Eurotrip 2012 Food: Copenhagen

We arrived in Copenhagen at around 10pm after a late flight from Berlin. It was actually the first time I had to walk out on the tarmac in order to board my plane; my mom has a thing about flying on big jets only, so growing up that was the only type of plane we would take – a big ‘ole jet. While this plane wasn’t small, I couldn’t help but giggle on my way out, thinking about my mom.

Since we arrived so late, we snacked on some of the chocolate I procured earlier in the day, and got to bed early in order to take full advantage of our time in Copenhagen. We started the day with breakfast at the hotel, which for me included a veggie sandwich and a pastry. I was happy to see that it was completely acceptable to eat a sandwich for breakfast – something I love doing. We then headed to Tivoli Gardens, which is a big amusement park with gardens, and tons of restaurants in the heart of the city. Once we had done our fair share of rides, we settled on lunch at a bier garten, because we apparently weren’t done with Germany just yet. After lunch, we headed to check out my very favorite Disney princess – Ariel!

For those of you that don’t know, Hans Christian Andersen was Danish, and actually wrote the famed Little Mermaid, that was then made into my favorite Disney movie of all time. So of course it was necessary to visit the statue of her while in the city. By the time we finished the treck from Tivoli to the water, we had worked up quite an appetite for dinner. So, upon the recommendation of Yelp, we headed to a Thai restaurant right on the water, that allowed us to watch evening runners while we enjoyed our dinners. We both wound up getting the same dish, and it was delicious!

While I was spending time scouring the internet to not only learn the dining customs (we didn’t want a Berlin repeat) but to also find restaurants, it became apparent that there wasn’t a lot of Danish food around. The places that did exist, were unfortunately very upscale and required very far in advance reservations (I’m talking months). So, I made sure to find and try “traditional” Danish food for lunch on our second day. There were restaurants lining the water in Nyhavn, making our decision tricky. Eventually we settled on Nyhavn 37, and while the hubs ordered some steamed blue mussels, I went with their “Traditional Danish Lunch Platter,” which included the infamous pickled herring.

I’m willing to try pretty much anything, and I can now say that I do not like pickled herring. Fried pickled herring is okay (I had that in Stockholm, we’ll get there eventually), but I am not a fan. So while my meal was only okay (based solely on my own tastes – my husband’s was delicious!), I had a beautiful view. The weather in Copenhagen was significantly colder than Berlin and by extension home, so I enjoyed the meal outside by heating lamps with a blanket. Since it’s cooler there but everyone enjoys eating outside, most restaurants provide fleece blankets for their patrons – it’s so cool!

While my lunch on our second day was a little lackluster, dinner certainly made up for it. We stumbled upon Halifax, where I enjoyed what may have been the best burger I’ve ever tasted. The concept is neat – you pick the style of burger, what type of patty (size and if you want beef, chickpea, or celery), what type of side you want (fries, salad, etc.), and what dipping sauce you want (chipotle, aoli, remoulade, salsa, or straight up mayo). I decided to go with their Zurich burger, which had rösti as the top bun (it’s basically like a potato pancake). The whole not having a full bun thing worked out, since they eat their burgers with knives and forks! Of course, my husband and I washed our burgers down with beer.

We spent each day in museums and wandering the streets, so caffeine pick-me-ups were required here and there. While Copenhagen didn’t have Starbucks, I found a Baresso on almost ever corner. I fell in love with their vanilla cappuccino, and ordered one every time we visited the shop. The fact that they served it in a glass cup and topped it with a heart made it all the more enjoyable.

We only spent three days in Copenhagen, so our last full day started with some Barreso to fuel a stroll around Stroget, their shopping district. Our last meal was at an Italian/Mexican fusion restaurant, Momma Rosa’s where I did something my husband just couldn’t get behind – I ate pizza with a  fork. I didn’t mind it so much (I used to start eating pizza that was too hot that way when I was little), but my husband just couldn’t justify eating pizza that way.

We had a late train from Copenhagen to Lund in Sweden, where we then took a sleeper train to Stockholm. We stopped at a 7-Eleven in Lund to grab some drinks, and while making small talk with the cashier, she asked where we were from. We mentioned the U.S, specifically New Jersey… where she informed us she’d heard of NJ thanks to Jersey Shore. Fabulous.

While our time in Copenhagen was short, we absolutely loved the culture – they bike everywhere, and would love to return. Next up is our final stop, Sweden!

Eurotrip 2012 Food: Berlin

The first stop on our 12-day European adventure was Berlin.

As I mentioned in my previous post, the trip there was off to a rough start, but we made it eventually. If we want to get technical, my first meal of the trip was a shared black bean Smash Burger before boarding the plane (for the first time – we had to deplane for a bit before finally taking off).

Since it was an evening/overnight flight, we were served dinner, and I opted for the vegetarian selection. I assumed it was either going to be a bunch of bland steamed vegetables or a variation of pasta primavera, but I’m happy to report I was pleasantly surprised; it included some chana masala, basmati rice, and palak paneer. While it wasn’t the prettiest of meals, it was much more than I expected for in-flight food – I’m used to just a bag of mixed nuts and my choice of soda. It was surprisingly flavorful, and despite it’s own questionable appearance, looked a lot better than the chicken or beef options.

Once we arrived in Berlin, (even though it was the middle of the night at home) we got down to business and set out on foot to do some sightseeing. We checked out the Berliner Dom, and just wandered around for a bit to try and get a baring of where we were. Our first meal in the city was at Maximilian’s, where we learned the hard way that you seat yourself in Germany. We walked into the restaurant and stood there like deer in headlights as waiters and waitresses walked past us as though we didn’t exist. After realizing we were supposed to seat ourselves, I cursed myself for not looking up dining etiquette prior to the trip. I quickly Googled the information (thanks to my husband buying a cheap data plan once we landed), and learned that in addition to seating yourself, ordering a glass of “still water” is frowned upon. I usually drink water with my meals, so this was a bit of a disappointment. I supplemented the water with a liter of weissbeir, as any logical person would.

Knowing a little bit about the food culture of each city prior to visiting, I knew right away what I was going to order – currywurst! It’s a big deal in Berlin, and they have little shops and street vendors selling it everywhere. I like curry, and I like wurst, so I had no doubt I’d enjoy the concoction. It was served with pomme frites, and I ate it like a true European – knife in my right hand and fork in my left! My husband ordered their version of meatloaf which is nothing like what your mother makes – it tasted more like a delicious ham steak to me, and he devoured every last bite.

For breakfast on our first full day, we went to Chipps at the recommendation of a friend who had visited Berlin a few months earlier. They have a lot of really delicious vegetarian and vegan options, which in a city that loves their meat is appreciated by someone like me. Everything on the menu sounded delicious, but I eventually settled for some scrambled eggs with baked beans, veggie bacon, toast, and a mixed salad.

It was the perfect fuel for a day full of sightseeing, including an amazing walking tour that highlighted all the notables in the city. We actually got really lucky and had a tour guide that was a history Ph.D student at Humboldt University; I learned SO much, and the tour was completely free! As a side note to all the food, I would definitely recommend checking out these tours if you are thinking about traveling abroad. But back to the food…

While our dinner the second night was far from traditional (I wound up ordering a burger and my husband had sliders), it was enjoyed at a table that provided us our very own beer tap at The Pub. That’s right – Paulaner weissbeer was right at our fingertips; we had glasses, could fill them up on our own, and paid per liter. The even cooler part was that the ordering of food and getting the waiter/waitress’ attention was also done through the computer attached to the tap. I’m all for the “experience” of dining out, but sometimes it’s nice to not be asked how I’m doing right as I take a giant bite of food, or equally as annoying be unable to get the waiter or waitress’ attention when you need them.

The rest of our mornings were spent at Starbucks for a few reasons – there was one on every corner (no different from around here!) and they had free wi-fi, which allowed us to plot out our day’s plan of attack. While it isn’t a glamorous sidewalk café, one of those Starbucks does happen to be right across the street from the hotel where Michael Jackson dangled his baby out a window, a mere stones throw away from the US and French embassies. Go figure.

For dinner on our last night, we headed to Jedermann where I enjoyed some super creamy and delicious spätzle while the hubs had weinerschnitzel; I figured it was necessary to end the trip with a more traditional dinner.

We had an evening flight from Berlin to Copenhagen, so we had a pretty full last day. I made sure to take a trip to Fassbender & Rausch for some much needed German chocolate, and some really delicious Indian food at Amrit. It was the perfect end to an awesome four days.

By the time we were ready to part ways with Berlin, I felt as though I was really getting a handle on the city. I was able to differentiate between East and West Germany, I could generally navigate to the larger landmarks, and I was getting the hang of pronouncing different things (like the ß letter is pronounced as a double S, so straße is strasse – the word for street!), and it felt like a city I could live in.

There is no way I could do any of the sights we saw justice in a recap – there is just SO much history in the city – it’s a pretty great place, so that’s why I decided to just stick to the food. You’ll have to go check it out for yourself to see all the amazing sites and learn the history!

Have you ever been to Berlin? 

Euro Success

I know you’ve all been chomping at the bit to see another post from me – and you need not wait any longer (do you feel the sarcasm oozing on you screen?)! We returned from our European adventure late yesterday morning, and I spent the rest of the day trying to figure out what time it was, doing laundry, and playing with our extremely needy, but angry for leaving them, cats.

Aside from our yearly Disney World trips, my husband and I wanted to do something different as well this year, and figured a trip outside the US would do the trick. So, after scouring the Internet and trying to come up with all the places we want to visit (pretty much everywhere), the most affordable and doable trip for us this time around was to spend a few days each in Berlin, Copenhagen, and Stockholm. While I plan on doing a full foodie recap of each city, I figured I would break the radio silence to give you a few fun tidbits from the trip.

We left on 4th of July after rocking our 4 mile race, and were met with an oh-so-fun delay thanks to a mechanical issue on our United flight. This wound up putting us behind hours, almost  completely losing a day in Berlin. Thankfully we were able to make up for lost time, and really only missed out on a few stops that were planned originally. Initially we were supposed to fly from Newark to Geneva, and then to Berlin. In order to get us there as soon as possible, though, we wound up taking a detour to Zurich first, and then made our way to Berlin. So we took three planes just to get to Germany! But we made it safe and sound, and that’s all that really matters. Another plane took us from Berlin to Copenhagen, and a sleeper train the size of my closet took us from there to Stockholm. Good ‘ole United took us straight back to Newark yesterday.

While I didn’t get in nearly as much running as planned (a measly 15 miles over 12 days), we walked at least 5 miles every day, which I like to think counts for something. I also scored myself plenty of extra poundage, thanks to phenomenal food, liters of beer, and everything being served with pomme frites. I’m bummed to be back home because that means things like work, responsibility, and traffic, but it also means things I like – running, cooking, being a crazy cat lady… and so on. So stay tuned for the city recaps – Berlin is up first!