Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Apricot Bars With a Kick

Since my last post was on the indulgent side (as in, two sticks of butter and three kinds of sugar indulgent), today I thought I'd bring you these apricot-ginger bars. They're still sweet, but not too terribly bad for you, as they incorporate whole wheat flour and oats in both crust and topping, and don't contain very much butter at all. The kick in the topping comes from candied ginger (isn't ginger supposed to be healthy?), and most of the sweetness in the bars comes from the apricot jam. I used regular store-brand preserves, but you could try using an all-natural kind if you want: it might have a looser texture, but should still work (just please don't use the "diabetic" kinds that are sweetened with artificial sweetener. They taste funky.).

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Momofuku Cookies

Hello friends! Sorry the for extended silence. But look, I've brought cookies! Blueberries and Cream Cookies, to be exact, from Manhattan's Momofuku Milk Bar, courtesy of Bon Appetit. They're a bit more involved than you're average chocolate chip, but definitely worth it, and are going into my usual repertoire for sure. The best thing about them are the milk crumbs:

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fro-Yo Showdown

I have briefly commented on my love for the self-serve frozen yogurt shop before. Back in Los Angeles, there was one just a few blocks away from my apartment. I'm not proud to admit, the people working there new me after about one week of me living in the area. The place is called Cantaloop and they're an independently owned shop; there was also a Pinkberry (aka Crackberry) a few blocks in the other direction. Places like Pinkberry and Red Mango (they're main competitor) didn't impress me as much because they were pricier, offered much fewer flavor options, and were not self-service - I like to control my fro-yo. What can I say, I like the power.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


I didn’t eat dessert after attending the Korean Festival last Saturday, which is unusual for me, because even if it’s just a small square of chocolate I like to end the day with something sweet. Never fear though, I made up for it and then some the next day when I attend the Luxury Chocolate Salon in Pasadena.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Going Down to K-Town

Sorry for the brief hiatus – I am back on Long Island, permanently as far as I know (long story) and will be attempting to get work in NYC in the near future. So posts will probably be even less frequent than they have been and not as interesting. Apologies, but I can offer you two more LA posts, mostly photos of a couple of events I attended last weekend.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I Know, I Know...

...I've been MIA lately, and there's good reason, I promise (personal stuff I won't go into here). There will be a couple photo-heavy posts up hopefully by tomorrow, but until then, how about another Omnivore's 100? This one, created by Cakespy a few years ago, is one after my own heart - a dessert 100! So here you go, copy this list, bold-face everything you've eaten, cross out anything you never 
intend to eat (what dessert would you never eat??).

Friday, September 23, 2011

Baking is Better

I think it's fair to say I am much more partial to baking than to cooking. Case in point: for dinner last night, I sauteed some tofu, mushrooms (pre-sliced), snow peas and edamame (pre-shelled), cooked up some brown rice and then...dumped it all into a bowl with Trader Joe's Sate Sauce poured over it. Healthy, yes. Gourmet...not so much. But the entire meal minus the rice was from TJs, so I get yuppy points.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy...

My blog has been a bit quiet as of late: real life is intervening as I continue my hunt for work (besides temp work, that is). I also haven’t been cooking much as Todd has been out of town, but now that he is back hopefully that will change. I should have some material from this weekend, but until then I decided to do something a bit fun. If you are a reader of food blogs or a blogger yourself, you have likely at some point run across The Omnivore’s 100, a list put together back in 2008 by UK blogger Andrew of Very Good Taste. It’s a compilation of 100 foods every omnivore should try – bold-face everything you’ve tried (even if it was just a taste), and put a line through anything you never, ever intend to try. Turns out my diet is more varied/adventurous than I thought! Try it for yourself, it’s quite fun; I know there are a few similar lists floating around the Internet that I might do later.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Good Food, Indeed

I spent yesterday morning and part of the afternoon at the Good Food Street Fair in Santa Monica, and came away tired, happy, significantly poorer and very, very full! Some snapshots of the day:

Friday, September 16, 2011

(Almost) Vegan Oatmeal Cookies

This past Sunday I was supposed to spend the day outside, starting with a morning hike in Griffith Park, followed by a potluck picnic (both organized by the LA Foodies meet-up group). I had a batch of these cookies all baked up and was excited to explore yet another part of my new home city. But when my alarm went off at 8am, I awoke to nausea and a splitting headache. I gamely got out of bed...for all of five minutes, just long enough for me to realize that a hike was totally not happening, and then I was back under the covers for the duration of the day.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Chinatown Summer Nights

This past Saturday I attended the Summer Nights event in LA's Chinatown. After meeting up with a few other members of the Pleasure Palate meet-up group in front of Hop Li's Seafood Restaurant, we walked a couples of blocks til we found the "official" entrance to Chinatown:

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Weekend in Tucson, Part III

My second and final morning in Arizona, Todd and I took advantage of the rental car and went on a bit of a road trip. While I didn't think Tucson itself was very attractive, the surrounding countryside is actually quite pretty in a rugged, deserted sort of way:

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Weekend in Arizona, Part II

When last we left sunny Tucson, AZ, Todd and I were chilling at Epic Cafe, where we escaped the heat and got our (or my) requisite afternoon caffeine buzz while waiting to meet Kei and Martha (the couple who have kindly loaned their guesthouse to Todd for the month) for dinner.

I am quite happy to take credit for picking our dinner location from the list of possibilities Todd had emailed before my arrival. I chose Maynards Market & Kitchen, a restaurant, bar and market place located in Tucson's historic train depot, which is still active today (we sat at the outdoor patio right next to the train tracks, making for an interesting but at times loud meal). 

(Image curtesy of Maynard's website)

Monday, September 5, 2011

A (Very Hot) Weekend in Tucson Part I

As I have mentioned in previous posts, Todd is halfway through a month-long gig at the University of Arizona, where he went to graduate school. This past weekend I flew down to visit him, so for you enjoyment I present to you 48 hours (actually less) in Tucson, Arizona.

One thing to know before visiting Tucson in early September: it is hot. Not even the hottest time of the year, and every day was over 100 degrees. I landed Friday evening at almost 10 at night, so I couldn't really appreciate the heat til the next morning, when I woke up and realized it was almost 90 degrees before 9 in the morning. Luckily, Kei and Martha, Todd's friends who were letting him stay in their guesthouse, have a pool.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Market Moments

It's been a crazy week here, as I embark on my quest to enter the workforce, Cali's 15% unemployment rate be damned! It's pretty stressful, but oogling gorgeous produce always puts me in a better mood. On that note, I offer you some more moments from the farmer's market (Santa Monica this time). Enjoy!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Wine Tasting at Vinoteque

A few nights ago, I went to a wine tasting event at Vinoteque wine bar, part of their Sip n' Swirl series (I went as part of the L.A. Foodies meet-up group; Darrell, the group's founder, had coupons for the night).

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fig Madness

Fresh fruit makes me nervous. That seems like an odd thing to admit, but I surely can’t be the only one who, when faced with a basket of, say, fresh spring strawberries or summer peaches at the peak of ripeness, experiences a slight frisson of anxiety when they consider that there is no way all that fruit can be consumed in its purest incarnation (that is, right out of hand, preferably standing over a sink to catch the juices) before it invariably begins to cross the line into over-ripe territory. I can’t stand the thought of beautiful farmers market fruit languishing in the refrigerator, slowly turning to mush before being tossed out with the trash.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Brazilian Food at the Farmer's Market (Kind Of)

I’m on a sort of quest right now to go to as many farmer’s markets as I can in L.A. A pretty tall order as this is a big city, and it being California and all, pretty much every neighborhood has its own weekly (sometimes more than that) market. I’ve already visited my neighborhood market in Hollywood, but then I learned of a place a bit farther afield, but that sounded too promising to pass up. It’s called the Original Farmers Market, located on Third and Fairfax, and is open, get this, every day of the week! What could be better, right?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Only in Hollywood Can You Get Thai Food and Elvis Under One Roof

For Todd's last night in LA (he flies out to Arizona this afternoon to teach for a month), we walked down Hollywood Boulevard to one of our favorite Thai restauarnts (or Todd's anyway, I haven't sampled enough Thai food in this town to come to a decision): Palm's Thai Restaurant.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

How Many Cookbooks Do You Own?

Seems to me every blogger who gets asked that questions admits to owning dozens if not hundreds of cookbooks, containing more recipes than they could ever hope to make in their lifetime.

Me? I have two. One of which you see above. I bought this book just this past spring, which means for the first six months or so after I left my parents' home for good, I only had ONE cookbook (another vegetarian book).

Monday, August 15, 2011

Scenes From a Farmer's Market

So, you know you're starting to get settled into a new place when 1) you can use the kitchen without standing there scratching you head for five minutes wondering where the heck you put the [insert random item here] and 2) when you become a familiar face at the local neighborhood farmer's market.

I'm almost there on the first part - I still lose things on a regular basis (it's amazing how many places there are to hide in such a tiny space; then again, I still lose track of things in my parent's kitchen and I've been using that one for years). I have been cooking dinner almost every night, and may even have a recipe to share soon.

As for the second, while I can't be called a regular at the Hollywood Farmer's Market since yesterday was  only my first time going, I have the feeling it will become a Sunday morning ritual for me:

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Almost There...

Tomorrow the movers will be here bright and early to help us load up all this crap into a big truck and lug it to Los Angeles. Whoo!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


This is the state of my kitchen right now. As you might have guessed, we are in the process of packing up our stuff for the big move to Los Angeles this Sunday. As a result the blog will most likely be a bit quiet for the next few days, though I may have time for an update or two, you never know. Wish us luck!

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Day Out in NYC

I'm leaving for California tomorrow, so Saturday I spent some quality time with both my parents and the greatest city in the world (sorry for anybody who doesn't agree, but nothing I've seen so far in my life has changed my mind). Here, some some images from the day, starting with Fort Tryon Park on the north tip of the island. 

Can you believe that's Manhattan?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Tasty Cakes for Mom

I have said before that I was a baker before I ever got interested in cooking. Partly this is because I have a seemingly insatiable sweet tooth (I always thought you were supposed to outgrow those sorts of things, but my appetite for all things sweet seems to only be growing stronger), but mostly it’s because I love making something delicious for people I care about. Sure, I could make something savory to tell someone I love them, but there’s just something about a baked good that is guaranteed to make people smile.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Friends, I have a confession to make. It’s a bit embarrassing; promise me you won’t laugh. The other day, ostensibly to bring to my aunt’s house for tea, but really just because I felt like baking something, I made a cake. That’s not the embarrassing part. The embarrassing part is what I used to make the cake – namely, Betty Crocker Super Moist white cake mix, and powdered raspberry Jell-O. Oh, yeah. Here it is:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Summer Lovin' (with Raspberry Curd)

I have to confess, I don’t think I’ll ever be a Southern California girl. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to be able to run outside in February without worrying about snow, ice and freezing temperatures. And even though Riverside gets its share of blistering heat in the summer (it is the desert, after all), the air is blessedly dry (and Los Angeles, where we’ll be moving in a few weeks, is actually quite a bit cooler since it is on the coast).

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Peanut Butter Pasta

As anyone who has read this post will know, last year I met and fell hard for a guy – so hard that our third date was a whirlwind 24 hours in Paris (we met in London so it’s actually not as insane as it sounds, only mildly irresponsible); our fourth date was a weekend spent in New York City and at our house on Long Island, where he was introduced to my family; and the fifth was a sushi dinner the night in Riverside, California, the night I flew out there to move in with him. That was about 9 months ago, so yeah, we’re moving right along.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Magic Brownies

I started baking long before I started cooking, and it is still my preferred activity in the kitchen. To those who know me this may come as a surprise, since baking requires one to be exact, to measure out ingredients and (usually at least) to follow a recipe step by step – in short, baking is almost like science, and science and math were always my worst subjects in school. I was an English major in college for a reason, after all, and I do enjoy the relative freedom that comes from cooking, adding a little of this and a little of that, deviating from recipes to make them my own. It’s harder to do that when baking without ruining the finished product.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Viva Espana

This past weekend, while in Delaware to attend a wedding, I went out with my family to a tapas restaurant. Most people who pay attention to food trends at all will know what tapas are: they’re basically bar snacks that are served in Spain to tide people over while they have drinks before dinner. Since the dinner hour is very late in Spain, it is common to go “bar hopping” beforehand to drink a few glasses of vino and chat with your friends after work, and most places will offer a variety of small plates to go with drinks (sometimes for free: I studied in Spain one summer a few years ago, and my friends and I were delighted and surprised to be served some ham and bread with our sangria. Unfamiliar with the “snack” concept, we kept waiting hungrily for more food to arrive, which of course it never did, as you’re supposed to finish up and move on to the next place.).

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Go Ahead, Have a Scone

I had my share of cream teas while getting my Master’s degree in London last year: in its simplest form, this ineffably British ritual is a little snack taken in the afternoon, consisting of a pot of tea and a scone (or two), served with clotted cream and jam. They can get much fancier (and more expensive) of course, almost like light meals, with things like tiny cucumber sandwiches and miniature cakes, but scones are always present. Traditional British scones* look something like small Southern-style biscuits, with a similar tender crumb and buttery flavor, only slightly sweet, and are often studded with currants or raisins. Of course, bakeries and coffee shops (Starbucks, for example) both in the UK and US have taken the dainty scone and morphed it into a sugar- and butter-packed behemoth of a pastry the size of a baby’s head. While admittedly delicious, they are not exactly appropriate everyday snack fare.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Community Supported Agriculture

For the last of couple years, my parents have subscribed to a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, which means they pay a one-time fee each year and, every week from June through November, my mom drives to a house in a neighboring town and picks up a box of vegetables delivered fresh that morning, from a farm just a few miles away from their home on Long Island. What kind of produce and how much is in each share varies from week to week throughout the season, but all of it is organically grown right on the farm. We could go see them growing it if we wanted to. If you stop to think about it, how rare is that nowadays, to look at your veggies, the dirt still clinging to them, and know exactly where they came from, when they were harvested, and how they got from the soil to you? That’s how everybody ate a couple hundred years ago, before the advance of agribusiness, mega-supermarkets, and year-round demand that leads growers to sacrifice taste and environmentally sound practices in favor of perfect colors and long shelf life.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Home Again in the Kitchen

As I write this, I am sitting out in my parents’ backyard, surrounded by flowers my mom planted, trees I have known my whole life, and raspberry bushes I will eagerly plunder later as I have done every summer of my life (well, almost). It’s something I’ve missed since I left Long Island: having a backyard with space to move and a little patio all my own. In Riverside we have a front stoop we share with the other tenants of the four-plex Todd is renting, and there was no outdoor seating at all at our place in Maastricht (unless you count the café across the street, but that wasn’t actually ours of course). It’s nice to have a space like this, a place that is outdoors but still private, a little oasis from the rest of the world.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Tibetan Food

I wasn't planning on posting again until I was back in New York, but we had an interesting dining experience in Germany last week that I felt warranted a quick mention here, especially because it featured a cuisine that I have the feeling most people (or at least most Westerners) aren't too familiar with. That cuisine is Tibetan/Himalayan.

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Brief Goodbye

It’s almost over. My time here in Maastricht is drawing to a close: soon we will board a train for Bonn, Germany, where we will spend a week, meeting up with Todd’s parents while there, and then I will be on a plane heading back to the States. I might put up a few posts while in Germany, we’ll see.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Breath of Fresh Air

After a few gloriously full days in Rome, with lots of walking, sightseeing and (at times) struggling through mobs of our fellow wide-eyed tourists, Todd and I both agreed: we needed to breathe. While we loved Rome, we were both exhausted, and, without speaking, simultaneously felt the urge to spend some time somewhere quiet, a bit more out of the way. Todd had mentioned in passing the five villages of the Cinque Terre, clustered along the coast of the Italian Riviera and noted for their rugged seaside beauty. Todd was interested because he had never been there before, but we had no plans to go there initially. After Rome and Florence, however, we both agreed that a day in the relative isolation of the Cinque Terre sounded like a good idea.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Couscous for Breakfast?

I know I already posted today, and I'm in the middle of a series on our trip to Italy, but I just had to write about this, because I was somewhat flabbergasted. I made a couscous and vegetable dish the other night and cooked waaaay too much couscous. While I was pondering what do with it and lamenting out loud about the waste of good food, Todd looked up from his computer and said simply: "Put some aside in a bowl...I'll have it for breakfast tomorrow."

Rome, Take Two

Our second day (and first full one) in Rome was spent hitting up the tourist sites under a blistering sun. While the historical sites were amazing, as I mentioned in the previous post, I am not going to go into detail about them: they’re in every guidebook.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Rome, Take One

Rome is a place I have wanted to go to for a long time, ever since a school trip there was cancelled when I was 16. So a good chunk of our week in Italy was devoted to exploring that ancient city. We did all the usual things; got up early to wander the Forum in blistering heat, but with relatively little company (my goodness that place is big, so much more so than I initially thought; it took us about two hours to cover at a leisurely pace)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I'm Back!

Todd and I arrived back in Maastricht from our holiday in Italy yesterday morning, and while we had a lovely week, we are exhausted! Packing in seven straight days of sightseeing and travel (often in either blazing heat or pouring rain) does not a relaxing vacation make. Still, it was a lot of fun and I've got plenty of things to share. For ease of reading (and to avoid one massively long post) I'll break it up into several posts, covering a couple of days each.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A little something to tide you over...

This blog will be quiet for the next week or so, as Todd and I are off tomorrow on yet another adventure, this time a proper, full-length vacation to Italy! I’m the only one in my immediate family who’s never been; I was supposed to go when I was 16, but the still-new war in Iraq and fear of terrorists made my school cancel the trip (I’ve never really forgiven them for that), so this one’s been a long time coming. Needless to say I am quite excited, but in the spirit of a real vacation I will not be bringing my laptop, so I will have to wait to post anything til we return next week. I’ll do my best to remember to take pictures and diligent notes! Until then, here’s something to tide you over: a compilation of some of my favorite food blogs I follow. These people are more than just foodies, they are truly great writers, and have provided enormous inspiration for more own writing. After reading through years worth of posts from their archives, though I have never met any of them, they feel like good friends to me:

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Farmer's Market Stir-Fry Recipe

It’s an exciting day today on the Hungry Traveler: my first recipe post! Actually this is more of a technique than a real recipe, and so rather than write up a conventional recipe formula, I’ll just describe what I did step-by-step. I am going to assume that most people reading this have a fairly good idea of how to cook up a basic stir-fry and know their own tastes and preferences; this is a recipe to be played around with.

This dish was inspired by a cooking demo I saw at the Markt outdoor market last Friday (hence the recipe title), an extremely simple stir-fry using the ubiquitous white asparagus that is still flooding the vegetable stands here. 

Notice the nifty asparagus peeler.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Christmas Flashbacks

Todd just got back a few days ago from a whirlwind trip to Lund, Sweden and Trondheim, Norway, where he was giving talks at universities there. After his talk at Trondheim and before his flight back home, he managed to squeeze in a visit to his family's ancestral town. 

He also managed to find the time, good boyfriend that he is, to pick up some presents for me. Naturally, my request was for souvenirs of the edible variety, and Todd came through with these typically Norwegian items:

A Farmer's Market Dinner, With a Side of Herring

Ok, so now we're back in Maastricht, on Day 3 of my parents' visit (not counting their arrival, which was really more of a half day). This happened to be a Friday and, as you know if you've been following this blog for a little while, Friday is market day in Maastricht. We decided, therefore, to go shopping in the morning and then cook dinner at our apartment with my parents later that night. So we set out bright and early (actually it was more like 10; the Dutch don't seem to really do "early") and headed to the Markt, where the market was in full swing:

Monday, May 23, 2011

Salty Licorice

I have mentioned the lovely blog The Dutch Table before, where Nicole, a Limburg expat currently living in Idaho, cooks her way through the Dutch culinary repertoire. While I have yet to try any of her recipes, they seem clear and well-written, and are headed by plenty of useful information about the specific dish in question and Dutch culture in general, with some personal stories thrown in for good measure. I’m really glad I stumbled upon it, as it has proved to be a great resource for my own blog (as well as a pleasant read in an of itself).

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Pretty Neat Idea

I think this is a record for me: two non-food-related posts in a row! Not to worry, my musings on Dutch cuisine and other such subjects will return shortly, but for now there's something else I want to talk about, involving, of all things, religion. Well, sort of.

According to Wikipedia, the Netherlands is one of the most secular countries in Europe, with less than 40% of the population affiliated with a religion. Roman Catholicism is the largest major religion in the country, but is declining rapidly (about 26% of the population identify as Catholic, down from 40% in the 70s). Only two southern provinces are still majority Catholic, Noord-Brabant and Limburg, where Maastricht is located. Even there, church attendance has dropped dramatically, with only a tiny fraction of Dutch Catholics going to Sunday services with any regularity.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Getting Away From it All (and conquering some fears along the way)

Growing up, I have been afraid of a whole slew of things at one point or another: the costumed characters at Disney World, putting my head underwater when learning how to swim, being upside-down, roller coasters and any rides with big drops (still don’t like them, actually), the dark, the laundry room in our basement (probably has to do with the previous fear), loud noises (including balloons popping but not including, oddly enough, thunderstorms). Needless to say, I was also a very cautious child, and tended to do my best to avoid any situation where I might be at any risk of getting hurt (and yet the first sports I participated in with any sort of commitment where skiing and horseback riding; go figure).

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I Could Get Used to This

Eating out in Maastricht (and the Netherlands in general) can be vey expensive, especially with the dollar so bad right now. Which made us all the more appreciative of my parents when they came to town a couple weeks ago, because they insisted on treating us to pretty much every meal. Needless to say, we ate well.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Brussels Redux

I’m on my own for the next few days while Todd’s off giving talks in Norway and Sweden (with a side trip to the little town in Norway where he’s family’s from). Hopefully he’ll return with some souvenirs! We spent the weekend on the (extremely windy, somewhat rainy) Friesian island of Ameland in the north of the country, which I’ll post about soon, but now it’s time to (finally) wrap up my parent’s visit last week.

Friday, May 13, 2011


I’m gonna come right out and say it, this post is going to be nothing more than a chance for me to toot my own horn a bit. But I’d say completing a 26.2-mile race warrants a little horn-tooting, don’t you?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Amsterdam, Day Two (in which I consume raw meat without dying)

The next day dawned much brighter and a bit warmer. We walked over to the Van Gogh museum, stopping at a café first for breakfast. They're speciality was Dutch pancakes with a whole bunch of toppings to choose from. Here's Todd's kiwi pancake:

Dutch pancakes taste a bit like French crepes but a little different, perhaps eggier? I prefer the French ones myself, straight off the griddle, preferably eaten out of a paper cone while standing on a Parisian sidewalk, but that's just me.

After spending some time with Van Gogh, Picasso and friends at the museum (Dutch museums charge an arm and a leg to get into, by the way, makes me miss the free ones in London), we went wandering again, soaking in the sunshine, and some interesting sites along the way:

Do you think they sell gingerbread?

Anne Frank's statue, outside the house she and her family hid in during the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam. I went there my first time in the city back in '08, and found the experience highly moving. I definitely recommend it; there's always a line outside but it moves relatively quickly and is worth the wait.

On a lighter note: don't these lizard statues look real? The little park was full of them, all different kinds, for no apparent reason that we could discern.

And of course we saw plenty of houseboats, some with gardens on their rooftops!

Near our hotel we found this awesome little store:

The goods on offer made me homesick both for the U.S. and for London:

Look at all the cereal! If you click on the picture to enlarge it, you can probably get a glimpse of the pop tarts and cake mixes back there too.

Notice the book in the display window? That made me laugh!

Eventually we got hungry for lunch, at which I had another brand new food experience (which you might have already guessed based on the title of this post): raw meat! That's right, this intrepid foodie took her life in her hands in the name of investigative research and consumed uncooked beef (just kidding, I doubt there was more than a slight risk for salmonella poisoning). Here's how this came about: at the Irish-themed pub/cafe were we ate outside (Amsterdam has a surprising number of these types of places), my dad ordered a plate of "Dutch snacks," basically Dutch bar food. There was cheese and pate, two kinds of lumpia (Indonesian spring rolls, remember?), one veggie and one meat-filled, and bitterballen, the ubiquitous Dutch bar snack*. There were also little patties of what was clearly raw hamburger meat (or something similar; it was definitely beef). 

Though it may sound disgusting to any Americans reading this, chopped raw beef is actually a classic French preparation called steak tartare or, when it originated in the early 20th century, steak a l'Americaine (why the French associated a raw beef dish with America is unclear to me). Traditionally it's a round of seasoned, chopped up raw beef (only high quality meat should be used, for obvious reasons), served with various garnishes (onion, capers) and a raw egg on top that acts as a kind of dressing for the meat (this has got health code violation written all over it...). Since this was supposed to be just a snack, my dad's mini steak tartares had no egg, but I was eager to try them all the same. The verdict? Eh...it tasted pretty much like you'd expect it to taste; that is, like raw hamburger meat, though very good quality hamburger, I will admit.

*There's no real English or American equivalent to bitterballen. The Dutch Table blog describes them as "deep-fried gravy balls," which is a pretty accurate description of how they taste. 

After lunch we wandered some more and ended up back in Dam Square, where the Liberation Day concert was in full swing. 

We didn’t stay long, as the crowds were thick and we were tired after two days of hiking all over the city. Soon we were boarding the train back to Maastricht, arriving in the evening just in time for dinner. And since this post is already pretty long and I want to do our dinner justice (it was a pretty memorable one, for completely different reasons from the one at Indrapur), I will save that for another day!