28 November 2005

The meat table

Saturday was my company Jólahlaðborð, which technically translates as “Christmas buffet” but I discovered it really means “50 kinds of meat”. It was at Perlan, Reykjavík’s answer to the Top of the Hub with panoramic views of the whole city in all directions. Reykjavík is so short that it doesn't need to be 52 floors high, so we were able to see all the way to Keflavík, and if there had been towns any further away we could have seen those too. This place even does it one better than the Hub with a rotating component, which moved just fast enough to be illness-inducing if you tried to look at one spot for very long (or maybe it was all that meat).

The menu was divided into appetizer meat and main course meat choices, and I tried to sample some of everything. Here’s some of the more unusual appetizers I tried:

Smoked puffin: strange color, tastes like fish with the texture of chicken.
Reindeer pate: another strange color, but tasted like juniper berries. Quite good.
Thinly sliced beef tongue: this one was thrown down on the table in a challenge from co-worker P, who said he’d grown up on the stuff but his mother made it better. It wasn’t much of a flavor, but the texture was creepy.
Smoked goose: kind of like a less flavorful version of proscuitto.
Herring in spicy sauce: Not something I plan to have in the fridge on a daily basis, but I’d eat it again.
Caviar: my first time having caviar that wasn’t on sushi. This time it was with the blini, the minced onion, and the sour cream. Tasty enough but I’m not sure what the big hype is all about.

On to the main meat course:

Deer steak: I think this is what it was... at any rate, quite good and tender.
Reindeer meatballs: very rich, again with the juniper flavor, and bathed in mushroom sauce. Tasty but only edible in small amounts.
Hamborgarhryggur: this is pretty much your standard Christmas ham with a dressed-up name. Worth eating lots and lots.
Hangkjöt: smokier than the Krónan variety, but a known flavor by now.

The extras for the meal were also good, like the laufabrauð, a Christmas tradition that tastes like a good fried tortilla. There was also a whole table of extra things to sprinkle and dribble on other food, like toasted onions (I LOVE these), marinated fruit, pecans in syrup, jam, and tandoori sauce. There was also tandoori chicken, which I guess was for the people that got sick of all that other meat and needed chicken too.

Tthere were also some well-cooked vegetable selections, mostly in the cabbage/carrot/potato theme, and a few things called “salad” which meant mayonnaise on something (apples or seafood). There were plenty of other fish and meat options if you felt something was missing from the first list, like both graflax and smoked salmon, two other flavors of herring, turkey cooked two ways, duck paté, and some other kind of slicing meat. If you still had space at the end of all this meat-eating, there was an equally layered table of desserts, with ice cream, bonbons, tarts, cakes, pudding, and an enormous bowl of whipped cream. Made me glad I had intentionally worn something formfitting so I couldn’t overeat. One guy had consumed so much he was swaying drunkenly by the end of the meal.

Ship sighting: Was down at the Eimskip docks on Friday, where I got to see Brúarfoss loading up, and the machines that pick up entire shipping crates (able to contain two large vehicles plus) and wheel them around the docks suspended 15 feet in the air. It’s nerve-wracking to watch one of those sway by over the car, even if it was empty.

1 comment:

The Prima said...

Top of the hub... it rotates doesn't it?

Smoked Puffin?!?!!? hello! cutest animal ever! I guess i would have had it too if it was already dead
and cooked. Why waste a good appetizer?

Beef tongue... I had this every sunday growing up, but made in a crock pot, whole. :-)

Smoked goose... sounds awesome

The main dinner sounds enjoyably unique.