Danish Pastry

IMG_3797.JPGIn Danish, a danish is a “viennese bread” because it was brought to Denmark in the 19th century by immigrants from Vienna. There are many names and many types of pastry sold in Denmark and the bakeries, although no longer on every corner, are still to be had (today, 7-11 bakes fresh every few hours).

My favorites are actually not the well-known pretzel shaped “kringle” or the “duck breast” or “snail” but, one that is hard to find and the other that is more common. My favorite one is so popular that it’s sold at the airport. It’s called a “tebirkes” or “tea poppy seed” and it’s a rectangular shape with a covering of poppy seeds. Inside, the bottom layers are held down by a thin layer of almond paste mixed with sugar. The tebirkes isn’t overly sweet and I like to splice it open, slather it with Lurpack butter and a slice of smelly strong cheese. The second pastry that I always get, if I can, is called a “rosenbroed” or “rose bread”and it’s made from the basic kringle puff pastry but in a long plank shape. It’s covered with a thick layer of icing and sliced into long strips. Pure sugar, butter, and puff pastry!

Denmark is known for its Danish and in the U.S., there are a few places that claim to do the original kringle or Danish. But, Danish pastry is like New York pizza… it’s something in the water… if you can, go to the source.



Stress Management – Massage

img_8811Here’s my recommendation for a massage place in Arlington, Virginia. It’s called the Advanced Massage Center (AMC, like the movie theater). When I’m in the DC-area, this is where you can find me. An hour is literally 60 minutes and costs $105, no tipping allowed. The first visit is costs 75 minutes because you have 15 minutes of consultation beforehand. From then on it doesn’t matter which therapist you see because they all have access to the notes from the first visit. I recommend 90 minute massages after you know which therapist you like.

The center is located in the red Inova building next to the corner building on Fairfax drive and North Glebe Road. The address is 1005 N. Glebe Road, Suite 450
Arlington ยท VA 22201. Phone number is (703) 812-4810. Email is info@AdvancedMassage.Center. And you can schedule an appointment online on the contact page. They are very responsive and will email you a receipt. No exchange of dirty money to soil your zen mood when you leave. I even had one of the therapists call me when he was delayed in traffic! This place is by appointment only as they aren’t sitting around waiting for you to walk in. They just started offering services on Sundays too and I believe that they just hired a new therapist (who might be superman? Clark or Kent?).

One thing that this place is trying to do is make relaxation therapy and massage an essential part of daily life (just like you get your car tuned), so your body may need to be tuned every month. As Jaime said, when I asked him how he got into this field, he said that he had some relaxation sessions when he was at a youth leadership camp, and this made him realize that he wanted to pursue this.

I’ve had massages from Charlly (co-owner), Jaime (he is also a co-owner), and Suba (she also treats the DC United team). I recommend them all. Each is different. Here’s how.

Charlly: He talks through the massage and explains what he is doing and the technical terms for each part of the muscle. He makes sure that the table and pillows are adjusted just right.

Jaime: Doesn’t talk as much and he puts a hurtin’ on. That expression about “no pain, no gain” is truly what I gained from this massage.

Suba: She doesn’t talk much but her technique is different than the other two, but still on point.

An added bonus at AMC is that the offices are very clean and modern, plus the reception staff is super friendly.

This place is a world away from massage in other parts of the world. If you are in Bogota, you still have to contact Alvaro.

I’ll blog more about some of the relaxation therapy I’ve had later, including the best. The photo is a clue.

Aw Sh-t and Counting One’s Blessings

img_0966Donkey dung. Now on my pants for the next 24 hours. We were departing the birthplace of the Inca gods, the Island of the Sun in Lake Titicaca, and hence were trudging through the donkey dung strewn path down to the ferry. On the island, these donkeys are the beasts of burden, and, as a tourist, one can have one’s luggage carried up or down on the backs of one of them.

We were in a rush, so we shouldered our backpacks and set off. The path was slippery with donkey fecal matter. As we got close to the edge down by the harbor, we could see that the ferry was pulling in. We started hurrying. Next minute, I was on my back like an upended turtle. Except that my leg was bent in the other direction. For one second, I thought it was broken and thought how awkward that would be when halfway up a hill in Lake Titicaca.

The edge of the cliff was a foot or so away, and the only damage I had suffered was a bit of manure on my jeans. My friend gave me a hand up. And then, I was reminded of how lucky I was.

We made the ferry too. I enjoyed the aroma of my donkey dung for 24 hours. It didn’t smell that bad.