After 2+ glorious weeks overseas, I'm now back in sweet home Chicago readjusting to reality. Laundry is done, pantry shelves are restocked, work emails have been answered, and pictures have been loaded and shared...except here!
My friend Kathleen and I were fearless in trying new things. We tried local specialties in every place we visited, and sought out historic eateries as well as less touristy places.
In our guilt-free vacation vortex, we ate and drank what we wanted, when we wanted - no guilt allowed :) Here are some highlights...
Allow me to kick things off with our first beer of the trip, a freshly poured Heineken in Amsterdam.
We also visited the Heineken brewery, and I have to say I learned a lot...like, ever notice how the 'e's' in Heineken are smiling? And a thick head on your draft beer helps protect some of the beer's aroma, and thus, its taste? I haven't had a lot of Heineken in America, but I do know that it tastes really good fresh from the source!
For dinner on our first night, we exhaustedly stumbled upon this little tapas place off the beaten path. Kathleen and I ordered three tapas to share, one of which was these lookers - whole sardines a la plancha. My first time eating sardines, and I give them a thumbs up!
Afternoon 'koffie verkeerd' break in Amsterdam ('coffee wrong' or coffee with milk). I have to say - it was pretty refreshing not having a zillion options (skim milk? sugar free syrup? what size? extra hot?). You order a coffee, and you get it. Yum!
The lovely Kathleen, modelling our delightful picnic complete with pickled herring, a very traditional Dutch food. It was my first time eating herring, and it wasn't bad...though it's not my favorite.
Amaaaazing vlaamse frites, or Belgian fries (which are Belgian but somehow still a Dutch specialty?), with a classic accompaniment of garlicky mayonnaise. While I dislike mayo in America, I would bathe in this stuff.
The lovely Kathleen again, this time showing her love for poffertjes*, another Dutch specialty, in the delightful Haarlem town square. (*See: small fluffly pancakes covered in powdered sugar and lots of fresh butter)
I don't want to overwhelm one post with too much, so there will be more to come in Part Two as we leave the Netherlands and travel to Germany!