Stads Cafe Van Mechelen

Last week I had a quick lunch at Stads Cafe Van Mechelen. It is around the corner from where I am staying in Amsterdam. The place seems to be busy every time I walk buy there. And after a very long time I had an absolutely delicious tosti. It is the most basic lunch I believe you can enjoy in Amsterdam. At Van Mechelen the tosti was basically perfect. The bread thick enough to actually be sufficient as a complete meal. The cheese melted - but not too much and enough cooked ham to really pack the sandwich. And then they served the espresso with a glass of water. A true enjoyment. 

Photos from my own collection 

Photos from my own collection 

gartine

Last week we enjoyed a delicious, sweet and savory, high tea at the cute Gartine. Located in a small alley between the Kalverstraat and the Rokin, it only fits 24 people at any given time. Make sure to make a reservation about a week before for your tea. The service is friendly, the interior cozy and the food is divine (especially the lemon pie). 

Check out  Gartine online. And make sure it is part of your stay in Amsterdam. 

And the plates are delicate and beautiful. 

And the plates are delicate and beautiful. 

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amsterdam tour

The last few days in Amsterdam have been delightful. The city is buzzing with visitors for the Amsterdam Dance Event, the Amsterdam Marathon and the usual attractions. The weather has also been spectacular. Yesterday we enjoyed a full afternoon on a roof top terrace (yep - in October), complete with a baby dinosaur cake (there is an explanation for this), an extensive cheese platter and loads of pictures. So we have been touring the city and enjoying the amazing atmosphere. Here are some pictures of a city that blossoms when the sun shines. 

Hidden behind the Kalverstraat is the Amsterdam Museum - a quick stroll during your shopping will ensure some cultural delights. 

Hidden behind the Kalverstraat is the Amsterdam Museum - a quick stroll during your shopping will ensure some cultural delights. 

This is the Begijnhof. A beautiful and serene inner garden close to the Spui. A lovely place. 

The Begijnhof is at medieval street level, which means a meter below the rest of the old city center.

The Begijnhof is at medieval street level, which means a meter below the rest of the old city center.

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rijksmuseum

Before flying to Curacao this week I had one more day in Amsterdam. And what better way to spend the afternoon than cherishing the beauty, art and renovation at the Rijksmuseum.

After an extensive renovation the museum opened again last year with a blast. I remember when it closed more than 10 years ago for this renovation. I was a student in Amsterdam then. It was such a delight to be back there.

All photos via the  pinterest  page of the museum

All photos via the pinterest page of the museum

This is the new entrance hall of the museum. Vast and light, it will lead you to the entrance of the galleries, the restaurant and the museum shop.

All photos via the  pinterest  page of the museum

All photos via the pinterest page of the museum

All photos via the  pinterest  page of the museum

All photos via the pinterest page of the museum

At the information desk there is a folder with a walking route especially designed so you can see the architectural delights of this building. It is certainly as impressive as some of the art in it. While you walk through the hall, take a moment to stand still and look up. Chances are you will be impressed.

All photos via the  pinterest  page of the museum

All photos via the pinterest page of the museum

This is one of the main attractions of course. The famous Rembrandt. It is not often you shall see it like this. When I was there people swarmed around it. Taking pictures and selfies. But if you stand in one place long enough, the people seem to disappear and all that is left is the light in the painting.

All photos via the  pinterest  page of the museum

All photos via the pinterest page of the museum

The library is one of the most impressive rooms in the museum. Leaving the main halls filled with chatter and laughter you enter the quite, serene library. A wondrous sight.

The Rijksmuseum Research Library is a private academic art history library whose purpose is preservation. The library has maintained a constant, high-standard acquisition policy since 1885.
— Rijksmuseum
All photos via the  pinterest  page of the museum

All photos via the pinterest page of the museum

From 25 April, British writers and philosophers Alain de Botton & John Armstrong will be showing in the Rijksmuseum what art can mean to visitors. And not so much from an (art-)historical point of view, but focusing rather on the therapeutic effect that art can have and the big questions in life that art can answer. In the exhibition Art is Therapy, De Botton (1969) and Armstrong (1966) will be commenting on 150 artworks on display in the Rijksmuseum galleries, from the Middle Ages right through to the 20th century, including the Asian Pavilion, but also on objects in the shop, café, cloakroom and entrance. They have also selected approx. 40 prints from the Rijksmuseum Print Room. The text boards have been designed by Irma Boom and added to the museum’s original ones. De Botton and Armstrong believe that these new captions shed an entirely new light on the Rijksmuseum collection. This exhibition will be the first time that the philosophers put their theories from their latest book Art as Therapy into practice.
— Rijksmuseum
All photos via the  pinterest  page of the museum

All photos via the pinterest page of the museum

The Asian Pavilion - usually a bit more quiet than the other rooms, is a splendid space. I especially loved all the statues.

The Asian Pavilion was designed by the architects Cruz and Ortiz. Constructed from Portuguese sandstone and glass, the building is surrounded by water and characterized by a wealth of diagonal planes and unusual perspectives. Inside, it houses a rich collection of Asian art brought together from China, Japan, Indonesia, India, Vietnam and Thailand and dating from the period between 2000 BC and 2000 AC.
— Rijksmuseum
All photos via the  pinterest  page of the museum

All photos via the pinterest page of the museum

This being The Netherlands and its crown jewel of a museum there is an abundance of art depicting tulips of all kinds, in all mediums and from various centuries. You can imagine my happiness. The museum shop sells reproductions of some of the works -  yep, you guessed it. I bought the one above. This is "Still life with flowers" by Hans Bollongier painted in 1639. And soon its reproduction will hang in my house.

In the 17th century, the tulip, one of the Netherland’s national symbols, was subject to a veritable mania that led directly to it being traded on the stock market.
— Rijksmuseum
All photos via the  pinterest  page of the museum

All photos via the pinterest page of the museum

Stepping out of the museum you are greeted by the bikers making their way through the arches. An everlasting symbol of the Rijksmuseum.

amsterdam III

There are two other places in Amsterdam I'd like to share here. One is SLA and the other is the Oyster Club. Two places that at opposite sides of the F&B spectrum - but both quite interesting places to visit when you are in Amsterdam.  

The first thing I noticed when I entered was the Tea Bar. A concept where you choose your own tea, grab all the accessories you need to make the tea and then head to your table. Fantastic. 

I choose some fallafel, olives, black quinnoa and avocado with a mustard and olive oil dressing. 

Drinking water is free. The pitchers include cucumber or mint to give an extra layer of flavour to the water. 

And voila....our empty plates :) 

At Sla they also sell cook books, organic wines and chocolate and other interesting stuff. 

And the sweet scent of lavender is all around. Divine. 

The photo above is from the roof at the Oyster Club. The interior design is simple, but with particular details that make all difference. 

If there are two things I can recommend when you go there it is 1. have some oysters (seems obvious right) and 2. try some of the sushi. The spicy tuna roll is the perfect amount of tuna with a hint of a crunch and just enough rice to hold it all together. Pictured above is the soft shell crab roll with fresh avocado and wasabi mayo. Oh and the Oyster Club serves fresh wasabi - one of just five place in the Netherlands to do so. 

So that is it for Amsterdam this time. My next stop is the chic and green city of Hamburg. Where the habour is the main attraction, tree filled parks on everywhere and where this weekend the weather will be amazing. 

amsterdam II

The Belhamel is a cozy and exquisite restaurant on the Brouwersgracht in Amsterdam. Set on the corner, with three bridges directly in view, it provides a perfect view of what you would expect from Amsterdam. The tourist boats continuously passing, bikers making their way along the tree lined canals and the delivery of fresh produce while you are having lunch make for a wonderful experience. 

Photo taken with my iphone. 

Photo taken with my iphone. 

Photo taken with my iphone. 

Photo taken with my iphone. 

We started out with some jasmine green tea outside, enjoying the minor breeze and sporadic drizzle before it really started raining. If the weather is less than perfect, and any of the three tables on the first row inside are available reserve one of those. You will then still have a view of the canals while remaining dry in this remarkably pretty place. 

Photo taken with my iphone. 

Photo taken with my iphone. 

Photo taken with my iphone. 

Photo taken with my iphone. 

Photo taken with my iphone. 

Photo taken with my iphone. 

The restaurant and the secluded bar exude a romantic early twentieth-century Parisian ambiance, featuring many authentic art nouveau details.
— De Belhamel
Photo taken with my iphone.   The secluded bar located right behind the kitchen. 

Photo taken with my iphone. 

The secluded bar located right behind the kitchen. 

Photo taken with my iphone.   Details in the secluded bar.

Photo taken with my iphone. 

Details in the secluded bar.

Photo taken with my iphone.   The food was presented in a beautiful manner. Nothing too cutting edge or flamboyant, but still with a great deal of details to make it special.   hmm and yes we had dessert - I guess the eating healthy lifestyle has it's limits. Though in all honesty, there was fruit on top..... so technically........ohh who am I kidding. (it was divine) :)

Photo taken with my iphone. 

The food was presented in a beautiful manner. Nothing too cutting edge or flamboyant, but still with a great deal of details to make it special. 

hmm and yes we had dessert - I guess the eating healthy lifestyle has it's limits. Though in all honesty, there was fruit on top..... so technically........ohh who am I kidding. (it was divine) :)

For reservations call them +31 (0)206221095. They are located on Brouwersgracht 60. 

amsterdam I

Yesterday my friend Odessa and I enjoyed the cool atmosphere at Bluespoon in the Andaz hotel. The interior of the lobby and restaurant are divine. Designed by Marcel Wanders, the hotel features a constellation style lamp decor, eccentric statues and a spectacular garden. 

Image via  Marcel Wanders

Image via Marcel Wanders

We started the evening with a glass of prosecco and some bar food at Bluespoon Bar. A great combination and the service  was wonderful. We then moved to Bluespoon Restaurant, a table with a perfect view of the garden and the open kitchen. 

Image via  Marcel Wanders

Image via Marcel Wanders

We shared the king crab and avocado salad. Seriously delicious. For the main course we had the monkfish and the sea bass. Great options. The sea bass was definitely the better choice though. The fact that the kitchen is completely open adds to the experience and the music is low enough to allow for loads of chatting (which of course we are experts at) yet it did provide a relaxed atmosphere. 

The Andaz is located on the Prinsengracht 587. Call them at +31 20 523 1250 for reservations.  

Picture taken with my iphone.   Amsterdam, The Jordaan. 

Picture taken with my iphone. 

Amsterdam, The Jordaan. 

Taken with my iphone.   In Amsterdam, The Jordaan

Taken with my iphone. 

In Amsterdam, The Jordaan

Today I went to one of my favourite bookshops, the Atheneum. A place with so many magazines and travels books I could spend hours there. I bought some great editions, the gentlewomen, Anthology, works that work and the Wallpaper guide to Hamburg. 

From English, French, Japanese and Australian magazines Atheneum really carries them all. Visit the shop on the Spui or get any of the latest editions on their website. 

Strolling along the canals on a cloudy day.  Taken with my iphone

Strolling along the canals on a cloudy day.

Taken with my iphone

sla

Next month I will be heading across the Atlantic to Amsterdam once again for a few days (before heading on to Hamburg). And this time I am looking forward to a lunch at Sla. They opened a new location in my favourite neighbourhood on the Westerstraat. Am looking forward to trying the Korean Style Prawn salad and some of their delicious juices. I would love to see a place like this open in Curacao - maybe one day. For now I am just looking forward to this experience in Amsterdam.

Image via  here

Image via here

Image via  here

Image via here

We’re into food.
What’s in it, how it grows.
In moderation, or abundance.
On a plate, or in bare hands.
— SLA
Image via  here

Image via here

With fresh juice, local beer, fair espresso or a grassy tea.
Whether steaming hot, or freezing cold.
Just what feels right.
We prefer fresh, organic and packed with flavor.

We’re into food that moves us.
Makes us smile, share and speak.
We’re into food as into life.
Maximizing its potential.
— SLA
Image via  here

Image via here