May 2, 2009
Iceland, Day 2, Part I: Flea Market-ing, Hot Dogs, and Pancakes
Around 6 a.m. I was woken up by the sound of clinking glass. It sounded like Saturday "night" had finally ended and people were picking up the pieces, mostly in the form of beer bottles.
And with a flump of my head, I went back to sleep.
Greg, Diana, and I didn't stir until sometime after 2 p.m., which would've been a more acceptable time had we actually been up all night partying. That aforementioned veil of lethargy was actually more like a sedative-enhanced mallet-to-the-head of lethargy—but a much needed one, as none of us had slept that long in ages. Our bodies obviously leapt (and my "leapt" I mean "didn't move") at the chance to enter hibernation mode.
After reveling in the awesomeness of a good night's rest, we realized we didn't have much time to do stuff that would close within the next three hours. Like Kolaportið, the flea market that's only open on the weekends from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hustled over, we did.
Although I don't go to many flea markets, I'm pretty sure that Kolaportið was like most other flea markets. Tables overflowed with toys, clothes, records, books, and other bits and bobs that didn't really fit into any other category besides "stuff you would find at a flea market." What made this different from other flea markets was the section of seafood vendors, but I'll get to that later. First: some random products.
Laughably crappy Kung Fu Panda figurines. Unfortunately, there was no Battle Palace play set to be found.
The City of Heroes consists of five Spider-Men in two sizes with a bat-ish shaped something-or-other and three darts to share between them. I found the packaging to be quite poetic:
HERO COUNTRY ZONE
COLLECT THEM ALL!
NEW ARRIVAL !
Too much excitement. Just...too much.
Looking back, I totally should've tried one of these on.
Loads of glasses. I can probably find some of these on St. Mark's Place. Except for the prescription ones. They had a pretty good selection if you had a really weak prescription, unlike mine which is appropriate for the nearly blind.
Gee, which one is me? (In situations like this, I am always the one who looks the opposite of chic.) I couldn't bring myself to buy the oversized Harry Potter glasses.
And then there was seafood. Lots of it. if I wanted to cook a seafood feast, this looked like a good place to stock up on ingredients.
And salt cod...
Squid, baby octopus, and other things from the sea...
And dried fish (quite unlike the Asian dried fish I'm more used to, as it's just fish, no salt, nuttin else) sold by this cool dude.
Another vendor was selling mountains of flatkokur (I think it;s a flat, grilled rye bread) and an assortment of pastries.
But what was the most exciting purchase of the day?
BLING TEETH! Um. Yeah. It was love at first sight when we passed these vending machines by the west entrance to the market. Greg's eyes exploded with glee. It was a match made in one of the stranger parts of heaven.
Or it would've been a better match if Greg had the facial structure of a five-year old. These teeth were obviously geared towards the preadolescent crowd, not a man in his late 20s. At least he gold the gold ones; those seemed to be the best.
Since we hadn't eaten lunch yet, this was about the time that our tummies went a-rumbling and we wanted to shut them up. So we said, "Shut up," with those beloved pink logs of processed meats: hot dogs.
Everything you read about eating in Reykjavik will tell you to eat at the famous hot dog stand, Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur. The name appropriately means, "The best hot dog in town." Whether or not it is, I don't know—I can't imagine the hot dogs vary much at other stands in the city if they're the same brand—but since it's a food landmark, you should check it out. Also, it's right outside the northwest part of Kolaportið, in case you wanna hit both at the same time.
After ordering your hot dog (250 ISK) at the counter, you can take it to go or gather around a notched hot dog holder right by the stand. Even though it was drizzling, we chose to stay put.
Unless you're picky, you should get a hot dog with everything on it: chopped raw onions, remoulade, ketchup, mustard, and most importantly, crispy fried onions. The two things that stood out about the Iceland hot dog compared to my experience eating New York dogs was 1) the casing was super snappy (I'm pretty sure a popping sound was involved), and 2) CRONCHY FRIED ONION HEAVEN. Snap and crunch (although crunch is probably more important) were what I needed to gain a fuller appreciation of hot dogs. At least, in Iceland. Wikipedia says that Icelandic dogs are made of lamb, pork and beef, perhaps another contributing factor to its tastiness.
But hot dogs alone doth not a suitable lunch make. Or...something. So we walked to Cafe Paris for dessert.
I couldn't not order something called Pancake Delight (Pönnukaka Veisla, 650 ISK), three thin crepes sprinkled with sugar (granulated on the inside, confectioners on the outside) accompanied by a hefty splodge of whipped cream full of that lightly sweet, dairy fat flavor. Icelandic whipped cream is some of the thickest, most resistant to melting whipped cream I've ever had. Which means I love it.
We also got slices of carrot cake and banana cake. Carrot cake, which is the same sort you get in the US, seems to be a popular Icelandic dessert; it pops up in most cafes. Banana cake was like banana bread, but topped with chocolate and layered with some sort of sweet goo.
Greg fulfilled the caffeine component of our visit while Diana and I stuck to water.
We hung out in Cafe Paris for more than 2 hours, passing most of the the time by doodling each others portraits with results any normal art teacher would laugh at, except for Diana since she can actually draw. Our stay lengthened as the rain increased its intensity. "Let's wait it out, guys...oh, it just got worse." It wasn't so bad that going umbrella-less would result in getting drenched though. Besides, most people in Reykjavik don't seem to use umbrellas—Melkorka explained that its beacuse the wind (which is normally stronger than what we were experiencing) would destroy them.
Coming up in Part II: more "looking at stuff" and "eating stuff."
Posted by roboppy at 10:43 PM
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