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Category: Places

In Food: The Scandinavian Embassy in Amsterdam

After finding many overbooked places in De Pijp in Amsterdam, we finally stumbled across the Scandinavian Embassy at De Pijp in Amsterdam. It has a classic wooden feel, complete with goat’s horns hung on the wall and a red bicycle in the backyard.

But the food was what made it stand out. From pretty much the perfect carrot-apple-with-a-touch-of-lemon juice (the coffee was good too!), to a delicious two course meal and as the desert… a blueberry pie to die for—I’m going to try to reproduce it, starting with this one.

I liked that it was not too full, compared to the several other “hip” places we stumbled across in the quartier, and feel a little guilty for advertising it here. But hey, if you couldn’t handle a little traffic, you wouldn’t open a business in Amsterdam!

Very much recommended, if you like Scandinavian cuisine.

 

 

火 “Pyramid and human “beehives” designed for Mars dwellers”

This stuff feels like science fiction. It’s an amazing thing that 3D printers can turn our imagination into something tangible.

In Food: Paviljoen Smit-Bokum in Volendam, NL

I’m only mentioning this one because the rest of this city is so touristy. A local 150-year old restaurant, with a nice view on the harbor and some authentic fish dishes. They smoke their own fish and I loved the smoked mackerel on rye bread. Well, a good place to eat if you’re in the neighborhood anyway.

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火 “A Traditional City Primer”

If you ever care about cities you visit, the differences between L.A., Reykjavik, or Amsterdam, you might find this article about differences in city design—the terrible car-centric design (unless you’re glued to your car) vs the terrible pedestrian-centric design (unless you’re looking to park)—interesting.

In Food: Le Vieux Jean Restaurant in Delft, The Netherlands

This is a quickie review as it was a really short visit, but definitely deserves a follow-up visit and review. The city of Delft is a tiny city, but quite popular with tourists due to it’s heritage as being a royal town. There are similarities to Brugge in Belgium, a city that I didn’t like very much (kind of a historical Disney World, visit the neighbouring city of Ghent instead), as you can perhaps recognise from the below picture.

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But I don’t want to write about Delft perse, just to say that it’s a nice place to spend a day in and enjoy the second best ice-cream in the Netherlands.

Le Vieux Jean is situated right next to a cute little square with cafes on it and opposite a church. Sadly, you cannot sit outside, instead it’s a tiny little place with two floors and an open kitchen. We were greeted by the owner and the atmosphere was friendly, but a little fancy as well. They speak a little French too, but not as much as the name or the terms in the menu suggest. English is no problem, however.

They typically serve three- or four-course menus priced at an acceptable 35 a 45 euro, as well as individual dishes, the main ones being in the meat or fish area. My girlfriend took a grilled fish, which was delicious, I had a lamb dish, equally as good. A nice touch was being offered small potatoes fried in butter as an option with my meal. I always judge my food according to French standards, because my companion is French and that region and Scandinavia are where my favourite restaurants are located. Le Vieux Jean passed with flying colours.

We sadly had to rush out due to scheduling reasons, but I’m impatient to return and try their full menu!

In Places: The Michelberger Hotel

I’m very much of two minds of this ho(s)tel, but do want to recommend it. One, it’s more of a hostel than a hotel, even though pricing would suggest the latter. My biggest gripe is really the beds. According to the receptionists, every double room doesn’t have a double bed (I define that as one big mattress), but rather two beds or mattresses placed next to each other. The rooms were clean and quiet, and that’s a big plus. I slept very well, which is a key criteria to any place of sleep.

Why go to the Michelberger Hotel other than that? Well, it’s trendy. It starts with a lounge, with lots of couches, books, and, in the evening, a DJ. The place is crazy big, Soviet style, and contains a large courtyard, which must be great in the summer, a restaurant, which doesn’t serve half-bad food (we only tried the breakfast), and the staff is very friendly, serving you a complementary ‘Fountain of Youth’ (100% na
tural coconut water), as you check-in.

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The room is minimalistic. A bed, a TV (see picture), a chair and small table. The bathroom is more room than bath, about 20 square metre in size with useful objects (shower, toilet, and sink) in different corners. The walk to the hotel on the third floor can be called atmospheric (sorry, I didn’t try the other floors). You’re greeted by a TV playing a worn-out video tape of the Big Lebowski. Elevator music follows you throughout. The whole hotel is creatively decorated and the common bathrooms in the basement (there’s also one in the room) feature an all white fuss-ball table, including all white teams, which would make it confusing to play if there was also a ball to play with.

As mentioned, we slept really well, which is a key criteria. Was it necessary to have all that decor? Probably not, but I appreciated the effort. It would’ve been a 1000 times better with a regular, non-Hostel-type bed.

In Food: Have a burger at Sävel in Helsinki, Finland

In short: good, friendly service, order at the bar, British pub vibe, great sekection of ales and beer, with recommendations for every meal on the menu, and the burgers have just the right mix of substance and sogginess, accompanied by done seriously hot chillie fries. A good place for a simply good burger in Heldinki! Check out their site here: http://www.kallionsavel.fi/

In Places: Fabian Hotel in Helsinki, Finland

I’m going to expand my reviews to hotels as well, as they play an important role in my appreciation of places. This is the latest one, but I’ll also try to add past nice ones in Paris, Brussels, and Lisbon, Portugal, that I stayed at. Today, Hotel Fabian (http://m.hotelfabian.fi/en/index.html).

Location: the hotel is a little off centre, but everything in Helsinki is walking distance. Cab ride to the bus station the next morning was about 15 euro. 
Service: very friendly, they helped us with navigating the airco in the room, booked our restaurant, and were all smiles. 
Room: roomy, comfortable matras, quiet (On the 4th floor and ignoring the stormy weather), good bathroom facilities, free wifi. 
Breakfast: according my French girlfriend, the breakfast was the best of all hotels so far. I wouldn’t go that far, but it was all organic, ranged from lots of cheeses, charcuterie, and salmon to choose from, to plenty of sweet options, from croissants and cakes to fruit salads and different types of cereal. The smoothies and coffees to go were a nice surprise. 
Clearly, my passion lies with food, which I don’t choose at every hotel as an option, but in terms of overal comfort I would give this hotel an 8/10

In Places: Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

It’s hard to describe places in the short amount of words that I allow myself to write for this blog. I had 1 day in LA last Saturday and since I don’t have a car or drive one, I started my journey on foot at Union Station heading towards Los Feliz, which I heard was interesting. It takes ca. 15 minutes of walking to get to Sunset Boulevard, passing through El Pueblo, an interesting, but highly touristic Mexican hotspot.

The nice if not magical thing about this street and perhaps LA is the random places you encounter on your journey. Everything is spread apart and I understand why people think it’s a car city, though in fact I see LA best travelled by foot, bike, and/or metro (a subway or bus, which goes everywhere and frequently). 
Along this journey under roughly 33 degrees Celcius (ca. 91.5 Fahrenheit), I encountered many little “villages”, featuring a flea market with a live reggae band, a farmers’ market with the biggest strawberries I’ve ever seen, vegan places such as the one serving the aforementioned smoothie, bookstores, vintage/secondhand stores, and I even got to see the Hollywood sign as Los Feliz lies at the foot of the Hollywood hills.

My activity tracker told me that I walked 20km that day (ca. 15 miles), it was exhausting but pretty much an amazing experience. I’m so happy to have done it on foot, because I would’ve missed many of the small touches in a car, metro, or even by bike.

In places: Christies Auction-house, Amsterdam

Note: not all things I write here are favourites, just things I want to remember.

What is there to remember about Christies, Amsterdam? Not much to be honest, not even worth a picture. It’s outside of Amsterdam-centre, in a nice neighbourhood, close to the museum-quarter (of course). It’s burgundy flags welcome you from a distance and when you walk in, you are confronted with some art-work. The receptionists look like female flight-attendants. There’s art-brochures in the waiting-area and that’s about it.

I was met in a tiny office on the ground floor, in contrast to any majestic expectations you may have had. It’s important to remember that Christies is only a mediator and not a curator of art.

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