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Sunday
May052013

BELGIUM + AMSTERDAM

sprouted kitchen belgium and amsterdam

A few more notes on recent travel. We took the high speed train from Paris to Antwerp, Belgium. We stayed there for a few nights and then up to Amsterdam for a few nights. I don't have as comprehensive of lists for these locations as we cooled it a little after the passionate approach we took to eating and drinking in Paris.

sprouted kitchen belgium and amsterdam

sprouted kitchen belgium and amsterdam

// BELGIUM //

The train station in Antwerp is worth a stop in itself. It has won awards for train station design (What? Yes. That exists.) and is just beautifully done. We stayed at Atelier 20 B&B which was on the quaint grounds of St. Paul's Cathedral. The couple that runs the place was super helpful and friendly and I don't think I've ever had a lovelier view from my bedroom window (the first image in this post). A few blocks up was Normo, a great coffee shop where Hugh could get his coffee nerdery fix. We also visited Caffenation. I found a tiny little raw place where I could get some fresh juices, a welcomed beverage when my greens quota was far below average, Eten Vol Leven. Belgium is into beer and frites so to do as the Belgians do, we spent a few evenings at The Paters Vaetje. This was a "brown bar" local dive sort of place with over a hundred Belgian beers. It was not "sprouted kitchen-esque" per se, but we had a great time watching people. Maybe the most eclectic lunch experience was at Lombardia for veggie burgers. The menu in itself was confusing but the food proved simple and good. We enjoyed a few Thai dinners, pizzas take-away from a nearby Italian spot and grocery store provision picnics. We wandered the Grote Market (lovely at dusk - my favorite time to stroll). While we didn't make it to the MAS, you can get your art fix there.

We spent one day in Brugge (which in my opinion, is all the time you need there). It is known for the retention of its original European charm. We had a light lunch at Le Pain Quotidien which started in Belgium despite having dozens of locations now. We collected chocolates and speculoos treats while weaving through the small streets. I don't think I've ever seen such a density of chocolate shops.

sprouted kitchen belgium and amsterdam

sprouted kitchen belgium and amsterdam

sprouted kitchen belgium and amsterdam

sprouted kitchen belgium and amsterdam

// AMSTERDAM //

We rented an apartment in the Jordaan area, a great neighborhood, and I really loved having the extra space and kitchen. It was less expensive than a hotel too. We gathered produce and goodies for the apartment at the Noordermarkt. Bought the best brownies either of us have had in awhile at one of the bakery stands. They were some cross between a pudding cake and brownie and muffin which sounds heavey, but in truth they were just right. We may have walked away with a bag full.

There was apple cake down the street at the highly suggested Winkel. The cake was great, but I wouldn't recommend getting food there. It seems they ride off the reputation of that cake. I really enjoyed the deli salad plate atBuffet van Odette while watching the world go by on the corner patio. Brunch at Lovefood HQ - which has a sort of British spin to the menu. A little ways out of town is Restaurant De Kas (as seen in a few of these photos). It is a restaurant within a reconstructed green house and the space is just phenomenal. They source most of their food from a nearby farm and the menu changes daily. We found Stach while packing up travel snacks for the trip home. Lots of great salads, sandwiches, yummy homemade muesli and last minute gifts.

Travel and night strolls go hand in hand for us. Europe is charming by day, but my heart puddles a bit when I see it lit up in the evening. The canal streets in Amsterdam are perfect for this. A good night walk is best accompanied by a good hot chocolate (just a note for the first-time Amsterdam traveler: a "coffee shop" is not always a coffee shop. If you go looking for hot cocoa, you're just as likely find, um, something more potent than caffeine).

Ever fascinated by the holocaust, I LOVED going through the Anne Frank Museum. A must. We also saw the FOAM photography museum, something you could probably do in under an hour. There are only four exhibitions, so I would suggest checking what they are online to see if they are of interest. You can take the free ferry across over to The Eye where you can see a movie and/or have a drink in their restaurant with a phenomenal view of the city. You really must rent bikes, at least for a day or two. We rode around through Vondelpark, a great spot for walking or picnicing as well.

One of my favorite parts of this leg of the trip was meeting Sarah Britton of My New Roots while she was in town teaching a few classes. I believe I have a sixth sense of reading people, and I know a good egg when I see it. Sarah is as light and wonderful as you'd assume from reading her site. I left our chat feeling inspired and grateful for what a tangled and fantastic world the blogsphere is.

We planned to have a nice dinner out our last evening, but ran into all my final choices being closed on Mondays (I had lots of recs for Balthazars, but we were there all nights it was closed. Add it to your notes to check out). We grabbed pizzas from La Perla and an inexpensive twist top cabernet from the market, talked highs and lows of the trip and made a list of all the places in the world we hope to see. It was my favorite meal of the entire trip, just sitting on a park bench, laughing in retrospect at my mid-trip hormonal meltdown. Food is as good as the company you keep while dining. You are my favorite person, Hugh Forte.

“We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other.”

― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

sprouted kitchen belgium and amsterdam

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Reader Comments (46)

Beautiful reviews - I'm bookmarking these for later!

May 7, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterthecitygourmand

That is so sweet. I love traveling with my husband, too.
p.s. I love your book.

May 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

I love your pictures!
I immediately recognized "de Kas". I grew up in Amsterdam and live in a village near the edge of the city nowadays. For pizza I would've recommended de Pizzabakkers. Very fresh tasting pizzas and some great desserts as well.
I'll have to check out some of the places you mentioned as well :)

May 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDewi

Paters Vaetje is fun, and I love Pain Quotidien as well :) I can't never decide what I want to eat over there, because I just want to have it all!

May 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHanne

Love that your unplanned pizza "picnic" was the best meal.

May 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

I need you to teach me how to do my hair like that. When I try, I look like a homeless orphan.

Take me with you!

May 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBev Weidner

I need you to teach me how to do my hair like that. When I try, I look like a homeless orphan.

Take me with you!

May 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBev Weidner

This is so beautiful! I was just in Brussels, Bruges, and Amsterdam (not to mention Paris) myself!

Bruges chocolate shops were amazing, and there was a great restaurant called Cambrinus. We could not recommend that one more! We ate at Le Pain Quotidien in Brussels as well.

In Amsterdam, we also rented a flat in the Jordaan area! We went to Noordermarkt after having an apple cake from De Winkel. We also tried the one at t'smalle, which had us split on which was better. Also, the Indonesian food was to die for!

Here are my small wrap-ups: http://vintagezest.blogspot.com/p/travel.html
, , ,

At this rate, you're never going to want to come home!

May 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMallory

beautiful words accompanied by beautiful photos. both of you - have a way of brining us there with you. such talent.

congratulations on winning the Saveur award! well deserved.

Your photography is always exquisite, but I love the posts lately about your travels and experiences. Thanks for sharing!

I love your blog and recently got your book which is equally lovely (and congrats on the award!). I'm a Montrealer currently living in Amsterdam and I couldn't wait to see where you guys went while you were here ! We live in the Jordaan and Noordermarkt and Winkel are weekend regulars, La Perla is our pizza around the corner spot, and last weekend we tried Balthazar's which really was lovely! You'll have to go next time you're back here. I will try the brunch place you recommended as well. I'm really happy to know you enjoyed good food while you were here since I get so much pleasure out of reading about everything you make!

May 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCaroine

Firstly a huge congratulations on your James Beard award! I lived in the Jordaan for a few years in the 90's and spent every weekend at the Noordemarkt and meeting friends for appeltaart! Loved seeing the photos and reading about your adventures!

May 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmy Chaplin

Amsterdam was(is) one of my most favorite places in the world. I loved it there. I stayed with a friend vs. an apartment but had the same spectacular vibe. I loved it so. What a wonderful trip!

May 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Absolutely beautiful pictures!

May 7, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkatie

I was particularly interested in this post (though I enjoy all) as I am traveling abroad for the first time and staying in Belgium (with a friend who lives and is from there) and will be taking the train to Amsterdam and visiting the Anne Frank museum, a childhood dream. This made me so excited to go!

May 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

Love love love these photos, especially the one of you in the window and the ones of you on the tree-lined path. What perfect, stunning shots! Always fun to read your writing and voice too. Thank you for sharing with us, Sara!

May 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSharon

Love the quality of the picture. What kind of caméra are you using, if i may ask?

I enjoy

May 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoan

LOVE THIS. We have plans for a similar trip currently locked up in our dreams, and I will surely refer back to your suggestions when we go. I adore the summary of that last dinner, a perfect testament to the simple goodness of being with the one you love. And finally: you're looking so lovely, lady. (:

May 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStacy

@joan - check the "about" page, there is some info there!

May 7, 2013 | Registered CommenterSara

Oh this is wonderful! I am planning a trip to Europe with my boyfriend for the month of July, and reading stuff like this always gets me really excited.

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrittany

Just found your blog through one of your tweets. Wonderful photography of places that I know. Nice to see pictures that look like film - may be you shot them on your phone, but I don't think so:)

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRoger Stowell

I am so glad that you enjoyed my hometown, Amsterdam!

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCharissa

I'm so excited to see this post. I loved the one on Paris, but I was waiting for this one! We did Paris and Amsterdam last summer---rode that same high speed train, but we went from Amsterdam to Paris. I am planning on going back to Amsterdam next June (with a side trip to Belgium) and taking my mom, who has never been abroad.. Would it be possible for you to give me the name/contact info of the B&B?
My daughter and I fell in love w/ Amsterdam and can't wait to go back. The Anne Frank museum was emotionally overwhelming, but such a wonderful thing to visit. Were you amazed at the abundance of bikes EVERYWHERE?? I'm so glad you had such a lovely trip.

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLisa M.

my fiance and i are taking a similar trip/honeymoon in the summer to costa rica. i'm really excited to see how another culture treats food and every day life. i love how laid back your trip seemed. it seems like you really took in everything around you.

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLindsey

I was just in Amsterdam too! Loved it loved it loved it- such a beautiful city, amazing food, amazing design shops, great contemporary art, and beutiful architecture to behold (especially the buildings that lean into each other).

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie

It is all so absolutely beautiful Sara.

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commentertara

These photos are lovely! They exude a quiet, restive solitude -- almost like you had the cities to yourselves. Great travel reviews, too!

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTrisha @ Vignette

"Food is as good as the company you keep while dining." Yes, a thousand times.

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterShanna

Absolutely STUNNING photos. Makes me want to go. Beautiful work!

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNancy

Swoon. These photos are gorgeous. (And, I did think, her hair! How does she do that with her hair! You're gorgeous.) (And, how lucky are you, that your partner likes to follow you around and take amazing photos of you? So lucky.) Now I am itching to travel! Thanks for sharing all this beauty.

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersarah

Thanks for your beautiful blog about my great hometown. You visited some great places in Amsterdam! I love the Boerenmarkt in the Jordaan. And thank you for mentioning The Anne Frank House. I work in the office and for me it is importing the history will be told to/seen by new generations. A tip is to purchase an online ticket (at least 2 weeks before your visit) and skip the line.

May 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDaphne

So beautiful and enticing. Thank you for sharing!

I love your travel posts. I am going to Paris and Amsterdam this fall for the first time and I definitely plan to look into your recommendations.

May 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTessa

Oh I'm so enamoured with these photos. Amsterdam was so wonderful when I visited a few years ago, and I'm still rearing to go to Paris, especially after this post! So exciting that you met Sarah from My New Roots—yet another one of my blog heroes :)

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIrina @ wandercrush

lovely post, gald you had a great time in Antwerp, my home town. You picked the best coffee places :) Amsterdam is great too, one of my favourite cities. I love the photos!

Thank you for reminding me of what a wonderful time I had in Amsterdam last summer, the Vondelpark in particular was spectacular. Love the blog, when I'm more financially secure I hope to have some culinary travels like yours and sample the best from Europe and the world!

May 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLiz

Wonderful to view my city (Amsterdam) through your eyes and experiences! Lovely to see you've been to some of my favorite places too.

May 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDenise

Beautiful photos, Hugh! I especially love your portraits of Sara. You guys are too cute.

May 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSara L.

You visited great spots in Antwerp and Amsterdam! I lived in both places and definitely, Caffenation and Normo (called Bar Choq while I was there) were my favourite places ever.

About Winkel, during the market days (Monday and Saturday) they have a reduced menu due to the huge demand of apple pie. They warn it. But if you ever go back, you should try their food any other day. I've had both lunch and dinner and it was great!

May 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLaura Peach

It’s fun to see my neighbourhood (in live near the restaurant De Kas in Amsterdam) on your blog. Love your pictures!

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIanna

I hope you liked Brugge! I thought it was absolutely magical :) I actually have kind of tepid feelings towards Amsterdam. I loved the museums, too, and the park, but I didn't love the rest of it as much as I thought I would (maybe I was weirded out by the red light district? ;)) It looks like you guys had an amazing trip. Oh! And how fun you got to meet Sarah!

May 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKasey

I'm in love with your beautiful photography! I just started my own site recently nodietsallowed.com and am definitely a beginner photographer and blogger. Thank you for providing such great examples for me to learn from!

June 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKami

I LOVED this post!! Loved the photo's, loved the notes! :) Please MORE life pictures (of course I love your food posts too!) Your blog is so interesting, i've bookmarked it :)

Stephanie,
www.whimsicalappeal.blogspot.ca

September 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie Vainer

wspaniałe zdjęcia, ładnie uchwycone światło

July 22, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterklimatyzacja

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