Snack Trek: A Tale of Two Aebleskivers (Solvang, CA)

Aebleskivers and fruit at The Little Mermaid restaurant.

Happy Holidays! Sam and I spent the last few days driving up and down the California coast (between Los Angeles and Monterey), and one of our last stops was the quirky town of Solvang, CA– it’s supposed to be a little slice of Denmark, but turned out to be a melting pot of Danish, Dutch, Belgian… you know, European places where you expect to find blonde people with charming accents.

Everywhere I go, I like to try whatever food is considered the specialty. In Solvang, it’s the aebleskiver– a spherical pancake. We sampled aebleskivers from not one, but TWO local spots.

First we hit up The Little Mermaid, a restaurant that is more Hans Christian Andersen than Disney. (They heavily feature the famous Danish statue.)

Charmed, I'm sure.

For $6, we got a plate of three aebleskivers, with whipped cream and fresh fruit. We also got a little bowl of raspberry jam, to accompany our dough-balls.

Aebleskiver innards.

I’m not always on board when it comes to raspberry-based foods, but I enjoyed the raspberry jam. (Later I felt a bit ill– maybe from the sweetness– but I got over it in time for the next round.)

After some walking about, we hit up the Solvang Restaurant, where the aebleskivers are so popular that you don’t even have to go inside to order them– you can grab a few at a walk-up window. (And also watch them being cooked in their little pans– cool.)

Solvang Restaurant's aebleskiver operation.

Zoom in…

Now you can see the pans.

Apparently the aebleskivers here are the handiwork of some man named Arne. On the Solvang Restaurant website, you can read his somewhat nonsensical explanation of the aebleskiver. (Sample line: “Aebleskiver are a delicacy, supposedly invented by some Dane back in history.” Really? How specific!)

For $3.40, you get three aebleskivers in a food truck-esque paper container.

Arne's famous aebleskivers. Supposedly invented by some Dane back in history.

I expected aebleskivers to be like donut holes– greasy, sticky, etc. But they were actually light and fluffy. The ones at The Little Mermaid were in some places a bit crisp on the outside, and if this had been a contest they might have won, by a narrow margin.

I liked that one of my Arne’s aebleskivers had a little pocket of air in it.


If you want a sit-down dining experience (and some fruit), The Little Mermaid wasn’t crowded, and had an old-timey charm. (And you can order other food.) If you want your aebleskivers on-the-go, Solvang Restaurant’s take-out window is for you. (Or you can also go inside and sit down. I’m sure they have old-timey charm, too.) (Basically, it’s a toss-up.)

Maybe later I’ll blog about the other specialties I tried on the trip– did you know that Monterey is famous for its sanddabs? (Did you know that sanddabs existed?)

In case I don’t blog again for a few days… Happy New Year! In 2012, I’m going to make my own frozen yogurt! Watch out, world.


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