Saturday, 23 July 2011

Tulips, bicycles, canals...

I always look forward to meal time here at the Aspen Festival, but it's so different to the simple, primarily meatless, low-oil, vege abundant food I usually make myself in Vienna. I've also probably taken my 'when in Rome' attitude to the American school cafeteria a little too far, and have made an unfortunate habit of routinely overheaping my plate with too much fried crap and feeling less than average afterwards.
I slept in today and missed breakfast, which is probably why my tummy started dreaming and it made me think back to probably the best dish I've had out so far this year. I found this charming cafe-restaurant in Utrecht, Holland where I took a weekend trip to get a chin-rest custom made for my violin and me. After a lengthy deliberation and quite the question and answer exchange with the waiter, I chose a smoked duck salad, which contained tasty surprises scattered among the ribbons of cucumber and lettuce leaves: olives, capers, tomatoes, a marinated mild chili pepper, and sweet cranberry sauce which topped it off excellently. And of course the tender duck slices provided the perfect balance against the raw veg with a rich, decadent, fatty touch. YUM. So simple but so fresh and divine.
The rest of the time I ate huge €3.00 pouches of fries with mayo and delicious seasoning, to get amongst 'Dutch cuisine':
(I was unsure as to what the logo at the chip shop was about..... suggestions welcome)
Dutch people are tall
My sweet couchsurfer's apartment views in Amsterdam

The Netherlands is really a beautiful, unique place like no other I've ever seen. I knew all the stereotypes before going, of course, but I didn't expect to actually be able to smell the marijuana emanating from cafe houses at every street corner, or to have to be on constant alert for bike traffic whilst walking on any kind of pedestrian surface, or to be able to see the inside of sex shops from the street. I loved the positive atmosphere, the doors of houses and open curtains right on the street fronts, the wandering domestic cats, and the open and friendly attitude. It was a brief but very wonderful travel experience, which I highly recommend. Holland, you won me over.


1 comment:

  1. So Soetkin has informed me that the peeing cherub is the mascot of Belgium, and that it was probably a 'Belgian' chip shop:
    Thanks, good to know!