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Sunday, February 21, 2010


The ride to the airport in Helsinki was slippery, as it had snowed quite a bit overnight. The flight departure was only about half an hour late, and after an hour and a half, I find it is snowing in Copenhagen. To my surprise, Denmark does not subscribe to the Euro. They still use the Kroner ($1 =5.46 Kroner). The taxi to the hotel cost about $40. Tipping is not necessary.

The Hotel D'Angleterre is in the middle of everything. Old, but okay. The internet connection is either free or $30/day. Not sure yet. There is a metro line being built just at the front door, so the next eight years will be trying.

There was a pile of snow outside on my lanai, so, as I never got around to doing it in Finland, decided to have some scotch with natural snow. How appropriate: a Highland Park mist.

But first, I thought I'd ask if this was safe, for when I was in Zao (Japan) once, I noticed some icicles which I could tear off the roof, so I had a scotch with this ice. Cool? Nope. People were appalled because, it turns out, there are all kinds of impurities in icicles. I did notice some black substances. I survived with no problems.

Amazingly enough, no one in this hotel (I asked three staffers) knew if this was okay. No one had ever asked them this question, and they said they never did it. My recollection is that if the color was not yellow, it would probably be fine. So I fixed myself a drink. I noticed a lot of black particles, and spent a lot of time trying to pick them out, but with hundreds, it was hopeless, so I took a sip. Tasted okay. Then, I thought, why take a chance, so I ordered some ice cubes.

Most restaurants in the city don't operate on Sunday night. So, with a mild amount of trepidation, I dined in at the Restaurant D'Angleterre, which was not in the top ten of the Eyewitness Travel Guide I am using. Noma is indicated, but at #7, even though it is rated #3 in the world.

I was not in a wine mood, so ordered a Carlsberg Beer, for after all, its headquarters are in Copenhagen. For some reason, Carlsberg was the most economical beer in Delhi. The starter was a breast of goose with Jerusalem artichokes and macadamia nuts. Good.

The main dish was a glazed shoulder with foie gras, plus tail of beef, mushrooms and other vegetables topped with a sherry sauce. This came with dark potato under what seemed close to a hollandaise sauce. The foie gras was real goose, a rather large piece and about as good as it can get.

I've noticed that many of the recent high end establishments now use shoulder beef. If my memory is not totally faulty, this is also called Chuck steak, which is tough. I would guess that shoulder has made to the top because it is tasty, low in fat and some technology has been discovered to make it not so tough. However, the effort was not quite of Wagyu quality. The tail of beef is like ox tail, but no bone, and the meat processed into a cylindrical puff.

The volume of food was substantive, and I could only barely finish it. This main course was truly outstanding.

The chef is Joachim Larsen and my server was Peter, who was informative, courteous and knowledgeable.

The total bill was in the range of $100. A good value for this level of restaurant. The only real concern I had was that at the one hour mark, I was the only one eating. Toward the end, diners began to enter, so maybe they dine late in Copenhagen.

Well, let me end with a few items of possible international interest:

1. I ask, why is the Mossad being accused of murdering that senior Hamas official in Dubai? The answer, based on Alan Cowell's recent article, is that the Israeli Institute of Intelligence and Special Operations (Mossad) has already assassinated up to 15 other Palestinian leaders in Europe and Lebanon

2. Eurostar services continue to be disrupted from that accident in Brussels. With Lufthansa scheduled to go on strike in a few hours and the British Air cabin crew calling for another strike vote, all is not well in Europe and transportation.

4. Six hundred nine million journeys were made in China on trains and buses for the recent New Year celebration. This is the year of the Tiger, and there are fewer than 50 wild tigers left in China (3200 globally). They are disappearing mostly because the bones are used in traditional Chinese medicinal products. From all reports, no Viagra connection. You can buy a bottle of an authentic tiger wine for about $300.

5. Another re-hashed comment (by H.D.S. Greenway), but six years ago, Osama bin Laden remarked on his intent to kill 4 million Americans with nuclear weapons, because U.S. policy has been responsible for killing 4 million followers of Islam.

6. Klaus Zimmermann reports that social democracy governs Europe, and seems headed for the U.S.

7. Six political candidates have been assassinated over just the past few weeks. In Iraq? Afghanistan? No, the Philippines, writes Norimitsu Onishi.

Whoops, Tropical Cyclone Gelane is now east of Mauritius/Le Reunion and moving directly west. However, the storm is now down to 45 MPH and weakening.

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