I went with Derek to Copenhagen for a long weekend in June. I’m not much of a sightseer, but I quite enjoyed exploring the many floors of Danish furniture and kitchen and housewares at www.illumsbolighus.dk. I only bought a dish towel, but there were many, many beautiful things to look at. Also, right around the corner near the Segway tour storefront was a small clothing store with stylish but unusual and comfy-looking designs. Finally, I had a number of interesting culinary experiences.
The food highlight of my trip was at Geist. I started with the zucchini ribbons with curry powder and pistachio sauce, which I didn’t care for at all, and the spinach with gruyere and lots of herbs, which again I was not enthusiastic about. Derek liked both of them though, as well as my dessert (ice cream with a kalamata olive and licorice sauce), but I found the sauce way too salty. All of that aside, the visit was worth it for the single best dish of the night— baked celeriac on a sauce made of condensed buttermilk. The chunks of baked celeriac had an incredibly dense and unctuous texture, with amazing (but not overly strong) celery flavor. And they weren’t greasy at all. Combing the celeriac with the condensed buttermilk sauce was brilliant. The sauce had the sweetness and dark roasted taste of caramel but the sourness of buttermilk. A truly brilliant combination. I definitely have to try to make it myself.
The first night in Copenhagen Derek took me to the Austin-eque restaurant Kalaset, which he discovered on his last visit when he was staying at the hotel across the street. I ordered the chickpea burger. It was kind of like falafel, but not as greasty. But what really made the sandwich were the slightly pickled crunchy cucumbers, the fresh mint, and the very nice greens. Tasty. Derek got a pasta (and an American microbrew) and seemed to really enjoy it.
I read about Atlas bar on a list of vegetarian-friendly, budget-friendly restaurants. Alas, it was a disappointment. Derek and I shared two dishes. The beet burger and the bean tortilla. The beet burger was more potato than beet, and overly wet, soggy potatoes died pink with beets. It was edible, but not particularly good. The beet burgers came with three salads: a french lentil salad that was fine, an oily fennel salad, and a coleslaw that I quite liked with sesame oil, soy sauce, and roasted almonds. The beans in the tortilla were way over-seasoned, but Derek still enjoyed them. The tortilla came with guacamole, a standard spinach and tomato and olive salad, and a salad of giant white beans. The food was way overpriced given that it was basically co-op style fare, and extremely oversalted. Both Derek and I fell into a salt coma afterwards.
Our last night we ate at Madklubben. They only had one vegetarian appetizer and one vegetarian main dish, and both were primarily asparagus. Derek ordered the asparagus appetizer, and it was small but lovely. The asparagus was drizzled with dill oil and sprinkled with fresh herbs and little dots of mayo. The dill oil went so well with the asparagus. I’m going to have to try the combination myself. I ordered the asparagus main dish, and it was bigger but not nearly as good—just asparagus spears with a boring white sauce and more herbs. It definitely wasn’t substantial enough to serve as a main dish. So I filled up on the bread, which was excellent. In general thoughout Copenhagen we had excellent breads. They tasted different everywhere, but always delicious, and always served with wonderful butter. It’s a nice change from Saarbruecken, where the bread at restaurants ranges from forgettable to inedible. For dessert at Madklubben I ordered strawberries with a dollop of fresh cheese (which tasted just like whipped cream) and fresh licorice (which tasted like dots of bitterness), and some sort of overly sweet goopy off-white stuff. Derek’s dessert was much better: a dense dark chocolate mousse-like pudding floatting in sour buttermilk with strawberries. Yum, buttermilk again. I should eat it more often.