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So when I got here to my hotel in Oslo, the place was blocked off by barricades and there were heavily armed policemen and soldiers everywhere. (Actually, many of the soldiers were women – and you haven’t lived until you’ve seen a blonde Norwegian woman strolling along carrying a machine gun…)

That’s when I found out that there is a NATO meeting in town, and that US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice was saying in my hotel, just a couple of floors above me.

Somehow they weren’t amused when I said that it was okay to let me through: “After all,” I said, “she works for me!”

Must have been a language thing.

This is my second trip to Oslo, and once again I’ve been wowed by the cuisine. Last night we had dinner in a wonderful place called Ekebergrestauranten, up on a hill overlooking the city and the harbor. The meal started with asparagus served with bacon and veal sweetbreads, which was just melt in your mouth good. The main course was an amazingly succulent duck served over what appeared to be fava beans, and then we finished with these wonderful little cocoanut and key lime tarts that were the perfect finish. The beer was Ringnes, which was excellent, and the wines were both wonderful and plentiful…though I have no idea what they were.

It’s been a good week for food. Monday night I was in Miami Beach for a speech, and I dropped by Emeril’s for a quick bite of dinner. In this vase, that consisted of andouille crusted redfish served with roasted pecan-grilled vegetable relish, creole meunière sauce and shoestring potatoes (amazing!), preceded by flash fried creole marinated calamari with New Orleans olive salad, smoked tomato sauce and parmigiano-reggiano cheese. I got the name of the wine in this case…in part because it was the current vintage of an old favorite, the 2005 Caymus Conundrum – which continues to be a spectacular white wine that you should definitely try. Not cheap, but worth every penny.

I also had two other amazing wines this week…a 2005 Domaine du Bagnol Cassis, which was perfect with lobster ravioli…and a 2003 Gerard Bertrand Minervois (Syrah-Carignan blend) from France, which was about as smooth a red wine as I can ever remember drinking.

All in all, a good week.

I finally had the chance to catch up with “A Good Year,” the Russell Crowe movie that pretty much tanked when it came out. I actually sort of liked it, though I was glad that I’d rented it as opposed to spending 10 bucks to see it in theatres. The movie is sort of a guy’s fantasy, about an insufferable and self-centered London banker (Crowe) who inherits a French vineyard from his idiosyncratic uncle (Albert Finney, wonderful in a series of flashbacks) and learns to love the land and the act of winemaking…as well as a pretty French girl who can’t stand him. Hardly a masterpiece, but tasty in spots and great to look at.

That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend.

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