Copenhagen, Part One - Having previously traveled to Spain, France and Germany, I had a good sense of what to expect. But Scandanavia posed a big, exciting question mark for me. All I could picture were towering blondes, frigid temperatures and lots of fish. That wasn't quite true, at least not in idyllic Copenhagen. Instead, I found a city that blended the urban and the pastoral, the stunning with the quaint. For a capital city, it felt surprisingly accessible and humble, offering pretty views of the water and landscape without overselling itself. And best of all, it was seventy degrees the entire time we were there. In a weird way, with its charming restaurants and shops, it even reminded me of coastal Maine.
After taking in the vistas, it was time for a visit to Copenhagen's pride and joy, the Carlsberg Brewery. Carlsberg's beers were nearly as ubiquitously consumed in Denmark as Pilsner Urquell is in the Czech Republic, and its green-and-white logo proudly adorned every restaurant awning and napkin dispenser in sight. I'd tried Carlsberg ("Probably the best beer in the world") before but didn't realize what a big deal it was to the Danish. Then, after getting a thorough education on everything from brewing, bottling, marketing and scientific innovations, Vince and I got two laminated tickets to taste the product at the end. Not only could we choose from the Carlsberg varieties, but their other storied brands, Tuborg and Jacobsen, as well. I started with the Jacobsen chocolate stout, which had dark and wonderful undertones, tasting all the better as I considered the immense process it required to reach my glass. Then I cleansed the palate with their wheat beer, a delightfully white, light contrast quite similar to Hoegaarden.
After the tour, we walked around the downtown area some more, looking for a place to eat dinner. (We'd had an included breakfast at the hostel in Hamburg, but I won't bore you with the tales of cereal and fruit cocktail.) Because it used the krone rather than the euro, Copenhagen proved to be more expensive than any of the other places we'd been so far. Thus, we had to restrict ourselves to searching supermarkets and very cheap eateries. Eventually, we settled on a place called Toppoli Pizzeria, a few streets away from our hostel. The idea of eating Scandanavian pizza seemed interesting enough, and both of us really missed the good old days of DiFara (see May 22, Jan. 1) and Denino's (see May 22). Of course, the menu was in Danish, which meant a cavalcade of v's, o's with slashes through them and j's somehow following h's. We were able to decode enough of it to clumsily order a Pizza al Mare which came with tiny shrimp, spinach, mushrooms and ham. It was surprisingly not bad, although it was also nothing special. Still, for a day that would be otherwise boring-- eating pizza and drinking beer-- we made it quite memorable.
From New York to Costa Rica to Europe to California: 365 Days of Dining Out
- Name: Lonesome Hero
Wednesday, November 23, 2005