The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Bergen, Day 2: Puppy, Pizza, and Waffles

I visited Norway from February 12 to 19. Yeah, that was three months ago. ...Yeeeaaah.

Brown cheese time
Brown cheese time.

First meal of the day: brunost on bread. No trip to Norway is complete (and perhaps no Norwegian is complete) without brunost ("brown cheese"), a slightly sweet, dense, tacky, sort of fudge-like goat and/or cow milk cheese that gets its distinct flavor and color from the caramelization of slowly cooked milk. In the US I've found brown cheese at Whole Foods—they sell dainty blocks of Tine's Ski Queen brand—but the most fervent adoration of this cheese is confined to Norway, where you'll find over ten varieties of the stuff (variations of three main types: geitost, made from goat milk; guldbrandsdalsost, made from goat and cow milk; and fløtemysost, made from cow milk). Top a slice of bread with a thin shaving of brunost—shaved with the help of a Norwegian-invented cheese slicer—and BLAMMO! [insert puff of smoke], you've got breakfast. Or a snack. Or (part of a) lunch. It can be anything you want it to be, as long as you want sweet cheese and bread.

After our quick breakfast, Kåre and I rushed to the city center to meet up with our friends Morten, Petter, and Petter's wife Lina near Fløibanen, the funicular that goes up Mount Fløyen, granting you beautiful views of the city. But first, we ran into Morten sitting on a bench near the funicular's entrance.

Omg puppy time

But not just Morten...

Puppy time


To be more specific the fuzzy Shiba Inu puppy is named Aiko. Her fur was as soft as a cotton ball. And she was small enough to curl up inside Morten's jacket. D'aw. We walked towards Håkonshallen to let Aiko do her "I'M A PUPPY AND I AM GOING TO RUN AROUND ON THE GRASS AND DO CUTE PUPPY THINGS AND YOU WILL WATCH ME AND LOVE ME!!!" thing.

Bryggen. It's wobbly.

But first, we walked along Bryggen, the old wharf of Bergen whose Hanseastic trade buildings date back to 1702, although most of the buildings in that area (here's a bird's eye view on Google Maps) have burned down and been rebuilt since then due to Bergen's numerous fires. 1702 is the date of the oldest wooden buildings since that's the year when a fire destroyed most of the city; really, check out the page I just linked to, it's nifty. Roll over the 1702 button and the map floods with fiery death and destruction. I'm not sure how old the designs of the buildings are, but Hanseatic merchants set up office in Bryggen around 1360 so...they're old. The buildings have retained their appearance due to being rebuilt according to original plan, although where there used to be trade offices are now shops, restaurants, art studios, and other 21st century things.

Well endowed unicorn
That's quite detailed. Yes. Yes it is.

...Along with this well endowed unicorn who marks the entrance to the restaurant Enhjørningen (Norwegian for "unicorn").

Manhole cover
Manhole cover, now with more ships and clouds!

You'll also see charming manhole covers featuring illustrations of Bryggen.

Walkin the dog
Walkin' the dog.

But enough of that junk—BACK TO PUPPY TIME!

AHHH look at those paws go




Let us all oogle at the puppy


Jacket puppy

OK PUPPY GO BACK IN YOUR SNUGGLY JACKET HOME oh how I wish I had a snuggly jacket home.

Morten gave me the opportunity to help Aiko learn commands using the power of lil' doggie treats, but when I showed her my upturned palm of edible bits, she didn't dare come closer to me. WHY WON'T YOU LOVE ME, AIKO? IS IT BECAUSE I AM A STRANGE, FOREIGN MONSTER TO YOU? Because that's pretty understandable.

Oo, the colors

We headed back to the central square lined with pastel-colored buildings. I wish more buildings were this bright and colorful in New York. Golden yellow = my happy color.

Dog meets dog Dog meets dog The other dog
Dog meets dog.

We ran into one of Morten's friends who had a dog. A Petit Brabançon. Named Dior. Look at that face. Ahaha...hehe...heheahhrhooouhghg. (That's how I type out snorfly laughter. Maybe you felt it too.)

Frozen lake

More walking took us past the lake Lille Lungegårdsvannet, surely prettier when it's not frozen and covered in gray.

Shelves of stuff
Shelves of stuff.

We took a quick look around Global Food, an ethnic grocery store that seemed to have a little bit of everything. Indian stuff, Southeast Asian stuff, Chinese stuff, Korean stuff, other stuff. It wasn't a huge supermarket, but it had a good variety for its space.

Garbage bag chic
I've always wanted a garbage bag dress.

A dilemma: Your store is closing. Do you remove the mannequins from the window ("We went out of business"), leave them naked ("We went out of business"/"We're updating our clothing selection"), or cover them up with trash bags ("We went out of business"/"We offer the finest selection of garbage bag outerwear"/"We have nothing but garbage bags, scissors, and excess free time")? I applaud this store for going the creative route.

Picking up pizza

For a late lunch, we headed to Morten and Behnaz's apartment and picked up pizza at the nearby Ostello.

pizza box
Weegie pizza box.

Pizza boxes in Norway commonly feature holes in the top to hold containers of pizza dressing. You know, this stuff. In this case we got sour cream and garlic.

Pizza with pepperoni and stuff Happy eaters
Hungry people from left to right: Kåre, Lina, Petter, Morten, and Behnaz.

If Morten had his way he would've made pizzas—they would've surely been better than any other pizza in Bergen—but when time is short and you enter that stage of hunger-induced hallucination where everything you look at magically morphs into a juicy steak (even steaks, which just morph into larger steaks), you go for take-out. We split two pizzas between the six of us: one with onions, bacon, and mushrooms, and one with pineapple and pepperoni. Sure, it wasn't Motorino, but when you're hungry, any combination of cheese, meat, and bread is pretty damn good.

Put some Sriracha on it Put saaauce on it

And when in Norway, put some sauce on it.

Sleepy Aiko
I feel like this most of the time.

Aiko didn't partake.

Spider time

After leaving Morten's place, Kåre and I headed to Petter and Lina's apartment. And when you're a new visitor to Petter's place, you must pet his tarantula.

..Wait, what. Ok, some backstory: Petter is a spider expert. For real. That link doesn't explain his expert-ness, but it's all I could find in English. If someone in Norway needs info about spiders, Petter's the guy to call, pretty much. YEAH, THAT IS DAMN COOL.

So, back to the tarantula. Petter won't shove it in your face against your will or anything (not that...any sane person would do that), but considering that most people (like myself) are unreasonably spooked by spiders—especially fat fuzzy ones with golf ball-sized bodies—because they're super damn creepy looking ohgodsocreepy (maybe Petter would disagree) and sometimes full of poison, Petter wants to show people that there's nothing to be afraid of. Nothing at all...

OHGODITTOUCHEDME—yeah, it was fine. Petter is one of the most gentle, sweet people you could ever meet; if you're going to trust anyone with your first "touching a tarantula" experience, he's your dude. Petter sent the tarantula on a slow walk across my palm; it felt like lil' fuzzy pitter patters. And then he held it in a little ball on its back so I could touch its belly, or whatever that part of a spider is. I'm not raring to relive the sensation of a spider brushing against my skin, but I am mildly less freaked out by tarantulas now. THANK YOU, PETTER!

whip it Lion dance omg kids
Kung fu, dragon dancing, and loads of kids.

Out main activity of the night: free kung fu/wushu show at a local school gymnasium, put on by athletes visiting from China. Nothing like watching a group of skilled and poised athletes to make me think, "Wait, am I Chinese too? ...Nah, I will just be lazy forever. That is what I'm meant for." It was a fun show, but the funniest part had nothing to do with martial arts; it was when the MC asked for a few child volunteers from the audience to come to the floor for an activity, then unexpectedly ended up with something like 13 excited kids streaming down from the bleachers. She acted calm, calm with an undertone of, "Ahhh what are all these kids doing where are the all coming from oh man there's another one ahhhh—"

Making waffles!
Kåre mixing the batter.

Back at Kåre's place, stomachs went a-rumbling. What could we make with the ingredients on hand? WAFFLES. Because when in Norway, you can totally eat waffles for dinner. I like that.

Making waffles!
Milk carton.

I also like that this milk carton had windows showing how much milk is left. And in case the windows aren't enough, it also comes with little icons showing how much remaining milk each window portrays, if the milk were blood-colored.

Making waffles!
Batter goes in.
Making waffles!
Making waffles!
Waffle stack, you are beautiful.

Norwegian waffles are thin, more crepe-y/pancake-y than the waffles I'm used to. That made me think I could devour a whole stack of 'em. "Look at how thin they are. They're practically AIR."

waffle toppings n stuff
Toppings n things.

Wheaty air topped with blueberry correction: bilberry jam (but more fun if you say its Norwegian name, blåbær, which is pronounced something like "blow-bah", or "bluh-bah", or "blah-bah"...all three of those together, yes), butter, lemon juice, sugar, or brunost. In other words, not air. In other words, I probably didn't eat that many before feeling full, even though I wanted to eat more. The winning combo was a waffle spread with butter, sprinkled with lemon juice, then liberally sugared. Why doesn't this combo appear more in my flat cakey life? What a fool I am.

nom nom nom
Lina wins the nomming contest by a bagillion points or so.

The four of us couldn't finish off the stack of waffles. Weaksauce. They were good though! I would happily partake in more waffle dinners. Let's make this a reality.

Bergen, Day 1: Snack, Nap, Burger


inafryingpan / May 18, 2011 2:37 AM

love these snippets from your trip to Norway! Especially that brown cheese...aah, I wish they had this in Dubai, I'm gonna be seeing that picture in my head all day long. That and those pupppeh pictures. I <3 cutie puppy faces.

rodzilla / May 18, 2011 2:37 PM

Sounds like a great time.

I'm now on the lookout for any shittier rendition of brunost that I can get stateside, it sounds tasty.

Also really feeling those waffles...and that lion dance.

Nicholas / May 18, 2011 9:28 PM

Ahh yes, it's been a long time since I have been lured into a restaurant for raging unicorn boner. Undergrad feels so looooong ago.

Katie / May 19, 2011 1:58 AM

Our pizza boxes in Canada have those holes, least at one place. And yeah, that is one seriously cute puppy. :D

Danny / May 19, 2011 4:46 PM

congrats again on winning :) and it's cool to see how other peeps around the world live their lives. that milk carton is also full of win.

roboppy / May 20, 2011 2:07 AM

inafryingpan: I totally wanted to buy some brown cheese today, but my local Whole Foods didn't have it. Maybe they haven't been carrying it for a while...or maybe I have to go to a larger one. I'LL EAT ENOUGH FOR THE BOTH OF US.

Belinda: Hehe, good reaction!

rodzilla: Hope you can find brunost! And waffles.

Nicholas: ...Them's some crazy undergrad years you've had.

Katie: Is the Canadian hole for sauce too? :O I don't think I've seen it here!

Danny: Thanks! Peeps in Norway live glorious lives with brown cheese and waffles and well-designed milk cartons!

lorfalcon / May 20, 2011 1:31 PM

I'm totally new to your blog. I've been reading up for about 2 weeks now. LOVE IT & LOVE U!! You're adorable!.. And you make me smile everytime!!! I feel as if I've discovered my very own personal national treasure.

But about the "blueberries".. Are you sure they weren't like lingonberries or someother scandic berry? Were they a tad bit tart? I absolutely adore lingonberry and currant jams.

kaare / May 21, 2011 6:55 PM

These blueberries are called blåbær in Norwegian. This translates literally to blueberry. In English the correct name is bilberry. They contain a lot of antioxidants. And all out awesomeness.

roboppy / May 22, 2011 12:14 AM

lorfalcon: Thanks for reading! I am honored to be a personal national treasure.

As for your berry question, looks like Kåre answered it below! Good thing since he's the Norwegian and I am now. I didn't know they were called bilberries; I'm going to add that to the post! The flavor was sweet, not that tart, but then that was jam-form, which was probably quite sugary.


SometimesKate / May 25, 2011 12:52 PM

Now I definitely have to see if I can find Brunost locally. Several grocery stores have special cheese sections, but this is the Midwest, so nifty stuff isn't exactly lying around waiting to be devoured. Looks like you're having a great time!

Steph Lo / May 25, 2011 4:14 PM

It's official: I need to stowaway in one of your suitcases to experience your awesome adventures overseas. If you want, I'll bring Lola with me (she looks like a white/brown/black version of Dumpling) to sweeten the deal.

Or perhaps we could meet you sometime. Can anyone say Hester St. Food Festival, hmmm?
- S

Petter / May 27, 2011 7:43 AM

I learned something new today :) I never knew that blåbær is called bilberry in english :)

roboppy / May 30, 2011 1:52 AM

SometimesKate: Hope you can find it! I still haven't bought any...methinks I'll have to head to a specialty cheese shop.

Clare: Aw, thanks! "Me and Brown Cheese" screams ROMANCE! Yes. :) The name reminds me of this super cute book, Brown Cheese, Please, observations of Norwegian culture from an Australian living in Norway.

Petter: Read this blog and you will learn SO MANY IMPORTANT THINGS or ...maybe...A NEW WORD.

Melissa / June 4, 2011 2:19 PM

I clicked the link to the book above, and amazon suggested I buy Ski Queen Gjetost Original Goat Cheese, $6.50 for 8.8 oz. If you really need a fix, it seems like a very viable purchasing option. Like if Whole Foods fails you. Or you live in the midwest. Or, like me, both.

April / June 8, 2011 10:39 PM

The Petit Brabançon is also commonly known in the states as a Brussels Griffon. I have one but one of the rough coated variety. I think they're much cuter than the smooth coats because they have little beards so they look very much like little ewoks. Love, love, love that breed. :)

Vicki / June 20, 2011 8:08 AM

I just discovered your Blog - great fun! You brought back memories of when I lived in Stavanger, Norway in the 1970's! Our "family" birthday/celebration cake is Olympiakake from one of the first recipes my Mum collected there and I made waffles for the team at work just yesterday from the time honoured recipe from our friend Ingvild! I also remember the "chocolate cheese" as she called it (not my favourite)and the milk cartons - and THAT;s just reminded me of Schokolade Palegg... chocolate spread... yummmmmy! My staple childhood school lunch!

roboppy / July 17, 2011 9:54 PM

Ahhh, comments of the past that I forgot about!..that I don't think anyone will check up on but I will respond super late anyway!

Melissa: Glad you found a place to buy em! That is, the Internet. Good ol Internet. I haven't eaten any since being in Norway...I have a feeling I'll just wait until I go back. ;_;

April: Ewok dog! That is awesome.

Vicki: Thanks for reading! Glad I could bring back some good memories. I like the name "chocolate cheese"!

PB: Maybe you just need to learn to love the spider!..nah, I wouldn't love it either. It takes a special mindset to not be freaked out by em, I think. Petter is definitely special. ;)

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