The highlight of the day has to be the food tour. Thanks to Arva, I am now going to look for food tours everywhere. So I thought I have 48 hours (probably less) in Amsterdam and had enough of boring tours (they are useful) so I looked up food tours and Hungry Birds came up. Apparently they have only just launched and are still sort of ironing out kinks but I am always up for an adventure and what better way than to discover some of the favourite eating places in Amsterdam and see some of the less tourist-y places in this fascinating city.
So my nephew Sriroop (Binks to friends and family) and his friend Andrew braved clouds and the odd bits of sunlight to join the two girls in the corner of Albert Cuyp market - apparently the largest open market in Europe. It was rather large and rambling and sold everything you could think of and a few you could not possibly imagine anyone buying. I was hoping to explore more at the end of the tour but could not because the weather took a turn for the worse. But I digress.
Zosia & Esther - the lovely girls behind the tour - threw us off the deep end and started us off with fresh raw herring served with chopped onions and pickled gherkins. You could tell by the expressions on our faces - check the photos on Flickr - all three of us were a bit wary. But it was delicious. If you like sushi, this is a breeze. It did not smell of fish and the combination of herring and pickled gherkin was delicious.
Our next stop was a lovely deli that had every kind of cheese and cured meats and anything that goes with it on display. We had a traditional sandwich - to some it would be just another cheese sandwich, but the bread was freshly baked (wholemeal) and the cheese was lovely mature Dutch cheese. We meandered through the area known as De Pijp (the pipe), apparently now known as one of the most upcoming places for art etc. It was nice meandering through these lesser known streets, learning about people and their stories, stories about the place etc. Our third stop was a restaurant named Boca that served us with a delicious asparagus soup straight off the stove and some very nice bitterballen - nothing bitter about them I might hastily add - (mini) sandwiches that oozed cheese and mince goodness.
We then meandered a bit deeper into the area and deviated from all this lovely Dutch goodness to be introduced to a shot
of vitamin goodness - fresh (wheat) grass juice. I'm not sure I would've volunteered for it but glad I did try it and not sure I would volunteer for this again. But it wasn't bad.
We were then taken to a new concept restaurant that was set up for people that ate alone or travelled alone or did so in groups. It was roughly translated named City Canteen but the food was nothing like in a canteen I've ever been too (not that I've been to many). We had some lovely mackerel paste/pate served with a cous cous salad made with vegetables and pickled artichoke and onions.
The food tour ended with two sweet stops: Dutch baby pancakes or Poffertjes and Stroopwafel - both quite delicious but the pancakes were a superb hit with all of us. The tour cost us 25 Euros each including the food and it was (in my opinion) well worth it. If I had known how to cycle - we would have covered a wider area and probably been more adventure. Next time I am in Amsterdam (and there will be a next time) - I am definitely taking cycling lessons.
We finished the day (for me at least) with a very short visit to the newly renovated Rijk Museum and a leisurely Thai dinner that was quite good though without too much of a kick.
Tomorrow - kitsch shopping and flight home.