day 5 – dinner trumps everything

i woke up early and i had an adventure getting the car out of the driveway (which resulted in a scratch on the rental, dammit) and i had a bite of food in norway that wasn’t some cured meat or fish and i met a really nice cab driver in copenhagen and a friendly neighbor and a nice person who works at 7-11 BUT WHO CARES ABOUT ALL THAT because i ate at amass and i’m just back from that and it’s all i can think about.

it’s becoming apparent that norway was my wilderness blogger and copenhagen is going to be my food blogger. there are two things in this city: amazingly interesting scandinavian cuisine and coffee. through the recent work acquisitions, i was put in touch with gabe ulla, whose invaluable twitter (for people who like food and are visiting copenhagen, that is) turned me on to amass. amass is run by a chef who used to work at noma (where gabe got me an in, hopefully i get to eat there) and … well, just look at the team. it’s kind of comical.

one of the things i realized out of this meal is that i approach the entire concept of cooking entirely wrong. i think of individual elements, i think of how i expect them to look, and i don’t break outside this very simplistic model. the dishes i had at amass made it clear how simplistic this is: courses were broken down by their ingredients, and then presented in a way that delighted and shocked. i read some words, and then the thing set before me was those things but in a direction i couldn’t even comprehend.

let me put it this way – zach looked at the menu and said it was the most interesting menu i’d sent him of the copenhagen restaurants i’d run by him. zach saw the forest, and i didn’t get it. i was sitting here looking at this fucking tree like a sucker.

rather than breaking down each dish, here are the things that happened during this meal:

  • on more than one occasion, i wanted to ask the crew if they were witches. because i’m pretty sure they are.
  • one of the serving staff gave me a giant list of restaurants, cocktail bars, and coffee shops to visit while i’m in copenhagen. i’ve already made reservations at 3 of the recommendations.
  • pumpkin almost moved me to tears. seriously.
  • burnt cabbage also did this. seriously

also, it is worth noting that apparently my wonderful and wise sister has been reading along on these daily posts, and she’s been advocating the consumption of lamb necks for quite a while. well, tonight was the first time i had slow-cooked lamb necks (48 hours in crystal malt (no not meth)) and they blew my mind. so, good work nishi, you remain smarter than me.

if this is the food to look forward to in copenhagen… if this is what the rest of the meals are going to try and approach… i am not sure if there is anything worthwhile to read here anymore. i’m not a food blogger and i’m not going to photograph each course and break down the flavors from the meticulously kept notebook on my right during the entire meal. but jesus christ this food is going to erase all other memories of this city from my mind.

tomorrow’s goal: call noma and get a table. take some photos. drink some coffee. drink some beer. eat dinner. try to remember something other than the last thing on this list.

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