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


Queensday, Instagram and Amsterdam

I discovered Instagram for Android only last week and I'm loving it. On 30 April, Queensday, Instagram and Amsterdam met in a friendly fashion, resulting in these great photos, that I'd like to share with you!

View of the canals and Westertoren in Amsterdam, Queensday 2012 Levi and I rode our bicycles to the Rozengracht and parked near the iconic Westertoren. The weather in the Netherlands has been very bad of late, with lots of rain and low temperatures (considering it's Spring, after all), but today of all days the weather is gorgeous. It's a lovely day to be out and about!

Walking through the Jordaan on Queensday, 2012We went for a stroll though the Jordaan, walking along the canals and the vrijmarkt.

On the vrijmarkt in Amsterdam, Queensday 2012The vrijmarkt (literally translated "free market") is something that you only see once a year. Normally, anyone who wants to trade wares in the Netherlands has to have a license. Except on Queensday, when all the citizens get a frew pass! So everyone and their granny gets everything they don't want anymore from their attic and claims a spot on the sidewalk to hawk his old crap.

It brings out the merchant in the Dutch. They sell their unwanted shoes, crockery, old books, cds, knicknacks and even old videos! It doesn't really matter how much it goes for, because it creates room in your own cupboards and you get money that you would otherwise not have had. As the Dutch say: "Wat de gek ervoor geeft" (loosely translated: whatever the crazy person thinks is worth it).

I love the vrijmarkt, as it feels like looking for hidden treasure among people's unwanted things.

Sitting on the dock of the bay in Amsterdam, Queensday 2012At the Westerstraat we turned around and headed back towards our bikes. We had the best fried fish I've ever tasted, from a fish stall on the Rozengracht. It was hot, crispy, salty, moist on the inside and very, very tasty. We ate it while watching the boats on the canal, just like all these people here.

The canals in Amsterdam are crammed on Queensday, 2012And just look at all these people on the water! It's swarming with all kinds of boats, big and small, old army issue and small rubber boats. There are queues at the bridges, where the canals narrow. Many of them play loud music and fire confetti. People are partying their hearts out on the water. It's Levi's dream to spend Queensday on a boat. Maybe next year!


Happy 2011!

New Year's Eve "hutspot" quiche

New Year's Eve was spent in Amsterdam's Jordaan, with friends, great food, a little fireworks to ward off the evil spirits for 2011 and this: my homemade "2011!" quiche.

The filling was inspired by good oldfashioned Dutch hutspot. It had potatoes, roasted carrots, caramelised onions, bacon bits and cheese (the cheese is not a hutspot ingredient, but Levi insisted there be cheese).

It tasted as good as it looks!

Happy 2011 everyone!


Craving for tapas? Paso Doble in De Jordaan

terrace at Paso DobleMatt and I have thing for Chinese. Once in a while though, we want something different, and yesterday I had a craving for tapas. I've been to one or two other places, but the best tapas in Amsterdam are to be had at Paso Doble in the Westerstraat.

So I reserved a table and there we were: drinking San Miguel on the terrace on a Wednesday afternoon, greedily soaking up the sun. It's not really summer yet, so after sunset the temperature gets a little chilly, but Paso Doble has terrace heating.

We started with pata negra and a basket of bread with aioli. I'd never had pata negra before, and for that money (E16,50! The most expensive thing on the menu, by far), I would never have thought of ordering it, but Matt insisted I should try.

According to Matt the cured ham was a bit thickly sliced, but my lord, the taste was gorgeous. The bread was fresh and the aioli was laden with garlic, creamy and sharp. We were off to a good start!

drinking San Miguel at Paso Doble in De JordaanA few San Miguels later we ordered calamari, gambas in garlic oil, merquez sausages and some more bread. The merquez are never my favourites, but you can wake me up for calamares with a squeeze of lemon.

Matt switched to red wine and we ended our feast with grilled veggies: eggplant, courgette, green asparagus and green and red peppers sprinkled with a little seasalt and a drizzle of olive oil.

You'd think we'd be full by now, but if you read my post about Monte Pelmo yesterday, you know better. Another thing you can wake me up for, as of yesterday: Monte Pelmo's lemon cheesecake icecream!

Paso Doble
Westerstraat 86
1015 MN Amsterdam


Fantastic icecream at Monte Pelmo in De Jordaan

Monte Pelmo in De JordaanSo I was having dinner in the Westerstraat with Matt. Afterwards we went to look for an icecream place that I thought was nearby and had always wanted to try. I was, however, mistaken: it turned out not to be where I thought it was. While we were wandering rather aimlessly, hoping to still run into the joint, I saw a man eating an icecream. He claimed it was very good and pointed us to a little street. "That's not the one I meant!" I told Matt, but he figured icecream that I did not mean was better than not finding any icecream at all. And boy, was I not sorry!

Monte Pelmo is situated in a charming little street called the Anjeliersstraat in the Amsterdam neighbourhood called De Jordaan. They have a selection of around thirty different favours of icecream. Mundane ones, like lemon sorbet, strawberry and chocolate. But also more exotic ones, like lemon cheesecake, after eight, and a pretty pink bubble gum flavour.

The bubble gum, I am astonished to report, tastes exactly like bubble gum. I had the inclination to stick out my tongue to blow a bubble when I put it in my mouth! The lemon cheesecake flavour also tastes exactly as a good lemon cheesecake should. The strawberry is also very good: sweet, but fragrant. The lemon sorbet is fresh and tangy. What a wonderful discovery!

And a great way to end an afternoon in the sun and a lovely dinner with a friend.

Icecream at Monte Pelmo in De Jordaan in AmsterdamMonte Pelmo
Anjeliersstraat 272
1015 NJ AMsterdam