December 26, 2017

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year's!

I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a wonderful end to 2017! God Jul och Gott Nytt År!
Christmas is finally over... all the Christmas markets have closed for this season and restaurants have stopped serving the traditional julbord. However, the city is still lit up with the official holiday lights and decorations. Curious how museums are open during the holidays? Click here for the answer. Or maybe you want to know how stores will be open? Click here for the answer. New Year's Eve is just a few days away. Have you made plans yet? I hope so as most restaurants are fully booked. Especially during the coveted late seating times.
I will be back soon with some regular blogging!

December 15, 2017

Winter Art Exhibitions 2017-18

Gingerbread House at ArkDes
Photo by: Viktoria Garvare
Take a break from Christmas markets, holiday celebrationswinter activities and New Year's fireworks and enjoy a little culture at one of Stockholm's many great museums! Besides some amazing attractions and museums focusing on history, we also have a wide variety of art museums and major galleries with classic art, sculpture, modern art, photography, street art and much more. Here is a list of the major art exhibitions going on this winter. Click here to see the list for this past autumn (some exhibitions run through autumn into part of winter). If you are staying at the Rival Hotel and are interested in smaller art galleries or need more information, contact me directly.

Remember that these museums will all have special opening hours during the holiday season. I have collected this information in an blog article you can see by clicking here
Tristan Eaton at Magic City
Photo by Frank Embacher





    December 13, 2017

    Restaurant Carousel

    I have still managed to visit a restaurant or two in the middle of the busy Christmas season. This time it was restaurant Carousel in the form of a dinner with my fellow Swedish Les Clefs d'Or members. Carousel is a primarily a meat and shellfish restaurant and its menu is filled with dishes and flavors from southern Europe and especially Mallorca. Besides the restaurant itself, Carousel has a great cocktail bar where they currently have live jazz on Wednesday evenings.
    Scallops
    Carousel has a great location as well! It is located right on the square Gustav Adolfs torg, next door to the Royal Opera and across the stream from the Royal Palace. Very central and great place for a pre-opera meal, post-opera drink or a dinner after an afternoon of shopping at the nearby NK department store. The closest subway station is Kungsträdgården (blue line), though it is not far from T-Centralen either (all lines).
    Cockles and razor clams
    On this evening, we were treated to many of their signature dishes to get a feel for their menu. We started with a charcuterie plate filled with Spanish sausages and meats. That was followed with a fantastic selection of grilled shellfish... cockles, razor clams and Spanish scallops. Very delicious with a taste of charcoal grill, white wine, lemon and garlic. After that we were served Sherry braised ox cheeks with cauliflower purée.
    Ox cheek
    The pièce de résistance however was the next dish... a sharing dish of suckling pig with crackling, gravy, salad and aioli. Thankfully, the dessert was quite light after all of that food; a lemon curd with cardamom crumble and pistachio. The fresh tartness of the lemon curd was the perfect ending to the dinner. You can book your table on their website under the "boka bord" function or, if you are staying at the Rival Hotel, contact me directly for help. Click here for other restaurant reviews/recommendations.
    Chef prepares the...
    ...suckling pig. 

    December 6, 2017

    Holiday Opening Hours for Shopping Centers and Department Stores 2017-18

    Christmas is almost upon us! I have already written about special opening hours for museums and sightseeing tours. Now for those of you who are interested in a little holiday shopping. Stores and boutiques all, of course, have their own individual opening hours during the holidays. But you can generally say that they close early on December 24th & 31st and are closed on December 25th and January 1st. There are always exceptions to the rule! Here are the special holiday opening hours (days that deviate from regular opening hours) for some of the larger department stores, markets and shopping centers. Take a look at their websites for information about other specific dates. Interested in Christmas markets? The last day for these markets is December 23rd. Click here for a full list of markets and their opening dates/hours. If you are staying at the Rival Hotel and want to know the opening hours of smaller independent stores, contact me directly!
    • NK department store: open from 10am to 9pm on the days leading up to Christmas. 10am to 2pm on December24th, closed on December 25th, open from 10am to 5pm on December 31st and closed on January 1st.
    • Åhlens City department store: open from 10am to 8pm on the days leading up to Christmas. 10am to 3pm on December24th, 11am to 8pm on December 25th and from 10am to 6pm on December 31st and closed on January 1st.
    • Mall of Scandinavia: open from 10am to 10pm on the days leading up to Christmas, 10am to 4pm on December 24th, closed on December 25th, open from 10am to 4pm on December 31st and closed (?) on January 1st. Keep in mind that certain parts of the mall (restaurants, cinema) may have different opening hours. 
    • Mood shopping center: Open 10am to 9pm on the days leading up to Christmas, 10am to 1pm on December 24th, closed on December 25th, open from 10am to 4pm on December 31st and closed on January 1st.
    • Gallerian shopping center:  open from 10am to 9pm on the days leading up to Christmas. 10am to 2pm on December24th, closed on December 25th, open from 11am to 4pm on December 31st and closed on January 1st (ongoing renovations in certain parts of the shopping center).
    • Sturegallerian shopping center: open from 10am to 8pm on the days leading up to Christmas. 10am to 2pm on December 24th, closed on December 25th, open from 10am to 4pm on December 31st and closed on January 1st.
    • Skrapan shopping center: open from 10am to 8pm on the weekdays leading up to Christmas . 10am to 2pm on December 24th, closed on December 25th, open from 10am to 4pm on December 31st and closed on January 1st.
    • Barkarby Outlets: closed on December 24th and 25th, open from 10am to 4pm on the 31st and closed on January 1st.
    • Östermalms Saluhall (indoor food market): closed on Sundays and December 24th, 25th and 26th, open from 9:30am to 5pm on Dec 31st and closed on January 1st.
    • Systembolaget (state run liquor stores): They are closed on Sundays, December 24th, 25th and 26th. On December 31st they close at 2pm and are completely closed on January 1st. So... plan your booze shopping wisely!
    The days in between Christmas and New Year's are called mellandagarna ("middle days") and are some of the biggest shopping days of the year. This is due to the sales! Keep your eyes open for signs saying rea ("sale") or mellandagsrea ("middle day sale"). Buying electronics is especially popular during these days. It is good to know that December 26th is a bank holiday here in Sweden ("Annandag jul" or second day of Christmas), though most stores are open on this day... but banks, liquor stores, smaller pharmacies will be closed.

    December 2, 2017

    Outdoor Ice Skating Rink at Kungsträdgården

    A sure sign that the winter season is upon us... the outdoor ice skating rink in Kungsträdgården has opened for the season! This is a favorite with locals and visitors alike. Using the rink is free of charge for everyone. If you don't have your own skates with you, then they do have skates available for rental. 70 SEK per hour for adults (19 and over) and 30 SEK per hour for children. You can pay with credit or debit card and a helmet is included with the price.
    They have generous opening hours: 9am to 9pm on weekdays and 10am to 9pm on the weekends. You don't have to worry about the weather. Even if the temperature is above freezing, they have a cooling system that keeps the ice frozen. The rink is lit up with Christmas lights and they play music so there is a festive atmosphere. Kungsträdgården is very central and it is located right in the downtown area, across the street from the NK department store. So, this is a perfect spot to take break when doing your holiday shopping!