Food

Food halls (Or: Haagse Bluf in The Hague)

Food halls have only recently become a “thing” in The Netherlands, lets say the last five years. A few examples I have been to include the Markthal in Rotterdam and MingleMush in The Hague. Apparently MingleMush re-opened today! I’ll have to schedule a (safe) visit, as it has been too long… It looks like they are open Tuesday through Saturday, 12:00-21:00.

Another food hall Marco and I still need to visit is the food hall in the Haagse Bluf, an upscale shopping area in the centre of The Hague:

It’s a great place to walk through, with very photogenic areas. Just click the tag “Haagse Bluf” at the bottom of this post to see more. My favorite photo was of the red scooter, but the photo of the iced chai tea at the end of this post serves as a great memory for me. We only had it a few times before Kaldi stopped selling it. It was delicious!

In other news:

  • It’s official: Amsterdam to London direct train without Brussels stopover now ready from nltimes.nl. Now it only takes 3 1/2 hours to get into London by train (from Rotterdam)! Considering how long you’re waiting around in an airport, that’s pretty good.
  • The Netherlands now reports deaths and hospital intakes on a weekly basis on Tuesdays. RIVM reported 19 Covid-19 deaths and 9 hospitalizations in the last week (from nltimes.nl), although due to delayed reporting not all of those were in the last week. They can say that 5 deaths occurred between June 28 and July 5, and two of the hospital admissions occurred after June 30. There were also 432 positive cases reported.
  • ICU intakes are (for the moment) still reported every day at lcps.nu. There are currently 24 Covid-19 patients in the ICU, with a low of 18 last week.
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The taste of durian (Or: Spotted at the local Asian store)

The inspiration for this blog post: last month I mentioned a news article from The Guardian about a durian fruit causing the evacuation of a German post office. Apparently it is a very divisive fruit. You know how I know that? I wanted to check my spelling of “divisive” so I typed in “divisive fruit” into Google, and durian was the top result. Hmm.

Are you in the camp that thinks it tastes like rotten eggs or gym socks? Or do you find it tastes of almonds, a bit creamy? (If you have ever had it, that is. Apparently it can be hard to find if you’re not in Asia.)

I didn’t realize it might be at the local Asian store until I saw sweets on the shelves:

That doesn’t look too bad, does it? Or these cakes:

But the fruit itself is indeed available at the local Asian store, as long as you are willing to try the deep freeze version. (I know, deep freeze is never as good as fresh.) Amusingly the page only describes it as having a “pungent odor”, which sounds… more bearable than it probably is in reality. Or you have another version which might be easy to break open.

I’m not sure I’m up for buying the deep freeze versions to start with, but maybe I can purchase a snack or two first and see how it goes…

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Coconut cookies and books (Or: A visit to Lebkov)

This afternoon I spent a few hours at Lebkov in The Hague, something I hadn’t done for a while. I have had takeout coffee from Lebkov over the last few months but this was one my first time sitting down. Well, there was one exception: I did meet a coworker there shortly after the rules were relaxed to allow customers to dine-in again. It was strange. We did not stay that long.

I purchased a coconut cookie, which was tasty, soft and slightly sticky on the inside. I also brought a book along, Night Train to Lisbon, although I ended up fiddling with Affinity Designer on my tablet instead. While I just started the novel last week I am enjoying it. It’s a bit dense (in a good way) so I’m glad I am reading the English translation and not the Dutch one. These days my reading habits seem to be me alternating Dutch and English with every book, which is fine.

In other news:

  • The Amsterdam zoo posted a video on YouTube of their newest baby elephant enjoying its first bath.
  • Would you like to see a pink limousine stuck on a Delft canal bridge? Then check out this Reddit thread.(And really. Who wouldn’t want to see that?)
  • You can also follow the Twitter account of Winston bureaukat (@Winston_topkat) for adorable photos of a local police station’s cat.
(“Look at me being so cute! You’ll just need to overlook the fact that I’ve destroyed half the station!”)
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Beer and chicken (Or: Zwarte Ruiter in The Hague)

Today Marco and I went to the Zwarte Ruiter in The Hague. It is one of the bar/restaurants on the Grote Markt. Since I took a vacation day today we were able to go a bit earlier in the day when it wasn’t too busy yet.

My beer (the Blurred lines on the left) was definitely fruity! It had citrus, passion fruit, peach, pineapple and mango.

In other news:

  • Do you remember the country-wide issue with the emergency number 112 last year? They released a report this week about what happened and the unique set of circumstances that made it even worse. You can read about it in English at nltimes.nl or in Dutch at nos.nl. One of the worst mistakes? They sent an NL-Alert to everyone which said the police were contactable on WhatsApp via <phone_number>. That phone number was incorrect; it was actually a number for the tip line by De Telegraaf, a Dutch newspaper. Yikes!
  • Van der Sar: play big Eredivisie games in second half of season from dutchnews.nl. It’s a good article if you’re into football/soccer – it talks about moving the big matches to after the winter break to adjust for a lack of home advantage, since stadiums will not have fans right away.
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Pork ramen (Or: Another Marco creation)

Is anyone interested in some pork ramen? Here’s the dish that Marco made for dinner tonight:

There is no way that I could remember all of the ingredients but some of the highlights are: pork, buckwheat noodles, red ginger shavings, sea weed sheets, baby corn, spring onions, black and white sesame seeds and a soy-marinated egg (the egg being the one ingredient I skipped). He created the broth basis last night, expanding on it tonight. There’s even a bit of lime in it, to give the broth a slight sourness (yum). My favorite was the red ginger shavings.

In other news:

  • Public broadcaster apologises for ‘k**wijf’ comment from rattled subtitler from dutchnews.nl. Opps! This was a live interview that was simultaneously subtitled “on the fly”. Apparently the speaker was a bit rattled and spoke too fast, which caused the subtitler a lot of issues. So the subtitler decided to call her the term you see above. While the link describes it as “stupid cow”, I would say it’s closer to b****. So yeah… opps?
  • Fewest Covid-19 patients in ICU since March 12 from nltimes.nl. There was a small increase last week that lasted about 3 or 4 days, but luckily it didn’t last long and the numbers started to decrease again.
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Anne and Max café in The Hague (Or: Sitting pretty on the terrace)

Yesterday Marco and I took a long walk, skirting around the city centre to avoid crowds of people. We walked along the Zuidwal, which is both a street and a neighborhood within the larger Centrum neighborhood. For the most part it was easy to avoid others and it was a pretty walk along the canal. We did see a few boats drive past as well.

Near the end found ourselves near the Grote Kerk and spotted a café by the name of Anne and Max. I’ve seen it a lot although we’ve never gone to it. And yesterday was 1 June, the day restaurants and cafés were allowed to open again. After some pondering we did sit down at the terrace. None of the tables on our side were taken so it seemed safe enough. Still, it did feel weird as it was most likely our first terrace visit of the year due to the weather only being warm enough the last few weeks.

Above is a look at the menu with a closed one on the left and an open menu on the right. The light green insert on the left was added to talk about the changes in this new “corona time”. For instance, payment would be done at the table so you didn’t have to get up, and that walking paths had been made. Slightly surprising: the toilets were open, and with them promising they are disinfected every hour.

Marco ordered a Zindering (no idea how to translate that – if you know, leave a comment), which is an ice cold chai latte with an extra shot espresso. I had a ginger-lemongrass soda and we shared a slice of apple pie with whipped cream. Somehow we always end up ordering apple pie at new places. This apple pie was pretty good, although it was different than what I expected – I expected the top crumb to be a bit more crunchy. Still good, though.

Otherwise things seemed pretty normal. I wouldn’t say the waiter kept 1.5 meters distance perfectly, but a) that’s almost impossible b) the moments were limited to handing out the menus, receiving the food and paying.

The only thing that would have made the visit better would have been more sun. When you are moving around it isn’t too cold but sitting down meant it was easier to feel the wind every minute or so. Brr! I think businesses would have preferred more sun, but perhaps it was for the best as it meant that most places weren’t overflowing with guests. There was enough room in most places to take a seat right away and enjoy the goodies.

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The clock strikes 12 (Or: Bustling terraces in The Hague)

Today’s the day! As of 12:00 in The Netherlands, cafés and restaurants could again open their doors for both inside service and service on the terrace, with the former requiring reservations. I’ll admit my curiosity got the better of me so I set out to get some photos for the blog.

I suspected that the city centre would be rather busy so I took an alternative route to get around in the beginning. However in the end I found it was easy enough to move around safely due to the ban on cyclists this weekend on the Grote Markt street.

First up we have the Grote Markt plaza, which I was most curious about:

I’ll admit I really like what this area has done. They’ve kept it rather inviting and it is easy to see where there is a free table. The separate entrance and exit is clearly labeled and they even have colored flags placed down the aisle of the exit area, although it’s a bit hard to see in this photo.

Next we have a look at the terrace by ‘t Goude Hooft, a fancy restaurant/hotel combo:

And finally here is a look at the plein by the Buitenhof. Surprisingly there was still a lot of space left here, although the area pictured is a self-serve bar that has very limited food options. I’m always a fan of this place since you need to pay right away. That means you are never stuck at the end trying to flag down the waiter to get the bill. But I digress…

Two other interesting things I saw but did not take a photo of: six tourists on segways around the Binnenhof area. It was weird to see segways at all, let alone in these times, but they were speaking Dutch so they weren’t foreigners. The other interesting thing was a tiny, one person van with a loud speaker strapped to the top, from which they were broadcasting music quite loudly while driving around. Most likely to get everyone in the festive mood. The side of the van said “Hou je Haags”, an expression I blogged about a while back.

Did you realize we are now in June? Crazy. Bring on a (safe) summer! ☀️

Categories: Daily Dutch living, Food, The Hague | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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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