As you may have noticed we have been pretty quiet lately on the blogging front. This is in part due to our recent move to our new apartment in williamsburg (moving we all know is a crazy time suck!) and secondly due to the fact that we haven’t been that inspired to go out since we got back from Copenhagen. Once you have tried and experienced the best, other places loose their appeal. In a nutshell NOMA, and all of the Danish food we tried is impossible to one up!! IMPOSSIBLE!
I wanted to write this post about our trip earlier but it seemed so difficult and challenging given the move and how deeply blown away we were. But now the moving is done, boxes unpacked and Internet FINALLY installed there are no more excuses. So here goes…
The following are some of my notes I wrote on the flight back. We are breaking our trip into 3 small but incredibly mouthwatering bits of food pics. Here is the first of three…
The last 4 days in Copenhagen have been unlike any I’ve experienced. As i fly Back to NYC I’m feeling full, somewhat exhausted but overflowing with inspiration.
I have always been enamored with the Scandinavian culture, the people and incredible design and history but this curiosity of mine did not extend into the culinary realm until recently. I knew of Swedish food, thanks to my many Swedish friends I met while at RISD, but this introduction was limited and mainly included simple Swedish breakfasts of hard boiled eggs smothered with fish roe, from a toothpaste-like tube, some salt candy, grog and snaps. This was he extent of my exposure. Years have passed and all of a sudden the word Nordic is internationally known as a type of cuisine, one more fashionable and intriguing then French, Spanish or Chinese. Nordic food has indeed taken over! This kind of food is not aquavit or anything related to Marcus Samuelson …. But something quite different and new. It is not limited to pickled herring, capers and rye bread it instead embodies flavors and ingredients most of us have yet to try and most completely foreign to the realm of the kitchen. The man responsible for this movement is the ever so handsome and prolific Rene redzepi. He and his disciples have made Copenhagen into a place unlike any other food destination in the world. This is why we had to go!!
This trip has been in the works in our minds for sometime now, but it wasn’t until three months ago that things became very real. We like many other food crazed people woke up at 3am New York time to test our luck at the Noma reservation Game and lucky for us we came up with two reservations, one which we canceled. This game of reservation roulette reminded me a bit of Momofuku KO, when it first opened, It was impossible, but after trying diligently day after day we scored 2 seats. This was clearly much more exciting than that and to top it off it we got to go to a place that I’ve always wanted to visit… Copenhagen, a true designer’s heaven
For the next 3 months we were excited like little kids before Xmas waiting and waiting before the big day. During these 3 months we did a great deal of research. We took a trip to CT to talk to one of our favorite chefs Joel Viehland, a NOMA vet, and asked for recommendations on where to go besides NOMA, We also got great feedback from some of our knowledgeable readers. All this research was curated and then condensed into an exhausting 3 day itinerary which included lunches and dinners at the most loved and talked about places. Our goal was to explore this culinary hotbed as extensively as possible in 3 days.
This was not a trip about design this was a trip solely about food. It was slightly hard to be in a place I have wanted to go for so long and not make it to one museum or design shop/studio. It was very hard. Traveling is tough for as you all know you feel I mild pressure to soak in and absorb more than you are physically capable of doing. So not only did I not visit a museum but Everything non food related was working against me. The shops were closed and the smaller boutiques were closed most of the weekend, so no unique souvenirs for friends or family… Even if a store was open it was difficult to buy anything without a European pin based credit card. As sad as this was It was probably for the best… I needed to save every last penny for these special restaurants.
Even though we did not go to any museum, in many ways we did. Noma is an institution, a culture, a school, that crafts and serves dishes/conceptual artifacts of our time and season. In other words my cultural and artistic appetite was satisfied.
Before I go into the food…A bit about what I noticed about Copenhagen… 1.The bread is CRAZY GOOD! 2.The people are beautiful, speak impeccable English and are so charismatic. Unlike NYC people from CPH actually talk to each other. I never saw people multi-tasking when out in public. This was amazing!! Cell phones were rarely out and therefore most public places were quiet and sans phone rings and obnoxious one sided conversations. 3.The other thing I noticed was the large number of frisor shops ( hair salons) they were everywhere, not surprising seeing how fashionable and attractive everyone is. 4.And who couldn’t help to notice the amount of bikes!! I so badly wanted to bike around the city but the crazy cold and windy weather kept my feet from the pedals. Next time!!
So onto the food adventures.
We arrived in CPH at 730am (I can’t sleep on planes so I was feeling the effects pretty heavily upon arrival) We caught the train into the city, checked into our hotel…and decided to sit down eat a free breakfast and regroup.
The Breakfast was pretty tasty for a hotel buffet. Finally some pickled herring and rye bread. This was just the beginning…
After filling up on many cups of coffee we were luckily brought up to our upgraded suite with a ridiculous view. Thanks Jose, I imagine having this privilege is one of the only perks of being a traveling business man.
We slept a few hours at the hotel, then hit the streets for some sightseeing. As you know the Fashion in CPH is incredible and Jose wasn’t about to leave empty handed. So we went shopping. Jose scored some pretty great stuff at Norse project. (a CPH fashion brand that you can also find in NYC at Opening Ceremony) After shopping we stopped for a warm coffee at Coffee Collective (CPH’s blue bottle equivalent) The coffee place was very nicely designed, the coffee delicious, they were even playing little dragon, one of my favorite Scandinavian bands.
Later that day I had wanted to go see my boss, Jared, who just happened to be in CPH give a lecture at CCIS on interactive design and the story behind Pocode (a new programming language he designed) but sadly it conflicted with our reservation at geranium. We went back to the hotel, took a siesta to rest and then got ready for the big meal.
We read a lot about this place in advanced. The head chef, Rasmus Kofoed… Recently (2011) won the Bocuse d’Or …. So naturally we were expecting nothing but the best. The restaurant is the epitome of modern luxury and high end design. This is pretty apparent at the entrance of the building where your way is dramatically lit by gas fired torches. We were promptly greeted at the door than escorted to a cocktail table where we were told that we will be trying some snacks before being seated at the table. The snacks were fantastic and much more creative than anything we have tried so far (this statement was made before going to Noma)
Snacks consisted of potato chips and seaweed, carrot and seabuckethorn, sea salt cheese and rams on, apple and celeriac, bark and Algiers, mushrooms, razor clams placed in a edible shell, and Jerusalem artichoke tree & walnut oil. Most all of these bites were simple yet surprising in one way or another. It was clear at this point that this was a Noma inspired operation.
Snacks Potato Chips & Seaweed
These chips were so wonderful! salty, crunchy goodness!
Snacks Carrot & Seabuckthorn
Snacks Seasalt cheese & Ramson
Snacks apple and celeriac
Snacks Bark & Algiers
The presentation of all these small snacks where creative and unlike anything we have seen in NYC. The plating really elevated our concept of what food can be…a piece of art.
Snacks Razor clams
Snacks Jerusalem Artichoke”Tree” & Walnut Oil
Once we finished our snacks we were escorted to our lovely large corner table where we then decided to take part in the ultimate tasting menu with wine pairing.
Main Dish King Crab & Salted cheese
It seemed like every dish at Geranium had a little element of surprise bit into the design. This one was the cream cheese-crab like filling. Oh so creamy.
Main Dish Tomato Juice & Jellied Ham
Main Dish Scallops Sour elderberries, verbena & buttermilk
Main Dish Potato Soup Lovage and Parsley
Main Dish Hake Horseradish Juice & herbs stems
Main Dish Dynamic Onions & Melted Hay cheese
This restaurants is know by their bio dynamic food. This is the next level of organic food. It tries to leverage the nature movements to get the best out of the products with minimun energy. ie: ties, moon cycles, seasons…
This dish tires to leverage one of the well known biodynamic field preparations, for stimulating humus formation: 500: (horn-manure) a humus mixture prepared by filling the horn of a cow with cow manure and burying it in the ground (40–60 cm below the surface) in the autumn. It is left to decompose during the winter and recovered for use the following spring.
Main Dish Winter Cabbage Elements from the sea
These oysters reminded me of the ones we pick up at glidden point. They are enormous. In fact I was surprised how similar Scandinavia and Maine are in terms of their agriculture and ocean’s bounty. Some how all of these dishes felt slightly homey.
Main Dish Lobster Juniper Berry & Jerusalem Artichokes
I have never tried a lobster dish like this. Gutsy combo of flavors… sadly I would not say that this was my favorite dish of the night.
The chef and co-owner, Rasmus Kofoed. Winner of the the Bocuse D’or in 2011.
Before coming to Denmark Jose and I have been lovers of red wines (This mostly has to do with Jose’s Spanish roots), but after this trip I’m not sure if that is still true. Denmark exposed us to the lightness and beauty of whites. We loved this wine above so much so the we found a place to buy it online. Can’t wait to open up a bottle and share it with our friends.
Main Dish The herbgarden. Cured lamb broth
Main Dish Salted Pork & Jerusalem artichokes
Add on Danish local cheese plates
The Danish Cheese’s are ridiculously good. You can taste the hay that the cow’s feed on. It is an earthy creaminess. I fell in love. If only we could find a place in NYC to buy these cheeses…Anyone know of a place?
Chervil & White Chocolate
One of the best dessert I’ve ever tried, cucumber, persil, cucumber, white chocolate, chervil. Crazy combination…but it really worked!
Pear in Elderberrie Juice Frozen Sheep milk Yoghurt
Biodynamic Buttermilk and white wine
This was one impressive combination. At the end of the dinner biodynamic milk is served. If you drink the milk after the sweet wine, the combination is like a great sweet milky dessert.
2009 Riesling Auslese Von Der Lay Rita & Rudolf Trossen Mosel
Milk in mysterious way
This was a playful dish. Each combo resulted a new flavor combination.
Coffee in the Snack area
Overall the food was at that point in time the best we have ever had no competition! We were worried that this set the bar so high that even Noma wouldn’t beat it…
The dinner was far from affordable. The $1500 bill was by clearly our most expensive meal ever…I hope to forever keep it that way!!
Post of day two (Noma) coming soon…Geranium 2
Per Henrik Lings Allé 4