finally getting round to sharing our favourite places & spaces in amsterdam. the city we fell head over beers for at the start of the year. staying in an amazing airbnb apartment, in the coolest area, de pijp, for a mon-fri holiday. i would go back r i g h t n o w .
the airport was the first thing i loved in amsterdam. then soon after, the architecture. as soon as you walk out of central station you see just how beautiful a city it is. the centre is great – we spent hours walking around over the few days we were there – down as many streets as possible .. and into as many pubs.. it was pissing rain so half hour pit stops were absolutely necessary on every corner – bad weather is s u c h a great excuse for being drunk on holiday.. during the day..
monday : we arrived afternoon time – chatted to some lovely folk about how to use the trams & headed out to our airbnb – which turned out to be less than 10mins away .. and in the B E S T area ..
perfect mix of quiet streets & busy corners – all of the shops, pubs & restaurants we had on our list turned out to be 5 – 10 mins walk from our apartment.
so we went for a beer, chatted to bar person Kitty about the whats & wheres over a strong pint, took a wander and over our 2nd beer, decided we want to live in amsterdam. the city swept us off our drunken feet within a few hours.
dinner that night was at CAFE PAR HASARD – on Ceinturbann – home to the B E S T B I T T E R B A L L E N we have ever tried and the cutest, friendliest, most helpful waitress called Barbara. who i’m going to go and give some big love to on trip advisor. this restaurant is found within the newly established friterie – FRITES UIT ZUYD. super cool chippy – just walk through to find the restaurant. i definitely recommend an early dinner here one night.
in the city centre we stopped in at 2 very old school beery pubs – CAFE DE STER, on martelaarsgracht, which was busy & brilliant & just 5 mins from central station – & CAFE MOOY. where we ended up staying all night – something to do with the amazing bar lady, Joke, & the gift of dropshot (a strong salty liquorice flavoured shot) from the kind older gents at the bar.. it was pretty vile & we got pretty drunk. right in the city centre, next to hotel inntel, where our friends were staying, this little pub claimed to be the oldest in amsterdam & was warm, friendly, traditional & an absolute hoot. Joke (pronounced yoker .. ?) taught us the various glass sizes to order our beers in Dutch & even danced with the husband when he became overly merry.
pay a visit.
tuesday : we were hungover. so we walked. & walked. DE PIJP is perfect. stylish & laid-back – bars, restaurants, cafes & concept stores on every corner, down every street. & all those fecking beautiful buildings.
we had breakfast in YOGURT BARN – on eerste van der helstraat – every style of yogurt, with every topping you would ever want & house blend teas, which you pick and scoop yourself. i had some crazy strawberry vanilla smokey fandango which i doubt i will ever find or enjoy as much again. super friendly staff – which by then we had worked out was standard in amsterdam – and a comfy space to spend a morning, all cushions & concrete & wood.
next door is COTTONCAKE – a beautiful beautiful cafe & shop with an ever changing stock of quality clothes, handmade jewellery & up and coming art. a bright, white space, styled & curated perfectly. (read a bit more about cottoncake here – super helpful city blog!)
on albert cuypstraat, we found CIRCLE OF TRUST – a concept store which after starting as a jeans brand now sells a whole range of items appealing to a general sense of lifestyle – from fashion, to beauty, homewares & paper goods . a beautiful, super cool space which i was desperate to instagram the shit out of. & spend all my monies…
& on gerard doustraat – ALL THE LUCK IN THE WORLD – a shop filled with home wares & gifts – from furniture to jewellery – all styled so perfectly i wanted to work there. & again spend all my monies… another one of my favourite concept store finds in a city of many.
DE WASSERETTE for brunch – on eerste van der helststraat. quite possibly our favourite cafe of all time now & so far. perfect breakfast/lunch menu, amazing coffee, very cool space, laid-back, efficient staff, open kitchen & a busyness you only get from being good at what you do. always packed (we walked past this place a lot as so close to our airbnb) this place had v i b e s. & fecking good eggs.
back into the city – walk & explore. eat a febo. stop for a beer. walk. stop. beer. febo. etc. it was still pissing down so all the beers & vending machine croquettes were necessary.
across the pavement from where we spent the previous night – on kolksteeg – is IN DE WILDEMAN. a unique &, what we took to be, authentic beer tasting bar. with literally h u n d r e d s of beers & the most friendly & knowledgable bar staff you could find. the service over there puts us to shame in the uk. ( the main man remembered john from the night before when he apparently grabbed him outside the pub for a song – and this guy didn’t even mind! ?!?) i couldn’t choose a beer, so i told them what i liked and they choose me some crazy dark & beautiful thing which will be forever in my memory. definitely pay this place a visit. it is absolutely rammed at night & we could see why.
that night we strolled the red light district, i saw my first rubber vagina, & we ate in a tiny Tibetan restaurant which i cannot remember the name of but would recommend if i could.
stopped in for a beer at the SAILOR BAR – another traditional & super busy little place on the canal which i would definitely go back to just for the atmosphere – before we found our stay place of the night – CAFE CUBA , on nieuwmarkt. c o c k t a i l s. just try the cocktails.
look out for part 2 of my amsterdam city guide later in the week!
i could go on about this place for way too long … – c x
**to get to DE PIJP from the centre takes under 10mins on the tram. take a 4,16 or 24.
if you choose not to stay there – definitely go for a visit at least!
one line in my super huge ‘i’m going to do way more… in 2015’ notebook is to go out & make the most of this city more often. and in glasgow there’s p l e n t y going on.
so. last night – i dated the husband & went to the cinema & for some wee beers. tick. TONIGHT – i’ve got a date with oor gill* & emmy the great. HEAVY DATING THIS WEEK.
wine & eats at the alston bar & beef then on to king tuts wah wah hut for some swimming poo-ool sounds.
G I R L S N I G H T. #makeitcount2015
have a good thursday night pals – c x
ps. image found on pinterest via Jen Gotch (follow her there & on instagram for shit tons of colour & hilarity)
*gill – oor regular contributor & taste-maker checker – owns the glasgow wedding collective & loves gold shiny things. also lives with hanks best pal bert.
over the festive, we ate a t o n of cheese. partly because i became a grown up & finally began to love cheese & wine – partly because it is the perfect party food – versatile, handheld & lovely looking when styled.
a cheese board is just party decor you can eat i say.
here are our tips :
use a chunky wooden chopping board – ours is from Ikea. jamie oliver would totally approve.
pick a range of good quality cheeses – hard, strong, creamy, fruit-filled, soft – they don’t have to be huge chunks, i.e. super expensive – buy 100g of this & 150g of that – one of each ‘type’ ..
a brie, a blue, a goats, a dutch, & a few cheddar-styles – mild, mature, smoked.
if like me you are no cheese connoisseur – use the above as a guide, and pick some by colour, texture & name. as i’m sure all sophisticated cheese people do. who doesn’t want to try a snow-white wedge from Norway named Snofrisk*?!
build up your board using meats, crackers & fruit …
the husband likes to slice german & polish sausages, alongside pastramis, salamis & proscuittos – anything in different colours (don’t judge me)
grapes in red & green, apples**, pomegranate seeds scattered (from a height Jamie always says..) & figs thinly sliced (which will also make you seem rich & fancy i’m sure)
crackers & crunchy things – oatcakes & melba toast add some variety to your standard cheese biscuits & we are completely in love with Peters Yard artisan swedish crisp breads – d e l i c i o u s (try the spelt & fig!)
pile on some rocket or watercress, drizzle & dot honey on your brie & finely chop stem ginger for on top of a goats cheese or vice versa – y u m – pick little thyme leaves for throwing & wedge some rosemary branches in & around. lay your table with some greenery, candles & colourful napkins or linen – & boom. there’s your cheese board.
have a party. make it all about the cheese.
(and wine, of course, the wine)
– c x
*snofrisk is now my absolute favourite cheese. and that means i am a connoisseur i think.
** my husband is very upset with me over the brownness of my sliced apples in these shots. i apologise if it has disturbed any of you as it has him. i will never allow this to happen to my apples again…… um, promise. i should have lemon juiced them & i am sorry – feel free to learn from my mistakes.