A Christmas beer worth sipping...

The other night while out for some drinks with friends, we happened upon a very worthwhile beer from Denmark, of all places. Needless to say, this one wasn't from Carlsberg or Tuborg. Actually, it's a seasonal one, the Christmas beer from Ørbæk, which happens to be called Santa C. appropriately enough. Now the one I tried was on tap, so it remains to be seen if the bottled version smacks the taste buds quite the same way (they don't always, after all). It wasn't a dark beer either, I should add, knowing this is a characteristic commonly associated with Christmas beers. Actually, it was rather refreshing...

What really won me over was when I came across the beer at none other than Netto, earlier today, and realised as I was examining the label that it was actually an organic beer (økologisk øl, if you prefer). The company chooses to keep the organic part rather subtle, just a small mention on the side label. So that's today's beer recommendation.

Oh, and as always gifts (um, how about BEER!!) are welcome from the Ørbæk Brewery for this unconditional product endorsement from The Copenhagen Report, sure to generate sales - contact via email for the mailing address.

Ranees f*#king tasty Thai food

Saturday night's Thai food experience took the prize. Ranees at Blågårdsplads in Nørrebro. If you're a fan of Thai food, write that name down. Then go there. Even while travelling in Thailand did I rarely manage to taste such deliciously picante Thai food. Naturally, being something of an amateur Phad Thai aficionado, I had to try Ranees take on that one. My dinner companions for the evening went for a couple of equally delicious curries. The Phad Thai was a plate of steaming fresh noodles, sprouts and spices along with five or six giant tiger shrimp, a pile of crush nuts and a wedge of lime - the last two items being necessary to even be considered as a serious Phad Thai. And indeed, it had just the right taste and texture on the tongue. I've previously raved about the deserving Phad Thai at Sweet Basil, but this one managed to top it. Not an easy feat, but it was the freshness of the ingredients that did it.

But the highlight of the night was actually the starter (pictured above, photo courtesy of aok.dk). Thankfully the waiter was not afraid to push us to order it (not that we were hard to convince...). Eight little bowls filled with nuts, dried shrimp, coconut flakes, fresh chili, ginger, onion and tiny chunks of chopped lime and a pile of leaves (I can't remember their name). It look strangely like nothing as it arrived, like some kind of 'inside' Thai joke being played on the unsuspecting. It was not. After taking a leaf and forming into a bowl-like shape, putting a bit of each ingredient inside, topping it off with a bit of the chutney-like sauce (if chutney was Thai...I know, I know, more detail would be nice but I'm not getting paid to write this, so I didn't figure out precisely what this sauce was) it's "ind i munden!", as our waiter helpfully explained ('into the mouth').


Snap, crackle, pop, that's a lot of flavour! An explosion of sweet, spicy, salty, and sour - especially spicy, be warned.

Don't be deceived by the ambiance at Ranees, which is admittedly basic (but something far more original than the typical Thai restaurant). Wooden tables, some nice pics and almost funky florescent lights on the walls. Yes, florescent lights. Because the food is so damn good, it really doesn't matter.

Ranees at Blågårdsplads. Go there. You won't be disappointed.

Could I give you a Bitchslap?

So out doing a bit of bar-hopping/bar-crawling or whatever you want to call it on Saturday, I ended up grabbing a magazine that caught my attention as I was ordering a beer at Jolene on Sorgenfrigade in Nørrebro (an intentionally kitsch funny kind of place - DJ and an acceptable selection of beer - which I was kind of thankful closed at midnight not because I'm getting old and wanted to go home (I didn't) but because it was a decent evening and an alright vibe but the night was kinda going nowhere and when Jolene's closed it obviously forced us to go someplace else and we otherwise may not have since it was kinda shitty weather outside and we were kinda comfortable sitting there on Jolene's couch).

Anyway, this morning when I woke up I found this magazine stuffed into my jacket pocket waiting for me so I got to flipping through it to be pleasantly surprised. There's not so many Copenhagen mags out there that are written in English, especially ones actually worth reading (actually, there are basically none that I know of...) which is kind of a shame not only for me (well, I can manage to read Danish with effort and patience and a dictionary) but because I think Copenhagen has a lot to offer but it's kinda hard to show all this stuff to the world even though a lot of it should be and it does get written about but there's often no English translation available. So that's why I grabbed this one. An edgy city mag that digs into the counterculture of Copenhagen is always welcome, especially written in English.

Bitchslap is it's name. It's chalk-full of pleasingly scruffy writing, pixel-perfect images complemented by top-notch design and production making it a juicy little piece of work and one quite aptly named. Amateur journalism often is the most invigorating to read when done right.

In the case of issue 7, which happens to be the issue that I got ahold of (they're all available at www.bitchslapmag.com), I'd go as far as saying one article about Simon Strange, the vice-cultural major of Copenhagen (who happens to be 26 and seems to get the essence of what punchy politics can do for a city) deserves an award in itself for worthwhile journalism. And besides offering a fascinating little profile of Simon, the article in itself is a nice little bitchslap to complainers who don't bother to actually get off the couch.

So call me a (new) fan and check it out yourself if you want to see a picture of Copenhagen that is bang on but that you'll never hear about in the tourist 'literature'...

So what now?

Social Democrat leader Helle Thorning-Schmidt graciously
concedes defeat on election night

So I feel there is a need for me to close the book on this election campaign before I move onto other topics (and get back to some regular posting). So it's four more years of Fogh in Denmark, after the various opposition parties failed (just) to crack the government's majority. The Ny Alliance secured themselves a position as an legitimate opposition party, but failed to obtain a position of influence, as they came so tantalisingly close to doing. So now they have a few years to demonstrate to the population that they are more than a mere protest party. It'll be an uphill battle with only 5 MP's elected, but it's more than they had before. And they sent a stong message by supporting Anders Fogh Rasmussen, but not giving any ground to Dansk Folkparti. Whether he deserved their support is another matter.

Anyway, if you believe in the prophesizing powers of The Economist, then Anders Fogh Rasmussen is hard at work chasing after one of the top posts in Brussels, perhaps as first holder of the permanent presidency of the European Council that is being created by the European Union reform treat. We'll see. There's no doubt that he's an ambitious guy, and the confines of Danish politics are, well, confines. Especially when you can't seem to shake those pesky nationalist-racists off your tail. Yes, the job of propping of the government has once again fallen on the shamefully populist Dansk Folkeparti.

A couple small surprises were the out-of-nowhere support for the leftwing Socialistisk Folkeparti, and the strong performance of Social Democrat leader Helle Thorning-Schmidt in every debate with Anders Fogh Rasmussen, where she stood her ground without conceding so much as a centimeter. Like her or not, she could be quite a force next election.

Anyway, I'm done talking about politics for a while. Time to get back to writing about other more day-to-day stuff.

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