Pleasures of the Flesh…{Travel – Amsterdam, Netherlands}

Amsterdam, not most people’s first choice when it comes to a mother/daughter get away. But that’s exactly what I did. For a long weekend, after a hard week at work, me and mama FoodNerd were off on a girlie trip. As we wouldn’t be partaking in certain activities that Amsterdam had to offer, we had planned places we wanted to visit. To be honest these were Anne Frank’s House and around 10 different chocolate shops and other foodie spots. 

With the joy of the budget airlines now, to get an actual budget flight you have to go at crazy hours, but that suited us fine as we landed, found our hotel, dumped the bags and hit the city all before 10am. 

Normally the Hawk (aka mama FoodNerd) would have a route planned out for the most efficient way to see the city. We free styled this trip with only a couple of places we wanted to make sure we visited. We wondered the 9 Streets area (Jordaan), home to a huge food market on Saturdays 9am- 5pm, where there is fresh bread, local honey and all sorts of delights to tempt you. Also home to many of the flagged up foodie spots to visit. 

Firstly, was Puccini Bomboni, who have two shops in Amsterdam, one which has also a cafe attached to it, which we also sampled over the weekend. These chocolates are beautiful, large and a wide range of flavours including tamarind, honey, tea, fig marzipan, pecan and mint. 

Decisions….Decisions
Even more decisions…
My Selection

The beautiful chocolate are fairly expensive, so settled on three for me to be savoured and some as gifted for nearest and dearest. From clockwise; raspberry truffle (with chocolate curls), pecan and coffee. The flavours came through as a fresh note, not competing but complimenting the dark quality chocolate. These three chocolates were nibbled and savoured over the space of 3 weeks- which I think I deserve a medal for the level of will power! 

For lunch, after visiting the Jewish Museum, in the museum quarter, which is near the Puccini that served as a cafe too, I had the ciabatta sandwich with pastrami, gherkins, salad and swiss cheese. It was huge but so flavoursome! The perfect sandwich! Everything was seasoned beautifully.  

Beautiful Sandwich

Obviously, site seeing can be tiring work and many pause-cafe is needed. Whilst shopping and sight seeing we found another fantastic tea room that had been earmarked for a visit. Pâtisserie Pompadour (Huidenstraat 12), is a tiny tea room for space for around 15 people to sit and have their amazing hot chocolate and patisseries. When in such a lovely tea room there is only one drink you must order, which sets the bar of the quality of the place and that’s the hot chocolate. 

Have you seen anything more beautiful…..

The hot chocolate was served with a little moist almond friand, not overly sweet and just the right size to go with the rich, dark, velvety hot chocolate. A lesson I learnt in Paris one holiday is if the hot chocolate is this rich, order some tap water to go with it as you won’t be able to finish the smallest cup- which is just a crying shame! The friand as lovely as it was, it wasn’t needed as the patisserie’s that we ordered, were out of this world…..

Treats in the window
Just – wow…
My treat of choice
Mama FoodNerd’s

Mine was a chocolate mouse with a crème brulee centre with a dark chocolate ganache and chocolate macaroons on the side. Mama FoodNerd’s was a chocolate sponge, mousse with a salted caramel middle. Divine… 

Working my way through…
 Job well done…
More treats in the window
After all these sweet treats, we needed meat. Where we were staying near the central square which is a stone throw away from the Red Light District, where most restaurants catered for certain type of tourists. There was a lot of Chinese buffets, Argentinian Steak houses and Irish pubs. After trawling the streets, we came across CAU. Yes an Argentinian Steak House, but the menu and dining room looked so much nicer than any other ones we saw. 
 

With the menu split into the type and weight of steaks on offer as well as burgers (which uses the trim from the steaks, so using top notch mince), salades, fish etc. Me and Mama FoodNerd went for the 300g rump steak, mine cooked rare. We also got a side dish of the tripe cooked chips, red and green salad and garlic aioli (which we had to order more of!). it was the most delicious rump steak I’ve had the fortune to try. Cooked to perfection and sliced like butter, and so flavoursome. All conversation stopped between us and just slowly savouring the delightful flesh! Mama FoodNerd very rarely has chips, but these broke the chip drought, crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside – perfect. We did actually manage a pudding, but to share the dulce de leche pancakes, which was just enough of a sweet edge but we did have to roll back to the hotel. On the second night we tried to find another restaurant to rival CAU, but after a lot of searching all we wanted was more steak! This time we knew the lay of the land, we order two portions of the chips and aioli and forgo dessert, and switched the salad for the tender stem broccoli with jalapeno and shallots. This time with a margarita or two, the food was still so good and of a high quality. The second night we we’re sat next to the kitchen and could watch the chef slicing the steaks to weight, clearly an art form. But you’re thinking, ‘That’s great but I don’t want to go to Amsterdam for one of the best steaks of my life!’ Fear not, CAU has come to the UK!!!!! Same menu and the flagship restaurant has opened in Guildford and run by the same guys how brought us Gaucho restaurants so you know it’s going to be good! Next break I’m there! 

Oh my…

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