Helsinki Art Lending

Here is something that should spread like a virus: the art lending cooperative of Helsinki, Taidelainaamo. It is sooo good.

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A monthly fee with no deposit grants access to a large catalog of local artists. The monthly fee goes towards the purchase price of the art, so if someone loves something, they can simply keep it for a year or two and it is theirs. But it also opens the door to fickle, promiscuous relationships with pieces, trying things on, changing with the seasons! I love it.

It is possible to browse through works in person in their space below the library on Rikhardinkatu. There are more works available for order online from their truly amazing website. Sometimes when I need relief from life, I like to go search through art works sorted by medium, size, colour, maker. There are other art lending institutions and businesses in Finland, but this one is my favourite. Enjoy.

Helsinki is beautiful

I can forgive
snow in June
blistering wind
day after day threatening rain
when it is intertwined
with a sky like this:

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Helsinki bliss.

On the road: Klaus Cafe

We recently had a great meeting at the Klaus Cafe in Tallinn. Outside of the Old Town, a trip there will take you to another view of the city.

The cafe itself is almost too adorable, nestled as it is in the same building as the Estonian Design House and shop, which exerted a siren like call on me.

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Everything in the cafe was presented with care, from water:

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To a cheese plate:

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To tea and coffee (here served in Iittala Taika dishes). I like the choice of pure black with it.

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The front of their menu, the prices seem fantastic from the perspective of Helsinki.

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On offer: duck, a very good salmon soup that can be ordered clear or creamy, good tea served well, and two of the most amazing smoothies I have had in recent memory. I am looking forward to going back. Klaus is also a walkable distance from both Old Town Tallinn and the ships coming in from Helsinki, Stockholm and St. Petersburg. It also gets one out into an interesting part of town.

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A side of the city I thought was interesting and visually rewarding. I would love to hear about other hidden treasures of Tallinn!

Got Greens

Sometimes simple vegetables can be so beautiful. This was just lightly cooked broccoli, bean sprouts, edamame and cucumber with a little brown rice vinegar, oil and sea salt:

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Almost Helsinki: Hidden Hanasaari

Hanasaari, Hanaholmen in Swedish, is a beautiful little island with a conference center in between Espoo and Helsinki. It is the kind of place that you probably won’t visit unless you are, for example, a Finnish proctologist with a seminar to attend there. This is unfortunate, because it is a hidden treasure of architectural interest.

The conference center is the Swedish-Finnish Cultural Center. Contrary to popular believe, it is not a Finnish Swedish speaking center, but rather the fruit of co-operation between the countries of Finland and Sweden. There are lots of books about the Swedish royal family in the foyer… But more importantly, there is an interesting art collection. It is a beautiful place.

Sculpture at Hanaholmen

Sculpture at Hanaholmen

But one of the most lovely things I noticed was unintentional:

Colorful cycles at Hanaholmen

Colorful cycles at Hanaholmen

A rainbow of bicycles!

Helsinki Vetus: Meri Makasiini

A straight-up classic fish restaurant with a great water-side location. A definite marina feel, with some view of big cruise ships and working cranes. At the end of Bulevardi. Our party was very happy and the service was great. They have shaded outside seating.

They were having an asparagus week:

Asparagus plate

That is most definitely a Hollandaise sauce.

The Crabber’s Salad. Good, with crayfish and shrimp:

Crabber's Salad

A pike steak dish:

Pike

A salmon dish, reported to be better than most:

Salmon

Lovers of water, ships, working ports and good seafood will love this old-school place. I was impressed by their decent wine list and local brews, like cider from the Suomenlinna Brewery. So, while some people are scared-off by the sign, which you can’t miss:

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This is classic Helsinki– and a place that does what it does extremely well.

Helsinki Nova: The Exhibitionists

I have a new crush: The Exhibitionists Cafe in Töölö. An international, french influenced place with used books, very peaceful. Free wifi. Small, though, and they are also a little shop with some nicely designed paper items, coffee supplies and used books.

Last week I went there for the first time to recover after a visit to the hospital, during which an otherwise very nice nurse dug around in my arm for a vein unsuccessfully for a while before giving up and switching arms, as I tried to make her feel better about it all, while I submited to the drilling of my second arm. At least there was symmetry in the bandages. And wonderful coffee and food to follow:

Latte at the Exhibitionists

The show stopper was the lunch. Not pictured here: a giant pile of fresh herbs (mint, thai basil and cilanto). Yum!

Salad at the Exhibitionists

It held up to a second visit as well. And I like the music they play. They have aeropress, frenchpress, kalita pour-overs, and a nice tea selection, too.