Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Once a summer: Linnanmäki

By this age I've managed to collect a few things without which summer feels a bit like broken sauna. It's nice alright, but doesn't really get you all warm inside. One of my must-dos is Linnanmäki amusement park.

Camera was having another night off (I'm trying to kick back! I'm trying!) , so you'll have to make do with iPhotos...

Usually I time my visit towards the end of the summer as all the holidaymakers have left the city and all the screaming children have gone back to school. That way it'll take a whole lot less elbowing and wrestling to the ground to get the biggest prize. No, not a place in eternity as the child of Jesus Christ, but place in the first car of the roller-coaster, of course!

And those wonderful late summer nights... Twinkling lights in August evening,  the screeching of the tracks that always leaves you wondering  just a little bit and the unmistakeable scent of creosote coming from the wood. Simply magical!

Built all the way back in 1951 the roller-coaster is still the most popular ride in the park.

Though it has come a long way since our childhood memories (especially The Boy Next Door's!), Linnanmäki has luckily managed to avoid becoming one of those tacky plastic hells and still has in store some of those delightfully nostalgic glimpses that make me clap my hands in a very child-like enthusiasm.

And I'm not the only one. The Boy Next Door gleefully announced his plan was to "eat too much cotton candy and run around screaming". In one of them propelled caps, no less. Being the open-minded person that I am I naturally expressed my wish to support this idea of his. While simultaneously playing a game of my own called "no, I don't know that monkey".

I have become so old I happily skip the most bonkers of the shakers and twirlers: the old roller-coaster is all I need. In addition to that I also recommend Panoraama (free of charge, FYI) that offers breath-taking views over this gorgeous city of ours. Oh, and the kissing lane. If a brat vomiting all over your shoes from having eaten too much sweets won't get you feeling romantic... I don't know what will.

I really, really tried to train my date in the art of romance. I mean, everybody knows that a Real Man showcases his masculinity not by shooting endangered animals on a 3rd World safari. Oh no, you shoot targets at an amusement park arcade in order to win that lion-sized stuffed toy  - and the girl's heart.

Well, at least he gave it a shot (!)And I still went home with him, so...

The restaurant selection in Linnnamäki has gone through several makeovers in recent years. Bearing in mind the target audience you're better off keeping your expectations fairly low. And amusement park is not really for fine dining anyway, now is it? Linnanmäki has seen many restaurants come and go: the latest venture is Scandinavian Tex-Mex (why? Like, really - WHY?)

But one's got to eat (and have something to throw up up in the air). We fancied something casual (having already tried out the fanciest of restaurants, Ilona, a couple of years ago with somewhat lukewarm results), but good and decided on Midhill, an American diner-style burger place by a 2-star Michelin chef.

With all its quirky American paraphernalia it's certainly casual. The sodas are their own brand, but were strangely low in carbon dioxide and served warm, making the overall taste a bit flat. Nice tries though - especially Larry.

They're not the cheapest of burgers: every single one will set you back a good 15 euros. There's even a vegetarian option which surprisingly is the most expensive item on the menu (€15.50). Sodas (€5 each) and sides (also around €5) are all sold separately so a burger dinner for two comes to €50.

The Boy Next Door went for Korean BBQ (Miso-glazed pork belly with funky salad and chilli and coriander mayo) and coleslaw, I had Piece of Greece (witty, yes) which was described as spicy lamb burger with tzatziki, mint and tomato salsa and fries.

The bun was brioche-like but a bit too flimsy for my liking and didn't have much taste. Lamb burger wasn't spicy but the minty side kicks rocked. Juicy. Nice. Fries were good, too.

Coleslaw was a very OK coleslaw. The pork in the Korean burger was tender and tasty. We liked!





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