The Red Viking Restaurant. Karry Blomkål. Solvang, CA.
Not my cup o' curry. (Photo: Valentino Herrera)
After my recent trip to Solvang, the touristy hamlet of Dane-ish culture and cuisine in California, someone commented on my Facebook page that eating in the town was pretty tame for a guy like me, the Deep End Diner. I believe her exact words were Solvang is "shallow end dining". And for the most part, I would agree with her observation since it is a destination famous for pastries. However, there was one item I had casually plucked from the Red Viking Restaurant smorgasbord that created such havoc in my mouth I am forever traumatized.
I know you must be scratching your head and rubbing your belly thinking, "What is it that Eddie Lin — the Eddie Lin of Deep End Dining, Extreme Cuisine and "The Man Who'll Eat Anything" — finds so very distasteful?" It's a really good question, after all, I eat duck fetus, live squirming octopus tentacles, stinky tofu, poison blowfish, scorpions, corn smut and testicles. But, I'm no Superman.
So, what was on that Danish buffet that put me over??? (Drum roll, please.) Well, that seemingly innocent selection was karry blomkål or Danish curry cauliflower. Yep, I'm afraid that's all it was — a curried veggie dish.
The Yellow Peril.
Don't get me wrong. The smorgasbord at The Red Viking Restaurant in Solvang is sort of good. They have a decent assortment of Danish-style animal proteins like pickled herring in a sweet cream sauce, cold cuts, sausages, roast beef, havarti cheese and pates.
The vegetables and fruit choices are innocuous and possibly targeted at the geriatric diner with sliced beets, potato salad, mashed potatoes, canned peaches and fruit salad in sugary syrup.
But intermingled with the others on the display and well camouflaged near the potato salad was the karry blomkål aka Danish curry cauliflower.
There were a couple of major problems with the blomkål. First, not only was it made out of cauliflower (which I don't dislike but don't love either), it was a cold cauliflower. Second, the curry wasn't the type of curry to which I'm accustomed like Indian, Japanese or Thai.
To get to the heart of the matter, the curry was the main turn-off. It was sweet. Sickly sweet. It was also cold. And, the curry's texture was strangely creamy, probably made with a sour cream, creme fraiche or maybe mayo.
Yellow Cauliflower + Me = Green! Graaahhh!!!
For my palate, it was a perfect storm of gross out elements: unpleasant textures, cool temperature and disgustingly dulcet flavor with the added barfy bonus of a disconnect or incongruity with the curries that I'm used to eating and enjoy. It was too much revulsion to handle at once and I had to spit the stuff into my napkin. Just looking at the photos brings back a wave of nausea.
So now you know, I'm no Superman when it comes to extreme cuisine. I have my kryptonite too, only mine isn't a radioactive green rock from another world. It's little, yellow, different, and it goes by the name of karry blomkål from the land of Denmark.