Amsterdam City Blog restaurants, shops, people and life in Amsterdam

6Aug/140

De Broodzaak: scam or lazy?

On my way to Utrecht this morning, I decided to up my intake of vitamins with one of those freshly pressed orange juices at De Broodzaak.

The girl right in front of me thought the same, but upon seeing that there were no small bottles left to fill up, she changed her mind. "Hm," I thought. I know the bigger bottle is more (400mls vs 350 mls) for only slightly less (2,50 euro vs 2), but when your income is coming in in a slow trickle, euro by euro, every 50 cents counts.

I asked the guy making sandwiches if there were any smaller bottles left. "No," he said, decisively. "Can I put less in a bigger bottle then?" I asked. He looked slightly annoyed, mumbled something and disappeared in the back.

He came back with -surprise!- a whole box full of 250ml bottles. I filled one up, payed at the cash register and went to catch my train.

Now what was that? Was it just this guy being too lazy to go get a box? Or is this some weird (slightly dirty) sales ploy? Did he think I wouldn't blog about it?

Ok readers, here's your challenge: try to buy a small freshly pressed OJ at De Broodzaak when you are at Amsterdam Central Station, leave me a reply as to whether there were any small bottles, and if there weren't, if a little pressure makes them magically appear. I'm curious now!

De Broodzaak: scam or lazy?

19Oct/130

Poptasi: glorious macarons in Amsterdam

Poptasi macarons in De Pijp, AmsterdamWhen I was last in France, I saw brightly coloured macarons in every patisserie shop window. But every time I wanted to get one, the shops were closed for lunch! When finally I got my hands on one, it was overly sweet and not at all tasty. Just glaze-shatteringly sweet.

I had a craving for macarons the other day and looked up where one can buy them in Amsterdam. Turns out there's a shop in De Pijp that's dedicated solely to macarons. It goes by the odd name of Poptasi. The friendly salesman was also the chef: Patrick van Drie.

Poptasi rocks
Poptasi window in De Pijp, AmsterdamPaying with your bank card (and pin) earns you a macaron for tasting. I followed Patrick's recommendation and chose the vanilla macaron. It sounds boring (maybe), but I assure you, what a glorious, glorious macaron that was. Rich! Creamy! These. Are. The. Real. Deal.

Other favourites include the citron and the pistacchio flavoured macarons. Pure flavour, sweet, but not overly so. Perfect, crumbly, moist pieces of heaven. There are so many more to try, I can't wait for the next occasion to make the trip!

Also very reasonably priced, for a box with 8 macarons you pay only 8 euros.

Poptasi
Gerard Doustraat 103
Amsterdam

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10Feb/125

Raw Materials on the Rozengracht

There's this store that we've passed by half a dozen times (must have been Sundays, because the store was always closed), that we've been dying to visit: Raw Materials on the Rozengracht in Amsterdam.

Raw Materials on the Rozengracht in Amsterdam, photo courtesy of Raw Materials

 

Last Saturday we were on a mission for all kinds of house-related things in Amsterdam. It was cold and slippery outside because of the snow, but off we went, on our bicycles to the Nine Little Streets, the Gamma behind Westerpark and more. As we were riding our bikes on the Rozengracht, we noticed that Raw Materials was open and went in for a look at last.

Raw Materials on the Rozengracht in Amsterdam, photo courtesy of Raw MaterialsThe first thing I noticed was how gorgeous all the materials are. Raw, unpolished, tactile, pure. I loved it! The second thing I noticed, was how enormous the store is. Much, much larger than I had ever expected, judging from the outside. Filled with furniture, leatherware, homeware, decorations and more.

Third thing of note: the prices. I know, it's a trendy store in the heart of Amsterdam, of course it is not going to be cheap, but some of the items were very pricey indeed. Or maybe it's just my fault, for wanting so many things that it became too much for my bank account to bear?

Levi and I walked out of the store with an old Belgian school chair in an lovely seagreeny-blue colour (sorry, best I could do colour-name wise).

 

Raw Materials on the Rozengracht in Amsterdam, photo courtesy of Raw MaterialsRaw Materials
Rozengracht 231
1016 NA Amsterdam

The Netherlands
www.rawmaterials.nl

Closed on Sundays

 

All photo's courtesy of www.rawmaterials.nl

 

 

10Aug/112

‘Dealing’ houseblend out of the KCC

The coolest thing happened to us today! Levi and I bought Italian coffee beans while on holiday in Rome. Gorgeous they were, strong and flavoursome, with a definite hint of chocolate. A little over three weeks later (three weeks already?!) they are almost gone. We can't go without our coffee! So when we happened to be in the city centre today, coming out of Magna Plaza, we lucked into this shop called the Koffie Cultuur Centrum, stacked to the rafters with espresso machines.

please excuse the crappy picture of the Koffie Cultuur Centrum!We asked the man behind the tiny counter which coffeebeans he would recommend. First, he wanted to know what we would be using the coffee for. "Espresso and cappuccino," I told him. Then he wanted to know what kind of machine we had to make this with. "A Rancilio Silvia," I answered. Well, then we had to take the houseblend, he told me with conviction. I had been eyeing the Ethiopian or the Guatamalan beans, which were more expensive (around E23,- a kilo), so his advice surprised me.

He told us that their houseblend was excellent coffee, but that it came with a warning  (u-oh?): "It's very addictive," he said. I laughed, but he was deadly serious. "Is there something funny?" the man asked. Quickly I shook my head no. "I'd like a bag of that then," I said. He weighed off 250 grams, put it in a silver bag, sealed it and said: "Most people know that dealers often give people their first taste of the best stuff...." I was getting money out of my bag "for free," he finished. I froze, money in hand.

"Really?" Levi and I both asked in unison. He nodded. Well now, here's a man convinced of the quality of his wares! So I put my money back in my bag, Levi took the silver bag, we said thank you and left. I am very curious now how this turns out! Will try the beans tomorrow.

Koffie Cultuur Centrum
Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 133
1012RJ Amsterdam
http://espressoadviseur.nl

23Jun/111

De Proeverij at Landmarkt Amsterdam

Levi has this thing for organic food. He wants to know that any piece of meat that lands on his plate comes from an animal that's had a good (and preferably full) life. Organic tomatoes are less watery and have more flavour, as do organic potatoes and cucumbers, etc. My mum pointed out to us that a new market place has opened its doors in Amsterdam East: Landmarkt Amsterdam.

I had a dinner date with my mum this evening (Levi had other plans) and she took me to De Proeverij, which is the restaurant at Landmarkt.

kitchen @ De Proeverij

photo courtesy of Landmarkt website

Great food
Well now! The staff is uncannily friendly (so unlike the rest of Amsterdam) and has a sense of humour. We ordered squid, fries and a ceasar salad. The salad was quite chunky and was amply sprinkled with parmesan and anchovies. The fries were made from unpeeled potatoes (which I love, it gives them more taste), golden brown and crunchy. But the squid was the best thing: incredibly fresh, and therefore soft and fleshy. Fried in oil with garlic. Yum!

The squid is listed with the snacks, and the fries as a side dish (very reasonably priced at E4,50 and E1,50) (yes, you read that right, the charge you E1,50 for a big bowl of fries with mayonaise... Also unheard of in Amsterdam). The ceasar salad was E7,- There are also soups, rolls, steak, fish and daily specials.

Fresh as can be
The ingredients are so fresh because they are obtained right there at the market. What's on offer at the market determines what's on the menu. Occupying a corner of an indoor market place has its advantages!

Because Landmarkt is located in a former greenhouse, De Proeverij's interior looks light, fresh and wholesome. If you go shopping for groceries (most if not all of the groceries found here are either organic or regional) after you've visited De Proeverij, then you will find that the butcher is also a man with a hearty sense of humour and that the girl at the register is very friendly as well. It's almost like being in another country!

Of course, to get to Landmarkt and De Proeverij, you do have to make somewhat of a trip, as it's not located anywhere near the city centre. But let me tell you: it's worth it.

Landmarkt on a Google mapLandmarkt Amsterdam and De Proeverij
Schellingwouderdijk 339 Amsterdam
www.landmarkt.nl

Restaurant
Monday-Sunday: noon - 10pm
Tel: 020-4904366

Market
Monday-Saturday: 8am- 8pm
Sunday:      noon-6pm
Tel: 020-4904333


30Jan/113

Anti tip: Metz & Co in the Leidsestraat

I don't often do anti tips (read: never), but Metz & Co deserves one. In fact, it deserves a warning sticker on the front door: "Do not enter, unless you cherish awful service, disgustingly overpriced food and drink, and the dirtiest, smelliest restroom since the invention of cleaning."

Why did we go there then? Well, I once interviewed a Norwegian director here, and I remember the view being stunning from the sixth floor. It was quiet then, and I concentrated on the interview and did not visit the restroom. The view is still stunning. You can see half the city from here, from the Leidsestraat to the canal and the inner courtyards between the expensive houses. Beware though: taking photos and filming is strictly forbidden (or so a sign informs the visitor).

The waiting staff did not give us much attention. They seemed to be hoping we would go away of our own accord if they ignored us. The coffee, when it did arrive, tasted like dishwater. My inner barista cried when they brought a cappuccino from an automated machine (note: Levi had ordered plain black coffee)

We tried not to let the place get us down and enjoy the view, but it was marred by a plethora of greasy prints on the window. As if it had been a week since it had last been cleaned. For one cup of bad coffee and one mint tea (three stalks of fresh mint in a bucket of hot water) we paid 7 euro.

Metz & Co is supposedly purveyor of the royal household. The royal crest is prominently displayed on the wall. Maybe the queen should rethink who she gives that title out to.

If you do decide to visit, go for the view, but for nothing else.

Metz & Co
Leidsestraat  34-36
1017PB Amsterdam

www.metzco.eu

Oh my, in looking that up, I just noticed their slogan on the website: "We are luxury." What a joke!

18Oct/101

Latei on the Zeedijk

Latei on the Zeedijk, signThis place near the Nieuwmarkt with oodles of charm used to be a favourite, back in the day when the coffee was still cheap, the pies always available and they didn't forget we were there. Lately though, the service at Latei has gone way down and every tourist knows where to find it. The shine seems to have worn off a little.

If you are patient, Latei on the Zeedijk can still have its moments. On a busy day like last Sunday though, patience was the key word. Sadly, not even patience could save Latei then. We went there with a friend, I was looking forward to the fantastic lemon cheesecake, Levi was looking forward to the apple pie.

uptairs interior at Latei on the Zeedijk in Amsterdam centreThe place was packed, but we found a table upstairs. We decided what we wanted (two carrot/beet juices, one coffee. One lemon cheesecake, one chocolate brownie and one of the huge apple pie pieces) and Levi went downstairs to order, knowing from experience that it's faster and easier that way.

brownie at Latei on the Zeedijk in AmsterdamOut of nearly everything
The staff is friendly and quirky, but not always fast. Sunday's waitress kept bringing things to our table that we hadn't ordered (a sandwich with cheese, orange juice...). After some time Levi returned with one chocolate brownie and informed us that this was all there was. They were out of cheesecake and apple pie and this was the last brownie to boot. There was an apple pie in the oven, but it was going to take some time.

Half an hour later we'd long since finished the one brownie between the three of us and got tired of waiting for our juice. The waitress who had previously wanted to bring us stuff we hadn't ordered did not show up with what we had ordered and so we decided to call it a day. We went downstairs and paid for the one brownie.

I said to the girl at the register "Since the juices we had ordered never arrived, I'd just like to pay for the brownie please." And all she said was "Oh. That will be 2,25." Not even an "I'm sorry, we must have forgot." Nothing. She didn't even ask her colleague about it, she just rang up the brownie and that was it.

Nothing to write home about
Needless to say I am disappointed in Latei. I've been there with Levi countless times before and I was expecting to be able to tell you guys about the great cheesecake and other scrumptious goodies (the menu is modest, but most of it is very good), but they never delivered.

window front at Latei in AmsterdamThe interior decoration is ecclectic, and everything's for sale! From the retro chairs you sit on and the tables you eat off of, to the fabulously ugly lamps hanging from the ceiling and the tacky embroidered art on the wall. There's also a selection of vintage wallpaper.

Latei is open:
Monday through Wednesday 8am - 6pm
Thursday and Friday 8am - 10pm (after 6 they serve Indian food)
Saturday 9am - 11pm (Indian food after 6)
Sunday 11am - 6pm

Latei
Zeedijk 143
1012AW Amsterdam

http://www.latei.net

28Aug/100

Betjeman & Barton at Tea in the City

Riding my bike through a thankfully temporarily dry Amsterdam Zuid yesterday, I suddenly noticed a sign that read, among other things 'Betjeman & Barton'. Betjeman & Barton is the brand of one of the nicest teas I've ever had. Four Fruits or something of the sort was its name, and I had it at Stientje's on the Bilderdijkstraat. Getting some for myself seemed like a very good idea indeed. So inside Tea and the City I went.

The interior looks warm, luxurious and a little expensive. Tea in the City is indeed expensive, but with good reason. The teas that are sold here (per 125 grams) are from the excellent and exclusive brand Betjeman & Barton and are imported from Paris. Prices range from around E35 per kilo to around E140 per kilo.

The nice girl from the shop let me smell half a dozen teas, eventhough I pretty much knew which tea I wanted when I came in. Alas, my Four Fruits tea turned out to be temporarily sold out (drat!), but the nice girl from the shop wrote down my name and number and promised to let me know when it was back in stock. She gave me a sample of another fruity tea (Sain Geran), fuller and heavier than the Four Fruits, with hints of vanilla, caramel and almond. I have yet to try it, but I can't wait!

mini cupcake at Tea in the CityWhile she was putting the tea in a tiny paper sample envelope, I fell completely in love with the selection of tiny cupcakes that were seducing me from the counter. I got one to celebrate the fact that it wasn't raining for half an hour and took it home with me.

When I go back to get the Four Fruits tea, I will be sure to take a photo of the shop front and some more of the interior! For now, you will have to just enjoy my lovely tiny cupcake with its sunny frosting.

Tea in the City is open from Tuesday through Friday from 10am until 6pm. Saturdays from 10am until 5pm.

Tea in the City Amsterdam
Jacob Obrechtstraat 19
1071 KD Amsterdam
www.teainthecity.nl

1Jul/1012

Metropolitan Deli: a girl’s best friend

outside Metropolitan DeliMy friend Matt took me to Metropolitan Deli in Amsterdam's Warmoesstraat for a welcome home treat. We had lunch at another place first, as he explained to me that the deli is more of a place for coffee, sweets and goodness. And boy, is it good.

From the outside it looks fresh, the bold black and red letters of the name invite you in. The store itself is light and airy and is stocked to the rafters with goodies. Chocolate, icecream, chocolate cake, fresh and dried fruits dipped in chocolate, coffee, fruitshakes, I'm like a kid in a candy store, it all looks so good, I want something of everything!

coffee menu at Metropolitan DeliMatt makes us pace ourselves and we have a cup of coffee first. We sit at the bar on the long wall, watching tourists and locals in breezy tops and shorts contemplate the mouthwatering ice cream selection. My latte is seriously good: flavoursome and creamy. Matt's doppio espresso is sour, then intense, warm and deep, with a longlasting smooth aftertaste. The coffee is relatively affordable too, at E2,25 for the latte and E1,60 for a single and E2,60 for a double espresso.

Lots of organic chocolate
In the back of the store is the organic chocolate selection, with brands like Pacari, Original Beans, Becks Cocoa and Ã…kesson's. There are also items by Metropolitan Deli's chocolatier Kees Raat himself: chocolate coated marshmallows, dried orange slices dipped in chocolate, marble sized rice crispy balls, chocolate covered almonds and more. If you haven't had enough of the brown gold by then, you can also lather yourself with Dutch Cacao body lotion.

When we've finished our coffee, we go for some ice cream. I opt for the Black Mamba and Lemon Cake flavours. Matt gets three scoops and goes for the Black Mamba, Campari Blood Orange and Rhubarb varieties. My Lemon Cake indeed tastes of lemon, but is more sweet than tart and fluffily creamy to the point where it reminds me a little bit of marshmallows. Good, but I don't think I will revisit it.

Black Mamba ice cream at Metropolitan Deli in AmsterdamBlack ice cream
The Black Mamba is made of cherries, all natural and... seriously black. It is an enigma to my eyes and tastebuds. Traditionally, food that is black is either burnt or spoiled, so my eyes tell me: "That can't be right!" But it is sweet and tart and fingerlickin' good. I am also in love with Matt's Campari Blood Orange ice cream and steal more than one little spoonful from his cup.

Matt also got me a  bag of the chocolate rice crispies I'd been ogling. They make you think of Maltesers, but without the overbearing sweetness. Very nice!

This place ought to have 1. a suggestion box so that 2. I could suggest that they sell an 'all you can taste'-voucher, for people like me, who want to try everything in the store. As it is though, I will have to come back here many, many times (with Levi! He will love the coffee here) to revisit the amazing black ice cream and try new things.

Metropolitan Deli
Warmoesstraat 135
1012JB Amsterdam

www.metropolitandeli.nl

11Mar/100

Shops for creative people with ‘beadie’ eyes

Once a year I get the urge for a creative undertaking. Usually sometime in the months leading up to Christmas, when it's cold outside and there is more pleasure to be had staying in. With the winter taking as long as it is this year, I am now on my second creative urge. This time I had a great idea for a bracelet for my girlfriends and I went shopping for charms and leather in Amsterdam today.

First I went to Lucie's in the very centre of Amsterdam, where I've been a few times before. The girls there are friendly and they have a nice (albeit modest, but the shop is very small) selection. Lucie's was however unexplicably closed, eventhough I checked the opening times twice.

I then visited Beadies in the Nine Little Streets. I spent quite some time selecting different charms. Seven was the magic number and the symbols I picked include hearts (love, joy and protection from evil spells), keys (luck, ability to look ahead, improve judgement), stars (success and health) and more.

Beadies is a small, but charming shop. There are beads and charms everywhere, in jars on every surface, and in big drawers in old wooden cabinets. There is a table where you can spend time assembling your purchases into earrings, necklaces or bracelets. It is not a bad idea to do this, as the shop provides tools for the purpose and if you've forgotten an item, you can buy it at the spot (it's easy to forget to buy a clasp for your necklace, when you're rummaging through the drawers for the perfect bead).

The selection of cords and leathers is small at Beadies. So after I paid my king's ransom for the charms I'd picked, I visited Coppenhagen on the Rozengracht. This store is about three times the size of either one of the previous shops. There are hundreds and hundreds of jars filled with beads in every colour. The selection seems dizzying. But I came for the basics, and here I was able to get the leather and the cord in the colours I wanted.

I'll post a picture of the end result when I'm done with the first one!

Lucie's
St Luciensteeg 22
1012 PM Amsterdam
http://www.kralen-enzo.com/home/

Beadies
Huidenstraat 6
1016ES Amsterdam
http://www.beadies.nl/

Coppenhagen
Rozengracht 54
1016 ND Amsterdam
http://coppenhagenbeads.nl/