Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ismo Alanko Teholla @ Yo-talo

Yo-talo is definitely one of the nicest small rock clubs in Tampere. If it's not too crowded, that is. This time I went there on Thursday evening to listen to one of my all time favorite artists, Ismo Alanko. Ismo has strong roots in Finnish new wave punk scene with his bands Hassisen Kone and Sielun Veljet, since 1980. Nowadays he tours mostly with smaller set-ups. At Yo-talo he performed as a duo with percussionist Teho Majamäki.

Ismo Alanko
The evening was quite pleasant. There was just good amount of audience, -not too much, so that one can still move around and get a drink after decent waiting time. The second act of the evening was Danish band called Nephew, who played quite straight forward rock with some Depeche Mode nuances. It seemed though, that most of the audience had come to see Ismo, because many of them left after his concert. But I have to admit that this Nephew was sort of positive surprise, since I didn't know anything about them before.

Nice crowd
Below you'll find couple of samples of Ismo's music over the years. Just to give you the idea =). I really like this stuff.

One of the latest releases: Onnellisuus / Happiness

My personal favorite: Ekstaasiin

Oldies from 80's: Peltirumpu

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Real Special offer

Why would I buy anything for normal price ever again, if they have such veeery special offers:

Windbreaker 4 sale, Anttila supermarket, Hämeenlinna

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mainly about food in Finland

Fishing for fresh fish
For me one of the thrills about going to Finland has always been the food. I guess nothing will ever change that albeit the Finnish kitchen is definitely not world famous. But there is some things I miss while I'm away.

Since I spend most of my time nowadays in Switzerland, fish is something I dearly miss. Even if Finland is by no means never considered to be any kind of seafaring nation, the fish and related products are usually really good quality, fresh and also affordable. Whereas in Switzerland the simple salmon can cost nearly 50 € per kilo. So understandably, and sadly, one doesn't eat fish in Basel every week. My man doesn't complain about the lack of fish, so obviously he doesn't share my passion =) =)

Source of fresh products in Tampere: Kauppahalli

After settling in at Tampere I headed out to hunt some fresh products. The best and the most atmospheric place to find these is Kauppahalli in downtown. Kauppahalli is a market hall that has over 100 years of history and houses today approximately 40 local providers. You can really feel the history in there, but the products are fresh =). One can also find some bit more peculiar produces here, just look around and browse some.

I was looking for a nice piece of fish and ended up buying some plain salmon. Back at the apartment I just tossed it into a frying pan and seasoned it with simple mixture of salt and black pepper. Fish is generally just so brilliant because it doesn't need complicated spice mixes or marinades to taste good, on the contrary actually. Served with some boiled potatoes, fresh salad and remoulade sauce = pretty ok tv-dinner for one.

Sometimes simplicity is beauty.

Cabbage is foodstuff that really divides opinions. I'm one of those who really likes cabbage. Cabbage is nice no mater how it's prepared, but perhaps the most divine approach is to make traditional rolls in the oven. This is fairly simple but time consuming recipe, so most often I just end up buying them from deli =) Anyway, the basic rule is to first cook some white cabbage leaves and then make some rolls out of them, filled with minced meat and rice. Then these rolls go into a oven for a long time and they are basted every now and then with sirupy liquid. When ready, serve with some lingonberry purée and boiled potatoes. The complete recipe here, together with some other cool Finnish recipes.

Mmmmmmm..... These are something I always absolutely have to have at least once during my stays in Finland.

Traditional cabbage rolls (photo by Aamulehti)

Great Chinese food in Hämeenlinna
I've always known that there is one very good Chinese restaurant in Hämeenlinna called Dragon. We always go there with my mom when I'm in town. But this time we wanted to try something else and went to a rival restaurant one block away (Raatihuoneenkatu 13). This one is called "Orient World" and it has already been there in the same address for many years, but I hadn't eaten there since ages.

This one was as empty as Dragon always is on the early evening. I don't know if it's because we are always too late for lunch and too early for dinner or what, but there is nobody, never. I can't imagine how these restaurants have enough customers to keep the business up and running. Well, nonetheless.

Orient World was lots cozier and somehow more Asian than Dragon and the food was more imaginative and tasty. Both Dragon and Orient World are good choices, but from me Orient gets bit more points. Highly recommended. My squid was exceptionally good since they had fried it little bit before adding it to the sauce. Very much nicer texture this way.

Mum and her Kung Po prawns
Second half of my squid in black bean sauce.

Portions in the Orient World are pretty big so immediately there was no space for any dessert. So we went home and produced couple of hours later some very Finnish thin pancakes or crepes, if you like. Fill these with nice vanilla ice cream and you cannot lose =)

Dessert: homemade pancakes filled with vanilla ice-cream

I admit that I'm a culinary enthusiast of a sort and eating well gives me a great deal of satisfaction. So therefore I feel now wayyyyys more ready and prepared to go back to Tampere and face and overcome some professional challenges and obstacles . Yay.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

R.I.P. Steve Lee

Medea in Luzern

In the beginning of October I headed out to Luzern to have the last two shows of "Keep on searching for a heart of gold".

Famous wooden bridge, downtown Luzern

We performed at Südpol Theater in Kriens, which was an excellent experience. The theater is only approximately one year old and everything is still brand new. So new, that in the whole complex, we couldn't find one single floppy drive to read my show data. "Everyone has a mac laptop here..."

Südpol (Photo:

The area where the theater is located, is pretty strange. You get the feeling of really being in the industrial area somewhere beyond civilization. No matter, downtown Luzern is only half an hours' walk away, but still you feel weirdly detached. The theater has a beautiful guest apartment right there and I quite enjoyed staying there and spending some time with our team members, whose I haven't seen since the disastrous Hamburg gig in mid-July.

Working in Südpol was an absolute bliss. All the gear is shiny and new, no scratches anywhere in their Robert Juliat's and ETC's. We also had plenty of time to set everything up and the ouse technicians were all very helpful and friendly. The Swiss precision in action, I should say. They really have invested in good quality there, so the venue is warmly recommended under any circumstances.

Me and Esther went walking on our free hours in the afternoon. It was nice to just get outside the black box and enjoy the warm autumn day. The föhn wind had provided us peachy +20 degrees, so no need for dressing up like an onion there.

Downtown Luzern on the old town side we found this brilliant little take-away thai restaurant called Song Pi Nong. We landed there just in time, since one should notice that most of the restaurants in Luzern are strangely closed between 15.00-17.00 on weekday afternoons. The place can take perhaps 20 customers on one go and is very nicely designed and clean. And the food is almost as good as in Thailand and comes with all appropriate condiments. It's bit pricey (but then again; all eating out in Switzerland is), but not in an outrageous way. Well worth the investment.

Song Pi Nong

The urban legend of Swiss mountains
I was in Luzern from early Wednesday morning to Friday night. So plenty of time, and some of it free too. But guess three times if there was any visible mountains in the vicinity? The first two guesses don't count. It's been only over four years that I've tried to spot some sort of bump in the landscape on a clear day. It just doesn't happen to me, the mountains take the day off, if they hear me coming...

I just have to google them to have some proof... (photo: