Thursday, December 4, 2014

The gift of a day together in Östermalm

Östermlams Saluhall in Stockholm, Sweden  |  The gift of a day together in Östermalm on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
Östermlams Saluhall in Stockholm, Sweden  |  The gift of a day together in Östermalm on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

After two weeks apart, during and after which one of us (not me) was working extra long hours, having a beautiful winter day together in Stockholm free from work and school was an early Christmas gift for R and me. We slept in, had a pot of coffee at home and then took ourselves to Östermalm, the slightly ritzier section of town—similar to New York's Upper East Side or Boston's Beacon Hill.

Our destination (and why we had skipped any nibblies to go with our late-morning coffee) was Östermalms Saluhall, built in 1888 and proudly known as "the world's 7th best food hall" according to Bon Appétit magazine.

Smørrebrød at Östermlams Saluhall in Stockholm, Sweden  |  The gift of a day together in Östermalm on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

We both thought that I hadn't been there before, but after walking in and recognizing the bustle-y aisles, overflowing displays, and gorgeously presented meat, fish, produce and specialty jams, sauces and accompaniments, I scanned through my archive of photos on my phone and there it was from seven years ago, when R flew from Taormina and I flew from New York to meet in Stockholm for Christmas and he took me to the market where I was on the hunt for spices to make a Goan meal for the family—the exact same view from where we sat for lunch yesterday:

Smørrebrød at Östermlams Saluhall in Stockholm, Sweden  |  The gift of a day together in Östermalm on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

So rather than a new experience, a lovely revisit. Though if I'm remembering correctly, we didn't eat the last time we were at the Saluhall together, making this time's trip a slight improvement, as we had a delectable lunch at the bar of Lisa Elmqvist's (another place, rather, name, that jogged my memory—I later remembered that I had read about American-in-Paris David Lebovitz's experience there last summer).

We were both in the mood for fish, so R had a towering open-faced shrimp sandwich that was on the verge of toppling over whereas I had a plate of six different kinds of sill (pickled herring—not the nicest sounding words, but one of my favorite things about Swedish cuisine), all fantastic, accompanied by boiled potatoes with dill, Västerbotten cheese, and a hard-boiled egg topped with caviar. While not our usual practice, we decided to have a bottle of wine to go with our little seafood extravaganza, and I must say, perhaps it needs to become our usual practice! Our lunch lingered on as we refilled our glasses and caught each other up on all the things the phone calls, pictures, videos, e-mails and voice notes from the last few weeks hadn't quite captured.

Lisa Elmqvist at Östermlams Saluhall in Stockholm, Sweden  |  The gift of a day together in Östermalm on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

Afterwards we wove our way back outside through less crowded aisles and strolled some more around the neighborhood. We ended up at the waterfront on Strandvägen, where we decided that even though the sun was setting there was no rush to end our day so early, so we crossed the bridge into Gamla Stan for a walk around the Old Town's Christmas market and a mug of glögg (warm spiced wine) and a few pepparkakor (gingerbread cookies), both Christmas specialties, before going home.

* A version of this post appeared on View Stockholm. 

One year ago: It all melts away & Tweaks for gentler travel
Two years ago: A good thing & Equal play & Tension with the Times

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XOXO,
J.