The American season of stuffing your face is right around the corner, and yet I’m still thinking about the amazing food Jen and I had in Scandinavia. As you know, the food in Copenhagen was a delightful surprise, and I am happy to say Stockholm filled Copenhagen’s shoes quite nicely after we hopped a flight north.
We arrived in Stockholm mid-morning and of course made eating our first order of business. Luckily, Jen had found a perfect place right around the corner from our hotel, and I knew at once the eating would be GOOD in Sweden.
The cluster of people waiting for a table outside at 38 Nybrogatan reminded me of the Sunday brunch lines in NYC. Everyone wanted to eat outside because the weather was unbelievably perfect while we were in Stockholm. Jen and I settled for a table inside and clinked raspberry bellinis to the start of the second leg of our trip.
Of course we had some more of that phenomenal Scandinavian butter and fresh bread, then we split an incredible waffle and eggs Benedict. Skål indeed!
Our hearty brunch at 38 Nybrogatan kept us going most of the day before our dinner reservations. In between sightseeing and dinner, we decided to take a break, refresh ourselves at the hotel, and visit the hotel bar, Ling Lang. Aside from the potentially racist (?) wall decor, if you followed along with our trip on Instastories, you know that the thumping bass of Euro trash elevator muzak wafted into our room from Ling Lang below. Could we have closed the window? Perhaps, but the Swedes tend to not use air conditioning, and the days we were there were unseasonably warm. A real dilemma.
And yet…the drinks were pretty good and that’s how we found ourselves patronizing this bar, which was frankly offensive in more ways than one, multiple times in our trip.
THE FLYING ELK
Jen’s impeccable restaurant research and planning nailed us a meal at Gamla Stan’s the Flying Elk for our first dinner. As usual, the food did NOT disappoint, starting with truffled popcorn. THESE TRUFFLES, THO. And the sauce on Jen’s dish was so amazing I got her to drink it straight from the bowl in a restaurant full of people.
I have to tell you guys though, the real star of the show was our neighbor. The sophisticated, chic blonde woman next to us I assumed must be Swedish so I freely talked about all manners of shit with Jen (and of course, egged her on to get her to drink from a dinner-sized bowl). As it turns out, she was a completely batshit relationship therapist from California, popped right into our conversation, and chatted our ears off about everything — from the corrupt Catholic church to the earth tilting and men falling off of it to our zodiac signs to (of course) how we should give her a call because she can save us a lot of pain in our relationships. Presumptuous? Yes.
Even more so given that she is divorced, apparently very publicly, from her husband with whom she spent many years counseling others on their relationships. Huh.
While the Danish hygge has taken hold here in the States, I am sorry to say the Swedes’ fika hasn’t — yet. But I have to imagine the ritual 15 minutes it takes to meet up with a friend for a break any time of the day and partake in a Swedish kanelbullar (cinnamon bun) and coffee has got to be right up there with IKEA, Spotify, and H&M for my favorite Swedish concepts.
If you’ve been visiting HTJL for some time now, it will be no surprise to you that Jen and I partook in fika more than once on this trip.
Although in the past we’ve rarely made reservations pre-trip, this was really not an option for Scandinavia. But one night we decided to chance it. Naturally, we had to hop around to a couple places Jen had researched to find a table, but luckily for us, apparently every restaurant in Scandinavia makes incredible food.
We were able to get a sidewalk seat at Brasserie Godot which had some amazing seafood (no, I did not push Jen to chug her bouillabaisse this time around). I was VERY pleased with this restaurant upon being presented with the cocktail menu. On it, each drink had a little graphic to show what kind of glass it came in as well as four tiny pie charts to show how the extent to which it was fruity, sour, refreshing, or featuring spirits. As someone who likes her drinks fruity and refreshing and maybe a little less spirited (a.k.a. give me booze that tastes like juice), I want every cocktail bar to have something like this. Genius.
And P.S. the star of the show was the truffle toast. LOOK AT THOSE TRUFFLES. The Nordic people are so delightfully generous with their truffles.
After doing a morning run in Copenhagen, Jen and I also did one in Stockholm. Naturally, we worked up quite an appetite passing right on by the shitty castle we were looking for. Cue Sturekatten.
Next door to Ling Lang (and therefore our hotel), was an adorable old-fashioned walk-up cafe and bakery which heavily featured cats and granny-style lace and furniture. My kind of place.
Our last dinner in Scandinavia was not entirely unlike our first — Speceriet featured a limited menu and each dish was better than the one before it (except for dessert, but I’ll get to that shortly). That butter might look like your run-of-the-mill butter, but when we finished the bread, Jen ate it straight (and that wasn’t even my idea, this bitch loves dairy). As usual there were mushrooms, fresh seafood, and produce like I’ve never tasted.
The raspberries, blueberries, and lingonberries for dessert were phenomenal…if only they hadn’t been smothered in a licorice-tinged vanilla sauce. God I hate anything black licorice-flavored. This is one thing the Swedish love that I CANNOT get behind. For people with such impeccable taste, how can they love such an evil flavor?
Fret not though, the foul taste of licorice wasn’t my last taste of Sweden. Grabbed some coffee and a kanelbullar in the airport the next morning on our way out!