Patat. When I’m in Holland I eat the patat. That’s fries to you. And not Dutch fries, but Belgian fries. Huge, double fried, and with the best most abhorrent sauces you can think of. They are served in a paper cone or pouch and as many people walk with them firmly in hand, doused with sauce. Depending on how refined the purchase place is – simple like ketchup or even better, mayo. Or if less refined? You can go to war. Oorlog is Dutch for war. Oorlog is Dutch for mayo, peanut sauce and diced onions-AT THE SAME TIME. War in your innermost being I guess. A huge list of sauce types from basic mayo to curry sauce to Oorlog. My shame and joy is that I ate fries for lunch twice. TWICE.
We found a cool hipster area of town on accident. With the purchase of the I Amsterdam card we were given a magazine called A-mag. I woke up before Z on day two and laid in bed reading by the weak early light. The magazine filled with blurbs and things going on-new places to check out. I ran across an item that was seemingly like my favorite food places. A hall of small, local merchants banding together for strength in numbers. Shared places to eat and drink with semi-fast foods. Like a mall food court but so much better. It wasn’t far from our hotel or the Vondelpark in the Oud-West area called de Hallenkwartier, de Hallen is right up my alley. It gets up and running about noon although we were there on a Monday morning and I was sad that a few things I’d like to try were not open yet. I really wanted to try bitterballen, which I read is a deep fried beef gravy ball, so I consoled myself with fries and mayo. Z had a pungent Swiss Alpe and Sharp Amsterdammer grilled cheese. That was some funky strong cheese but addictive.
We were dashing through the rain after visiting the excellent Amsterdam museum. Amsterdam is a city chock full of museums. There is one for every taste (even bad.) The Amsterdam museum is a great collection showcasing the DNA of the city and educates about the spirit of enterprise, creativity, civic virtue and freedom of thought through the lens of history. I really recommend it for the background to the feeling of the city. We dodged raindrops popping in and out of shops. Notably one of the myriad Amsterdam cheese shops where we bought stinky cheese and then into my favorite vacation stop, the grocery store. I was lucky enough this trip to get into two! The Dutch chain, Albert Heijn and the British chain, Marks and Spencer. I love seeing what real people eat. Where they go after work, for comfort, for indulgence, for everyday living. It is so interesting to me from a cultural perspective. Albert Heijn carrying fresh bread and croissants, Stroop syrup and pancake mix, Hagelslag and Indonesian packaged food recalling a time of colonialism priced for everyone. Marks and Spencer filled with one off packaged food, pricey and beautifully marketed to their young urban audience. My best souvenirs.
Our day three lunch was at the polar opposite side of the spectrum. Not an ounce of local or artisanal for miles. After filling a bag at the market we stopped at Chipsy King for my second day of Patat for lunch. But decidedly every man, this is where I got a taste of war. Greasy and quick. The crisp potatoey fries are fluffy and waiting for that oddly tasty mayo peanut onion combo.
Two different experiences with total delight infused in both.