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Sunday, October 16, 2011

THE BEST TWO MEALS I'VE EVER HAD...

...OVER A 24 HOUR PERIOD.  And in Stockholm, of all the places.  Mind you, I've had better lunches and dinners, but back to back, dinner, then the next day a smorgasbord, this was a memorable twosome.

As I could not get reservations tonight to the three restaurants I desired, all in the top 100 restaurants of the world, the concierge slipped me in at 5PM into F12, across the street from the Sheraton.  Totally unexpected, this was one of the best meals I've ever had.

F12 is a Scandinavian-French fusion restaurant.  The background music was early American jazz (it's amazing how, throughout the world--even in Asia--these fusion restaurants all play American music).  I ordered their 9-course sampler.

I was the first customer and, with Cathrine and Catrine, we created a new drink in the spirit of PAT Royale.  We combined champagne with Punsch, a Swedish 26% aperitif made from plum, honey and citrus, I think.  As Kir Royale is drunk at the beginning of French meals, CAP Royale should someday become the first drink in Sweden.  Why CAP?  Well, Cathrine/Catrine and Pat, in parallel with Champagne and Punsch.  The "bread" dish was extraordinary, with a combination of onion, potato and wheat chips













I had a South African Paarl Chenin Blanc 2008 (13.5%) and American Kendall-Jackson Reserve Zinfandel 2007 (14.5%).  First came from the Seabank, oysters from Grebbestad with cucumber and seaweed, then from their Cold Cellar, blackened carrot with duck and pistachio nuts.


The third appetizer (above) from the Nesting Box was an extraordinary free-range egg pekinoise with truffle crumbles.  This might have been the highlight dish.  The final appetizer along the Forest Path was a braised pork cheek Iberico with figs and potato crust.

Then came the first of the four entrees:  foie gras with plums, popcorn and wild pepper from the Terraced Farm.  It was now 6PM and I was the only customer.


Layers of Open Water steamed Lofoten cod with apple and watercress.  A piece of lobster was supposed to also be here, but I warned them that I was allergic to crustaceans.

In the Forest Glade roe deer roast with funnell chanterelles, kabocha pumpkin and ginger.  People began to arrive at 7PM.



Finally, at the Snow-Covered Peaks Comte (a cheese), matured 26 months, with chestnut and brioche.  Ligonberry was supposed to be here, as it is all over the menu, but I was worried that I might also have an allergy to this berry.  Twenty five years ago, when Pearl and I first visited Sweden, I ate some, and I had the most interesting rash.  It started at my belly button.  The next day there was an itchy circle with a radius of two inches.  With each passing day, the circle grew, and in a little more than a week, my fingers and toes were swollen.  Never made it to my head.  Went away and never came back.  Strange, but I don't want to go through that cycle again.  Anyway, Catrine is doing the cutting.


Now the following dish looks vaguely familiar and I don't remember what it was:


The dessert consisted of Autumn Harvest comice pears and creme caramel, served by Cathrine:


I was introduced to the chef, Danyel Couet, in his kitchen:


Well, if Danyel becomes the top chef in the world, then I must be the good luck charm, as I was with Rene of Noma.  When I left at 7:30PM three fourths of the tables were taken.  This was a truly grand meal.  The cost?  Expensive!

You wouldn't think I could eat for two days after the above, but the next day, the Concierge made a reservation for me to partake of the smorgasbord at the Verandan of the Grand Hotel, probably, the top hotel in town.  However, it is so old, I could almost smell the accumulation of dust.  The dining area, though, was fine, with a great view of the harbor.  I must have gotten about the best seat in the house.


I started with a Nils Oscar God Lager (5.3%), 1874 Grand Aquavit Brannvin (40%) and Carlshamns Flaggpunsch.  Later, a Jarana Fine Sherry was added.  I had four courses.  #1:


was an assortment of pickled herring with a bowl of Jewish artichoke soup.  The grand buffet had four kinds of salmon:


Course #2:


So far, if you like cold fish, you would have loved the smorgasbord.  I actually enjoyed the various herring and caviar.  Course #3 was warm:


Course #4 was my dessert plate, here with Emily, who was absolutely fabulous:


I was truly filled last night.  Today, I was supersaturated.  I wasn't sure I could walk, not in inebriation, but I felt like the fat man who exploded in Monty Python.  If I were you, I wouldn't click on that clip.  I can't end with this, so let me add two photos.

First, walking around town I participated in a protest.  No, this had nothing to do with Wall Street.  I'm not sure which side they were on, but I think it had something to do with Egypt:


But a soothing ending to my great 24 hours with the largest hemispherical building, the Ericsson Globe Arena:


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2 comments:

Bruce Liebert said...

Amazing presentation at F12!

PLANET EARTH AND HUMANITY said...

So when you next come to Stockholm, you will have a choice of staying at the Sheraton for F12, or the Grand Hotel for the smorgasbord. These did not even make the Pellegrino Top 100 restaurants of the world. I did not plan in advance, and thus could not get into the top three. Same for Fat Duck and London, my next stop later today.