These were the bonbons on offer at Simon Lévelt in De Passage a few weeks back. Saturday, December 12 to be precise, before the lockdown rumors started. I had to stand in line; the store is quite small so only five customers are allowed in at a time. And of course the two people in front of me were a couple who wanted to go in together, probably to look at gifts. They were allowed in but they had to stay in the front of the store, not by the registers.
And why was I there? Lebkoeken!! (English Wikipedia). German Christmas cookies. I had to get them there, considering the Royal Christmas Fair was closed this year…
The store worker managing the line asked what I was looking for. She was able to point me to the display so I didn’t have to wander around looking for them. The line outside the store was only getting longer at that point so it was probably for the best. (Note: Simon Lévelt is open as normal. Since they sell primarily tea, coffee and chocolate they are an essential business.)
Back when the first wave started in the spring, Marco, Roger and I ordered bento box take out from Restaurant SET here in The Hague. It was yummmmmy. We received two €10 coupons for use later in 2020:
It was an unexpected surprise! The coupons are valid for dine-in (everything except High Tea) through 31 December 2020.
Hmph. 31 December 2020? Opps. I guess we waited a bit too long there, since restaurants aren’t allowed to be open for dine-in at the moment. Regardless, the branches in The Hague and Rotterdam are completely closed anyway, with a potential date of reopening set for 19 January, if the lockdown ends on that date as scheduled.
Here is a look at the ice cream I ordered last year for my birthday:
Tell me you don’t think that is the cutest thing ever.
Check out this photo of a lunch I recently had at Lebkov café here in The Hague:
Sparkling water, a BLT sandwich and a ginger molasses (!) cookie. The cookie was awesome. Perhaps they added a bit of black pepper to it? It had a kick, that’s for sure. It was interesting to taste both spicy and sweet at the same time.
A bit of corona-related news, since it has been a while:
from nltimes.nl: infections are increasing. There has been talk of extra measures in the three big cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. The number of infections there has been high. However for now the three cities have agreed with the Dutch cabinet to be more strict about corona rules and close down areas of concern faster (read: not much will change, I think).
from nltimes.nl: Amsterdam postpones New Year’s fireworks ban over Covid-19. It really, really seems like a lifetime ago, but in January 2020 there was was a lot of talk about banning most consumer-bought fireworks due to a number of incidents, including incidents against paramedics, police and firemen. Yikes. Amsterdam has put a temporary hold on the ban due to the fact that the promised alternatives (city sponsored fireworks shows and similar) just aren’t reasonable in these socially distanced times.
Otherwise, the days are blending into each other now. I really had to stop and think of what month it was the other day. I was trying to remember when certain TV shows would restart, and then I realized it’s impossible to tell for most shows. But otherwise Marco and I are doing fine.
Well, Marco and I can add “went back to a restaurant” to our lists – on Sunday we met up with Roger and his mom to enjoy Thai food at the SpiZe restaurant. Yes, the Z is officially capitalized in their name.
I had Keng Massman: The menu description is: Tender sliced beef in Thai brown curry with coconut milk, potatoes, cashew nuts and onions. I can definitely recommend it.
Above is Marco’s dessert – spekkoek(Indonesian layer cake) with pandan ice cream. Yum!
And how was our first trip to a restaurant in these corona times? Not too bad, actually. The official rule in the Netherlands is that two or more households need to keep 1.5 meters distance from each other inside a restaurant. SpiZe requests that if you fall into this category you should send an email to them (versus placing an online reservation). That way they can seat the party at one of the tables by the window. These tables are definitely wider which helps you keep your distance.
Between each table was a glass shield, although I can’t remember if they were always there. There were also arrows on the floor telling you which direction you could walk in. Roger also received information and a QR code to scan so that he could register the group online and answer the obligatory health-related questions.
It’s not perfect, but it’s probably as close as you can get while still having a relatively normal restaurant experience. I’m definitely glad we went as the food and company was good.
commercial #4: a few more seconds of brownies… and now I’m just feeling confused and slightly put off by the thought of making brownies. Ew.
Side note #1: I don’t think I liked spinach as a kid. But as an adult I like spinach, and enjoy having it every month or two. My favorite is deep freeze cream spinach, since it’s hard to clean fresh spinach.
Sie note #2: I have been in the Netherlands too long. I can easily type spinazie, the Dutch translation, but need to Google the English and triple check it to make sure I am spelling “spinach” right. Hmm. It still looks wrong.
Marco spotted some kruidnoten (Wikipedia) by the local Albert Heijn today. If you’re keeping track, today is 31 August. Traditionally they appear in the grocery stories by 1 September, although we spotted them on 23 August back in 2018. So we seem to be on track this year.
Marco was sweet and bought some gevulde speculaas(Albert Heijn recipe) for us. It is speculaas cookies filled with almond paste. Yum yum yum.
Of course you can’t blame anyone for wanting to skip to Christmas (and New Year’s, and 2021…) in these crazy times. Give me a shout when you put up your Christmas tree. Good riddance to 2020, I say!
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.
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.
I hope everyone is doing okay on this seemingly long Tuesday – only three more working days until a holiday (Ascension Day). Yay! Our last holiday until Christmas. Boo!
Here is a photo of an “Ik mis je” sign in the window of the Cheesecake Company. These signs have been appearing in the windows of restaurants and cafés all over The Netherlands. It stands for: I miss you.
It’s less than a week until restaurants, cafés and terraces can open again (with limitations). I’m sure half of the country is looking forward to it… should prove interesting.