Tag Archives: food

Throwback Thursday – A Lazy Day in the Bay of Kotor

On our way from Slovenia to Albania in the Summer of 2015, we decided to stay one day in the Bay of Kotor and explore this beautiful area. But things took a different turn…

Lars and I had calculated that we would arrive in Kotor late in the afternoon. But our GPS stopped working as soon as we crossed the border of Montenegro, which slowed us down a lot. When we reached the bay, it was evening and it turned out we had to take a ferry. We had to pay cash and of course, we didn’t have any cash money with us. And it took us half an hour to find an ATM…

After a short ferry trip, we found ourselves at the other side of the Bay, on a dark narrow road. Lars and I tried the GPS again, but to no avail. We had to ask a lot of people to find our way to the hotel and finally, after 90 minutes, we found it! After a quick supper, we went to sleep.

The morning afterwards, we simply did not feel inclined to spend another day in the car. The hotel owners informed us about a beach nearby and we went there to check it out. It was just perfect: a narrow sandy beach with comfortable sun-beds and umbrellas and crystal-clear water. And a bar-restaurant just a couple of meters away. What else do you want?

Lars and I spent a lazy day on the beach, relaxing in the sun and swimming and splashing in the water. We had a simple but tasty tuna sandwich for lunch. I did take pictures of this happy occasion with my Samsung smartphone, but unfortunately it died in the meantime, and it is simply impossible to retrieve the pictures. Luckily, I do have pictures of our dinner later that day.

Even now, when I think back of that evening in that restaurant, I feel nothing but bliss. It just felt… perfect. There you are, with your most beloved one, just centimetres away from the water, with incredible views around you.

Lars and I had local ham and cheese for a starter and settled for a huge grilled fish as our main dish. A local red wine completed this excellent meal.

There was no more space left in our stomachs for dessert. Instead, we slowly finished our wines and watched a fiery sunset.

Lars and I learned a valuable lesson that day. We don’t always have to explore paradise; sometimes it suffices to enjoy it.

A Not So Successful Day in Dinant

The last Sunday before Christmas, Lars, Vanessa Morgan and I decided to visit Dinant, a beautiful town in the French-speaking part of Belgium. But things didn’t go as planned…

Problem number 1. There is no direct train between Brussels and Dinant. The only solution is a two-hour train-trip with lots of stops, something I wasn’t aware of when I bought the tickets.

Problem number 2. I had skipped breakfast that morning because I wasn’t feeling hungry and I thought we would be in Dinant very quickly, so I would grab a croissant in a bakery. But after the long train-trip I was actually starving.

Problem number 3. When I am very hungry and I can’t eat very soon, I become very grumpy and disagreeable. I am certainly aware of this and I am not proud of it.

Problem number 4. When we finally arrived in Dinant around 11 am, it took us more than half an hour to find a place to eat. Snack-bars were closed and most restaurants apparently serve hot food starting from noon only. I felt my blood-sugar going down and the troll in me was manifesting itself to the fullest.

Problem number 5. When I had finally eaten and had become my old self again, we decided to visit the Christmas market. Very quick visit indeed, since of the 10 (!) stalls, only half of them were open. And not the most interesting ones… Dinant is not actually a small town, so this Christmas market was a huge letdown.

Problem number 6. Miss Morgan wanted to buy the famous “Couque de Dinant” (Cake of Dinant). We had found a bakery who sold them, but Vanessa didm’t like their “Couques”; they were ugly and the wrong shape and size. So, we had to find another shop… And I hate shopping… But we did find them at last!

Problem number 7. It was very misty and the mist simply didn’t want to disappear. The weather conditions turned Dinant to the least photogenic place ever. Going up to the citadel and admiring and photographing the view was out of the question.

Problem number 8. We returned to the station quite frustrated, only to find out that our train to Brussels was limited to Namur, where we had to wait half an hour in the freezing cold for a train to Brussels. Why is every train station in Belgium so bloody cold?!?

Problem number 9. You are never going to be believe this… All the pictures I had taken that day had become corrupt!!!!! Can’t edit them, can’t put them on the website!!!

But…

  1. We can always go back, preferably in Spring or Summer when there is more to do and see in Dinant. So stay tuned!
  2. I do have a video of Lars trying to eat the (in)famous “Couque de Dinant”. They are made with only two ingredients, honey and wheat flour and they are extremely hard. As you can see for yourself in the video…

TBT Thursday – Enjoying La Dolce Vita in Berbenno di Valtellina

A new item on the blog! Since Lars and I still have to share lots of stories and pictures of our summer trip of 2015, we will feature these on TBT Thursdays. The reason why we didn’t write about these earlier, is due to my severe depression (which now belongs to the past).

Anyway, after our adventure on the Stelvio Pass, all Lars and I wanted to do was to relax and enjoy life in a small Italian town. And we found such a place in Berbenno di Valtellina, where we had booked a cute and cozy B&B.

First things first, a walk along the sunny narrow streets with the occasional speeding Italian in an old Fiat. A small piazza with flowers. Old men spending the afternoon in a coffee bar. That was the scenery laid before us.

Trattoria Traversi welcomed us with open arms. Since the weather was warm, Lars and I installed ourselves us in the garden.

Lars and I started with a beer to refresh ourselves, but soon continued with some “vino”.

After an hour, food joined the wine on the table: fresh fruits, nuts, an excellent vitello tonato (veal with tuna sauce) and yummy pastry. Now, this is what Lars and I call “la dolce vita”!

And then, fulfilled and happy, we went back to our B&B.

Where We Slept and Ate in Groningen

If you want to stay in the heart of Groningen without paying a fortune, then the Martini Hotel is the best choice. The name of the hotel refers to the nearby Martini Tower.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of the room, but I can assure you that they are cozy and comfortable and of course come with a free Internet connection.

I did however take pictures of the splendid bar! Follow our example and taste some of the local beers!

There is an on-site restaurant, called WEEVA. Not the cheapest option in town, but the decor is warm and stunning and the food and drinks are delicious. Highlights were my starter with blood sausage and a main dish inspired by Indonesian cuisine.

Looking for a place to have a snack or a light meal or a drink? Opposite the Martini Hotel, is de Oude Wacht, a very cozy pub with great food and drinks (especially beers and jenever, a local strong drink).

Popular snacks are a “tosti” (“croque monsieur” in Belgium, grilled ham and cheese sandwich, usually served with a small salad) and a “uitsmijter” (also popular in Belgium, open ham and cheese sandwich, with fried eggs on top, also served with a small salad). Lars and I had them for brunch twice.

I was adamant on eating in an Indonesian restaurant before we left Groningen and we did it! Just a few footsteps away from the Martini Hotel is Het Satéhuis and there I could finally taste some of the Indonesian specialties. I went for salmon satay and Lars went for beef. Everything came with a huge portion of rice and vegetables and at least 2 sauces.

We hope that all of these places inspire you to visit Groningen as well!

Awesome Aachen – Part 2

After the candy shop, something else caught our attention: a group of statues near the Elisenbrunnen.

And it kept on raining and raining on our way to the town hall.

Located opposite the cathedral, the history of the town hall goes back to the 14th century. It is one of the landmarks of Aachen.

We had become hungry again and stopped at a shop called Klein where they sold “printen”, the local delicacy. These are actually biscuits, made from three kinds of dark sugar, dark flour and exotic spices. When the dough starts to bake, the sugars caramelise, giving the biscuits a hard texture. The taste resembles that of “speculaas”, a kind of candy, which is popular in Belgium.

Having been around since the 16th – 17th century, the “printen” comes in a lot of varieties. The shop of Klein makes them all by hand and believe they originate from … Belgium!

Lars and I chose a hard variant with almond and two soft variants, covered with hazelnuts and black and white chocolate. Most of these have found their way to our stomach in the meantime!

If you want to know more about this delicacy, have a look at their website.

Afterwards, we went to have a drink in a bar and sought refuge from the rain in our hotel.

Stay tuned for part 3!

Awesome Aachen – Part 1

After a 2-hour drive, Lars and I arrived in Aachen last Monday. After a bit of rest in our hotel, we went to the centre of town, to have some dinner. We chose a restaurant quite close to the Aachen Cathedral, called Rose am Dom.

We felt quite at home in the rustic but cosy interior. The menu features mainly regional specialties, which are reasonably priced.

I have to admit that don’t like pork, but I will make an exception for a well-prepared schnitzel, which is fried breaded pork filet. Lars, on the other hand, went for a Wienerschnitzel, which is fried breaded pork or veal filet, traditionally served with lemon and anchovy.

It was still raining when we left the restaurant and the somber clouds didn’t predict any good weather.

We first visited one of Aachen’s most important landmarks, Aachen Cathedral.

This was actually the first site in Germany to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. According to Wikipedia,

Aachen Cathedral (German: Aachener Dom), traditionally known in English as the Cathedral of Aix-la-Chapelle, is a Roman Catholic church in Aachen, western Germany. It is the oldest cathedral in northern Europe and was constructed by order of the emperor Charlemagne, who was buried there after his death in 814. For 595 years, from 936 to 1531, the Aachen chapel was the church of coronation for thirty German kings and twelve queens. The church has been the mother church of the Diocese of Aachen since 1802.[1]

The Palatine Chapel has the shape of an octagon and its decorations are breathtaking.

It was our first visit to this cathedral; Lars had never been to Aachen before and I had only visited its Christmas market. We are so happy that we could finally admire this astonishing piece of religious architecture.

Finally, we were back outside, where it was still wet and gloomy.

If you like exploring religious buildings, the nearby Pfarrkirche is also worth a visit, although it lacks the grandeur of its bigger neighbour.

A nearby candy-shop caught our eye…

The shop specialises in the so-called “printen”, a local delicacy, we will talk about in the next part!

Oktoberfest in Berlin Fabrik

Berlin Fabrik is the name of a burger and cocktail bar in Brussels. This weekend, they organise their own version of the famous Oktoberfest. And since we love anything German, Lars and I decided to give this event a try.

We took the tram and got off at the Kleine Zavel, made our way to the Grote Zavel and finally arrived at the Kapellemarkt, where the bar is located.

The interior of the Berlin Fabrik has an industrial feel, personnel is very polite and friendly. Service was smooth and quick.

First, a good German beer: Warsteiner!

For the main dish, we choose the Schweineschnitzel from the special Oktoberfest menu. The normal menu is extensive and it took us quite some time to choose a desert (donuts and ice-cream) and cocktails.

We spent more than 3 very agreeable hours in Berlin Fabrik and can only recommend this place. It is located at the Kapellemarkt 17; you can find more information on their Facebook page.

An Alternative 60th Birthday in Brussels – Part 2

Thursday, 8 September 2016 was the day that Lars turned 60. And on that sunny day, we went to the Grand Place.

The Belgian capital often organises free events, especially in summer. On the birthday of Lars, we could actually watch the Belgian finals of put shot for men, as part of the Memorial Ivo Van Damme, an annual athletics meeting, that takes place in the beginning of September.

This meeting had a sad start; a group of journalists organised the first meeting in 1977, in memory of the Belgian athlete Ivo Van Damme, who had died at the age of 22 in a car accident. In the meantime, the Memorial has become one of the most important athletics meetings of the world, attracting some of the biggest names.

Animation was in French and Dutch – Brussels is officially a bilingual city. Not only did the animators encourage us to cheer for the athletes, they gave us a lot of practical information about the sport itself, ranging from the weight of the shot to the difference between legal and foul throws. To be honest, we learned a lot that afternoon and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

And the shot putters themselves seemed to be having a good time as well.

Later that afternoon, we could watch the women’s finals of shot put – with performances of the Olympic champion! -, but we had become hungry. It was time for a very early dinner, so we headed towards the nearby Steenstraat.

Introducing The Smalle Steen, a restaurant specialised in some of Belgium’s most popular dishes. This place works with a tapas-inspired theme, allowing you to eat just as much as you want for a more than reasonable price. Most of the plates cost 5 euros and you usually combine 2 or 3 of them for a complete meal. To be honest, we stuck to 2 plates each and had a special beer for dessert.

The red beer is called “kriek”, which means sour cherry. Or as Wikipedia explains it,

Kriek lambic is a style of Belgian beer, made by fermenting lambic with sour Morello cherries.[1] Traditionally “Schaarbeekse krieken” (a rare Belgian Morello variety) from the area around Brussels are used. As the Schaarbeek type cherries have become more difficult to find, some brewers have replaced these (partly or completely) with other varieties of sour cherries, sometimes imported.

Kriek is one of the most popular Belgian beers, especially during summer, because of its refreshing taste. The name of the restaurant, by the way, means ‘narrow stone”, referring to the very narrow size of the building in which it is located.

Anyway, Lars enjoyed his birthday a lot! And it was the perfect conclusion of our summer in Brussels.