Amsterdam on my mind ...Sunday, February 09, 2014
Last summer, I spent a few days in Amsterdam and was absolutely smitten. Against the backdrop of cerulean skies, the canals lined with colorful boat houses and elegant merchant homes dating as far back as the seventeenth century were just charming beyond belief.
Summer on the canals is quite fun to observe. You can catch folks hopping off boats and into canal-side cafes for an espresso. You might even see a canal packed til bursting with boats for a summer concert.
I sampled the ubiquitous bitterballen, which is basically a deep-fried, battered meatball, eaten with a dash of mustard—is there anything about that not to love? Next time, I'll have to try it with a glass of Heineken. But strangely enough, what Amsterdam has got me jonesing for is Indonesian food, which is widely available here—while for some reason being off-the-radar in both New York and my native Manila!
My darling Dutch guide also took me to the quaint village of Lage Vuursche, just about a 40-minute drive from Amsterdam. It's off the beaten path of international tourists and is just quintessentially Dutch. Nestled within a verdant forest, this hamlet is the location of Princess Beatrix's residence, Drakesteijn, as well as a number of picturesque little Dutch pancake houses. It was here that I got my first taste of Dutch pancakes: just a wee bit thicker than a crepe; loaded with apples, bacon or whatever your heart desires; and simply a big and decadent treat.
On my next visit to the Netherlands, the weather will be colder and more gray, but I don't mind. Winter may have its own charms ... stroopwafel, coffee and cuddles by the Amstel await!