ask Victoria about
Gourmet coffee • Culture • Vintage shopping • clothes shopping • Traditional food • Swedish food • Trendy bars
What do you do and why do you do it?
I'm a Ph.D. student in experimental psychology and a novelist. Ph.D.-wise, I study morality and empathy. That means I really like thinking about how people decide what's right and what's wrong, and how people understand what others are thinking and feeling. I really like asking the big questions about the mind. It's such a difficult subject to study because the variables are tricky to define, but that's why I like it! You have to be creative when designing experiments and interpreting data. As a novelist, I just finished writing a long science fantasy book set in an alternate future ... with magic.
You’re broken hearted - what tracks does your heartbreak playlist consist of?
Lorde - "Green Light," Frank Turner - "Plain Sailing Weather," Ingrid Michaelson - "The Chain," Faust - "Tell That Bitch to Go Home"
What are the best TV shows of all time?
Breaking Bad, obviously! And Game of Thrones also has to be mentioned. I'm also a huge fan of American Gods and Jessica Jones. Kilgrave terrifies me.
Name some spots in Stockholm that are good for a Tinder date.
I like coffee shops for this, because you get to actually talk to your date but you have an easy escape if things don't go so well. Johan & Nyström in Södermalm is an old favorite. Plus if your date works out you can move to Morfar Ginkgo, a fantastic bar which is just down the street!
Who’s your hero and where in Stockholm would you take them out for a serious hang?
This is going to sound dorky, but my dad is my hero. He's always been there for me, and he's way more patient than I am! When my dad visits me in Stockholm, I take him to the park at Långholmen. It's nice to relax under the trees and look out over the water. You have a great view of Kungsholmen and Gamla Stan from here. There's a small beach where people will bring their dogs to swim, so if you're a dog person you can watch the puppies play while you drink wine on a rock and talk with your hero. Later I'd take my dad to get Bengali street food at Shanti Gossip in SoFo and then beer at Akkurat near Slussen.
Where do you buy those fabulous clothes of yours?
Monki. It's really inexpensive and you can find them all over the place. There's one in Hötorget near city center, for example, and another in Södermalm. If you have cash to spare, I recommend Grandpa in SoFo. Alternatively, near Grandpa is Pop, a secondhand vintage clothing store where you can find funky hats, glorious fur coats, suspenders, and every pair of sunglasses I own.
What’s the area/ spot in town you’ll never be caught dead in?
Gamla Stan is crowded with tourists on weekends. It's a nightmare trying to fight the crowds just to get to Cafe Dox for your weekly socialist meetup group. I try to avoid the main streets near the T-bana station, which are filled with tacky souvenir shops. There are a couple exceptions, like Cafe Dox (as mentioned) and the Ardbeg Embassy (I'm a scotch snob), but if I want good food I'd rather go to Vasastan or Södermalm, and if I want pretty architecture the area between nearby Slussen and Mariatorget is gorgeous. If you want to see the old town but get away from the crowds, head north past the palace to explore residential streets.
What’s the thing you LOVE to do in your city that you never get to do?
I love to go to Mälarpaviljongen with my dog and get a sparkling rose wine, sit out on the water, and watch the sun set. I really only like this when it's the off season though, because it can get busy in summer when the weather is nice. But in winter and autumn/spring they have heaters and blankets!
What’s the most decadent / extreme dish you ever ate in Stockholm and where did you get it?
It only sounds decadent to non-Swedes, but the reindeer meatballs at Meatballs for the People in Södermalm are incredible!
Is there a hidden bar / hole in the wall in Stockholm that you particularly like?
Restaurant Kryp In in Gamla Stan is small, off the main streets, and has delicous food. I also really like the falafel stand in Medborgarplatsen and the hamburger stand near Stadsbiblioteket.
What’s the most expensive restaurant / spa / hotel you’ve ever been to in Stockholm? How much did it cost and what did you get there?
This isn't completely crazy, but I do really like to go to the Greasy Spoon for brunch. A breakfast entree, mimosa, and coffee will set you back 350 kr! I recommend the blueberry scotch pancakes, any of their special eggs benedicts (especially hoisin duck!), and their fresh squeezed juices.
What restaurant in Stockholm looks crap, but the food’s amazing?
Shanti Gossip in Södermalm is tiny and can be hard to find, but it's the best food in the city that doesn't come with a Michelin star attached. It's Bengali street food. I don't know how authentic it is, since I've never been to Bangladesh, but I know it's delicious.
Where can you get the best cocktail in Stockholm? Which one do you like?
The bartenders at Morfar Ginkgo make a mean old fashioned. Ask for Woodford Reserve bourbon. Otherwise, my friend Irem loves their White Russians.
Where would you take your partner in Stockholm if you wanted to really pamper them?
I would rent a floating sauna on the archipelago from Bastuflotten.
Which snacks can you only get in your country, and which ones do you recommend?
These are popular all over Scandinavia, but you have to try saltlakrits. It's a salty-tasting liquorice flavored with ammonia. Yes, you read that right. You will love it or you will hate it, but I promise you won't be ambivalent.
What’s the one place you think is overrated in Stockholm?
Gamla Stan is nice, but you don't need to spend your entire trip there. Same for Sandhamn and Vaxholm on the archipelago - go check out a smaller island, like Grinda!
What’s the one place you think is underrated in Stockholm?
There's a hipster soda shop in Södermalm called Soda Nation. As a self-professed diet coke addict, this place is my kryptonite. They have sodas from all over the world, and all of them are delicious.
What are the Stockholm spots a first-time visitor can’t miss?
There is a bridge between Södermalm and Gamla Stan that gives you an incredible view of the old town and the setting sun. I take everyone who visits me here.
Tomorrow’s your last day in Stockholm. How do you spend it?
I go to the Greasy Spoon or Pom & Flora for breakfast, then to Mellqvist Kaffebar to get my favorite oat milk cappuccino and chat with the cool baristas there. Then I do one last tour through Södermalm and northern Gamla Stan, take photos of any touristy things I don't usually pay attention to, and get lunch at Shanti Gossip in SoFo. After that, I take my dog swimming in Långholmen and drink a beer or wine while looking out over the water. For dinner, I'd hang out with my friends and picnic in the park, then get drinks at Morfar Ginkgo. I'd wrap it all up with a night out at Trädgården, Slakthuset, or UnderBrön-best nightclubs in the city!
What’s your favorite vacation city in the world and why?
Ljubljana! Gorgeous architecture in the old town, good food, rich history, an anarchist enclave, canals, mountainous landscape, and not too many tourists. All the things I like.