  I hadn't been in a while, but I brought Clara here on our trip a couple of weeks ago, and I could just go there for the signage. We had a really mediocre breakfast at DuPar's, which has their pancake accolades front and center on their menu, which worked, because we thought we had to order them, and they were really not so great.  Unsatisfied, we needed to try something else. Since it was too early to get tacos at the place my friend recommended, we just kept going on the breakfast sweet theme, and went to Bob's Donuts.  Delicious glazed donut. This place is a must stop on any LA itinerary.
(the mediocre breakfast as mentioned above)
(Loteria is supposed to have great tacos)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

New Favorite LA Restaurant

Have you ever been to Gjelina on Abbot Kinney in Venice Beach? It's amazing. I loved this dish, chickpea with Israeli couscous and harissa and yogurt. We also had a thin crust pizza topped with nettles and ricotta, and a side dish of fava beans with radishes. The people next to us had the lamb burger, which looked so good. It's a great place to go with kids (loud and tolerant and a varied menu), and it's an easy stop on your way to or from the airport (if you can bear to skip the In-N-Out ).

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

For the Rental Files: Amazing Hudson Valley Home

My husband just showed me this listing...check out how beautiful this Hudson Valley house is, how perfect those grassy hills are for rolling down, and how well styled the place is. And it's just $250 a night.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Our Favorite Rollie

I'm a big fan of Filson , the Seattle based outdoors company. I love their small duffles, their man bags, the big duffles. But I've never been able to find a rolling bag that I loved, or met my husband's approval. We've had this one now for a couple of years, and it is sturdy, easy to wheel around, and so good-looking, that people stop us and ask about it.