Rotterdam

Sweet Treats!

Ah, I think it’s time for a little disclaimer, because as my sweet father-in-law once pointed out, we do seem to do a lot of eating when we travel. I admit it, it’s one of our great joys. But, we also love to explore – visit museums and historical sites, check out the wildlife, get lost on public transportation, shop (okay, more me than Bob), etc.  This trip is a business trip for Bob and he has very little free time. I decided to take advantage of this time and focus on my writing. So, if you’re wondering why there are no photos of anything but food and shops, well, now you know. 😉

During a lunch break, Bob and I walked to the near-by shopping area and sat at an outdoor cafe right next to a fireplace for lunch. The place was called Aprés de Skihut and had a cartoon drawing of a skier and a lodge on a mountain side. The food was decent, but Bob was surprised when his Italiano sandwich turned out to be nothing more than two thick slices of wheat bread slathered with pesto and sprinkled with sliced green olives, cubes of mozzarella, and sun-dried tomatoes. For those of you who know Bob well, you know he is a true carnivore and no meat basically equals “not a real meal.” I shared my tuna salad with him so he didn’t walk away famished, at least.

The treat was this, served to us with the bill:

What’s this? I don’t know except it was topped with a generous dollop of fresh whipped cream sprinkled with chocolate crystals. I lapped at the whipped cream until Bob handed me a tiny spoon I hadn’t noticed (because, hello! whipped cream! chocolate sugar crystals!). I swallowed the liquid and it gently burned its way down my throat. Hmmm. I think it was maybe brandy? Just a taste.

My happiest discovery came during the hotel breakfast buffet. To be honest, it was Bob who found this box and handed it to me as I was about to butter my warmed croissant.

See the photo? It’s chocolate flakes on bread! Chocolate ON Bread! What a fantastic idea! I peeled open my croissant and poured the chocolate flakes into the center. Voila! Chocolate croissant!

I wonder if I can find a grocery store nearby that sells a very large box of this product????

Categories: Good Eats, Rotterdam | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Delicious Dinner – Surprise!

This is part 2 about our evening of wandering around Rotterdam, looking for dinner. See part 1 here.

So, Bob and I, after learning that our original dining destination was closed, headed back over the bridge in hopes of finding a restaurant worth trying out. We knew we hadn’t passed any restaurants we had any great desire to try on our way over the bridge. So, we risked turning down a street that looked promising. It turned out that yes, the street was lined with shops and cafes. We were hopeful.  When we walked past Hotel Bazar, we saw the Mediterranean menu posted in window. Tempting. There was also a cute little restaurant across the street, but it was empty. We peeked into the window of the large Hotel Bazar and it was positively bustling with waiters carrying full trays and tables full of customers. Always a great sign! So we wandered in. First thing we asked? “Do you have a menu in English?” They did! Hooray!

The inside was fabulously decorated with lots of colorful lamps, the atmosphere was casual. Our waitress spoke English (of course) – everywhere we travel, we find we can use our English without any trouble. I’m envious of all these people in other countries who are so easily bi- and multi- lingual.

We put in our order for dinner. The smells wafting around the restaurant were enough to make us drool (nearly). We peeked over at our neighbors’ tables and everything looked delicious. We were downright famished by the time our meals (promptly) arrived.

I ordered a marinated, grilled chicken kabob, served with rice and potatoes. The chicken was amazingly delicious with the perfect amount of seasoning. That pepper looks a little intimidating but it wasn’t spicy at all. The sauce was barbeque and I didn’t bother using it for the chicken (it masked the flavor), but did dip my potatoes in it. Dare I admit here that I ate everything? (Except I did leave most of the potatoes, not because they weren’t good, but I got full.)

Bob ordered the marinated veal ribs when the server admitted that it was her favorite dish. It was a tad spicy (but not overly so), juicy, tender, and very good! Bob enjoyed it very much! (He did keep sneaking bites of my rice, though!)

The best part was dessert. I ordered baklava, a dessert I enjoy very much. I expected a small triangle of the treat of filo dough filled with pistachio nuts and honey, but instead this was placed before me:

Bob’s first question to me was, “What is that furry stuff on top?” It did indeed look rather…furry. I took a small pinch and as soon as I touched it, I knew what it was. Cotton candy! Sweet! And it melted on my tongue. We joked a little, by petting it, but soon it was all gone, along with the four rectangles of baklava underneath. I’d never seen it served this way, have any of you? It was fun and amazingly good!

Our evening was a success! I do love when we make these fun discoveries of good meals without any research or plan. (Something I learned to do from Bob.)

-posted by Debbi

Categories: Good Eats, Rotterdam | Tags: , | 7 Comments

Walking Across The Swan or Another Florence Mis-Adventure

The Swan is the Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam – about a half a mile long with a tall pylon fastened by 32 stays,  all in white (thus the nickname “the swan”).

On Monday evening, after reading reviews of several restaurants, we chose to eat at the Rotterdam Cafe, by the Rotterdam Terminal. The hotel desk clerk told us it was a safe but long walk. We prefer walking to taking the subway because this way we can enjoy the sights of the city.

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The air was crisp but not uncomfortably cold as we trekked from our hotel, along the Rotte river. Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe and still one of the busiest in the world. We enjoyed seeing stores and cranes and bikes and people. Cars here always stop for pedestrians crossing (I can’t get used to it),  but you have to keep watch for the bicyclists, who do not stop. There is a McDonalds on every corner. Sigh. And the sidewalks are splattered with discarded chewing gum. The Dutch must like to chew gum! We saw a bookstore (I’ll have to head back later to check out the inside), and a window full of lights and carved skulls by the artist Danny de Cactus.

Thirty minutes later, we found ourselves standing outside the very closed up Rotterdam Cafe. We wondered how old that New York Times review of restaurants in Rotterdam was. And why we hadn’t looked it up before walking there. Oh yes, because that’s what we do – spontaneously head somewhere in a foreign country without doing massive (or even a little) research. 😉

So we turned around and started heading back, determined to do that other thing we do well – finding a good restaurant by wandering.

(To be continued…)

– posted by Debbi

Categories: Rotterdam | 4 Comments

Scenes From Our Hotel Room

Arrived in Rotterdam after two flights (saw Guy Fieri on the leg from SFO to ORD) and a train ride, yesterday. First full day here, very jet-lagged. Hoping to get to my novel revision (hey, maybe I’ll discover I write brilliantly while jet-lagged).

From the window of our 10th floor room, we have a view of an important-looking building. Will have to find out what it is. Also, the sounds of raucous shouting and honking horns brought me to the window to see a line of cars – in the convertible at the head of the line were the bride and groom, followed by what I assume was friends and family, hanging out their car windows, waving flags, honking, and cheering. What fun!

The last photo is what hangs on the wall in our room. I feel like it is speaking directly to me – inspiring me to be creative and write. I promise more photos soon!

— Posted by Debbi (of course)

Categories: Rotterdam | 4 Comments

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