A very brief tour of Reykjavik

Seeing that I spent so much time outside of Reyjavik, I really only spent a handful of hours here and there in this city. The best experience I had here was eating all the different kinds of stereotypical Icelandic food! On my first night staying in Reykjavkik, I had the “Icelandic Gourmet Feast” at Tapas Barinn. The name of that sounds totally like something like you would see from a tourist trap kind of place (I highly doubt locals eat this stuff on the regular), but everything was really good and I still recommend it even after going!

Smoked puffin with blueberry “brennivín” sauce
Lobster tails baked in garlic
Icelandic arctic char with candy beets salad, asparagus and elderflower-hollandaise
Pan-fried blue ling with lobster sauce
Grilled Icelandic lamb tenderloin with beer-butterscotch sauce
Minke Whale with sweet potato mash and malt sauce
This was a lamb dish that I don’t remember what it was because it was on the house!
White chocolate “Skyr” mousse with passion coulis

I was totally sold on this meal even before I went to Iceland. The part of this meal that I was most excited for was the puffin and the minke whale! I had never eaten them before! Puffin is supposed to have a bit of a fishy taste to it, but since it was smoked, that taste wasn’t very strong. It doesn’t really have a distinct flavour and was a bit chewy. It tastes a bit like minke whale, and minke whale tastes like really chewy red meat – without the strong flavours like beef, and not that fishy. The lobster tails were also amazing. I didn’t even know lobsters can be this tiny, or maybe it was a crayfish that was lost in translation?

Oh and it’s true what people say about Iceland being really windy. I was told to open a car door slowly and to hold on tight as I open it to prevent the damage to the car door from swinging wide open from the wind.

Another place I went was Cafe Loki, just outside the Hallgrimskirkja. Everything tastes like what you’d expect, EXCEPT the thing in the middle. That is Hákarl, whcih is fermetted shark meat. Some people say it’s rotten shark.

This isn’t shark fin like what Chinese people like to eat, but this is actual shark meat. It’s a bit chewy and has a slightly sour flavour to it. Would not eat again.

After the meal, I checked out the Hallgrimskirkja. It’s a church, but the architecture on the outside is quite unique! It isn’t like the old baroque/gothic/etc style churches in a lot of parts of Europe.

I got to try some craft beers as well. They were pretty good – not better or worse than the craft beers I’m used to drinking. I do live in Seattle, so that might speak highly of Icelandic craft beers!

Clockwise from top left: 1) Viking lager; 2) Viking Rokkr; 3) Viking Red IPA; 4) Viking Stout; 5) Einstök White Ale; 6) Einstök Arctic Pale Ale

As a little bonus, I saw a guy get his ass kicked at the bar. Story was that the guy who got his ass kicked was being creepy towards some women and was asked to leave, but instead attacked the employee who happened to train in MMA…

That concludes my trip to Iceland! Photos here.

Road Trip to Seattle and Portland

Since I have a friend living down in Seattle, our group of friends tends to visit him quite a bit down there.  Every time we go down there, we do something different.  This time, we all traveled together down to Portland for the BC Day long weekend.  But first, we celebrated two birthdays and spent the Friday night in Seattle drinking and playing Goat Simulator. The next day, we drove down to Portland and went on a Segway tour around town. We started off with a quick 5-minute tutorial and some hands-on training and off we went! Who knew riding a Segway would be so fun!

Along the way, we passed by some iconic Portland scenery, such one of the many bridges in the city.

As an engineer, naturally I found this LEED Platinum certified building to be quite interesting. Despite having an entire roof filled with solar panels, it only provides 3% of the building’s electrical energy.

Our tour guide said that many people in Portland take part in what’s known as a “Zoobomb”, where one takes a bike (usually a children’s bike) and rides as fast as he/she can down a hill. This pile of children’s bicycles represents this popular activity.

And of course, the popular phrase…

Of course, when in Portland, I had to try some local brews. As always, I like the wheat beers best, and not the IPA’s, amber ales, or anything else.

Link to more photos: here

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