Fika, fika, fika

Stockholm is all about dat fika, a culture of coffee and pastries that seems also to extend to a broad array of other drinks and snacks and sandwiches.  Two forms of deliciousness, one liquid and one to eat.  And folks take their coffee seriously, as much as they do their leisure time.  There are a lot of young families in these shops during the day.  So many baby strollers, and so many dads.  God bless your 18-month maternity/paternity leave policies.  I feel like such an American barbarian in that regard.

People with laptops and also with books.  Homogeneous as all get out, but whatever.  I still ride for coffeehouse culture.  We visited a handful of places – Cafe String (Sodermalm), Drop Coffee (also Sodermalm), Bakverket (Bondegarten), and Snickerbacken 7 Cafe (Norrmalm).

A latte and a peanut butter chocolate rice crispies at Cafe String (Google Maps).

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Some breakfast pastries and coffee beans at Drop Coffee (Google Maps), also in Sodermalm.  Across the street from the Sandqvist store where I got my backpack.

Mazariner (almond tartlet) and a jam shortbread cookie at Bakverket (Google Maps) in Bondegarten.  The space has a more proletariat vibe, if you will, but whatever, they still put butter in the pastries, don’t they?

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Mazariner and latte at Bakverket Sodermalm Stockholm Sweden

And later on our trip, we had ourselves a real healthy lunch at Snickerbacken 7 Cafe (Google Maps) in Norrmalm.  It’s a really hip, but lovely space, and gets super busy around lunchtime, humming with meetings and mommy meet-ups and co-working and readers alike.

The Tasting Menu at Eleven Madison Park – NYC

Eleven Madison Park is a gorgeous, gorgeous restaurant.  Pristine, clean lines, a flood of soft natural light.  I’d read a little about Eleven Madison Park’s history, steeped in the Danny Meyer tradition of enlightened hospitality, and its rise into the upper echelon of global fine dining.

It is one of New York City’s 3-Michelin-starred restaurants, now helmed by chef Daniel Humm and general manager Will Guidara, who bought out Danny Meyer some years ago and who have combined to somehow even further elevate the restaurant’s reputation.  Everybody I knew who had gone spoke in hushed, gushing tones about the immaculate service, almost more so than the food.  Their other restaurant at the NoMad is one of my favorites, with one mean roast bird.  If their more casual spot is churning out brioche-and-truffle-stuffed roast chicken, I had high hopes for what the flagship could show me.

House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Dining RoomThe meal started with a mysterious choice among four flavors.  Ignore the photo below.  I chose maple, which would appear at various points throughout the meal.

House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Flavor Choice The other theme to the tasting menu was an ode to New York’s culinary history.  A savory black-and-white cookie to start, with a cheddar filling.House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Savory Black and White Cookie AppleAnd then the decadence began.  An oyster with the creamy smoothness of savory vichysoisse, speckled with caviar.

House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Oyster Vichysoisse Caviar Scallops, with a shower of apple snow.House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Scallop Apple Pine Water Chestnut 3 House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Scallop Apple Pine Water Chestnut 2 House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Scallop Apple Pine Water ChestnutA duo of beef: first, a beef tartare dotted with caviar and packed on both sides with a luxurious spread of smoked bone marrow, tucked into a neatly cleaned segment of bone.

House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Beef Tartare with Caviar Smoked Bone Marrow House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Beef Tartare with Caviar Smoked Bone Marrow 2Then, a prominent ode to the New York deli: wonderfully marbled pastrami with pickles, rye, mustard, and a syrupy maple soda.

House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Pastrami House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Pastrami Sandwich House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Pastrami Pickles Rye Mustard House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Pastrami Pickles Rye Mustard 2 House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Maple SodaThe the next course: seared foie gras with sunchokes, hazelnuts, and Solera vinegar.  I liked the plating and the combination of sharp vinegar, crunchy toasted hazelnuts, and buttery sunchoke puree.  An elegant two or three bites, enough for a rich splash, a vignette.  And on the heels of several rich courses, it was perfectly proportioned.

House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Seared Foie Gras Sunchokes Hazelnuts Solera Vinegar House of Haos Eleven Madison Park Flatiron NYC Tasting Menu Seared Foie GrasAt some point, I think it was here, that we took a guided break to step back into the kitchen. Continue reading