love at first bite
Can you keep a secret? Maybe we can just keep this between us. I'm not sure that I want to give away my secret, but it's too good not to share. Many places in Amsterdam sell cupcakes, some good, some not so good. Cupcakes are the current Amsterdam fad in desserts and I can't resist them when I find them- I secretly hope they will be as good as the ones in the US. It took a lot of bad cupcakes before I found the best cupcake, and lucky for me my favorite coffee shop around the corner from my house takes the cake- literally. I would say that their Oreo cookie cupcake is the best cupcake in Amsterdam- so stop by Trakteren and taste the best cupcake in Amsterdam, along with some really great coffee too.
Toko is the Indonesian word for shop (which makes sense if you remember that Indonesia was once a colony of the Netherlands) that sells non-European food. Sometimes they sell take-out and ingredients- like Tjin's in the Pijp, usually a toko sells all of the ingredients you are looking for, but can't find at the normal grocery stores: Chinese, Thai, American, Japanese, Indonesian. Wah Nam Hong is pretty big, but it's not in the city center, they have a large selection of American goods and spices- if you have a pepper grinder their whole peppercorns were very reasonably priced. This site will tell you where to find a toko most anywhere in the Netherlands: http://tokowijzer.nl/.
stylish online shopping (in holland)!
A couple of years ago a new trend started in online shopping with sites such as: Rue La La, Gilt, One Kings Lane- private sale boutiques. The sales only last for a few days and the deals are good with stylish brand names that focus on clothes, home goods, food, and travel- depending on the site. I still continued to shop the US sites after moving here, but hoped to find something similar in Holland,- well, I finally found it! Dalani Home & Living- it's a Dutch site for home goods- stylish home goods, with not just Dutch design, but Danish, Swedish and French design. It's nice that I can finally get instant gratification (items delivered to my front door, rather than my sister's in the US!)! If your frustrated by the lack of online shopping options here, tired of the same stuff at every store and figuring out how to get things home- bike, tram, car? Then why are you still reading this- check out Dalani Home & Living.
I love the idea of Ikea. Cheap. Convenient. (Most) always in stock. (Semi)stylish. But I don't like how it's all the same, sure you can paint things or hack things, but what if you don't want to hack something, but just want different options- stylish options, something that isn't in everybody else's living room? Let me introduce you to Pretty Pegs, a Swedish company that makes stylish pegs (err- legs) for Ikea sofas and couches. The shipping isn't too bad and Pretty Pegs are priced from 80-150 euros (for a set of 4). I haven't bought a set yet, I'm holding out for stylish legs for a desk.
brunch. i love food.
I miss a good brunch. Eggs benedict. Sausage. Bacon. Pancakes. Hash browns. My mouth waters just thinking about it. At some point after moving here I started researching brunches in Amsterdam, I stumbled across a jazz brunch at the Eden hotel, but at 37.50 p.p., I decided that my craving wasn't worth it- I love breakfast- but not that much- I can make pancakes and play jazz music at my house for 37.50 p.p (unless they have bottomless mimosas that's a different story). My search continued, blog after blog, menu after menu and then I started seeing the same name pop-up over and over. Lovefood. I HAD to try this place. One beautiful sunday, without a reservation, with a hungover W, we walked up at the perfect moment and scored a table outside, it was love at first bite. The problem was that Lovefood was a pop-up- it was once a month and become crazy popular. Getting a table was like getting an invite to the royal wedding- difficult, but totally worth the effort. The food was great, the service was always friendly with a smile and the drinks, well- brunch without a bloody mary or mimosa, can't be called brunch. Currently Lovefood is gearing up to be a more permanent fixture in Amsterdam and is in "winter hibernation". This morning I had an e-mail from a friend asking for brunch suggestions, since Lovefood wasn't an option I did a little research and sent her the following suggestions, Gartine and Greenwood. There is also George and their menu has everything that I love, eggs benedict, oysters, mussels and french fries, and creme brulee (not to be eaten at the same time, of course)- but their portions are small and the restaurant is more about people watching and feels a little posh (there are multiple locations). So, while you are waiting for Lovefood to "wake up" try a few of the suggestions above and then try Lovefood and let your brunch world be rocked.
a little sun in milan.
Pardon my absence, I was exploring new travel locations and getting a little vitamin D.
an apple a day.
To say that I am excited is an understatement. Finally, a true real apple store.
there's no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no place like home
Looking for a place to live? Try this site: http://www.rooftrack.nl/en/default.aspx. It's in english and lists non-controlled rental options in the Netherlands.
it's raining. it's pouring.
My mom bought me my first pair of wellies. They were from J.Crew and on sale for $10.00, I had wellies, before wellies were cool. I wore them on occasion, but if it was raining in Houston, I didn't go out or went from parking garage to parking garage- oh, a big city. When Hurricane Ike hit my wellies proved to be invaluable, wearing them for days on end. I of course packed them up and shipped when I moved to the Netherlands and over this cold snowy winter I pulled them out again. I put them on and headed outdoors to battle the snow and ice, but soon realized my toes were turning into blocks of ice because my wellies were dying. I had been eyeing the Hunter wellies, but the high price tag seemed crazy compared to $10 wellies. Now that my old and trusty wellies were dead, I needed a replacement. Internet to the rescue. I knew that Hunter wellies were a product of the UK, so I went there- http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1/275-6473847-5929638?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=hunter+rain+boots- and it must have been meant to be, because they are 1/2 the price I could get them for in the US and in the Netherlands. There was also a coupon for 20% off. Looking for some new rainboots? I would look no further than across the pond.
I'm not really sure the best place to put this on the site, so I am going to put it here for starters. Ever want to know if a store is open in Amsterdam, check out this little jewel of a site http://www.openingstijden.nl/Noord-Holland/Amsterdam/
all you need is love or dessert.
It's Valentine's Day. Not sure where to get a sweet for your sweetie or yourself. In the center of the city? Check out http://www.patisseriepompadour.com/. It's heel lekker and if you are sharing, I'd take two home- they are that good.
10 Feb 2012
W and I officially moved to the Netherlands in January, but we didn't move into our first apartment until April 1. It was in Amsterdam Oost and small- our bed didn't fit into the bedroom so it was in the living room (behind the chairs). The apartment once had foundation problems so you could roll something from one side to the other and the kitchen was tiny. I loved this place. I didn't know anything about the area or the neighborhood or even Amsterdam when we moved in, but I explored. I would hop on my bike when the weather was nice (it was summer and we had plenty of nice days) and bike around the city- stopping everywhere to see what the city offered. We eventually moved and went further Oost and I explored that area too- finding my favorite turkish grocery and that one of the best pizza places in Amsterdam was right around the corner. We have now just moved again, but to a more permanent house and I am exploring that neighborhood with the same curiosity and excitement, peering into windows as I bike, making mental notes about places to check out and even finding some of the best coffee in the neighborhood, with oreo cookie cupcakes that rival mine. Amsterdam didn't feel like home until I got to know her and I've found that she is pretty easy to get to know.
i'll share my map with you.
lost and found. It’s how I still feel some days after almost two years here. Where can I find…? Nevermind, I’ll just import it when I go home. lost and found. It’s not just looking for something materialistic, it’s also about establishing and finding myself in a new place everyday. Making friends, keeping friends, learning how to drive, finding a job, learning dutch. Sometimes I feel so lost navigating through life in this new place. Then I find myself walking in the middle of Dam square- among all the tourists, thinking- this is my home, I am so lucky. Finding the little things that make you feel less lost can be difficult in a new place and sometimes feels impossible- but day by day I’m taking notes, trying new things, feeling less lost and now...sharing my map.