Weekday mornings are generally the same: I wake up, scratch myself off the surface of my bed, take a shower and either go to school or I stay home and I work. However, from this week on, my Wednesday mornings will be quite different!
This has been a category that I wanted to add to my blog for a while and I started today with my friend Julie. The idea is simple: we meet at a cafe that my friend chooses and while we are having our morning coffee / tea and breakfast, we talk about food, about Helsinki & food, about life, about anything that comes up! My friends will be all female as I want to show the inspirational women in my life to all the world!
And so, we came together with Julie this morning at 8.45 in a little corner cafe in Kallio: Cafe Brahe. It is on Läntinen Brahenkatu 6 (hence the name “Brahe”). We both drank tea (me: English breakfast, Julie: Camomile). And Julie had one korvapuusti (Finnish style cinnamon roll). I had my breakfast already at home (I wake up at 6.30) so I just enjoyed a cup of warm morning tea.
Cafe Brahe is a teeny tiny cafe which could easily be your local cafe, especially for mornings, if you are living in Kallio. I had this feeling so strong that I thought Julie was living somewhere around and that was her local cafe, which would be the reason why she chose that cafe – but no, she actually lives in Eastern Helsinki and this was a place she had been planning for a long time to come. So we were both first-timers.
The prices in the cafe are incredibly cheap! You can get a cup of tea for 1.80e, coffee for 2/2.5e, a pulla for 2.20e and different types of piirakka (pie) between 2-4.5e! And believe me, they look delicious! So you are not going to get a sad slice of pie for that price, but a really delicious one!
Julie has been living in Helsinki for about 6.5 years – soon 7 years. The first time she came to Finland, she lived in Tampere in 2007 and studied in University of Tampere for a year. In her fifth year she came again and finished his original master studies and then did another master study in Helsinki. Since 2012, she has been working in Moniheli Ry. Moniheli is an umbrella association and network that promotes cooperation between different multicultural associations, authorities, individuals etc. For more info on Moniheli, please check: http://www.moniheli.fi
Julie is a vegetarian, but she also eats fish. I asked her what changed in her diet after she moved to Finland, and she said that she became vegetarian when she came here and stopped eating meat: she watched a documentary on Finnish TV about how chicken are produced and this made her stop eating meat. She says that after that documentary was broadcast, around 10% of whole Finnish population actually stopped eating meat. Some returned back to meaty diet eventually but most still stay vegetarian. But every now and then, maybe once a year, Julie still eats meat – roasted reindeer, in Christmas time, because it is not heavily processed meat and it is not unethical.
When she is on her own, she does not eat out much, only if she is really tired after work and feels lazy, she goes for a take-away from a Nepalese restaurant. However, when she is with her boyfriend, Tommi, they eat out quite frequently. Some of her favourite restaurants are Putte’s Pizza, Lemon Grass, Atelje Finne and a modest but very tasty sushi place in Roihuvuori, Zheng Sushi Bar (which made me drool and crave for some sushi while talking about it). There is a nice little story behind eating in and eating out: she says that her mother was born in 1947, so as an after war kid, she is used to having tens of, hundreds of canned food stored at home and surely, this affected Julie as well. Julie actually started cooking when she was studying in University of Tampere. She was living in a flat which had fairly big kitchen and she started cooking more. She says that she used to bake a lot as well but nowadays she likes cooking more than baking. What she cooks most are veggies in a pot. When she is going through a busy period at work, eating and food becomes more functional than social. Other times, she likes socialising around food but she says she wishes if, together with Tommi, they could get together with friends around food more often.
Thanks to Julie, I also found out that there is a French food shop in Hakaniemi Kauppahalli called DeliDeli, and she said that they sell puy lentil! I have been to that kauppahalli many times but I did not pay attention to that place at all. Today I am going and definitely buying puy lentil!
As for her relationship with Finnish cuisine, Julie loves muikku (small fish known as vendace or European cisco). She loves them grilled on a barbecue with just some olive oil, salt and pepper.
We also talked a bit about food scene in Helsinki and her thoughts about the diversity. Julie says that there has been a great improvement in Helsinki related to food in recent years. She thinks that it is amazing to think about 25% of restaurants serve ethnic food, whereas the immigration population in the country is still very low.
Surrounded by deliciously looking and smelling pullas, cinnamon rolls and pies, a heavy rain outside, we had a lovely chat with Julie. Her beautiful smile was enough to lighten our morning, and we did not need the sun outside! We talked, laughed, drank our tea and felt even hungrier when we left the cafe after talking so much about food! Then we walked up to the tram stop together and ran to catch tram 8, in which we rode together until Sörnäinen. We will definitely meet again and who knows, maybe eat a nice, BIG, delicious dinner together!
For more about Cafe Brahe, check their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cafe-Brahe-Helsinki/159437220842445?fref=ts