I love food. Yes, its imperative that we eat, but it never hurts to indulge once in a while (or whenever you bike past a bakery). So, I dedicate this entire post, these words, to the glory that is food, the cuisine I have found to be spectacular, and of course I can only sum up the places where I've tried out my palate!
This one is close, almost too close to call. Either or is a win, but I think I give the slight edge to Winkel up there on Noodermarkt. They are renowned for their taart, and for good reason. Its cinnamon flavored apples in a half baked (still doughy) pie with a crusty, delicious exterior. With a large dollop of homeade slagroom you have a slice of heaven. The line is always out the door, the pies are always fresh, and its in a prime locale to just watch people sort through cheese and clothing. But, it you want a low-key spot, Cafe Papeneiland is a nice substitute. I would argue that their slagroom is just beats Winkel's, a little creamier, a little thicker, but they have less crust, and not as much "doughy" pie that I crave. So this one needs further review, something I intend to finalize. (Below on the right and middle is Winkel and on the left is a slice from Papeneiland.
Now this was for a while a very troubling and difficult one to decide upon. But, after a short walk one day on a road that I typically bike, it was all but solved. A little place called Holtkamp possibly has the best pastries, cakes, and chocolates in the entire city. It's frequented by the queen, who likes the plain double chocolate cake (which is always sold out). But their pies/specialty cakes are where the magic is. Everything from chocolate mousse tarts to champagne-chocolate covered monstrosities, to a cake that looks like it's having an allergic reaction (bumps and bubbles...not itching and runny nose). My favorite this far (besides a below item) is a hazelnut tart that is covered in walnuts and buttercream icing. Can anyone say a 2 inch high by 4 inch long buttercream covered hazelnut bar isn't perfection?
This culinary delicacy is everywhere. Everyone has "this or that" stroopwafel, stroopwafel with little stroop cookies, cookies with little stroop wafels, and whatever. But That Guy on Albert Cuypstraat as I like to call him has the best. He makes and rolls the dough right in front of you and produces a warm, small plate sized wafel that is bending in your hand as you eat it because it's so fresh and warm. Its crumbly, gooey, and you can even have it dipped in chocolate. Only 1.50 Euros, so very close, and caramel filling---count me in.
MORNING PICK ME UP
Lanskroon. These ladies know what's up. They're always cheery, friendly, and will play along with your sometimes incoherent and drooling Dutch. They're known for their stroopwafels, but their relatively inexpensive, diverse, and delicious menu encompasses all that one needs to go to EU Law for 8 weeks straight. Personally, I find their poppyseed turnovers, espresso coffee, and hapjeswafels to be their best.
This one is not too close to call, it's to SOON to call. Pancakes Pancakes everywhere and I don't know what to choose! I'd have to say that my favorite pancake (the pancakey part) must go to Pancakes! op Berenstraat. It's done thick, crispy, and has a unique texture that is socially acceptable and filling enough to eat alone. But, my other place, Pannekoeken Upstairs has much better and interesting toppings. Plus, the atmosphere is found no where else in the world, and has much quicker serve-time. The guy is a pancake god. After more investigation I shall confirm the executive decision here. (the "bali" with banana, cream, coconut, and banana liquor vs. cardamom, chicory, ham, and rasberry sauce)
By a far margin, in fact, probably the biggest here, VleminckX de Sausmeesters win this. Double fried, hand cut potato fries that crunch on the outside and are soft patat in the middle. Then with about 20 different sauces to choose from, (especially the Zeeuwse mayonnaise). There is always a line, and seeing that most of these are locals, its ought to be good, and trust me, for 3 Euros you can be happy for quite a long time. I recently went to Belgium and had their fries, but the stall on Voetboogsteeg has the Belgians beat at their own game.
I have two categories here. First, my favorite market cheese dealer is Johan Kaas on Albert Cuypstraat. Yea the guy right before him has free samples, but is always angry and won't cut huge chunks up for you in case you hadn't felt like buying 300g of Maasdammer Kaas. Johan cuts, slices, and dices it up for you, his Boeren Kaas is creamy and soft, and its always on sale. He's a great guy with some great cheese, what can you say? Nextly, I really enjoy a cheese from Kaashuis Tromp op Utrechtstraat. They have everything, but their black truffel cheese is simply to die for. Its so perfect that I'm not sure you actually do anything with it, besides eat it plain. It's sample galore around this place, and is a cheesy site to see.
Simon Meijssen wins this one, though mainly because there are too many bread places to try, and not enough room in the stomach to do them all. But this place is local, has a few locations, and is a quick trip down Albert Cuypstraat. Though the morning crew is always a little testy with me, anything on the rack behind them will make up for it. Friesroggebrood is simply delicious, its raisiny, somehow crunchy, and a great morning treat. Then there's their croissants, the meegranen is probably the best multi-grain thing I've ever had, and don't even get me started on their corn-rolls and rozijn brolletjes.
The fact that this place lies not 20m from my apartment is dangerous. Doner kebab is on every street corner, they are like an infection that has spread all across Middle Europe. All it is is lamb, lettuce, tzatziki sauce on a bun. Or inside a piece of flat bread that resembles a tortilla, only drier and flakier. However, this place gets on the list not because of sheer geographic proximity, but because it is so damn good. Regardless of the hour, people are waiting in line, and I've seen it go halfway down the block to the grocery store. Once you get in, it's quick, and typically you get the joy of the employees take no enjoyment out of their job, they throw food around, throw knives to each other, and generally just don't care. But their spic lamb is sooooo good, and for only 3.50 Euros you get a whole Turkish pizza that rivals the Doner capital of Berlin.
FRIED THING---AND PLACE TO GET IT
I love kroketten. They are typically some mysterious ragout mixed in with some type of mysterious meat. They are a popular snack item that can be found at any self-dispensing FEBO. If I'm really hungry and want a cheap snack, I'll go there. But my Monday ritual takes me to Holkamp. The Queen's favorite bakkerij may be dishing out delicious taarten, speculoos, en chocoladen, but their crown-royale is their garnalen kroket. It's filled with garnalen (shrimp, though you can get just cheese or lamb) and deep fried in homeade batter. Its just that right bit of crunch to hold in the steamy spiced ragout that makes the start of the week all the more better. Paired with a usual slice of taart and I'm in heaven. Oh and it helps that these have been called the best kroketten in all of Holland, and that means, the world.
TO ALL THOSE HATERS
The Dutch do know what's going on. They have quite the cuisine, and I'd be hard pressed to find a better place than right here for bread, cheese, and speculoos. Not to mention a good old koffieverkeerd en warme chocolademelk. Will I bring home some A'dam with me on the plane that security can't take away? Most definitely, but part of the immersion experience is ingesting some of it!
Semester: Fall 2011
Homeschool: University of Pittsburg
All pictures by Aaron. Read more of Aarons blog at http://anorangeexcursion.weebly.com/de-blog.html.