Check out the sign that I spotted outside a local bar:
Perhaps I should have stopped for a craft beer. Sounds good!
(What’s with the weird lining in the word ‘here’ though? The rest of the words only have one line.)
In other news… did you know we live in a banana republic now?
You can click the link in the Regio15 tweet to see the article in Dutch, but the general summary is: some people are still not happy that the Viruswaanzin demonstrations were banned two weekends in a row, so they went to the Paleis van Justitie (Justice Palace) and left bananas to signify we now live in a banana republic.
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!
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.
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! ☀️
As you all know, Monday was King’s Day here in The Netherlands. A day that is typically celebrated by all things orange. And even though this year was a bit more subdued, we still got into the spirit. Pun intended?
During one of my work team meetings last week it was suggested that we do an Aperol Spritz competition in honor of King’s Day, and that we send in our photos. While I did not lift my drink at 16:00 for the Nationale Toost (National toast) yesterday, Marco and I did make the drinks later in the evening.
Note: the recipe calls for a slice of orange as garnish, but you make do with what you have (you can never have too many limes!). Otherwise it is 3 parts prosecco, 2 parts Aperol and one part soda water. And in our case a special King’s Day cookie which I refer to as a “sugar bomb”.
Aperol Spritz is apparently an Italian drink suitable for days when you can sit on the terrace. We’re heading into a very rainy week, so it will have to be an inside drink for the foreseeable future. But at least King’s Day 2020 was celebrated with a touch of orange!
The reference in the title is from the movie A ChristmasStory where the main character finally gets a decoder ring and can finally decode this week’s secret message – and it turns out to be as boring as “Don’t forget to drink your Ovaltine.” That’s a childhood shattered…
For the past few months The Hague and other Dutch cities have been inundated with lots and lots of advertisements for an oat drink called Oatly It is supposed to be a replacement for milk. I haven’t tried it yet.
But I did get a cool picture last month of a building-high advertisement for their product. One thing the company is known for is their catchy advertisements. For instance there’s a similarly large one elsewhere in The Netherlands with the line “Only the best oat drink ads get to hang out on this corner”. It feels like most of the advertisements are unique, as there are many different ones to spot throughout the city.
Another smart thing they did? Advertisement everywhere in the city for a few weeks and then go on discount at the local supermarkt to get everyone to try it. It’ll be interesting to see if the product sticks around.
Spotted at the local Albert Heijn a few weeks back:
Neither Marco nor I wanted to try the flavor, as it does sound a bit weird. But I always enjoy taking photos of the weird drink flavors companies up with (or weird potato chip flavors, in the case of Lay’s).
Last week was Marco’s birthday. He decided to celebrate it at Little V, a Vietnamese restaurant in The Hague. I have blogged about them once or twice… or more.
This time I decided to try something new: sea bass. It came with a delicious ginger fish sauce on the side.
I’ve had fish before, but only since I moved to the Netherlands (as I don’t think fish sticks count!). It’s been a slow process: first salmon, then pangasius, then tilapia and tuna fish. I’ve also had a small bit of eel once, but that was more of a reluctant choice. It wasn’t bad, but it’s not something I could eat often. Maybe that will change some day.
On the other hand, I was pretty happy to see that I had a personal discount this week at the local grocery store (Albert Heijn) for pangasius filet. It definitely helps to bring a bit more variety into dinner.
But a Little V blog post wouldn’t be complete without a picture of some of the drinks we had:
On the left is my ‘Flavor of the moment’ drink. For the life of me I can’t remember what the flavor was, but it was good. On the right is Roger’s ‘Buddha smile’. That drink is made of rum, lemon grass, ginger and lemon leaf. He definitely liked it.
Yesterday we celebrated Marco’s birthday at Little V, a Vietnamese restaurant. This was our first time going to Little V for lunch and it did not disappoint. I ordered an ‘eenpansgerecht’ or ‘let’s throw everything into one dish for ya’, with beef and chicken.
My drink was an awesome looking (and tasting) lemonade made of rose water.
And as a blog post bonus… a week ago I made lemon cookies! That is of note because I don’t really do the baking in the house. But this time I chose the recipe, did most of the work, and Marco was my assistant! (For the first time ever.)
The recipe was really good and I followed it exactly. Next time I would probably use less sugar, but I don’t have the sweet tooth I used to have so there is that. They were awesomely chewy (honest to goodness chewy!) and the lemon favor shined through perfectly.