3 05 2010

Last weekend me and my boyfriend made a trip to the beautiful capital of Belgium. Even though it is my neighboring country and I have been all over Europe, strangely enough I had only visited Brussels twice before at night, to party. From Amsterdam it is only 1.5 hours with the Thalys and it really feels very different from Holland. The first night I was alone because my hubby was still on his way through Europe to get to Brussels(it was the week after the start of the volcano trouble).I walked over the magnificent Grand Place with numerous intriguing century old buildings. Lots of gold and amazing details. Then a quick bite to eat at a brasserie, duck in a beer broth and later on some of the best ice-cream I ever had, with a gingerbread flavor. After that I had a quick walk though the gay area of Brussels, which was fun. Lots of flirting going on, always good for the ego. I definitely miss that from NY, here where I live in the Netherlands I go weeks without seeing many gays(or none at all) sometimes. Our hotel was the luxurious Rocco Forte Amigo where the beds were very comfortable. Next morning I finally saw my boyfriend and it always feels extra great to see each other after a longer absence. We got some coffee, soft-drinks and sandwiches at a nice little bakery in the sun and planned the rest of our day. First we did some shopping and bought a cool retro orange/black messenger bag for myself and a new digital camera. We had lots of pictures so shoot and nothing to do it with at the time(2 of them are in NY) so it was a necessity. Then it was time for lunch already and we went to a small place recommended by the concierge of the hotel and it was phenomenal. My boyfriend had the best casserole with lots of meat and beans he ever had( and he had a lot) For myself there was rabbit rillette as a starter and sole in a creamy sauce for my main. After that it was off for a long walk to burn some calories, through the picturesque city center. Beautiful churches, pedigreed lawns/parks and the palace of the Belgian royal family. Not as pretty as the British one but still worth seeing. At night we had reservations at a 2-star Michelin restaurant. That means in general for foodies like us a good time but this was one of the most mediocre Michelin star restaurants we ever ate. The amuses were uninspiring, the fish-sauce too fat and the sweetbreads a bit bland. The silverware was very chic as was the interior but the service was not up to par while they were pretending to be very formal. Empty glasses were not filled on time and the bottles were out of reach for us, napkins were not refolded after toilet visits nor did people get any assistance sitting down. Don’t get me wrong the food was ok and some of the formalities are not important to me at all, but expectations from a 2 star are pretty big. We had a great night together nonetheless The next day the weather was again very nice (sunny and 70’s) and after a nice breakfast at one of the many outside cafe’s surrounding the Grand Place we thought it was time for some culture and went to 2 museums. The first one was a beer museum, perfect for my beer-loving boyfriend. The showed how some of the famous Belgian beer was brewed in the past and present and it ended with a tasty local beer. Not too shabby huh? Belgium is famous for his comic books and I read many of them as a kid. The cartoon-museum featured some of my favs like Suske and Wiske and Tintin but I expected a bit more. It is worthwhile for families but I would not recommend it for only adults. Then we walked fo another hour or so, bought some of the famous Belgian chocolate for family and had a farewell lunch at out spot from saturday afternoon. Another hearty feast was served and eaten to the last little crumb. All in all I would totally recommend people to visit Brussels, maybe in combination with the medieval beauty Brugge for a long weekend.

Thanksgiving dinner at Craft

27 11 2009

I am back in New York after a long Europe period. And could there be a better first day to get in the U.S spirit then Thanksgiving? After a week op non-stop great and elaborate meals in Europe( 8-course tastings with amuses mostly!) I thought a rather small meal would be good given our upcoming sun vacation, but Craft only had a Thanksgiving tasting with all the works. Way too much, fairly expensive(115 a person) but incredibly tasty. The restaurant from Top Chef’s Tom Colicchio is decorated very nice. Comfy chairs, great paintings, subtle lighting, very friendly staff and tres chic bathrooms. But the main thing of the place is the great food of course. We started off with a small pumpkin soup amuse that was sweet and rich in flavor. The starters were a frisee salad with cheese, macadamia and pancetta. As great as this was, fresh and flavourful, this was the weakest of the starters(and that says a lot). The scallops with truffle were to die for and so was the carpaccio with dried shallots(best carpaccio ever). All these starters are on their regular menu as well so we will go back for those sometime. As a main we could get the turkey, but being jet-lagged(and not needing any tryptophan) I decided to have salmon instead(not super, but ok) and my bf had the beef. The beef was just perfect, medium rare with a nice crust. As side dishes we had grilled veggies, super tasty mushrooms, sweet and creamy butternut squash, rich stuffing and Brussel sprouts. I used to hate Brussel sprout back home when I was younger because they were always boiled. In the U.S I learned to eat them roasted and then they taste so much better. The grand finale was 5 plates full of desserts. Great rhubarb-crumble, some sorbets/ice-creams(our fav was the pecan) a mediocre pumpkin pie, a great tarte tatin and some doughnuts with chocolate. This dinner was a 8/10 definitely and we will be back at Craft soon!

Viagra-laced desserts

27 11 2009

Student chefs in Columbia created a dessert using multiple aphrodisiac-style ingredients, one of them being Viagra. They made a pudding-like sweetness with chocolate, whipped cream and passion fruit that was showcased at a Gastronomy Show in Bogota. Unfortunately it cannot be sold in restaurants because it contains a prescription drug.

Doctors find 2.5 pounds iron in men’s stomach

13 11 2009

Some people like chocolate, fries or burgers, but eating 2.5 pounds of iron is a different thing. A guy from Peru went to the doctor because he had stomach issues. The doctors knew something pretty bad was wrong and operated him. There they found iron needles, coins, a small knife and iron that was already rusty. Yuck.. The iron eater is stable now but they did sent him to a shrink for evaluation. The man thinks about becoming an iron eater in the circus!