Day 1 in Iceland: Off to a delicious start

As soon as I started doing travel research on Iceland, I knew I would like the place. Chilly weather, otherworldly natural beauty, freakin’ PUFFINS?! Are you kidding me?  Sign me UP.

Love at first bite: Smoked trout on rye

And on the first day there, when I stopped at  Cafe Loki for my first bite to eat while exploring Reykjavik, I knew I would love Iceland. I knew the second I took a bite out of the simple-but-oh-so-delicious rye bread with butter, smoked trout and cottage cheese. I mean, really, how can something so easy be SO good? It must’ve been all the perfect ingredients: the rye bread, dense and slightly moist, the butter thick and creamy, the smoked trout—oh that perfect smoked trout!— so fresh and clean tasting, and then the sweet, cool cottage cheese lopped on top. I could eat this every day for breakfast and never tire, and I’m sure I could have it as a snack on top of that, too.

It was early in the morning and cold outside and this simple toast just set the tone for the rest of my day and the rest of my time in Iceland. Let me tell you, it was a damn good six days.

Brunching alla Swiss

With cheese and chocolate as some of its most recognizable foods (albeit, each one a broad umbrella group), it should come as no surprise that Switzerland would hold a special place in my heart/stomach. Of the different coutnries I’ve been to, it’s always been one of my favorites.  Lots of natural beauty (nothing like a mountain to blow a Florida girl’s mind), awesome cows (yea, I know, random, but they really were the prettiest cows ever) and again, the food.

So when my friend Holly, who was recently visiting from out of town, suggested a Swiss brasserie in Chelsea that her boyfriend recommended from having been there before, I was all for it. (And sidenote, friends that make food recommendations you can count on being good? Golden!)

I liked Trestle on Tenth pretty much from the get-go. Outside, the weather was rainy, cold and crappy, but inside the restaurant was cozy and warm, and when Holly mentioned that the sticky buns were specifically recommended via the BF who wasn’t there with us, I knew it didn’t matter what was going on outside because I was about to be exactly where I needed to be: in front of great food, with great company.

It might be a scientific fact  that sticky buns improve rainy days

First to come out were the aforementioned sticky buns. They’re not usually one of my favorite baked goods because the sticky factor kind of bothers me, but these weren’t too messy or over-the-top sweet. Fat and doughy, these buns mostly kept the sticky part on the inside, with a dark, molasses-like interior  swirl and a drizzle of icing on top.

The Bure Rösti looks unassuming from the outside, but don’t let it fool you…

BAM! Deliciousness inside!

One of the things I went crazy for when in Switzerland was rösti, a traditional breakfast dish basically comprised of grated hash browns topped with other breakfasty things like eggs, sausage or bacon, so when I saw Bure Rösti on the menu, it was a no brainer.  In the past, rosti had always been sort of just a heap of goodness on my plate, a pile up of different breakfasts classics, but the rosti at Trestle was neat and composed. When it first came out, it was perfectly circular with the fried eggs hiding everything neatly underneath, but when I gently lifted the eggs (so as to not burst the yolk, duh), there was delicious mess of sausage and gooey, melted cheese, all on a bed of bacon-onion potato hash (aka rosti).

Pizokel… Swiss for cheesey mountain of awesomeness

Finally, Holly and I split a plate of the gratinéed pizokel, which also came highly recommended. If you’re wondering what pizokel is, you should know that I had no idea what it was either, but I was sold when I read that it had caramelized onions and gruyère. What more did I really need to know? It turned out to be just as good as I had hoped, with pizokel being doughy, wormy shaped dumpling-like twists, all under a thick blanket of thick, golden gruyere and sweet caramelized onions. After everything else we’d eaten, the pizokel were too much for us and I ended up eating just a couple of bites and taking the rest home. But even hours later, when I ate it cold and straight out of the take out box it was in, the pizokel were delicious.

The whole thing made me want to book a ticket to Switzerland, where I could sit in a cozy Swiss chalet eating my weight in cheese, chocolate and rosti… until I resembled one of those big, beautiful cows of theirs.

Trestle on Tenth on Urbanspoon

October obsessions

There is no candy or sweet more divisive than candy corn. You either absolutely love it or you absolutely hate it, not much grey area in between. Me? Well, I fall squarely on the love it side and can eat candy corn by the handfulls, literally until my teeth ache, and even then I push through because I just can’t ever get enough. I love it. I’m obsessed. You don’t like it? Good, give me yours. (That was my childhood mentality come trick-or-treating time.)

I was at a drugstore recently, marveling at all of the Halloween candy on sale (candy corn included, obviously), when I saw something that made me actually gasp: white chocolate candy corn M&M’s. Whaaaat?! That’s THREE things I love in ONE candy!

Candy Corn White Chocolate M&Ms

I snatched up a bag and tore it open as I walked down the sidewalk. No more than halfway down the block, the M&M’s were gone. They weren’t so much like candy corn (except for their orange, yellow and white candy coats) but sweet, 25-pound great pumpkin, Charlie Brown they were delicious! Totally addictive! Candy coating on the outside, tooth-achingly sweet white chocolate on the inside, total taste bud party in my mouth.

By the looks of it, and based on the fact that we’re not even halfway through October, my dentist is gonna think she won the lottery when I inevitably have to see her in November. Left to my own devices, I’ll be eating these until my whole skull hurts.

Let them eat cake! And by them I mean ME

Happy birthday to me!

So yea, today’s my birthday. And while I’ve kinda been dragging my heels about the whole thing in the weeks leading up to it, my friends really turned that around on Friday when they threw me the best surprise birthday party EVER. Seriously, if you think you’ve had a good surprise party, mine was better.

There were friends from different groups and different cities even, there were oh so many drinks (Too many drinks perhaps. No scratch that, I didn’t mean it. There’s no such thing as too many drinks), there were mini sombreros, and to really just make my life complete, there was cake. Ice cream cake from Carvel. Ice cream cake which I had been apparently talking about incessantly to anyone who would listen. Ice cream cake which had to be packed in a cooler of dry ice to make the trip from the store to the bar without becoming a melted mess.

Really, it makes my heart swell with happiness just thinking about it. It being the amazing group of friends I have and love so very much. But also that ice cream cake. Because I will never be too old to want ice cream cake on my birthday (or any day really).

Here’s to another year of good times, good people and good food.