Saturday, September 29, 2012

A taste of Dutch countryside and Dutch pancakes at Theehuis Rhijnauwen

Dutchman and I brought Dr. Balin to our favourite pancake house, the Theehuis Rhijnauwen in Utrecht for Sunday brunch. Pancakes are typically Dutch and is an all-time popular favourite by Dutch families, especially during weekends.

Because I wanted Dr. Balin to see a little bit of the Dutch countryside, I decided to park the car in Ameliswaard, 2 kilometres away from the pancake house which is located in a small forest. I discovered this area a few years ago when Dutchman and I did a nature walk in Ameliswaard, afterwhich we continued our walk to the pancake house in Rhijnauwen for early dinner.

Dr. Balin walking along the Kromme Rhijn (Rhine) River.

This is the port at the Rhijnauwen Castle (not in picture) which is now a hostel.

It’s a lovely place with a scenic river, the Kromme Rhijn River—a tributary river of the Rhine River that flows to Germany and the Swiss Alps. Rhijnauwen=Rhijn (Kromme Rhijn River). The place also exudes the typical Dutch countryside feel, with farm houses, cows and sheep on the fields.

It was already very busy when we arrived at the pancake house. The restaurant was brewing with activity. We wanted to sit outside by the river but all tables were already taken.

Waiting (impatiently) for our brunch to arrive: pancakes!

Our brunch finally arrived!

Here’s our pancakes: Dutchman's pancake on the right had bacon with raisins. My pancake in the middle had bacon with apple and cheese. Dr. Balin's pancake on the left had ham, mushrooms and cheese.

To go with the pancakes are the typical Dutch supplements of sugar syrup and poedersuiker (fine powdered sugar).

Although the pancakes were thin, they were massive, we couldn’t finish them all, but thankfully Dutchman came in very handy!

Dutchman and I were here at Theehuis Rhijnauwen last May with the Dutch family. Incidentally the Dutch brother-in-law knows the owner who came to our table that day and gave us a free round of drinks.

Going back to the parking, we took the other path across the river and came upon this Dutch farm house. They sell fresh farmer's milk here.

And we passed by some big Dutch cows having an afternoon chill out spree on the grass fields:

A second cow came forward. Think this cow got jealous and needed some attention from Dr. Balin as well =)

Visit Period: September 2012
Destination: Rhijnauwen (Bunnik - Utrecht), The Netherlands

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Friday, September 28, 2012

Amsterdam in just a few hours

Three weeks ago, my cousin—Dr. Balin came to visit me in the Netherlands. She’s on a work-related trip here in Europe and I’m so glad she took time to come over for a weekend.

Of course, Amsterdam is in the agenda. I asked Dutchman to bring us to the capital city by car. Going back we will be taking the train to Utrecht, and then the Dutchman can fetch us from train station. With this I do not have to pay a ludicrous amount of money for parking.

Like last weekend, I was in Amsterdam for dinner and I paid 32 freaking euros for less than 6 hours parking. That could be a light dinner for 1 person already.

Anywho, here’s what we did in Amsterdam for 8 hours. From 4 in the afternoon to half past 12 midnight.

Dutch fastfood: Febo food vending machine in Leidseplein. Typically Dutch.

And beside Febo is the 'Wok to Walk' and we ordered this for our additional afternoon snack.

We had some cheese tasting and quickly visited the floating Flower Market.

We checked the lovely canals of course.

Dr. Balin and moi.

I wanted to show her 'Begijnhof' but it was already closed. This is the Spui area.

Cafe terracing and people watching at Spui.

On the way to the Westerkerk in Jordaan.

At the homo monument.

The Jordaan neighbourhood.

We had our nachos with cheese light dinner at Escape in Rembrandtplein.

At the Dam...

The 'Waag' at the Nieuwmarkt (New Market Square) which is formerly a gate and a weighing house is now a cafe restaurant.

The Red Light District.

Cool coffee shop in the Red Light District.

Waiting for our intercity train to Utrecht at half past 12.

Finally in the train enroute to Utrecht. My feet and legs are so tired from walking. It was a lovely 8 hours with Balin in Amsterdam.

Visit Period: September 2012
Destination: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lunch at swanky le Cafe Marly in Paris: Tomates Anciennes Burrata

One of our highlights in Paris is our late and long lunch at le Café Marly, a Costes restaurant that is known for glamour and the concept of dining to be seen. The elegant café restaurant is located under the arcades of the Louvre Palace with a majestic view to the glass pyramid.

It was scorching when we had our late lunch here. I ordered a glass of champagne of course and the ‘Tomates Anciennes Burrata’. When the food arrived, it was love at first sight. I mean, how can you not fall in love with this!?!?!

The tomatoes were so colourful and tasty, so I got curious and googled ‘tomates anciennes’ and then I switched to translate. It means ‘heirloom tomatoes’ or ‘heritage tomatoes’. I love tomatoes, I always buy them every week. They are a staple at home. The burrata (buffalo mozzarella) on the other hand was heaven. So creamy, the cheese melted on my tongue. This has got to be a 4.7 stars out of 5.

As for Bru she ordered chicken cesar’s salad. She said it was good.

Now, our waiter was quite a cutie—he’s got that Ronaldo (the Portuguese footballer) look going on but taller. We told him IT IS SO HOT WE ARE MELTING! He was like—‘Oh yeah, you tell me, I am melting here as well!’ he said that with a smirk on his lips. So that response ladies and gentlemen led us to the conclusion that he is gay =)

We had a grand and fabulous time sitting here at the café, talking about Paris, our careers in the Netherlands and life in general while enjoying the beautiful view of Louvre Palace and the pyramid, which brings me to mind the Da Vinci Code book I read several years ago. I would not be surprised if Mary Magdalene was Jesus’ bride and they had children. The possibility is out there...

Anyway, this was a nice respite from the burning temperatures outside. I pity the poor waiters who had to go through a whole day’s job in the sizzling heat clad in long sleeves and suits. OK, we did tip.

Hi there. Bienvenue! Sante! =)

Tomates Anciennes Burrata.

Chicken Ceasar Salad.

View from the top when I went to the toilet. There is a window up there and this is the view.

Lovely elegant place. When in Paris, come and visit. Highly recommended!

Travel Period: August 2012
Destination: Paris, France

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