Sunday, December 18, 2011

Flying through Amsterdam

After years of flying through Amsterdam and never staying to explore, we've now been 3 times in the last 3 years. We love it and given the opportunity to fly though again on our way home from Germany we jumped at the chance to stay a couple of days.

We booked into T'hotel where we stayed on our first trip, even getting the same canal view room. Immediately we set out for a Genever tasting at Proeflokaal de Ooievaar near the red light district. Proeflokaal means tasting room and this one is "sponsored" by the Ooievaar distillery. The tiny bar has been open since 1782 making it one of the oldest in the city. The building tips crazily out towards the street making you think maybe it's tipsy on it's own liquor.
We are really in love with the Indonesian food in Amsterdam and ate at one of the best restaurants for it, Tempo Doeloe. The food is amazingly flavorful- sometimes it can get over the top spicy. And the service is wonderful even with the constant crowds of people rotating through their doors. Go if you have the chance, be sure to make reservations!

We were also happy to check out 2 nice cocktail bars- Door 74 which has had a lot of press over the years and the newer Vesper.  I have to say that we weren't impressed with Door 74. There was a lot of attitude from the servers and the customers. The bar itself was messy and the drinks were just ok. We loved Vesper. Very friendly crew and wonderful cocktails- anyone been recently to say if they are still doing a great job?

After fueling up on the best fricken stroopwaffles in town at Bakery Lanskroon we spent a lovely morning at the History of Amsterdam Museum. It's overflowing with paintings, armory, furniture, even recreations of houses and their rooms. The stroopwaffle had worn off by the time we left so it was onto Vleminckx for some of the best frites in town!
As we were walking around town we stumbled upon a treasure chest of antique silver and crystal at Gastronomie Nostalgie. Take a look at the video on their site to get just a glimpse of everything that is packed into this teensy tiny shop! Dayne just said to me the other day that next time we are near Amsterdam he wants to go back there.

We stopped in at another Genever tasting house called Proeflokaal Wynand Fockink. This one dates from 1679 and has a standing room only tasting room next to the distillery. Here you can learn the proper method of slurping the "filled to the brim" glass of liquor.

And no visit to Amsterdam would be complete in my book without a trip to DeKaaskamer for a little cheese shopping!
We were able to hook up with our friends Klary, Dennis, Mark and Mara for great night of drinks at De Gouden Reael followed by a very lovely dinner at Marius. I just sent friends to Marius and they reported back that it is still a very good meal; small, casual and chef owned and operated. 

All photos from Amsterdam here

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