Over the weekend Marco, Roger and I went to Shabu Shabu in The Hague, an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant. It was my first time; Marco and Roger went to the chain in Amsterdam once. It’s similar to Sumo, the restaurant where I tried sushi for the first time and where I used chopsticks for the first time (spoiler: I’m getting better but there are some things where I find it easier to just use my fingers).
Of course I’ll take any chance I can get to photograph flowers.
All of the ordering is done via a tablet, including drinks, extra wasabi and extra ginger. Pictured above is some wasabi which you receive at the start of the meal.
Sushi! From left to right: salmon, tuna, Japanese peppers with tuna and, last but not least, crispy mango.
The round that did us in (I probably shouldn’t have ordered the chicken curry rice bowl at the bottom). In the back on the left is shrimp and on the right is spicy Korean chicken. Below that is the remains of teriyaki salmon. Middle left is two gyoza’s (chicken dumplings) and middle right is eel and shrimp? sushi. At the bottom is the chicken curry rice bowl, as mentioned.
Shabu Shabu also has an unlimited dessert buffet – I went simple and just had chocolate and vanilla ice cream. But you also have donuts, chocolates, bonbons, spekkkoek and more. Yum.
It was a lot of fun, and ordering with a tablet made the experience much better. You could even request to close your bill with the tablet. This helps, since I am always annoyed by how long it takes to close your bill at most Dutch restaurants. I do understand it’s a cultural difference between here and America, though. Here in The Netherlands they don’t want you to feel as if you are being rushed through the meal.
I had a pistachio cheesecake, while Marco’s was tiramisu flavor. With our usual cappuccino (his) and coffee (mine).
And a new one for us: last month we went to the Buitenhof movie theatre. Not to see a movie, but to sample their coffee and desserts at their café/restaurant.
This one was also pretty good, but I was glad that we decided to share. The carrot cake we had was quite sweet with all the layers of icing. While I don’t normally think of carrot cake as a healthy option, this one was definitely the farthest from healthy that you could get.
But it was a good enough cafe, and thankfully they had room. We first considered going to Hometown Coffee, which was recently renovated, but both times we went we were unable to find a seat.
Yesterday, Marco, Roger and I made okonomiyaki, a savory Japanese pancake. The recipe came from a cookbook called “Tokyo stories” which I gave to Marco for Christmas this year. It was a nice find at the local American Book Center, or ABC for short. The joke in the blog title was that Marco couldn’t pronounce it right away after visiting Japan (oh-co-nome-e-ah-key) so he took to calling it onomatopoeia, which is ironically just as difficult to say. But these days we all just call it by its true name.
This variant was the Hiroshima style, which differs from the Osaka style Marco and Roger ate in Tokyo last year. 1) It uses 3 to 4 times the amount of cabbage as the Osaka style variant, with the cook (in this case Roger) pushing it down to flatten it as it cooks. 2) It is built in layers, including one careful flip halfway through. Roger was a flipping master last night.
For the most part, you can add whatever toppings you want. The original recipe called for squid but we were not adventurous enough for that, so we used pork instead. There is bacon in the recipe – you add it to the top of the pile and then you immediately flip the pancake so that the bacon is on the bottom and crisps up. It also usually has noodles (we used yakisoba noodles, which are stir-fried). There’s also a special okonomiyaki sauce, and we used a wasabi mayo as well on top.
We also used Roger’s gourmetten set, which has a dual use plate depending on how it was flipped: a grill for gourmetten or a flat grill for occasions like this. For the most part we cooked everything on the stove in pans and then transferred the mixture to the grill plate at the end to keep everything warm (traditionally you should cut off a piece and put it on your plate and get more later).
As a drink, Marco and Roger had calpis, which is a Japanese uncarbonated soft drink. But personally I like carbonation so I don’t drink that often. I had an Asahi “super dry” beer. Ironically enough it does taste pretty dry. It is also my beer of choice if we go to Wagamama in Amsterdam.
Last April a new restaurant opened in The Netherlands: TGI Fridays. It’s an American restaurant chain that has over 500 locations in the United States with an additional 300+ locations outside of the United States. Since April 2018, one of those locations is here in the Netherlands. In the Hoog Catharijne mall in Utrecht, to be precise.
In case you are wondering, the name comes from the American phrase “Thank God it’s Friday”, which is also often shortened to “T.G.I.F.”.
As usual the only sticking point was never knowing what language to speak: when we came in, the hostess (person who greets you and takes you to your seat) spoke English. The first waiter spoke Dutch and the second waiter spoke English. Hmmm… That happens a lot, though. Must be something to do with mine American accent (haha). Although I also had the impression that some of the staff only spoke English.
For dessert, Marco and I split warm apple pie with vanilla ice cream, which went well with my coffee. I really enjoyed the ice cream; it was frozen enough that it didn’t melt instantly.
Overall the food was good and I loved the decor. For instance, take a look at the chair in the background of the dessert photo – it’s covered in American flags and other American trinkets. Anywhere else and it would look tacky, but it works here.
Marco also noted at the end that they used an American style “receipt/check book”, which included a slot for a credit card which sticks out over the edge of the book. That way the waiter knows there is a credit card inside when the book is closed. See also this link (Amazon.com).
“The Fred” or De Fredis a neighborhood in The Hague, a shortening of the street name Frederik Hendriklaan, where the heart of the neighborhood can be found.
Last Monday a new Papa John’s pizza location opened on The Fred. It’s the first one in The Hague, although there are already locations in nearby Delft and Zoetermeer. It’s originally from the United States.
And of course (like what Dunkin’ Donuts does with new locations) the first 100 visitors that day received a free pizza.
I’m actually not much of a fan of Papa John’s pizza, although admittedly I haven’t had any in years. I’m more of a thick pizza/thick crust person. But some of my friends do like it, so to each their own!
It’s that time of year again! The Rrrollend food truck festival has returned to The Hague. Today was the last day, although they will be back at Lange Voorhout from August 9th to the 11th.
The highlight of this excursion this time around was the rolled up ice cream (Wikipedia), which I have never had before. The food truck was manned by a team out of Rotterdam (Facebook). It is a semi-solid ice cream made of cream, milk and sugar. The trick is that it is placed on a cold surface (chilled to -20 degrees) while it is being worked on. Check out this photo from the Wikipedia page:
Once frozen, you can roll up the ice cream as shown above.