You talked about Norwegian food and mentioned food in San Francisco. Tell us about your favorite local foods.
Well, it’s hard to talk about just one. I love hamburgers. When I lived near Union Square, I used to often visit my favorite burger place in San Francisco, called Pearl’s Deluxe Burgers. They use sustainable beef and local fresh ingredients. I love their sweet potato fries and their onion rings – two side dishes I discovered since arriving in the U.S. I also discovered a type of American food called soul food, which is from the Southern part of the U.S., I believe. My favorite soul food dishes are ribs, mashed sweet potatoes, mac and cheese, and corn bread. Oh and I love ranch dressing; we didn’t have it in Norway when I was growing up, and I think even now it’s not that common. But all of my Norwegian friends love ranch dressing too; one of my friends who spent a year in the States even packed some in a container he shipped back home to Oslo.
I also love Mexican food. The Mission District of San Francisco has many great taquerias (restaurants that serve tacos). My favorite taqueria is La Taqueria on 25th and Mission; I typically get their flour quesadillas (cheese-filled flour tortillas) and their carne asada (grilled beef) tacos or their carne asada burritos. I highly recommend their “aguas,” a typical Mexican beverage made of blended fruit, water and sugar; the stawberry agua (agua de fresa) reminds me of homemade Norwegian strawberry jam.
Yes. When I lived in Norway I was a student, so I didn’t have time to cook elaborate meals very often. But when I cooked special meals for friends, I liked to make steak au poivre with sauteed mushrooms, rosemary potato wedges, baked tomatoes and for dessert chocolate mousse. After graduating with my masters degree in business and engineering in Norway, I moved to the U.S. Since moving here, I’ve developed a passion for cooking. My favorite types of food to prepare are American food, Norwegian food and Mexican food.
When it comes to Mexican food, I love most everything. As an appetizer and garnish, I love to make guacamole, an avocado-based dish. My favorite main course to prepare is called chiles rellenos, which is roasted peppers stuffed with a dry, salty cheese called cotija, then coated in egg, fried and served in a cilantro-seasoned tomato sauce. It’s actually a rather complicated dish to make, but it’s my favorite.
As far as American dishes, my favorite one to prepare is chili, which is a bean-based dish. I utilize pinto beans and black beans in my chili My favorite chili recipe calls for a dark beer; I like to use Newcastle. Usually I serve the chili with corn bread and with toppings like cilantro and shredded American-style cheddar cheese (the yellow one). Lately I’ve also really been into making ice cream and have a recipe from a San-Francisco based chef for the best cinnamon ice cream.
My favorite Norwegian dishes to prepare? I like to make meat cakes (made of ground beef) called Kjottkake. They are traditionally served with a brown gravy and boiled potatoes. My mother actually gave us a Norwegian cookbook when we got married, and it’s filled with family recipes. One of my favorites is Norwegian waffles; they are thinner than the more well-known Belgian waffles, and instead of being square, they are shaped more or less like a circle made up of five heart-shaped pieces. They can be served either with a savory topping like sour cream or a sweet topping like raspberry jam. The recipe I have for them is from a cafe where my aunt used to work, so even reduced by eight-fold, it’s still a lot for two people; so normally at our house we make waffles only when we have guests.