As the sky appeared to uncloudify just a smidge, Greg and I took the opportunity to visit Perlan (The Pearl) as Diana chilled out in the hotel. The Pearl is a landmark building just outside the city center made of huge ass hot water storage tanks topped with an even huger ass glass dome that together contain a museum / restaurant / observation deck / shops / occasional CD market . We were just going for the chance to look over the city, not to eat on a rotating platform or learn about the Sagas (although we probably should've done the latter).
The deck was pretty much deserted because even though there was sunlight here and there, the weather was windy and cold with a bit of wet. When my fingers started to go numb, I realized, "...Yeah, should've brought some gloves with me."
Greg and I waited for the sun to align with a cloudless hole. After god knows how long, it actually happened. And it was pretty cool looking.
We couldn't leave without taking a look around the gift shop, which sold the same stuff as most other souvenir shops, except for what was in the map rack. In particular, the series of maps with minimal white labels. I chose a random map, opened it up, and saw...
...What the fuuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhggwuh? It had to be a joke. Why else would a huge map be 95 percent water with a tiny corner of land and a few barely perceptible islands? After opening another map, we realized it was part of a series of beautifully simple maps only representing a fraction of Iceland. A key on the back of each map of a grid overlaying Iceland told us which ones were the most useless (that is, mostly consisted of water), and thus most coveted. During the rest of the trip we tried to find more of these maps, but no one else seemed to sell them. You gotta get yourself to the Pearl if you want the most awesome maps ever. (And if you go, tell me because I kind of want another one.)
For dinner, we ran into the same problem as the night before: "A bunch of places are already closed because we forgot that the sun is still out at dinnertime." Our first stop, Hamborgarabullan, closed at 9 p.m., as did the neighboring Saegreifinn. We even returned to that pseudo-appealing restaurant with the fish buffet, but when we entered the doors at 10 p.m. found out they had just stopped serving food.
It was for the best, or we wouldn't have ended up at Hlölla Bátar, home to delicious sub-style sandwiches. This stand in Ingólfstorg initially caught our eyes because 1) it's a neat looking stand (we think the Shake Shack looks cool, but then you go to Iceland there are a bunch of buildings with similar sleek designs) and 2) we kept saying the name Hlolla like "holla" even though the H is silent. It was pretty much impossible to pass without going, "HOOOLLAAAA"...quietly, of course.
All their sandwiches are called "boats," the Icelandic name for subs. Although we initially thought it was a funny name ("Are these like...floating subs?"), there are loads of stranger ones out there.
The winning sandwich of the night was the lamb boat filled with thin slices of crispy fried lamb topped with crunchy fried onions, pickles, lettuce, red cabbage, and loads of mayonnaise-based "Hlölli" sauce. You've got your multiple forms of crunchy balanced out by a splodge of creamy all tucked into a soft, mildly chewy roll. It may not be anything like the lamb sandwich from Pane Bianco, but I'll put it up there as one of the best lamb sandwich concoctions I've ever had.
Diana got a shrimp boat. It's got...a lot of shrimp in it.
My lamb curry boat was the least successful. Methinks it was the generous layer of rice: It introduced a major soggy component to the sandwich, a soggy component with a weak curry flavor. "Soggy" isn't something you want in a sandwich. At least, not this one. A roast beef sandwich dipped in beef juice may be fine, but rice? Eh.
Aside from the sog, I have yet to believe that a carb-filled sandwich works. I'll never forget that one time I ate a yakisoba sandwich and the scar of epic fail it left on my memory as one of the few ill-conceived items from a Japanese bakery. Granted, this sandwich had more than rice in it, so I wouldn't say it was un-tasty. It just felt a bit...off. It made me wonder if anyone orders it more than once or if they just try it that first time out of curiosity, like I did.
UPDATE (5/11): It has been pointed out to me that french fries inside sandwiches = deliciousness. I must update my opinion to say that carbs in sandwiches are fine as long as they are DEEP FRIED. ;)
Greg liked the lamb sandwich so much that he went back for another, the rib boat filled with crispy, fairly moist pork chunks, red cabbage, pickled cucumber, fried onions, and Hlolli sauce. It's pretty much like the lamb boat, but with pork. Can't go wrong with that.
LOOK AT GREG GOOOO. He's the Destroyer of Sandwiches. And most other foods.
I also tried the Muscular Purple and Yellow Cat Thing-Branded Chocolate Milk, which tasted like any other chocolate milk. Not that I was expecting a chocolate milk experience of grand proportions. It marked the first time all year that I drank something out of a juicebox.
Halfway through our meal, we met three Spanish-speaking women (one from Mexico, two from Cuba) who needed some help ordering sandwiches. I was totally useless in this department, but thankfully Diana and Greg had Spanish skills. We found out that they all lived in Reykjavik without knowing much Icelandic or English. I don't think I could manage that. ...But I'm pretty wussy.