Food

Bento box from SET restaurant (Or: A tasty “support local” endeavor)

Here is another “support local” post for you all:

This meat bento box comes from SET restaurant in The Hague. I’ve been a fan of SET restaurant ever since I tasted their adorably delicious ice cream dessert. SET is open for delivery and takeout Tuesdays through Sundays.

Yummmm! I mostly finished it, though if I’m honest this probably should have been two meals. But it was hard to stop! It begins with an appetizer of miso soup which is good enough that I can easily ignore the tofu thrown in there. I’ve never understood the tofu love.

At the top you have white rice and beef in teriyaki sauce. From the lower left you have crumbled pork, chicken nuggets, seaweed salad (middle right in the small container) and a small salad in the lower right. And I must say: calling it “chicken nuggets” does not do that chicken justice. The Japanese love their fried chicken, which they call karage. The crumbled pork was also delicious.

I do hope that takeout become more normal as a result of the coronavirus. It was a pleasant surprise to see that Momiji Sushi was available on the thuisbezorgd.nl website – it is like GrubHub in the US – and had options for both delivery and takeout.

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Grote Markt plaza (Or: In the shadow of the coronavirus)

Everyone is thinking about how visits to restaurants and cafés will look after 1 June when terraces will again be allowed to open – if the coronavirus numbers allow it, of course.

The Grote Markt plaza has a plan in the meantime, and it involves food trucks:

Does anyone else think that the shadow of the close umbrella looks like a perched Batman?

Generally this area is filled to the brim with tables and chairs from all of the nearby restaurants. Here is a photo overlooking the area from a nearby restaurant (photo taken in 2015).

Here is a look at what they are serving (or selling):

From upper left (“Bloemen”): Flowers, coffee, pizza, croissants, ice cream, sandwiches, Thai food, Cold Turkey (a type of beer from the nearby restaurant Hoender en Hop, apparently), fries, and vinyl records. There isn’t much information available online about this food truck action, but it could be that it is only running Thursday through Sunday.

And here are some more chalk drawings. I’m unsure if they are supposed to mark the distance between 1.5 meters or not, as some of them are more haphazardly placed. Or maybe they are just decoration, which is cool too.

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Acidic heat (Or: Chicken ramen at its best)

A few days ago Marco made chicken ramen. He outdid himself this time:

If I had to describe the broth I would say acidic heat – it was a mixture of red peppers, jalapeños and freshly squeezed lime, perfectly balanced so that neither overtook the other. Also starring in the dish was spring onions, sea weed, bonito flakes, miso soup broth, Japanese noodles and more.

There’s just a bit of broth left. I think Marco and I are going to fight it out to see who gets it for lunch.

…Just kidding – he should get to experience his creation one more time.

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Supporting local businesses (Or: Takeout? Delivery?)

Okay, I’ll admit I’m not a big fan of delivery. I would gladly do takeover over delivery any day. I think I am in the minority, though!

Check out the sign by the local Momiji Sushi and Momiji Ramen. They are special enough to have two websites and two entrances (normally) – even though they are run by the same company and you can walk from one part to the other.

A sign saying they are open for both takeout and delivery, and giving their opening times.

I am definitely a fan of the color work on that sign. I think maybe I’ll suggest we get some sushi… or ramen… this weekend. Yum!

Fun side note: “Ramen” means “windows” in Dutch. Let me tell you, Marco loves to make jokes about their windows every time we walk past. (I love that. Usually…)

Support your local business and stay safe, everyone.

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Easter 2020 (Or: A bit smaller and closer to home)

Happy Easter, everyone! It’s a quiet holiday – we’ve opened the windows nice and wide today to get that spring breeze circulating through the apartment. This year Marco and I ordered Easter Brunch from a local restaurant, FOAM Catering. You can find them at Frederikstraat 44.

We were tempted after Marco saw the menu on Facebook:

We went with the meal and added one massive chocolate chip cookie and one banana bread muffin to the spoils. Check it out:

From left to right we have the massive chocolate chip cookie, and then next to that the banana bread muffin (sort of hidden). In the box above we have the two sandwiches – BLTA (tempeh bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado – YUMMM!) and the wakame baguette with scrambled tofu, chives and tomato. I can easily say it is the best tofu I’ve ever had. It was great and did actually look like scrambled eggs. You can see the scrambled tofu container in the lower right, as you needed to warm it up separately and then add it to the sandwich.

Underneath the sign “Like our food?” is the mango jalapeño gazpacho, my second favorite item after the BLTA sandwich. It wasn’t that spicy, and the mango wasn’t too sweet. To the right is the scrambled tofu, as earlier mentioned. In the box on the far right is the coconut power balls and underneath the two brownies. Sweets wise we kept it at the coconut power balls, which were unbelievably tasty. We saved them until last and had them with a cup of coffee. The two closed containers in the far back are the extra scrambled tofu and gazpacho.

If you’re in The Hague I would definitely recommend this restaurant – it was well worth the price and we’re already planning our next visit. And without this experience I wouldn’t have ever known tempeh bacon existed, so that’s a definite win.

Stay safe, everyone!

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Weekend baking (Or: Lemon sugar cookies)

Over the weekend Marco and I baked lemon sugar cookies:

It has become a nice ritual in these corona times – last week we also made cookies from a ‘all in one’ baking kit. The box was for chocolate chunk cookies but we replaced the chocolate with Reese’s pieces (but a knockoff brand). We decided to divide the recipe in two as it said it would make 4 dozen cookies… yeah, we don’t have anyone to share them with, so no go!

We used our Joseph Joseph adjustable rolling pin for the first time during this bake as the recipe called for cookies of 1/4th inch thickness. The rolling pin comes with a set of ‘rings’ of 1/16, 1/6, 1/4 and 3/8ths inch so that you can always get the perfect thickness. It worked really well actually!

We didn’t have a proper cookie cutter so we simply used an empty container that was previously filled with ‘chocoladestukjes hagelsteentjes‘ (tiny pieces of dark, milk and white chocolate).

Now the question is what we will bake next week… any ideas?

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Restaurants in The Hague (Or: Take your food and go)

Here is a look at one of the local Burger King locations:

The Burger King itself is open, but the table and chairs are blocked with caution tape. This is because restaurants are currently closed in The Netherlands, with only take out and delivery allowed.

Coronavirus in The Netherlands: what you need to know (in English, from DutchNews.nl)

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Sushi time (Or: Shabu Shabu in The Hague)

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.

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Coffe and cake (Or: Travels through The Hague)

As you have probably guessed from this blog, Marco and I like to sample the various coffee and cake options at the local establishments. The last few months have been no exception.

First up we have an old (awesome) favorite: the Cheesecake Company in The Hague:

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.

But maybe next time we should also catch a film…

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Hiroshima style okonomiyaki (Or: Do I mean onomatopoeia?)

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.

As usual, Marco cooks awesome stuff!

Categories: Food, Friends&Family | 2 Comments

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