When I first moved from New York to San Francisco (for grad school, in 1997), I was surprised to find a cheesesteak joint in my neighborhood. I’m from Philly, and Philly is all about cheesesteaks. And soft pretzels. And Tastykakes. (And, apparently, if you’ve seen Silver Linings Playbook, there are Crabby Snacks and Homemades, but I have no idea what those are).
I was excited to get a little taste of home, but when my cheesesteak came out with lettuce, tomato, and mayo on top, I was like, “Yo! Who put a salad on my cheesesteak?” ‘Cause a cheesesteak, well, it’s not that complicated. Thin slices of beef, chopped up on the grill. Top with hot gooey cheese. Stick it on a good soft roll, Amoroso if you can get it. You want onions, mushrooms, hot peppers? Now we’re talkin’. But salad? On a cheesesteak? Fuggetaboudit.
The reason I mention all this is because here in Denmark, there is such a thing as salat-pizza, which means, yes, salad on a pizza. It’s quite popular. And, at the risk of never being allowed within Philly or New York city limits ever again, it’s actually pretty good.
That’s a kebab and chicken pizza with the salad on top, and yes, it comes with dressing. I typically don’t like to dip my crusts in ranch dressing like some people, but this isn’t far off. You just add lettuce, tomato, and cucumber on top as well. And at least it’s all added cold. I don’t think this would work if you cooked all this together. Wilty.
The other thing we’re learning about Danish pizza places, at least here in Billund, is that they’re like Mexican restaurants back home. Huge menus with tons of options, but all essentially the same ingredients. (‘Cause c’mon, is there really a huge difference between flautas, tostadas, tacos, and taquitos?) So if you don’t feel like having a regular pizza, you can have it closed. Or open closed. Or, appropriately enough, Mexican, which means it’s made with ‘tacosauce’ (salsa?). You can also get your pizza topped with eggs, or Béarnaise sauce, or spaghetti, because why not?
After dinner, our food and drink adventures weren’t over for the night. Today is a national tradition called J-dag (dag is pronounced ‘day’), and that’s short for Jule Day, or the day when the first Christmas beer of the season is delivered and sold. It’s also usually supposed to coincide with the first snow of the season, but in case it doesn’t, some towns pump out fake snow into the streets. No snow here in Billund tonight, real or fake. Anyway, it basically sounds like an excuse to go out and party. In fact, B is out at a bar in town with some of our new friends right now enjoying J-dag (I went to the movies last night, so I am home with the boys.)
Don’t be too sad for me though, I get to partake in the holiday too… well, kind of. We stopped at the supermarket on the way home tonight to pick up some Christmas beer (and some licorice and chocolate, because candy). I chose a six-pack of a Juleøl (or Yule Ale), with a friendly looking elf on it. Actually he looks kind of smashed.
At least with the salad pizza, I knew I was getting salad on a pizza. But this? It tastes like someone stirred nutmeg into a can of Coke. It’s super-sweet and barely even tastes like beer. I should looked at the ABV before I left the store – it’s only 1.7%. That’s because fermentation is stopped early, so very little of the sugar is converted to alcohol. It’s also because, as I later found out, juleøl is Christmas beer for kids.
Yes, that’s right. They have children’s beer in Denmark. And that is what I am drinking tonight.
There were some larger bottles at the shop of a stronger, presumably adult variety of Christmas beer called julebryg, so I guess I’ll have to stop by the supermarket again tomorrow to try that. Maybe I’ll even pick up an open closed Mexican spaghetti pizza to go with it.