The Pancake Bakery

The Pancake Bakery is supposed to have the best pancakes in Amsterdam.
I got to The Pancake Bakery and despite it being a Monday, it was hopping.

I had to stand and wait to be seated. Upon it being my turn they told the couple in front of me and me that we could be sat if we wouldn’t mind sharing a table. We all agreed. They sat us at a rectangle 6 top with a seat left open between us. This was fine for me as some restaurants technically have had me at separate tables from others and have been closer.

I ordered an orange juice and it was delicious. I then noticed the machine that squeezes oranges into freshly squeezed juice and realized why it was so good. Fresh orange juice is always better.

They had an extensive menu of pancakes both sweet and savory. Both done is the traditional style of the Netherlands and not. But since I was in the Netherlands I knew I had to try the traditional style. I ordered a Netherlands style with bananas and Nutella.

It didn’t take too long for my food to arrive. It arrived on a large round plate and the pancake was just about the same circumference as the plate itself. It was very thin, however. In America, our pancakes are thick and hopefully fluffy. This one was thin, but purposely so. It reminded me more of a crepe than a pancake.

There were some pieces of banana cooked in. But due to the pancake being so thin the bananas stuck right out. The Nutella was served on the side. On the table, there were very condiments for both the sweet and the savory that were served.

I found though it had areas that were browned to a crisp it was still rather on the chewy side. It appeared easier and to make more sense to me to fold the ends in and make it essentially 3x as thick. It helped me to cut it as well as keep the bananas more intact.

The service up until time if payment was quick and efficient. It seems though that in every country when it’s time to go you can never track your server down. But the gentleman that had been taking care of me had been nice and spoke English well.

Overall I thought that The Pancake Bakery was fine, but not someplace I necessarily need to go back to, nor are Netherland style pancakes something I need to eat again.

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Station – Pittsburgh, PA

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As a Penn State Nittany Lion I’ve obviously made friends in Pittsburgh. I’ve been a couple times, but let’s just say it’s been awhile since I’ve been. It’s just close enough that driving there is a bit annoying and just far enough and flying there seems silly. But when a very good fellow lion called and tells me he’s getting married I make sure to circle it on my calendar to make sure I’m not traveling then, that is except to Pittsburgh!

The wedding was over Labor Day Weekend so I knew I would have some free time and the thing I remember best about Pittsburgh, besides the numerous bridges, was the food scene. I looked into some of the restaurants in Pittsburgh and came across Station the Bloomfield section of Pittsburgh.

Bloomfield is located about three miles outside of downtown Pittsburgh and has been referred to as Pittsburgh’s Little Italy. What I find interesting is that it was settled by Italians from the region of Abruzzo. I’ve met three people from Abruzzo, two brothers living in Roma and a young woman who’s family is from Abruzzo but lives in New York. Abruzzo sounds like a beautiful small village. The region of Abruzzo is located in central eastern Italia. Thus far most of the Little Italy sections I have visited in America were settled by people from Napoli, which is where my father’s family is from. Not to say I haven’t eaten food cooked by Italians from Abruzzo. Those brothers I mentioned? They were roommates to a friend of mine and were so generous as to cook me dinner one day and when I say it was delicious that’s an understatement.

I’m getting a bit off track here, let’s get back to Station. Curtis who is the owner/chef was so generous to invite me in for dinner. He was even so accommodating to work around my busy schedule.

I arrived and was bought to my table. I soon met my server Jesse who would be my guide throughout my meal at Station. Jesse told me about the new menu items that rolled out just the day before my arrival.Jesse was knowledgeable on the menu, professional, courteous, and made someone feel at ease.

For my party’s meal we went with a couple new menu items as well as their most popular dish.

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To start, we had the fairy tale eggplant which Jesse described as not bitter as one has come to expect with what you would consider traditional eggplant. I myself have never been a fan of eggplant but Jesse’s description on it sold me on trying it. I wouldn’t say it was sweet by any means, but I wasn’t told it would be sweet, I was told it wouldn’t be bitter, and it wasn’t. It is is sous vide in miso and olive oil for about and hour then slow roasted to order. The salad that was served with it was fragrant and earthy. The black garlic was something I could put on almost anything. (Italians and Koreans both love garlic!) Their garlic is locally sourced and fermented in house for up to 6 weeks. Chermoula is a middle eastern condiment much like Salsa verde with evoo, parsley, cilantro, organic cumin, coriander, allepo, lemon and lime zest.

 

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I ordered the pork chop and pierogi meal which was served with a huckleberry mustard that was sweet and tangy. It was almost at the top of my list for favorite things there. I’m really into condiments, and this was a creme de la creme of condiments. The pork chop which was a bone in (my favorite) was cooked to perfection, oozing juice as you cut into it.

 

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The tagliatelle is one of the most popular dishes at Station and I must say, it was to die for. It had a nice smoky flavor that I wish all restaurants were able to create in such a  delicious way. If I had room in my belly I would have eaten both plates myself.

 

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Upon finishing the main course we moved on to dessert. They serve but two at Station, and both sounded delicious. Both were ordered and we shared. The lavender pound cake was sweet but heavy. But I could have drank the syrup that it was soaked in. (Again, I like condiments, probably a little bit too much.)

 

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My absolute favorite things at Station, the panna cotta. While in Roma I learned panna cotta is simply cooked cream. I’ve had it many times in Italy and a few times in the states. Nothing compared to that first time in Italy, except finally here at Station. I’ve found one comparable. Panna Cotta I find can be very blank if done incorrectly. But this juts like the one in Roma was sweet but not overly so and you could still taste the creamy milkyness of it. To top it with popcorn was new for me, but it gave it texture and crunch.

 

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The cocktail menu is comparable to your hot spots in New York and should not be taken lightly. Their drinks are tasty and well crafted. Thanks to a knowledgeable bar staff that all contributes to bring you the libations that will keep your mouth happy until your meal arrives and makes your mouthy doubley happy.

 

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Curtis Gamble – Owner and Chef

Curtis himself said, “We let the menu change very organically, when the markets dictate good looking produce or products, and when some of our farmers have an excess of a certain meat . There are several things that never change, the mousse, the tag, and the carrot salad, but everything else is very fluid around it.” So if I sold you on a particular dish I’m sorry if it’s not available when you go, but from my experience there, you really cannot go wrong with trying something new, and if all else fails, definitely get their most popular, the tagliatelle.

Thank you Curtis for having me in to experience one of the best spots in Pittsburgh.

Have you been to Station? What was your favorite dish? What other spots in Pittsburgh would you suggest?

*** This is a sponsored blog post, but all opinions are my own.***

Public transportation issues in Brussels

So on my final day in Brussels I figured out why I was having transportation issues. In Brussels many people speak both French and Dutch. Some people speak only French while others speak only Dutch. So many signs are in both languages. However, my Google maps tells me the direction to take the bus in in one language while when the bus shows up the banner on the bus is in another language. Know this and it will help many of your issues out. As the number was right, but I thought it was going in different direction. I would not have let so many pass by if I had known this!

A Jet Set Lifestyle: Albert Cuyp Market 

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I’ve had stroopwafel before. But while doing my research I heard about Albert Cuyp Market. I never had a stroopwafel warm before so I thought I’d check it out.

The market has many stalls selling everything from cheap household goods, clothing, stuff you can’t think anyone would ever want, produce, and other foods. Orginal Stroopwafels had a bit if a line.

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You could order the original way or with chocolate added on. They had smaller cold ones pacakged up in 10 packs that you could buy. You would buy them with or without a canister to carry them in. The canister is some sort of metal and does better than just the plastic bag at supporting them and keeping them from getting broken. The cap appears to be of a thinner metal however and did get dented, but the stroopwafels were still okay.

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The stand is cash only so make sure to hit an ATM before you go otherwise you’ll end up having to wait in line twice. The gentleman I met working at the stand was friendly and spoke English. He also had a bit of a Benedict Cumberbatch look to him.

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The warm stroopwafel was lovely. You have to hold it flat otherwise all the sweet caramel goodness in the center will run out and not just be lost forever but make a sticky mess in the process.

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If you have the time check it out. And while you’re at it, bring me back one?

A Jet Set Lifestyle: A transportation tip for Amsterdam

Many places make you swipe a card when you enter a bus or to enter a metro station platform. And then you just leave when you’ve gotten to your desired stop. Do NOT do this in Amsterdam.

In Amsterdam you MUST tap you card against the ticket machine again as you exit. Otherwise they will shut off access to your card and it will be a waste of money.

I’m not quite sure why exactly you must do this, but after spending however many euros on the card and realizing I wasn’t going to get my money’s worth on the museum side I wasn’t about to test this rule.

Have you tested it? How did it go?

A jet Set Lifestyle: Parc du Cinquantenaire

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Parc du Cinquantenaire is beautiful. There is a huge fountain that reminds me a bit of the fountain in Washington Square Park in NYC. An arch that reminds me of the Wellington Arch in London or the Arc de Triomphe in Paris is an impressive sight at the park as well. There’s a lot of grass to spread out on a nice warm spring day and relax or have a picnic.

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Although the setting sun made for a nice atmosphere I wish I had gotten there earlier for more time in the sunshine. 

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I find it important for cities to not just have green spaces, but large ones. This one may not drown out the sound of the traffic like some of the large parks in London, but it’s not a small strip of green either.

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Have a warm day? Pick up take away (aka take out) and head to Parc du Cinquantenaire to relax.

A Jet Set Lifestyle: Mussels in Brussels

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I read online to try the mussels at Le Zinneke, so I headed on over. I must say the menu was a bit overwhelming. They don’t have just mussels. But speaking specifically about the mussels, how do you want them? You have 37 options!

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I was tired and just decided to order the first on the menu, the fishermen style. It was in a white / clear-ish broth and served with celery and onions. I like onions but this was a bit much for me and I’m not a fan of celery. The mussels were fine, but I’m sure I have had better, though it’s hard to really say for sure as I’ve never had them done in this particular style before. But I have come to expect mussels to be served with bread, these were not.

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The service was okay. If you go, make sure you have a reservation because they were rather upset that I didn’t have one. It was 730 in the evening they said they could seat me but would need the table for a 9 pm reservation. I said it was fine. Currently I am unable to drink and the waiter who had greeted me seemed rather aggravated by not making a wine sale. He went through all the motions of what one should do to give good service but I could tell he wasn’t really happy about it.

When they give you the menu they also give you a comic book. He took it away before I had a chance to read it.

The most interesting thing was probably the sink. Downstairs outside the bathroom there was a sink and it is a replica of the Manneken Pis statue with the waterspout coming right out of his little you know what, like on the actual fountain.

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A Jet Set Lifestyle: NOORDZEE MER DU NORD – BRUSSELS, BELGIUM

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I totally dig Croquettes and I totally dig shrimp. So when I read online about Noordzee Mer du Nord and their shrimp croquettes I knew I’d be taking a trip there.

First off their menu goes far beyond shrimp croquettes and it seems everyone loves them as they were packed.

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This is a very large stand. The cooking happens inside but it an open building style where you walk up to the counter to order your name is called you grab your food then hope to find a place to stand at one of their standing room it tables. They have a lot of these such tables however they are very popular and every table was full.

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The standing room tables

Did you know croquettes could be grilled or fried? I didn’t. I know them as fried only. But the shrimp ones come only fried. So I placed my order.

My name was called rather quickly for how busy they were. It’s served on a small plate. There are two shrimp croquettes, a little dipping sauce, and a small salad.

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These little guys were delicious. I must say however though being heavy, there’s only two so they aren’t very filling. They’d make a good snack or a great accompaniment to more food. The outside was fried to a perfect dark golden complexion and the inside was smooth and creamy with bits of shrimp both blended in and folded in.

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If you dig seafood I suggest you check this place out. Everyone seemed to be ordering the soup. I’m unsure what kind of seafood soup it was, but it seems like another popular option, especially if you are looking for something to go with your shrimp croquettes.

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Note that because it is a stand there is no restroom here.

Happy 2nd Birthday A Jet Set Lifestyle

2 years ago today I started this blog. I know with the support of my faithful readers my audience can continue to grow.

If you don’t already please follow me on:

Twitter @ajetsetlifestyl (not a typo, there is no e)

Instagram @AJetSetLifestyle

Facebook @AJetSetLifestyle

And please, retweet, like my tweets and posts, share, comment, invite others to like, repost blogs, comment and like blogs, etc.

Thank you for all of your continued support.

 

-Meg

A Jet Set Lifestyle