Thursday, September 28, 2006

Stockholm: T.G.I.F.

As I mentioned before, Mrs. TBF's meetings in Stockholm took place at the Sheraton. So, that's where we stayed during the week. The Sheraton is rated as a 5-star hotel, but I'd say it's more like a 3-star hotel. Neither one of us really liked it - not very clean, the service wasn't very good, the food needs some help, etc. Suffice it to say that we were very happy with the fact that we had decided in advance to switch to the Grand Hotel for the weekend.

I arrived first with the bags, and then Mrs. TBF arrived about an hour later and unpacked her stuff. Although I had enjoyed exploring Stockholm with Mark, I was looking forward to exploring more of Stockholm with Mrs. TBF. Also, unlike Mark, Mrs. TBF always carrys a large bag with her when we travel which means that I don't have to carry my own stuff (sunglasses, map, guidebook, etc.). TBF likes to travel light...

It was already past 3:00 p.m., and neither one of us had eaten yet, so we decided to grab a late lunch. I thought Mrs. TBF would like a place called Lisa Elmqvist where Mark and I had eaten at the day before and really enjoyed. After a little faulty navigation by yours truly, Mrs. TBF and I finally made it to the restaurant which is located in the Östermalms Saluhall where we stuffed ourselves full of some really nice fish. No shock here...it was expensive, but very good. I'd recommend it. The restaurant is located in a gourmet food hall which is a little off the beaten tourist track, and we were surrounded by counters where locals where buying all sorts of great fish, meats, cheeses, etc. Why can't we have a place like this in Basel? I want a gourmet food hall and a 7-Eleven in Basel...NOW! Oh...and look who we ran into at the hall: Lisa and Mark (he had obviously spent to much time with TBF). Great minds think alike!

After our late lunch, we waddled back to the hotel where Mrs. TBF took a nap (work is exhausting), and I decided to switch on the TV - something I rarely do when we travel. One thing I really liked in Stockholm was that they have a Finnish TV channel. I just had a grand old time watching "my people" on the tube. Imagine my shock when suddenly my twin brother - Äbner's - show came on. If that wasn't amazing enough, I was absoluted stunned when I saw that he had a Japanese woman on his show who spoke perfect, unaccented Finnish. I know things are different now, but when I was growing up only people who looked Finnish spoke Finnish. This woman was a foreign exchange student who spent a year in Finland when she was in her teens. She returned to Japan, but she missed Finland and decided to return permanently. She spoke Finnish better than me for God's sake. (Note to self: I have to do something about that neck flab!)

Still feeling a bit sated, we walked over to Operakällaren for our 9:00 p.m. dinner reservation. We read about this restaurant, along with our hotel, in our 1,000 Places To See Before You Die book. We went with some pretty high expectations, and I have to admit that I ended up being ever so slightly disappointed. The room, described in the book as "...the city's most theatrical venue for an evening's repast, featuring plush Oriental rugs, carved oak wall and ceiling panels, once-risqué murals, extravagant crystal chandeliers..." was great. However, the service and food were only above average, and certainly (at least in my opinion) not reflective of the astronomically high prices. I'm not going to say what we paid for our meal, but suffice it to say that it was significantly higher than the $85 per person as referenced in our book ($85/person barely covered the wine). I'm glad we went and experienced it, but I wouldn't go back if I returned to Stockholm. I think I'm done going to these super fancy restaurants without a recommendation from somebody I know who's previously eaten there. You live and you learn.

But, hey...at least it gave me an excuse to wear a tie.

5 comments:

Expat Traveler said...

well looks like your time together after mrs tfb's work was a great time!

Culinary Fool said...

Too bad about your dinner at Operakällaren. I had dinner there in 2001 and it was pretty wonderful. Sounds like they have slipped since then.

It's an odd coincidence that I was there with a Finnish man! :-) Although he actually lives in Stockholm.
~ B

CanadianSwiss said...

I'm really careful with restaurants, too, but in the guide, didn't they refer only to the meal (without the wine??). Or do they really expect you to have a fancy dinner with the house wine?

Kirk said...

You do realize that at the moment you have not one, but two pictures of you wearing a tie, right? People might get the wrong impression...

Global Librarian said...

What is with husbands assuming they can use space in our bags for their things? We carry enormous bags for a reason -- to hold our stuff!

If you are going to put your stuff in the bag, you should at least take a turn carrying it. Those things can get heavy...