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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More Lunch on the Road

Progressing on the trip in Iceland, you don’t necessarily want to eat PBJ each day. Some food was also brought from home. So one day we enjoyed some great individual packs of Bumble Bee Light Tuna, Trader Joe’s Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Trader Joe’s Marinated Olives, and some of the bread we bought for the PBJs. We also had a bit of wine left to kill that we’d bought a couple days prior. So we had paper coffee cups from a hotel brunch and probably each got half a glass of Trapiche Malbec. Living the high life!

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This was also on a day that was sunny. Only reason we had to sit in the car was because of the million mile an hour winds we had (90% of the time we were in Iceland). Enjoyed this while visiting Þingvellir National Park (or Thingvellir in English) and seeing some other beautiful sites.

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Lunch on the Road

I had heard to just pack lunch every day while in Iceland. So after visiting BÓNUS, I was stocked and ready to go. Pretty much every day around noon or 1, we’d stop (and would see many other cars doing the same at random locations) to chow down. One of the awesome splurges during the trip to Iceland – oh yes, PBJ! Everything was strategically placed in the car. We brought camping utensils to do the appropriate sandwich making and those were cleaned at the hotel at night. So good!

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Some of the great stuff we saw before and after lunch while enjoying PBJ for a couple days included geysers and waterfalls, along with some nice local views.

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HVER Restaurant, Hveragerði, Iceland

Recently traveled to Iceland and Greenland for vacation. Landed in Reykjavik early in the morning and then starting driving east. The first place we were staying was Hveragerði. Upon arrival mid-day, it was high time for lunch. We opted to simply grab something at the hotel (Hótel Örk) at the HVER Restaurant.

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There was a nice sounding soup on the menu — Langoustine soup, garlic marinated langoustine and saffran cream. (2.150 kr.)

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Then also the Salmon — Cured salmon tartar, toast and honey dressing. (2.200 kr.)

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Adding the prices here because I’d heard Iceland was pricey. Basically these were $21 for the soup and $22 for the tartar.

Apparently the soup was quite good and the salmon was delicious. This was the start of the trip, so I was not yet aware that this was a delicacy to have veggies. Great way to kick things off.

Mark’s Kitchen

A new (to me), local place I visited recently is Mark’s Kitchen in Takoma Park, MD (right near the Metro). They are a great neighborhood place with a menu that contains every type of food you could want. As they say —

Welcome to Mark’s Kitchen, a small neighborhood restaurant with an amazingly big menu full of so many choices that everyone can easily find something that will make them happy. Mark’s Kitchen is a very friendly place—it’s vegetarian-friendly, vegan-friendly, carnivore-friendly, kid-friendly, traditional family-friendly, alternative family-friendly and everyone else-friendly. A full meal or a light meal, a complete breakfast—most of which is available all day long—fresh juices, craft beers, wines, wonderful milkshakes, great ice cream desserts. That’s Mark’s Kitchen, a Takoma Park institution since 1990.

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It took me a long time to read through the menu and decide on what I wanted. Do I go for a basic sandwich, do I get some breakfast for lunch or do I go crazy? Well, I decided to go for a unique salad, because they had some great sounding Asian cuisine. And, my friend went pretty basic.

My choice was the Seaweed Salad —  wakame, hijiki & kombu seaweed, avocado, cucumber & sliced lemon on a bed of mixed seaweed w/ our own no-fat, no-oil lemon ginger salad dressing or our spicy sweet & sour chojang sauce.

My friend opted for the Smoked Salmon Club Sandwich — smoked salmon, cream cheese, dill havarti cheese, veggie bacon, red onion, capers, lettuce, & tomato.

That salad was amazing! I had never had so many different seaweeds. What’s funny is that I don’t really care for seaweed when it’s the crisp stuff that wraps sushi (rolls), but when it’s finer/chopped/in salad form, it’s so good! There was some great dressing or marinade to it and the avocados, bring ’em on!

My friend said the sandwich was quite good, just what a club should be.

We were there at lunch time — service was a bit slow. It was tough to get our water filled and the glasses at the table weren’t huge, so that was the one downside.

Will definitely check Mark’s Kitchen out again.

Cugino’s

While in Steamboat Springs, was looking for some lunch and came across a sort-of-hidden Italian place, Cugino’s.

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Italian food sounded good and their lunch options sounded even better! For under $10 you could get a small pizza and beer (not sure if they have seasonal menus and I was not there during ski season). That was almost too good to be true. And the beer was good stuff, not just some boring macrobrew.

The service was a bit slow but the waiter was very apologetic. And we were sitting outside enjoying the weather so that helped.

When the food came out, well worth the wait! I went for pizza with no cheese (lactard) and some other great toppings, the other pizza at the table did have the nice melted stuff.  Perfect crust, perfect size, absolutely delicious.

Will definitely check this place out again next time I’m in the area.

Portobello Caffe, Sydney, AUS

Was walking around Sydney and needed a bite to eat before taking a tour of the Opera House.  Found a place called the Portobello Caffe, right on the water, where people’s food looked really good.  Had to take a seat.

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They do a lot with salmon at this place so at the table we ordered the Bruschetta Al Salmone — avocado, Tasmanian smoked salmon, sun-dried tomatoes, capers & Smoked Salmon Salad — tasmanian smoked salmon, mixed lettuce, cherry tomatoes, asparagus, grapefruit, lemon dressing.

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Both were delicious and good sized portions.  One complaint — very expensive — $24 (for lunch), even though very good.  And, come to find out, there is a 6% surcharge for food on the weekends, pretty much because restaurants in that area know they can.  You learn by trying, right?

 

Lorne Hotel, Great Ocean Road

Had a nice stop for lunch on a drive out the Great Ocean Rd in Australia on the way to see the 12 Apostles.  The place we found to eat was the Lorne Hotel.

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Started off with some brew – Carlton Draught and LazyYak Pale Ale.  Just nice light beer, perfect for mid-day.

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For lunch, the decisions came down to a Roasted Beetroot & Quinoa Salad, a Greek Salad, both with Prawns and a lamb dish.  Presentation and taste, all delicious!

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Epicurean

While on our wine day, we of course had to eat.  In wine land, we found a nice little café, the Epicurean.

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They have both a cafe and restaurant.  We opted for the former.  There was this amazing sandwich that had a black bun.  Why black?  It was died with squid ink!  How cool?  On the bun was smoked salmon, lettuce and other great stuff.  The reason I couldn’t enjoy this is because all were premade and they also had include some delicious cream cheese. They had a nice salad with fennel and tomatoes and great mix of lettuce.  Perfect mid-day refuel before wine continued…

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Capital Wheel Lunch

Finally made it to the Capital Wheel at the National Harbor, MD recently.

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Went on a cold day, which meant the line was non-existent.  Great views all around.  After the ride, checked out a restaurant in the area, Granite City.

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They brew their own beer so opted for a sampler.  The four brews on the taster were The Prairie Vixen, The Northern, the Cran Gose and the Smith & Forge.

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The Prairie was a Hef with mild banana and clove, bubble gum, hints of citrus and mild spiciness.  It was not that exciting and actually way too banana-y for me. The Northern was an American Lager that was mild, crisp and had mild bitterness.  Very good, a true Lager. The Cran Gose  tasted like toothpaste to me.  The Smith & Forge was solid.

The menu was a normal brewery menu and based on the location, quite expensive.  They had a traditional MD crab soup so I opted for that and a salad.  My friend went for a bowl of chili and caesar.

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Once we finally got the food…it was fine.  It took nearly 45 minutes to get the stuff, and you can tell all it really takes it a couple ladles and putting lettuce on a plate.  Nothing that exciting and there are many other places at National Harbor I’d rather check out.