Friday, June 14, 2019

Het Groene Paleis

We walked by Het Groene Paleis a lot when we were in Amsterdam and we ate there twice. They had a pretty large number of outdoor tables with large umbrellas and heat and the table area was spacious, which was good for the wheelchair.  Here's what we enjoyed:
Rosé and sauvignon blanc.
Gin & Tonic and sauvignon blanc.
Miso Cured Salmon with grilled asparagus and lime.
Roasted Spring Chicken (whole chicken with lemon mayonnaise and seasonal bonne femme). Oh my gosh this chicken was so darn tasty. It looks so plain but had so much flavor. I couldn't stop eating it. The fries, too, were so good, especially with the lemon mayonnaise.
Arugula Salad with cheese and smoked salmon. SP said it was simple & tasty.
Homemade tomato soup (v) with crème fraîche and chives. I know I always tease SP about his soup (he almost always orders soup, even on 90+ degree days) but it was chilly and the soup was good. I might have helped him out more than he would have liked!
Grilled Chicken Sandwich with bacon, avocado with basil mayonnaise. Really good sandwich.
Tasty brown bread, lots of avocado, bacon - yum!
And as always, tea to warm up on the chilly evenings.
Earl Grey for me. I like that when we've been in Europe and ordered hot tea, it comes with a little treat. I wish places in the USA would do that!
SP's new tea love: Hot Fresh Mint Tea. We have 2 pots of mint this year so that he can have fresh mint tea.
His other new love: Fresh Ginger Tea. We now almost always have fresh ginger in our refrigerator so he can enjoy this at home.
Dessert: Dutch Apple Pie.
Look at all those layers of apples!
I was able to sample Dutch Apple Pie 2-3 times while in Amsterdam. We tried to stop by Winkel 43 which is famous for their apple pie but the line was way too long. This was my favorite of the ones I tried. I love the crust, it's more of a shortbread cookie like crust than flaky pastry pie crust. Yum! I'm hoping to find a recipe and try making Dutch Apple Pie at home.

So we really liked Het Groene Paleis. Both times we were able to walk up and be seated right away without reservations. The servers were very friendly and helpful. Nice, spacious outdoor area. We weren't inside but I have the impression it's pretty large. Their website says they have several private rooms for large groups. The restaurant is wheelchair accessible. We'd go back and we recommend it to fellow travelers for a solid meal with good service.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Thursday Thoughts

Last weekend we went to dinner at Pork & Beans. I was disappointed that the Brisket Grilled Cheese and Potato Skins with jarlsberg & pork belly are no longer on the menu. Here's what we ate this time:
  • Pork Rinds with sour cream, pub cheese. I'm meh about pork rinds, SP loves them. The pub cheese was delicious. 
  • Sunday Pastrami Special (house sauerkraut, boiled potatoes, half sour pickles, spicy mustard sauce) and a Side Salad
  • Three Little Pigs sandwich (fried pork cutlet, ham, pastrami belly, jarlsberg, beer mustard, slaw). It was good but not as good as the version Meat & Potatoes used to serve (pork milanese, ham, pork belly, Swiss, fried farm egg, grilled bread). I'm not a fan of pastrami belly. And I miss the fried egg.
  • Cocktails: Rose Spritz (Aperol, grapefruit bitters, Natrona seltzer, Rhinegeist bubbles) and P-N-B G-N-T (Bombay Sapphire Gin, Pork & Beans house tonic by Bittercube, juniper, orange, cinnamon). I liked my Rose Spritz a lot.
Saturday dinner was, well, we went to Restaurant A and were seated by the hostess on the patio. Fifteen minutes passed by without anyone coming over to say hello or we'll be with you shortly, no one had brought water, nothing, and several servers saw us sitting there and didn't stop to check on us. So we walked out, stopping at the front to tell the hostesses that we were leaving because after 15 minutes, no one had come to our table. A tip to restaurant workers: you never know who you might be ignoring. In this case, you ignored friends of PM, who works there, and we told her, and she told the manager. PM does not hold back.

We ended up going to Restaurant B, the place we jokingly refer to as our "local watering hole," a place where they know us, they bring our drinks right away without needing to ask, even those who are not our server that evening stop by and chat with us. It was fun and tasty and I don't know why we continue to occasionally try Restaurant A because we always leave feeling disappointed. Not so at the watering hole!

What We're Eating:
  • Salad
  • Prosciutto, Fontina, Tomato, Mixed Greens Panini
  • Dessert: ice cream, cookies from the freezer, leftover Easter candy
What We're Watching:
  • We finally had enough free time to go see John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum. Keanu Reeves as John Wick - what's not to like? A couple hours of watching John Wick in brutal fights, not thinking much - it was quite nice.
  • Last week I watched The Mule with Clint Eastwood. I liked the movie quite a bit though it lacked the emotional punch I expected.
  • Last week we watched Season 1 of Dead to Me on Netflix. We loved it! Christina Applegate & Linda Cardellini are hilarious.
  • Big Little Lies - oh my gosh, Meryl Streep's Mary Louise! Her interactions with Reese Witherspoon's Madeline! So good!
  • We started The Handmaid's Tale on Hulu. We're not sure about it, not because it's not well done/well acted but because it's tough to watch. That's just from watching episode 1!
  • We started Season 3 of Designated Survivor on Netflix. We'll see if it can find itself. I felt like Season 2 was kind of lost, and then it got cancelled. It seems to see-saw between political show and thriller/mystery show.
  • We were so excited and happy and cheered when the Reilly sisters were eliminated from The Amazing Race last week. I don't personally know them so my dislike is based purely on their words, actions, appearance on TAR, which isn't fair, but, well, the TAR impression was not good. I'm not sure which of the remaining teams I want to win, I like them all. It was tough to watch Chris & Bret last night. We were surprised that the snorkeling challenge seemed so much more difficult than the poetry one.
What I'm Reading:
  • I read I Know A Secret from Tess Gerritsen. It's a Rizzoli & Isles novel. I liked it and it was a pretty quick read.
  • Magazines. I'm caught up on the food ones, I just have a stack of Smithsonian Magazines to read. A big stack. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Rijksmuseum Cafe

The day we went to Rijksmuseum we ate lunch at the museum's Rijksmuseum Cafe. Normally I wouldn't write an entire post just for a museum cafe but I really liked my meal. I suppose it was a bit pricey, as museums cafes tend to be. But it was yummy.

The cafe is up a flight of stairs (or an elevator ride). There was a line when we got there, but it moved quickly and soon we were seated at one the communal tables. Think cafeteria seating, long tables, but you're not super close to your neighbors. I remember it being very bright. All those white tables and lots of sunshine. We both ordered hot teas. Here's what we ate:
I had  Goat Cheese Pie (apple chutney, sage, caramelized walnuts, green herbal lettuce). This was really tasty. I was surprised how much I liked it. SP helped me a bit, but I almost ate it myself.
He chose Tomato Soup (with roasted red peppers & creme fraiche). He loves soup and I think he was counting on having to help me out more than he had to! He said the soup was good.

I usually expect museum cafes to be pricey and serve disappointing food so I was surprised how tasty lunch was. I wish I'd had more room for dessert (they had apple pie and lots of other baked treats) but I was just too full. But that pie (quiche) - I'd stop back in just for that!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

O'Reilly's Irish Pub

I wouldn't normally think or want to eat at an Irish Pub while in Amsterdam but there was one day we had walked a lot, and we'd been gone from the hotel since 9 am, and we had tried to find a place to eat some dinner but somehow our exploring walk around dinner time didn't have us in an especially restaurant-filled area/one with available seats/one that was accessible. So we headed back to the Dam Square area and after passing behind the Royal Palace, since our tummies were growling and we needed to sit, as soon as we saw an open outdoor table, we grabbed it. It was at O'Reilly's Irish Pub.
Sadly, the table next to us was occupied by two chainsmokers. Ugh. One didn't seem to get the concept of the ashtray and kept flicking ashes and dropping her gross butts near my feet/wheelchair. Oh well. SP ordered a beer. I ordered hot tea because I don't drink beer and because it was starting cool off and our table was not in the sunshine.
We started with Oma Bob’s Cheese & Rucola Croquettes(famous old Amsterdam cheese & rucola croquettes). These were the first croquettes we tried in Amsterdam. These are the ones responsible for me ordered cheese croquettes almost everywhere we ate. Yum!
Interior photo of the croquette.
I chose the Club Sandwich (grilled chicken breast, crispy bacon, tomato, lettuce & mayo). It was just OK. My chicken was a little dry/tough. I ended up pulling the chicken & tomato off the bun & eating those, rejecting the lettuce and bun..
SP chose Classic Caesar Salad (Romaine lettuce tossed in creamy garlic dressing with croutons,
crispy bacon, boiled eggs, cherry tomatoes & parmesan with strips of grilled chicken breast). He said it was fine. It was a pile of veggies so he was happy.

I wouldn't seek out this pub. I wouldn't go back if we were in Amsterdam given all the other places we ate and how much more I liked them + they were Dutch food. But in a super crowded tourist area in a pinch it was fine.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Brasserie Meuwese

There was one day in Amsterdam that was miserably rainy, windy, and cold. Of course it was especially miserably rainy, windy, and cold the evening we had no dinner reservations, no idea where to go, and just set off for dinner. The first place we had picked out from our research notes turned out to not be accessible. So on we went, slogging through more puddles. We decided to try Brasserie Meuwese, which was not too far from the hotel and which we had walked past many times. When we had walked past, it always looked accessible, which is why we decided to head there, but as it turned out, it's not accessible. There is a huge step to get inside. HUGE.

At that point, we were soaked in spite of wearing rain gear. We took a seat at an outdoor table under the awning just to get out of the torrential downpour and decided we'd just eat outside. There were some outdoor heaters but sadly, it seemed to get colder by the minute. My hands were eventually so cold I couldn't grip my teacup. I cropped SP out of the photo above (you're welcome, SP) - in the photo his hair is dripping wet. You can't tell just how hard it was raining in the photo, but it was awful.

And then the nice Brasserie Meuwese man came to our rescue. Once he realized we wanted to eat and not simply sip tea, he offered to help us get the wheelchair inside. So with SP lifting from the rear and the server lifting from the front, we ascended the huge step into a dry, warm, not windy dining area. I felt bad dripping all over everything but they were so nice and so helpful.

Here's what we ate:
SP had Zucchini Soup. He really liked it. I has a small spoonful and liked it. Soup was a good choice after being out in the crap weather.
I chose California Salad (chicken, bacon, avocado, croutons, pine nuts). Sure, I was more interested in the pancakes, the sandwiches, the pastas, the omelets, but we both felt like we hadn't been eating enough vegetables so the salads here caught our eye. It was a really, really good salad. I think this was a small portion and it was still huge.
SP chose Geitenkaas Salad (goat cheese, mushrooms, grapes, walnuts, croutons, bacon, honey mustard dressing). This, too, was a yummy salad.

We really liked Brasserie Meuwese. The servers went above & beyond to help get us inside out of the terrible weather and to make space for us on the first floor main level. They also helped SP get me safely back down the step when we were ready to leave (and by then the rain had stopped, the wind had died down, and it wasn't as cold). The soup and salads were really good. The teas were yummy, too. We each had 2-3 cups of teas to warm up! We liked it so much we tried to go back for dinner on out last day of vacation, but the outdoor tables were all taken so we had to go elsewhere.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Café In de Waag

Near the end of our 4 hour walking tour around Amsterdam, our tour guide suggested stopping for a coffee/tea break at Café In de Waag. They have a pretty large/spacious outdoor seating area and it gets lots of sun, which is nice because for me, I needed the sunshine on me to stay warm since the temperature was only in the 50's. So we sat in the sunshine and enjoyed some coffee/tea. If you look closely, you can see our tour guide's hot pink bag on the table and me seated to the right, across the table, wearing my black puffy jacket and with the interior gray of the hood showing.
Café In de Waag is housed in the Waag building in the middle of the Nieuwmarkt in the old city center of Amsterdam. It was erected between 1425 and 1488 as a city gate. We didn't go inside but read that inside is lit by 300 real candles in large candlesticks.

Our last day in Amsterdam, we returned to Café In de Waag for lunch. We again sat outside in the sunshine and enjoyed some people watching with our teas and food. Here's what we ate:
SP ordered Herbal Cream Cheese (farmer brown bread, lettuce, tomato, avocado). It was so pretty, but not for long since he was hungry and pretty much inhaled his plate along with half of these:
I wanted some Kaasstengels (Cheese Fingers) before we left Amsterdam so we ordered them. These were good but not as good as the ones we had at The Lobby Nesplein.
I chose Grilled Cheese (goat cheese, honey, walnut, raspberries). I liked this a lot more than I expected. It was more than I could eat at lunch. I couldn't finish it so SP helped me out!
The raspberry wasn't on the sandwich but rather a dipping sauce on the side. Yum!

Café In de Waag is touristy but that's because it's in a prime location and has a terrific sunny outdoor area. We enjoyed our beverages and food. The outdoor service we experienced was good. One server spilled a little dipping bowl of chili sauce on the cobblestones and it was promptly wiped up. I really liked it - probably because it's a great place for people watching, not just the people walking by but the other people enjoying the outdoor seating.

It is accessible to the interior dining and our guide told me there are wheelchair accessible bathrooms inside.

Friday, June 7, 2019

De Foodhallen

De Foodhallen is a large food hall in Amsterdam. It was not near our hotel, so it was a bit of a trek, but SP really wanted to go. So we did.
Basically, huge room with tables in the middle, surrounded by various food stands. Something for everyone. Plus beverages:
Sadly, I don't drink gin. Nor beer. Nor carbonated beverages. And I didn't want wine. Or any alcohol. So it was quite a feat for SP to return with some water. I'm not sure why, but he said he had a really hard time finding some. I wish there had been a coffee/tea stand. I'm probably the only person who wishes that.
Here's what we ate:

We started with Bitterballen from De Ballenbar.
We got cheese ones and they were delicious.
Then we moved on to Asian:
We tried Porky Pork Gyoza from Dim Sum Thing:
These gyoza were just how I like them. Not a thick, doughy mess with mystery meat inside. Delicious thin dough with pork filling, pan-fried.
In an effort to eat "real food" and not "snack food" we shared a Grilled Portabella sandwich from, I think, Padron:
I don't really like portabella like this and I guess SP forgot when I asked him to go find something with vegetables. He said he couldn't find a salad like what I wanted, so he thought this as the best vegetable option. It was OK.
 The last food we ate was a plate of Spanish ham, cheese, and olives from Jabugo Bar Iberico .
I let SP choose. I was too tired to figure out what I wanted.
This is what he brought back to the table:
I left both photos in the post because I think the top one is blurry, but the bottom one is dark & SP's shadow looms over the plate. Same phone, same table, just different photos.
It was yummy. It was too many olives for me. SP rose to the challenge and ate every last olive. The meats were delicious as were the cheeses.

Here's the thing: we ate a lot of different food, but didn't feel especially full, nor satisfied, and we spent a lot of money. That always seems to be the case when we eat at a food hall-like place. But what we did eat was yummy. We have decided that maybe the food hall concept just isn't for us. That being said, if you're staying near Foodhallen, definitely check it out, but I'm not sure that with all the other food places in Amsterdam that I'd make the trip back to Foodhallen. Especially since, as it turned out, the tram we planned to take back towards the hotel stopped running for the day about 10 minutes before we got to the tram stop. Since we must take into account accessible trams and tram stops, this complicated things and we then had to walk 10-15 minutes to another tram stop, catch a tram for just 1-2 stops, then walk another 10-15 minutes to the hotel.