Since late summer of 2015, pop-up restaurant Gustafson has called one of the Dutch capital’s most hip & happening hotspots, the Westergasfabriek, home. In anticipation of the warmer months ahead, Gustafson recently opened a large terrace, GUUS, which seats up to 150 people and weather permitting, profits from round-the-clock sunshine. But that’s not all. The trendy and multifaceted establishment is also a podium for design, music, expositions and a variety of other cultural events.
On Friday, we finally had a chance to check out Gustafson’s menu, and though the weather certainly did not lend itself for dining on their new terrace, the experience inside did not disappoint.
Somewhere at the end of last summer, I was contected by the deputy editor of Mazda’s Zoom Zoom magazine asking if I was interested in pitching them a lifestyle story. It didn’t take long for me to jump at the opportunity, and after a few weeks, I heard back that my pitch was accepted! I was going to write about Amsterdam’s food truck pilot!
What ensued was a process of choosing the right candidates, conducting long interviews, writing, and finally a photoshoot in Amsterdam late last October (one of the most rewarding parts as I got to try lots of gorgeous food!).
The issue has now been printed and is available at all Mazda dealers worldwide. It was one of the most exciting and fulfilling assignments I’ve worked on. My thanks go out to Marcel Suijkerbuik of Aloha Juice Truck, Anne-Tu Nguyen of Everything on a Stick, Elmar Gerekink of Hete Bliksem and Mieke Jaring of Lousiana Canteen. It was a pleasure meeting and interviewing these four food passionates for this awesome assignment!
Friday again, and what a full week this has been! With work for DUTCH (the print deadline is quickly approaching!), social engagements and recipe writing for Vriendin, I have not had a chance to catch my breath. Only a good thing, though. I don’t know if I would be sane with empty time slots in my agenda.
One of the things I did this week was attend a press dinner showcasing Lidl’s ‘Delicieux’ collection for the upcoming holidays. If you haven’t read about that yet, check out the two previous blogs. During the event I tried a wide variety of excellent products, but the one that caused the biggest impression on me was a wine — the 2008 Saint-Estèphe from Château Andron Blanquet, a Cru Bourgeois and part of Château Cos Labory. The wines consist of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc. With strong tannins balanced by ripe, dark fruits and spicy notes, it is a wine that pairs well with rich meat dishes. A beef wellington for example, but also a good steak — exactly how I will be serving it soon, because it absolutely swept me off my feet. I will be stocking up on this one for sure.
Speaking of wines, tomorrow I will be attending a wine tasting fair in Utrecht featuring organic wines from France, Italy, Slovenia, Austria and Spain. Sixteen wine growers will be present to explain their vision on organic wine production, something I am still reading up on and very eager to learn about.
That evening I will be dining at a French restaurant in Amsterdam, A La Ferme. The restaurant is taking part in the ‘Franse DinerDagen’, or ‘French Dinner Days’ and serving a four-course menu (incl. coffee and a digestief) for only €34.50 per person. During ten days, from the 14th to the 23rd of November, fifty top French restaurants across the country, selected by IENS and En Route Magazine, will be offering the same deal.
My review on Sunday will therefore not be about a lunch date, but about a dinner date. Expect some of those here and there as well, too.
But first, on to the order of the day. After writing my editor’s letter for DUTCH, I will start editing and testing the recipes for a production on winter warmers for Vriendin. I’m really looking forward to testing these recipes — especially the ‘easy and quick’ cassoulet! My own recipe starts a day in advance and calls for duck, lamb and Toulouse sausages. This one, however, had to be written accessibly, so that everyone can make it with products found at any supermarket. A challenge for me, which I gladly accepted.
Have a great weekend and hope you’ll come by Sunday to read about my experience at A la Ferme!
Welcome to Wednesday! Although it’s not Friday yet, I thought I’d do another ‘ramble’ post and fill you in on a few of the many things that have been on my mind recently. From tea and cookies, to music and some very cool upcoming press events!
OK, so let’s start with the tea. You might actually be surprised if I told you that I don’t only drink wine. Tea is also another favorite, especially in the colder months and usually in the late afternoon, somewhere between that post-lunch espresso and evening glass of wine. I probably have around three to five tea breaks between 1PM and 6PM. But, as with my wines, I am rather picky about my teas. The Tea Bar in Amsterdam has a stunning collection (pleeease try the ‘Old Dutch Apple Pie’), but recently I found another brand which is quickly becoming a favorite — Clipper! Their organic teas come in a wide variety of flavors and I just happened to fall madly in love with their Chai Green Tea, infused with cinnamon, orange rind, cardamom and cloves. It is so beautifully mild and smooth, and quite warming on these cold days (yeah, it looks like fall has finally started!).
Tea makes me think of cookies (although I don’t eat cookies with every cup of tea!). In fact, I hardly buy cookies. and when I do have them in the house, they’re usually homemade. But that might change after the special delivery that arrived yesterday — a box with four packs of the crisp, buttery Parisian waffles from the Belgian brand Jules Destrooper! Made with real butter and scented with a touch of vanilla, these thin waffles not only look beautiful, they taste fantastic too! I just had one with a cup of tea. Next time, I might do something a little more sexier — like drizzling them with melted dark chocolate and serving them with raspberries and cream. Oh, oh, oh!
On to music… Not the Beatles or Aznavour this time, but French Yé-yé from the 60s. Besides everything Gainsbourg (whom I adore) I am mildly obsessed with the swingy sounds and fun, bubbly lyrics of songs such as L’Temps de l’Amour by Françoise Hardy and Brigitte Bardot’s Moi Je Joue. I love playing these songs in the morning as I get ready for my day. They make me smile!
And smiling is something I will be doing a lot of next week. On Tuesday I will be treated to an exclusive press dinner cooked by Dutch chefs Robert Kranenborg and Ramon Beuk with wines chosen by sommelier Jan-Willem van der Hek. The event will take place at Amsterdam’s Westergasfabriek and will be prepared with an exclusive line of products by a major Dutch supermarket (but more on that later!). Better start looking for something ritzy to wear!
The following Thursday will see me in Markthal, the recently opened food paradise in Rotterdam — this time not only eating but also cooking with none other than Dutch food writer (and judge for the popular television show Heel Holland bakt), Janny van der Heijden. We will be preparing a festive three-course meal using Amarula, a deliciously creamy South African liqueur made with the exotic marula fruit. I am so looking forward to an afternoon full of culinary inspiration and good fun.
And of course, I’ll be posting all my experiences here on the blog. Stay tuned, stay warm and stay inspired!