Actually a decent amount, considering what we ended up eating in the other cities, but we had no way of knowing this until after the fact.
For lunch we stopped at the first cafe we thought looked good (remember: -12C outside and sharp pains in fingers and toes) after getting off of the tram, and this happened to be one called Pascal, in the old part of the city center.
Wonder restaurant really. We were seated right next to their real wood-burning fireplace (heavenly) and I think we ended up staying there for over three hours. It wasn't the food that kept us there, it was definitely the fire...though the food was good too.
As I've explained before, everything in Norway is extremely expensive. I'd heard that a McDonalds value meal could cost upwards of $25 USD. This is actually completely untrue, and a value meal costs more like $12-15, but still, it's more expensive than it should be. From what I understand they have indeed enacted the "fat tax" that many European countries have enforced which causes fatty or otherwise unhealthy foods to cost more in accordance to their unhealthiness. It's actually a really good way to get people to eat healthier. I'm all for it, anyway. It does make fatty delicious food expensive, but well, something something the price you pay (in all meanings of that phrase).
Originally we were just going to stop in and get something warm to drink and a little snack. Since dinner was going to be relatively around the corner (just a few hours away), we didn't want to stuff ourselves, but at the same time in this kind of cold you just can't make it without having more than one meal a day (well, people like me, anyway, who only eat one meal a day normally...normal people eat more like 4 meals a day instead of 3).
Anyway, we took a look at the menu and yes, things were definitely expensive. We're talking the equivalent of the 20euro range for lunch entrees kind of range. This place was nice, but it wasn't that kind of nice.
So I ordered the soup. Creamy seafood soup of some kind with veggies.
It was incredible. Though it was opaque, the broth was still incredibly light and flavorful. Savory with an intense seafood flavor, like crayfish shells had been boiled in it. I don't know what kind of dairy they added to make it white, but whatever it was, it didn't contain that much fat. You could see the oils came from the fish and other seafood in the soup itself, but it wasn't milk fat solids.
This is clearly a secret that I will need to learn.
The soup was wonderful. It was filled with chunks of salmon and little shrimp, a crayfish here and there, and a few chunks of white fish. On the veggie side it seemed to have carrots, some sort of cabbage (a bit thinner than normal green cabbage but not so fine as napa cabbage), and a crap ton of parsley. Wonderful.
It warmed me right up. And I finished the whole bowl (no surprise).
I also ordered a hot chocolate (no one in Norway seems to have a love for chai lattes), and once again, it was a bowl as big as my face:
This was really sweet though; like milk chocolate Nesquik. Tasty and like childhood. Wonderful and simple. I didn't finish the whole thing, fearing my threshold for chocolate will one of these days be breached in the most unpleasant of ways, but it was wonderful while I sipped it in front of their fireplace.
It was a wonderful way to be first acquainted with Norway's cuisine. So tasty and heartwarming. I wondered at this point what the rest of their food would be like.
Little did I know that later that day we would have a feast cooked for us by our couchsurfing host, Daniel. He had been preparing this meal for days. It wasn't just for us, mind you, he had friends coming over the night after we left and decided to kill several birds with one stone. Well, that's a stone I'm totally willing to partake of.
He made us the traditional Christmas lamb, Pinnekjøtt. It's marinated, smoked (or cured) then steamed. We only got to see the part of the process where he steamed it. It smelled glorious:
Unfortunately I have no pictures of the finished meal, because I thought it was rude and there was a lot of red wine flowing by the time dinner finally arrived (three hours later), but know that it was amazing and unlike anything I've ever tasted. The meat literally fell off the bone. OMG.
He had also made rutabaga and carrot mash (amazing and sweet) served with sliced cucumbers and tomatoes (raw) alongside lingonberry jam. Apparently this is the traditional way you serve this particular dish. It was spectacular. All of us ate to our contentment (German K ate salmon he had also made, since she doesn't eat meat) and we talked late into the night.
Oh Oslo, you were so delicious!