Archive for February, 2006

February 26th, 2006

A lazy Saturday at the city

The renovation took a day longer than originally anticipated (by the renovation company, I was sure that the timetable would slip, and thus Sanna planned to stay in Taivalkoski until Sunday). There were four guys working hard from the morning, and I decided quite fast to venture to Helsinki downtown for spending some time there.

The day was a lazy one. I didn’t have any agenda, just a couple of to-do items. I just strolled from one shop to another, trying to find something worth buying for. It was nice to see a few new shops, such as Furla and Marina Rinaldi among — hopefully these are signs of a boom…

I also tried the newly opened OpenEspa WLAN network that provides free Internet access around Esplanadi park. Despite a few hick-ups, I could read my mails without problems. Altogether, I sat an hour in Café Strindberg, reading Wallpaper, browsing the net with my Mac and enjoying viewing pedestrians. I felt wierdly detached from Finland for a while, as people around me were talking in several languages.

I and a friend of mine had a good sushi lunch in Ichiban, and finally I headed back home. The renovation was over and they had cleaned the places a bit — surprise, as usually the place is a mess after renovation.

The rest of the day was spent in cleaning and organising our stuff back to their original places, and coding a web 2.0 service. Today, Sanna and Aapo will be back and the evening is reserved for the family.

Exquisite bags and accessories

Updated May 9, 2007: The shop is closed.

If you want to get rid of your money fast, and still feel good about the purchases, Furla shop might be a good choice for you. The small store is located on Mikonkatu in Kämp Galleria shopping mall — entrance is directly from the street, though.

Furla shop in Helsinki

Their selection consists of bags, shoes and other accessories. The selection is very fashionable and worth every penny. The craftmanship is good and they just look adorable. A good bag will last a lifetime, and they are fashionable every thirty years or so…

www.furla.com, Mikonkatu 3, Helsinki, Finland, +358 9 674 123

Hidden sushi gem

Ichiban sushi bar is centrally located, but sort of hidden sushi bar in downtown Helsinki. If you don’t know the exact spot, you can miss the place very easily. The restaurant is on the upper floor near movie theater Bristol, in Aikatalo. You have to first go into an inner courtyard inside the building and then climb a set of stairs to the restaurant. There are no signs, but fortunately there are not so many stairs either.

Ichiban sushi bar in Helsinki

Once you’ve found the place, you can enjoy their inexpensive lunch menus or normally priced à la carte sushi menus. There is no other food than sushi available.

The sushi tastes excellent and the bites are just right size. Service is fast, as the restaurant is not very large.

They have another restaurant in recently opened Kampin Keskus, located in the cluster of restaurants.

www.ichiban.fi, Mikonkatu 8 (in inner courtyard, upper floor), Helsinki, Finland, +358 9 672 345

February 24th, 2006

Web 2.0 interview in IT Viikko

Finland is slowly, ever so slowly, waking up to Web 2.0. I was interviewed on the subject, “as one of the leading XML experts in the country”, in IT Viikko (a weekly IT magazine inside Taloussanomat, a daily financial newspaper).

The whole spread article discussed Web 2.0 as a phenomena, a technology toolkit and a possibility for making an international breakthrough.

Nothing revolutionary for people familiar with the concepts, but the article discusses briefly the following topics:

  • Growing interest in investing on the area
  • Public APIs
  • Social network aspects
  • Using and creating software as services

The article has been titled “Finns are late in social net”, a statement that I can agree to certain extent. But fortunately there is something cooking under the hoods, watch this and other spaces in the near future.

The smallest sushi ever

Dansan Deli is a small deli located in a cake bakery in Lauttasaari, Helsinki. They have expanded the selection to lunches and sushi sets. They deliver sushi to various supermarkets, including Stockmann Gourmet, around Helsinki region.

Dansan Deli in Helsinki

The deli is open only during weekdays and lunchtime, but they are open during evenings, if agreed beforehand.

My sushi portion was priced quite ok, but the sushi bites were really miniscule. Six nigiris and four makis, and I still felt really hungry afterwards. The sushi tasted really nice, but I should have ordered the same portion twice to satisfy my appetite.

Dansan Deli, Vattuniemenkatu 13 (in Lauttasaari, four kilometers from the city centre), Helsinki, Finland, +358 9 684 1160

February 22nd, 2006

Plan to be spontaneous

I visited my little sister and her family yesterday in Turku. Our house is being renovated (it is already four months old, it was about the time to do something :) the whole week, Sanna and Aapo are up north with grandparents, and I’m a refugee in my own house… This combined with the fact that I didn’t have any urgent activities, I decided to be spontaneous and drive from Helsinki to Turku (about 170km) and spent the evening there.

The weather was nice and I got there around 17.30, relaxed a bit before visiting local department store. The rest of the evening was spent on doing nothing, eating and having a sauna. I felt like living in Saturday for a while — really nice experience, try it sometimes.

February 19th, 2006

Theater for babies

Sanna had booked us tickets to baby theater show that took place last Saturday on Sellosali in Leppävaara, Espoo. This was the first time that I visited the quite new (three years old or so) Sellosali, the nearest cultural establishment to our home — I’m not counting the library of Kauniainen as one, as there is no theater available.

The show, titled Pumpulirumpu (Cottom Drum, or maybe Cotton Ball Drum), has been carefully designed to entertain the small folks, from three to twelve months old.

As the attention span of a baby is quite short, the show is only 20 minutes long. But during those twenty minutes, a lot of magic takes place and the babies are entertained all the time. If I just could learn that same magic…

Pumpulirumpu show

The show stimulates babies with sounds, colours, movements and poetry. It’s not boring for the adults, either — and the time just flies.

Highly recommendable, if you happen to be on Helsinki region. There are some shows at least on April this year. Search with google for more details.

Fresh Californian

Paul’s Bistro is a refreshing restaurant in shopping mall Sello. Located on the newly opened Hotel Palace Sello, the restaurant provides an oasis for shoppers. However, it is not accessible inside the mall, and thus it is not crowded as the rest of the restaurants. Being twice as expensive as the rest of the gang helps also to keep the hordes away.

Inside Paul’s Bistro

The restaurant is not, however, expensive and the food combined with the atmosphere and excellent service makes it really a good deal. Palace restaurants operate several top-notch restaurants around Helsinki, and their love to the customer shows through in everything, even if Paul’s is a bit scaled down version.

The kitchen is inspired by the Bay area cooking, sort of fusion between Italian, Asian and American kitchens, and the chefs know their trade. The lamb hamburger was one of the best that I’ve ever eaten, and it brought back memories from fresh grills of San Jose and Emeryville.

www.palace.fi, Leppävaarankatu 1 (in Sello shopping mall), Espoo, Finland, +358 10 344 4200, sello@palace.fi