White Truffle Special at De Witte Uyl

Fresh white truffles still are a rare find in Amsterdam, both in shops and restaurants. About a year ago I found some at Feduzzi and loved their intense smell and aroma.

I just got word from De Witte Uyl, one of dutchgrub’s best Amsterdam restaurants, that they have three specials with fresh white truffles on their menu. So I thought I’d pass it on to you to encourage you to head over to De Pijp for some grilled scallops with white truffle, carpaccio of venison with freshly grated white truffle, or an oven dish of spinach and egg served with freshly grated truffle.

All sounds great to me, especially if finished off with De Witte Uyl’s trademark chocolate bord!

white truffle

Broodje Bert – Large, Messy Sandwiches

broodje bert amsterdam - outsideBroodje Bert is a small sandwich shop on a corner of the Singel between the Negen Straatjes and Kalverstraat. The appearance is distinctly Dutch. The location, the typical Amsterdam canal house, the small shop with the large windows and the name Broodje Bert all suggest thin slices of cheese on fluffy white buns. But step inside and you will immediately get a Mediterranean feel. There’s a great buzz, smell of fresh bread and herbs, and the friendly smile of the owner that makes the slight chaos appear to be part of some grand design.

broodje bert amsterdam - menuI went to Broodje Bert to get sandwiches for me and the others at the office. The logistics were a little difficult as Bert has no web site or menu online otherwise. He also only does take away and no delivery. So I cycled over, took a picture of the menu and sent it back to the office. Thank god for the mobile interwebs! I placed the order and had a good time with the others in the store, pretty much all of which seemed to be regulars knowing exactly what they wanted. You can also sit inside, at a small counter behind the large window and look out at the many bikes crisscrossing by.

The sandwiches were large, messy and good. Broodje Bert is known for its grilled chicken sandwich which I tried. It’s a large, thin slice of chicken breast, grilled briefly, with lots of marinade. It’s blackened from the marinade going up in flames when turned over on the grill. The sandwich is garnished with lots of crunchy lettuce, corn and other greens, and  drenched in lots of yummy garlic sauce. The healthy ham sandwich and the BLT with freshly sliced, crispy bacon also looked very good! And the burger with lamb meat on Turkish bread seemed very popular with the regulars.

broodje bert amsterdam - sandwiches

Broodje Bert is located on Singel 321, Amsterdam and open daily from 9am to 5pm.

Why Amsterdam Expats Hate Albert Heijn

Albert Heijn is the largest supermarket chain in the Netherlands and very much dominates the grocery business in Amsterdam. While most Dutch people happily do their groceries at AH, which is considered the upscale food source in the Netherlands, many expats develop a deep hate of their omnipresent stores.

So when I recently discovered the “I hate Albert Heijn” blog I thought I should share it with you. It might sound crazy that – as the blog states – stores are filthy, day-to-day items are frequently out of stock or that AH forces you to buy their own label and keeps phasing out your trusted brands. Unfortunately it’s true and I have even seen the pigeons in the store as depicted last week’s post.

i hate albert heijn blog

No More Kroket in NYC

The Dutch kroket is like Pernod in the south of France or Turrón in Alicante. A local food you discover and fall in love with while traveling but that seems to have lost all of its magic when you have it back home.

So it’s not all too surprising, but nonetheless sad, that Dutch kroket chain Danku had to close doors of its NYC location. Danku had been promoting Dutch krokets and other fried food for the last few years. They ran a cool campaign with a very Dutch cow in Central Park against a NYC skyline. And were offering Dutch staples such as the famous “Broodje Kroket” as part of their quick lunch menu.

kroket nyc danku

Now both US review site Yelp as well Dutch restaurant news source Misset Horeca have reported that Danku is closed due to financial difficulties. There also are reports that Danku will re-open in another location, so some hope remains to relive those Amsterdam moments back in NYC.

Great Deal Italian Take Away – Pasta di Pino

Update: Vino di Pino had to close around mid July 2011. Apparently a disagreement with the landlord forced him to leave the location on Haarlemmermeerstraat. Pino is currently looking for a new location where he can reopen shop.

The area around Hoofddorpplein has a great new Italian take away option. Italian wine store Vino di Pino started offering pasta dishes a few weeks ago and has been cooking up a storm since then!

The pasta is prepared fresh in the kitchen of the store and very good. It started out with a daily dish and has grown into a full-fledged menu with several starters, pasta dishes and desserts. The menu changes with daily specials and classics like lasagna, parmigiana alle melanzane or penne all’arrabbiata. There were some great truffle specials and recently also main courses like osso buco.

The food is very good and a great deal at € 5,= per portion. What’s really special is the warm and friendly atmosphere that owner Pino creates. He welcomes all regulars and new visitors with a big smile and a fun story. After explaining the menu and specials of the day, Pino quickly moves the conversation to other topics, taking a personal interest in his customers, talking about recent developments in the neighborhood or showing videos of the latest local food and wine events that Pino is organizing with some of the other cafe and shop owners on Hoofddorpplein. While chatting, Pino loves to break out a bottle of wine from the store and offer a taste to shorten the wait for the take away food.

I’ve been a frequent visitor recently, enjoying great take away pasta at an attractive price and catching up with Pino and other neighbors over a glass of wine. As an additional benefit you can purchase the wine at 50% off for the second bottle.

pasta take away vino di pino

Oliebollen – A Dutch New Year’s Treat

New Year’s Eve is approaching fast and the oliebollen street vendors have returned to the popular corners of Amsterdam to sell their greasy winter treats.

oliebollen - street vendor

The Dutch love their oliebollen, which translates to oil balls. And for good reason. The balls are deep fried by the street vendors in their stalls and you will be sucked in by the sweet and greasy smell from far away. The dough is made mostly of eggs and flour, with some yeast, milk and baking powder to give the balls a fairly puffy texture. They are then deep fried golden brown and served warm. The plain variety is most common and usually garnished with vast amounts of powdered sugar that will be all over you when you take a good bite out of your oily goodness. Olibollen with raisins are also popular.

Today, oliebollen are available throughout the winter. But traditionally they were had on New Year’s Eve to celebrate the new year with a glass of champagne. And to this day, December 31st appears to be some sort of frying contest. Besides the street vendors, all bakeries will bring large fryers out onto the sidewalk in front of their stores and hire extra staff to fry and sell massive amounts of oliebollen to people lining up. You usually get a discount for buying a dozen of balls and most New Year’s parties will be severely overstocked…

oliebollen - displayoliebollen - with powdered sugar