Posts Tagged With: Restaurants

SpiZe (Or: First time back in a restaurant)

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.

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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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How do I close these rings again? (Or: Apple Watches in a time of the coronavirus)

Earlier this year I bought an Apple Watch for myself after losing my trusty Fitbit One in a tragic accident. I’m not completely sure what happened, but there’s a small chance it got flushed. Opps. I lasted some months without any sort of fitness gear, but at some point you just miss being able to count your steps. I was doing pretty good with my new watch, except for weekends when I usually took a bit of a break.

But then the coronavirus hit…

I’m pretty sure it is apparent what my last working day in the office was before we were required to start working from home. And now there is (at least) four more weeks to go.

And I know – I really do – that we are allowed outside to get a “fresh nose” (frisse neus in Dutch!), and that most countries around us don’t have that luxury. However it’s admittedly pretty tiring at times to go outside and spend most of your time dodging everyone in sight.

In other news, Jamie Oliver is closing both of his restaurants in the Netherlands (link in Dutch) due to the loss of revenue during the restaurant closures. And with all restaurants now closed until the 28th, it didn’t look like it was going to get any easier for that company. There were already rumors last year that Jamie Oliver’s was going to close, so I can’t say it came as much of a surprise.

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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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TGI Fridays (Or: Another American restaurant invades)

Last April a new restaurant opened in The Netherlands: TGI Fridays. It’s an American restaurant chain that has over 500 locations in the United States with an additional 300+ locations outside of the United States. Since April 2018, one of those locations is here in the Netherlands. In the Hoog Catharijne mall in Utrecht, to be precise.

In case you are wondering, the name comes from the American phrase “Thank God it’s Friday”, which is also often shortened to “T.G.I.F.”.

Marco and I visited the mall last month and we ended the evening with dinner at TGI Fridays. Yum!

My mini burgers and fries
Marco’s wing platter

As usual the only sticking point was never knowing what language to speak: when we came in, the hostess (person who greets you and takes you to your seat) spoke English. The first waiter spoke Dutch and the second waiter spoke English. Hmmm… That happens a lot, though. Must be something to do with mine American accent (haha). Although I also had the impression that some of the staff only spoke English.

Apple pie with vanilla ice cream and coffee

For dessert, Marco and I split warm apple pie with vanilla ice cream, which went well with my coffee. I really enjoyed the ice cream; it was frozen enough that it didn’t melt instantly.

Overall the food was good and I loved the decor. For instance, take a look at the chair in the background of the dessert photo – it’s covered in American flags and other American trinkets. Anywhere else and it would look tacky, but it works here.

Marco also noted at the end that they used an American style “receipt/check book”, which included a slot for a credit card which sticks out over the edge of the book. That way the waiter knows there is a credit card inside when the book is closed. See also this link (Amazon.com).

Categories: Food, Utrecht | Tags: | 2 Comments

New Papa John’s location (Or: More pizza by The Fred)

“The Fred” or De Fred is a neighborhood in The Hague, a shortening of the street name Frederik Hendriklaan, where the heart of the neighborhood can be found.

Last Monday a new Papa John’s pizza location opened on The Fred. It’s the first one in The Hague, although there are already locations in nearby Delft and Zoetermeer. It’s originally from the United States.

Waiting in line for free pizza

And of course (like what Dunkin’ Donuts does with new locations) the first 100 visitors that day received a free pizza.

“Free pizza for the first 100 visitors — we ❤ The Hague”

I’m actually not much of a fan of Papa John’s pizza, although admittedly I haven’t had any in years. I’m more of a thick pizza/thick crust person. But some of my friends do like it, so to each their own!

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SET restaurant in The Hague (Or: Experiencing Japanse cuisine)

A few weeks back Marco, Roger and I went to SET restaurant in The Hague. We have been there a few times, but every time I went we have just had the lunchtime bento box. This time we sampled from the sushi side of the menu. We also sampled a few Japanese drinks: Calpis (a soft drink) and cold sake.

The blue plate really ties it together… In the foreground is sushi with eel, in the background shrimp.
A look out the window from our seat. The restaurant is near the Grote Kerk (Big Church or St. James church).

I loved where we were seated. It was its own cubby hole. The table was also sunk into the ground a bit (you had to step down to get to it) so it made it seem like you were sitting on the ground without actually sitting on the ground.

And we can’t forget the dessert! So cute.

Ice and sand chocolate dessert

The chocolate sauce drawing was a nice (unexpected) touch. My dessert was called Ice and sand chocolate and was chocolate ice cream. It was quite frozen, which did give it a sort of crumbly texture, so the “sand” part of the name definitely made sense. It was quite tasty.

I can definitely recommend this place. Everything we have had there is delicious, from the drinks to the sushi to the bento boxes. And now I can add the desserts to that list!

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Tandr restaurant in The Hague (Or: On a whim)

Over the weekend Marco and I went to Tandr in the city centre, not far from city hall. We’ve walked past it countless times, our interest piqued by the lovely smells from the grill wafting out the doors. I’m not sure why it took so long to step inside…

A view of the restaurant

The menu is Mesopotamian. Marco and I both chose lamb durum, with durum being the type of wheat bread the meat is wrapped in.

We ordered the meal (durum wrap, French fries and drink). The durum wrap has a small salad inside, a mixture of garlic and samba sauce, and the chosen meat (in our case, lamb).

It was really delicious! It was definitely a bit much for a lunch, but the price was reasonable, around €9 or €9.50. The menu on the website is a bit out of date in regards to the pricing, so keep that in mind. My only quibble with the wrap is that the pieces of lamb were sometimes a bit too big to eat in one bite, at least for me.

It’s always a good sign when a place includes a jar of pepper flakes on the table. Marco quickly threw some over his fries.

I would definitely recommend this restaurant, and plan on visiting it again!

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Little V (Or: Time to be a bit fishy)

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.

Little V sea bass

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:

Little V drinks - flavor of the moment, buddha smile

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.

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