Persian Cuisine for Newbies

Rice

Persian food is not as well known as other Middle Eastern cuisines are in the western hemisphere. You might think that’s a bit sad, but we think it might actually be a bit of a gift. Just imagine what new worlds of tingling taste moments lie ahead for you! Come, come…let us tell you what you’ve been missing…

Pound for Pound- the Best Rice in the World

This is the cuisine’s cornerstone, the undisputed queen of any meal. There are many ways to serve this white jeweled deliciousness, but none is better than steaming it for hours on the stove, adding some saffron, barberries (google it) and flaked pistachio, and serve it all with a crispy bottom, called a ‘tahdig’ (literal translation ‘bottom of the pot’). Once you’ve mastered that cracker you get to move onto the ‘pro’ rice dishes- ‘tahchin morgh’ (a ‘cake’ of crispy topped saffron rice and yoghurt with chicken baked inside, ‘adas-polo’, where the rice is steamed with layers of lentils and raisins and so many more…taste the rice rainbow…

Whatever the variety of rice, cooking it is an art form, and always a bit of a silent competition. If you have no rice skills, you can not call yourself a cook. If you’re lucky enough to be together with an Iranian and you visit their parents’ house, pay very careful attention to the way you are served rice. And comment on how good it is. You’re welcome.

 

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The Stews

Persian cuisine is built around fresh and natural tastes, with a small selection of trusted spices. A variable climate, four distinct seasons, and fertile lands have produced a bright, sensuous, fruit-and-herb filled cuisine, best displayed in the variety of stews to enjoy with that epic rice.

Take ‘fesenjoon’, a delicious pomegranate and walnut stew…Or ‘gheyme’, a tangy and umami-rich, dried lime, split bean and fried potato version (can you hear our stomachs rumbling?). That’s not to forget the king of all stews, ‘ ghorme sabzi’, literally referring to cacophony of herbs that give it the distinct deep green colour (don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.)

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The Kebabs

The wonderful world of the Persian kebabs does not have any limits. Whether it’s fish, poultry or beef doesn’t really matter, Iranians will serve it grilled to perfection.

Iranians love their kebab and in particular their emblematic ‘koobideh’. Minced meat, onions, salt and pepper are mixed together, grilled and served with bread or rice (and if you are a seasoned pro with both). It sounds simple, but simple is usually the most sublime. 

 

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The aubergine, an unsung hero

The mighty aubergine is served in 1001 varieties and is the quiet but stoic hero of different occasions. Mixed with yogurt, filled with rice stuffing, smoked and whirled into tomato and egg, mashed and topped with a salty whey reduction and put into thick stews, the aubergine is our favorite crowd pleaser.

Have we got you craving some of this heart throbbingly excitingly food yet? Next time you are looking for fireworks of natural flavours, planning to enjoy a variety of tastes and want to impress, turn towards this lesser known Middle-Eastern star. We promise you, it’s a game changer.

 

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Top 3 Reasons to Run To Iran

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Don’t buy into the media smog of bad press on Iran. For all the complex political nuances that are stratified into headlines there are a million awe-inducing reasons to draw you into the achingly ancient and the surprisingly contemporary country with a thousand (and one) stories to tell. Here are our top three reasons for why you should start googling your visa options…

 

The Food

Saffron, pomegranate, walnut, dried lime, dill and sumac…these are just some elements of the oral orgy that defines Persian cuisine. Whatever your tastes, you’ll find something aromatic and delectable to please you in Iran. You’ll find a unifying staple here is the rice. OMG, did we mention the rice?! It’s unreal. You haven’t tasted rice until you dip into a proper, painstakingly created Iranian version. As for all the other stuff- the climate varies in different parts of the country, and so too do the ingredients and styles. Try smoked, salted Caspian caught fish in the North, spiced shrimp soups in the south and classics like aubergine, pomegranate and walnut and herb lamb stews across the country. We’re consciously ignoring the kebab which is the more obvious (and consistently delicious) front-runner. Iranians eat it in a variety of ways, with the most emblematic being ground lamb on skewers. Vegetarian? Don’t stress, there are reliable options with all the well known staples available- our favorite is ‘ash-e-reshte’, a noodle and bean soup fit for royalty!

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The Contrasts

Iran is an enigma within an enigma. Which other country can you go to for skiing in the capital and then island hop amongst some of the world’s least known archipelagos?If you’re into the road less travelled and want some adventure, there’s plenty to do in this rich and diverse place! Maybe you’re into hikes and stunning landscapes including waterfalls, humid lush Northern tea farms and the Caspian coast. Or perhaps you’re more into the thousand year old poets’ tombs, encircled by jasmine and roses and visited by giggling lovers who recite verses to each other over the dulled lamp lights and the crickets. You can stroll through Tehran’s famous Darband, an enchanted hangout nestled north of the northest part of Tehran and grab a carpeted bench, a pot of fresh brewed tea and a hookah pipe to just inhale the buzz of children laughing, friends telling stories and families enjoying a night out. These contrasts are also reflected in the social and political landscape of this ancient land. Far from the oriental stereotype, Iran will continue to surprise you in the big, noticeable ways and the smaller subtle ones..like how easy it is to fall in love with a people, a place and an inimitable feeling. Your wanderlust will transform into a spiritual, rose-water scented, fairy-light decorated, arterial connection with Iran. That’s a Lokalii guarantee.

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The Hospitality

After you. No please- after YOU…if you don’t know what ‘tarof’ is, then welcome to the land of a million Olympic gold medalists of this social sport. ‘Tarof’ includes a range of behaviors, ranging from subtle allusions to tough topics in negotiations to feigned humility of shopkeepers about the price of pickles. If you’re travelling to Iran for the first time all you need to know about tarof is that people will insist that you do things. A lot.  ‘Eat’. ‘Drink’. ‘Come to my house, stranger’. ‘You like this ancient, valuable necklace that’s been in my family for years? It’s yours. Take it’. ‘This table made of solid gold? I want you to take it back to Tunbridge Wells with you. It’s not worthy of you anyway. I’m so embarrassed.’ You get the drift. As a guest of Iran you are essentially a guest of the entire Iranian populous and you will, more often than not, be treated as one. Take your stretchy pants and a Farsi phrase book. Every ‘salaam’ (hi), and ‘merci’ (thank you) will earn you more warmth and friendship. We’ve all been to places where people are friendly, and we’ve all been to places where, for whatever reason, the locals aren’t too fond of tourists. Iran isn’t one of the latter places. It might be due to bad press, or just the sheer curiosity and sociable nature of Iranians, but you’ll feel like a VIP everywhere you go.

 

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Oslo Beer porn: A Beer-Lovers Guide to the Scandi Capital


Oslo has come to be the coffee capital of the world- and if that surprises you then you should google Tim Wendelboe and forever hold your peace…

But these days the beer lovers can’t complain. With micro breweries and great bars popping up at the speed of Usain Bolt just to get in on some of that liquid gold, thirsty Oslovians and visitors are never too far away from a quality pint.

So next time you want to taste some of the best beers south of the north pole, check out our (heavily tried and tested) local favorites.

Before you dive in, here’s a crash course in the Norwegian beer lingo:

Essential Beer Lingo

Halvliter (pronounced hal liter): is the classical pint, only a little smaller. Expectation management- this was traditionally 0,5 liters of beer, but these days most bars serve 0,4 and kept the name.

Snitt (pronounced snitt); a small glass of beer, usually 0,2, perfect if you want to taste different beers without getting wasted on the third or fourth, and easier on your taste buds. It goes without saying that they’re super handy for a crowded bar and dancefloor situation.

Skål (pronouced skol): What Norwegians say to toast- this one’s the most important by far!

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Lokalii’s top 3

Crow Bar & Brewery

This is one of the first microbreweries in the city, agreat bar with small dishes if your belly gets rumbling between rounds. The Crow Bar makes it own beer with the selection differing from week to week. This means you can come back again and again without feeling boring. There is of course a permanent collection of delicious Norwegian beers from different breweries on offer too.The staff are knowledgeable and friendly and the location is perfect to kick start your night, perched between the trendy Grünerløkka neighbourhood and the banging club hub of Youngstorget.

Insider tip: If you can, book a beer experience prior to your arrival, and learn more about their process. Check out the video from their beer experience here: http://bit.ly/2fuyBEI

Siste Sang

One of the newest additions to the beer scene is Siste Sang (or last song), who have their own brewery and beer hall in the cool multicultural neighbourhood of Grønland.

Siste sang offers their own brew on tap, but also carries a big selection of beers from all over the world. The staff are very friendly, and the music is always great. They serve cute little tapas sized dishes to keep you going in this basic but charming cantina type venue. The secret is being whispered all over town, which means it’s getting popular, but still not overrun as some of the other selections here!
Insider tip 1: Check out their store, right next door to the beer hall and their genius (and rather beautiful)  2 liter beer bottles (which you can refill with new beer buys!)

Insider tip 2: You are allowed to bring your own food to the beer hall. This makes it the perfect location for an after work, dinner and party place.

Vespa & Humla

The restaurant Vespa & Humla is a great place to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, no matter your drink preference.

But being the closest neighbour to Grünnerløkka Brygghus has an impact on an establishment. Like the fact that you curate your menu to match great beers. Or that your meat is marinated in beer. Or that you just happen to offer some of the finest beers known in the city.

Just a short walk from the buzzing Thorvald Meyersgate, Vespa is a great venue for you beer loving daters and cozier occasions.

Insider tip: Saturday brunches are really popular, and a great way to start your Oslo day.

Honorable mentions

Brygg 280 beers to taste. And access to create your own beer. #winning

Oslo Micorbrewery – Rumours had it that this place was the first microbrewery and pub in the Nordics. That makes it almost 30 years old and it’s still going strong. Can’t go wrong with a classic.

Mathallen Hopyard – In the basement of Mathallen you will find great atmosphere, great beers and great food. Worth a visit.

 

The 1-2-3 of becoming a Lokalii Host!

Screen Shot 2017-09-23 at 15.12.09Welcome to the Lokalii Family!

Hosting experiences really is as easy as 1-2-3! Your experience can be about anything at all- from a Northern-light safari to hiking with a local, being a pop-up personal stylist, or even teaching those nearby how to twerk!

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You can charge as much or as little as you want. A Lokalii team member will contact you and process the payment within a couple of working days of your booking and the rest is history!

After you’ve decided on what you want to host and how much you want to charge just follow our easy steps for uploading your experience onto the marketplace!

1) Create an account via our website www.lokalii.com and click on the ‘sell your experience’ button. 

Tip: In some places in the world this option isn’t available on the mobile app. Don’t be discouraged and try it from your laptop until our tech catches up with your city! 🙂

2) Fill out the details as prompted. We just ask for the most important information for prospective experience hunters. This includes timings and max number of participants.

Tip: Remember, when anyone books your experience, you always have the option of turning it down if it’s not a good time for you. Are you the first experience in a city or country? CONGRATS! This makes your experience extra special and more likely to be seen. High five!

3) Add some awesome pictures that really make your experience stand out. It’s always better to use your own photos and really work to communicate what your experience is all about!

et voilà! That’s seriously it! Just spread the word and wait for bookings! Make sure to follow us on the Lokalii instagram feed and Facebook page, as well as this handy blog- there’ll be updates, news and offers!

 

Hugsies,

 

The Lokalii Team

P.S… if you ever have any questions just send us a message via our social feeds. The team is always on hand for tips, advice or tech support!

We want your Lokalii Style

 

Bare Organics.pngLokalii wants to make every place feel local for natives and travellers alike. This means we want to see every side of your home turf- including its most stylish angles! We don’t need style from above, we need street style and your street’s style!

Are you a blogger, trend-setter or someone who simply takes their style seriously? Read on for a chance to get more exposure, some professional promo and become a part of the Lokalii community!

 

Hosting a Lokalii Style Experience

It’s as simple as 1-2-3! It costs you nothing, you can charge as much or as little as you like and asks for some imagination and time (on your terms).

Lokalii is a marketplace for local experiences- so how do you market your style in sync with your city? What is it about where you live that inspires your get-up? Channel the Parisian chic, the Scandi clean cuts, the London grit, the Italian curves and splendour and put it into a block of time in your locale for someone who wants to breathe it for a couple of hours (or however long you want). Maybe you know where  to snatch up the best designer sample sales? Perhaps you’re an aspiring stylist who can offer some informed advice on what to wear and where to get it? Are you a vintage fiend who has the lowdown on markets and boutiques? Design your own clothing or accessories and want to showcase your work in a new way? Or maybe, just maybe, you have your own ideas…

The Challenge

Put your Lokalii Style Experience up between now and November 1st 2017 with #LokaliiStyleXP in the body of the description. Visit our website http://www.lokalii.com and start by clicking the ‘sell your own experience’ button. It’s all pretty simple from there!

The Lokalii team will choose one lucky Lokalii Style Xp to win a free of charge promo video which you can have all to yourself, as well as being seen via our social media campaigns and promotional material. Have a look at some of our existing promos  via our Youtube Channel at http://bit.ly/2jBnoab

psssttt…Download the Lokalii App to get inspired! The sky’s the limit on how and what your experience can include, but it should be easy to understand and ideally, something you couldn’t just buy I.e. a ticket to a fashion show isn’t so interesting, but attending a fashionshow with YOU and Meeting and greeting backstage staff or attending an afterparty = WINNING AF. We welcome experiences from all over the world and would love to see how you link your style to your city/town/municipality/whatever.

Good luck, from the Lokalii team!

 

Stockholm Sundays are for Coffee & Catch Ups

Fika is a Swedish thing. It literally means taking a break, usually a coffee break, usually a coffee break served with a little something on the side. Unsurprisingly, this means that cafés are a big deal here and Stockholm, like other cities you might know, has seen a huge influx of big chain coffee places of late. But if you’re like us and you prefer a more intimate feel for your weekend tête-à-tête or late breakfast pastry, check out three of our coziest, chicest and downright coolest café picks in the Swedish capital.

Drop Coffee Roasters

A coffee institution in its own right. Do you have one of those friends who talks about coffee beans, origins, roasts and brewing techniques like there’s no tomorrow? Take them here. This is a place for coffee connoisseurs who want to chill. You can have a three hour conversation with the barista about the undertones of the espresso or you can lounge around with your cooler friends and pretend like you already know. Be warned- they close at 3pm so get in there before that.

Café Pascal

If you like your Cafés bustling and lively then this is the place for you. Added bonus for our vegan friends- they offer a great choice of sandwiches and salads and of course their excellent coffee comes with non-dairy options. We love the chic energy of Pascal, set against the bare brick walls and hanging bulb interiors. It’s a cooler cup of midday coffee with your mates, kinda place.

AB Café

Coffee can get a little judgy these days. It means you have to choose between going to one of the big soulless chains so no one judges you for the thick creamy cortado you love, or pretending to understand why your espresso is so sour in one of the hipper ‘serious-coffee’ joints. AB is one of those ‘in the middle’ places where the coffee is unashamedly excellent, the pastries are amazing and you don’t have to worry about the barista rolling their eyes when you order an Americano. They have a great breakfast menu on the weekends and their banana bread is to die for. Kick back and enjoy the 50s vibes with a newspaper and ignore the workweek grind here.

Honorable mention: The Green Rabbit

The Green Rabbit does Fika so well it’s earned itself a bit of a reputation for it. This teeny tiny little place (seats just ten people) is where you go for a cosy chat and a wholesome breakfast. They squeeze their own juice and make all the edibles within their premises- including their legendary rye bread. You just lay on that sheepskin covered furniture with your shades on and let your friend recount what you did last night to you in detail. There’s just one heartbreaking detail to keep in mind- they’re actually closed on Sundays. We hope this blog will somehow remedy this devastating fact…

Our favourite hotels in Stockholm

Our 5 hotel picks in Stockholm

Wondering where to lay your tired, Stockholm-visiting self? The city offers a big range of accommodation, fit for every budget and traveler. Lokalii wants to share some our personal favorites where you can charge up your batteries, continue the adventures, rub shoulders with the hipsters or just enjoy a decent breakfast before pounding the pavement again.

Comfort Hotel Stockholm

This place is a solid win! Right by the train station they offer great value for your money. You get a good bed and a good breakfast at great rate. And yeah, the hospitality is priceless. Who wants to deal with rudeness when you have a hangover bigger than your luggage? You’re amongst everyone and anyone who wants the standard amenities and the comfort (no pun intended) of a classic hotel, with a bit of soul.

Downtown Camper by Scandi

The newest hotel in Stockholm has captured the essence of adventure in the Nordics and put it all into the heart of the city.The rooms have an ‘ urban stay outdoors-indoors’ vibe and the lobby has all the buzz of an upmarket hostel without actually making you share a bathroom or anything (unless you want to)! Think- socialising where you sleep, log-themed interiors and a cosy ‘in the woods’ colour scheme! Our kind of hotel for sure. Make sure to talk to Kristian, the concierge at the hotel, and we promise that he’ll be your new best friend in Stockholm.

 The Story Hotel

Does what it says on the tin- gives you a taste of the ‘unique’ with an exclusive feel. Individual rooms, great service, and an amazing bar where you can start your weekend with great music and amazing drinks. That’s right- a hotel bar where you’re not ashamed to hang out. #winning. One look at the website will tell you all you need to know about this achingly cool option. You’ll be in the company of start up moguls, bloggers and photographers, fancy beers in hand.

 The Redboat

Stockholm offers lots of boat hotels, it’s kind of their thing. With most of them you can expect small rooms and a very cheap and fun alternative to the regular hotel experience. Our tried and tested favourite is The Redboat. You can’t beat the location, docked up close to Gamla Stan, and the staff have always been very helpful. This is the kind of stay that suits those who don’t want or need the frills of fancy hotels, but want a charming and cosy escape. The dreamers and the bookworms in our team swear by it.

Hobo

Hobo is a boutique style hotel with bags of personality. That personality is friendly and image conscious but pragmatic- quintessentially ‘Swedish’ some might say.  It speaks to the young at heart travelers, especially those with an appreciation for the design in every detail and the quirky concept.  Their prices are reasonable and the breakfast is healthy and good quality. Make sure to test their sister restaurant Taket out for some memorable cocktails.

Honorable mentions; Clarion Hotel Sign, Haymarket by Scandic and Nordic Light- they all score very high on our value/location/hospitality rating!