Last year around this time while vacationing in Cuba we bought our dream home in our dream city . A story so absurd that it may be hard to believe! However here it is –
The irony of the situation was trying to own a place called home while living in a country that felt more like Mars. Not just because of the soaring temperatures but because of the lack of any access to technology at all. We were on a 15 day holiday that involved involuntarily giving up all worldly luxuries and the one most important thing that otherwise rules our lives. The access to our phones and the internet.
The first two days were fine but day 3…. not so much. Luckily for us though it was on our second stop wishing Cuba to a tiny little village of Vinalles that we found our tech oasis! Alleluia. Yes a government provided tourist internet cafe. Wooohoooo we thought and walked right in with big broad smiles on our faces like a little kids in a candy store. How pathetic of us! Yes I agree, slaves of technology. My husband bought a 10 minute internet card and sat to check his mail first. What popped up then was about to change our lives forever.
A mail from our real estate agent in Holland reconnecting after a long time to say that the apartment in Amsterdam we had previously over bid on and lost was now back on the market and the owners were willing to sell. Yippie!!! we had a glimpse of hope to make a long time dream come true. Drawback – they needed an answer and a new bid ASAP! Well talk about timing and fate right. Now there we were stuck in a world that hasn’t moved much since the 1960’s trying to communicate with a part of the world known to be pioneers of change and forward thinking. Just the perfect soup to be in while on holiday.
We had long forgotten about this beautiful home we fell in love with a while ago and then all of a sudden, there it was knocking back at us, waiting to enter and make it home. I have to say that one mail pretty much changed the course of our holiday. All of a sudden we were living in Cuba, deliberating buying an apartment in Amsterdam when in reality we just had to fly back to Doha to continue our lives after all the madness was done. What on earth were we going to do to pull this one off? After sleepless nights,tons of Cuba libre’s ( cause those always help to make the right decision! :P), scrambling to find our next internet cafe, lots of email negotiations and tons of help from family we made a final damn offer on the apartment that was much lower than the first time around and it was accepted before we had touched down back to reality in Doha. And so then just like that we became proud owners of our first Dutch home 🙂
It is for this and everything else our apartment in Amsterdam offers that it will forever stay special and memorable to us. This year we vowed to spend as much time as possible in our home and hence decided to fly back home to enjoy the apartment, live like a local and explore our new neighborhood. Oh boy! we ate and drank to our hearts content.
Here’s some of our favorite places to eat and hangout, in and around the locality of – Oud West, Overtoom & the Pijp, Amsterdam.
Places to EAT – DRINK & SOCIALIZE :
The Breakfast Club
This all day breakfast place will take you on a world tour with its menu while you try to make up your mind about what to eat. On offer are Mexican inspired eggs, a trip to Brooklyn or maybe you fancy a quick hop over to London for a proper english breakfast. thebreakfastclub.nl
Pancakes so pretty you don’t just wanna eat them but devour them! Fresh thats exactly what comes to mind as you walk into Mook. Beautiful welcoming display of fruits guarantee to brighten and add colour to your day and diet. My favourite is the Humm…. hummus, peppers, oregano & olive oil. Who knew this combination would work on a pancake. www.facebook.com/mookpancakes/
Lot Sixty One
Coffe lovers line up to pay homage to the best brew in town. No one should start a day with shitty coffee cause life’s too short for bad coffee, agree? This place is the talk of town and they are serious about their coffee so don’t frown if you have to wait in line. Trust me its all worth it. Sit out in the sun or cold and people watch if you happen to find a spot. Absolute must do if in the vicinity. lotsixtyonecoffee.com
The baked potato shop located at the corner of Kinkerstraat and Da Costakade delivers delicious wholesome meals suiting every possible palate. The menu offers two sizes of potatoes topped with a wide rage of salads and meats to choose from along with a list of different sauces that can be added on for a few cents. If your not into the potato kind of love then go on and order your self a healthy portion of salad garnished with meat or fish and edible flowers making it look like its been served fresh right off the earth.
Drinks & nibbles at Bar Bra are just the best and easy on the pocket. This is a huiskamercafe translated as house room cafe as it hosts different pop up restaurants through the week. Yes, its hip and trendy but also cost effective and the new age communal sharing business concept is what it stands for. We personally love supporting innovative projects like these and so its easy one of our favorites. But truth be told we weren’t just sold on the concept. The bar is stocked and serves out some delicious drinks paired with Taco’s on Tuesday for 1 euro or Korean wings by Soju Dive on Wednesday’s also for a euro. Most popular are the asian noodles on Sunday called – super bowl Sunday. Check out Bar Bra’s ever changing menu on – bar-bra.nl
Huis Van Lopez
This new kid on the block has everyone talking. Just a month old to the neighbourhood it’s soon becoming everyones favourite. Big sharing platters, lots of conversations and delicious latin american cocktails is what the boys promise to please with. The Resto bar has 3 tables on the street and on a good day you may just be able to grab one. If not watch the drama unfold from indoors. Soon however and hopefully a backyard terrace will be in place and then more seating is guaranteed. facebook.com/huislopez/
As the name suggest its a food hall more like a food court but much more hipper and cooler to any you’ve been to. Tons of cuisines to choose from so if you happen to big a big group with different food preferences then this is the place you want to be. Spirit lovers hear over to the gin and wine bar to quench your thirst and tastebuds. Lots of beers on tap available and best food can be found at the vietnamese stand called Việt View. This is also the perfect place to hang out during winter or with kids. foodhallen.nl
Just your local cool bar hangout. Lovely beers on Tap. Long communal benches that extend all the way on the bridge and as far into the sun as possible. Food menu includes burgers, sandwiches, steaks etc. Perfect for chilled hangout day with friends.
As burgers become the new hip thing to hit Amsterdam here’s another addition to the list, however probably one of the best. Previously know to have satelite food trucks around the city Thrill Grill now has a permanant address in the Pijp next to the famous Rotisserie. Best juicy burgers in town! thrillgrill.nl
Located on the Suriname river Waterkant is one of those places that used to be just a place until some hipster water tanks got placed under a building by the canal and turned it into The Place to be! Serving Surinamese food its one of the most chilled spots to hang out. Sit by the canal as most probably you won’t find a table by the water or indoors. Its open only from March through October. waterkantamsterdam.nl
No introduction needed to the locals. This hot spot hidden in one of the back streets of the local Ten Katemarkt is a must visit and perfect for any celebration. Honestly any excuse to head to Panache would work. The menu is to die for and is market & season driven. Fresh, simple, pure ingredients cooked over charcoal grill and presented with flare, style and Panache of course. For some reason all the beautiful people of the city seem to either dine, serve or work here so if your not happy with the food which I highly doubt you’ll be just look around for satisfaction. I also suggest you make a reservation early in the week as its always packed and booked out. If you happen to stop just for drinks at the bar try and get a seat close to the open kitchen as it provides great ambience and entertainment. For bar snacks I suggest the rich duck spring rolls and assortment of dumplings. cafepanache.nl
There are tons of famous places to visit close by such as Vondel Park, RijksMuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank House, Damn Square, Rembrandt House museum & Centraal Station. All these within a vicinity of 10 to 20 minutes walk, bike or tram ride.
If you’d like to have your very own experience of the city and live life like a local then our apartment is up grabs on AirBnb – bit.ly/2996yFi.
If you’re foodie like me and happen to be in this amazing city I call home for a few days a year, I suggest you stop by some of these restaurants for a happy tummy on your trip 🙂
Other related post : questandmark.com/2015/06/20/i-am-sterdam/
Safe Travel and Bon Appetite!
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