Kinder eggs (Or: An unexpected surprise in the Target aisle)

As my last two blog posts have mentioned, Roger, Marco and I were in the States last month. It was over a month ago that we flew there, eek!

Imagine our surprise when we were going up and down the aisles at Target (a department store which also contains a pretty large food section). It is something we always do in the States – find a Target and/or a grocery store and just check out the offerings and decide what we want to bring back. I have a photo of Marco jokingly holding five large bags of Synder’s Hot Buffalo Wing pretzels, for instance. ūüôā I think he settled on opening one bag during the trip and bringing two unopened bags back in our luggage…

But that’s not surprising. What is surprising is seeing a Kinder egg for sale! In the States!

No longer banned in the US - Kinder Joy eggs

This was illegal due to a 1938 Food and Drug Administration regulation, because of what it is: candy with a toy (wrapped in plastic) inside the chocolate shell. After I got back from vacation I looked up how we could possibly come across this item. It turns out that Kinder Joy is a variant legally sold in America because it completely separates the candy from the toy with two sealed halves. The Italian company which makes them (Ferrero) first started delivering them exclusively to Wal-Mart in late November for 30 days and then any American store from January of this year.

According to this today.com article: “The Kinder Joy, the version that will soon be available in the U.S., comes in a plastic egg-shaped package comprised of two separately sealed halves. One half contains an edible treat made of two soft cream layers: one is sweet milk cream-flavored and one is cocoa-flavored. Nestled into the creamy layers are two round, chocolate-covered wafer bites that are filled with a sweet cocoa cream that’s soft enough to be eaten with the included spoon. The other half of the egg contains a surprise: a non-edible toy.”

You can see a picture of the Kinder Joy egg and what it looks like when opened (including the toy that still needs assembling) over on Wikipedia. And here is another fun link: “Why the FDA doesn’t like chocolate eggs with toys inside“.

And there you have it – the story of how American kids can experience the joy of a Kinder Egg. Pun possibly intended.

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Still cold (Or: More photos from the States)

Here are some more photos from the trip Marco, Roger and I took last month! Two last photos from Philadelphia and the rest from New York City (I’ll skip the overly touristy photo of the Liberty Bell in Philly although that was also fun and suprisingly free).

Washington crossing the Delaware bronze sculpture, Chestnut and 3rd in Philadelphia

Bronze sculpture of Washington crossing the Delaware

The above sculpture can be found at the intersection of Chestnut and 3rd in Philadelphia.

Last supper artwork at Lucha Cartel restaurant, Philadelphia

Artwork in the Lucha Cartel restaurant in Philadelphia

The above might take a bit of explaining! There’s a Mexican restaurant in Philadelphia by the name of Lucha Cartel. It’s actually in Old City on the east side of Philly. It is a reference to luchadors, who are masked Mexican wrestlers. It was very close to our hotel. And you guessed it – the artwork is actually many skate boards placed next to each other. It was a great restaurant (both food and theming) and I highly recommend it.

And now on to New York City…

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Off to the States (Or: One cold but cool vacation)

Marco, Roger and I returned last week from a vacation to Philadelphia and New York City. It was cold! Though we noticed that it was just as cold in the Netherlands when we returned last Tuesday.

The first part of the trip was being tourists in Philadelphia. It was also interesting because it was the first time Marco and I stayed at an Airbnb (Roger had experience during a trip last year). It worked out well, but I am not sure how I would feel about sharing an apartment with a stranger. Since there were three of us and we needed two bedrooms this was not an issue during our trip.

Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia

We ended up staying in the area of Rittenhouse Square (above). This was taken the night we arrived, so we were basically walking around trying to stay awake.

Spirit of transportation mural at 30th Street station in Philadelphia

“Spirit of transportation” mural at 30th street station in Philadelphia

Above is artwork in the 30th street station. We ended up here because we flew to Newark, NJ and then took a train to Philadelphia for the first part of our trip.

Rocky steps at Philadelphia Museum of Art

“Rocky” steps!

Here’s where I admit I have never seen the Rocky movies (and have no interest in doing so). But still, when you are in Philadelphia it is pretty much a requirement to take a picture of the steps made famous by the movie. The building itself is the Philadelphia Art museum. The city erected a statue in honor of Rocky off to the right, just out of view of this photo.

Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia

Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary¬†

One of the highlights of the trip for me was Philadelphia’s¬†Eastern State Penitentiary¬†which was abandoned but offers tours these days. Best part? Realizing the design of the jail inspired the design of the jail in SimCity.

Korean War Memorial in Philadelphia at Penn's landing

The Philadelphia Korean War Memorial at Penn’s Landing

Over on the east side of the city (with Camden, NJ just on the other side of the river!) we visited the Korean War Memorial (above).

Graffiti at Penns Landing in Philadelphia

Finally, some awesome graffiti at Penn’s Landing.

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Brooklyn (Or: Burgers and steaks!)

Marco, Roger and I visited Brooklyn burgers and steaks in Scheveningen a few weeks back. Marco had a Mexican burger and I had a classic burger.

Check out Roger’s New York strip steak:

Steak at Brooklyn burgers and steaks, Scheveningen

He approved!

And here’s my apple pie with powdered sugar on top:

Apple pie at Brooklyn burger and steaks, Scheveningen.jpg

Interesting thing about this apple pie… I actually didn’t want it, but I got tripped up with my Dutch. I wanted to say “bakje koffie” (small cup of coffee) but instead said “gebakje koffie”. Gebak is the word for dessert/pastry. Since Marco and Roger had both ordered apple pie and coffee before me, that’s what she thought I wanted. Opps. It was good though! I just had to make room…

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End of the weekend (Or: Oh no! Watch out!)

Sign at MingleMush, the food hall I blogged about a few months back:

Sign at MingleMush in The Hague - stressed people

Loosely translated as: “Doe voorzichtig! Je gaat naar buiten waar iedereen gestrest is. Red jezelf en blijf met ons!”

Silly Mondays…

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Painted flower at Lebkov (Or: Time for some coffee)

Here’s a cute little flower at Lebkov, a caf√© in The Hague…

Flower at Lebkov, The Hague

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One very windy day (Or: Last week’s wind storm)

On Thursday Europe was hit with a “wind storm”, which sounds a lot wussier than it actually was. Not much rain, but it still managed to bring the country to a halt for the day. The good (or bad) news was that the peak of the storm was around 11am, which meant that most people were able to get into work. But getting home was another matter entirely…

By about 10 or 10:30am The Hague tram system was shut down. Not surprising, since about 15 minutes before the shutdown someone tweeted a photo of a tram shelter’s roof¬†after it flew off in the wind. Two glass panels actually – the second one is behind the right tram shelter. (Here’s a look at a tram stop roof in better times.) The buses shut down about 15 minutes after the trams.

The Washington Post has an article with a collection of photos and videos from the storm (including the person flying across the plaza in Den Bosch, which every Dutch person has seen at least once now, and the guy too stubborn to let go of his bike in The Hague).

The only picture I have of the day is someone standing in the glass at a tram stop that night:

Broken glass at tram stop, The Hague

 

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Zuurkool (Or: A typical winter meal)

About once a year Marco and I ask his mom to bring over zuurkool, which is similar to the German sauerkraut. We can add this to the list of things I would have hated as a kid!

First, start with smoked sausage from Hema:

Smoked sausage from Hema\

Cook that in water for 15-20 minutes.

Then add the zuurkool, which literally translates to ‘sour cabbage’. In this case the zuurkool is combined with potatoes and smashed until there is nothing left to smash. Sounds delicious, right?

Dutch zuurkool (or sauerkraut)

Then add gravy. Bonus points if you can show off your Dutch heritage by successfully building a dam so that the gravy doesn’t leak out.

it’s hard to describe the taste… sour. Slightly off. But exactly what I want, once a year on a cold winter’s day.

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Bijenkorf in The Hague (Or: Holiday decorations, 2017)

I was looking through my photos from last month and realized that I hadn’t posted my photos of Bijenkorf yet!

Christmas lights Bijenkorf, The Hague, 2017

Holiday lights (the same every year, but always pretty!)

Bijenkorf does different window decorations every year. A lot of businesses in The Hague take part in holiday window displays (see the TINK competition).

Christmas window display, Bijenkorf, The Hague (2)

And this one:

Christmas window display, Bijenkorf, The Hague (1)

This year the Christmas tree was rather simple, at least compared to previous years:

Christmas tree, Bijenkorf, The Hague 2017

It was of course as tall as ever – the base started at the top of the ground floor, with the peak reaching to floor 5. As evidenced by the escalators at the left…

Christmas ornaments, Bijenkorf, The Hague, 2017

Check out the Coke and Diet Coke can ornaments in the upper right. I especially like the slightly ‘frosty’ look. Cute!

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Fireworks! (Or: The Hague exploded last night)

I found a cool link on Youtube of last night’s fireworks, taken from above the city with a 4K drone. It lasts about 5 minutes and is not to be missed!

Here’s a look at our ‘Christmas table’ on the second day of Christmas:

Christmas table 2017.jpg

Yes, we were streaming a fake fireplace through Hulu!

In the glass was a raspberry spoom (sorbet ice cream). Yum! The two bottles were purchased at The Hague’s Royal Christmas fair.

But seriously – go back and check out that video. It does a good job of showing how crazy the Netherlands can get at New Year’s Eve.

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