So I was studying my heart out for exams a few weeks ago and Levi decided I deserved a treat and took me out to dinner at Brix in the Wolvenstraat in the Nine Little Streets area in Amsterdam. We were in luck, because when we called to make a reservation, there had just been a cancellation. If that hadn't been the case, we would have had a snowball's chance in hell of getting a table here on a Saturday night!
Writing this after having had dinner there, I can fully understand its popularity. The ambiance is great. Modern, classy, yet cosy, with an exposed brick wall, comfortable seating and smoked glass mirrors in the back. The tables weren't crowding the space, as seems usual in Dutch restaurants. There was room to walk, to breathe and to have your own conversation whilst not being forced listen to other people's conversations. I enjoyed the smooth jazzy music that was playing softly in the background.
The girls serving us were great! Informal, friendly, attentive and fast. What I love about Brix' menu, is that it contains starters only, which makes it possible to sample more than one dish. Levi confessed he'd never had snails before, so I got him those. Furthermore, I chose the black pasta and Levi got the entrecote.
The snails were a bit disappointing. They were not scalding hot, like they are supposed to be, and tepid snails... well, they're just not the same. That's what comes of using a metal dish instead of an earthenware one, it cools off quicker. I loved that there was enough garlic butter to let the snails swim, but the bread that should have been fresh and crunchy on the outside, while being soft and fluffy on the inside, was... toast. And slightly stale toast at that. I can't soak hard, stale toast in garlic butter! That's not how things should be.
Glorious black pasta
But the black spaghetti with the sauce made of Dutch shrimps made up for the snails. It was divine. Black food, it seems odd. It feels 'off' to order it, but my, my, my was this worth the trouble. There were pieces of octopus which had been preserved in fat and there was samphire. It all went together so well and the sauce was so incredibly rich and delicious.
Levi's entrecote was not half bad either. The taste of the meat was pure and it was tender. It came with a simple salad and a lovely, waxy baked potato. Upon the arrival of his dish, he wasn't sure if it was going to be enough, him being a man after all, and having a man's appetite, but there was plenty of meat on his board.
Both sort of having had enough, we decided to share a dessert, instead of each getting our own. We asked the nice girl if the chocolate pie was any good, and as she nodded vehemently, we decided to go for it. No regrets there! It came with homemade blueberry icecream, which was delicious in itself. But that chocolate pie, it was as chocolate pies should be. Rich, velvety, intensely dark and pure. So worth the 6 euro! The only thing I regretted was having agreed to share.
The food is very affordable and the location, right in the center of Amsterdam, is great too. Definitely a place to remember and come back to! I saw on their website that they are now open for lunch too. It also says there are live jazz sessions two nights a week.
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!
St Luciensteeg 22
1012 PM Amsterdam
1016 ND Amsterdam
Each year, for as long as I can remember, I wish for a white Christmas. And in the past, when it on occasion did snow, I was happy as a bunny in the wonderful white world. But this, my first snowy winter in Amsterdam, is different.
The snow in the streets quickly turns to slush and when it freezes overnight, the whole city becomes one big lumpy icerink. This snow is far from romantic, this snow is downright menacing! So thank god for the thaw. Finally I can ride my bike again without fearing for my life.
Now if this warm trend keeps going, I might be able to wear my brandnew t-shirt someday soon (ok, I know it's still the middle of winter, but a girl can hope, can't she?). I found it at this great little place called Spot, in the Nine Little Streets. The store is run by Tim Bianchi and sells t-shirts by brands like Design By Humans, Bench, Razk, and is a gallery for urban art.
My DBH shirt is called The Painter and was designed by an artist called Sebasebi in Argentina. I'm so in love with it, I've hung it on a special place in the bedroom, where I can look at it every day.
I've taken a photo with my crappy phonecamera, but I swear it doesn't do it justice!
1016 ET Amsterdam