Eating reindeer and visiting pandas

Eating reindeer and visiting pandas

Hubby celebrated his birthday last Sunday. As we had planned a weekend away with friends, we had an early birthday dinner already on Thursday.

Reindeer weeks at Restaurant Lasipalatsi

We chose an old favorite for hubby’s birthday dinner, Restaurant Lasipalatsi. The building in which the restaurant is located was built in 1936. In the 1930s Restaurant Lasipalatsi was the place to be seen in the center of Helsinki. Lasipalatsi was restored to its original appearance in 1998 and regained its 1930s glamor complete with its colors and lighting. The restaurant is one of my absolute favorites in Helsinki as far as the design goes. I love the art deco style of the restaurant. The restaurant hosts several themed weeks throughout the year and right now they are having reindeer weeks. This was the reason we decided to enjoy hubby’s birthday dinner in Lasipalatsi as we both like reindeer meat. As a starter, I had cream of Jerusalem artichoke with apple and truffle aioli and hubby had marinated salmon with sesame, vendace roe, and miso mayonnaise. Both starters were tasty but in my opinion, the soup could have used a pinch of salt. My main was reindeer Wallenberg with fried onion and Myrttinen pickle, which was absolutely delicious. Hubby ate a pepper steak of reindeer calf roast with smoked carrot and onion jam, which he enjoyed thoroughly. This restaurant has never let us down and I can wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone visiting Helsinki looking for good food in a lovely atmosphere.

Jerusalem artichoke soup
Marinated salmon
Reindeer Wallenberg
Reindeer pepper steak

A weekend in Ostrobothnia

On Friday we headed to Ostrobothnia to spend the weekend at a rented cottage and visit Ähtäri Zoo that houses the only pandas at any zoo in Finland. The cottage, Viiru, we had rented featured an outdoor hot tub, so we spent Friday evening relaxing, eating good food, bathing in the sauna, and enjoying the hot tub. On Saturday after breakfast, we drove to Ähtäri Zoo. Ähtäri Zoo opened in 1973 and is the oldest natural environment zoo in Finland. The zoo is home to over 50 animal species and most of the animals are typically found in boreal forests in the wild. In January 2018 two pandas were placed in Ähtäri for 15 years. The pandas are on loan from the Sichuan province, China. The aim is to have the pandas breed while they are in Finland. I and hubby have seen pandas before at the San Diego Zoo, but our friends had never seen pandas in the flesh before. Seeing the pandas was a great experience and we also saw a bunch of other great animals, like brown bears, Eurasian lynxes, gray wolves, red foxes, red pandas, snow leopards, wolverines, and various deer. The location of the zoo is not the most convenient but if you are interested in animals and have a chance to visit Ähtäri Zoo, I recommend you do.

The cottage we rented
The male panda Pyry (Hua Bao)
The female panda Lumi (Jin Bao Bao) slept throughout our visit
Pyry settling down for a nap
A brown bear relaxing
Some owls hanging out
Male snow leopard Jamal
Sunset over the lake at the cottage

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