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Monday, August 6


There is no excuse for this so I better get right to it.

There have been multiple trips in this time away from blogosphere. One was to Amsterdam. YES, Amsterdam!

We flew into the city on Friday midmorning and planned to make it a short weekend getaway. And boy was it a short weekend. We stayed at an apartment through AirBnB, those unfamiliar with this site, it’s very much like couchsurfing.  And if you’re not familiar with that also, you (most of the time but not always) rent a room in someone’s apartment and stay with “hosts.”  It’s usually very casual and can include breakfast and other fancy amenities but it doesn’t always.  Unfortunately for us, this particular apartment on AirBnB was not very nice. When we arrived, the apartment was a hot mess, I mean really messy.  The husband of the couple showed us to our room and explained the basic format.  Fortunately our room was clean and we had access to the balcony.  We were also a bit surprised with the apartment’s proximity to the city, too far! It was a good 20- 25 minute tram ride to the heart of the city.  While he was chatting with us, his wife came home with their young baby and shared with us some food recommendations.  The few great things for this place were 1. We had the place to ourselves because the couple and their baby were traveling to Paris for 3 weeks on Saturday.  So although we paid for one room, we got the whole apartment 2. It had a fantastic balcony that we used and 3. The food recommendations from the couple were excellent.

So, Amsterdam has Dutch food, obviously, but it also does Surinamese, Indonesian and other ethnic foods really well.  If you’re like me, you’d ask, why? (without much thought of it).  To answer simply, Dutch had many colonies and in the process of colonizing those countries, they brought back the foods and culture of those places.  Suriname is a small country in South America.  In 1667, the Dutch traded a city called New Amsterdam for Suriname with the English in the Treaty of Breda.  And this was an ideal arrangement for the Dutch because they were able to reclaim their sugar factories in Suriname.  Fun fact- that city known as New Amsterdam is present day New York City.  I bet the Dutch are still pissed off about the exchange.   So Surinamese food is one of the best we tried.  It’s definitely influenced by Indian food because a large portion of Surinamese population is of the Indian descent.  Wiki has all kinds of information on why that is.

Our first evening’s dinner was at a hole in a wall joint called Roopram Roti.  When we arrived, there was a line out the door, a definite sign of the restaurant.  The owner of this place has multiple locations including one in India.  We each ordered a platter; the husband got chicken with roti and I got lamb with roti.  Each platter comes with sides of 2 vegetables, always potatoes and green beans.  The chicken and lamb curries are cooked in a special sauce while the vegetables are cooked in their individual spices and are perfect complement to the main meat serving.  (Veggie platters include a larger portion of potatoes and green beans which I highly recommend for a meatless meal.)   The potatoes reminded us of aloo subji, if that’s any reference.   The rotis are the clear standouts; filled with grinded lentils and spices, they taste great by themselves but paired with meats and/or vegetables are mouthwateringly tasty.  Due to the large demand of the rotis, we noticed two women managing a sturdy machine cranking out perfectly round, flat rotis.  We enjoyed this place so much we returned another day (upon a recommendation from another customer) for a roti roll.  In this the roti is filled with meat and veggies and wrapped like a burrito for a fast food version.

One morning for breakfast we tried Dutch Pancakes at Pancakes!, also a lovely experience.  I ordered a cheese pancake and he ordered one with spinach, goat cheese, pine nuts and balsamic.  The pancakes are large, thin, round pancakes made with a savory (or sweet) batter.  Mine was crispy on the outside and soft and cheesy on the inside.  His was very flavorful with the cheese and balsamic.  Both were delightful.  It’s a very small restaurant and fills up fast so be ready to wait or get there at opening for seats.

BurgerMeester is a place that specializes in burgers.  On menu they have about 8 burgers.  We went there with a mission to get a lamb burger that would knock our socks off.  And BurgerMeester delivered.  We haven’t been able to get any lamb (or turkey) burgers in Germany so when I read about this place I had to have it on my list.  Thankfully it lived up to all its hype.  I asked the server how they served lamb burgers and she said well-done.  Her precise explanation, due to many Americans complaining about their burgers being “raw in the middle” or “undercooked”, they started serving well-done burgers.  I laughed.  Oh Americans.  So we both asked for our burgers medium and we got just that.  Mine was topped with lettuce, tomato, red onion compote and cheese and his was topped with chorizo, jalapenos and cheese.

Greenwoods is a sweet little breakfast/brunch place on Singel 103. There are two locations and we were at this one.  It’s a very small place with 8 small tables and space for outdoor seating.  I ordered an eggs benedict and he ordered an English breakfast which came with baked beans, scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon and homemade Irish soda bread.  We ordered coffee but many others were ordering tea so I am sure they are also known for it.  The eggs benedict were tasty but I was surprised one of the poached eggs was well done while the other still had a runny yolk; not much to complain about when the overall breakfast is tasty.  We especially liked that both servers were really sweet and helpful. 

Here is good blog writing and journalism going bad.  Thankfully, I didn’t apply for that reporting job in Fiji because I would’ve failed.  We tried a restaurant for lunch that’s worth noting but I have no idea what the name is.  I will explain exactly where it is and what it’s around if you wanted to go there.  But first the food.  Upon entering at 2pm on Friday and hoping to get some food we asked if they still offered lunch, she nodded and seated us.  She offered the À la carte menu and suggested a 2-course or 3- course lunch where the chef picks the courses.  We decided on the 2-course with one contingency, no beef.  Our first course was a salad of frisee served with thinly sliced pork and herbed butter dressing.  The pork was, I believe, sous vide.  I can’t recall having pork in this form before and it didn’t taste like it was pan fried, roasted or braised.  It was perfectly done and the flavors all melded together. Our 2nd course was pan fried cod over vegetables floating in a broth.  The veggies included potatoes, carrots and sea beans.  The sea beans were new for both of us and outstanding.  He doesn’t care for fish skin but after trying it in its crispy form here he devoured it.  Overall this place is very good.  Pricey but good.  So the restaurant is in an area called Javaplein and behind Badhuis.  (Badhuis used to be a bath house but now is converted to a restaurant.) 

Finally an Indonesian place that we were excited to try.  Most Indonesian restaurants are listed as pricey in Amsterdam because of the way the food is served.  Many even recommend sharing the main entrees with another person to valuable experience.  We went to Café Kadijk for our last meal of the trip. It’s a split level restaurant in a quieter neighborhood, with friendly staff.  When we were there the bartender split his time serving and bartending.  The husband ordered the traditional rice table and I ordered the eggs and shrimp dish (it’s listed in appetizer course).  The rice table comes with rice, chicken curry, pork curry and maybe beef curry with pickled veggies.  (It’s a large plate hence the suggestion to share.) I wasn’t in the mood for all that meat so I let the husband tackle it on his own.  Thankfully Café Kadijk’s rice table portion was small enough to order for one. The eggs and shrimp dish was good but nothing extraordinary. It was a good meal and worth returning to if we were in the mood for the rice table.

Thai Bird is a Thai place in the city that we tried after reading many reviews online.  It’s pricey and the food was just okay.  I wouldn’t recommend it but the lines out the door would suggest otherwise.

I loved Amsterdam’s food culture and would return to eat some of the good foods we had and didn't try.


  1. We haven’t been able to get any lamb (or turkey) burgers in Germany so when I read about this place I had to have it oWe haven’t been able to get any lamb (or turkey) burgers in Germany so when I read about this place I had to have it on my list.

    I am on a mission to try lamb burgers here in Regensburg! We've bought ground lamb imported from New Zealand, frozen (naturally) and found it to have a metallic taste we didn't care for. I've bought lamb scraps from butchers at the farmers' market and ground them into lamb myself (after trimming them), but that's a lot of work. Over the past month I've sought out ground lamb at the same farmers' market butchers twice here and they've been sold out even at 9:15 in the morning on a I placed an order for a kilo.

    If it yields yumminess, I'll buy more to turn into lamb sausages and burgers and kofta and anything else that strikes my fancy. I'll let you know!

  2. That sounds fantastic Cliff, hope you are successful! The lamb I've seen at Karstadt (from New Zealand) is expensive and usually never ground so I've passed on that before. I've also seen Irish Lamb but again not ground so I don't bother.

    There is one turkish grocery shop I frequent and they have ground beef available as well as lamb cuts, but never any ground lamb available. I am surprised, however, they have a meat grinder and lamb parts and yet decline my request to grind it. Unlike you, I am not so lucky to have a grinder though that may not be a bad investment. (the hand crancked one)

    If your efforts are worth it, we may just come over to your place. :)