May 30, 2011

Bergen, Day 3: Hot Dogs, Lung Malfunction, and Potetkjelleren

I visited Norway from February 12 to 19. Despite that that was over three months ago, I'm determined to cover it all. Even if it apparently takes me forever. You can go back to Day 1 and Day 2 if you'd like.

These hot dogs are kind of huge
Here is a hot dog! To appear later in this post.

"Ohhh, you're going to be in Norway on February 14...did you plan it that way?"

I forgot how many people asked me that question, so it must've been a lot. Or at least three. And the answer is no, although I'd be lying if I didn't find it just a wee bit exciting that for the first time in my life I'd have a legitimate reason to do something Valentine's Day-y on Valentine's Day. The last time I remember participating in the holiday was in elementary school, second or third grade, when the front of every kid's desk featured a pocket made of red construction paper, cut-out hearts, and doilies not-so-dexterously bound by gobs of Elmer's glue, in which every other kid would drop a card. And you had to make a card (and to most kids "make a card" means "rip apart a perforated sheet of cards") for every classmate; imagine the trauma of turning over your Valentine's Day folder and having nothing fall out. Forever alone. That's a bit heavy for an eight-year-old.

So past the age of requirement, I didn't have much reason to celebrate Valentine's Day. But here it was! I got to celebrate it! With Kåre! And we started off by indulging in one of our greatest, more carnal desires....

SLEEP. SO MUCH SLEEP. (That's what you thought I was going to say, right? Good.) Irresponsibly large amounts of it. Not unlatching myself from my pillow until 3 or 4 p.m. "Oh, is it lunch time? But...but I'm sleeping. Lunch doesn't beat sleep."

Actually, Kare probably did eat some sort of snack around lunch time because his furnace-like body burns calories like crazy, but I didn't because my body is like a stagnant lake thick with algae.

We acknowledged the 14th by not really acknowledging it. The plan: Uh...what plan? But I did give him a gift: a fluffy white Poofy, quite like this one I made five years ago. Poofy plushies, based on my old comic Adventures in Poofyville (the content of the comic is about as creative as its title), aren't that difficult to make, but I almost never make them these days because they take too much time (I mostly made them in high school when I had too much time). Poofy plushies aren't about the end result as much as the effort they represent. ...Except I just said they're not difficult to make. Um. Wait. I mean, they're full of my precious finger sweat from all the hand sewing; that's gotta count for some signification amount of affection.

Kåre also had an affectionate gesture up his sleeve. He's no noob.

"Man, if we missed lunch, should we just wait until dinner?" I asked. "We don't have any plans, right?"

"Ah..." Kåre hesitated. "We do have plans. We're going to Potato Basement."

"...Waitwut??"

By "Potato Basement" he meant Potetkjelleren, which better translates to Potato Celler, but we think Potato Basement sounds funnier. Potetkjelleren, named so because it's located in a former potato celler, is one of Bergen's most well regarded restaurants (one of the top three, says Kåre), as was shown when Bergens Tidende readers voted it Best Restaurant in Bergen last year. Although the restaurant's humble name might imply otherwise, it's a special occasion type of place. Kåre pointed it out to me before while walking around the city center, but I never suspected that he would've made reservations before I arrived. My lack of expectations plus Kåre's smooth moves = EVERYONE IS A WINNER!

We actually did need to eat something real before dinner, but not so much so we'd spoil our appetites. So I suggested a hot dog snack.

Trekroneren, hot dog stand menu
Trekroneren

Trekrokeren is a popular hot dog ("pølse" in Norwegian) stand in the city center (Morten says it's "probably the only really good street food here") with a helpful quad-lingual menu in German, Spanish, French, and English for tourists like me. Their ten-item menu goes like so:

  1. Cheese sausage, with cheese and bacon
  2. Jagdwurst (wild game sausage), with herbal spices and pepper
  3. San Francisco sausage, with garlic and chili
  4. Smoked bratwust, with marjoram, caraway seeds, and curry
  5. Hot chili sausage, with extra strong chili and pepper
  6. Frankfurter sausage, with onion and allspice
  7. Reindeer sausage, with juniper berries and venison spices
  8. Kabanossi sausage, with cayenne pepper and garlic
  9. Krakauer sausage, with numeg and garlic
  10. Sausage meat of lamb, spices from the Provence, includes garlic

I corrected most of the menu's little grammatical errors and inconsistent wording, but I left the final one intact because it was too charming. Like one person had translated the first nine, went off to get a coffee, then someone else with a more tenuous understanding of English syntax took a peek at the unfinished project and thought, "I'll give it a go. How do you say 'lamb sausage' in English?...ah, yes..."

Anyhoo, the selection of hot dogs is considerably more interesting than what I've seen in New York, where I eat hot dogs almost never because there are so many other things I'd rather eat. It's not like I'm not a fan of hot dogs at all—I'd be happy to snorf down a Chilean-style hot dog anytime, and I think bacon-wrapped hot dogs are very good things—but local institutions like Gray's Papaya and Papaya Dog don't fill me with glee. (Does this mean I'll never be a true New Yorker? Sniffle.)

But back to Norwegian hot dogs. A major advantage Scandinavian hot dogs have over American hot dogs is that Scandinavian hot dogs commonly come topped with fried onion bits, also known as cronions (this sounds like a perfect name to me), in Norwegian called sprøstekt løk ("crispy fried onions"). This is like my favorite hot dog topping ever, I found out after eating hot dogs in Iceland. I have no idea why we don't see more mobs of people here holding up angry signs and clenched fists (unless the person only has one hand, in which case, angry sign or clenched fist) demanding fried onions on every serving of bunned log meat. That's what I would do if I were the type of person who organized mobs for unimportant causes. (For more about Norwegian hot dogs, read this post at My Little Norway.)

Cheese sausage Two hot dogs, woo
THREE HOT DOGS. WHAT MODERATION. Cheese on the top, reindeer and krakauer on the bottom.

Remember how I said I just wanted a little snack before dinner? Well. I also wanted to try a bunch of things. And thus we ended up with three hot dogs. But I underestimated their collective heft. Googling around for hot dog packages tells me that the hot dogs I'm accustomed to weigh two to three ounces each, a snack-able size. Trekroneren's sausages are 150 grams (and in some cases 250 grams) and my lack of metric-conversion-fu didn't immediately calculate that to its American weight of 5.3 ounces. Which isn't really a snack size. Especially when you have three of them. Perhaps the 45 NOK pricetag (about $8.30) should've given the size away, but I'm not much better at converting kroner to dollars on the fly than I am at converting grams to ounces.

We tried the cheese sausage, reindeer, and krakauer with topping choices of raw onions, fried onions, ketchup, and mustard. I tried the raw onions for fun, but fried is obviously superior for the crunchy goodness. I was happy to find that the sausage had some crunch on its own; the skin had a pronounced pop to it that I didn't find in most other hot dogs. Thumbs up for snappy casing.

Happy Kåre
And then Kåre's smiling face soon turned to horror.

I'm afraid I can't tell you much more about the hot dogs, though, because I got a bit distracted. I mean, I know I liked them, and if you visit Bergen you should definitely try them. But something in the hot dogs triggered a Level 9 allergic reaction (on a scale of one to ten; I haven't reached ten because I think that'd be death) and while we walked around the backstreets of Bergen nibbling on the hot dogs, my lungs became increasingly constricted and gurgly-sounding, resulting in my increasingly sluggish gait and brain processes.

Jarlens Vaskoteque
I recall admiring this sign before breathing fail really kicked in. It's a particularly good sign, right? Right.

Some background about these allergic reactions: I didn't start having reactions to food until last fall or so. I'm not sure what triggered them after 25 years of not having any problems—maybe it was all that...eating and generally unhealthy lifestyle—but as I had reached Level 9 a few times before the hot dog incident and had described them to Kåre in emails, he was already aware of them and thus not totally taken off guard. Except he sort of was since he had never actually seen one in motion before, and it's troubling to see your girlfriend, or anyone, struggling to breath. In my head, they go a little something like this: "Oof, breathing is a little funny...feels a little swollen under my tongue...mm, man, it is really hard to breath, I better sit down...okay, I can't really talk, I have to focus all my energy on breathing...ah god, how did breathing become so difficult...jeez it's like breathing through a crumpled straw...my heart is beating like nuts, I think it's going to explode...my face feels like it's burning...all this breathing is giving me a headache."

I've been to some doctors (and am still going to one), but no one has yet to figure out what's wrong, as it doesn't seem like I have any major food allergies (which I figured out already or else my reactions would flare up more often). By that, I mean I'm not allergic to hot dogs in general; most of the time when I eat one, there's no consequence. Hell, I ate one last night. Another example: The last time I had an allergic reaction this bad, it was from eating pizza. I know I'm not allergic to pizza; it seemed to be a one-time thing. I'm not avoiding any food, even if every meal may potentially lead to lung malfunction (these things happen less than once a month). At my doctor's suggestion I've been keeping a food diary for the past few weeks to keep track of reactions, and I carry around an Epi-Pen just in case I think the only thing that can save me is a jab of adrenaline.

Experience has told me that this whole thing stretches out to about a 30 minute period. It feels like it'll never end, but peeking at my watch and knowing it will end at a certain time makes me feel better. While I was thinking "Just 20 more minutes...just 15 more minutes..." I'm sure Kåre, despite his calm demeanor, was thinking something more like, "Oh god oh god oh god oh god don't die..."

We sat on some stone bench things outside since I couldn't really drag myself to the nearby mall, Galleriet. Except I probably should've since it was really cold outside. Kåre squeezed my hand as I squeezed my lungs. Eventually I decided to use one of my Epi-Pens, except I honestly couldn't tell if it did anything, either because I used it wrong or my reaction was already near its end. (Before that, I wondered what it felt like to have the Epi-Pen needle in your thigh. Answer: If you need to use an Epi-Pen, your body is too busy feeling like crap from the allergic reaction to care about a needle.)

So...it eventually passed, but I had a lingering headache from lack of airflow and stuff. We hobbled to Galleriet where Kåre helped me buy some antihistamines, then we sat by a little cafe so I could work on shoving more Norwegian oxygen into my body. Also, because Kåre needed some coffee. He also got a little cake bite, but my appetite hadn't returned yet.

"Will you be alright for dinner?" Kåre still looked worried. Understandably.

"Yeah, I'll be fine! Totally fine. I always return back to normal. Hope you weren't too scared." I'm sure Kåre was totally scared.

cheese stuff Brown cheese LobNobs Frozen pizza Geisha Juice Lomper Dunder Salt
Norwegian grocery store goods.

We killed some time before dinner by browsing Lerøy Mat, a specialty grocery store in Galleriet's basement. It's not as large as some other supermarket chains, but my impression is that it has a more diverse selection of products. (I think they sold Jif peanut butter and maybe Fluff. Even though I've never bought Jif or Fluff before, seeing them outside the US makes me wonder if I should be buying them, because what kind of American doesn't eat Jif or Fluff? ...That's not a real question, I'm sure lots of red-blooded Americans life fruitful lives without either. But on second thought, think of all the people who life fruitful lives with both. Also, Fluffernutters are great.) I took loads of photos to use in a yet-to-be-written Serious Eats post about items from a Norwegian grocery store, so I'm not going to describe them now. You'll read about them on Serious Eats someday maybe.

(Random: How fantastic is the photo on Lerøy Mat's "About Us" page? Long haired manager dude gets all the ladeez. Motherly ladeez.)

It's cozy
We're in the basement! Not full of potatoes.

And finally, it was Valentine's Day dinner time at Potetkjelleren (which is right next to Trekroneren, convenient if you want to do the hot-dog-and-nice-dinner thing). Descend down a few chunky uneven steps and you're in the formerly-a-potato-cellar space. It's an intimate, candle-lit setting, although not as lonely as the photo above. There were maybe six tables in our room, with more tables in the adjacent room. (Yup, this potato cellar had two rooms. It must've been the talk of the potato-celler town, lush with a gabillion potatoes.) The curved brick walls-turned-ceiling felt cozy, and the uneven stone-tile floor felt like we were dining in a space once reserved for potatoes.

The prix fix menu—labeled a Valentine's Day menu (or Valentinemeny)—gave options for a three to six-course dinner. Since the menu had two choices each for appetizers, entrees, and desserts, we went with the three-course so we could share everything on the menu. I can't imagine getting the six-course unless I hadn't eaten for two days or were infected with tapeworm.

Sourdough bread
Mm, bread.

To start, some complementary sourdough bread with very spreadable creamy butter. Chewy, sufficiently moist. Good stuff.

Halibut and potato puree
Mm, fish and potato.

Next, a preliminary bite in the form of halibut and potato purée, in what Diana dubbed "shoe-spoons." (The crazy spoon does enhance the experience.) This reminded me that I need to eat more brandade de morue, and in general people ought to mash fish and potato together more often—it tastes great. It's like mashed potatoes...with fish in it. Surely, you couldn't figure that out without me telling you. The descriptions are only going to go downhill from here.

Lobster soup
Lobster soup.

First course: lobster soup. It tasted like creamy lobstery soup!..and now we move on...

Variation on trout, apple, lemon
Fish and things.

Other first course: "Variation on trout, apple, and lemon," which ended up being a plate of vividly orange-pink chunks of raw trout (I can't recall if it was cured; the flavor was quite faint) accompanied by sweet bits of lemon and apple preserves, a quenelle of super smooth and light apple ice cream, and microgreens. This was my favorite dish of the night—light, clean, fresh flavors, not too fussy.

Cod, petit pois, beurre blanc
Cod and things.

Entrée: cod, petit pois, and beurre blanc. Fish is lovely, but peas win over my heart. Even more than cake! And bacon! Few other things are as refreshingly sweet and vegetal. I'd happily eat a bowl of the accompanying pea purée topped with porky bits and a sprinkling of un-pulverized peas. The pea shoots on top were a nice touch, too. Those tendril-y dudes don't get enough attention.

Veal cheek, gnocchi, sauce bordelaise
Veal cheek.

Entrée, part II: veal cheek, gnocchi, sauce bordelaise. The veal was a most moist and tender meat chunk, the sort that sort of just melts when you poke it with a fork. The gnocchi were a bit heavy for my tastes, but that's ok because we had another carb come to the rescue...

POTATOES
TATO!

POTATOES! Small, nubular, lightly salted potatoes, with a thin, crisp skin and smooth, creamy flesh. I'm not positive what kind of potatoes these were, but they look like amandine potatoes. Potatoes like these make me think I really need to extend my potato-eating outside those of the deep fried stick variety, a chance I'd surely get if I spent more time in Norway; "The potato is the cornerstone of the Norwegian dinner," according to Kåre.

Dessert
Dessert.

Dessert: Blood orange, yogurt ice cream, and ginger. The description on the menu left out a few other details, like all the other stuff on the plate that I can't tell you much about (crushed meringue? pistachio? chocolate blops?), but overall it was a fun dessert of assorted creamy, fruity, crunchy, and creamy bits.

Cheese plate with apricot stuff and nutbread
Cheese plate.

The other kind of dessert: Cheese plate with apricot preserves and nutbread. Kåre and I share similar feelings about cheese, in that we're...not that into it. :C But we gave it a go anyway, nibbling at each of the five cheeses, meaning that a perfectly good cheese plate was probably wasted on us. Of course, we like cheese, just not all kinds. My favorite cheeses are fresh cheeses or the creamy, gooey sort—I suppose I'm more about texture than flavor.

The three-course meal will set you back 515 NOK, about $95 (or with wine pairings, 995 NOK, about $183). (They also serve dishes à la carte, but if you're not too picky it's a better deal to order the prix fixe.) That's enough to make some of New York City's best restaurants look reasonable, but remember that you're in a city where a small burger can set you back $20. Few other fine dining restaurants can offer you Potetkjelleren's coveted trio of features: friendly service; a quiet, casual, cozy environment; and a history steeped in potato storage.

Potetkjelleren Walking along Lille Lungegårdsvannet
Snow! You can see a bit of Trekrokeren on the left of Potetkjelleren.

We left with happy bellies into a quiet night featuring a beautiful, unexpected display of light snowfall. (If you ever wonder what kind of seemingly dumb googling I do for these posts, I just tried to figure out if there was a more specific word than "light snowfall" to describe the weather, but "flurry" was too weak and "snowstorm" seemed too strong—and then I gave up. I bet one of these Norwegian words would do the trick.) My eight-year-old self may have preferred a pile of mandatory Valentine's Day cards, but for my 25-year-old self, this was just perfect, near-death allergic reactions and all.

Trekroneren
Kong Oscars Gate 5, 5017 Bergen, Norway (map)
Facebook page (You may notice that I left a message on their wall; alas, a message that was never replied to. :( Well, at least they liked my comment.)

Potetkjelleren
Kong Oscars Gate 1, 5017 Bergen, Norway (map)
47 55 32 00 70; potetkjelleren.no

Posted by roboppy at 4:21 AM

Tags: Bergen, hot dogs, Kare, Norway, Potetkjelleren

Comments (34)

Oh gee, PLEASE DON'T EAT ANY MORE HOT DOGS. As good as they look (and great menu), please don't!! Glad you were OK and able to enjoy that terribly romantic meal. That snow is making me want winter now.

Posted by: Belinda @zomppa at May 30, 2011 7:59 AM [#]

Wow, I'm glad you recovered from the hotdog-induced breathing disaster. This is uber-romantic. Also Scandinavian prices make me want to cry.

Posted by: Sabrina at May 30, 2011 10:16 AM [#]

Belinda: Oh, don't worry about hot dogs!...I'm not allergic to all of them. Which is confusing. I'll add something to this post to clarify that. Basically, I don't know what causes my allergic reactions, so I don't avoid anything. It's a bit risky, but the reaction is always with something different so I don't want to avoid ...all food. ;_; And reactions never occur twice in a short period of time, so at least nothing happened at Potetjkelleren, hehe.

Sabrina: Oh yeah, they make me want to cry to. :[ I think if I lived in Norway this food blog would come to an end.

Posted by: roboppy at May 30, 2011 10:22 AM [#]

THIS POST IS THE BEST!!!!!!!!

uhhh...except the malfunctioning lung bit. But, ya know.. you didn't die, right?! And what doesn't kill us makes us stronger...or at least... not any less strong. Unless it does irreversible damage somehow. But um.. shhhh. So whatever! I am choosing to view it as an effective way of ensuring Valentines Day was memorable. It was a *~*~*~bonding experience*~*~*~ for the two of you :)

Anyway... hot dogs + mushy loveydoves + fancypants meal + foreign groceries + cutesy wooden building with a red roof + SNOW make for happy times galore!

AND YES FRIED ONIONS ARE THE ONIONS OF THE GODS. Why on earth would anybody eat them any other way?!

Posted by: Lizzi at May 30, 2011 10:35 AM [#]

Eek I'm sorry to hear about the allergic reaction but it sounds like you had a great trip overall!

Posted by: Sewon at May 30, 2011 11:07 AM [#]

Yikes! I have scarily similar reactions to foods sometimes. I carry an epi-pen and always always always have antihistamines (benadryl/diphenhydramine) with me. Food allergies are complicated and they tend to get worse the more often they happen. Something that starts out small can develop over time into an anaphylactic reaction. Please see a competent allergist and get blood/skin tests to find out what you're allergic to!!!

Okay, lecture over. Whew!

That said, I really enjoy reading about your adventures in Norway. I think all romantic valentine's day dinners should include copious amounts of potatoes. Also: Reindeer hot dogs?
I think I'll leave those to Andrew Zimmerman.

Posted by: Rosa at May 30, 2011 4:54 PM [#]

since others have already addressed how uber cute this whole experience was, I'll just add a +=1 to that;

I will however question how lunch doesn't beat out sleep for "the girl who ate everything." You're totally letting down your namesake yo. Can't possibly eat everything if you're sleeping all the time.

Posted by: Nicholas at May 30, 2011 6:48 PM [#]

As terrifying as that experience as for you...wouldn't I like to be breathless and have a handsome man sit by me squeezing my hands!

I've never had such allergic reactions before...it sounds pretty scary. I hope you get to the bottom of it.

Posted by: sophia at May 30, 2011 9:17 PM [#]

As terrifying as that experience as for you...wouldn't I like to be breathless and have a handsome man sit by me squeezing my hands!

I've never had such allergic reactions before...it sounds pretty scary. I hope you get to the bottom of it.

Posted by: sophia at May 30, 2011 9:18 PM [#]

sounds like a great trip. just a tip about the breathing issue: if you can get some coffee in you as soon as possible it (the caffeine) will help open your lungs quickly and make the episode less serious. :)

Posted by: paige at May 30, 2011 9:38 PM [#]

Lizzi: Malfunctioning lung bit just adds to the...uh...memorable-ness of the trip! YAAY! I want to believe it's making me stronger, but it might be doing the opposite. Hm. Well. I haven't had a bad reaction in a while, so I guess I'm doing alright. And yes, it made for a greater bonding experience. (nod)

I'm glad others are in tune with my fried onion love. Must..spread..the word...

Sewon: Allergic reactions can't stop me from having AWESOME TIME WOOOO

Rosa: Oops, I should mention in the post that I'm still seeing an allergist...haven't given up yet! Don't worry. :) But ohdeargod i don't want to know that they get worse. Wuuhwaahfff. Even though the Level 9 stuff has waned, I do have a mild reaction like every week. I just had one two days ago to pizza. I got a bit rashy and wheezy. :(

As for what I'm most allergic to: lots of kinds of pollen, dust mites, cats (so sad, I like dem cats). I'm getting shots for the pollen and am feeling quite dandy in that department. But the food thing is problematic...bluh.

Nick: I GET A PLUS ONE, YESSS

Ok, new blog title: "THE GIRL WHO ATE EVERYTHING (when she's not sleeping, but boy, does she like sleeping)"

sophia: 'Tis true; if I'm going to have anyone with me as I struggle to breathe, a handsome dude who likes me is a good companion to have. :) Not to knock all the other attractive guys and ladies who've been with me during allergic reactions (which is quite a bunch of my friends since it's happened a few times while I've been out eating dinner).

paige: Interesting, no one's told me about that one before!...maybe because I don't like coffee. ;) I'll keep it in mind though!

Posted by: roboppy at May 30, 2011 10:37 PM [#]

ROBYN!!! Your allergy symptoms just described my gluten allergy...
:( :(

Posted by: Olivia at May 31, 2011 9:13 AM [#]

OMG, you sound very similar to me. I lived 34 years without an allergic reaction to anything and then all of a sudden: BAM! allergic to shellfish. I had the stop breathing kind of reaction, too. I also carry around an epi-pen as well. Thank you so much for describing what it is like to use it. I have always wondered.

Anyway, just wanted to commiserate.

Posted by: Jennifer at May 31, 2011 10:28 AM [#]

Whoah props to you for hot dog time - can't breathe - epi pen - la la back to photo time! In the meantime I'm about to go and make an angry sign about cronions. We needs them in Sydney!

Posted by: Helen (grabyourfork) at May 31, 2011 10:55 AM [#]

You need to write a book one day. Seriously. You are a GREAT writer. OK, so I have no professional basis for this opinion, I just know I am so excited when I click the link to your blog hoping there's a new post, and YAY, there is - or was - today!! Also I so remember the jumble of conflicting emotions on Valentines day in elementary school, and actually READing those tear off cards from the boys as though they had put any thought into which one they dropped in MY basket. So glad you have such a good reason to celebrate the holiday now :) :) :)

Posted by: Gretchen at May 31, 2011 11:22 PM [#]

Wow, Robyn, so sorry to hear about your allergy - hope you find out what it is quickly. But this was a great post - as usual it had me laughing out loud in spots.

Posted by: Susan in HK at June 1, 2011 3:44 AM [#]

You mentioned you had the allergy attack once when you had pizza, so I was thinking, you might be allergic to maybe some sort of flour / grain / gluten content! Since the only thing the hotdog and pizza had in common was the bread base. D:

But in any case, good to see you alive and kicking, and OMG FRIED ONION BITS ARE ALWAYS THE BEST. Fried shallots!

Posted by: Shelley at June 1, 2011 10:14 AM [#]

Sounds like a wonderful first Valentine's Day despite the scary lung stuff. I do hope you get that figured out soon!

Kare seems to be completely awesome, btw.

Posted by: auntjone at June 1, 2011 3:21 PM [#]

Olivia: AhhhhHHHhhhHH...damn, that's craptacular. :( If that reaction happened every time I ate gluten, I'd definitely stop eating it. It hasn't been happening that frequently though. It's always a surpriiiissee. A bad surprise.

Jennifer: Oh jebus, I don't want a bam! My tests showed that I was a little allergic to shrimp, but I have yet to have a reaction to eating shrimp. Hm well. Maybe later. I hope you don't have to use your Epi-pen!

Helen: YEAAH demand those cronions! At least I'm not allergic to cronions. I think. I eat em quite often.

Gretchen: Aw, thanks! Your excitement keeps me going. My memory is so crappy, I don't recall what boys wrote on those Valentine's Day cards...I just remember...overall, pretty much nothing was written on them. But I was probably distracted by the ones decorated with cartoon characters I liked ("YAY, IT'S GARFIELD!").

Susan: Thanks! Without your laughs I AM NOTHING!

Shelley: I have wondered about the gluten thing, but I eat gluten so often without enough reactions to match up that it's hard to think it's that...not that it would hurt to eat gluten less often. I've also had reactions when eating stuff without gluten. IT CAN BE ANYTHIIINGGG oh god.

auntjone: Yup, he is completely awesome! That is an accurate assessment.

Posted by: roboppy at June 1, 2011 5:56 PM [#]

Have you considered that you might be allergic to MonoSodium Glutamate (MSG) ? It's a flavour-enhancer that crops up from time-to-time in the most random places, like some pizzas, chinese food, lots of pre-made soups ... it might explain why you are normally okay with something like hot dogs, but then one new type sets off your breathing issues. I am allergic to MSG myself, thought my symptoms are different than yours. If you want to get more information from me, feel free to e-mail me at the address I entered (and no, I'm not selling anything, just a sympathetic reader !).

Posted by: Suzan Michet at June 1, 2011 9:17 PM [#]

My husband had similar reactions to spices, especially caraway. I wonder if your reactions are also spice related, seeing as the dogs were spiced differently

Posted by: Tea at June 2, 2011 3:49 AM [#]

DUDE! I have these random allergic reactions, too! I thought I was the only one. Except with mine, my eyes swell shut. Very annoying, especially if you have to read, or drive, or walk...
At any rate, take care of yourself. Also? I feel less alone :)

Posted by: Erin at June 2, 2011 11:42 PM [#]

You and Kare make me so happy. Yup, just another random stranger commenting on your personal life! =P
Seriously, you make me want to fund your trips to Scandinavia so I can read more cuteness!

Posted by: Lila at June 3, 2011 1:00 PM [#]

I have been to that hot dog place! I hope you were enjoying them before the allergy, as it would be a shame to write them off entirely. I do remember the amazing pop they make. I just learned that German sausages are also topped with fried onion bits (and you can get them some places in Chicago!)

Posted by: Stacy at June 5, 2011 6:13 PM [#]

Suzan: I've wondered about that, but like so many other ingredients I wondered about being the cause my reactions, I feel like I eat MSG too often without consequence for me to be allergic to it. I eat loads of Chinese food and random snacks in the office, hehe.

Tea: I wondered that too. Sort of like the MSG thing I mention above, I've eaten lots of spices food without a problem. And then sometimes..I get a problem. But I've also problems with food that isn't spiced. SooooOMG why so complicated? :[

Erin: Eek, I've never had eye swelling problems.. that sounds bad. HUMAN BODY, STOP SWELLING WHEN YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO!!

Lila: Aw, thanks! No funding necessary!...unless I get super broke (let's hope I don't).

Stacy: I did enjoy them, up until the wheezy bit. :D I did get to try all the hot dogs, at least. I haven't had German sausages, sounds good!

Posted by: roboppy at June 6, 2011 8:19 PM [#]

Hmmm could you be allergic to juniper berries? Or more particularly juniper pollen? Which is also found in allspice, so anything with allspice could do it. It's something you wouldn't notice in most dishes, gets added without a second thought and can pop up in the damnedest of places.

Posted by: Kevin Dark at June 6, 2011 11:13 PM [#]

Wow, Kare did an awesome job celebrating your first Valentine's Day with a significant other. Way to set the standards high!

Posted by: Alyssa at June 10, 2011 11:13 AM [#]

From one why-am-I-allergic-for-no-reason victim to another, welcome to the club! This has been my problem my whole life, and doctors I go to can't seem to figure it out because my episodes are never related to just one thing. I even had to go vegan for almost half a year last year because I suddenly developed an allergy to all kinds of red and white meat, dairy products, and seafood at the same time. Then there were the dust mites, the pollen, the rain, the beach, the sun...

Now, I'm back to normal. Normal being an attack once every two months. If I pop an antihistamine the moment I feel it coming, I usually get out of having a full-blown attack. I hope your doctor(s) figure out your problem soon!

Medical complications aside, it's cool that you still got to enjoy your Valentine's dinner though. The potatoes in particular look awesome.

Posted by: Daisy at June 11, 2011 12:57 PM [#]

Kevin: I haven't thought about that...I could be allergic, but then I must also be allergic to other stuff since I've had reactions to too many things that definitely don't have juniper or allspice in it. On the bright side, I haven't had a bad reaction in weeks!

Alyssa: I'm looking forward to..NEXT V-DAY!

Daisy: Oh yay there is a club!...y...aa..yyy...ee...[cheers fade out]. Sounds like you have it bad. ;_; But you're better now, that's great! I haven't had a reaction in weeks, so...hm. Maybe stuff is getting better and I'll just have an attach every two months!!@#!# A GIRL CAN DREAM.

Posted by: roboppy at June 14, 2011 12:28 AM [#]

Hahaha there with your SO MUCH SLEEP bit. I study in an art school in Manhattan and when I went away to Milan last spring break I had all these excursion plans in mind... but me to bed was practically like moss to rock.

Just stumbled upon your blog. Excellent stuff... Keep it coming!

Posted by: THE OTHER TALKING RAT at June 14, 2011 4:54 AM [#]

No more hot dogs buddy. You got mouth-watering photos though. And overall, I think you had a wonderful time.

Posted by: Matt @ ChefBlogDigest at June 18, 2011 1:28 AM [#]


This looks great! The good news is that those cronions are actually coming
to the US! The product is called Onion Crunch, and it's found with a
number of vendors across the country.

For more information, please visit www.onioncrunch.com. (Check out
http://onioncrunch.tumblr.com/post/6631526686/a-norwegian-hot-dog-wrapped-in-bacon-grilled-and
for the hot dog wrapped in bacon!)

Posted by: Mumbi at June 27, 2011 8:14 PM [#]

wondering whether it's fennel? it's in many sausages/hot dogs and other foods and can seem innocuous. i have a bad reaction to the fennel plant but only a sensitivity to fennel so it sprang to mind. my sister in law is allergic to garlic but i think you probably ingest that a lot with no problem. anyway, you might want to check on the fennel thing...

Posted by: chris at June 28, 2011 12:46 AM [#]

The Other Talking Rat: Thanks for checking out my blog! Your Milan trip reminds me that when I studied in Paris I was surrounded by people constantly going on weekend trips to other countries. I...uh...mostly stayed in Paris. Eating and sleeping in my free time. Yeah. It felt great though!

Matt: NO MORE HOT DOGS (sob)...actually, I probably ate something hot dog-y since I ate the Norwegian hot dog without feeling like death, but of course, there many different hot dogs. I'd probably eat another one next time I go to Norway. To see what happens.

Mumbi: Good to know! Yay fried onions!

Chris: Fennel...I hope I'm not allergic to fennel, but if I am, I'm still allergic to other stuff since I've had reactions to food without fennel in em. :( Mysterriiiess. I'm quite sure I'm not allergic to garlic at least, phew. That stuff is tasty.

Posted by: roboppy at July 5, 2011 1:26 PM [#]

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previous entries

» 12/02/13: Taipei 2011, Day 2: Shaved Ice Two Ways, 7-Eleven, Shilin Night Market, Etc.

» 11/05/13: My Favorite Places to Bring Tourists on the Lower East Side

» 10/23/13: How I Made My BMO (Adventure Time) Costume

» 10/20/13: Taipei 2011, Day 1: Fried Crullers, Bear Head Doughnuts, Scallion Pancakes, Etc.

» 08/19/13: Indessert, My New Favorite Dessert Shop Serving Tong Sui in Chinatown

» 07/29/13: Classic Coffee Shop, Home of My Favorite Tuna Melt (Plus 7 Other Tuna Melts I've Eaten This Year)

» 06/30/13: In Remembrance of David Jones, My Favorite Memories from Virginia

» 06/02/13: Visiting Norway (Bergen and Oslo) from June 8 to 16

» 05/27/13: My Favorite $10 Dish: Pulled Pork Rice Plate from Taboonette

» 05/19/13: Belated Intro to Taipei, or "What's That Smell?"

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links

Please don’t hate me if I haven’t included you. I tried to whittle this down to a manageable list, but there are just too many food blogs out there that I like! I shall update this list every so often.

Blogs

A Hamburger Today
A Hungry Girl's Guide to Taipei
The Amateur Gourmet
An American in Ireland
Appetite for China
Baking Bites
Beef Aficionado
The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck
Bionic Bites
Blondie and Brownie
Boots in the Oven
The Boy Who Bakes
Brave Tart
Candy Blog
Cha Xiu Bao
Chubby Hubby
Chuck Eats
Comme un Lait Fraise
Dan Delaney
David Lebovitz
Deep End Dining
Dessert Comes First
Dumneazu
Eat Drink & Be Merry
Eat to Blog
Eat Your Kimchi
The Eaten Path
Eating In Translation
Eating Asia
FastFoodr
Fifteen Pickles
Food In Mouth
French Revolution
Fries With That Shake
Grab Your Fork
Great Food Photos
Goldilocks Finds Manhattan
Hello Sandwich
I live in a Frying Pan
i nom things
The Impulsive Buy
Just Hungry
Kathy YL Chan
The Kitchen Pantry
Law and Food
Lingbo Li
Lingered Upon
LUNCH
Maps and Fragments
Me So Hungry
Michele Humes
Ms Adventures in Italy
My Camera Eats Food
My Inner Fatty
No Recipes
Noona Blog: Seoul
One Wall Kitchen
Ono Kine Grindz
The Paupered Chef
Paris Breakfasts
Real Cheap Eats
The Scent of Green Bananas
Seoul Eats
Slice
Smitten Kitchen
So Good
Street Foodie
Sui Mai
Suicide Food
Sustainable Table
Swirl and Scramble
Tamarind and Thyme
The Tasty Island
Thursday Night Smackdown
Tommy Eats
The Ulterior Epicure
umami
U.S. Food Policy
The Wandering Eater
We All Go Poopie
World to Table

Non-Blogs

Brooklyn Chowder Surfer
Edible Queens
Nice Cup of Tea and a Sit Down
Serious Eats
VendrTV

Recurring Eating Companions

These friends have lent me their stomach acids on numerous occasions.

Chichi
Colin
Diana
Eric
Greg
Kåre
Kathy
Melissa
Morten
Olivia
Tristan
Veronica