Our last meal in Reykjavik was at the Reykjavik branch of Rub 23 (the original is in Akureyri). Rub 23 is basically an Asian Fusion place that pairs Icelandic ingredients with Asian ingredients (the name comes from several specialty rubs, their schtick is that you can pick your own combination of meat and rub). It’s a fairly trendy place, and one of the harder places to get into on a weekend in Reykjavik, but we managed to score a table, and opted for the tasting menu.
Well, our “Great Circle” tour of Iceland had finished, but we weren’t quite done with Iceland, having another two days in Reykjavik to explore. With our various diversions on our last day of driving (including a return trip to Hveragerði to take a long hike to check out the Varma (“Warm River”), fed by hot springs), we got back into Reykjavik rather late and several places were booked solid for dinner (it was a Friday night), but we didn’t have too much trouble getting Sjávargrillið (“Seafood Grill”) for dinner.
Sjávargrillið is one of the up-and-coming trendy restaurants in Reykjavik (the head chef was Iceland’s 2010 chef of the year), but it’s menu is still pretty approachable: the primary theme of Sjávargrillið is “Icelandic Seafood”, with a nice variety of fresh and smoked seafood dishes, but they also offer several “Feasts”, including their “Grill Party” (basically a chef’s choice multi-course special), a lobster feast, and a “Taste of Iceland” feast (puffin, shag, and minke whale). While all of these were very tempting, we ended up settling on the daily special, the perch.
After leaving Fjalladýrð, we spent the bulk of the next two days exploring the Eastern Fjords, working our way down to Höfn in the Southeast. Höfn is famous in Iceland for it’s Langoustines (Norway Lobsters), so when we were looking for dinner, we found that most every place in town had fresh langoustines, grilled with butter, parsley and garlic. After looking around and sizing up some of the options, we decided to go to one of the best-regarded places, Humarhöfnin.
Humarhöfnin has a nice location in downtown Höfn, a block off of the harbor in an older building that apparently used to be a consumer cooperative/department store. It’s a nice restaurant space with a pleasant vintage interior (including a rather cool Art-Deco inspired staircase that’s obviously been there since the 1920s or so), with large upstairs and downstairs dining rooms. Despite not having reservations and the place being busy, they were able to seat us right away downstairs (thankfully, as we watched an entire busload of tourists—the same tourbus we encountered back in Myvatn, actually—go upstairs), and relax with a beer (Borg Bjartur Blond Bjór Nr. 4, a Dortmunder-style Blond beer from Ölgerðin Egill Skallagrímsson) as we looked over the menu.
Well, the 2012 round of travels continues, this time with a trip to Iceland (for pleasure, it’s been on our to-do list for years). But before I could start reviewing Icelandic food joints, we had to actually get to Iceland. Which means a plane flight. Which means airports. Which often means airport food.
As I’ve commented before, airport food is generally a dismal experience. Airport dining options are generally limited, overpriced, poor quality, and, bizarrely, often seemingly unaware of the fact that they are located in an airport and their customers have planes to catch (Yes, Todd English’s Bonfire at Logan, I’m still pissed at you…). But we again found ourselves with a red-eye flight across the Atlantic, and our bus schedule leaving us some time to kill in Terminal E before our flight. Not having quite enough time to take the Silver Line over to South Station, we had to find some dinner at the airport. While I’ve had some decent meals at the restaurant located right outside security in Terminal E, I decided that this time we’d mix it up, and walk over to Terminal C (as an aside, it’s an interesting walk, since you go through the remnants of Terminal D, which has been subsumed by Terminals C and E) to check out the Logan Airport edition of the Legal Sea Foods chain (this is their “Legal Sea Foods” location in Terminal C, they also have a “Legal C Bar” in Terminal B, and “Legal Test Kitchen” in Terminal A)….
It always helps to have, well, peeps. My business travel again had me traveling to Arlington, VA, and in general that leaves me with two options to get there from NH: I can either fly from Manchester to Reagan National Airport for a lot of money and really inconvenient flight times, or I can fly to Baltimore with good flight times and extremely low cost. The downside of the Baltimore route is that it involves planes, trains, and automobiles, since getting from BWI to Arlington generally requires some combination of shuttle bus, train, and Metro. But the useful thing is that I know quite a few people that live near BWI, and have often used this as an opportunity to have them pick me up for a meal before I catch the train to DC. Last time, it was the Paper Moon Diner. This time, my friend Betsy picked me up, and we decided to try G&M for some crabcakes…
After a nice day at Cape Henlopen swimming at the beach and riding loaner bikes around, we decided that it was time for an early dinner. Since Carol had never experienced Maryland-style crabs before (somehow, our attempts at this on previous visits kept getting thwarted), so this time we made it a point to go find a crab place.
Which is actually a bit hard to do, if you were in the situation we were: returning from the beach, looking for some decent crabs and beer without spending a lot of money. After reading a bunch of reviews, we ended up at Lazy Susan’s on the Coastal Highway in Lewes.
Well, Lazy Susan’s is definitely a “crab joint”, one of those places that’s primarily decorated with random seashore kitsch, with picnic tables (inside even) covered with paper for the inevitable mess. The beer list isn’t terribly impressive, but the beers were cheap ($2 each), and the waitress quite friendly, so we grabbed a nice table by the window and looked over the offerings…
Two weekends ago my parents came to visit, and since we rarely get down to the seacoast (despite NH being a small state, the coast is ~2 hours from here), we decided that would be a good day trip, with some driving, seeing Strawbery Banke, and wandering around Portsmouth. Afterward, we wanted a late lunch, so we ended up heading down to New Castle to the Wentworth-by-the-sea resort so we could indulge in the classic New England summertime treat: the Lobster Roll.
As I’ve mentioned before, one of the problems with cruise ship tourism is that you get off the ship with several thousand other people, which really tends to swamp the local economy. And it also allows all sorts of lousy t-shirt shops, bad bars, and really bad restaurants to flourish. We were looking for a place to eat that (a) wouldn’t be overly busy, and was (b) good. We asked a few locals, including our kayaking tour guide, and they recommended Conch Republic.
One of my online peeps told me of a good place to get tasty conch fritters, jerk chicken, and grilled crawfish. His direction were: “From the boat dock, head west along the waterfront until you find the worst-looking food vendor. That’s the place.” This is what I found: Claudette’s Native Food, in a converted U-haul (which, for the record, wasn’t the place my friend found, which was later found to be called McPhee’s Seafood).