Begun in Finland in 2011, Restaurant Day is a food carnival when anyone can open a restaurant for a day. Now it’s spread all over the world, and once every three months hundreds of unique restaurants, cool food concepts and innovative eating designs unfurl across the globe, all on the same day.
My good friend Cathrine helped bring Restaurant Day to Denmark in time for the one this past August. We met in July at the awesome urban beekeeping venture Bybi, which sets up hives around the city and trains unemployed people how to keep bees and set up a business. I was picking up some bee brood for our research at the lab, and she was touring some designers from Idea Couture around interesting food ventures in Copenhagen. I offered to show them some of what we’re working on at the lab and the rest is history.
Once Cathrine started telling me about Restaurant Day I wanted to get involved right away. It’s a fantastic concept, giving people the opportunity to get creative with food, eating, and design. What is also really interesting to me is how the project can also serve as a platform for furthering the discourses around urban land use, public/private space, socio-economics and immigrant communities in the modern urban landscape. It’s also a delicious adventure and a lot of fun.
Cathrine and I spent the afternoon roaming the city with her boyfriend Ole and several friends. The day was sunny and hot.
We met up at a gourmet hot-dog stand in Nørrebro.
Pølse is the Danish sausage-in-a-bun and believe you me, they can be fantastic. Enjoyed at mis-matched chairs and a kitchen table in the street and it tastes like joyful reclamation.
From there, a bike down to Vesterbro for some veggie enchiladas.
Served out of a window. Colourful flags are a theme.
Then a quick trip to Cathrine’s place in Vesterbro to set up her own cookie stand or, in her own words, ‘Småkage Take-Away’.
Big bright paper bags of cookies, tied up with string.
A småkage is a cookie (lit. ‘small cake’) and these ones were definitely something special, pressed on a special iron in the tradition from Cathrine’s hometown of Kolding on Jutland.
We hung out at the Take-Away for a bit, sharing some cookies, watching people pass. One girl rolled up in a car with her whole family right when it opened, taking five bags to go. Not too shabby.
Our appetites re-whetted, we made for Den Røde Muslinge (‘The Red Mussel’) near Kongens Nytorv in the centre of town.
Mussels for dinner.
The restaurant takes over the whole courtyard, tables everywhere and big groups. We eat on a door cum tabletop.
And still there is light!
On the bridge to Nørrebro across the lakes, a friend has set up ‘Boble Bussen’ (‘The Bubble Bus’), pouring a beautiful blush crémant he makes himself.
Bubbly on a bridge with friends and extra cookies. Life doesn’t get much better.