Trip 39 / Entry 28 / Oslo

Friday and Saturday, October 3-4, 2014   (Evenings)

I KNOW I COMPLAIN TOO MUCH ABOUT THE PRICE OF FOOD

I am reminded that it is normal to have "Bread" three times a day.

I am reminded that it is normal to have “Bread” three times a day.

Having been rolled at the restaurant, “Kos Kos” the night before by being served one of those Moroccan lamb and couscous dishes (you know what I mean, in the Tajine)?  I tried to eat it and though the taste was exceptional, I could not define a potato from a carrot from an apricot or from an onion and it was all a cous cous  embraced mush. I struggled through it.  Besides walking the streets and sitting in coffee shops, this is my only entertainment when all alone in a strange city so I resent it when I pay too much for food I can’t identify, taste or stomach. Texture and presentation are as important as taste. I don’t like to pay for a restaurant logo anymore than a clothing logo. I look for value, something exceptionally difficult to find in Oslo.

This takes me to the next night. Every morning I gorge on the large Bondeheimen Hotel breakfast and then wait until about seven in the evening to find a nice spot for supper and settle in for a couple of hours before walking the streets and sitting in coffee shops again. I thought, “Thai food may provide freshness and good value.” I asked a few locals if they knew of such a place, most didn’t since Norwegian’s are not always very adventurous with food. Nevertheless, I landed upon a couple in the hotel who did business in Oslo and knew the restaurants. He pointed and said, “You see that orange building across from the Parliament? On the back side there is a good Thai restaurant.” That was enough for me so at seven on Saturday evening I took the prescribed walk and finding no restaurant I asked at the closest Thon Hotel for advice and encouraged to go fifty more meters west and take a left. I did and next to a Japanese Sushi restaurant that was packed I saw Vuong (don’t trust the reviews) . The hikou elegant, eighty seat restaurant was empty so I had no problem getting a table. I had a nice conversation with the waitress (she had nothing to do but look proper) who advised me to try the appetizer before the meal. It was expensive but she gushed over it and described the purees with passion. My wife will know how much I hate stupid art that gets passed off as food. If I had known what was coming I would have gone to Burger King for a Double Whopper. 129 krone looks harmless enough but it turns out to be $22.24 US dollars. Oh! How I wish I had a photo of this one.  My jaw dropped as it arrived and was placed before me. I said to the waitress, who by now had been chatted up sufficiently, “Are they serious? No wonder the restaurant is empty at seven in the evening on a Saturday night when the neighboring shops are packed.” She said, “I know, I know, I have tried to tell them but my boss is more interested in money.” It turned out to be (now watch this!) one small dessert dish with one grilled small shrimp and one averaged sized scampi with less than a bite of Mediterranean greens on top of two teaspoons of puree. I looked at it and said, “This is overpriced. It is not as though we are in Chicago 2,000 miles from the sea. You can step outside of the door and get shrimps and scampi.” I wasn’t rude, I was laughing and so was she but it was so and we both knew it. I would be surprised if the Chef was blind to this gouging.

There was a reason why the place sat empty. It is “Dumb Greed” to overcharge for small portions no matter how flavorful the dish. I will not pay for a restauranteur’s ego trip.

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