Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Finding the best lobsters in the world in a little town in Iceland

One day, we boarded a cruise ship in Dover and sailed all the way to Iceland, where we got off for one amazing adventure -- including an unexpected foodie adventure. We traveled all the way to one end of the earth to sample the best lobsters in the world in a simple wooden shack in a tiny town of Iceland


Lobsters in Iceland

We spent a week in Iceland, driving to different parts of the country. One day, eager to explore the extreme countryside, we drove along a particularly desolate coastline of Iceland, with dramatic craters and rugged bumps over the horizon, created over time by the inflows of lava from one volcanic eruption after another.

The result was a surreal 360-degree landscape in Iceland, with barren earth that felt like the surface of the moon on one side and sharp gusty winds that created ripples on an otherwise calm sea the color of squid ink on the other; it was just so out of this world that I gazed out the window the entire drive, marveling at where I was and how I got there. 


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But hunger pangs eventually set in, so I forgot about the wondrous views all around me. My mind filled with thoughts of food, and by then I was far from expecting a delicious meal in the middle of what was literally nowhere. 

I hadn't seen a decent restaurant the entire drive, after all. But with luck, I thought, we might stumble upon a store selling the local equivalent of power bars and serving a decent cup of tea, and these would have to suffice as nourishment until a proper dinner back in Reykjavik.


Lobster soup in Iceland

SERENDIPITY AT WORK

As real luck would have it, however, instead we found ourselves driving through the Arctic version of a town. It was really just a quiet street with neat wooden houses in bright colors interspersed with storage outhouses and modest pocket gardens ringed with old-fashioned picket fences

In any other universe, this would be just a regular street going nowhere, and actually stuck in a slight time warp -- in the 1960s, to be exact. But in that part of Iceland, this was actually a significant outpost of civilization, and this restaurant we found looked like the hub of all social activity for miles.




NOTHING EXTRAORDINARY


Iceland

At first glance, the lobster restaurant was simple, clean and functional, with an extensive bar (which I understand is requisite for surviving Arctic winters), several long tables lined with wooden benches and a bright red wall adorned with token shells and a fisherman’s net

It was attractive in a quirky kind of charming way. And there were a bunch of locals inside hunched over pails.


Restaurant in Iceland

A menu handwritten in Icelandic on a chalkboard indicated only one dish: grilled lobsters accompanied by a couple of sides, including a fresh herb and tomato salad and a pail of small grilled potatoes. At first glance, it was better than anything I could have wished for, but at that point there was nothing to indicate a particularly significant dining experience in Iceland.





UNFORGETTABLE LUNCH

However that lunch in a little village in Iceland will forever remain in my memory as the time I tasted the best lobsters I have ever had in my #Travelife. Fresh off the fishing boat, these lobsters were cooked with a slap and a dash in butter, garlic and chopped herbs, and then dished into a tin pail, accompanied by potatoes, a basket of bread and little plates of marinated cucumbers and tomatoes picked just that morning from the owner’s greenhouse. 




The Icelandic lobsters were small and sweet, and ever so tasty that all conversation at our table stopped while we pried the flesh off he shells. We needed no words between us, as we understood very clearly that this lobster lunch was a meal unlike any other in the world, to be savored solo and slowly, so as to remember every morsel and every moment for a very long time.

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