Category Archives: Food & Drink

Our Trip to Iceland

Rachel and I spent four days in Iceland and I wanted to share our experiences and photos.

March 19, 2014

Day One in Reykjavik

We flew out from Boston at 7:30 PM Eastern and arrived in Keflavik around 7 AM GMT. The funniest thing we learned upon arrival was you then simply go and buy duty-free alcohol with (literally) everyone from your flight, attendants included. Everything in Iceland is amazingly expensive so you buy things as cheaply as you can.

Rachel and Devin hit the road in Iceland

After picking up our rental car and GPS we drove the 50 KM or so along the coast to Reykjavik. Over 2/3 of the country’s population lives in the city and even at rush hour, there’s really not much traffic.

Cappuccino at Reykjavik RoastersOnce we arrived at our hotel, Hótel ÓÐINSVÉ, we parked on the street and checked in. Since our room wasn’t ready at 8 in the morning we headed over to Reykjavík Roasters for a quick “pick me up” and a light morning snack. At this point Rachel suggested we grab our swim suits and find a nearby pool to do as the locals do. We walked a few blocks (everything is only a few blocks away) to Sundhöll Reykjavíkur and took a shower, changed out of our “airplane” clothes and enjoyed the hot, geothermal water.

Sundhöll Reykjavíkur

We then grabbed lunch at one of the most famous restaurants in Iceland, Bæjarins beztu — it’s a hot dog stand with delicious lamb-based links, a sweet mustard, and crunchy fried onions. From there we spent time walking around town and visited the capital’s park and lake, Tjörnin, which includes some of the few trees in the country.

Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur

Around 2 or 3 PM we were getting really tired and napped. After a few hours of rest we walked a few blocks (again) to likely the country’s best Indian restaurant, Austur India Fjelagid. We had a great meal to end the day, all thanks to the recommendation from Andrew’s travel guide.

March 20, 2014

March 20, 2014 Golden Circle

The next morning we woke up refreshed and without much jet lag. We gathered all our materials, maps, and guides, and planned our route around the Golden Circle. After enjoying a European-style breakfast buffet (with fresh salmon) at the restaurant connected to the hotel we hit the road.

Rachel reviews our route

We drove about an hour or so and arrived at þingvellir National Park. We didn’t spend a lot of time wandering here as it was quite cold and windy, but the landscape and lake was quite dramatic.

Panorama of the lake at Þingvellir

Our route then led us to Geysir, one of the first documented geysers. This is actually the site where Europeans have traveled for hundreds of years to witness the natural phenomenon. We saw the Strokkur geyser erupt a few times while we were there and is the most commonly photographed (and mis-attributed) geyser in the area. The Great Geysir only erupts a few times each day.

Strokkur geysey erupts

From there we continued on to Gullfoss, a huge waterfall and one of the most popular attractions in Iceland.

Gulfoss waterfall in Iceland

The cliffs drop down in two stages creating a dramatic view. We were able to hike up along side it and also down into the canyon a bit. It was so icy that the trails were actually quite dangerous.

Rachel at Gulfoss

Instant noodles in the carBy now it was a little past lunch time and we took advantage of one of the best tips we received: in the morning fill up a thermos with hot water (its free and plentiful), stop at a gas station along the highway, buy instant noodles, and have a meal on-the-go as you sightsee. It worked out perfectly. Thanks, Sonya!

We circled down south to continue the circle and arrived at Kerið, a large volcanic crater.

Panorama of Kerið

It was formed after lava emptied from the chamber and the earth fall in on itself. It was an interesting sight to see and think about how it was formed.

Rachel on top of Kerið

On our way back up north towards Reykjavik we noticed a lot of steam near the ocean. As we drove up and over a pass we also saw a marker for the Hellisheiði Geothermal Power Plant which had an an exhibition. We decided to take an afternoon detour and go learn about Iceland’s primary source of energy.

Hellisheiði Geothermal Plant

This is the newest and largest plants on the island and the facilities are awesome. The literature and exhibition itself was very informative, as well. I’d highly recommend this stop.

Generators at Hellisheiði

We arrived back in town and had some dinner at The Laundromat Café. We learned that, yes, even the simplest meal is going to cost us about $20 per person. On the bright side, there’s no additional tip so its worked into the cost.

That evening, around 7 PM we met up with a large tour group to head out on a northern lights trip. All said, we had about 8 large tour busses driving out into the country (actually, right back past Hellisheiði where we were just a few hours ago). The evening started out cloudy so we stayed inside at a large event hall and went outside to check every so often. The clouds started to clear and we could start to see some green cloud-like whisps over the mountains. To the naked eye the lights looked like hazy green streaks slowly moving along the sky. The weather and clouds dampened the effect but we saw them! Some folks with time-lapse cameras and tripods snagged some awesome photos. After piling back on the busses and driving back, we made it to the hotel by 1:30 AM.

March 21, 2014

March 21, 2014 in southern Iceland

Our second “full day” had a pretty fun agenda: head south, hike a glacier, visit a waterfall, then visit another waterfall and go behind it. So, we packed our warm clothes, full ski jackets and pants, long underwear, hiking boots, YakTrax, and headed out.

We drove further south along the coast where it was warmer, but a bit windy. The drive towards the mountain range was a bit ominous but the landscape was dramatic. From the ocean the cliffs shot straight up and the wind brought snow all the way down from the peaks and volcanic range high above.

Southern coast along Highway 1

On our way to the glacier, we stopped to take a picture of Eyjafjallajökull, the volcano that erupted in 2012.

View of Eyjafjallajökull

We arrived at Solheimajokull and it was extremely windy. It was coming down hard and fast from the high peaks and nearly blew us over. As we got onto the glacier we hiked with YakTrax and stayed on the paths the local tour guides use to bring groups on.

Rachel adds her YakTrax for hiking the glacier

Hiking on the glacier was a fun experience. It’s such a big area of ice, it was awesome to look down and realize the canyon carved out below us, all the way to the ocean, was formed by what we were standing on.

Rachel and Devin on the Solheimajokull glacier

Since Solheimajokull was the furthest destination for the day, we turned back around to head back towards Reykjavik and snacked on some candy to tide us over until after our next adventures.

Black sand and soot on glacier ice

With just a few minutes of driving we arrived at the Skógafoss waterfall.

Rachel at the Skógafoss waterfall

We hiked up the stairs (seen in the background) and stood high above the waterfall and ocean below.

Panorama above Skógafoss

On our way back down, we ducked off onto a dirt path that threw us right in front of the waterfall. It was a dramatic sight. We were so close to the front of the fall the mist formed icicles all around us.

Devin and Rachel at Skógafoss

We then stood down beneath the fall. The rocks were a sheet of ice which made walking a challenge. We, and a number of other photographers, were able to snag some excellent photos, though.

Panorama at bottom of Skógafoss

Next we drove back towards the Seljalandsfoss waterfalls. Plural because the dramatic cliffs receive water from the peaks high above and the water falls off them all over the place. This specific waterfall is unique because the cave behind it has hallowed out so far back and wide you can hike up next to it and walk behind it.

Seljalandsfoss waterfalls

We decided to take the path less traveled and hike up beside the waterfall. The wind was so strong it literally blew the water on top of us. Instead of turning back and coming around the other side, we scurried down the rocks (again, YakTrax and waterproof jackets and pants were used here) and spent some time, quite literally, under the waterfall itself.

Rachel after the descent under the waterfall at Seljalandsfoss

After laughing about the whole experience and being quite pleased with our adventure, we took a few photos, went back to the car, stripped down and drove off with our instant noodles in-hand.

Rachel behind Seljalandsfoss

As we headed back and neared Hellisheiði again, we found ourselves in instant whiteout conditions. The dramatic passes and landscape mean you can be down on a dry road with grassy landscape and then climb a few hundred feet to be socked into a windy, snowy, cloud. Having driven over Vail Pass in Colorado, it was not unfamiliar territory. Fortunately this is quite literally one of two ways back to Reykjavik and the plows were out in full force, as well.

After putting all our clothes on all the radiators, we decided to try what seemed like a kitschy restaurant called “Lebowski Bar” for dinner. This was, as you might imagine, a bar dedicated to The Big Lebowski and specialized in hamburgers and “white russians” (in milkshake form). We actually really enjoyed it (who doesn’t love The Dude?!) and thank Sonya again for the recommendation.

March 22, 2014

March 22, 2014 in Iceland

Our last day in Iceland was also a day of dramatic extremes: in-water massages at Blue Lagoon and trying to buy gas at a gas station. These two were the least stressful to most stressful things I think we encountered in the whole trip.

Volcanic landscape in Iceland near Blue Lagoon

As we left our hotel and drove back towards the airport in the morning we stopped at Blue Lagoon as we had a 1 PM in-water massage.

Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon (Bláa lónið) is truly blue because of bacteria in the water that reflect the color blue. It was fairly surreal. The land also produces silica mud which, when applied to your face, has some sort of benefit?

After our amazing in-water massages, where we laid on a foam mattress and had a warm blanket draped over us, we showered and changed into our travel clothes. We filled up the rental car with gas (kinda, what a struggle) and dropped it off at the airport. We saw that a direct flight back to Denver was leaving around the same time so we saw what it would cost to change our flight. The answer was $2,000.

We flew back to Boston and landed around 6:30 PM. Nothing says “screw you” like going through US Border Patrol. While I understand the need for security, I wish returning to my own country was not the least welcoming and unfriendly experience when traveling.

We checked into our hotel, ordered room service, fell asleep, then woke up a few hours later and flew home to Denver the next morning at 7 AM. After throwing bags and bags of clothes in the laundry we looked back over our photos and remembered one of the best trips we’ve had together in a while.

Second Annual Denver Brewery Tour Weekend

For the second year in a row, I hosted some friends from the east coast on a tour of Colorado breweries.

The long weekend begun on Thursday, November 7, 2013 and contained over two dozen check-ins at various breweries, eateries, and coffee shops around the Denver metro area (and Fort Collins).

Thursday consisted of…

  • starting a late lunch at Euclid Hall, one of my favorite downtown restaurants with an excellent beer selection
  • then stopping by Prost Brewing before happy hour (where a lawyer meetup was convening?)
  • then Wynkoop Brewing Co. for some pre-dinner drinks
  • then swung by Lucky Pie in LoDo for some pizza and, yet again, good local beer

Friday included…

  • a (not early enough) start at Snooze, one of the busiest but tastiest spots for breakfast and brunch in downtown Denver
  • Crema, for a quick hipster-filled caffeine pick-me-up
  • a tour of the Stranahan’s distillery, some of the best whiskey made in Colorado
  • then swinging by Breckenridge Brewery’s 471 Kalamath location for some unique beers
  • then a stop by TRVE for some hard-core metal brews
  • followed by a stop-over at Renegade Brewing to have one of my local favorites: REDACTED
  • a delicious dinner at My Brother’s Bar, the oldest continually operating bar in Denver

Saturday comprised of…

Sunday wound down with:

  • a delicious, early breakfast at Sassafras, quality southern cooking
  • Crema again, for good measure
  • a trip to Epic Brewing, the prettiest warehouse and tasting room in River North
  • Crooked Stave at The Source, the best sour beers in the best cluster of butchers, bakers, and restaurants in River North
  • Mile High Spirits, a great menu of local-made spirits
  • Our Mutual Friend, with one of my favorite ‘session’ beers around

All in all, looking back at this list it was a busy weekend with a lot of quality stops along the way. If you’re in Denver, I highly recommend checking out any and all of these venues.


Some of my writing has been featured over on the Breckenridge Connection blog again for GoBreck (the chamber of commerce). This time I looked at the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day holiday and highlighted some events and venues for celebrating the day of food and feast (the best kind of day, in my opinion). Click through to read the post on


I remember years ago when the Great Divide tasting room was a small, cozy spot where you could wander in and sample three excellent beers for free. When they expanded the room (took out an entire wall) and started charging $1 per sample I thought the two events were related. From PJ over at Denver off the Wagon:

In the middle of 2011, Great Divide realized they had an interesting problem. People had learned that small samples of the beer were free, and on a Friday night would pour into the taproom, slam a flight of high octane brew, and wander off to other locations of lesser repute. Call them frugal or hyenas, these were not the patrons the brewery hoped would fill their bar stools on a Friday evening. But what could a fledgling, 17 year old brewery do? To charge for samples would be disingenuous to their fans, friends, and future followers. To keep them free would be to attract these hooligans of the night.

This is a great example of how putting up the right “barriers” can help improve your business (plus more excellent local writing from the folks over at DOTW).


We’re planning to head to Breckenridge and Vail in September for their respective Oktoberfests. This is my favorite time of the year and after these 100-degree days I’m very ready to start wearing sweaters.


An amazing rebuttal to everything I’ve come to know and appreciate about milk (good for you, drink lots of it, etc.) over at

Sugar — in the form of lactose — contributes about 55 percent of skim milk’s calories, giving it ounce for ounce the same calorie load as soda.

I remember reading (can’t remember where) how humans are the only animals that have adapted to continue to drink milk after their adolescence.

The “Tebow”ne Shot

If you’ve watched any football lately you’d know we and the media all love Tim Tebow and his on-field down-on-one-knee prayers during the games.

Well, have you heard of the “Tebow”ne shot? I hadn’t either until the other night when we visited a local pub here in Denver (specializing in meats), Euclid Hall, with some friends.

Since Tebow’s signature move is ripe for emulating and very topical (all the cool kids are doing it), here’s a little bar trick to teach your friends:

  • place an order for a “shot” of your choosing
  • finish off your tasty bone marrow appetizer, save the bone
  • get down on one knee with the bone and the shot
  • tilt head back, open mouth
  • pour said shot down aforementioned bone into mouth

There you have it, the “Tebow”ne (get it? T-bone!) shot. If anything, it’s fun to describe to people, but even more entertaining if you’re looking for some attention…