This year's trip to London included a weekend jaunt to Amsterdam. 2 days in Amsterdam isn't nearly enough time to see all that the city has to offer. But... I did my best. Here's a recap of the weekend in Amsterdam, as told by my belly.
The trip to Amsterdam had been a long one. By the time I reach my room, I'm exhausted and a bit frazzled. The bottle of wine and tasty crackers my host has laid out looks like mannah from heaven to me.
Shortly after I hit the streets of Amsterdam, I've already made a new friend. Frankie, a Surinamese Dutch guy. Frankie introduces me to Romeo - the cook in a Surinamese bar/restaurant in central Amsterdam.
And Romeo introduces me to Surinamese food. I can't identify half of the items on the plate, but I enjoy every bit of it. There's some pickled veggies going on here, along with a spicy sauce and plantains.
I would have asked Romeo more about the food, but I know better than to try to get a guy's attention when football is on. The bar is packed with older gents watching (and loudly yelling at) the evening's soccer match. Frankie, Romeo, and everyone else in the room is enthralled. I am invisible. Which is great. 'Cause nobody needs to witness my assault on this food.
After dinner, Frankie plays tour guide for the next few hours. He walks me around most of central Amsterdam, pointing out street names and points of interest that I need to remember when I'm on my own tomorrow. I pretend like every street name he makes me repeat doesn't sound exactly like the last one. I sometimes have difficulty understanding Frankie's English because of his accent, but after a while, I tire of asking him to repeat himself. A little past midnight, my head is spinning from it all. I suggest we stop for coffee. Frankie takes me to a little Middle Eastern eatery with really, really good coffee. I take sips of coffee and stare appreciatively in silence at rotating, shiny meat.
Frankie moves like a hummingbird. I feel lucky I convinced him to stand still long enough for me to get this pic. My friend Regina had previously asked me to take a pic of the Amsterdam Hard Rock Cafe. Two birds.
The next morning, I'm up early to make the most of the day. I was out with Frankie 'til almost 2 am. When I spy this fruit market on my morning walk, the colors are so bright against the overcast Amsterdam sky, I think I must be sleepwalking.
The clerk at the fruit market describes these berries as 'the lovechild of a raspberry and a strawberry'. I cop some. He's right.
By this time, I'd been sightseeing by foot and by boat. Time for a snack.
Lovely people, the Dutch. Can't for the life of me figure out why they (or anyone) would want to do this to their fries. Ech.
That's more like it. Perfectly prepared by a man in a lab coat. I secretly dub him, Professor Fry Guy.
My view of the table top at Pancakes! Amsterdam.
I'd intended to come to Pancakes! Amsterdam for breakfast, but by the time I make it there, it's well after lunch. I decide to skip the more breakfast-y American pancakes and go for a Dutch pancake. It's more of a crepe-style pancake with a choice of sweet or savory toppings. The English version of the Pancakes! Amsterdam website claims that they also have "Glutton free" pancakes available. I wasn't interested.
For my last meal of the weekend, I thought I'd try a rijsttafel - a sort of smorgasbord of Indonesian dishes served with rice. Not the best plate of food ever. But a decidedly flavorful end to the trip.