Copenhagen, the first 6 hours: from sleep deprived to satisfied

Our first Danish sunset - I've never been so happy to see the sun set at 10pm.

Our first Danish sunset – I’ve never been so happy to see the sun set at 10pm.

When we left Iceland I was practically in tears. Not because I was sad to go — which I really was — but because I was so tired.

I’m not sure if it was vacation jitters or the very real midnight sun (it literally never got dark the whole time we were there) but the last two nights we were in Reykjavik, I didn’t fall asleep until after 6am. While the first morning I could sleep in, the second morning we had to be ready for our shuttle to the airport at 9am.

I think I clocked in 90 minutes of actual shut-eye before it was time to leave our apartment and lug our suitcases to the van. Sleep-deprived, my mood teetered from dazed and confused to frustrated and teary. If being hangry is a thing — and I believe it is — there must be a word for being so exhausted you’re just angry at the world. And particularly angry at all the well-rested people who had probably slept for a full 8 hours the night before. I hated those people.

After groggily making my way through customs and onto the plane, I collapsed in my window seat in sheer delight. I have never been so excited to sit on a plane in my life! Not even the exuberant Danish kids behind us could keep me from falling asleep before we even left the ground. It was magnificent.

And thankfully, upon waking up as we descended into Copenhagen, my feelings of anger had dissipated, leaving only excitement for the week to come, and especially for the evening ahead of us. To celebrate our first night in Denmark, my husband had made dinner reservations at Amass, number 66 on the list of the world’s best restaurants. A good reason for an attitude adjustment if there ever was one!

Flying into Copenhagan

Flying into Copenhagen

While getting to our hotel proved to be a bit of a challenge (the first metro trip in a foreign country is bound to be confusing no matter how many travel books you’ve studied), we got checked in and had enough time to sit and soak in the cuteness of our room before leaving for dinner.

Our hotel room, at the Axel Guldsmeden

Our hotel room at the Axel Guldsmeden. Pretty damn adorable.

My first impression of Amass was that it perfectly hit the balance of well-executed coolness while still being authentic. The walls had an urban splash of a city skyline and graffiti, but the food coming out of the kitchen was polished and precise. All the staff we met were both knowledgeable and extremely affable – a winning combination.

Amass, Denmark Amass, Denmark

Our server, a young Scot with plugs in his ears, got us settled. We chose to stick to the regular menu of six courses, rather than the extended menu, splitting the wine pairing between us. While that might sound borderline teetotaler of me, it was mainly so I could drink some beer on the side. (What can I say – my true love is made of barley, hops and malt.)

Our first course was a small bite but it remained the most discussed dish from the evening, usually followed by one of us saying “that was SO good!”

Salted Celeriac, Cod, Burnt Lemon, Soured Cream  -- the perfect way to start the meal. Delicate but full of flavor.

Salted Celeriac, Cod, Burnt Lemon, Soured Cream — the perfect way to start the meal. Delicate but full of flavor. Even now I can remember being so excited for the rest of the meal after this bite.

Swiftly following that was bread for snacking…

Fermented flat bread, garlic scape and leek spread.

Fermented flat bread, garlic scape and leek spread. This blows all other bread courses out of the water. When they brought us a second one, we took it back to the hotel for a late-night treat.

From there we progressed into larger plates, brought to our table and explained by members of the kitchen.

Grilled White Asparagus, Green Strawberries, Walnuts.

Grilled White Asparagus, Green Strawberries, Walnuts.

Egg Yolk, Almond, Sea Kale

Egg Yolk, Almond, Sea Kale. This plate was brought to us by the chef/owner himself, Matt Orlando. This was a rich dish that made you happy with every bite.

Monkfish, Roasted Chicken Skin, Beach Herbs, Garden Greens

Monkfish, Roasted Chicken Skin, Beach Herbs, Garden Greens. (With a Mikkeller lambic beer in the background, brewed specifically for the restaurant. Tart and fabulous.)

Organic Pork, Hazlenut Milk, Orpin, Unripened Plums

Organic Pork, Hazelnut Milk, Orpin, Unripened Plums

Rhubarb Sherbert, Sweet Cicely, Dried Yogurt

Rhubarb Sherbert, Sweet Cicely, Dried Yogurt

Bonus course from the kitchen: A crackly sugar crusted pound cake and cookies made from espresso ground and marshmallow.

Bonus course from the kitchen: A crackly sugar crusted pound cake and cookies made from espresso grounds and something akin to marshmallow fluff.

Bonfire out back where guests can sit back with a drink after dinner

Bonfire out back where guests can sit back with a drink after dinner

This dinner was amazing.

I’m not sure if it was because the atmosphere was so lovely or because the people were so friendly or if it was simply because the food was so spot-on, but this whole meal was a truly memorable part of our trip.

And because my husband is a chatty Cathy, we also had some really great conversations with Chef Orlando, who used to be the chef of world-renowned Noma prior to opening Amass. We talked some shop about the industry, asked about his recent trip to the Pacific Northwest, and got a photo with him and Darth Sigurd, the slightly secretive mascot for the restaurant.

Darth Sigur - what could be cuter than a gnome flipping you off?

Darth Sigurd – what could be cuter than a slightly evil gnome flipping you off?

My husband with Chef Orlando and Darth Sigur

My husband with Chef Orlando and Darth Sigurd

And perhaps the best part of the evening?

I slept like a baby that night.

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8 thoughts on “Copenhagen, the first 6 hours: from sleep deprived to satisfied

  1. Wow! I bet one of the reasons you couldn’t sleep in Iceland was time zone related. That same thing happened to Jim and me in London — we didn’t sleep at all the first 2 nights.

    • Well what was weird was the first two nights in Iceland I slept great. And because we had stayed up the whole first day, we actually felt like our bodies were adjusted to the time change. But maybe I was just fooling myself. Either way that night was one of the best nights of sleep ever! I have never been so excited to be in bed by midnight.

    • I’m actually post-date blogging – sadly we returned from Copenhagen a few weeks ago, I’ve just been too busy to write. But we had great weather! Blue sky, warm weather but not hot, no rain. It was perfect. Now I’m back in Oregon and it’s been in the 90s for the whole month of June and it’s supposed to hit 100 today. If I could, I’d be on the first plane back!

  2. What a meal! You have the most exotic experiences. I’m an embarrassingly picky eater and would probably have pushed a lot of that meal around on my plate (blush!) So glad you managed to rest up so you could enjoy this experience!

    • I think you might have liked some of it – picky eater or not. The asparagus salad was incredible, and chicken skin cracklin’s are perhaps the happiest thing on earth. And if not, the wine and view were pleasing too. 😉

  3. Greetings from Montreal, where I’m about to write about the insane dinner we had last night! Love the photos. Beautiful room! Beautiful dinner. Dig the evil gnome mascot.

    • I thought you’d get a kick out of the gnome. Apparently this is a replacement Sigurd. The original was stolen from the bar one night, so they weighed this one down with pennies. Heavy little bugger. Loving catching up on your trip btw. I’m excited to see what else you do (and by that I mean, where else you eat!) in Montreal.

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