When in Vienna…

It had long been on my list of places I wanted to visit but this summer it finally happened: I went to Vienna.

What had captured my imagination was mostly history: images of people in cafes, the Hapsburg empire mixed in with this idea of Kultur with Freud,Klimt and Egon Schiele. Those things are not the same,not even necessarily the same era but still. Vivid,alluring and arty images has formed my impression of Vienna.

And it isn’t entirely wrong. People go to cafes, a lot. Schnitzel is the thing to eat and where as WW2 seems to be forgotten, the glory days of the old empire are not.

img_7524

To be a bit sarcastic, but also serious, my advice is to stick to Austrian things when there. They do schnitzel and potato salad very well. And white wine. A hip and cool hamburger? not so much. You’ll have to look all over town for it(and what’s the point?). Asian food, with the exception of sushi, isn’t great. Just eat classical Austrian food; it’s good and as a tourist isn’t the point to try to local cuisine? In Austria a Beisln is a bistro of sorts: some are very old-fashioned,some are “neo beisln” with a hipster-element. I ate one of the best potato salads I have ever had and the schnitzel was also something to remember at Amerlingbeisl(Stiftgasse 8). In that area are several other nice places worth checking out.

 

Same with the art:  Of all the museums we went to Leopoldmuseum was by far the best in my opinion; the Schiele-collection was amazing.  A stone’s throw from there is Momuk: the museum of modern art and their collections wasn’t impressive. As I have a taste for the morbid I insisted on a visit to “the crypt” i.e. Kaisergruft that is under the Kapuzinerkirche and houses the remains of most of the members of the Habsburg royal family(and there is a lot of them). Well worth a visit if you are into history. About the Kunsthistorische museum I will say that it is big, has some nice things and has actually sofas you can sit in to admire the art. I was well impressed by that. We did go to the Freud museum and I guess it’s a bit anticlimactic since most of his furniture and belongings are at the Freud museum in London, several people have mentioned to me that it’s “better”. Still: it’s fun to have been and the temporary exhibit about the women who helped shape psycho-analysis was interesting.

To a certain degree all of Vienna is a museum. Just walking around, looking at the great architecture as well as contemporary street art is a thrill. And if you keep your eyes open you just might see something noteworthy.

And all the coffee and cake!! I ignored my health and indulged. Sachertorte turned out to be not my thing(and I still haven’t figured out why they are so happy to put whipped cream on coffee but look at you like at like you’re mad when you want some with a piece of chocolate cake). We went to many of the classical cafes: Hawelka,Demel,Sperl and Cafe Central. I really liked Demel and Hawelka although I should be said that you have to sit inside to get a feeling for the place, otherwise it’s just any cafe and the cake and coffee there isn’t spectacular, it’s all about the ambiance.

 

As someone who doesn’t speak german, looking for books wasn’t  on my agenda but I still managed to come home with some. Close to the Leopold museum there was these book-dispensers and for two euro I got a little booklet that was actually in english. We found a little free library at the corner of Zieglergasse and Sibensterngasse and there turns out to be an english bookshop called “Shakespeare and co “ at Sterngasse 2.

As far as shopping goes I ended up coming home with loads of chocolate and assorted cakes. Some from the supermarket( I love going to just the regular foodshops when I travel to see what everyday stuff looks like) , some from “fancy shops” like Meinl. I bought neither Lodenrock nor Dirdln-dress and I regret that now.  I did smell a lot of things at “Maison de Perfume” at Kärntner Strasse but couldn’t make up my mind (when there make sure to have a cocktail at Loos bar next door : great cocktails and classic interiors).

A thing that I wasn’t so impressed by was Naschtmarkt: it was in several travelguides and maybe the flea market on Saturdays is superb, a random visit on a Thursday wasn’t much fun. Actually the opposite.

That said I did have a great time in Vienna and I’m so glad I finally got to go. Now that it’s out of my system I can start planning for other trips on that list of places where I’ve always wanted to go.

-Suss

Jabberwock cocktail

This will made you gyre and gamble in the wake until brillig all right,all right

img_6162I’m a cocktail nerd and a booklover. And to make matters worse(or better depending on your point of view) I like to mix my cocktails with a little literary reference. I did not come up with this( but like in other instances I take it further then most). My point is that in what is to be regarded as holy scripture in modern day mixology,The Savoy Cocktail book, there is a drink named after a character in Alice in Wonderland. And it’s a very nice cocktail.

At some point I will probably create my own drinks based on the book, it has been a favorite since childhood and there is a lot to “work with”. I don’t think that Alice in wonderland needs any introduction. What I will say is that I’m very happy that the edition with illustrations by Tove Jansson is again in print. I went out and bought a copy, and it has made me smile; it really is beautiful. I also picked up some flamingo cocktails-sticks a swizzles for this and further themed cocktails.

In the original recipe there is “Caperitif” which is no longer made. In “Let’s bring back-the cocktail edition” by Lesley M. Blume the recommendation is to replace it with either Lillet Blanc or Dubonnet. I prefer the latter because there is a nice cat on the bottle(and I think it has a better “bite”).

Jabberwock cocktail;makes 1 drink

2 cl gin

2cl Dubonnet

2 cl Dry Sherry

1 dash orange bitters

  1. Stir in a mixing glass over lots of ice until chilled.
  2. Strain into a cocktail glass.
  3. Squeeze a lemon or orange peel (my preference) over it a.k.a. zesting and the use the zest as a garnish.
  4. Enjoy responsibly

 

That really is all there is to it. Easy to make and rather easy to drink. Something with a bit of literary glamour.

-Suss

 

Blue Monday

As I said; I make clothes to match pretty covers of books I like. And I would like to point that out: no matter how pretty the cover, it won’t be a source of inspiration unless I actually like the book too. There are two ways to go about it.

  1. Use a fabric that already matches the book.img_6799I’ve wanted to make something out of this old Persian tablecloth for a long time. Last fall my mother actually let me take another tablecloth of a similar print but different colours and I made a skirt I love. This became a rather bohemian dress. When I was done I realized how well it went with The folded clock by Heidi Julavits. A book I really love(I’ve written about it before). It is not a book to read in one sitting but rather a little a day. It is a diary and just a few entries per day is just enough. But this is not the only garment that I have that matches this book. Which brings me to method number two.
  2. Make the fabric match. img_6056This is a very simple top I made using leftover fabric. I then used blue fabric marker to draw flowers,dots and lines inspired by this cover. It should be noted that this cover design is by Leanne Sharpton who’s work I’m currently obsessed with(both illustrations and writing. I should be embarrassed by my own fan-girling but I’m not). Fabric markers are great in that they demand very little except 12 hours to dry. They don’t smudge, you don’t have to make a mess and then clean up said mess. On the downside they don’t give the kind of thick lush color that you might desire. They are in short great,but not suitable for all projects. This is one thing I’ve learned.

I do recommend the book but understand that women might find it a better read then men. I also encourage everyone to try to be creative.

-Suss

People in the trees/skirts in the shop

I love matching my clothes to  book covers. If you follow me on Instagram you already know that I take it to the maximum by actually making garments to match. That isn’t always necessary however.

img_7532img_7537

 

 

 

 

 

 

People in the trees by Hanya Yanagihara is one of the best books I’ve read this year. You can read my thoughts here. This skirt is on sale at H&M. It’s a perfect match. I did’t buy it because I have to many skirts already but the struggle was real I tell you. It is exactly the kind of thing I like to wear.

-Suss

Haiku&Home decor

img_2787

Draining the sake cask

-behold 

a gallon flower vase

-Matsuo Basho

You can learn great things from books, and meet like-minded people. In addition to his brilliant poems, Basho writes about the “sake cask”. I discovered a long time ago that a nice bottle makes an excellent vase but I was obviously  not the first to do so.

I once went to a dinner and arrived with a purple hydrangea. The host and hostess didn’t have a vase so we placed it in empty Bombay Sapphire bottle: the light blue of the bottle work so well with the flower. I often use a large Hendrick’s bottle: the label was damaged so it’s just black now. The green Tanqueray bottles are also wonderful for a single large flower.

I can also say that five pink peonies placed individually in  green beer bottles in a window was a lovely and chic set-up but due to no battery I didn’t take a photo( it was at a restaurant). However I have these small beer bottles and some chrysanthemums which looks rather good together.

img_7529

And as I was walking home from work yesterday I saw this in a window.

img_7538Old Genever bottles with stem cabbage. Very chic and minimalist. Such bottles can be found at flea markets but I will also say that I think Genever is underrated and buying it is not a bad idea. Will make a note to blog about cocktails to make with it.

-Suss

Reading on reading….

img_1559

-I get asked how I manage to read so much; I’m not gonna bother writing advice since the wonderful Annikky already has on her blog. You can find the post here

-Speaking about brilliant friends; Even though I haven’t read the Ferrante books yet I’m tired of people complaining about the covers. There is method to that madness. Read about it here

-I found a really old link when I was going through my old old mac. Admire stacks of books here

-I’m not a huge fan of Hemingway’s writing but endlessly fascinated by the man(and other’s admiration of him). An old New Yorker-piece on him was great fun. Find it here

Have a great weekend! x Suss

Once more; with feeling…

img_7167Once upon a time in a galaxy far far away I had a cocktail blog. in swedish with a very literary and non-cool vibe. When I decided to close it all of my seven readers were heartbroken. I jest a bit but honestly I didn’t have that many readers, probably a result of blogging in swedish. It is my mother tongue and I love it, but it is spoken by few.

In the last time of my cocktail blogging I started an Instagram account. And boy oh boy that was fun. However posting about books was more fun then cocktails (although posting about books and cocktails is still a fave with me, even though it doesn’t get the most likes). And so when I closed the blog I decided to start anew, a clean slate, tabula rasa, Like a virgin. Because I make very little sense  I (obviously) chose as my handle something from an old blog that I started but never really bothered with. And it took like a year for me to get around to really writing. Or plan to write anyhow( having had a link in my profile since the beginning for no reason at all). Because I’ve decided that the world needs more literary-cocktails,book reviews and general bookish insanity I will blog in english(despite my english being a foul mix of British and American). And I will make no apologies about general post on food,fashion or felines. These things are always on my mind and I need somewhere to air my thoughts. Most likely stuff I make will be a subject;I’m always trying to be creative.

At this point I have loads of ideas, a few pics saved to use for post and no clue really where this will end up. I need a little time and a few post to get back into the writing groove, find my voice and all that. I hope you’ll stay with me.