Thursday, August 04, 2011

Some discoveries in Stockholm

I've discovered a few things in Stockholm recently: one excellent budget eatery, one stylish and cosy outdoor bar, and one cool store for babies and children.

The excellent budget eatery is Serrano. This is a proper Mexican lunch place. They stuff food ingredients into burritos and quesadilla after you order. They come with baby leaf salad. An extra 10 krona buys you a cup of mixed tropical fruit juice. My fajita burrito makes me smile (which is rare when I eat lunch in Stockholm). Both of my two friends eating together also say they like the food. In the US, this style of Mexican lunch place is extremely popular. Finally, Stockholm has one. (Forget the ubiquitous Taco Bar. It's just no contest.) Plus, it opens until 8 or 9 pm (which is very unusual for this kind of budget restaurant in Stockholm). It's located near Central Station and inside the Liljeholmen Torget shopping mall.

The stylish and cosy outdoor bar is Zeeside (see also an article by the Spotted By Locals blog). It's located on the shore of the newly developed neighborhood of Henriksdalshamnen. It can be approached by a boat from Luma in Hammerby sjöstad or from the southeastern shore of Södermalm. The vibe is just awesome with a great view of the water sandwiched by Södermalm and Hammerby sjöstad, the white bar counter evoking the sense of being on a beach, and white, orange, and pink design chairs (which are not only good-looking but also comfortable). There's no cheesy music in the background. But most importantly, the bar foods are fantastic. My tuna salad (with avocado, watermelon, pumpkin, etc.) is something that doesn't even remotely resemble the foods served elsewhere in Stockholm, in terms of the freshness of the ingredients and the creativity of choosing what to mix in a single plate. Both of my two former New Yorker friends eating together are also impressed by their delicately-made burgers. On a long bright evening of Stockholm's summer, this bar just allows you to exploit the true potential of the Swedish capital. You can't really find something similar to this in other cities in the world.

Finally, the cool shop for babies is Sprall, where I bought a gift for the baby girl of my friend in Tokyo. The design of baby bottles and bibs is cute and Scandinavian. But this mushroom rubber doll really beats everything else. When a baby grab this doll, it cries. And the way it unfolds after a baby crushes it is kind of artistic. Its branches are located near Östermalmstorg and inside the PUB department store on Hötorget.

I don't know when Sprall was opened, but Serrano and Zeeside were opened within the past one year. Increasingly, Stockholm sees more and more cool places popping up. When I moved to this city four years ago, it wasn't like this. Most of my favorite places in Stockholm weren't there at that time.

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