Sunday, July 29, 2018

EuRoad Trip 2018: Swedish IKEA, Volvo Museum, then Denmark

When I considered the excitement of first visiting a new country, exploring it, then it inevitably becoming time to depart I recalled a poem we read in high school.

"Nothing Gold Can Stay"

Nature’s first green is gold, 
Her hardest hue to hold. 
Her early leaf's a flower; 
But only so an hour. 
Then leaf subsides to leaf. 
So Eden sank to grief, 
So dawn goes down to day. 
Nothing gold can stay.

-Robert Frost

I'm so deep.

Norway was over and we were headed to Denmark next. We had to double back through Sweden to make that happen.

I think we realized this was our last chance to explore a genuine Swedish IKEA.

It was pretty much the same.

IKEA in Sweden has cinnamon rolls too but they look way better. These have that classy rock salt sugar on them while in the US it's that sugary snot icing. Sad.

We had a snack.

I had hoped that those IKEA hotdogs might have satisfied my fellow travelers but they had only served to stoke the fires in their hearts for processed animal lips and sphincters. "Meat tubes! Meat tubes!" they chanted. I could've sworn I heard one of them sniffing my fingers from the back seat as my hand rested on the vehicle's center console.

I took them to where a hungry family of such distinction as mine deserved to eat lunch: a mall food court.

Nordstan in Gothenburg, Sweden had many mall-like qualities.

For some reason Gourmet Korv, a hotdog restaurant, showed up on our culinary radar. It was pretty good.

Good advice.

It was here that I made a startling discovery. Tom is scared of sauerkraut.

Also in Gothenburg is a Volvo factory with a Volvo Museum attached.

Someday I hope to have a scene of me crushing it at Xbox immortalized in bronze. I really need to write a will.

There was a huge section of the museum devoted to the Volvo Ocean Race which I thought was odd because it seems to have very little to do with Volvo.

There was a LEGO car.

An underwater tunnel connects Sweden to Denmark.

Denmark was our last new country before returning home. I was sad about that but we had a ton of stuff planned to do that I was excited about.

Driving in Copenhagen was terrifying. It's a very bike friendly city and there were bikes whizzing all around me. I had to drive really really slow to avoid getting any Danish fruit filling on my windshield.

Our hotel had more Scandinavian wit to offer.

We did some more Firk Loving in the room before hitting the streets.

New Nordic is a culinary movement that began in Denmark that involves using traditional ingredients in new ways. The movement also puts an emphasis on foraging for ingredients, which I think is awesome. Reminds me of the time I had that great idea to eat Soulard acorns.

Well the place where New Nordic was born is a restaurant called NOMA. First of all dinner there was like $300 a person. We tried to book a table anyway and despite calling a month in advance the best they could do for us was put us on a waiting list. Sad. Luckily there's more than one restaurant in this country.

The four of us walked to Höst, a little place near the hotel.

I think that this was my first interaction with a restaurant in the Michelin Guide. This place didn't have a coveted star but it had a "plate". According to Michelin:

"The Michelin Plate is the symbol for those restaurants that have neither a star nor a Bib Gourmand. For restaurants, being in the selection is the sign of very good food, and the Michelin Plate is the symbol for that. Many restaurants start off by entering the guide and then moving up to getting a star in following years. Some of the factors that may contribute to moving up from a Plate to a star include having talent in the kitchen, ambition and resources, like good suppliers to get the products needed."

The Guide's entry for Höst was pretty simple:

"A busy neighbourhood bistro with fun staff and a lively atmosphere; sit in the Garden Room. The great value monthly set menu comprises 3 courses but comes with lots of extras. Modern Nordic cooking is seasonal and boldly flavoured."


To Høst is to harvest, and as the name suggests, the ever-changing menu presents seasonal ingredients that combine to create the rustic and the elegant. Located on the corner of Nørre Farimagsgade and Ahlefeldtsgade in Copenhagen, Danish midcentury-modern furnishings sit amongst centuries-old brickwork that reflect a kitchen traditional in its heritage, yet bustling with an idealism for the New Nordic experience. The restaurant has won several international design awards, among them 'World's Best Designed Restaurant' with the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards, and 'World's Most Beautiful Restaurant' in American travel magazine Travel+Leisure."

Man, I don't know. It's hard to live up to most beautiful restaurant in the world. 

There were two set menus to choose from: a 3 course and a 5 course. I think I was the only person to pick the 5 course. Hey, I was on vacation.

The restaurant was just so beautiful that everyone inside of it looked hideous by comparison.

These foods were so frou-frou that it's difficult to identify them even with the menu as a guide.

I think this was "witch flounder with fried chicken skin and sauce made from fermented asparagus."

"Smoked scallops with ramson capers and tomato."
Both on the No Reservations episode I watched and now here in real life, there were a lot of dishes that included hay ash which I found very amusing.

I was entranced by the way this soup's green oil floated atop the creamy broth.

"Grilled Norwegian Lobster with juniper pancake and pointed cabbage."

"Pepper glazed beef tenderloin with Black Trumpet Mushroom, corn and smoked sauce."

There were a few secret dishes that weren't even on the menu, which I thought added a little more adventure to the experience. This was like nitro freeze ice cream with freeze dried raspberry dust sprinkled on top.

Dessert was pretty fun. "Raspberry sorbet with Norwegian Brown cheese and crispy caramel."

The bill came out to be about $250 for the four of us including a beer and 4 waters. I thought it was a good investment. I think my mom was less enthused.

Back at the hotel we put our pun-filled do not disturb sign on the door and hit the sheets.

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