Thursday, September 2, 2010

Lisa Eats In Amsterdam

Guest posting from Amsterdam has got to be among the more glamorous things I can think of.  Lisa is a good friend who frequently travels from her hometown, in Ohio, to Amsterdam for work.  While there, she eats well and leaves me salivating at the descriptions of her meals.  Very kindly, she agreed to guest post for me about the types of food she encounters in the Netherlands.  Lisa is an avid reader and writer of a great book review blog, which is full of excellent ideas for a good read.  

Greetings from Amsterdam!  My name is Lisa and I first met Julie when she played tour guide for me in New Orleans.  She’s very lucky to live in such a terrific food city – there is so much good food in New Orleans!  I work for a Dutch company with facilities all over the world.  I have been lucky enough to visit all of our labs in the US, and they are in great food cities like Los Angeles (had the best ramen there) and Houston (burgers at Beaver’s and oysters at Gilhooley’s) and Philadelphia (sushi at Morimoto’s).  But lately, I’ve been in Amsterdam and one of the things I love about this city is the food…but not the Dutch food.

On my first visit here, my boss told me that the Dutch National Cuisine consisted of bar snacks, and I did fall in love with bitterballen, little meat or mushroom croquettes that you dip in mustard and wash down with good Belgian beer.  One of our favorite ways to dine here is to walk from plein to plein, stopping for beer and bitterballen at any outdoor café with an empty seat.  It’s a lovely way to spend the evening.

The thing I really love about dining out in Amsterdam is the variety – you can find cuisine from all over the world, all right at the end of your fork.  Within just a short walk of our hotel there is terrific Indonesian, Italian, Japanese and North African food.  There’s an Irish pub, an Argentine steakhouse and a Hard Rock café with good old American burgers.  We’ve passed places serving falafel, sushi and baby back ribs, all along the same street.  There are Greek, Catalan, Chinese, Morrocan, Peruvian, Malayan and Indian restaurants; I’m trying to talk my boss into taking us to FLO Amsterdam for French food, because I don’t want this place on my expense report!  Later this week, I’m planning to try a Surinamese restaurant, because I don’t think I’ve ever seen one back in the states and I am really curious.

We also lucked into some great fine dining.  Last week was a special week for the restaurants in Amsterdam, according to the hostess at Elkaar.  The restaurants put together special tasting menus and there is a website where you can sign up for discounts and make reservations.  We were fortunate that they had an empty spot, because it was the best meal I’ve had in Amsterdam.  They brought us amuse bouche of cream of courgette (zucchini) soup topped with a bell pepper foam, along with a roll of beef tenderloin and duck liver, topped with a soy cream sauce. My starter was wine-roasted veal with caper mayonnaise and a veal tartare topped with a baked quail egg. My main course was a bone-in farmhouse chicken with haricots verts, a green bean mousse, confit of chicken and a dutch-style whipped potato topped with tiny mushrooms. For dessert I had a mille feuille filled with a vanilla yogurt cream sauce and red fruit, champagne sabayon and dotted with intensely-flavored dollops of sauce - green apple and black raspberry.  Absolutely fabulous food!

For someone who loves to try new things, this city is restaurant heaven.  You can really find just about anything you’d like to try…as long as you aren’t looking for Dutch food.


The Beans September 7, 2010 at 8:58 AM  

Oh, God. Food...I hope you go to the French restaurant!

-French Bean

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