Monday, October 16, 2017

Classic Danish beef sandwich

Illiums Borhingus or something. A flashy department store in Copenhagen. Very upscale.We were prancing around the store acting like we were all that. I don’t know why we decided to have lunch there. We got to the top and there were restaurants, it looked very posh and we just plopped down and ordered beers. It was noon.

On the menu was a “Classic Danish Beef Sandwich.” I had no idea what that might be but it sounded good, we were in Denmark, and I’ll eat anything so what the hell. After I ascertained that no anchovies were involved, I ordered it. The RIMFCP got fish and chips.

What arrived was not what I was expecting. When the waitress came waltzing (in a Danish way)  towards us with it, I thought it was a cake. I wish I could say it was delicious, it looked delicious. It was OK. The brown sauce was completely without flavor. It tasted…well, brown.

While there were no anchovies, there were deep fried onions, pickles, pickled beet cubes, green onions and god knows what the hell else on it. I was jealous of the fish and chips until I tasted the tartar sauce. If this is Classic Danish Tartar Sauce I probably won't be moving to Denmark.I’m not sure it was worth the calories but we walked 7 miles that day and 10 the day before. So I'll try not to have too much remorse about it. 

I love that my phone keeps track of this. I certainly cannot. I can, somehow, keep track of what the hell I'm jamming into my mouth.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Cruising for bruising

I have never been on a cruise, mainly because of the short time you have in every port. I like to be in places. Go grocery shopping. Take the tram. Cook a meal. Know the butcher. Not everyone’s idea of travel but it’s mine. So going on a cruise where you get off a huge boat with a thousand other people, get shuffled around a city for a portion of a day does not appeal to me too much. I mean, I’d do it. Like, right now if someone offered me a trip for free, sign me up, but basically, not so much. There is also, I imagine, the issue of getting on and off at every port. Lines. Document checking. Lines. Delays. Waiting for people who are late, with people whose conversation makes you want to push them into traffic. Lines. No thanks. That’s what I imagine. And I can very much imagine wanting to push people into traffic. In fact, I often have. Imagined, I mean.

I went to Oslo for three weeks, the RIMFCP was working during that time and I was grocery shopping and getting to know the butcher but as a short getaway we decided to go on a long weekend to Copenhagen. But flying there takes up a lot of time. This is a travel day: Get up, get to the bus stop, an hour to the airport. Then an hour wait, then the flight, another hour and a half, getting off the plane and then all the fussing to get to the hotel, another hour at least, checking in, unloading your crap and by then the day is mostly shot. Very travel day is a day wasted and on a 4 day weekend, that’s half the weekend. So we opted for the overnight ferry. (Alternate title for this post: Fairies on a Ferry). This seemed adventuresome. Leave at 4 in the afternoon after an evening and night aboard, arrive in the morning fresh faced and bushy tailed, have your whole day spreading out ahead of you. Sounded goodish to me. But…I have been on a ferry before, from Milwaukee to Ludington, Michigan. As I recall it was pretty much sitting on a wood bench for 5 hours rolling back and forth watching people go to the side of the boat to let loose of their lunches. So while I understood we would have a “bed” for the trip to Copenhagen, it’s a ferry after all, I’ve seen pictures of other ferries, say, in the Philippines or on the Yangtze. I had concerns. Later when I discovered that we would also have a balcony, I allowed myself a modicum of positive anticipation. No matter what though, it would be fine. There had to be food somewhere and a bar I imagined. (I imagined sandwiches in a vending machine and cold pinot noir in cans.) The tickets were cheap. So there was that.

Our trip to the boat on the Oslo mass transit was arduous, this seems to be a theme with me (generally speaking though, I LOVE the Oslo mass transit system). But when we finally got to the boat and the check-in counter there were no lines. Bing bam boom we had our boarding passes which were also the room “keys.” And it turned out our cabin was on the “Commodore” level. The top floor. First class. El Primero classo. I had not expected this and was guardedly optimistic. But getting to the Commodore level proved a little difficult. Not the least of which was the 4 gabillion children. As you enter the boat, somewhere in the middle (a few levels above where Jack was imprisoned on the Titanic, I imagined myself waist deep in frigid waters. I tried to memorize the hallways so I could find my way out) into an entrance hall where there were a LOT of children. On the whole, Norwegian children are relatively well behaved, yet, they are still children. Somehow right at that moment getting through the sea of children seemed more perilous than the actual sea, we made it up to our floor and found our room.

I should say rooms. It was freaking glorious. I cannot express how thrilled I was. Not in a million years did I anticipate this. A living room, if that’s what you call it on a boat, a bedroom, a balcony with chairs, a bathroom with a glass shower door. I have stayed in hotels that were a fraction of this size with toilets that required you to put your feet in the bathtub if you were, say, having to sit for some sort of function or other. This was sublime. Plus, on the “Commodore” level there’s a goddamn free “help-yourself” bar with snacks just steps outside the room.  And it cost like $400 round trip for both of us!!! Flying was more expensive. There were decks, bars, promenades, duty free shopping, restaurants and breakfast delivered to your room. The eggs were kind of unappealing, but I’ll eat anything pretty much, except anchovies.

Our return voyage was on the disappointing side. We did not have “Commodore” level rooms, we didn’t have rooms at all. Just a room. Dear God, the shower had a curtain. It was such a come down. One minute you’re shrieking, “I’m the king of the world” on the prow of the ship, the next you’re floating in the water and your girlfriend is letting you drown. God I hated that stupid movie.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Jesus H Geist

We decided to go to some uber-cool, super expensive new hot spot the Copenhageners (I looked that up) are currentlly flocking to. Which is to say all Copenhageners under the age of 30 who have a lot of disposable income. I was easily 25 years older than the next oldest person there. Possibly this was because it was POURING rain (we walked) and in my experience people with sense (older people) stay home rather than go out to eat when it's raining. At least they do in Milwaukee, or in any event, they did in the brief time I owned a restaurant and it either snowed or rained every day for a year and a half. But I digress. It was raining and I was the oldest person there, all other, older people having had the sense to stay home, or so I assume. But I was in Copenhagen visiting and didn't really have a home to stay at. And, hey, it's a hot spot, in Copenhagen!

We went to Geist (rhymes with Christ). The restaurant, as you enter, is really, really dark, but you don't notice that as you grope your way toward the host, so much as how incredibly loud it is. At least we thought it was loud until we were ushered to our stools at the bar, where we came to know what loud could actually mean. Not loud enough to make ears bleed but headed in that relative direction. And the music itself, I don't know if this is a thing but it's my second experience with it here in Scandinavia, it's music you know, say, the BeeGees and Dusty Springfield, mixed to the same never-ending disco beat. Boz Scaggs, the Andrews Sisters, throw in freaking Mahalia Jackson, anything apparently goes.

The restaurant is an enormous bar which encircles the kitchen where you can watch, for instance, a sous chef (or something) tap paprika onto a large plate with one ravioli on it. It's a "small plate' restaurant but the plates were huge. The food was small. The ball of paprika was wrapped in a dishtowel and tapped onto the plate by means of percussing the ball on the back of the sous chef's wrist over the plate. There was much hurried activity of that nature. Variously uniformed people rushing about adding this and that, elder flowers, a chive, to plates as they passed hither and tither.  

The food, though, was excellent, if difficult to photograph as you can see below. The absence of light combined with the pounding beat of the music made it hard to hold the phone still enough to take a focused picture. And there was also my discomfort at taking the pictures at all. While the Copenhageners politely seem to keep close counsel, I am sure they were all thinking who's the geezer taking pictures with his phone? I was thinking that anyway.

The meal was superb, the fish, I forget what it was, covered with what appeared to be used band aids but were, in fact, mushroom raviolis, was wonderful. The beef tenderloin was perfect. There was also a lovely salad, pulled pork and some lightly sauteed spinach, all of which were great. 

In the end though, my advanced age (a panhandler in Oslo called me Grampa which I can inform you didn't make me feel generously inclined) getting the better of me, we declined to have dessert. It was too much, the driving pulsing beat of Tiny Tim and The Oak Ridge Boys, and the need to squint in order to see what we were putting in our mouths. We fumbled our way out to the lobby—through the sea of umbrellas, found ours—and escaped out into the rain. The quiet, well lit rain. 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Maybe I am missing something

But somehow I think the name of this salon may not be as attractive as they do..

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

More dangerous than zip lining

This goddam lunch we had afterwards. Hungry and exhausted (not really) we went to some sort of English pub thing with an over-the-top waiter who piroutted his way around the place like he was in The Nutcracker, and had a beer, burger and fries. This was waaay out of my comfort zone lunchwise. Then we went home and took a nap, not so much out of my comfort zone. The Royal Indian Mounted Food Control Police is very nap-positive.

I'll take a double dose of my cholestoral meds and do an extra push up tomorrow.