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Kaffi Klassik, Reykjavik

Klassik Crepe from Kaffi Klassik

Klassik Crepe from Kaffi Klassik

Twice I’ve been to Reykjavik, and twice I’ve been to the Kringlan mall – the largest shopping mall in Rekyjavik with over 150 shops and services. Twice too I’ve been to Kaffi Klassik as well – the second time I made a point of going again to get one of their crepes for my lunch, remembering how interesting and tasty it is!

Kaffi Klassik menu

Kaffi Klassik menu

English-speaking visitors don’t have to worry too much about the tongue-twisting Icelandic language, although they are very proud of their language and it’s displayed prominently, (and they have many laws in place to protect it), pretty much everywhere is also comfortable communicating efficiently in English. The menus are in both English and Icelandic – which is good.. because while some of the Icelandic words “feel” familiar… there are some which aren’t Iceland-ified loan-words, and they’re completely foreign!

Kaffi Klassik menu close-up

Kaffi Klassik menu close-up

There are a few interesting diversions though… like “paprika” doesn’t mean the spice the way you’d anticipate – it means bell pepper apparently… (This was also similar in Finnish…) I got the Klassik Crepe with ham, rice, leek, bell pepper, cheese and mustard sauce the first time I visited (and the second too!) while my companion opted for the quiche which she thought was less unusual and more agreeable to her palate at the time we visited.

Licorice meringue cookie from Kaffi Klassik

Licorice meringue cookie from Kaffi Klassik

We also had to have one of the licorice flavoured meringues… I don’t really like meringue – but I’ll suck it up for pretty much ANYTHING licorice-flavoured. (As expected, it was chewy and SO yummy!)

Quiche from Kaffi Klassik

Quiche from Kaffi Klassik

Crepe from Kaffi Klassik before digging in...

Crepe from Kaffi Klassik before digging in…

I don’t usually see these savory crepes here in Calgary – I’m seeing them more now – but do you know any place that you’d recommend here at home?

Reykjavik shoreline

Reykjavik shoreline

I’ll close with a photo of the shoreline looking across a bay to downtown Reykjavik. One thing I really love about Iceland is the diversity. Volcanos, deserted alien landscapes, black sand beaches, lush green hillsides, rocky shores, open meadows… it’s all there – and all within a few hours drive or less. The only thing you won’t find is a thick forest! LOL

My Icelandic friend Guðmundur told me a joke… “What do you do if you get lost in an Icelandic forest?” My reply (and a close-enough response to the joke) “sit up”. 😀

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2017 in Out of town - Europe

 

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Grocery dinners in Reykjavik

 

Pretty nice looking for microwave dinners...

Pretty nice looking for microwave dinners…

 

For the last few days of my trip to Iceland, my travel companion and I stayed at the Galtafell Guesthouse. The Guesthouse itself was full, so we were accommodated in one of their off-site apartments. This was both a benefit and a disappointment for different reasons, but one of the benefits was having a full kitchen, so we could pick up a few groceries and make a few modest meals “at home” to save a few Kroner for dinner and snacks.

Frozen dinners from the Bonus supermarket

Frozen dinners from the Bonus supermarket

One of our meals were “TV Dinners” which we heated up in our apartment’s microwave. We had to guess based on the illustrations on the back about cooking instructions, and still the food didn’t heat up as much as we had hoped – maybe the microwave wasn’t powerful enough?

Either way we split both of the meals; fish cakes, carrots, broccoli, green beans,  potatoes two ways, and meatballs. Not really a glamourous meal like some of our other meals at the lovely hotels we stayed at – but still a good enough meal after long walks around the city centre!

The location of the apartment was on the other side of “the pond” from the guesthouse we had thought we’d be staying in, and was a second-floor walk-up. It was a bit of a pain to have to haul our suitcases (and groceries, and shopping!) up the stairs, as they were narrow, steep, and the railing wiggled – but the apartment itself was very nice – with a large dining room, huge living room (which unfortunately we didn’t use since the TV only seemed to have one channel, and the couches were damp from being deeply cleaned for the entire time we were there!), and a good-sized eat-in kitchen. There was a large master bedroom (which we flipped a coin for, and I won!) and a small second bedroom with two single beds.  The master bedroom had a nice large closet, though the second bedroom didn’t really have a closet, as it was being used to store things. The only real disappointment of the apartment was the bathroom – it was uncomfortably small, with a shower that we needed to squeeze in and out of, without any place to rest shampoo, conditioner, or soap.

Tasty soup!

Tasty soup!

 

Time to bring out Google Translate!

Time to bring out Google Translate!

Another evening we had packaged soup for dinner instead – made from a mix we picked up at the grocery store, it was easy to make on the stovetop… even without reading the instructions in Icelandic!

This one was Italian Minestrone, but we also picked up another mix… and brought it home with us. We haven’t tried that one yet!  This one was really good though, and after another rainy summer day in Iceland, very welcome!

Other than just having a kitchen to make our meals, our stay at the Guesthouse (or rather, the apartment) also came with a nice breakfast every morning. Our host picked us up at a designated time (determined the morning before) and would drive us back to the guesthouse for bread, cucumber, tomato, cheese, deli meat, coffee/tea, juice, cereal, yoghurt, and a strudel sweet each morning, and from there we’d make our day starting from the guesthouse as we would have if we had stayed right at the guesthouse itself.

Having breakfast at the guesthouse also meant we could chat with the resident cat (who I really liked, missing my dog back home) and with the other guests, some of whom visited from Germany and the UK. The guesthouse is a historical house, and a former home of a well-known Icelandic artist, Guðmundur Thorsteinsson – Muggur. The house was built in 1916, and has tall ceilings in some rooms like the front foyer and sitting room, with lots of natural light pouring in from the windows above. The house was also owned by Bjarni Jonsson (Bíó Bjarni) who opened one of Reykjavik’s first cinemas, and who was also the brother of another famous Icelandic artist, sculptor Einar Jónsson.

Oh, and having Wifi, and a washing machine at our apartment was good too!

Minestrone soup mix

Minestrone soup mix

I’ll leave you with another lovely photo from the shoreline at Reykjavik… looking across a field to a home, to the mountains beyond…

Mountains across the water from the Reykjavik shoreline

Mountains across the water from the Reykjavik shoreline

Guesthouse Galtafell
Laufásvegur, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
+354 699 2525

http://www.galtafell.com/

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2014 in Out of town - Europe

 

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Café Babalú, Reykjavik

Café Babalú menu board

Café Babalú menu board

Next up on the culinary trip of Iceland, I’m going to take you to Café Babalú which we stumbled upon after visiting Hallgrímskirkja.

Hallgrímskirkja is a Lutheran parish church in Reykjavik, and at 73 meters, it’s the largest church in Iceland, and since it’s also built on a hill, it’s also visible from seemingly everywhere in the city. The church is named after the Icelandic poet and clergyman Hallgrímur Pétursson, and was commissioned in 1937. State Architect Guðjón Samúelsson is said to have designed the church to resemble basalt lava flows in Iceland, and it took 38 years to complete!

A number of streets go up and down the hill to the church, and along Skólavörðustígur, we found Café Babalú while leaving the church with sore feet to head back to our hotel. The interior is eclectic and varied, and from the accent of the gentleman behind the counter who appeared to be the owner or manager, I’m pretty sure the person running the show is an American living in Iceland.

Ham and cheese crepe at Café Babalú

Ham and cheese crepe at Café Babalú

I had the ham & cheese crepe, while my companion had the spinach & cheese crepe (below). The menu wasn’t especially diverse or large, but there were enough little things on there that we had some choice. Honestly our tired feet played more of a role in choosing to have some lunch than our desire for culinary experiences. Soup, chili, lasagna, paninis, and savory crepes filled the food menu, cheesecake, carrot cake, chocolate cake, sweet crepes and apple crumble were on the dessert menu. Of course a standard fare of coffee drinks completed the menu, though we both opted for a glass of water instead.

The crepes were accompanied by a bit of salad with (Ranch?) dressing. Served warm, these were really quite delicious… I liked my ham & cheese better, but had a bite of my companion’s dish as well (of course!).  So see.. it’s not ALL fermented shark and thunderbread!

Spinach & cheese crepe at Café Babalú

Spinach & cheese crepe at Café Babalú

For dessert, we split a slice of carrot cake. It didn’t have the typical cream cheese icing we’re used to, and we both found the cake lacking in flavour and moisture compared to what we’re accustomed to. Of course, there was a lovely dollop of whipped unsweetened cream, which I came to adore at every opportunity during our trip to Iceland. It’s served with a lot of desserts, and it’s delicious!

Carrot cake from Café Babalú

Carrot cake from Café Babalú

I’ll leave you with another beautiful photo from Reykjavik – not too far from the cafe along the shoreline.
Could you imagine sights like these right in the city of Calgary?

Mountains across the water from the Reykjavik shoreline

Mountains across the water from the Reykjavik shoreline

Café Babalú
Skólavörðustígur 22, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
+354 555 8845

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2014 in Out of town - Europe

 

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Cafe Flora, Reykjavik

Gravlax in Cafe Flora

Gravlax in Cafe Flora

My travel companion and I arrived in Iceland just shortly before we were set to start a tour of the island, and we started off at the Hilton, located in Laugardalur district, not far from the Reykjavik Botanical Gardens, Zoo, and National Stadium. After sleeping most of the day (we were awake over 24 hours!) we got up in the afternoon and wandered down to the gardens. I don’t have many photos to share of the gardens themselves, as I didn’t find them especially beautiful – but I did find Cafe Flora beautiful!

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2014 in Out of town - Europe

 

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Happy Sushi Bellies… in Iceland?

That’s right – Happy Sushi Belly is heading to Iceland! (Or rather, one-half of the Happy Sushi Belly team, Dawn, is heading to Iceland)

This means a few things.. of course it means that I might not have as many updates and posts for Happy Sushi Belly while I’m away, but it also means that when I return I hope to have lots of delicious things to share with you!

Iceland as a destination

Iceland seems to be a destination with growing popularity – possibly due in part to direct flights from several Canadian cities (Toronto, Halifax, Edmonton and Vancouver right now.. hopefully with more coming soon through Iceland Air) and it’s also a popular stop-over location with connections to many major European destinations. I know a few people who have taken a 2 or 3 day stopover in Iceland before heading on to other European destinations.

For film buffs, Iceland has also stood in for a number of locations for films like Beowulf & Grendel, Batman Begins, James Bond: Die Another Day, James Bond: A View to Kill, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Noah, Prometheus, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Thor: The Dark World, Star Trek: Into Darkness, Star Wars Episode VII, and many more. (Check out this short list with video clips on the Iceland Travel Guide)

Even better, everything that happens “north of the wall” is filmed in Iceland for the tv series Game of Thrones. (No, I won’t be looking for Jon Snow during my trip…. he doesn’t know nothing.. about sushi. 😉 )

Iceland sushi

Since seafood is a huge part of the island’s economy, of course I had to look up to see what the best sushi is in Iceland! I’ll be spending a number of days in the capital Reykjavik, but also some time in Akureyri, and other towns.  I checked out I ❤ Reykjavik, and her top three sushi places in the capital, and am pretty convinced that Fiskfélagið / The Fish Company should be top on my must-visit list too! (As long as I can convince my travel companion to come for some tasty fish! Like Auður’s boyfriend, my travel companion would probably prefer one of the famous Iceland hot dogs from Bæjarins Beztu instead.)

Wanderlust

Of course, this isn’t the first time I’ve traveled and shared some of my travel-treats with the readers of Happy Sushi Belly, check out some of my other travels:

I also have a few other travel plans, as does Connie for the rest of this year… so hopefully we’ll have lots to share with you!

Recommendations

If you’ve traveled to Iceland (or if you live there!) what sights would you recommend checking out, and what dishes should we try while there? Let us know in the comments below!

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2014 in Out of town - Europe, Sushi

 

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