Category Masticating With Mellzah

They say love goes on, long after the grilled cheese sandwich is gone

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You can smell Tillamook country long before you arrive at the cheese factory, owing to all of the cows (or Tillamoos) necessary to keep the pacific northwest rich in loaves of cheese, mounds of butter, lakes of yogurt, and tub after tub of sweet, sweet ice cream. The cow-based earthiness of the air around the factory just lets you know you’re almost there. Which was a helpful sign, because I was “kill a man” levels of hungry, and when Jason looked at his GPS and said we were still over an hour out, I briefly considered pulling over and doing a rogue milking for a warm, gross snack. Thankfully, he quickly realized he’d had it set on walking, not driving, and thus no trespassing laws were broken.

The lines inside were honestly insane. Yes, it was a Saturday which should have tipped me off, but it’s also not all that near anything (it’s an hour and a half drive from Portland) and it’s the off season for the coast so the sheer volume of people inside took me by surprise. There were no fewer than a hundred people in line waiting for ice cream, in a winding queue that resembled a line for a Disneyland ride  more than anything. Combine the crowds with the limited time we had before everything closed for the day, and I could choose to take the tour or eat but not both. In a move that will surprise absolutely no one, I chose food.

We each got a grilled cheese sandwich with tots and split an order of cheese curds with chipotle ranch in an array of fried beige that would horrify any nutritionist. But I would just like to note the presence of a fruit on our table, the humble tomato. Sure, it’s been sugared up and stripped of all its fiber, but it’s still a fruit. Sort of. Looking at this photo definitely makes me want to eat a vegetable or six. But at the time, this was fried cheesy heaven for very hungry people.

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After laying waste to this cheesy bounty, we took cheesy photos in the cheesewagon, I pressed my obligatory penny, we breezed through the various gift shops (they know where their bread is Tillamook buttered), and then committed to standing in line for ice cream. Because when life hands you an opportunity to try ice cream flavors not stocked in the grocery stores near you, you grab that opportunity with both hands and a spoon. The line is stupid long but Tillmook has handled it smartly, in that there are menus of their flavor selection dotting the line, so you have time to peruse and make your decision before being confronted by the case in all its splendor so that people aren’t spending forever hemming and hawing while holding the rest of the line up. Thus, the line moves at a decent clip. Jason went for a two scoop cup, and I thought I’d be clever and go for their three flavor ‘flight’ so I could try three things but keep the overall volume of ice cream low. Because that’s what a flight is, right? A tasting?  Nope. It turns out that at the Tillamook factory, a flight of three ice creams is three full size scoops, so I definitely felt like a hog while collecting my cup. Not that said feeling kept me from eating it, shamefully, in the car on the way home.

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tillamook-7-of-8Someone waited in line twenty minutes for this. Whomp whomp.

I will be back, Tillamook, for your tour and your ice cream adventure. I’m definitely going to eat a vegetable first, though.

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The Cambria Scarecrow Festival

 

 

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For the past eight years, the town of Cambria, California has been filling their streets with scarecrows for the month of October. They claim to have hundreds, a number to which I cannot personally attest as I didn’t get to check out every nook and cranny of Cambria and the neighboring San Simeon, which also participates. After gassing up, I stretched my legs walking Cambria’s downtown checking out their scarecrow offerings. I also checked out the French Corner Bakery to buy more coffee. Considering the pastry revelation that was Bob’s earlier that morning, I wasn’t ready to try any other pastries, but on a whim, I ordered a torta, figuring that good bread was fully half the battle when it comes to getting a good sandwich. And daaaaaaaaamn, was that sandwich ever good! Fresh bread stuffed with juicy pork, thick slices of avocado, and pickled onions and jalapenos. YASSS. At least, that’s how I felt about the two bites I got while Jason wolfed the rest down. I’ve never seen a sandwich disappear that fast. We were still talking about how good the sandwich was as we passed by a place named “Hidden Valley Ranch”–was this, in fact, the birthplace of ranch dressing, AKA “America Sauce”? I don’t know, I was too busy talking about that sandwich to investigate.  Even now, fully a month later, we fondly reference that sandwich in conversation. Even now, when I should be talking about scarecrows, I’m talking about the sandwich.

Mmmm, sandwich.

Morro Bay

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Somehow I managed to tear myself away from the suite at the Victorian Mansion, casting it longing glances all the way down the street to Bob’s Well Bread Bakery for some morning fuel. It pains me to say it, but Bob’s pastries blow my favorite local bakery out of the water. His ham and cheese croissant was warm, flaky perfection. His kougin amann were crisp and caramelized with just the right amount of chewy, yeasty bread inside. And, as a total hog, I also got a house-made english muffin spread with butter and plum strawberry jam with rosemary and lavender. Hngggg. I’ve never had a fresh english muffin before, and it may have completely ruined me for the bagged bread aisle kind forever. I’m not mad, Bob. I just wish you were closer.

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We took our bags of treats and coffee and headed up the coast a bit toward Morro Bay, home of Morro rock, the volcanic plug from which the town gets its name. It was still early enough in the morning that we had the beach to ourselves, so we hung out, ate our pastries, and watched the birds. The most exciting part for me by far was seeing monarch butterflies flitting around everywhere. I didn’t think we’d see any as it was a bit too early in the season for them to reach their overwintering spots, so to see a good number of them doing their thing was definitely an unexpected treat.

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How could it get any better than this, right? The day was just beginning.

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Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar

 

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After a day at Disneyland, no matter how much fun you had, you could probably use a drink or two. I definitely could, so I walked down the nigh-endless mall that is Downtown Disney to the Disneyland Hotel, to imbibe a few at Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar. The place was surprisingly crowded, but luckily a couple of seats opened up at the bar shortly after I arrived–I mean, sure, if you want to drink your drinks poolside, that’s certainly a thing you could do, but if I was going to slurp down a few expensive drinks in novelty glasses, I damn well wanted to do so in an enchanted atmosphere, so the pool would absolutely not do for me.  And hot damn, is the atmosphere inside ever enchanted. The taps have glowing eyes and play different rhythms whenever a beer is poured. Little jokes are plastered all over the walls. And whenever someone orders a novelty drink, the whole bar gets in on the action. Ships sink. Sirens blaze. Volcanoes explode. You may or may not be sitting in a splash zone.

God knows I love me a novelty glass, so my first drink of the evening was the legendary “Uh-Oa!”, which is so large that it must be shared by two or more people. It comes in a large mug with tiki figurines on three sides, the heads of which are all filled with ground cinnamon. The lights go down, the bartender sets some booze soaked sugar cubes atop a lime on fire, and while every patron in the bar chants “uh oa! uh oa! uh oa!”, you grab pinches of cinnamon and fling them into the fire, sending sparks into the air. It was magical, and it’s probably good that I got the playing with fire accomplished before I got hecka drunk, which I was after drinking my half of this drink.  Not that a little thing like being two and three quarters sheets to the wind was going to stop me from ordering another drink, because I had a lot of trunk space with which to fill with novelty glassware. So Jason ordered a krakatoa, setting off the volcano, and I acquired a rum-filled shrunken head, which is kind of funny as I’d think all that rum would cause a head to change sizes in the opposite direction. Or at least feel that way. I also, more wisely, ordered the pu pu platter, which came with sweet and spicy asian wings, glazed portuguese sausage bites, panko crusted chinese long beans, tropical slaw, and a sriracha aioli, all of which made my mouth super happy and my tummy less booze-slosh-y.

After we finished those, we agreed that it was probably for the best if we didn’t imbibe any more Disneyland booze magic, so we wandered back down the Disney mall and made it rain on Star Wars merchandise, namely a Chewbacca print that set my heart aflame with adorableness. Where am I going to hang it? I don’t know, same place I’m going to store all of this novelty glassware, I guess. 

I’m just a sweet chimney cake…from traditional Transylvania

I’ve done precisely zero research on the matter, but it is my understanding that Transylvania has two main exports: vampires and chimney cakes. I never drink…wine. But I do eat cake. Maybe too much cake, but that’s really neither here nor there. So when I happened across a Vancouver bakery specializing in Romanian pastries, including the aforementioned chimney cake (or kürtőskalács), I knew I definitely wanted to incorporate it into my next visit to British Columbia, as a trip to Romania proper is a bit more involved than taking an afternoon jaunt across the border. A chimney cake is made of yeast dough which is wrapped in a spiral around a wooden dowel and baked, similarly to meat on a spit. As it rotates, it’s basted with butter until the sugary outside caramelizes into thin, golden, crackle-y perfection, which can be further augmented by rolling it in other toppings like chopped nuts. When it’s served hot, steam vents out the top like a little chimney and it’s charming as all get out.

There are two (one, two, ah ha ha ha) bakeries in Vancouver that make chimney cakes: Transylvanian Traditions, and The Kürtősh Cafe. Of course, I had to go to both. First up was Transylvanian Traditions. Transylvanian Traditions makes a variety of pastries including the chimney cake, and the chimney cake is offered in only one flavor.  When I arrived, I got one hot and fresh from the oven, steam merrily venting from the top. The cake is a revelation–soft and chewy toward the center, crisp on the outside, tangy with lemon, and light like a raised doughnut.

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The Kürtősh Cafe is the newer of the two bakeries, and they specialize solely in chimney cakes, offering it in a wide variety of sizes, flavors, and combinations, including savory cakes and cakes smeared with nutella and stuffed with ice cream. Jason got a chimney cake with nutella and almonds, Tristan got a cinnamon sugar chimney cake, and I got a half size coconut matcha chimney cake. The cakes are beautiful and well presented…but just not that good. All three of the cakes were cold, a sign on the cafe’s table proclaims that they use no butter in the cake, and between those two things, you end up with a cake where the outside is chewy rather than crispy, more like the outside of a bagel. None of us were really taken by any of them, which was really a disappointment, because I never want to say anything negative about a cake. I’d be open to trying them again closer to when they open in the morning in the hopes of getting a hot cake for a fair comparison.

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So basically what I’m saying is, like blood, you want it hot and fresh.

claudia

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Ironside Oyster in San Diego, CA

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When I go somewhere I’ve been before, I try to make certain I try new restaurants in addition to my old favorites, so I don’t spend the whole trip chasing nostalgic tastes. One I was really anxious to try was Ironside Fish & Oyster: with Michelin-starred chef Jason McLeod in the kitchen, an innovative cocktail menu, and all of their bread baked in-house, plus, you know, a wall of freaking piranha skulls, I had an inkling that it would be right up my alley. Oh, and it was.

I had my very first oyster here–I figured if I was in a place with “oyster” in the name, it would be remiss to continue to eschew them. It’s a little ridiculous that I flew to San Diego from Seattle to eat an oyster that was from Washington state, but I guess sometimes you have to step outside your bubble to see the wonder that’s in your own backyard. Or something. I’d been put off by the idea of oysters in the past as so many people have described them as “snotty” which doesn’t sound particularly appetizing. For the record, I would not give them that description. Briny, chewy, with a bright tang from the lemon, they were refreshing and surprisingly delicious (surprising due to the aforementioned expectation of snot).

For the main course, Jason and I decided to split the lobster roll as I’d seen raves about that baby online, in addition to an order of fish & chips and a side of chowder fries. It was kind of a miracle that I didn’t leave Ironside Fish & Oyster feeling incredibly ill due to the richness of everything we ordered. The lobster roll was SO GOOD, stuffed with a pound of lobster and tossed in a browned butter mayo, but a couple of bites were absolutely sufficient. Same deal with the chowder fries–life changing but insanely decadent, with a heaping portion of bacon-y clam chowder gravy ladled on top of their crisp housemade fries. I think I took one bite of the fish from the fish&chips and it was excellent, and a bite of my dad’s seafood paella which was also incredible and then I was DONE. I’d absolutely go again, and as long as I try something new, it’ll be within my self-imposed rules. Plus, I really need to figure out how to smuggle that tentacle lamp off the wall and home to my pirate bathroom.

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The Crack Shack San Diego

 

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crack shack (5 of 6)I have never seen a bit of wordplay I enjoyed more than this barnyard joke.

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A while back on Facebook, I saw my dad check into someplace called “The Crack Shack”. At first I was glad that it wasn’t, you know, an actual shack for crack because no one wants to sit down and have the talk with their dad about substance abuse, but upon second glance, I knew I’d have to visit for myself, because their chicken sandwiches looked like something I’d potentially stab a guy to try. Thankfully, their sandwiches were plentiful on the date that I visited and I didn’t need to find out exactly how deep my anger and gluttony issues run. I bought two sandwiches to try: the Señor Croque (crispy chicken, fried egg, cheddar, miso-maple butter on brioche) and the Coop Deville (crispy chicken, pickled fresno chilies, lime mayo, napa cabbage on brioche) and an array of their house made dipping sauces for little bits of chicken picked off of the sandwiches so as to better get the whole flavor picture. The Señor Croque was delicious (ALL THE UMAMI) but far too rich, the kind of sandwich you have to stop eating after a bite or two lest you feel ill for the rest of the day, the kind of sandwich that would be far better served as a slider. The Coop Deville, on the other hand, was sandwich perfection. A good sandwich has an interplay of flavors and textures, and this one had hot crunchy chicken (with a crackly fried crust that wasn’t grease-saturated), spicy-sweet slaw, the tang of the lime in the mayo, all rounded out with buttery soft brioche.

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All that, and a “cluck off, I’m hangry” t-shirt. Eggsellent. Now if only they’d start dealing in my neighborhood.

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Tios Tacos in Riverside, CA

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“Are we there yet? Did we pass it?” “I’m pretty sure this is one of those places you can’t miss.” I was right. Tio’s Tacos is enormous, spanning the better part of a block in two directions, and would be almost impossible to miss even if you weren’t looking for it. It was actually harder to find the restaurant itself among all of the art installations than it was to find Tio’s Tacos in all of Riverside’s downtown.

A sign on the property informed us: “Martin Sanchez is a proud Mexican immigrant from Sahayo, a small town in the state of Michoacan. He is grateful for this country, the United States of America, which he now considers his own and to which he arrived at a very young age with lots of dreams, and just like many other immigrants who have seen in the U.S. the hope of a better tomrorow. The poverty which he lived in during his childhood gave him the idea of finding a use for the things that have been utilized, and in this country considered useless, then discarded. Although for him and many that come from poor countries, these items are considered treasures; with his ingenuity and creativity, he has rescued them and given them new life. Come and taste the delicious flavor of our traditional & real Mexican cuisine, while you enjoy and appreciate one acre of amazing and beautiful gardens, created entirely from recycled items, waste material, and junk. See for yourself how the genius and profound creativity of Mr. Martin Sanchez, owner of Tio’s Tacos #1, has transformed them into beautiful pieces of art.”

This artist’s statement almost makes me a little tear-y for a number of reasons. I take for granted all of the things that I have access to every day of my life by virtue of being born here, and all the things I discard for whatever reason. I get frustrated with American politics and the state of things and forget sometimes that others can see it as a beacon of hope and opportunity, not just the world’s chest pounding policeman. It makes me extra embarrassed and sad that one of the candidates for the highest office in the land is seriously proposing building a wall to keep out people who want to contribute to the American melting pot, who do view America as that beacon of hope. It’s not Mr. Sanchez’s job to teach me perspective, but I’m glad he gave it to me nonetheless. His artwork reminded me of that of another outsider artist I visited some time back, RichArt, who also made all of his work from repurposed materials.

There was so much to see that even though it was threatening to sprinkle, I wanted to eat outside on the patio to take more of it in while I ate–because frankly, I don’t think it’s possible for me to go to a Mexican restaurant and not eat something, even if it’s just a snack. Jason and I ended up splitting a carne asada taco and an al pastor taco, both of which were so delicious I wanted to weep a little…or was that the rain? I also bought an agua fresca and laughed when the flavor I chose turned out to be their “detox” flavor. Mint, cucumber, and lemon without a whole bunch of added sugar sounded great to me already, there was no need to try and market it as weight loss water. The only detox I’m interested in is the Taco Cleanse…and not that BS taco cleanse where you eat crummy vegan tacos, but a taco cleanse that involves eating al pastor until either I die or I just plain don’t want to eat it anymore. Casa Bonita, you have a serious contender for the most exciting Mexican restaurant in the world…and the food at this one is good. BE TOLD.

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This didn’t deserve its own post: Iceland Edition

When I take a trip somewhere, if I don’t do a day-by-day recounting, there’s usually a bunch of tidbits left over that I either couldn’t write more than a few sentences about or don’t have any photos for or would drag out the series far beyond what any human could be expected to tolerate.  All combined, however, they make for something a little more substantial, so here’s yet another one, this time about Iceland.

For my stay in Reykjavik, I was booked at the Best Western. I don’t have any particular distaste for the Best Western chain in general–they’re serviceable if not particularly fancy, the sort of place that you maybe wouldn’t be too surprised to see duct tape patching a hole in the carpet. Frankly, I don’t need for my hotel room to be fancy, it’s the place that I crash out for a few hours in between doing more exciting things, unless I get sick and end up spending much more time there than anticipated. Free WiFi is nice, free breakfast is another good perk (even if I rarely avail myself of the option). This Best Western changed my opinion about Best Westerns. I wish they were ALL like this one. For one, the room was super nice. For two, the tub was super nice. For three, free breakfast is a wonderful thing when food is as expensive as it is in Iceland. For four, their toilet flushed with the force of a spectacular waterfall. For five, they have a kind of duvet I’ve never seen before, one that has the power to save marriages all over the world: split down the middle so no one needs to stab a covers hog in the middle of the night.

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The one area in which I was a little disappointed was Icelandic TV. I don’t know if my hotel had awful reception or what, but I am very much not into the club scene (as I am old, uncool, and disinclined to pay for bottle service) so if I wanted to veg a bit after everything closes at night (earlier than I would have expected), my options were limited. The news channel was frozen on that same frame for my entire visit.

One morning, I got a bug up my butt about going to see the sun voyager sculpture at dawn. I either severely overestimated the distance or underestimated my walking speed and how much I would hustle in the cold, because I got there a good thirty to forty minutes before sunrise. It was so cold, with strong winds whipping icy water up out of the harbor to sting our faces. I spent a good portion of that time huddling in a bus shelter, skittering out whenever I saw something that might be a bus coming so I wouldn’t inconvenience a driver by making him stop when he didn’t have to. A few other people with cameras showed up just before dawn. We were all red-cheeked and hopeful for a spectacular sunrise.  What we got was not the most spectacular one in the history of time (too much cloud cover that seemed like it was moving out of the way but didn’t), but it was pretty damn good, and worth the effort.

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Afterward, we made our way to the Harpa Concert hall to check it out and escape the cold a bit while waiting for businesses to start opening.

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I don’t know if this is the case everywhere in Iceland, but all of the public restrooms I used were stellar. Super private stalls, impeccably clean, all with those magnificent waterfall toilets, very unlike, say, the terrifying and filthy half-door stalls at Pike Place Market where you can make shame-filled eye contact with someone outside the stall while wiping, which I would only use if my death by exploding bladder was imminent and even then I would think twice.

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I like that construction at the harbor is so permanent that they’ve put it on their maps.

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I have mentioned before that food is really, really expensive in Iceland. One night, sans reservations, we wedged our way in at the bar at Public House. Our meal started off with a shot and a beer, and then we each got a selection of small plates, four each. I got something called the “taste of iceland”, and the two courses I remember were a tiny licorice puffin salad and some lamb stuffed inside a doughnut, the former which was a little weird even for a licorice lover like myself and the later being quite delicious. We both walked out still hungry, and our bill was over $230 USD. Oh, but that wasn’t all. While we were at the bar, a local came in, complaining of the cold, and grabbed each of our hands to show how cold she was. I, thinking this was an opportunity to connect, offered her my already-warmed hot hands packet in addition to a fresh unopened packet to use later, which she was very, very excited about, showing them off to everyone who worked at the restaurant. So far so good, right? Then she started in on a seriously intense speech about how people in Iceland are going to the harbor and killing themselves, repeating to us over and over again “Don’t do it. Don’t do it. Don’t do it.” It was deeply unsettling and I can still hear her voice in my head when I think about it. I’m trying not to think about it.

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Baejarins beztu pylsur, on the other hand, is refreshingly cheap, and apparently the must-try Iceland place. It’s a hot dog stand that’s been open since the 1930s, and pretty much everyone stops there to eat eina með öllu (one with everything: ketchup, mustard, remoulade, raw onions, and crunchy fried onions). The lamb-based hot dog is delicious, and all that onion makes your breath truly remarkable for the better part of the afternoon. Frankly I don’t care what the hot dogs are actually made of to make them so inexpensive, whether it’s ground up rats with wooly lamb coats or what, I was just thrilled not to spend $60+ on a meal (another reason I loaded up at free breakfast every morning).

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I’m not sure what Texas-style pizza is but I do wish I had stopped in to find out. Then again, maybe not as their food is decribed as “intestinal terrorism”.

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Because I am a mature adult, I spent some time singing “a few times I’ve been around that track/ so it’s not just gonna happen like that/ because I ain’t no hlölla bátar / I ain’t no hlölla bátar

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If they don’t give you a gun with which to shoot your selection on the menu, I don’t even know what to say.

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At the hotel, I saw an advertisement for a fish spa, the establishment where a bunch of hungry fish eat all of the gross dead skin off of your feet. This was something I’ve been keen to try for a while, and it’s been banned in the US (as there’s no way to sterilize the fish) so this was my first opportunity and I’d be damned if I was going to pass it up. While it’s true you can’t sterilize the fish, they do have you clean your feet well before you plop them in a tank, washing them and then squeezing on some kind of antiseptic. It wasn’t the super ticklish sensation I expected, more of a pins-and-needles type feeling, except when they squeezed between my toes to get at some particularly tasty foot crud–that was ticklish. My feet were baby soft afterward though that probably has a lot more to do with soaking them in water for an hour and then layering on some thick lotion than the fish themselves. I wouldn’t say that where the fish could hear, though, as I wouldn’t want to crush their tiny spirits.

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I liked how bright many of the houses were, it made the city feel quite cheerful.

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This one little pond was absolutely stuffed to the gills with birds one evening. My favorite was obviously this little short-necked dude strutting around like he owned the place.

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I never did get to try Icelandic meat soup, but not for lack of trying. Everywhere I went, every time I tried to order it, they were out. I’m not certain Icelandic meat soup actually exists.

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And that wraps up Iceland! The stuff I didn’t talk about really doesn’t deserve its own post.            

Give me one of every animal you have: Grillmarkadurinn Reykjavik

 

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thorsmork

It’s no secret that before I go somewhere that involves a flight, I do exhaustive research. Not because I’m a monster opposed to any and all spontaneity, but because I want to maximize my time. I may also be a monster opposed to any and all spontaneity, but I’ll leave that determination for a therapist. My obsessive planning reduces the chances that I’ll show up on a museum’s doorstep on the one day of the week they’re closed, that I’ll eat dinner at a crummy restaurant when there’s one I would have enjoyed more just down the street. First, if any friends have been to that area, I’ll pump them for personal recommendations. On this trip, my friend Shannon was an invaluable resource–she’s the one who warned me it gets much colder at night and that I needed to invest in some waterproof fleece-lined pants. It’s not her fault that I didn’t wear them…once. I did, however, keep them strapped to my ass the rest of the time, grateful for her suggestion. I also scour travel guides, blogs, and anywhere else that I think their tastes may align with my own–because that’s important, too. I don’t want to get recommendations from the same people in my local facebook community who would wholeheartedly recommend papa murphy’s as the best pizza place in the entire city: just because any pizza is generally pretty good (because it’s pizza), if I want something remarkable, I want a recommendation from someone who has also eaten a lot of pizza and knows what’s remarkable. I don’t want a recommendation from an unbearable douchebag. One place that has always knocked it out of the park for me recommendation-wise are the makeupalley boards, which may seem weird at first, but once you consider that it’s mostly women, generally in my age range, not afraid to try things and share their opinions and it starts to make more sense that I’d use it as a resource. One of the places that came highly recommended was Grillmarkadurinn.

We happened to be in the area around lunchtime, and stopped in. While I couldn’t have been more delighted with my fish and chips and my twenty-three dollar (USD!) fancy-pants drink, a Þórsmörk, the thing I really wanted to try on their menu, they don’t serve at lunch: a horse fillet. Hear me out: in addition to being beautiful and fun to ride and what have you, I have heard that they are also delicious. When I was a horse-crazy kid, I received a lot of books about horses for birthdays and other holidays, and checked out many more from the library in my quest to absorb all things horse. I vividly remember that one of them spoke about a European (French?) ruler (king? general? fancypants aristocrat? This was over twenty years ago, cut me some slack) who loved the taste of horseflesh so much that he would literally bathe in horse broth, eating floating chunks of meat as it pleased him. This is something that made quite an impression on young Mellzah. Not enough to be able to find any evidence of it actually being a thing, no matter how many internet searches I did for the story and for the book in question, probably borking up my amazon recommendations forever and ending up on some kind of list of potential internet weirdos. Be that as it may, whether the story is true or not (probably not), I was bound and determined to try horse if given the opportunity, so I made reservations for dinner at lunch.

When I came back that evening, some of the staff recognized me and gave me a queer look. “Weren’t you just here for lunch?” Yes, yes I was. Don’t judge me, love me.

The restaurant was much more crowded at dinner, so I didn’t feel comfortable whipping out a camera or a phone to take photos of the meal. I’m not one of those bloggers who feels no shame and stands right up on their chair to get that perfect snap, wafting my butt in a neighboring table’s face space so I can make the internet jealous of my meal while it slowly gets cold and less palatable as I arrange and rearrange the table. That will never be me. So help me god, if you’re out with me and I do that, do the right thing and pull the chair out from under me while coldly asking if I had mistaken the establishment for a jungle gym. Be the hero the world deserves.

Ahem. So given that I’d eaten lunch not terribly long before, I elected to split the horse filet with Jason, so I’d have a bit of room left in case I felt the need to try any more weird licorice candy on the way back to the hotel (that is a need that I generally always have in the presence of licorice) and so I’d also have room for puffin and langoustine sliders, another special they don’t serve at lunch. In my post-Iceland research (looking futilely for horse soup bath verification), I learned that most people consider horse to be a leaner, drier meat. I don’t know if Grillmarkadurinn lards their horse fillets (filly-ets), but my meal was juicy, flavorful, and rivaled some of the better steaks I’ve eaten–between this horse steak and the imported A5 kobe I tried (the gold beef standard), I’d actually pick the horse, as A5 is almost unpleasantly rich. I’m not going to start bathing in it, though.