Recipe » Thai Papaya Salad

Each month we invite another food blogger to tip us with one of their best recipe’s, inspired from a country or place they have been. This month we highlight a recipe from Culinessa.

This Food Blogger has Asian roots and she sure knows how to create a colourful and spicy Papaya Salad (Som Tam), inspired by Thailand!

`papaya

Papaya gives this salad the sweetness to balance out the spice

Ingredients:

1 green papaya, sliced or grated
2 big carrots, sliced or grated
1 clove of garlic
9 long beans, cut in to 5 cm pieces
1 red chili / rawit for extra spice
3 tsp palm sugar
1 big tomato, in quarters
4 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp fish sauce
some roasted peanuts

Recipe Thai Papaya Salad

Start by pounding the garlic together with the chili. Don’t pound the chili to hard. Add in the palm sugar. Now add in long beans and tomato and bash them a little bit. Add in the tomato and don’t pound to hard. Season with lemon juice and fish sauce. Last but not least add in the papaya and carrot. Pound everything together and mix up well. Taste and add additional sugar, fish sauce, lemon juice if necessary. Top off with some roasted peanuts.

* You can always add in extra chilies for more spice.

Love,

Vanessa

*Vanessa is a food blogger from the Netherlands with roots from Indonesia, If you love some spice and you’re into Asian cooking, check Culinessa.com

 

11x RESTAURANTS IN UTRECHT THAT OFFER FOOD DELIVERY

Your favourite local businesses need your help. And you need to eat. Let’s help each other!

Here are some local restaurants in Utrecht that deliver food at your doorstep. Bon appetit!

FIG

The concept is innovative: gym and restaurant in one. While we really miss their workout sessions, we thankfully don’t have to miss their tasty meals. As of now, FIG offers a dinner rotation with a “dish of the day” to be ordered by 2pm. Add any sides, desserts or drinks from their menu and enjoy it at home. I am impatiently waiting for shakshuka day to be back!

Punk Pizza

Punk Pizza is not only delicious and out-of-the-box pizzas, but they are currently paying it forward by donating 1 euro per pizza ordered to Utrecht’s cultural scene. Cultural establishments and artists are currently facing unprecedented hardship, and if eating pizza can contribute to the cause even so slightly, sign me up.

Gys

Gys is 100% organic and focuses on vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options (yet they have meat dishes too). It’s a perfect healthy choice that has options for anyone quarantined with you. Who wouldn’t want vegetarian kapsalon made healthy for some guilt-free junk food?

Restaurants in Utrecht, home delivery

Life’s a Peach

Talk about baked with love! Life’s a peach is a Focacceria & Design shop ran by food and art-loving owner Vanessa. From savoury focaccia’s, freshly baked bread to donuts and other sweet things, support this talented business owner and treat yourself. Win-win.

Waku Waku

If you are living by a plant-based diet, you sure are not forgotten. Waku Waku ’s popular restaurant on Vredenburg might be temporarily closed but they will bring the goods to you. Pizza, burgers, noodles, salads; all the delicious soul-food made vegan.

Waku Waku Utrecht

ANAN

ANANs Vietnamese food is my go-to for fresh, tangy, bold flavours. Perfect to bring a little variety to your dinner routine. This Asian restaurant in Utrecht offers a wide selection of Vietnamese staples, with plenty of options to cater for vegetarians, vegans, meat-eaters and everyone in between.

Dogma

What about a HOT DOG? Dogma is all about hotdogs in all sorts of funky variations. Mexican toppings, sauerkraut, Japanese-insipred, with a side of truffle fries? Swap any dog of a plant-based sausage or go for a gluten-free bun; mix and match to fit your wildest hot dog dreams.

Dogma Utrecht, deliver food in Utrecht

Spice Monkey

Spice Monkey is a new-comer on the Utrecht restaurant scene, and an unlucky one when it comes to timing. But we all love trying out new places and discovering new menus, don’t we? This is the perfect occasion to explore the emerging culinary scene of Utrecht. Go check out that spicy Bali-inspired goodness and tell us how you like it.

Brunch by Teds

Make your weekends feel special still with some tasty brunch. Teds is one of Utrecht’s busiest spots for brunch, and for once, no need to wait for a table. Order from Teds extensive brunch menu – eggs benedict, granola, pancakes, you name it – and keep weekends feeling like weekends.

Brunch Utrecht delivery

KEEK

Cakes and other sweet deliciousness freshly baked and brought to your door! On days like these, I believe we all deserve to spend some quality one-on-one time with a slice of chocolate tart, a glossy cinnamon bun, or a hearty bowl of soup (they do lunch too). Treat your soul with some KEEK.

Cakes delivered Utrecht

Roberto Gelato

Let’s end with a bit of a wild card. I have been introduced to Roberto Gelato a few months back as the best ice cream in town by an Italian friend (so she knows her gelato). Sadly they then stopped selling gelato for the winter months. But to my delight (and my friend’s) they are now open for business and will bring that iced creamy heaven to you.

Prefer cooking at home? Check out these 5 vegetarian recipes made with non-perishable ingredients!

Is your favourite restaurant in Utrecht offering home delivery and not on the list? Comment down below!

Hungrily yours,

Mathilde

Mathilde is a professional content writer based in Utrecht. To balance out the serious content she produces, she tries to bring a little laughter in the world with her comical animal facts on Instagram @dailymooseletter.

5x Vegetarian Recipes using only Non-Perishable Ingredients

While there is no need to hoard goods while quarantined, we might want to limit our visits to the grocery store. Restricted access to fresh produce, makes cooking diverse and nutritious food a little trickier, so we’re here to help. 

Under these circumstances, here are 5 easy recipes using only non-perishable ingredients, so you can always make something at home. Who knew that you could make so many delicious meals with the stuff you always stored in your food cabinet!

Pea-pesto pasta

Ingredients
500g pasta
250g canned or frozen peas
30g nuts (pine nuts, cashews or walnuts)
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar
50g nutritional yeast or parmesan (optional)
Salt and pepper

Method

1. Get a large pot of water to boil for the pasta. Cook them based on package instructions. Set aside some pasta water for later.
2. For the pesto, drain and rinse the peas if canned or thaw the peas if frozen, and place in a blender along with all the other ingredients. To avoid big pieces of garlic in the pesto, chop it finely prior to adding it to the blender.
3. Blend until smooth. Add water as you go if the mix is too dry. Taste and add salt as needed.
4. Pour the pesto onto the cooked pasta along with half a cup of the saved pasta water (it helps make everything super creamy). Get it all back on the heat and toss until everything is hot and coated in green goodness.
5. Serve, maybe top up with a few nuts and/or parmesan, and enjoy.

Recipes with pantry


Couscous and chickpea salad

Ingredients
Serves 4
400g dry couscous
400g canned chickpeas
400g canned diced tomatoes
1 red onion
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon salt
Olive oil

Method

1. In a pan over medium heat, add a splash of olive oil. Cook off the onions, chopped up, until transparent. Add the spices and a pinch of salt, toast them off for 1-2 minutes.
2. Rinse and drain the chickpeas before adding them to the pan. Stir everything until the chickpeas start to crisp up. Take off the heat.
3. In a salad bowl, add the couscous, diced tomatoes, the content of the pan as well as some salt and pepper. Mix until everything is coated in tomato (the moisture of the tomatoes will rehydrate the couscous) and cover the bowl.
4. Refrigerate for at least an hour (or until the couscous is fully puffed and fluffy). Add salt and pepper to taste. You can add some chili if you like spicy. In an ideal world, fresh herbs take it to another level.
5. Serve up hot or cold, whatever you feel like.

non-perishable recipes


Chinese-style tomato egg-drop soup

Ingredients
400g canned peeled tomatoes
1 onion
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 vegetable stock cubes
2 eggs
2 tablespoons corn flour (cornstarch), mixed with 2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Salt and pepper

Method

1. In a large pot over medium heat, add oil and cook off a diced onion. Ideally this would call for 2 spring onions, but for the purpose of this article, any onion will do.
2. Add in the tomatoes and crush them with a spatula until left with bite size chunks of tomato.
3. Grate the garlic or finely chop it and add to the tomatoes. Stir for 1-2 minutes.
4. Pour 1.5l of boiling water in the pan along with the stock cubes. Stir until dissolved.
5. In a bowl, crack the eggs and lightly whisk them to break them up. Slowly add the to the simmering soup while stirring to create a vortex. This gives the eggs a lacey consistency rather than creating poached lumps.
6. Add the soy sauce and the corn flour slurpy to the pot and give it a few minutes to thicken.
7. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve hot.


Red lentils indian dal

Ingredients
Serves 4
400g red lentils (can be substituted with other lentils and pulses)
1 can of coconut milk (~300ml)
2 onions
3 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon chilli powder or flakes
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 cube vegetable stock (or just use salt)

Method

1. Finely chop onions and garlic. Rinse and drain lentils.
2. In a medium pot on medium heat, add a splash of oil or butter. When hot, add onions and garlic and stir until soft. Add the spices and a pinch of salt stirring for another 2 minutes.
3. Add lentils to the pot and toast them off without adding any liquid for about 3-4 minutes.
4. Add coconut milk, stock cube and tomato paste, stir until all is dissolved and nothing remains attached to the bottom of the pot. Bring to a gentle simmer, reduce the heat to low and let the dal cook for about 30-40 minutes while stirring every so often. Add water if you see it become too dry.
5. It should then attain a creamy and thick consistency and lentils should break down and become mushy. Turn off the heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Serve with rice, naan or pita. Add a squeeze of lemon and fresh coriander if available.
7. Enjoy!

recipe lentils


Coconut-milk pancakes

Ingredients
Serves 4
200g flour (any should work)
300ml light coconut milk*
½ tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder (makes them fluffy, but you can do without)
1 egg**

* If you don’t have light coconut milk, use half coconut milk half water. It can also be substituted with any other dairy or plant-based milk.
** not non perishable, but will keep fine outside of the fridge for a while. Alternatively, use flaxseeds and water to make flax egg, a tablespoon of applesauce or skip the egg altogether (the pancakes still hold shape quite well).

Method

1. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. I’d advise passing the flour through a sieve to avoid lumps in the batter.
2. Whisk together the egg and the milk in a separate recipient.
3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones. Combine by whisking until smooth.
4. Heat up a pan with a little fat of your choice to avoid sticking. If you have butter, that’s the tastiest, always. Otherwise coconut oil or an oil such as canola or sunflower (olive oil has too strong of a taste, I’d avoid if possible. But desperate times desperate measures).
5. Scoop a bit of batter into the pan. When little bubbles form at the surface, flip and cook the other side until golden brown. Adjust heat and pancake size accordingly (the first pancake is never perfect) and repeat with the rest of the batter.
6. Serve and top with whatever you like and have available; nutella, maple syrup, jam, fruits (heated up frozen fruits are delicious on pancakes), that part is up to you!

Recipes with pantry, coconut pancakes

After all, it’s OK to treat yourself a bit in those dark days!

Distantly yours,

Mathilde

Mathilde is a professional content writer based in Utrecht. To balance out the serious content she produces, she tries to bring a little laughter in the world with her comical animal facts on Instagram @dailymooseletter.

Meneer Potter and NODA open their doors in the Neude Library

Located at ’t Neude in the former Post Office, Utrecht’s newest hotspots has opened the city café Meneer Potter and the food bar and deli NODA.

Meneer Potter and NODA may be located in the same building, but both have a unique and unique character.

Meneer Potter

You will find genuine Utrecht conviviality and a healthy dose of positivity at the Meneer Potter city café. This homely café has open its doors on the 13th of March on the ground floor of the library. A place where all of Utrecht meets. Mister Potter is the neighbour who is always ready with a cup of coffee and a fresh newspaper, who is always up for a short chat and ensures familiar conviviality. From early in the morning until evening, for big, small, student or retired.  Hungry peeps walk in for a sandwich and groups of friends finish the day with a drink and some Spanish pinxtos. The hasty “Utrechter” is also at the right address when it comes to coffee, after all, a coffee to-go is easily made. Meneer Potter is the caretaker of the city and gives the feeling of coming home. Where time passes without realising it.

Studying suddenly becomes a lot more attractive while enjoying a nourishing breakfast and a shot of caffeine.

Meneer Potter Utrecht

NODA

NODA is the beating heart of the library and is located on the second floor of the building. In the middle of the library – surrounded by wise words – you can enjoy the international atmosphere and an amazing view of the Oudegracht all day long. NODA represents an eclectic mix of colours, scents and textures. A nice reference to the diversity of cultures within Utrecht. And that is also clearly reflected on the menu. The extensive menu consists of small worldly dishes that are ideal for sharing. From a lamb tagine to a steaming bowl of Thai tom kha kai, spicy Old Canal Cheese and an Okonomiyaki from Japan – all continents come by. The deli’s sandwiches, wraps and smoothies are ideal for people on the go. NODA has its own entrance on the Oudegracht and will happily continue when the library stops.

Find out about these amazing brunch spots in Utrecht!

NOD Utrecht

For more info check Meneer Potter and NODA online.

Love,

Wander-Lust

Top 10 Asian restaurants in Amsterdam

We can’t deny that Asian food is extremely popular in the Netherlands. Time for a list.

With Chinese, Indonesian, Thai, Japanese and upcoming Korean cuisines, Amsterdam is a melting pot of Asian flavours. We’ve lined up 10 amazing Asian restaurants in Amsterdam that we think you should try.

Bo Nam

Apparently, all the cool people go here. We went and boy, the food and atmosphere was certainly cool enough to keep coming back! Located in the lively district in Amsterdam near Leidse square, it somehow still attracts the locals and hasn’t become a place full of tourists that want to eat quickly and leave. With R&B and Hiphop playing though the speakers, it makes Bo Nam the perfect place to eat, drink and socialize for hours. Even though the food concept is Vietnamese, Bo Nam offers a lot of different flavours on the menu but you can find 5 different spring rolls variations, bao’s, tasty prawns, salads and noodle dishes. 

Asian restaurants in Amsterdam Bo Nam
Source: Bo Nam

Ron Gastrobar Indonesian Downtown, Rokin 49

Firstly, we think this restaurant looks amazing inside. If you want to go all out and leave with an experience of food, ambience and entertainment, you should definitely visit Ron Gastrobar Indonesian Downtown. Honestly, the food isn’t just a pretty sight. It’s well spiced, carefully thought of and defines the Indonesian flavours very well. The wine and cocktail menu is also impressive. We will be back.

Ron Gastrobar Downtown Indonesia

Branie, Ten Katestraat 26

This tiny restaurant is one of Amsterdam’s best kept secrets when it comes to Asian restaurants. So what does Branie stand for? In fact, the name means daredevil, but in a cheeky way. It totally reflects the menu and a-ma-zing cocktails. They serve innovating Indonesian style food such as tea salad, soft shell crab bao and sweet desserts. Come to Branie with friends or a lover. You’ll have a good night.

Branie KFC bucket

Full Moon Garden, Leidsestraat 94

If you say DimSum, we are there in a heartbeat. This was by far the best DimSum we ate in Amsterdam. Relatively new, they invited us in their opening month and we couldn’t stop eating. The dumplings tasted exactly like they are suppose to taste, and if you are vegetarian, try the Chinese broccoli or eggplant with peppers. Yum! Read our full review!

Full Moon Garden Amsterdam

Umani by Han, Ovetoom

Located on the always busy Overtoom in Amsterdam, Umani opened about 3 years ago. This concept was founder by renowned Chinese chef Han Ji. restaurant is large and feels homely with a Asian style bar at the entrance. The open kitchen looks amazing and the Asian accessories and wall art completes the look & feel. They also open during the day for a quick business lunch or à la card meal, but you can also walk in for a coffee or glass of wine. A three course menu costs €27,50 which we think is very reasonable. Read more about Umami by Han.

Best Asian restaurants in Amsterdam, Umami

A-Fusion, Zeedijk 130

This place is Sarah’s favourite Asian restaurant in Amsterdam! It’s a family run restaurant where they serve amazing tasteful dishes from California rolls, steamed oysters and dumplings to beef in black pepper and chicken in curry sauce. It’s a combination of Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Korean dishes. Besides that all the products they use are fresh and there’s a very pleasant up-tempo and excellent service. Reserve your table here.

Kyoto Sushi, Central Station

Go where the locals eat. The advise that is actually true. Good news, because at Kyoto Sushi you will find a lot of Japanese people eating. Even though they offer an all you can eat concept, it surely is the best one we’ve had in this category. Their prawns, good gawd, try them. We usually stop at round 4, but at Kyoto we push till round 5! Add Kyoto to your favourite Asian restaurant list.

Best Asian restaurants, Kyoto Café

Chin Chin Club, Rozengracht 133

Dimsum and karaoke is always a great combination and the owners of the ChinChin Club must have noticed because the Asian trend is growing in Europe. Expect confusion Chinese food, fun cocktails, nostalgic games and late-night dancing. Chin Chin Club is the place where that one last drink turned into one too many. Go here with friends and sing while you eat! 

Restaurant Blauw, Amstelveenseweg 158-160

Surely you want to get fancy now and then. At Restaurant Blauw you can go all out on fancy Indonesian food. If you want, you can also order a la carte but we definitely recommend what restaurant Blauw is famous for. The traditional “rijsttafel” which is translated to rice table, is brought to another level here. Beautiful small plates are set around the table, filled with delicious Indonesian food. restaurantblauw.nl

best Asian restaurants in Amsterdam. Blauw

New King, Zeedijk 115

This list wouldn’t be complete without the infamous New King right? Located in China Town in Amsterdam, it’s a crime if you haven’t tried this Chinese restaurant. Unfortunately, it’s always busy so you must reserve a spot to avoid disappointment at the door. The food portions are large so be wise what to order. newking.nl

All things considered, there are many many more Asian restaurants in Amsterdam, but we can guarantee that these are the ones you will love.

Also, find out where our favourite lunch restaurants are!

Enjoy!

Wander-Lust

Our top 10 favourite lunch spots in Amsterdam

To be fair, there are too many great lunch and brunch possibilities in Amsterdam, but a few standout! 

We’ve handpicked our favourite 10 lunch spots in Amsterdam because they have that extra little thing. More importantly, we have also selected our choices by these important pillars:

  • They serve topnotch food
  • Provide excellent and friendly service
  • Good quality at reasonable prices
  • Great vibe
  • Inspirational or unique design

1. COTTONCAKE, 1e van der Helstraat 76-hs

This Concept store in the Pijp has it all! No need to travel to Paris,  Berlin, Melbourne or New York – Cottoncake brings all influences together in their store and café. They put all their love in fine organic food & smoothies. Besides food & drinks you will find a mix of fashion, design & lifestyle. From lovely handmade jewelries of Mimi et Toi & Monocraft, organic creams of La Bruket, to lovely basic shirts of Samsoe & Samoe and beautiful knits of Sita Murt.. I really fell in love with this concept store; you can sit down and relax, enjoy their organic healthy food and find that special item that you have to try on and you will keep for ever. cottoncake.nl

CottonCake
source: www.cottoncake.nl

2. BAKERS & ROASTERS, Eerste Jacob van Campenstraat 54

Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland are known for their great coffee shops and these two friendly owners of New Zealand & Brasil brought the caffé culture to Amsterdam. This New Zealand style café is a very nice place where they serve fresh fruit salads, healthy juices, hot pies fresh from the oven, eggs, granola and is packed every day and we totally understand why! They do not except reservations, but it’s worth to wait.
Don’t forget to take a coffee, since their crafted coffee is a selection of Roasts from Ozone Coffee. They establish relationships with all their growers, batch roast & dispatch daily to ensure maximum taste & freshness. http://bakersandroasters.com

Lunch spots Amsterdam

3. VINNIES DELI, Haarlemmerstraat 46 | Nieuwezijds Kolk 33

Are you looking for tasty & healthy lunch where they use organic, fair-trade and sustainable products? Then Vinnies Deli is definitely the place to be for you! It’s no surprise this is one of our favourite lunch spots in Amsterdam. It’s a small cozy lunch/coffee room where you can eat your hart out! I have two favorites on the menu: eggplant with buttermilk sauce and pomegranate, and smoked mackerel with grapefruit chutney. But they also serve delicious cakes & coffees. Vinnies Deli is open from 7.30m in the morning and does take a killer take away and delivery. Do you like what you see inside? All the designer furniture is for sale! vinnieshomepage.com

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4. GARTINE, Taksteeg 7

In the hectic city you will find this secret’ place in Amsterdam, Gartine, a cute, cozy and lovely restaurant that is known for it’s high tea! From the garden to your plate: The special thing about Gartine is that they produce vegetables, fruits and herbs from its own garden. Almost all products are produced locally and everything is organic. They serve high quality breakfast, lunch & high tea dishes on flower-printed china plates. You need to make a reservation upfront since they only have 7 tables in total. gartine.nl

gartinesource: www.gartine.nl

5. CANTINA, Joris van Den Berghweg 107

In case you were looking to escape the city, Café Cantina is one of our favourite all time spots in Amsterdam. It’s not close to the city center and you can only reach it by car and bicycle. Therefore it’s never crowded and popular with locals. The organic café is also part of “Het Rijk van de Keizer” which is a location that can be used for weddings, parties and special dinners. You chill in the sundeck on a fatboy, hammock or even sit in an old car wreck. Find a spot in the shade under umbrella’s tucked away in between the trees. Don’t be surprised if you see chickens walking around, this is normal! Read more about this amazing spot.

Favourite lunch spots in Amsterdam, Cantina

6. SLA

If you want to eat something healthy and nutritious and organic, SLA is the place to do it. Currently, they own x locations in Amsterdam and they are still growing. Our favourite location is the one on the Amstelveenseweg because it’s large and next to the famous Vondelpark in Amsterdam. Every season they change their salad options, so you won’t get bored and they have more than 12 choices! It’s also one of our favourite workspots in Amsterdam, and furthermore, they offer free tea refills! ilovesla.com

Lunch spots in Amsterdam, SLA
Source: SLA

7. KARAVAAN, Kwakersplein 2h

To begin with, this place is brand new. It’s large, warm and the staff is extremely friendly which can be rare these days. In terms of people, you will find it all here. Couples, friends, freelancers, you name it. Find out more about this favourite lunch spot in Amsterdam.

Karavaan, lunch spot Amsterdam

8. BENJI’S

One of us has Indonesian roots, so we especially love Benji’s Toko. That being said, all of their locations are magnificent!  Best of all, all locations are full of plants and greenery, making you feel like you are in a tropical location.

Benji's

9. DROVERS DOG, Heemstedestraat 25 | Eerste Atjehstraat 62

This Australian café/restaurant has been around for many years now, but is still popular with locals and visitors till this day. To be fair, their service is excellent and the kitchen produces delicious comfort Aussi style food. In fact, two Australians and a Dutchman set up this great spot. In addition to the fact that a Drover is a well-known dog breed, the name has more to do with what these dogs do. They bring large herds of cattle together in Australia and bringing them together is what is important at  Drovers Dog. It is always cozy and full of friends, couples and families. Everyone who works there speaks English fluently and often with a strong Australian accent. (Oh, how we love it). 

10. BAR LELY, Cornelis Lelyplein 4

It’s one of Elke’s favorite workspots in Amsterdam at the moment, and situated at a brilliant location in Amsterdam West. Bar Restaurant Lely is so much more than just a restaurant next to Lelylaan train station. The restaurant opens at 8am, so early birds can drink a quick coffee and have some simple breakfast such as granola & yoghurt or a croissant. For lunch they serve simple but very tasty options and I must say that the avo on toast with a poached egg. 

Bar Restaurant Lely Amsterdam

Happy eating!

Wander-Lust

WINTERLICHT AT PAMPUS ISLAND | UNUSUAL DINING

A gem with a capital ‘G.’ An UNESCO World Heritage place with a lovely scenery and a surprising pop-up restaurant. Get ready for an incomparable culinary experience. 

Ever heard of the annually recurring dining experience Winterlicht on fort island Pampus? (you can also exclusively camp on the island during summer) It’s one of the most special hidden gems of Amsterdam.

Winterlicht, a super exclusive concept

With the festive season full of fabulous foods, blinking lights, a dose of youthful memories and lots of snow (fun) – OK we wish we had that last Christmassy one – behind us, it’s high time for some New Year’s good-for-you goals. What about enjoying life more? Having more special and, above all, unforgettable moments together with your loved ones, for example. 

Fort Eiland Pampus

Restaurant Winterlicht deserves a spot on your bucket list for 2020.

For those who’ve never heard of Winterlicht. It’s a full evening’s culinary adventure on Pampus Island. An experience that deserves the claim ‘one size fits all.’ Firstly, it’s a perfect getaway for a social gathering with friends or family or for a heartwarming date night for two. However, we didn’t know what to expect, so with expectations on mode zero we jumped on the cosy clipper Sailboat. And so the 5-hour Winterlicht adventure begun!

An unforgettable culinary experience

Together with all the other guests you sail from IJburg, Muiden or Almere (depends per date) to Pampus around 18:00 p.m. You’ll set foot on the island in approximately 30 minutes. Expect a warm welcome from the Winterlicht crew, some ins and outs about the night and a short tour through the half-hidden historic fortress. After the historical walk and talk through the enlightened fort corridors, it’s time to find two of your not so ‘cheesy’ starters in this charming atmosphere: a hot steamy Dutch cheese fondue and mini pancakes overloaded with…well see it yourself. On the other hand; don’t overeat yourself with this heavy kickstarter. Just sayin’!

Oilcan with fire

Sneak peek of what to expect at Pampus’ Winterlicht

Around 20:00 you’ll be warmly greeted by the crew of the islands’ pavilion. A surprising seasonal 3-course dinner – fixed menu – is waiting for you. It’s lovely to hear they cook exactly the same as they did years and years ago: as sustainable as possible, eye for superb quality, and they make use of local products. For the vegetarians, vegans or the ones with a food allergy, don’t you worry. Although they serve a fixed menu, suitable alternatives without juicy meat, lactose or whatever you prefer aren’t a problem at all. Share your preferences in time, and you’ll be pampered. Mark my words.

Winterlicht menu

And what about the ambiance? Well, it’s exactly what you want during the wonderful winter time: a cosy, warm, laidback and welcoming vibe. Everything but pretentious. Looking sharp or comfy, come as you’re. Sounds inviting, doesn’t it?

Winterlicht knows how to pamper their guests after short river crossings

toetje Winterlicht

Winterlicht versus Zomerlicht

Although Winterlicht is hibernating for now, they’ll be up and running again every Friday and Saturday between the 21st of February till the 28th of March. Can’t make it this winter? No worries! During summery days there’s also ‘Zomerlicht’, Winterlicht’s little sister. Instead of fire baskets, lovely red wines and X-mas carols, you can have a cosy outdoor escape with a picture perfect picknick, summer breeze and tropical drink on the side. All things considered, for the exact information, please check out the up-to-date information on the website, or keep an eye on their socials. Claim your spot before it’s go go and get enchanted by the overload of charm.

In essence, we thank Winterlicht for having us, it was an amazing experience. Let’s forget the humdrum of daily life, make beautiful new memories and jump on the Sailboat soon!

Winterlicht
Pampus Island, Amsterdam
Website 

Package price €67,50 (crossing, culinary tour through the fort, a 3-course dinner and contribution to preserve the historical heritage.)

*Photo’s by Tony Perez

Cheers,

Sharmaine

*Sharmaine is one of our guest editors from Amsterdam with a sweet tooth. The sweeter, the better! She no kitchen princess so she’s always in search for the best hotspots in Amsterdam! You can expect an article from her once a month! Check her out on Instagram!

 

 

A WINTER CITY TRIP TO ZURICH

Do you know a heavenly feeling? I had that sensation when I got the sympathetic invitation from airline SWISS to discover Zurich.

OK to be honest, I’ve seen a lot of our beautiful world, but I ‘used’ Switzerland only as a handy transit country. Why did I never go there for a holiday? Maybe because of my prejudices: ‘Oh boy, it’s far too expensive, too quiet for me and perhaps more fun for the elderly.’ I grabbed the opportunity to uncover if those ideas were real and flew to Switzerland for a city trip to Zurich (and if the chocolate is that yummy!)

Zurich in a nutshell

Where Amsterdam is full of hipsters, clumsy tourists on bikes and busy city sounds, Zurich is a bit of the opposite. It’s as big as our intimate Utrecht. When I arrived in the afternoon I was surprised by the calmness in the picturesque downtown streets. But when it became dusky and when the festive Christmas lights went on, Zurich seemed to awaken. One moment I thought I stepped into a scene, loved it! Not even to mention the cute Christmas stalls with the mulled wine and raclette smells throughout the city. Add the majestic buildings to that and you’ll get a very nice winter holiday feeling.

The town of Zurich
The cutest streets

Where to sleep?

After an active day full of impressions there’s nothing as good as ‘coming home’ in a nice boutique hotel room. My amazing, stylish room in the Marktgasse hotel did it for a 100 procent. I don’t know what it is, but I’m in love with boutique hotels and this great, tad upscale place from the 15th century has captured my heart. Nice to know: try the handsome cocktail bar on the ground floor. Tell the cocktail shaker what you prefer and he’ll blow you away with a custom made mix, just do it! www.marktgassehotel.ch/en

eten-drinken-en-slapen-in-zurich-6

What to do

So just so you know, I had less then 24 hours discovery time, but I can tell you that Zurich is very suitable for short city trips. Recommended is to do the traditional culinary Gourmet Tour or learn more about the interesting stories of the old city with the Old Town Tour, like I did. For sure they also have a lot of cool shops, like grocery shop Schwarzenback or taste the best sausages of Zurich at Sternen Grill.

Where to eat

I know it’s not my best kept secret that I’m a food lover, sweet tooth and gourmet to the max. Not so surprisingly I was so excited to discover if the Swiss had a good flavor…no doubt they have! I had my lunch break at Baltho Restaurant & Bar – it’s part of the Marktgasse hotel. My gosh, it was a food walhalla to share that opened in front of me: falafel with homemade baba ganoush, juicy Boeuf Bourguinon, bang-bang chicken and so on. You name it, we had it. Mouth watering, right?

Food at the Marktgasse Hotel
Typical Swiss food at the Marktgasse Hotel

Another food tip:

HILTL. According to the Guinness Book of World Records they are the first registered vegetarian restaurant in the world and nowadays they’re even the supplier of the vegetarian meals on SWISS flights, how cool. HILTL started more than one century ago with this very trendy and successful concept. In addition to their à la carte, they also have a buffet. Although ‘buffets’ often haven’t the best associations for Dutchies, I gave it a try. Wow, I’ve never seen something like that before – fresh, veggie food all over. Funny fact: they let you weight your food on a large scale as you know it from the supermarket. You pay a certain amount per 100 grams, as they want to avoid food waste. Good thinking!

Breakfast tip

Delish is the other restaurant of Marktgasse Hotel. The crew is so enormously hospitable – Amsterdam can learn a lot of this welcoming, pure people – plus my poached eggs with avocado where very tasty. Give it definitely a spot on your food bucket list!

delish-salad-selection_print
Salads at Delish

My Verdict

So this was exploring a city trip to Zurich through the eyes of a 26-year-old ‘wanderlust’ enthusiast. It’s a city that I would visit once in about five years again. For this it’s perfect. Big pluses were the fresh food and the hospitality in every shop, restaurant and bar. But one side note for your wallet: please be aware of the enormously high prices. I paid almost 11 euros for a healthy, takeaway shake at Juicery21 << hotspot alert >> So my prejudice about it’s far too expensive became a harsh reality, but the yummy Swiss chocolate made me forget it for a sec.

Juicery 21 Zurich
Juicery 21

wander-lust-friends-in-zurich
The blogger crew in Zurich (Sharmaine 3rd from left)

Love,

Sharmaine

*Sharmaine is one of our guest bloggers from the Netherlands with a sweet tooth. The sweeter, the better! She’s no kitchen princess but always in search for the best hotspots in Amsterdam! You can expect an article from her once a month! Check her out on @sharriefromsandmountains!

Sharmaine flew to Zurich in style! Check her review here:
Swiss in the sky

FACTORY GIRL AMSTERDAM

What would you think of a stylish Berlin breakfast and lunch spot that spreads her wings to the Netherlands? Nine years after founder Sofia Sözen started her culinary journey in the capital of cool, she proudly popped up a second ‘+Factory Girl.’ This time in another trendy district: De Pijp, Amsterdam. A youngster with a lot of potential!

Treats for belly and eyes

Let’s be honest, breakfast is the best meal of the day, right? So, it won’t be a surprise Factory Girl’s all-day breakfast concept immediately grabbed me. A spot with lots of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free delights. The idea of this boutique brand was born and raised in Berlin. I know what you’re thinking. Why ’Factory Girl’ and a ‘+’? Sofia’s first store had an architectural factory texture. The place where she created the magic. And the plus sign? It’s a creative outburst to show the simple extensibility of the concept. A concept that can be seen as a small package which you can unpack everywhere. In every country, every city. Because Sofia admires the open-minded and vibrant lifestyle of Amsterdam – feels like home -, she had to listen to her gut feeling. And so her second shiny food spot was a fact.

Food for thought at Factory Girl Amsterdam

+Factory Girl is situated nearby the slightly touristic Ferdinand Bolstraat. You must have heard about this lady otherwise there might be a change to miss this cool tasty hotspot. And hidden gem it is. A modern venue designed to ode to the ever-growing healthy eating culture and to revitalise the ‘all-day breakfast concept.’ A very welcoming, friendly environment jam-packed with comfort and bliss. The atmosphere bursts with warmth, charm and friendliness. Upon entry you’ll be surprised by the spatial and urban, industrial vibe. Without too much fuss, but with an eye for details.

Lunch at +Factory Girl Amsterdam

+Factory Girl: 0% bullshit, 100% goodness

+Factory Girl is the perfect place to pamper yourself. The place where you can begin or break your (work)day in style, or only to drop by for a kaffeeklatsch. But treating yourself doesn’t mean lots of needless E numbers, unnatural ingredients and very few nutrients. Their raison d’être? The +Factory Girls believe in a healthy lifestyle with a planet-friendly attitude. That’s why the concept provides daily fresh, healthy vegan and vegetarian food with an infinite amount of ingredients, spices and herbs. Distinctive recipes but still conventional tastes. And above all, running business with a BIG smile!

Pancakes for breakfast
Factory Girl’s pancakes, yumminess to die for!100% goodness captured in this ‘egglicious’ shot

How lovely if you can mix the tasty with the healthy? +Factory Girl is here to impress you with an abundance of goodness. Goodness without bullshit. Mix and mingle whatever you prefer. Start daydreamin’ about some of their pieces of happiness: fit & sexy mueslinola, not benedict like benedict, three brothers no sisters, the Dutch senator sandwich and Sofia’s salad. Not to mention their…pancakes with chocolate drizzle and some little dark chocolate chuncks inside. Genius! A delicious fresh ginger tea on the side, and they had me. Even the most fussy eaters will fall in love with this super tasty concept. An everyone’s friend. Still thinking of skipping a wakey breaky? Think twice! This venue knows how to rumble, aficionados.

Factory Girl’s signature dish, a must-try!

Meet your new addiction: Coco Anjéla

Coco Anjéla, remember that name. Even if you only can make a very short pitstop, please promise that you’ll try the Coco Anjéla. Coco whut? It’s +Factory Girls’ signature dish. I can tell you, my first rendez-vous with this finger lickin’ good treat tasted like more. A healthy, addictive delicacy created by Sofia herself. Pure vanilla, a pinch of gluten-free flour, a little coconut sugar, vegan cream and cookies. Mouthwatering! It’s kind of an Italian panna cotta in different flavours. Let’s say the healthy, vegan little sister. Did I mention you have to try this pretty girl?

In short, +Factory Girl really is a culinary escapade for the non-vegetarians and non-vegans. But I can tell you, a world is opening up for you! Discover meatless treats, and whole new taste variations which will saturate all your morning and lunch craves. Absolutely worth the try both for the light ánd more dark green eaters!

Love,

Sharmaine

+Factory Girl
Saenredamstraat 32, Amsterdam
Opening hours: every day from 9:00 am till 5:00 pm
Website

THE BEST OF DOHA, QATAR

Doha is considered the pearl of the middle east that set itself on the map after being elected for the 2022 World Cup. Time to find out why it’s good to travel to Doha now, before it’s becoming the next Dubai.

The city of Doha has many amazing sky scrapers, entertainment, shopping, glitch and glamour, yet it still offers an authentic culture and history. We were invited by Qatar Airways to see the best of Doha.

HOW TO GET THERE

Given that Qatar Airways is officially the best airline in the world, I was happy to fly with them for the first time. Luckily, I was upgraded into their QSuite (O Em Gee), which has been voted as the best business class by the Yearly World Airlines Awards, the oscars of aviation. For someone with a fear of flying, this was the most relaxing flight I had ever experienced. A direct flight to Doha takes about 6 hours, so that’s pretty reasonable. Qatar Airways for that matter, is offering Doha as a stopover, which you can add to your booking. As a matter of fact, if you fly with QR, you can get a discount on hotel prices. 4-star hotels are available for as little as 23USD! Nice to know: Qatar Airways offers all passengers 1 hour free wifi!


Business Class Qatar Airways
Enjoying the QSuite

THE STORY ABOUT QATAR & DOHA

First thing to remember is that Qatar is a reasonably small country which makes it fairly easy to travel around if you want to. You can actually drive from North to South Qatar in approximately 3 hours. As you may have heard, Qatar is one of the richest countries in the world due to their gas & oil, but it wasn’t always like this. For centuries, pearl harvesting used to be the main source of income for Qatari people. But due to the great depression and competition, pearls lost their value and the country needed to find other ways to earn a living. The pearl however, remains an important symbol of Qatar until this day.

Baskets at Souq Waqif

Doha on the other hand, is only 40 years old, which explains the modern vibe and ongoing construction. People often compare it to Dubai, but the people who live here, find Doha to be very different. For one, Dubai is all about entertainment, luxury and shopping. While Doha is certainly up there when it comes to luxury hotels, restaurants and bars, but also offers culture, sports and traditions.

GOOD TO KNOW

The best time to visit Doha is from October until the end of April. It must be remembered that the weather is undoubtedly less hot during those months with temperatures between 25 and 35 degrees. While this still seems quite warm, during summer period it can get up to 50ºC! It also has to be considered that Qatar is a muslim country, so dress accordingly. This means long dresses or trousers and try to cover your upper arms. On the contrary, you can wear pretty much whatever you want in most hotels. Alcohol is not served in public spaces, but only inside some restaurants and bars. That being said, I never heard a police siren while I was there, something I haven’t experienced in a city before.

Skyline

WHERE TO STAY

In general, there is enough choice when it comes to accommodation in Doha. For the most part, there are many big hotels, but the city also offers boutique style hotels and homestays. The best place to stay in Doha is in the West Bay area. Here you are near the airport, museums, and Souq Waqif. During my three-day trip I stayed in the following hotels.

  • Mandarin Oriental

    Brand new in Doha so modern and stylish. The rooms are truly exquisite and spacious. The hotel has an outdoor pool, 3 restaurants and a spa. Their latest gastronomic addition is Mosaic, an international kitchen with an Arabic twist. The location of the hotel is recently build, so taxi drivers may not find it that easily. On the positive side, Mandarin Oriental is located at walking distance of Souq Waqif!

Hotel pool

  • Marsa Malaz Kempinski

    In contrast to the Mandarin Oriental, Kempinski is more classical and larger. The entrance is quite impressive and the hotel offers a large pool area and a beach. They have a very cool must visit rooftop bar named Secret Garden and club that is only accessible via the parking lot. Bare in mind that the dresscode is smart/casual and visitors must bring their passports. Ask the reception for all the details.

Hotel bed

Kempinski Hotel Doha

The above mentioned hotels are both amazing but understandably not for every budget, so you are best to compare the best rated hotels online.

WHERE TO EAT

Luckily, Doha offers a wide range of cuisines and flavours. Even vegetarians have plenty of options! Here is a list of some must try restaurants.

  • Al Mourjan Restaurant offers some of the best Lebanese food in Doha. From the outside terrace you have an amazing view. Try the lemon/mint juice, amazing!
  • Nobu Doha is famous for sushi, but the same goes for their good service. The Japanese chefs welcome every new customer with a traditional greeting while working their magic behind the counter. Upstairs you can enjoy a drink at the bar, which overlooks part of Doha’s skyline. Nobu is part of the Four Seasons Hotel, due to open in early 2020.

Mezza in Doha

  • Apparently, Spicemarket is the best rated Asian restaurant in Doha. The restaurant which is located in the W-hotel, takes you on a journey across South East Asia and brings the authentic flavours to the table.
  • If you are a brunch person, go to Arc Brunch Eatery! Apparently they serve a killer coconut latte.
  • As previously mentioned, Mosaic is the newest restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental hotel. They offer a variety of Arabic food with a twist!
  • Spots like Soul Bowl and Evergreen Organics are made for those that crave something healthy and vegan. Plus both locations look cute!

Mosiac

Nice to know: Little did I know, but coffee is a thing in Doha! You’ll find many trendy coffee bars around the city and our favourites café’s are Flat White, Cue Café, Fleurs at Café, 20 Grams Coffee Bar, MIA Café and Tea Garden.

Coffee bar Doha
Cue café, in the Pearl (source)

CULTURE & TRADITIONS

You may not expect it, but Doha is full of culture and traditions. For example, the falcon, Qatars symbol and bird, is still as important as centuries ago. Some falcons even travel first class with their owners! At Souq Waqif you can find a falcon market where the birds are sold and traded. There is even a falcon hospital to keep them in good shape. The traditional Souq itself is also worth a visit. During the evening it gets more crowded but if you come between 7:30 – 12:00, you can take photo’s without hardly any people. They sell everything from handmade baskets, colourful carpets, spices, sweets and tools. The souq is also the best place for traditionally Arabic food, but you can also find Indian, Lebanese and Iranian food here.

Souq Waqif
Souq Waqif during the day

Doha Falcon

Museums

I never expected to find the best museum I have ever visited in Doha, but I did. The National Museum of Qatar is truly impressive. The design – inspired by a desert rose, is incredible. But once inside, NMOQ is curated beautifully. It takes you through the ancient times, including the amazing displays of  different species that live in Qatar. How pearls came and went, war and traditions. Not to mention that kids will love the interactive and playful set ups, while adults enjoy the beautiful indoor architecture and information.

NMOQ in Doha
The stunning National Museum of Qatar

But this is not the only museum Doha has on offer. MIA (Museum of Islamic Art) is also one of the city’s pride and joy. The building portraits a Qatari woman wearing a bourqa. From here you have a stunning view of Doha’s skyline. If you like modern art, check out Mathaf, Arab Museum of Modern Art. With new exhibitions each month, Doha also has many galleries. Find out more here.

MIA Museum in Doha
MIA Museum

THINGS TO DO IN DOHA

Equally important are the activities Doha has on offer. A unique selling point has to be the desert with one of the world’s natural wonders; the inland sea. Next to Namibia, Qatar is the only place on earth where the sea reaches the desert. You can book several tours that will take you dune bashing. If you come in the beginning or end of the month, the sea will reach the sand dunes completely, otherwise the sight of it may be a bit disappointing.

Desert Qatar
Me, in the desert. Photo by Roel van der Krabben

Desert and sea
Camels standing at the inland sea

Visit Banana Island

Besides the thrilling desert of Qatar, you can also spend an afternoon at the luxurious Banana Island Resort. From Doha City you can take a ferry in just 35 minutes that will take you to the man-build island. There are a few restaurants, pools and beach area for visitors to enjoy the day. If you want to stay the night, you need to bring your credit card, because it ain’t cheap! Even so, it’s perfect for honeymooners or to escape the city.

Banana Island entrace
The entrance of Banana Island Resort

Katara Cultural Village

What’s more, a whole village was build to bring different cultures together through art and creativity. There are shops, restaurants, theatre, exhibition area’s and festive events. Doha is full of expats and they love to come here to listen to familiar sounds and meet friends. There is also a stunning mosque which was designed by a woman, which is quite special.

Mosque
The Mosque at Cultural Village

MY VERDICT

Having experienced Doha for a few days, and can say that it’s the perfect city for a stopover before heading home or continuing your trip. With this intention you can truly enjoy the best of Doha. In short, the capital of Qatar can be quite expensive indeed, but if you if you want, you can go all out here and treat yourself to great food, sunshine, glitch and glamour. Hop from hotel bar to beautiful restaurants or experience rich culture the sand dunes and meet some of the nicest people as a bonus, both expats and locals.

And remember that Dubai once started out as Doha. Quietly and full ambition. I think it’s time to visit this relatively unknown destination and enjoy it before it becomes a place where you’ll become just another tourist.

Love,

Elke