Wrapping up Greenland

The final day in Greenland meant there was a lot to do. We took a beautiful boat ride, during which we were supposed to see whales. This was in early June, but whales don’t tend to come out until July. Nonetheless, the scenery was amazing. Can’t parallel it.

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That night for dinner we wrapped it up with a meal dinner at Restaurant Ulo, which is in Hotel Arctic. They were having one of their special dinners where it offers pretty much all local fare providing for a true taste of Greenland. What was missing were veggies (unless you grabbed lettuce from displays).

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I was able to get pictures of most of the stuff, some labeled, some not. Overall pretty darn good. There was reindeer, halibut, mussels, shrimp, whale skin, snowcrab, dried whale, and much more.

This last night in Greenland, we got to stay in an igloo! So, ok, we didn’t make a big pile of snow, but nonetheless, so much fun!

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The next day, we left this amazing island, with view of ice and snow below. I can’t wait to go back and explore other cities. While there, we found out their tourism is growing greatly and I have found/checked out their (very good) website. So much to explore on this island. Add it to your list, and let me know when you go and if you need a travel companion, I’m game!

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Tasting & Exploring Ilulissat

When we arrived in Ilulissat, there was the need for some quick food before exploring the town on Day 1. The most common thing we had for the few days we were there were the sandwiches at the hotel. They were absolutely delicious and revolved around 3 choices; smoked halibut, shrimp and reindeer. Just simple ingredients and amazing taste.

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After fueling, we headed into town. Most things were walkable, though there were quite the hills. If needed, there was a shuttle bus back to the hotel, but it only ran every 30 minutes, and you could likely get back to the hotel by then. There were also a ton of cabs there, for a small town. And, in this town you don’t go anywhere but the town because the only way in/out is by boat or plane.

Some of the scenery, with the video being my favorite:

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The houses & buildings aren’t so colorful because of the potentially dark winters. It’s historical and was to help residents identify buildings. The colors ID’ed the function of the building: Commercial houses were red; hospitals were yellow; police stations were black; the phone company was green and fish factories were blue. Those don’t necessarily apply now and residents can just paint their houses any color they like. It just makes the town vibrant!

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At one point, sled dogs were nearly equal in population to humans (3,500 to 4,500 humans). But in mid-2016, the was a distemper outbreak and this wiped out a good amount of the dogs. They are working the rebuild the population and this could take awhile, as this is recent.

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Welcome to Greenland

After Iceland, I traveled a bit West, and North, before returning to the US. I wanted to check out Greenland and visited Ilulissat, which is north of the Artic Circle. And, hey, even got to stay in a 4-star hotel!

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Being in the far north right around the summer equinox, the sun never set (see below). And 30 degrees wasn’t that bad for June! It got up to the upper 30s by mid day and the sun was pounding on us (side note, we didn’t see a drop of rain after having it pretty much the entire time in Iceland).

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The night we arrived in Greenland, we received a Welcome Dinner. This was with the other tourists, most of which happened to be on the same plane. It was a two-course meal with a quick bite before.

The bite was fish skin with an asian-like flavoring on it. Good to try but not going to add that to my list of favorites.

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The first course was halibut, or shall I say happiness. I was pretty much halibut carpaccio. Super thinly sliced with garnish. So nice to have this!

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The main dish was Muskox, served two ways. The one on the bottom right was a tenderloin and underneath the onion was some of the meat that just melted in your mouth. Almost BBQ-style. Very nice taste to all of it.

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Very nice intro to Greenland cuisine.

Cowiche Canyon

When visiting Yakima Valley, had to find a place to enjoy dinner. Many locals suggested the same restaurant – Cowiche Canyon. Ok, I guess that’s where you go. Their tagline: ‘Craft cocktails & American classics are served with a modern twist at this industrial-chic hot spot.

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Arrived and fortunately were able to get a table easily. Had checked out the website before going and they weren’t on OpenTable… And why would one call to make a reservation these days, come on?

So we sat down and of course when in Yakima Valley wine is a priority. After looking over the options we decided to go for a bottle vs. glasses. Reason, if you don’t finish it they just put it in a paper bag and off you go. The vino we chose was the Syncline Subduction Red. It’s a blend of Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache, Cinsault, Carignan and Counoise. It was a good medium bodied wine, nice fruit notes, and some spice. Just very tasty.

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For dinner (I’d checked out the menu on their site before), I was leaning towards the halibut. Of course halibut is pricey. I also found out why from a friend – it’s fished ‘by hand’ – as in it’s not net-caught. The fisherman use these things called fishing rods, if you’ve ever heard of them. So, it’s all completely manual labor for catching halibut, so pure man hours for each and every piece of halibut we enjoy.

Looked at some of the other seafood and meats, and all looked tempting, but halibut is something I don’t usually cook at home or get frequently because of cost. So, the two of us ended up splitting the halibut and getting starters – a house salad and roasted asparagus as first round, along with the homemade bread. I assumed we would have bread brought to the table as on the menu it mentioned that their breads are handmade from scratch every morning. But, we had to order it instead.

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Service was slightly under par. Took us about 3 requests and 20 minutes to get water. We also ordered the salad and asparagus as first course. Those and the halibut came out quickly (before the water and the bread). We asked for the halibut to go back and be served as the main course. The server was a bit confused.

However, the food was delicious. The halibut was spicy, with the posole it was served on top of. The asparagus had chimichurri on it, which added a great flavor, but the ends that you should snap off were still on there, on several pieces. The salad was nice and simple and the bread was just deadly. Overall, however, the restaurant lived up to the recommendations it received.

A New Halibut Ceviche

Ceviche is one of my favorite dishes, and halibut is a great fish to use in it (oddly — and when I want to splurge). I have one recipe I love to use and then came across another I thought I would try — Halibut Ceviche with Tomato and Cucumber.

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Ingredients
Servings: 6

1 garlic clove, finely grated
¾ cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons tequila blanco (used the (gold) Cuervo I had)
1 teaspoon agave nectar
¼ small pineapple, cut into ½-inch pieces (about ½ cup)
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 radishes, trimmed, thinly sliced
½ jalapeño, thinly sliced
6 ounces halibut fillet, skin, bones, and bloodline removed, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 avocado, cut into ½-inch pieces
¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
¼ cup finely chopped mint
Kosher salt
*I don’t see cucumber anywhere in the ingredient list, even though it’s in the title of the recipe, so they either forgot it in the list or put it incorrectly in the title

Preparation

Mix garlic, lime juice, tequila, and agave nectar in a large bowl. Add pineapple, tomato, onion, radishes, jalapeño, and halibut and toss to coat. Fold in avocado, cilantro, and mint; season with salt.
Chill 10 minutes before serving.

It was good, but not great. There was something off about it.  Maybe the pineapple was the wrong texture?  Not saying I wouldn’t eat it, but not my favorite ceviche.  I think my favorite it the Green Ceviche.

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A Green Staple

I love seafood, I love cilantro, I love avocados, I love olives.  What does one do when they all come together?  Melt, find their happy place, eat way too much and then just share — oh not the food, just the recipe.
I found this Ceviche Verde Recipe in Bon Appetit several years ago and just can’t get enough of it.  It’s almost a Green Staple to me. So many things in it that I just love.  When halibut is sort of affordable (Costco, I love you) it’s amazing, but using another, affordable fish is just as good.  It might not look super eye appealing but it is appealing to the taste buds!

Ingredients:

1 pound fresh Pacific halibut or other firm-fleshed fish
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
3/4 cup green olives, sliced
1/2 cup tomatillos, diced
1/4 cup onion, very finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded, and minced (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Tostadas or tortilla chips

Directions:

Chop fish into 1/2″ cubes; place in medium bowl. Add kosher salt; toss to coat. Add lime juice; toss to coat. Marinate until the edges of the cubes begin to turn opaque, tossing occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Dice avocados; add to bowl along with green olives, tomatillos, onion, cilantro, and jalapeño Add olive oil and season to taste with salt.

Serve over tostadas or with tortilla chips for dipping.

 

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Crusted!

Tried another recipe from a recent issue of Bon Appetit — Wild Rice-Crusted Halibut.  Sounded pretty unique so had to give it a try.  Also relatively easy to make.

Ingredients
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
½ cup wild rice
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
4 5–6-ounce skinless halibut, hake, or cod fillets (I went with the cod, much more affordable)
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
Lemon wedges (for serving)

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Preparation
Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a medium skillet over medium-high. Add rice and cook, tossing occasionally, until grains have popped open like popcorn and are lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer to paper towels and let cool. Pulse in a food processor or blender to a fine powder. Perfect in the mini-prep.

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Preheat oven to 350°. Place flour in a shallow bowl. Beat eggs and 1 Tbsp. water in another shallow bowl. Place wild rice powder in a baking dish. Season fish with salt and pepper. Working with 1 fillet at a time, dredge in flour, shaking off excess, then dip into egg mixture, turning to coat evenly. Coat with rice powder, pressing gently to adhere. -Was tough to get it to totally adhere, but still got a good amount on there

Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in a large ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high. Cook fish until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer skillet to oven and roast fish until just opaque throughout, about 3 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.

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The crunch you got from the rice was great! And I have now taken this concept and used it for just extra in ‘stuff’ — I toasted the wild rice the other day and pulsed/crushed it just not quite as fine and tossed it with some brown rice. Gave it great extra crunch.  Going to see what else to do with it now.