Iceland trip report 2022

Back in Iceland…

Friday (17 June; incidentally, Icelandic National Day, when they won independence from Denmark)
We didn’t experience the crazed crowds associated with European flights as published in the NY Times a few days before our flight. We got there 3 hours early and breezed through. Forgettable pre-flight meal at Legal Seafood, which has become even more expensive than ever (they guys split a salad topped with salmon, I had a cup of chowder). Logan’s Terminal E continues to be an embarrassment, food-wise.

Saturday (18 June)
As is our custom, arrive around 4:30 am and pass out in the hotel until ~ 1 pm. It’s a glorious day in Reykjavik - nary a cloud in the sky, full-on sun. Breezy but 50F-ish. We venture out for the first of many hot dogs for the guys (at Víkinga Pylsur, close to the main church).

IMG_2199 - Copy

We check out Nordic House, which is beautiful. There is an interesting vegan restaurant inside, SÓNÓ. It’s a bit too sit-down nice-ish for us at that awkward hour (4 pm) but I take note for a future visit.

We head to West Town, which amazingly we’ve never checked out before. The guys hit the West Town pool. I pass on the pool today - I need to do some menu planning for the days ahead, when our friends join us (2 adults + 4 kids) so I walk across the street to Kaffihús Vesturbæjar, a cozy rustic coffeeshop/restaurant which is filled with locals on their pleasant patio. I nurse a glass of rose and figure out how and what the heck to cook for 9 people, wanting to give my friends a break from their everyday lives. I pop into a grocery store, which is well-stocked but I’m not quite ready to do a big shop yet. My friends’ kids love pesto and they worried about getting pesto here and were considering bringing pesto in their checked luggage, which to me sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. I took this photo to send to them (they’re still home in MA).

IMG_2204 - Copy

We decide on a pizza dinner at Raðagerði Veitingahús - some of the best pizza we’ve had in Iceland. Neapolitan-style, flavorful chewy crust (not charred as we’re accustomed to seeing but that’s ok by us) - margherita, potato pizza, warm olives, wine and beer. Mostly locals, as far as we could tell. Located on the coast with wonderful views.

IMG_2205 - Copy

IMG_2206 - Copy

IMG_2207 - Copy

We check out today (Sunday) and head south, in the direction of Vestmannaeyjar (the Westman Islands). We’ll spend 2 days there before meeting our friends out on Heimaey.

13 Likes

Thank you for posting. Love the photo of Spring Onion.

I’ll be over here, waiting to devour any further installments of your trip report. Enjoy your adventure!

3 Likes

Thanks for your post! Hope you have a wonderful trip with all kinds of great scenery and adventures of the best possible kind! We will be eagerly awaiting updates…

2 Likes

Thanks for posting! My friend and I are headed to Iceland next month so I’m looking forward to continuing to read your report!

1 Like

Thanks for sharing your trip with us. I love your Iceland reports!

2 Likes

Sunday (19 June)
Not much to report and no photos, but for continuity, I will post. We checked out after our simple hotel breakfast. A typical Icelandic summer day, cloudy, rainy, but not cold, so that’s good. A visit to the Icelandic National Museum was followed by another hot dog at Vikinga for Spring Onion and then we went to the Asian/Vietnamese market in conjunction with outlet shopping for Spring Onion at Icewear and 66North (basically the North Face of Iceland). As expected, the Asian market was expensive but there was a decent selection, particularly of Asian greens. I held back, not knowing what to expect in the coming days and not wanting to have to chuck things we can’t take in our carry-ons (we never check our bags). But I got some staples in the smallest sizes possible (soy sauce, chili crisp, tofu, a pouch of MSG [yes!], rice noodles). Lunch was across the way at Mandi. Falafel wrap (mine) and fish shawarma (B’s choice, which I was a bit doubtful about but he scarfed it down without offering me a bite). Both ordered spicy and both hit the spot (but like many things we’ve eaten in Iceland) not exemplar. Instead of proper pita, they were wrapped up in a tortilla-like bread, but nicely griddled. And as almost uniformly in Iceland, they take their time and care into their food prep (if close readers of my previous Iceland reports will recall, even the Subway workers here made a sandwich with a lot of attention).

Grocery stops at Kronan and Bonus in Selfoss and now we are at our tiny cottage. Dinner prep was a challenge in our “kitchen,” but I made a random mess of pesto/tomato/chickpea/onion/soy crumbles over linguine. Tasted better than it looked (it became almost curry-like but without any vibrant colors). Cheap box wine (well, cheap by Iceland standards) made everything a-ok.

Apologies to @ieatalotoficecream if you are expecting haute cuisine. Please look at my prior Iceland posts to set your expectations (the bar is low, my friend). :laughing:

Two nights at our miniscule cottage and then we head to the Westman Islands.

6 Likes

Whatever your adventures are, I’m here for it! We are based out of Reykjavik for only four nights and we have nicer restaurants booked for two of the nights. The other lunches and dinners in town will be casual. Doing two day long excursions with appealing lunches built in… Golden circle and Snaefellsnes.

1 Like

Monday [20 June]
No food-related dispatches. We ate my doctored-up leftovers for both lunch and dinner. Added additional Frank’s hot sauce, more beans, more veggie crumbles. It was surprisingly good.

Tuesday [21 June] Happy Summer Solstice!
Checked out of our cottage and took a late morning ferry to Vestmannaeyjar. We couldn’t check in yet so we poked around the bookshop while a soft rain fell. Tanginn for lunch for their generous salad/soup bar (still a steal at $15/person). B skipped the excellent soups (a umami-full mushroom and a Thai-style chicken soup). Instead, he went to town on their burrito/taco bar and copious amounts of salad (remember, that man loves his salad and produce is not always the best in the grocery stores so we tend to skip the salads here). The compound butters are as good as we remember them…we both particularly loved the mushroom one. I don’t think the bread is house-made but it is good and grainy. Spring Onion went with a gas station hot dog, followed by an ice cream. And then, voila, we were granted an early check-in. Our house is absolutely beautiful and a splurge. Giant kitchen, which I will take photos of later.

Of course, no trip to Vestmannaeyjar would be complete without a visit (or 2 or 3) to Brothers Brewery and Icelandic Monopoly. We brought down Spring Onion’s dinner with us (pasta with veggie sauce) and no one blinks an eye when we walk in with his dinner. We each had a couple of IPAs (I’ll look later for the name…although I’m officially calling it the “mind eraser” lol). They now have free deliciously salty popcorn. Spring Onion was ALL over that. Late dinner picking on stuff at home and awaiting our friends’ midnight arrival.

Wed [22 June]
Everyone slept in. In the meantime, I walked to Vigtin bakhús and brought pastries and sourdough bread back. Took our friends to the Eldheimar Museum and by the time we finished, it was lunchtime. Their baby needed to nap (if only we could!), kids were getting hungry…gas station hot dogs for everyone (except me). Sun is out so while I’m getting some work/HO dispatches done and the baby sleeps, the “men folk” take all the other kids out to burn off some energy. The house has a grill so I think we will get salmon to grill and cod for the kids. Our friends are really good cooks (much better than I) so hoping to get some food photos.

8 Likes

Got some catching up to do, but as expected with a large group, not much eating out. The devastating news from home has cast a long shadow…and the baby and Spring Onion have developed fevers; SO is fine. Baby not so much - our friends are exhausted from being woken up throughout the night.

Wed [22 June] continued
Lunch was N1 hot dogs. I ate leftover rice with soy crumbles and veggie sauce. Dinner was oven roasted cod, roasted cauliflower, sautéed broccoli, and sweet potato fries. Brown rice. Everything turned out really well. I’ve been so busy with food prep and cleanup, I keep forgetting to take durned photos.

Thurs [23 June]
Lunch at home of pesto pasta (our friends successfully brought 2 large jars in their checked bag). Dinner was takeout pizza (margherita, spicy chicken, and a vegan one with lots of arugula) from Pítsugerðin. Definitely not as good as last time in 2021. Place was packed and they undercooked all the pizzas, probably in an effort to get the pizzas out the door as quickly as possible. The “margherita” was just a plain old cheese pizza, no buffalo mozzarella or basil to be seen. Vegan pizza was too sweet (caramelized onion plus a sweet white sauce and too heavy-handed with truffle oil). The others said the chicken one was good and spicy. We brought the pizzas next door to Brothers Brewery so at least the beer was good. No photos - everyone was too hungry.

Friday [24 June]
Checkout / noontime ferry meant a quick breakfast at home followed by a couple of hours of packing up. Whew - it’s tough traveling with a crowd. Lunch was hot dogs at the N1 in Hvolsvöllur (mediocre veggie bagel sandwich for me) and then food shopping at the decent Kronan. Our next house is quite luxurious - chosen by our friends. Weirdly, though, there are only 2 pots despite having copious quantities of everything else. We decide on a taco bar night - sautéed beef, black beans, tomatoes, brown rice, cheese, onions, jarred salsa. We will have excellent weather today (Saturday) so we’ll show our friends around the Golden Circle today. We have so much food, I’m going to suggest we pack a picnic lunch. We bought a bulk pack of cod again so my friend wants to do panko-crusted tonight. I got the cutest baby potatoes so I’ll roast those. I also bought leeks and non-baby potatoes. Maybe make a potato leek soup because we have a blender here (which I’ve never made before - anyone have a favorite recipe?).

7 Likes

Not a recipe really, a method. Sauté sliced leeks in fat of choice until very soft but not at all browned. I often put a lid on the pot for a few minutes so they partially steam. Add broth of choice and potatoes cut into bite-size pieces. If I’m going to purée the soup I always peel the skin off the potatoes. If I’m not puréeing and the potatoes have a thin skin I usually leave it on. Simmer till potatoes are cooked. Purée if you like. Add a judicious amount of dairy of choice (half and half or whatever). If you have chives or parsley to snip on top all the better.

4 Likes

Your method looks so good, yum. I’m on Team No-Purée for potato-leek soup unless I want to omit dairy. In that case I purée a bit of the soup to achieve that creamy texture. I like chunks of potato and leek in my potato-leek soup.

3 Likes

Tuesday [28 June]
Finally, time for another dispatch, this time from the northern town of Akureyri, which is one of our favorite Icelandic towns. There hasn’t been much to report after we checked out from our luxurious place in Bláskógabyggð (try to say that quickly 3 times…or even once), as expected, we have been cooking most of our meals at home. Lots of on the road hot dogs as we had a long drive from Bláskógabyggð to Akureyri but the kids are not complaining one bit about that. We are staying in another awesome place just outside of the town center. Yesterday, we bought some beautiful Icelandic cod and salmon at Fisk Kompani as we usually do. We roasted the salmon, along with the baby potatoes. Cod was panko-crusted again. Instead of the potato leek soup, I made a kitchen-sink situation soup, with carrots, potato, celery, organic barley.

Today, we visited the beautiful Botanical Garden and stopped for a while at the gorgeous Cafe Laut inside the garden. The kids all get treats, flat whites for the adults, some chess (Spring Onion’s new favorite game…it’s always been over my simpleton’s head), and the Finnish version of “Pass the Pigs.” The service is awesome - the 2 wonderful humans working spent a lot of time chatting with us (he used to be production manager at Omnom Chocolate in Reykjavik, and he vowed to used only their chocolate products in their pastries/treats). Our friend said to us, we need to do this more when we travel - take time to savor the moment, rather than run from one sight to the next. B and I concurred! I happily browsed the eclectic vinyl collection. They have happy hour 4 - 6 pm so we plan on returning this evening. Big grassy areas for the kids to burn off any fuel left over from hours at the awesome public pool.

Another hot dog lunch for the boys and then we split off - our friends went back to the house, while B and I thought about lunch out. Ordakaffi, a vegetarian restaurant, was on my list from last visit, so we headed there. It’s located in the public library (which is well-worth a visit on its own…I LOVE libraries). A bright, floor-to-ceiling windowed place, lovely service, lovingly-made food. “Rainbow lasagna” was the dish of the day, which is all-you-can-eat, accompanied by 4 different side dishes/salads, bread, coffee/tea. A little on the sweet side, due to sweet potatoes, but really good nonetheless. B had seconds…I couldn’t.

Dinner tonight will be more salmon and cod. Tomorrow is our last full day in Akureyri and B wants to go to Rub 23 for the all-you-can-eat sushi lunch. Our friends’ oldest kid LOVES sushi and is very pumped about going. On Thursday, we head to Husavik for whale-watching.

8 Likes

Every single Iceland report you post makes me want to go there! You are a wonderful ambassador for the place. I bet that fish was really tasty too. Thanks for the photos, we would not be averse to seeing more…

4 Likes

When I was in 4th grade (hundreds of years ago), we studied Iceland. I instantly wanted to go there! I still haven’t been, but I am really enjoying traveling vicariously through your reports.

3 Likes
Help cover Hungry Onion's costs when you shop at Amazon!

Bessarabsky Market, Kyiv. Ukraine
Credit: Juan Antonio Segal, Flickr