:'( My heart aches for Bergen.
The flight home went well (look ma, no crashing!) and the meal from KLM on the Amsterdam to NYC route was surprisingly good. (Keep in mind that I've eate a gajillion TV dinners in my life, thus have probably tasted some of the worst stuff that can be legally passed off as "food" out there.) Amazingly, I didn't take a photo of my meal, but I'll try to describe it to you. Main dish of swirly multicolored pasta topped with some tomato sauce and cheese, side salad of smoked turkey, chopped cucumber and black sesame (I really liked the salad!), dessert of a slightly tart mousse fruit cake, and a really good fresh tasting pillow-shaped bread roll with a thin, chewy crust and softer, chewy innards. Man, that bread...
[If you're not already familiar with it, be sure to check out AirlineMeals.net.]
But now, back to fooding in Norway. I only ate out a few times since 1) making stuff at home is funner and 2) making stuff at home is cheaper, but those few times we went out were great. I checked my account this morning to see how much money I actually took out in USD and it looks as though I spent more than $600 over about a week on...something. Weegie life. I obviously didn't spend money on anything very extravagant (besides that penguin farm...damn impulse buys), and I didn't even have to pay for my accomodations. We did split the cost of a rental car, which wasn't bad for about $100 out of my budget. Overall, if you visit Norway and plan to do things like...eat, ride on cable cars, visit museums, Rent-A-Wreck, and buy more jam than you need, then be sure to put buttloads of moolah into your bank account so you can ATM those kroners like crazy.
On Tuesday night, Diana, Morten and I ate dinner at B�lgen & Moi, a sleek and casual restaurant whose Bergen location (there's a handful of them throughout Norway) is smooshed inside the same building as the Bergen Art Museum.
The interior felt modern and...clean. Simple. Bold. Bright. Comfortable. Scandinavian? Although you couldn't actually see much through it, the narrow fluorescent green window looking into the kitchen was a neat touch that gave a splash of color to the room and broke the monotony of the gray wall. The doors to the kitchen quietly swooshed opened automatically like something out of Star Trek, which I don't think is something I've ever seen in a restaurant. "OH MY GOD, THE DOORS OPEN BY THEMSELVES!" I know this amazing display of the latest in door technology is already in place in stores around the world, but it looked cooler in a restaurant than at 7-11.
Morten recommended the burger, which is simply described on the menu as "Burger with cheese, bacon, crispy potatos and home-made bun." At 149 kr (about $24), it was probably the most expensive burger I ever had, although it's not very expensive if you live in Norway. Morten said it'd be large without going into the specifics of it being so large that no one could reasonably eat it with their hands, or pick it up for that matter. The only way to keep it from splodging everywhere while attempting to eat it was to leave it impaled on a long skewer. Even then, the burger layers shifted over time like tectonic plates.
Mmm...burger mountain. All for me!!!
My first problem was cutting through the bread...as in, I couldn't. I'm not sure what kind of bread it was, but the texture was chewy, soft, and strong enough to hold up to the slab of meat covered in various stuffs smooshed inside. Mmm, good bun. From top the bottom, the burger went something like bun, mayo spread, cheese-n-bacon blanket, meat slab, tomato slices, side salad, tomato-based sauce, bun. The peripheral potato chunks, while not very crispy as the menu described, were very tasty. Like. Potatoes. I dragged them through the mayo and tomato sauce for opimum deliciousness. The burger part was unlike any other burger I've ever had. For lack of a better description, it actually reminded me of meatloaf, I suppose because of the seasonings mixed into the patty. It wasn't like one of those almost raw cow, purely meat-tasting burgers that I like to ingest so much (against the warnings of food sanitation commitees everywhere), but I still enjoyed it. I managed to eat most of my dish before the warning signs of passing out set in.
The complimentary bread plate was awesomely soft and fresh. Diana easily breezed through her ginormous bowl of mussels (which was listed on the menu as being appropriate for two people, haha!) and Morten ate...what looks like meat and veggies and stuff arranged in a pretty manner.
The service took a smidge longer than Morten expected, thus digging into his critical "World Cup watching time", but it wasn't too bad. ;) We all liked our food and I emerged stuffed and happy. Good times!
On Wednesday, Morten, Giso, K�re, Diana and I ate at Zen Cafe Bar, an inexpensive, primarily Vietnamese eatery. Or somewhat Vietnamese? You pay and order at the counter and wait for them to bring your food over. It doesn't take long for most of the food to arrive, unless you're K�re, in which case it will. (It seems like they kinda forgot that he ordered pho, resulting in him having to watch the rest of us eat and ponder his bad luck while his stomach remained empty.)
I don't remember the exact name of what I ordered, but I'll call it "noods and stuff". To be more specific, springly pan-fried noodles, mung bean sprouts, broccoli florets, shredded cabbage, chopped pepper, sliced carrot, sliced beef, and...[squints]...pepper. Most of the dishes were generously topped with white pepper, which I actually really liked. I ATE IT ALL. Certainly you're not surprised.
Everyone else seemed to like their food. Spring rolls, wonton noodle soup, steak thing, and the pho that almost didn't exist. What's for dessert?
If I had been hungrier, I would've wanted to eat Morten's fried bananas and vanilla ice cream. It's times like that when I think, "Why did I even bother eating real food? I SHOULD'VE JUST GONE FOR DESSERT!" You have to be reasonable sometimes, I guess.
We stopped into this cute, sunny little smoothie place called fruktbar. I wasn't in the mood for a smoothie, but I eyed Diana's mango banana smoothie while thinking, "Well, if I did want a smoothie, I'd really enjoy that one."
Out of curiosity, I tried the questionable tasty Banos banana spread, which is like mashed bananas...in a plastic cup. With added sugar. That smells like baby food. But doesn't taste as good. I didn't think Banos tasted bad, just that it didn't taste good enough for me to think fondly of the next time I may ingest it. If it has anything going for it, it's that the simple yellow design of the package, like many other foodstuffs in Norway, is quite cute.
On Wednesday night I helped make waffle batter!...which means I didn't do much. Um. But I did buy eggs! Yahoo! There was so much leftover batter (since we made enough to bathe a cat in) that Morten made a huge stack of the thin, golden, heart-shaped waffles the next morning, from which I ate five before feeling like I my stomach was going to pop.
On Thursday after shopping around the main square, Morten, Diana and I carbed ourselves at Godt Br�d, an organic bakery chain. While Morten and Diana ordered sandwiches, I was still overly waffled and only wanted to try a sweet blueberry jam and cream filled roll and their hot chocolate. I've never had hot chocolate before that came as frothy hot milk poured on top of chocolate chunks (as you can see in the middle of the photo) so I stupidly stirred the hell out of it to mix the two components together.
[ssssip] "This isn't as thick as I thought it would be."
"That's because you stirred it too hard."
"Oh...HEEEY, why didn't you stop me?!"
"You can do whatever you want to your drink."
"You don't see me stirring my cappuccino." [said while gingerly folding the froth into the drink with his spoon]
Yes, that's almost as eloquent as I am in real life. Anyhoo, the drink was still good. Would've been better if I didn't beat the hell out of it.
On Thursday night we made raspeballer, traditional boiled Norwegian potato balls (made of...guess!) that are served on Thursdays. (As for why they're served on Thursdays, I don't know.) With the potato balls we also made mashed turnip and cooked up some sausage and lamb that tasted as though at least 50% of it were composed of salt. Grating the raw potatoes was kind of a bitch, but mashing the cooked potatoes and turnip with a ricer took just a few splodgey moments.
Morten was eager to get back to watching the World Cup so we sat around the telly with our plates of meats and starchy root vegetables. Sadly, I cannot declare any undying love for potato balls. They don't even taste much like potato in my opinion, which is interesting since that is the main ingredient. I found them a bit gummy with a texture similar to glutinous rice goop found in some Chinese dishes except more gluey with an oddly chewy texture that didn't taste so much like food. Of course, it's partially a cultural thing that I'm not used to the potato balls (kinda like how I'm not a fan of salty black licorice, *shudders*), so...MAYBE YOU WILL LIKE EM! Yeah! Yeah. Well. If you're not sure, keep someone nearby you won't mind eating your leftover potato balls. I also couldn't eat much of the lamb since I suck at eating things off the bone and they contained enough sodium to last me a week. However, the high salt content kinda went with the unsalty potato balls. The creamy, buttery mashed turnips easily won the prize for being my favorite part of the meal.
While waiting at the airport I found my last chance at eating a Norwegian hot dog whirling on a bed of heated metal rollers at the 7-11-esque Narvesen. Among the last minute purchases of candy (Toppris = pretty good, Japp = less good) and a magazine, I bought a hot dog and shared it with Diana. Mm...tasty I suppose. I have very little hot dog eating experience, so I have no idea how to rate the hot dog. It was hot. It was not a dog. Yum!
I think this entry is officially coming to a close. To look at more of the non-food things I did during my trip, take a look at my Bergen flickr set. Here's a list of cool Norwegian/Bergen-related things:
- Heated bathroom floors
- Cute wooden interiors of houses
- Greeness galore
- Hiking in mountains that resemble Middle Earth
- Clean, cobblestone streets
- Friendly people everywhere
- Bakeries everywhere
- Listening stations at Platekompaniet
- Really nice public buses
- Open faced sandwiches
- Cinnamon rolls
- Lots of fish
- Lots of chocs
- The un-setting sun (in the summer at least)
- That creepy child-molester sign for Ruben's (which is otherwise a cool store)
OH OH LASTLY, people who are going to the Kitchen Secrets thingy on Wednesday: if you want to meet up there, then...let me know? The idea to meet up afterwards seems kinda hard since it'll be late and I'll want to go home, but if you're free beforehand, I'm interested in checking out Starwich (Midtown East). Sooo if you're free around 5:30, then...yeeeah.
Update: Check out Morten's latest blog entry. It's in ENGLISH!!! Un-weegie! The first and probably the last! Don't let this opportunity pass you by! Observe Morten's awesomeness! Use excessive exclamation points!
I'll reply to his entry here, thus you should read what he wrote to make sense of what I'm writing. Yes? Good!
I didn't think about how it may be weird that I was bringing Diana with me. Not that it WAS weird...but. Um. I guess the way Morten trusted my judgement was the same way Diana trusted mine. "Who's this guy...uh, okay!" I met Diana online too. My god, how many times have I had this discussion about the awesomeness of people I meet online? Today my dad tried to talk to me about how it can be good or bad, as though I don't know this stuff already. [shakes head] That discussion is a tad late.
Morten gives a good abbreviated rundown of things we did over the vacation. I loved hiking over Ulriken! Can't say I really loved it at the time, but it was one of the coolest things I've ever done. I hope I didn't whine too much...I mean, I was trying to avoid much speaking overall since I figured it would make me tired to the point of wanting to roll down the mountain.
The foodstuffs I brought back home were brown cheese, jam, chocs, and lefse. Mmm mm [rubs belly]. Out of all that, I should've bought more chocolate. Cos. People love chocolate!
My mum thought it was funny when I told her we ate corn with the freshly caught fish. "That's American!" Yeah, well...um, so?
Returning to the homeland = sadness. :( No more pretty mountains and glaciers. No people speaking Norwegian, thus no reason for me to exclaim, "Weegies!" at random times. No Morten, K�re, or Giso to entertain me with their collective fun-ness. Of course, there are cool people here, buut...ye know....
Thanks so much again to Morten for being an awesome host. And weegies for their weegieness. Weeg. Weegie weeg. Heehee. God, I love that word; it rhymes with "squeegie"!