Suddenly after a life long dry spell, burger places are popping up everywhere. There is a food revolution going on in Amsterdam! I didn't think I needed to eat burgers anywhere except The Butcher, but when I saw people in the windows of Geflipt gorging themselves on giant "it takes two hands to hold" kinda burgers, I knew it was time to do some tasting.
|See NOS clip here|
I decided to tell the truth, naturally. He asked me what I thought of my burger and I said, (as I wiped my mouth with the back of my hand) "Well, not sure why the lettuce is on the bottom of the burger, shouldn't it be on top?" "Are you American? he says. (I nod and roll my eyes at the same time, which isn't easy to do by the way. I hope they didn't catch that bit on film.) "Well, we are trying to hold in the juices of the burger with the lettuce." "Uh-huh, and what's the deal with the fried egg?" "That is the way they do it in Argentina." "Really? (raised eyebrows) Well, you can hold the egg and I like CRUNCHY lettuce, so other than that, it just may be the best burger I have had in Amsterdam." Big smiles all around and the cameraman zooms in on me trying to hold this massive dripping mess in my hands. For the record, that lettuce leaf didn't hold a candle to that quarter pounder. Anyway, it was delicious and so were the fries and the groovy soft drinks in hip bottles or order up a beer to help guzzle it all down. Coffee also available.
Overall good food and a nice atmosphere right on the edge of de Pijp across from the Albert Cuyp Market. Easy stop on the way into town or back from it. Check it.
Van Woustraat 15
+31 20 471 4590
This week went a lot differently then I had thought it would. I am glad it's over. When I used to ride the 9-5 year in and year out, I remember looking forward to Friday for so many reasons, casual Friday back in Beverly Hills, cocktails right after work (and in L.A. we would go to Mexican places because the margs were giant & strong, plus the happy hour spread alone was enough for dins,) dancing at the clubs all night (my fave), sleeping sinfully all next day, and of course, the preparation for Saturday night, which we call DATE NIGHT in the States.
(Isn't it in Goodfellas that Ray Liotta talks about Friday night as "mistress night" and Saturday night as date night (with the wives?) I think so. I'm a bit of both. Yeah sure, I'm married, but I go to Salsa parties on Fridays and hang with Mr. Man the next night. He plays footy on Fridays anyway, so its great to have Saturday night to look forward to, as well as the heavenly promise of Sunday.)
Inside de Hallen
Whether it's your wife or your girlfriend, or just a friend, head on over to De Hallen for dinner and a movie, the classic date night. They also have all kinds of super cool studios and happenings over there. If you wanna get fancy-schmancy, you know I can go either way, but I must admit I tried Meat West before my film. It was a special occasion and you know how much I love to taste. Every detail was perfect and they made all my wishes come true. However, I think for an ordinary date night, I would definitely stay in the halls and grab some easy food because the vibe is super hip & definitely buzzing. Can't wait to get back there and taste everything.
Have a great weekend and be careful out there.
|Inside Meat West, with views of De Hallen all 'round|
|Shrimp & Scallops|
|I just LOVE date night.|
Look what I made! This is my first time ever making Boerenkool! What is it? It's GREEN MASH with a giant sausage on top. That's it. Actually, it is a Stamppot, which can be made from kale, endive, spinach, turnip greens, carrots, onions and potatoes, of course. Basically, you boil the hell out everything in one pot, then you mash the whole thing up (stamp-pot) and serve everyone a large bowl of the mash with a piece of sausage or stewed meat w/gravy on top. You can also add Lardons (spekjes) for extra flavor. Easy Peasy
I decided to master some Dutch recipes this fall. Many say that the Dutch do not really have a cuisine and, its true, we are not dealing with the same gastronomy gusto as say, the Italians, but being that the Dutch are generally healthy people and the tallest in the world, they must be doing something right. Right?
So, if you feel like foraging into Dutch Cuisine, here is a very easy, delicious recipe that you can try this weekend. Oh yeah, by the way, if you go to a Hema which has a market in it, like the one here in De Pijp, you will see a display case with all the things you need to make Boerenkool. You know the Hema is famous for their smoked sausages (rookworst)? That is why it smells like that in the all the stores. Tip: Make sure to get the the lean sausage (magere) as it is a lot less fatty.
Ingredients: Kale, Potatoes, butter, salt & pepper, red chili flakes, parsley and 1 smoked sausage.
Wash the kale and chop finely, about 2-3 handfuls for what you see above, or more if you like your mash really, really green.
Meanwhile boil a small of water (1inch/2,54cm) in a large pot, add salt.
When boiling, add the kale, cover and let simmer for about 10-12 mins.
Meanwhile, peel, rinse and cut potatoes into med size pieces. Use about 10-12 med size potatoes.
*You can easily adjust the quantities of potatoes and vegetables. The quantities above are for about 4 large servings.
Add potatoes, give the pot a stir, add a little bit more boiling water if necessary. You don't want to cover the vegetables with water. You want enough water to create steam. Finally, add the smoked sausage on top and continue to boil/steam for another 12-15 mins+ as necessary.
Use a fork to check if the potatoes are cooked through.
Pour off excess water.
Add a chunk of butter, sea salt & freshly ground pepper, light sprinkling of red chili flake, parsley and mash the greens with the potatoes. Keep mashing, tasting and correcting the seasonings. I like it buttery and tasty. Potatoes can be very bland, so the red chili flake gives the potatoes a lift without being spicy.
Optional: Fry up your lardons and add to the mash.
Optional: I made a little bit of beef jus and served it on the side.
Serve in a bowl with a piece of sausage on top. Pair with a Pinot Noir and maybe a salad of greens, beets, feta and strawberries.
*Did you know that the Dutch used to live in tepee type dwellings? They would have a fire in the center of the tepee and hang a pot from the roof. This is why they made everything in one pot!
Have a great weekend!
Just back from a long weekend in Norway and I am still totally blown away by how beautiful it is there. We landed and drove straight to our friends' generations old farmhouse replete with lake. I slept like a baby in a cradle bed in the living room while the boys went out exploring. A delicious fish soup and hearty bread followed by a long night in front the fire with friends and nips & nibbles. Purrrrfect.
|The Farmhouse and guesthouse|
Next day the train ride to the city of Stavanger and more fish was to be had on the harbor at an ordinary, yet extraordinary, place that left me drooling. Fisketorgot is a fishmonger and a restaurant with a seething aquarium full of lobster right on the harbor. Seriously delicious. The soup and the carrot cake are highly recommended.
|Gorging at Fisketorget; crab, sashimi, salmon and carrot cake!|
|Looking over the Stavanger Harbor from the Tower|
|The Valberg tower was the former observation tower of Stavanger.|
|Loved the design and architecture, which just like in Holland, combines tradition with modern.|
|A night walk through Stavanger reminded me of SF's hills.|
Finally a Sunday afternoon boat ride to the spectacular fjords, which are long inlets of water bordered by high mountains, originally formed by glaciers. I honestly felt like I was in God's Country. Absolutely breathtaking.
|A hearty shrimp omelet at Solo Strand Hotel and a refreshing beach walk before going home. This hotel has a spa and tennis courts, only 5 mins from the airport.|
|Modern beach house with the view below.|
Did anyone see David Byrne & Michel Lambot speak at the Concertgebouw Saturday night? Hosted by the John Adams Institute, the premise of the evening "Are Musicians an Endangered Species in the Digital World?
The event had a good start, but by Q&A time it seemed that our questions were not really being answered and the premise never seemed to be addressed. Perhaps we were venturing too far into the future to be able to speculate with any degree of certainty? Nevertheless, I expected more than what I walked away with, but very much enjoyed seeing this famous musician in person.
David Byrne's book "How Music Works" is now available in Dutch as "Hoe Muziek Werkt". He claims that the chapters are independent of one another and that they do not need to be read in sequence. If you are not interested in a chapter, he says, by all means skip it. My curiosity is definitely piqued. Preview the book here.
I really have come to enjoy Dutch Design and as you might know, I attend the Woonbeurs every year to snoop around and see what's new. I no longer camp out for the day like I did in the early years. Now, I just pop in and whiz around to see some favorite magazine installations (VT Wonen, Ariadne at Home, Eigen Huis) and maybe grab a coffee along the way. I also enjoy stopping by the kitchen area, although Bulthaup hasn't shown in a few years now, so that I can also grab some free nibbles.
If you didn't get a chance to see the Woonbeurs this year, here are some things I saw. Also, today is the start of Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven (DDW 2014). Check it out if you can.