Amsterdam in June feels like February in California--COLD. Thus, after an afternoon of meandering throughout town, a tall glass of hot chocolate was in order.
My buddy Sam and poked our heads into the closest cafe to grab a glass of the good stuff and a warm safe-haven from the chilly weather.
Since I was only in Amsterdam for one day, I did not have a chance to taste all of the typical Amsterdam dishes such as: raw herring, Dutch pancakes (similar to a French crepe), poffertjes (much smaller than Dutch pancakes, and they are puffed and served with butter and powdered sugar) and licorice. I did, however, taste stroopwafels. Oh stroopwafels, how I love thee.
Two buttery thin waffle cookies sandwiched together with a layer of thick syrupy honey molasses. Oh man, so freaking yummy. Very dense though, upon eating more than one stroopwafel, you can definitely feel your belly get heavy.
I also went to the Heineken Brewery, where I got at least 3 beers to sample. I participated in a beer tasting where the "expert" taught me a bit about foam and presentation of the beer. Also, I learned that the beer is actually 95% water and the rest is a combination of hops, barely, and yeast. I got to go into a room that simulated the experience of a beer being bottled--the room shook and we got splashed a bit. Silly, kitschy, fun.
Speaking of silly, kitschy, and fun...I went on a "booze cruise" with my traveling group and yes, it is what you think it is. A lovely little cruise along the canals of Amsterdam complete with endless wine and beer. To kick off the cruise, we were given little bottles of Flugel.
According to this website, "Flugel combines vodka with the taste of black currant and the energy boost of guarana, B vitamins, and caffeine. This “healthy” vodka is currently available in The Netherlands, Belgium, and France. It is targeted to youth partygoers. The tiny 20ml bottle is actually the size of your palm, and could be easily concealed inside a pocket. The Flugel contains 10 percent alcohol by volume."
Oh, and we also got to munch on these yummy little pastry snacks while sipping on our wine, beer, and Flugel...
A captured moment: the blonde bombshells with their drinks and pastry snacks
For dinner, we ate at a floating Chinese restaurant, the Sea Palace. Honestly, I was quite disappointed. Ok, the decor was nice but I was not impressed with the food at all. It just did not get me excited and it tasted sub-par. The rice was super buttery, too, which I do not usually expect from a Chinese style rice, even for fried rice. I guess I am just spoiled with good Chinese food back in the U.S.? Oh well, it was an experience nonetheless.
Stepping outside of Amsterdam for a morning, we visited the quaint village of Edam. We visited a cheese and clog shop, two very significant symbols for this town and for the Netherlands in general.
First, this adorable woman gave us an overview of how they make their cheese...(we got to taste like 10 different cheeses, too!).
And boy oh boy did it smell strongly of cheese in there!
Then, this studly man demonstrated the skillful art of clog-making. He makes it look so easy.
There were clogs everywhere used for everything including cigarette ashtrays!
The town of Edam was small but lovely. Cheese n' clogs aside, I had a spectacular day riding "granny bikes" around the village.