Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Culinary Iceland

This isn't the place to have a foodie vacation. It's one of those places that once you leave the big city, you are thankful just to get fed at the end of the day. When it comes to food, we had some good, stick-to-your-ribs kind of food. Nothing was terrible (except for the OJ...but I'll get to that). They just don't get the good fresh produce the rest of the world has access to, and they seem to lack a little creativity when it comes to what they do have for food.

Still, all the innkeepers who cooked for us were really good cooks, especially the owners of the Volcano Hotel in Vik.

We did splurge for one really nice meal in Reykjavik at a well-known place whose name I can't pronounce.

Iceland Part 2

It's called the Three Frakkar- The name translates to the "3 Trenchcoats". It's very French-inspired, but with local ingredients. It was fantastic.

Alcohol of any type was very expensive. Like, $10 for a can of watery beer expensive, and wine that wouldn't kill me was waaay out of the question. We tried a few of the local brews, and some of the local distilled potato schnapps called Brennivin that was a bit harsh but drinkable.

For vittles, we had some nice seafood pretty much everyplace we went- they do a lot of fishy oil fish like herring and sardines, and they also make use of both dried and fresh cod quite a bit. The fish was always very fresh and simply prepared, or in the case of the cod, mashed up with onions and garlic to make a sort of salad.

The lamb we had was really wonderful. The sheep are allowed to graze the countryside, and the flavor of the herbs and different plants they eat really shines through. They are raised free-range and happy, like good meat should. The sheep milk cheese and traditional icelandic yogurts were also very good, and they did do a kind of smoked lamb coldcut that was good for a sandwich.

Whale was on the menu in a few places near the city. I was told that this isn't necessarily a traditional dish as whaling, and I did see mostly Japanese tourist eating it. I couldn't do it. Something about that massive and mysterious leviathan made it feel taboo beyond what I cared to try.

There was also the beloved horses on the menu. Isolated existence means you need to get your protein where you can sometimes.

Beef and pork were rarely on the menu, and they were both very expensive.

Most of the vegetables were either green-house grown or imported. Lots of potatoes and rutabagas.

They had a very good brown (or black, on some menus) bread that was steamed instead of baked. It was perfect for sopping up soups and scooping up bits of fish with.

Orange juice was a weird one. Even at the nicer places we stayed, it was always watered down and laced with corn syrup. I didn't want to offend anyone as to ask, but we never found real OJ.

I did try and have a go at liking Puffin.

Iceland Part 2

It tasted oily like fish, but the texture of duck. I really had to work on nibbling away at that.

Iceland Part 2

This "Gratineraður Plokkfiskur með rúgbrauði" was fantastic. Cod and butter and potatoes, covered with a béchamel sauce. Comfort food done right is the best food on earth.

Iceland Part 2

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