Amsterdam Day 2 – Breakfast, the Lindenmarkt & Irish coffee

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Holy crap is it cold here! Frigid temperatures, but instead of the dry air that usually accompanies really cold temps in Boston, the air is damp. And the wind! We stepped out of the hotel this morning, crossed the Prinzengracht Canal and were almost blown over by the wind that simply took our breath away. Maybe we’re turning into wimps because it’s been so mild in the Northeastern US the past two winters. But we packed for cold weather…Marmot down-filled long coat, faux fur vest, layers, long johns, thinsulate. Yet it was barely enough. After crossing the bridge, the cold drove us into the first restaurant that we could find beyond the Oude Wester that we ate at yesterday.

Warmth is not exactly the right criteria for picking a place, but we did alright. We found a little spot called Roem that felt a bit like someone’s dining room. It was small, with just about 10 tables, a bar at the far end, and a dumb waiter to deliver the food from the basement kitchen. Most importantly, it had a thick blue velvet curtain in front of the entrance way to block the cold and wind. The laminated placemat-style menus made it feel a bit touristy, but we were cold, hungry, and in need of caffeine. (Though I’m much less jet-lagged than I would have expected considering my lack of sleep on the flight over. Just good proof that the key is staying up the whole day when you arrive on the red-eye. It forces your body clock onto the new time.)

L and I ordered pancakes again. This time I went for the mushroom cheese, and she went for the banana chocolate.

mushroom cheese pancake

The pancakes were very good. Perhaps not as good as Oude Wester, but still tasty. Particularly L’s, which had some lovely dark chocolate shaved over the “pancake” (again, really a less-eggy French crepe) which had the bananas baked right into it.

chocolate banana pancakes

Chocolate banana pancakes at Roem

A ordered a honey, goat cheese, and thyme “sandwich”, which turned out to be more of a cheese platter or build-it-yourself sandwich. (I haven’t yet decided.)

honey, goat cheese & thyme

Honey, goat cheese & thyme “sandwich” at Roem

The coffee was the only disappointing part. It was my 5th cappuccino of the trip, and, at least where we have gone, they’ve all been done by machine to varying degrees of quality. This one definitely ranked 5th.

After we fortified ourselves with food, we set out for the market, hoping we were better prepared for the cold. We walked to the Lindenmarkt in the Jordaan, very intelligently heeding the advice of one of the fantastic Hotel Pulitzer concierges who suggested that we not go to the Cuyptmarkt as planned but rather go to the Lindenmarkt since it is closer. Apparently he’d already spent time outside this morning.

The Lindenmarkt is held every Saturday, and is a very typical outdoor-style market with rows and rows of vendor tents covering a square and featuring everything from local food to clothes to toiletries. Despite the frigid temps, it seemed to be to be well-attended by both vendors and shoppers. Though we all felt a bit sorry for the vendors being forced to spend the whole day outside. We lasted about 90 minutes, much of which was spent looking for items that would keep us warm – mittens, woolen socks, better boots for A. We deviated from this search only to admire and try the local food, the highlight of which was the herring that A had. The herring was beautiful and incredibly fresh, filleted a la minute and served on a silver disposable tray with a chopped onion and pickles to garnish, and a toothpick adorned with a Dutch flag for eating.

Herring Preparation

Herring being prepared at the Volendammer Vishandel booth

 

Fresh Dutch Herring

Fresh Dutch Herring

Volendammer Vishandel

Volendammer Vishandel

Wholegrain Bread

Beautiful Freshmade
Wholegrain Bread for €1

Lots of Kaas (Cheese)!

Lots of Kaas (Cheese)!

meat

…and meat

Profiteroles

Profiteroles which were more like blini

Tulips

Not sure how the tulips were able to withstand the cold

But after an hour and a half, we could no longer feel our toes. I was nauseous my feet were so cold. We were all worried about frostbite. And how could we tell that story if we lost digits? Imagine that conversation:”How did it happen? Were you climbing K2?” “Um, no, we were shopping.” Unable to bear it a moment longer, we made a beeline for the closest place that served beverages, initially thinking we’d get a beer.

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Cafe de Zon
(Lindengracht 65)

The nearest place was a small local bar called Cafe de Zon. (Apparently there are 3 in Amsterdam – this one is at Lindengracht 65.) It was exactly what we wanted – a very European style pub with the bar tended by a lovely woman named Jo whose son owns the bar. We ordered Irish coffees, thinking we needed something that would warm us more than beer, and spent a fun hour chatting with Jo and warming our frozen feet on the radiator. (Yes in hindsight, we probably should have tried something more “Dutch,” but we were frozen, and the whiskey and coffee were the perfect warmers.) We were somewhat celebrities amongst the locals because I heard Jo telling everyone in Dutch that we were visiting from New York and Boston.

Special thanks to Laura DeAngelis for some of the photography since my camera isn’t working!

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