A Year In Food

From New York to Costa Rica to Europe to California: 365 Days of Dining Out

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Sept. 16.

Amsterdam, Part Three - It was another day of exploration. Vince had headed to Delft, the world's blue-and-white ceramic capital of the world, while I stayed behind to see more of the capital city. I started off the morning with a visit to the Albert Cuyp market, located on Albert Cuypstraat in the neighborhood of De Pijp. Unlike its Spanish counterparts, which also had a wild assortment of foods, the Cuyp functioned more as a flea market, offering everything from shoes to cameras to medicine to herring. A brass band was playing too, making the morning a lively one. I bought a few tangerines (I'd already had delicious free cornflakes at the hostel) and got going when it again started to drizzle.

I headed up to the Anne Frank House, another one of the landmarks I had long been looking forward to seeing. It was definitely well worth the wait. Walking through the house and up to the attic where the Franks hid was a starkly powerful experience, and the exhibits provided a lot of harrowing but necessary information. Instead of trying to present the magnitude of the Holocaust, the museum showed the tragedy through the lens of a single family, making the loss feel all the more personal and intimate. Afterwards, I went to a bookstore and read all the English-language news magazines I could find. Everywhere, the story was about Katrina and the government's mismanagement of the hurricane's aftermath. It was an unfortunate reminder that social inequities and governmental apathy can still add up to disastrous results today.

For dinner, Vince and I met up to honor the Dutch's love of all things fried. Along with croquettes, the most prominent food is patats, or their steak frite-like French fries. Like the Belgians, the Dutch enjoy mayo on their potatoes, but that's only one of many choices they'll consider. Their patat shops are known to offer more exotic combinations like wasabi mayo, spicy ketchup and peanut sauce. I went with the more traditional curry, which turned out to be a watery but tangy brown-red sauce. It wasn't bad, and neither were the fries, which were served in a paper cone. Still, they were thick and dry and I had to grudgingly admit that I preferred the ones from the Lyon McDonald's. It was a slight disappointment, but I was still very much excited, because the next day, Vince and I had reservations at the famous Indonesian restaurant Tempo Doeloe, slated to be our second big splurge of the trip...


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