The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Norway Reviews and Roundup

Back home.

sad face

:'( 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]

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, 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.

warning: excessively tall door

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.

inside kitchen
mm, right angles

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.

my burger exploded

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!!!

eatin time innnards
chipping away at the burger

My first problem was cutting through the 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.

bread butter! mussels meats?
I love a good slab of butter

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!

Zen Cafe Bar interior
Zen Cafe Bar

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.)

fried noods

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.

spring rolls galore! diana's wonton noods steak thing pho
other dishes

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?

mm, carameled

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."

banana spread
banana spread

Out of curiosity, I tried the questionable tasty Banos banana spread, which is like mashed 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.

mm, snack time!

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.

MASHIE MASH pots of stuff!!!! plating pink and beige!
cookin' time

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.

dinner time
telly time

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.

15 KR WEEE mm...polser splodge hot doooog
hot dog!

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:

  • Geitost
  • 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
  • Lefse
  • Toffeepops
  • 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)
  • Weegies

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,, 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, 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"!


deborah / June 17, 2006 9:22 PM

hi robyn! i am totally in love with norway too... and can't wait to visit bergen one day. i've been loving your posts and photos!

Albany Jane / June 17, 2006 9:29 PM

Wow, Robyn, seems like you had a great time. Was Norway pretty expensive compared to here? Seems like it might have been, with the $24 burger and such.

But I'm sure having all that fresh fish more than makes up for it. If you like fish, that is. If you don't like fish, then maybe living near fresh fish isn't so great...

Heather / June 17, 2006 9:59 PM

Well done bloggin about your trip! Before I would have taken Paris or some other well know European city over the Northern parts, but now I see that its just as worth it and beautiful! Its also nice to see non-fake baked tanned people. I somtimes forget how white, white people really are somtimes. (Looks down at pale legs)

piccola / June 17, 2006 11:34 PM

So, not a Norway-related comment, but maybe something to cheer you up? I found the ultimate pancake house, conveniently two blocks from my Jersey City home. Let me know if you want in.

lutkie / June 18, 2006 10:56 AM

Robyn!! I left you some posts...but for some reason they never showed up!! I must not have done it right for some reason or another! But I was thinking about you while you were gone and hoping you were having a great time. It seems you have. Don't you just love Europe!!!! Your friend sounds really nice, yeah for internet friends!!! Awesome food selections! I am coming to NYC from Jun 31 - July 5! Yeah!!! I totally want to eat some food..if you have recovered from your Norway fooding and load up at Mitsuwa. As for myself I have been finding the gooding spots in KC. I have found some GREAT places with some effort. I need to post about them! What do you think about going to WD-50?!?!?!? Or Cafe Mogador or everywhere? I miss you and will see ya soon hopefully!!!!!

roboppy / June 18, 2006 10:59 AM

Deborah: Thanks for reading, and I hope you get to visit Bergen soon!

Albany Jane: Norway was more expensive, yeah. :\ For food it's most fun to...make your own sammiches. WEEEE! All the fish is pretty awesome, although I guess I'm more into the baked goods. :)

Heather: YAA, go to Norway! I'm sure Paris is coooool (I'll find out soon!), but Norway has...weegies!...yeah! And I didn't even think about the lack of fake tanned people, haha. I didn't see any tanning salons. ;) There are so many here, blech.

piccola: Oooh holy crap, what is it?! PANCAAAAKES!

Daisy: I think I had more fun than my mum thought I would. Or more fun than anyone though Norway would be? Hahaaa.

Morten: Heey that's still America! Kinda. Central. America!

John: Yup, that's one of my favorites. :D

lutkie: Oh nooes...your comments got eaten up it seems. :O I love Bergen, not sure about the rest of Europe yet.

YEAAH let's go eat some stuff!...wd-50 all the way. And other places. We'll do some planning.

Cathy / June 18, 2006 4:04 PM

I love your Flickr display, thanks for sharing. The last few pics of you and Morten are so cute. I really dig his waffle maker. I want waffles shaped liked that. Weegie-Waffles!

Gordon / June 18, 2006 5:35 PM

yeah, i never really thought about norway as an interesting place to visit but you're photos do make it inticing! i'm not sure if i'm really interested in that Kitchen Secrets thing but i do want to try out that starwich place. is that the west 38th st one?

Mila / June 18, 2006 9:00 PM

Great pictures throughout your visit, and the week you were there sounded like a blast. Kudos to Morten for being the host with the most, and to you for going to Bergen (even with parental dissent). I wish I were going on my first non-supervised trip again, the excitement, the planning, the smell of a new country. Good reminder to look forward to each new adventure with the same wide-eyed fun.

roboppy / June 18, 2006 9:50 PM

Jennifer: GOOOO! I guess it's not a place i would've thought about visiting if I didn't have a good friend who lived there, but he obviously thinks its cool...and I had only heard good things about it. :) I think the only people who weren't into the idea about me going were people who didn't know much about the place...or my friends...buuut anyhoo, it all worked out.

Adalmin: Did you get to fulfill your bun craving? :O


Yeah, it's a cute waffle maker. And not pricey! Maybe I should get one.

Gordon: I didn't notice there was one on 38th street, but that's a better location than the other one I was thinking about. So YEAH! Sammich time?

Annie: Well we gotta try it first to see if it blows. Crappy sandwiches would make me so sad!

Mila: Morten has set the gold standard for host-ness. ;D (One of my friends invited me to his house this summer and is afraid he won't be as good as Morten, haha.)

Man, I forget what Norway smelled like. Better than NYC, I'm sure. Today I went to NYC and when I stepped out of the train station and looked around at the...uh, pollution, I just though, "DAMMIT!"

Um, anyway. YA! First non-supervised trip! Awesomeness! I can't say I did much planning, hehe.

piccola / June 18, 2006 10:11 PM

Re: pancakes - it's called Brownstone Diner, on Grand St. and Jersey Ave. A few blocks from the Jersey Ave. light rail. HUGE menu, 75% pancakes.

Gordon / June 18, 2006 10:45 PM

re: not really sure i just checked the site ( and i thought that was the one you were talking about. but yeah 5:30 is good.

kathi / June 19, 2006 9:29 AM

Living in Oslo I'd like to correct your view on the midnight sun: That's actually not a good thing! Makes me crazy!! Haven't slept in weeks ;)

Will probably visit Bergen in the near future and draw from your experiences. Thanks for this great roundup! Loved the way you described your trip and all the pretty pictures.

P.S. Would have advised against the p�lser. As I like to call them the probably worst sausage exisiting on earth.

diana / June 19, 2006 1:15 PM

I'm so grateful that you brought me along this trip (and theeee most awesomest grad-gift ever. I can't thank you enough for it! I don't think anything like this would have ever happened in my life, neither will it happen again. The experience cannot be relived, sadly.

I hope in the future something just as good as this (I doubt better?) will come along. Again. Embrace the unknown and the unexpected.

I still can get over you and your wavy arms charade over the Ruben box ;)

And Morten is right, grilled corn is very Mayan/Latin (at least in Mexico)! Americans eat McDonalds.

timelas / June 19, 2006 1:24 PM

The Nordic countries are SO expensive. Oslo being the most expensive city in the world these days at last count. We got "stuck" in Copenhagen on our way back from Barcelona last year and discovered the exchange rate by accident when our tab for a 4 small beers ran $40. *ouch*

Glad you had fun. The Nordic countries are such a weird and interesting mix of old and super modern.

Sera / June 19, 2006 2:29 PM

Wow! I'm so happy to hear you had such a great trip! Reminds me how badly I need to take a vacation myself.

Whoot! Starwich! I'm really touched that you liked my idea so much as to try it. Now I feel the burden of responsibility of....what if they're crappy? (Nnnnnnoooooooooo!) I don't think they'd write it up in the NYTimes if it was...

In any case, I'm super excited to hear how it is!! ^___^

roboppy / June 19, 2006 3:53 PM

piccola: Holy crap, it's called a pancake factory! I hope I get to try it out.

Gordon: Woo, sandwiches it is then!

kathi: Haha, I'd go to bed SOOO LATE in I guess that could be problematic if I had to wake up early. But I didn't! Wee!

Oo, no love for the p�lser? Can't say I eat many hot dogs in NYC...maybe once this year. There was a mega hot dog place right by where I was staying that I unfortuntely didn't get to try. IT SEEMS COOLER COS IT'S IN NORWAYY!!!

Diana: I'm grateful you came with me. Definitely better to bring a friend...I think I would've felt too out of place on my own. :O And I'm glad the experience was as worthwhile for you as it was for me. It can't be beat...[sigh].


timelas: Damn that's some pricey beer. Thank god I don't drink beer! Weeee! I guess my most pricey purchases Damn, why'd I buy all that cheese and chocolate?

Sera: I don't think Starwich will be crappy. :D Thanks for the recommendation!

�sa: Thanks! Your blog looks cute...I SEE MUFFINS!!!

Rachel Lynn / June 20, 2006 5:56 AM

Wow! I love Norway, and your writing, and both of them together - so awesome! I was just in Oslo this winter and we ate bacalao and so many other things you mentioned - I love that you went there. I enjoyed Norwegian-ness again vicariously through you! I'm happy.

tfp / June 23, 2006 11:09 AM

Oooh, bloody great looking food in this post, especially the exploded burger, fried bananas and waffles. Yummy. As bananas are super-expensive over here right now I haven't had any for sometime, so I reckon I would've been digging that banana spread out of the jar with my fingers (since I presume my face wouldn't fit in there!) Mmmmm.

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