Amsterdam, Netherlands

A 5 hour train ride took us from Frankfurt to Amsterdam. It would be my only venture away from Germany.

Close to the Red Light District, there was a small crowd gathering by a local chocolate shop. Puccini Bomboni, from what I am now learning after the fact, is a local chocolate shop in Amsterdam that does not have any other branches outside of Amsterdam and does not sell online. Their chocolates are handmade on site. There are no preservatives and they cannot be kept longer than a few days (sorry Jules!). There are a 2 branches in all of Amsterdam.

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The storefront was marvelous. Chocolates beautifully arranged on circular platters of varying heights. What really struck me was the sheer size of these chocolates. I ended up purchasing three.

 

This first one is the Cranberry. Not really any cranberry was noted on the inside but the dried cranberry flakes on top were quite tart and balanced nicely with the richness of the dark chocolate. What I found very interesting was that despite the size, these chocolates were not filled with crème fresh or chocolate ganache. They had almost a bready quality to them.

 

This second one (given approval by Ian) is the Cognac.

 

As you can see, on the inside, it is quite doughy, not quite what I was expecting but still delicious. I probably should’ve let it melt on my tongue a bit more but I just had to devour it.

 

This one is the rum-currant.

 

The rum-currant was filled a delightful chocolate ganache with occasional fruity notes from the currant pieces.

Overall, the chocolate here was very interesting but expensive. These 3 chocolates cost me 7 Euros = $11.20CAN. 

Puccini Bomboni, various locations in Amsterdam, www.puccinibomboni.com

 

Maoz is known for serving decent Lebanese food and having all-you-can-eat salad with your falafel. Many individuals buy a basic item and fill up on the free salad. It is a chain store with numerous locations (most prominently in Muntplein).

As you can see the salad bar is quite substantial.

It almost overflows from the bar.

However, I didn’t feel like salad (and didn’t know they offered unlimited salad with falafel purchases) so I purchased the Dutch classic: French fries with Mayo. It was only OK here. Half the experience is eating French fries from a cone!

Maoz Falafel, Vijzelstraat on Muntplein, Amsterdam, no website.

 

After a long day of walking, we made the unwise decision to eat in Chinatown. It was garbage day so the streets were lined with rotting garbage. Not a good start. We found a recommended place, Eat Mode, an asian-fusion restaurant. It was seriously steamy inside. We opted not to get drinks because we wanted to save money. That was a big mistake. We were sweating something awful after our meal from all of the heat.

This is the Japanese Chicken Udon with curry. The vegetables were prepared interestingly. The carrots and mushrooms were steamed, the carrots were boiled in the broth, and the potatoes were fried. Unusual… The broth was reasonably salty and the noodles cooked just long enough. The curry sauce was not what I had expected. In Amsterdam, curry seems to refer to a particular sauce, deep crimson brown with curry powder, sugar, and other sweeteners. It is a very interesting sauce. The price is about right at 8 Euros = $12.80CAN

Ian ordered the Chicken Curry on rice. This was essentially the same dish that I had but on a bed of rice. I think mine tasted better.

Overall, Eat Mode is a reasonable choice for a hearty and warm meal. Sadly, it was very hot that day and it didn’t go down well. You do seem to get a reasonable amount of food for the price you pay.

Eat Mode, Zeedijk 105 – 107, Amsterdam, www.eatmode.com

 

On Julia’s travels to Japan, she described a store similar to FEBO. Essentially, it is like a hot food vending machine. It offers hamburgers, sausages, and meat pastries.

Here Ian figures out how to use the system.

This is the result. As you can imagine, it is not particularly tasty. The bread was scorched (as you would expect after sitting under the heat lamps of the vending machine for the better part of the day). The meat was dry and salty. The mayo was probably the saving grace of this “chicken burger”. Not a bad deal at 1.60 Euro = $2.56CAN

Overall, an interesting experience but not something I will likely repeat.

FEBO, various locations in Amsterdam, no website.

 

I won’t bother telling you the name of this donair place. The food is terrible, the preparation hygiene was really atrocious, and most of all, I can’t remember the name of the place.

It looked like a fairly reasonable donair joint. But as we were waiting for our lamb doners, the owner’s son (presumably), enters from the street with his small posse. You can see him with his emerald green jacket. He goes behind the counter and starts to make his own donair. He uses his bare hands when adding the tomatoes and the other vegetables. I thank GOD that I checked my Hepatitis A and B antibody levels before I came. I am immune. Phew!

The doner itself was pretty damn big. I don’t think you can appreciate how much meat is on this donair. However, the meat was dry dry dry. I don’t think anyone had cut any meat off the spit for a very long time. The worst part was how bad a deal it was: 5.50 Euro = $8.8CAN.

 

A much better deal can be had at Leeman’s Doner. We were alerted to his hidden gem as we rode the tram to get to a museum. There were likely 15 people sitting inside this tiny hole in the wall, so many that they were spilling onto the streets. We promised ourselves that we would return.

This is the lamb donair. It is fantastic. The meat is salty, spiced, and very tender. There is a good amount of vegetables that are crisp and fresh. Tzatiki graces the top with a splash of hot sauce. A fantastic deal at 1.90 Euro = $3.04CAN.

A few bites into the lamb donair…

This is the chicken donair. Marginally better than the lamb donair because the chicken itself was lightly caramelized. Once again, a fantastic deal at 1.90 Euro = $3.04CAN.

A few bites into the chicken donair…

Leeman’s Doner was by far the best deal we would come across in Europe. We ended up eating several of them to save money for larger meals we could have later.

Leeman’s Doner, Van Woustraat, Amsterdam, no website.

 

Running low on money led us to the evilest of evils: McDonald’s. I tried to order things that I couldn’t find in Canada.

The shame I feel…

This is bittenballen. Essentially, these are breaded and fried balls stuffed with flour, curry powder, butter and meat bits. Not bad. Not great but definitely worth the try. They are kind of like croquettes.

The McDonald’s fair is pretty much the same as in Canada except for a few exceptions. Despite being unremarkable, we ate here occassionally to save money for grander meals later. Who can say no to a 1 Euro = $1.60CAN sundae?

 

These fries are from Vlaamse Frites and are served in a big cone. These are reportedly the most famous fries from Amsterdam.

They literally appear to jump out at you! This particular incarnation is served with ketchup, mayonnaise and pickled onions. Yummy but not the best I’ve had.

Vlaamse Frites, numerous locations, Amsterdam, no website.

 

By far, the best fries I’ve had were at the market on Van Ostadestraat. In a little street kiosk, there is a long line up of oil hungry individuals.

This is a visual inside the truck. It is hard to imagine that the entire tub on the left is filled with mayonnaise. 

Here it is served with the peculiar curry sauce that I described above at Eat Mode. The fries are done perfectly: crispy on the outside but not too oily. The inside is starchy without being pasty or doughy.

I don’t know the name of the vendor but you can’t miss it. Follow your nose. After a donair at Leeman’s, head north on Van Woustraat and you’ll see it.

 

After a late night in Amsterdam, we decided to try Wok to Walk. Essentially a stir-fry place, there are numerous locations throughout Amsterdam. It is a very basic menu. Choose your starch at a base price of 4.90 Euro. Add your meat at 1-2 Euro per type. Then add your sauce for free.

This guy must be soo sweaty. I wonder if they need to add MSG to the food or just use his sweat. The flame is really beautiful.

The stirfry is served in a cheesy Chinese container. This is noodles with chicken and spicy asian sauce. It really hits the spot late at night if you need some grease. It isn’t a great deal though as this combination was 6.90 Euro = $11.04CAN. They are located conveniently outside bars and other late night areas to lure you in when you are at your neediest.

 Wok to Walk, numerous locations, Amsterdam, www.woktowalk.com

 

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~ by Russ on June 2, 2008.

One Response to “Amsterdam, Netherlands”

  1. I LOVE FEBO! Their milkshakes are especially delicious. I enjoy all the pancake houses in Amsterdam too. God I miss that city!

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