Monday, May 30, 2011

Amsterdam, Netherlands: Satellite Sports Cafe (eat-all-you-can spare ribs)

If you've been to Amsterdam, i'm sure you did notice the abundant signs of eat-all-you-can spare ribs around.  Did you find it very inviting?  Were you one of those innocent tourists who after a long day of walking around and sightseeing, all you wanted to do is to stop somewhere rest those legs and feet and fill up your stomach with food up to your neck?  Though Europe is not the best place to commit gluttony without damaging your pockets, but there are exceptions. Amsterdam, which still amaze me until now, offers you a good deal for your every euros.  (It might sound a very good advertisement...thank you...but this is not an advertorial or sponsored post *wink*)

It's not that spare ribs is the national dish of the Netherlands but there's something with these ribs that draw big crowds.  And i've tried a few of these "eat-till-you-drop" spare ribs, and some were disappointing but one did stood out...

This was introduced by a friend of mine, who shares the same passion for food! (Thanks Rei!)

A small bucket of fries (or baked potato), and the well-seasoned RIIIIIIIIBBBBSSS!  They do give huge portion (check out another half slab underneath!)  And you can choose between garlic or bbq sauce on the side (both were very good) :) You can change sauces if you manage to have several rounds (You'll be very disappointed in me, so far, i haven't ordered my 2nd plate..ever).  A friend of mine did but i wouldn't mentioned her name (you know who you are :D)...but take note that you only get half slab for every succeeding rounds.

What made these ribs stood out?  They were full of taste!  You don't even need the sauce for it so you can use somewhere else maybe as your fries dip or salad dressing.  I've been here several times and I never failed not to lick my fingers and the bones, of course!

And the best thing is, it's less than 10 euros!  Fabulous, huh?

To those Filipinos and maybe Singaporeans who had been to Europe would share the same sentiments as me when it comes to drinks.  Coming from the other side of the world that's used to refillable iced tea or bottomless coke or huge size of drinks, i was shocked when i got a glass and super EXTRA small bottle of coke for 3 euros during my visit here in Europe.  Yes, the itsy-bitsy bottles that got extinct in the Philippines when my favorite drink was still milk and I don't think i've seen it in Singapore as well.  Anyways, this place begs to differ.  It might not be bottomless but you get this HUGE glass (yes, they do exists!) for less than 5 euros.  And it can last until your next round of meat-chugging.

Since it's a sports cafe, don't expect a serene environment.  Whether it's soccer or ice hockey, expect the place to be full!  We were a few minutes early before the game we were lucky to secure a seat.

Try it out when you're around the area!  It's in one corner of Leidseplein in Amsterdam.  A big banner of eat all you can spare ribs is displayed in front of the restaurant and it's difficult to miss.

Ok, HT wife needs to shed off those calories i've accumulated these past few weeks.  Stay tune for another Utrecht eating scene and soon...Prague!  Ta ta! 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Amsterdam, Netherlands: Pancakes Upstairs

Before crepe even existed in the world, there is the so-called Dutch Pancakes and it still exists in this side of the world.

And being one of the national food of the land of clogs and tulips, you can find this famous pancakes in every corner of Amsterdam.  But if you want your journey to pancakes be more exciting, then look for this...
Pannenkoekenhuis Upstairs

and here's the journey going up...

it ain't your ordinary dining's fuss-free and homey (i blurred the faces of my friend and her sister as I didn't ask their permission:D)

teapots everywhere (i'm sure they wouldn't notice if you try to steal one) and a portrait of the dutch royalties...gezellig, huh?

The indonesian staff was very nice to us.  We even exchanged our experiences learning the dutch language and he's taking his state exam for dutch proficiency this week so good luck to him. :)
What is nice about dutch pancakes is its thin crust (crepe in texture) as it let you savor the toppings and the fillings at its best.  And, i love its versatility.  So i went hawaiian with bacon, cheese, tomato and of course, pineapple slices.

My friend chose apples on top of her bacon and tomato pancakes.  She was sure that apples are always a perfect companion with anything savory.

Her sister got the same as mine but with an exotic topping (caramaelized gember - ginger)

Even though these were savory pancakes, the syrup-stroop still blended well with it (check out that Van Gilse bottle).  We love the stroop on our pancakes!

The serving was pretty huge and it was difficult to finish.  At some point, my friend and I poked all the bacon strips in the pancakes. haha

Did you notice we all ordered pancakes with bacon?  Because, you can never go wrong with bacon in any dish or having it alone.  It is super! (dutch expression).

Try it out when you had the chance to visit Amsterdam whether you're a local or not.

Pancakes are priced around 8-9+ euro.  If you're not a big eater, I would suggest to share it with your travel mate or your partner in crime.

Pannenkoekenhuis Upstairs
Grimburgwal 2
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Blue Cheese Burger with Portobello Mushroom

HT wife had a craving...she needed it ASAP.  HT hubbie was in a panic...he's thinking where to get HT wife's request...he can get it from a fast-food-chain-which-must-not-be-named in HT couple's dictionary but nah...until "ting...!"

What beats a good burger that is made with love? :D Cheezy...

He got a quarter pounder in the grocery, melted gorgonzola pieces on top...

Just the way i like it.

The yummy portobello mushroom shouldn't be left out.  This can serve as the burger patty if you're the vegetarian...but HT couple take their being carnivores seriously. 

soaked in a mixture of garlic, balsamic vinegar, basil, oregano, soy sauce and olive oil..

leave it for an hour or so to let the mushy's absorb the marinade and sear it in a pan.

sautee'd veggies on the side (zucchini and bell peppers).  HT hubbie melted gran padano when the veggies were almost soft.

Voila!  Tasteful burger, nicely glazed mushrooms with healthy veggies...

and a satisfied HT wife.  Lucky her...isn't she? :D

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Brussels, Belgium - Seoul Korean Grill

Once you see these...

flat chopsticks

healthy knick knacks on the table

clear, spicy soup

gyoza with chili oil (though in the menu, it's called ravioli :D)

raw marinated meat

and being cooked in front of you..

until it's chow time!

We really had a nice korean treat! 

And of course, we didn't end the night without dessert.

It's always nice to be in an asian restaurant serving authentic cuisine at this side of the world.

Price Summary (in euro)
This set menu cost 31 euro

1050 Ixelles Brussels

Monday, May 2, 2011

Belgium, Brussels - a guide for the sweet tooth

HT couple visited a friend who will be living in Brussels for 18 months for work!  Imagine being surrounded by life's greatest...chocolates here, beers there and more chocolates on that side and beers this side!  It's almost a few steps away to heaven. :)  Though she's not fond of chocolates (bummer), but beers are to her liking (belgium is not bad for her after all :D)

HT couple loves chocolates.  It's not our routine to have desserts everyday but a piece of chocolate everyday is a must!  There were a few times that we just can't sleep as we didn't had our chocolate dosage.  And for a couple having the same passion for chocola (dutch), that can mean war.  Luckily, we have our own preferences, HT hubbie is into milk chocolates and i'm into the dark ones.  So, all is fair in love and chocolates. :D

Brussels isn't my favorite place (as what my friends said, i should go there on days when I seem not to appreciate The Netherlands :D ) except for the chocolate shops every corner.  I have my favorites, of course...

Pierre Marcolini 
4 years ago, i first landed in this shop in Sablon area at the center of Brussels (so expect that it is a tourist trap).  Acclaimed to be the world's best chocolate, it wouldn't hurt to try once.  I got their sampler box (i think about 30 pcs for 'effin 20 euros) which my wallet didn't like the price tag but tastebuds came knocking on the door not to bother about the numbers.  I can still remember, that their pralines were nice but what i can't  forget are the grand cru's thus, this 2011, PM chocolates and I got reunited.  But this time ( i settled down with Saveurs du Monde- 16 pcs for 12 euros).  I just prefer my chocolates, simple with that good cocoa kick and no flavors added.  Equateur is my favorite.

I'll be honest that I forgot to consider HT hubbie's milk chocolate preference (oopsie), thus i have to get this superman's kryptonite-looking chocolate which name has "tiramisu" in it out of guilt for being a selfish chocolate addict.

It was difficult to resist....

It's made of cream ganache covered with nougatine and mild dark chocolate.  Harmoniously done, each ingredients went well together but for 3 euro for this small piece, it's a bit overpriced.  But still, it's nice to try their new creation once in a while.

I did notice that the chocolate sizes were smaller.  I guess, with the economic crisis, putting up the prices (higher than 20 euros), for a box of chocolates, is not a good idea thus, de-sizing is the only option.  Also, i've read somewhere that Nestle has bought more shares to sustain this infamous PM.  And with it's availability in Japan, expect more expansion in Asia and who knows it might just be across your doorstep.  Then make sure to try it!

Next favorite is Wittamer, which is a few blocks away from PM.  A small fact: Pierre Marcolini worked in Wittamer and was trained here :).

We didn't buy chocolates there anymore as we also got a few at Leonida's (where truffles are nice for 6 euro a box i.e.250 g - 1/4 of the price of what is being sold in Wittamer).

this can be finished by HT hubbie in one HT wife supervision is much needed :D

We decided to stay indoors where we got the peace and quietness as outside seating was fully occupied by residents and tourists (as the sun has been visiting us for days now).  We just wanted to relax a bit before we go for a walk again.
And with the warm weather...nothing else came into my mind but a good glass of ice cream and a good dosage of caffeine so I can walk the next stretch.

Cafe Liegois (10.50 euro)- glace (ice cream) with cafe Costa Rica and chantilly.  It was perfect!  The sweetness of the ice cream was a good complement of the bitterness of the coffee.  It was refreshing!

My friend, Cinderella ordered Dame Blanche ou Noire (10.50 euro).

Cinderella poured the thick chocolate over her ice cream even if she's not fond of it to give it a try.  She thought it was ok.  I don't know if that circular meringue beside the ice cream went well with all the fancy ingredients. 

They don't have an English menu so either you wanted to be surprised or to be sure, bring out your iphone for translation :D.  Also, everything is quite expensive, even though it is good, i don't think it was worthy from what you get..

See that big smile?   Somebody was successful with her chocolate shopping :D.