This past Saturday hubby and I headed to Hilversum for our weekly lunch date, a tradition we both love and very much look forward to. Well, actually, the whole Saturday is one big date for us because in the evening, we also enjoy a candlelit dinner for two! Couples, we both highly recommend this!
But about the place we visited for lunch…
It’s been quite a while since we went to Hilversum, and after this visit, we both decided we should go back a little more often. The market has a few nice stands (including a French food truck where we purchased incredibly delicious smoked garlic sausage) and there is a nice selection of shops and restaurants.
This time, we decided on a relatively new pasta and wine restaurant. Fat Joe’s opened last fall and is a hip and modern establishment with urban vibes and food and wine at great prices. Located on a lively corner, not far from the market, the restaurant has an inviting (heated) terrace. However, we chose to sit inside, which was a good thing because the decor is something to be enjoyed as well!
We took a seat not far from the attractive bar, and to my right, I could take a peek straight into the open kitchen.
The lunch menu has sandwiches, salads, a small selection of pastas, two specials and three desserts. Hubby opted for the pappardelle with sausage, and I had the pappardelle with porcini and truffle cream sauce — absolutely delightful and beautifully presented with a nice drizzle of olive oil.
The Puglian Tormaresca Negroamaro-Cabernet Sauvigon, chosen to wash down the meal, was full of red fruit and juicy plums with slightly spicy notes. Gorgeous with my dish. Kudos to the spot-on serving sizes (we left satisfied, not stuffed) and the friendly service.
To round off our lunch, we ordered two espressos which arrived perfectly made with a good, thick crema layer.
This is definitely a place we’ll return to in the near future. I spotted some very appetizing dishes passing by… like the charcuterie platter and the New York cheesecake! PS: And with a name like that, you’re likely to smile before you’ve even had a chance to stuff a forkful of twirled pasta into your mouth!
Fat Joe’s Pasta and Wine, Groest 42, Hilversum
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.
Though I love eating out, I am everything but a food snob. OK, with the exception of the ‘Salade Riche‘ I so much adore (and had last weekend again) at one of my favorite French restaurants, Bel Ami. I guess that salad would classify as rather snobbish with its abundance of fish and duck liver curls. But aside from that sensual dish of pure gastronomic indulgence, I am not partial to fancy restaurants that serve ‘artistic’ cuisine with smudges of food, flowers, geometric patterns or foaminess that reminds me of spit. Nor am I impressed by ‘well-known’ chefs or their Michelin stars. In fact, the type of food (and type of restaurant) that I most enjoy is down-to-earth. Real food. Real people. Real passion. And sometimes, there’s a great deal of passion to be found in those ‘simple’ restaurants, which unfortunately are either never discovered or too ‘plain Jane’ for some.
Welcome to a brand new year! In case you’re wondering, no, I don’t really make resolutions or think that life will suddenly get better once the clock strikes midnight. Much wiser to live mindfully every day and to make each moment count!
So how did I spend the first Saturday of the year? Read on!
After a pain au chocolat and an espressso, I turned up Charlie & Zaz and decided to clean the house. All of the decorations and lights were neatly put away and brought up to the attic. The house suddenly looked so naked! And so clean! I was a little sad before I started but good music got me through it just fine.
I even decided to clean some of the storage space and counters in the kitchen. It was a huge mess. A job which I had been putting off for the longest. It’s all nice and neat now! All the old vinegars and spirits are gone and the little rack next to my kitchen window — notice my dried lavender 😉 — is finally tidy!
After that hearty cleaning session, I got all dolled up and headed out for our first Saturday lunch. I was so happy hubby was feeling a bit better — seems like he caught a terrible cold somewhere.
We stayed close to home and decided to check out Le Baron in Almere. We’ve been there for drinks a few times, but never for a bite. The horrible reviews always scared me off. Luckily, our experience was positive. The service was excellent (the waitresses are SO friendly and bubbly!) and the food was simple, decent Dutch pub fare. I had the schnitzel and hubby went for the spare ribs. I think this will become a fun weekend hangout for us.
The afternoon ended with a quick shopping round for dinner tonight. I picked up a new wine for a ridiculously low price, Château La Tonnelle 2011 Bordeaux Superieur. The bottle reads ” Dark garnet with aromas of wood and an intense fruity flavor of blackberry, cassis and cherry.” I’ll tell you my thoughts tomorrow on Instagram.
Hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend, and if you’re going back to work this Monday after a long Christmas break, chin up — it’ll be spring break before you know it! 😉