My New York Adventure Part 2!

On my last post, you found out that I had just arrived in New York City! After “sleeping” for a little while, I started my way towards the city. It was pretty easy to navigate on the subway (I’m not going to lie, I did end up running back and forth from one side of the platform to the other at some points on the trip). After the air train, I had to get on the E train. Then after that I had to get on the train going “Uptown”. The best choice for me was train #1, as it was the closest to where my hotel was.

After getting to my hotel and dropping all my stuff off, I started to make my way towards Central Park. It was such a beautiful and sunny day! I absolutely fell in love with Central Park! If I had had more time, I would have definitely brought a blanket, sat down and had a picnic or just suntanned. Below I posted a picture I took at Central Park. If you want to see more of my awesome time at Central Park, check out my Instagram!

And just like that I'm in Central Park… 🌳🐶 #newyorkcity #centralpark #daytrip

A post shared by Marija (@mylifeasmarija) on

 

Woah! That picture came out huge on here! As you can see, the weather was awesome! The only regret in this little over 24 hour trip is that I only went on the east side of Central Park and in general of Manhattan.

Continuing to walk along Central Park (the roads kept going uphill than downhill and I realized I need to work-out more), I came along the American Museum of Natural History. Unfortunately, it opens at 10 AM so I couldn’t peek inside of the famous site of the movie The Night at the Museum… (I wonder if the dinosaur actually stands at the lobby)..

Being up all night and walking all through Central Park, I was getting hungry quite fast. My goal was to have some New York style pizza. Unfortunately, walking towards Times Square I couldn’t find anything! New York City local places were either too expensive, closed or completely full! I found Europa Cafe to be open and quite good actually. I had a typical sandwich which was very delicious! I decided to have my New York style pizza later that day.

My next stop was Rockefeller Center and a visit to the Top of the Rock! Be on the look out for my next post!

Taste the Culture of Finland

Time to taste a little bit of Finland!! Since I’ll only be one day in the beautiful city Helsinki, I have to choose what I really really want to try.
In the western part of Finland, fish and meat play a big role in daily meals, while various vegetables and mushrooms (i love mushrooms 🙂 ) have been traditionally included in dishes in the eastern part of Finland. The most popular meats in Finland are pork (same as Estonia!), beef and chicken. 

  • Lihapullat- Finnish meatballs, often with gravy sauce
Lihapullat

  • Palvikinkku and Palviliha- smoked ham or beef

Since Finland has many lakes (nearly 200 000 of them!), Finns have many opportunities to go fishing. Salmon is a popular choice and dishes that include salmon are:

  • Kylmäsavustettu lohi (cold smoked salmon). The salmon is cut into very thin pieces and served with olive oil, shallots or onions, asparagus, fresh herbs and different kinds of salads
Kylmasavustettu

  • Graavilohi. It is a Nordic dish consisting of raw salmon, cured in salt, sugar and dill. It is usually served on bread.
Graavilohi

Finns prepare fish in all kinds of ways: frying, boiling, drying, salting… A common dish among the Swedish-speaking population is smoked herring (“Savusilli” in Finish). I actually see these a lot in supermarkets in Lithuania. They also enjoy pickled herring, which is a common appetizer and usually served around Midsummer accompanied by uusiperuna– small potatoes. Whitefish, vendace roe and crayfish are Finnish delicacies. Whitefish and vendace ore are usually served on blinis or toast. Crayfish is more popular among the Swedish-speaking population and is usually eaten at parties. 

Savusilli
Uusiperuna







Other typical Finnish dishes:

  • Kaalikaaryleet– cabbage rolls
Kaalikaaryleet

  • Hernekeitto– pea soup, usually served on Thursday along with a dessert pancake
  • Viili– a type of yogurt (I’m definitely buying this! I love yogurts!)



Breads are a staple of the Finnish diet, especially rye bread. Breads are eaten with every meal. There are many types of Finnish bread:Rye: Limppu (it’s actually common in upper peninsula of Michigan), Reikäleipä, Ruispala (I have actually eaten this before and it is delicious), Jälkiuunileipä, Näkkileipä (rye breads dried into crisps). 

Reikaleipa
Ruispala


Wheat (this flour is mainly used for baking pastry, scones): Pulla (sweet Finnish sweet roll), Karelian Pie (small bread made of potato dough originally from Karelia in Eastern Finland), Vesirinkeli– they resemble bagels.

Pulla
Karelian Pie


Korppu (rusk)Rieska– barley based flat breads, which are similar to crispbreads. They are often served warm and buttered and consumed with milk. The most common kinds of rieska are: Perunarieska (potatoe rieska), Ohrarieska (barley rieska), Ruisrieska (rye rieska), Maitorieska (mil rieska).Crisp cracker bread is actually very popular (Finn Crisps). I found them at the supermarket recently and loved them so much! 




Ok..after you have had all of these breads, you need to wash it down with something. What should you choose in Finland:

  • Water
  • Milk- most Finns drink a lot of milk so it’s not uncommon to have it with your meal
  • Buttermilk
  • Coffee- it is often drunk several times a day. And Finns drink more coffee than anyone else in the whole world! Great place for coffee lovers. There are actually a lot of people who drink 8 or more cups of coffee a day…
  • Kisseli- same as in Estonia!! It’s served a s a dessert or a drink.

How about during a party or a club? Try:

  • Sima (mead). It is usually accompanied by munkki (a donut), tippaleipa (fennel cake)or rosetti (a rosette). Ingredients include lemon, active dry yeast, sugar and raisins.
  • Sahiti– a traditional beer made from a variety of grains including barley, rye, wheat and oats. It has a distinct banana flavor.
Sahiti
  • Kilju (sugar wine)- made from sugar, yeast and water. It is most found at student parties and in the Finnish punk subculture. 
  • Koskenkorova Viina– most common clear spirit drink. It;s just like vodka.
  • Jaloviina– liquor made of brandy neutral grain spirit and water. Sometimes sugar is added to soften the taste.
  • Finlandia Vodka– I have actually seen these at stores! I think I might have tasted some of it. It;s available in pure form or it could be flavored. I tasted the raspberry kind and it was nice 😀
  • If anyone is interested in something stronger, Marskin ryyppy, is for you. It is very strong and is served as a shot. It is important that the glass is poured as full as possible and be emptied without spilling. It must be served ice cold.
  • Mulled wine– usually red wine mixed with spices and served hot or warm. It is traditional during winter.

I have a major sweet tooth, so the first thing I would do is go to a bakery and buy a  Runebergintorttu!! It’s a pastry with almonds, rum or arrack and usually weighs about 100 grams. They are eaten only in Finland and are unfortunately generally available from the beginning of January to February 5…  Well, I guess I won’t be able to taste this so I’ll have to come back in the winter. But what I’m excited about, is that the company “Fazer” is one of the largest corporations in the Finnish food industry. They produce really good chocolate! The Karl Fazer Cafe is still the same adress in Helsinki- Kluuvikatu 3. I am so going!!!

Runebergintorttu



If any of you really love pizza, head to Kotipizza. It’s a Finnish pizza chain, that won the 2008 America’s Plate International pizza contest.

Finland has such interesting dishes to choose from, I’ll have trouble choosing! 

Taste the Culture of Estonia

Since I really love to walk around a new city and rarely use public transport, unless I feel my legs are about to fall off, I am probably going to be realllly hungry. Food is also a great way to get to know a different culture. And I really do love to get to know different cultures, languages and the people. So what is best to try while in Estonia and Finland?? Well, you’re about to find out…

Estonia

Kohuke on the inside

Kohuke (Curd snack). I love curd snacks soooooo much!!! Not a day goes by that I don’t have at least one. If you haven’t been to any of the Baltics, you have no idea what I’m talking about. It’s a snack made of chocolate and quark cheese. They could also come in flavors with different fillings: raspberry, eggnog, strawberry…

Kohuke




Kartulisalat (potato salad). Traditional Estonian cuisine uses potatoes, so it’s a good idea to make a delicious salad with the main ingredient being potatoes. This is actually also popular in Lithuania.
Kartulisalat

Their cuisine is heavily influenced by Russians and Germans. The typical ingredients are black bread, pork, fish, cabbage soup, potatoes, vegetables and various dairy products.
But recently they have mixed foreign cuisine into their own cuisine and have interesting traditional dishes:
  • Silgusoust (Baltic sprats with bacon and cream)

Silgusoust
  • Mulgikapsad (pork with sauerkraut and boiled potatoes)

Mulgikapsad

  • Verivorst (blood sausage with barley)- this is traditional Christmas food and is served with red, berry jam

    Verivorst
    Sult
  • Sült (boiled pork in aspic jelly)- the jelly is made by boiling the pork bones. It’s often made in large batches. I have tied this before and I can say, that I am not a fan of this.
  • Suitsulõhe (smoked salmon)- this I am so trying!!
  • Kissel (fruit soup)- popular as dessert. It is very popular during Christmas.
  • Kali- non-alcoholic beverage sometimes referred to as “the Estonian Coca-cola”, and tastes tastes kind of like an unfermented beer.
    Suitsulohe
    Kissel

Which dish would you most like to try?
In my next post I will write about the foods to try in Finland.

My Love affair with…

ICE CREAM!!! Specifically, Italian ice cream!
I know, I know.. I’m still talking about Italy.. But how can you not, when it’s cold and the middle of February in Vilnius??
Anyway, back to my summer love- ice cream.
Before going to Rome, I searched online for the best ice cream in the city. The best was named “Giolitti”. What made me want to come here even more, was the fact that Michelle Obama visited this Gelaterie. And not only her, but many other celebrities.

Yes, I was hoping to run into Johnny Depp…

I wasn’t the only one who knew this gelaterie has the best ice cream. There were sooo many Chinese tourists there! Thank God I came earlier, as I would have waited in line with my watering mouth.
The price is the same as everywhere. 3 euros for a cone. If I convert this to the Lithuanian Litas, that is the most expensive ice cream cone I have ever had..But it certainly was worth it.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g187791-c70805/Rome:Italy:Best.Gelato.In.Rome.html#