Suomenlinna, Bar No. 9 & Midnight Bruschetta

Just when you think you have not a single ounce of energy left for anything, you surprise yourself. And so it was last Tuesday when we ventured into Helsinki to see Suomenlinna, the most Eastern fortress of the Swedish empire, designed to protect against invasion from Russia.

That poor little fortress was a disaster from the start with more soldiers dying during the construction of the site than all who died there in battle. Troops were defeated by bad conditions, badly working artillery and lack of morale. They had no hope, really. For all that it was meant to be, Suomenlinna did little to protect the interests of the empire.

HOWEVER, it was a great day for me, having not been a soldier there. It’s a beautiful site, and an important story in the history of Sweden & Finland; well worth the visit. AND it’s a great reason to get into Helsinki and experience the food and energy of this city that is blanketed in darkness several months a year. Fun for me was the trip to Bar No. 9 in the center of town. It was lively and bustling serving up solid food and good beer in this little corner of the world. At the end of the day, after walking in the cold and dampness, I didn’t think I had much energy, but here is where the interesting part comes…

I knew our friends’ oldest sun, Oscar, would be visiting after his shift for his college internship–the last thing to complete before finalizing his degree–and I knew we would be up late. No problem, it’s light until midnight here, anyway. So between his anticipated arrival of 10:30 p.m., and the pile of tomatoes we had that needed to be used, it seemed a bruschetta was in order. Specifically, Julia Child’s bruschetta popularized most recently by Julie & Julia, when Amy Adams & her boyfriend feast on a meal solely of tomatoes, basil and garlic piled on toasted bread. Along with this, Jörn suggested grilling sausages, and Monica made cole slaw with olive oil & vinegar. The combination was the perfect midnight snack.


While I was shopping for another dish that I am making tonight, our last night here in Esbo, Finland just outside Helsinki, I purchased dry mustard and learned that Monica always makes her own mustard with honey, of course. The perfect topping for a slice of sausage with cabbage…


The bread drawer needed thinning, so the thickly sliced, dense European bread that I love became a perfect bed for the juicy orange and yellow blend of cherry and grape tomatoes–sweet, buttery, rich and warm. When I looked at the clock it was midnight, another night gone by without me realizing how late it really is in the late-night summer light. We had feasted and laughed beyond what I thought would be my witching hour. A perfect midnight feast. And Oscar is a sweetheart, just like his sister Linda. Of course.

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