A Fika in Phoenix

There are some pros to living in a big city. Bozeman, Montana, where I first ended up, only had 30,000 people in the area. While many of them had Swedish heritage, there was not much Swedish culture.

Phoenix is a whole different story though. I run into a lot of Swedes! Many have lived here for years and years, but all still speak Swedish, and still love Sweden.

When I first came to Phoenix I searched “Swedish restaurants” on Google. Beaver’s Choice came up.

Beavers Choice

Now this is an odd name for a Swedish restaurant, and when I came across it, it was actually closed! So I had to wait a few months for their remodeling to be finished before I could go and have some Swedish food.

Inside Beaver's ChoiceWhen their doors did finally open, it was well worth the wait! While this restaurant claims to be Scandinavian, Polish, and Canadian, I found it to be Swedish enough for my liking! Hey, I mean, the sign has Swedish in it :)

While the restaurant was a bit empty, the inside was beautiful. Not only was it clean, but it had pictures of Europe all over the walls. Sold!

The menu was great, as I saw Swedish words everywhere. Including köttbullar. pytt i panna, smörgåsbord and the like. I opted for the “Shrimp Salad Sandwich”, which was so good! The bread tasted exactly like the one I would get at Frostkåge kösken in Sweden.


I asked the waitress if the owner was around so I could a) ask permission to take pictures of her restaurant and b) tell her how great her restaurant was! When I spoke to her, I started in Swedish, and she spoke English right back at me. I’m used to that.

However, it was interesting when my SWEA friend Mia came along and we started talking in Swedish. The owner noticed and started talking with us. She was so surprised I spoke Swedish. I pointed out that I spoke Swedish with her when I first came in. She laughed, because it didn’t even register with her that I was speaking a language besides English!

Turns out, that great bread she gets from a bakery in Scottsdale (northern Phoenix), who doesn’t sell to the public. Boo! That bread was delicious! Well, I guess I’ll just have to go back to Beaver’s Choice for my Swedish food fix!


How will you make your Halloween more Swedish?

A Swede pushes the limits of Halloween.I have fond memories of my time in Sweden, especially my two Halloween parties. Yes, they were big enough to make a splash in the local newspaper, but what was really fun was to see all my Swedish friends dress up and really celebrate this holiday all out.

I remember prepping for the holiday with Anna, who helped me bake American cookies that looked creepy, and I remember her and her now husband coming over to help carve pumpkins. They had so much fun pumpkin carving!

This year I will have my second American halloween, which is surly to be a blast as I will be celebrating it with young folk. However, I know I will want a little Swedish in my Halloween.

Perhaps this will be by carving a Swedish pumpkin. Or maybe I will make some creepy Swedish meatballs. Perhaps I’ll dress up as something Swedish for the holiday. (Need some ideas? Check out 7 costumes for a Swedish Freak!)

Whatever I do, my question is what will you do this Halloween to make yours a bit more Swedish?

Please, share how you are going to make your Halloween more Swedish!

The Swedish Bolt Fly

This post is sponsored by Stormin Norman, a pest control company in Phoenix, Arizona, that specializes in termite control and scorpion control.

Let’s explore the extreme differences between the bugs of Sweden and the bugs of Arizona.

Here in Arizona, the dreaded bug is the brown recluse. This nasty and awful spider is the spawning point of many a frightening tale of flesh eating creepy insects who can chew out an entire hole in a person’s arm or ankle or, better yet, their nose or cheek!!!

Okay, that is freaky and scary, but most of the United States are proud to boast of their own variety of brown recluse that is mean and cruel.

So how does snowy and freezing Sweden even compete against our warm and insect-inviting environment that exists through most of the year? Granted, Sweden lives half of its life in freezing cold snow and constant darkness, where bugs can barely survive, much less wreak havoc. But come spring, the bugs go as crazy and abundant as the grass, leaves and flowers (like Mother Nature KNOWS that her clock is ticking for a mere 6 months of regeneration!) all over Sweden.

Believe me, these bugs know crazy! We are talking mosquitoes galore, creepy crawlers unleashed and fly freaks darkening the skies! But Sweden is still able to claim an undisputed scary-as-all-get-out winner in the scary bug category, and it puts Arizona and the rest of the US to shame!


Cephenemya stimulator

Bolt Fly
By Karsten Heinrich (& G. Kothe-Heinrich) (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

There are plenty of varieties of bot flies. Wikipedia provides the best definition by explaining that bot flies “are internal parasites of mammals, some species growing in the host’s flesh and others within the gut.” The Swedish bot fly puts all other members of their species to utter and complete shame.

This bad boy of bugs employs a particularly pernicious method of reproduction. After mating, the female (which looks remarkably similar to a bumble bee or a fat hairy fly) seeks out elk and moose and literally shoots out her already hatched larvae into the nose of their target. The little bugger babies inside then nestle into the snot upon which they feed (yes, completely GROSS!). After the sweet little bug bambinos grow large enough, they wiggle around and tickle the noses of their elk and moose carriers so that it makes them sneeze them out (along with a nice fat juicy and tasty mixture of snot and blood) for their next stage of growth to bot fly adulthood.

Well, guess what? Human eyes look way too much like elk and moose nostrils, so unhappy and surprised hikers within the Swedish forest have found themselves face-to-face with bot flies ready for stage two of their reproductive process. The bot flies see your eyeballs and says “Baby nest!” and discharges their load right into your cornea.

Victims have described the experience as similar to being slapped by a branch, but trees do not leave baby bugs in your face. Usually the attacked human ends up experiencing something similar to conjunctivitis but some hikers have ended up with bot fly eggs in their eyes.

The easiest way to avoid this potential health risk is to wave away any flying insect looking similar to a bumblebee that seems to be hovering in front of your face for an exceedingly long period of time.

To this I say “DUH!”

7 Halloween Costumes for a Swedish Freak

Halloween is coming soon. It may not be a native Swedish holiday, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t celebrated in Sweden, and it also doesn’t mean that your Halloween can’t have some Swedish in it! Here are 7 great costumes for a Swedish Freak like you for this Halloween.

Viking Warrior

Swedish Viking Costume

Nothing says Sweden like a viking! Terrify your friends (or show them how to drink some mead!) with this fun costume. Reminds me of Johan, when he and his sister came down to visit me in Prague for my Halloween party, they were truly Swedish and came as vikings! If you are brave enough to make your own mead (as some Swedes I know did), then bring it along to make your costume even more authentic :) The costume here goes for around $100, but I’m sure you can find a cheaper one.

Viking Princess

Swedish Viking Princess

We all know that every Viking Warrior must have his princess! I personally am all for being a princess, and I love this Viking princess costume. Did they have princesses back then? I’m going to say yes, since they have them now. Join your warrior with this cool costume!

The Swedish Chef!

The Swedish Chef Costume

Ok, he may be American made, but you can’t get more “Swedish” than the Swedish chef! Just make sure your throw some meatballs around and say ‘Gurdy gurdy gurdy gurrr’. Don’t know who the Swedish Chef is? Shame on you! Watch this video, and then come back and buy this costume!

Pippi Longstocking

Pippi Longstocking Costume

Did you not know she was Swedish? Well, she is! This is a great costume for her too. So why not show off the Swedish Freak in you and be Pippi for Halloween!

Of course, as Halloween tradition, this dress was shortened to give you a sexier look. There are more traditional Pippi costumes online if that is your interest though :)

Eric Northman of True Blood


Ok, so for this costume you have to have the Swedish look already. If you find yourself blond haired, blue eyed, and gorgeous, dress in black and then throw on some fangs and be Eric Northman for Halloween! An easy enough costume, and deliciously Swedish!

Bjorn and Agnetha From ABBA

Bjorn from AbbaAgnetha from Abba
Yes, ABBA is Swedish! They may sing in English, but they do come from Sweden. So what is a better costume than Bjorn? I think this is a great, unique costume. Get two of your friends to be Benny and Anni to complete the ABBA Costume!

So how are you going to make your Halloween a bit Swedish?