Photographs, Jewellery, Food and Life by Son Memelink

31 July 2010

Salivating at Sofitel (after saving up)

I am not necessarily one for Hotel chains, but this one has to be mentioned.
Sofitel Amsterdam, Hotel The Grand. It houses a fantastic restaurant called BRIDGES (Fins & Vins).
The hotel sits on the Oudezijds Voorburgwal, facing the canal.
Now if any of you ever decide to visit, you may be surprised to find that the hotel is VERY close to the red light district, but that little detail does not seem to bother anyone.
I have found that this is the way it works in Amsterdam. One side of a canal can be 'posh'  and the other...not.

I had decided that it had been a while since we last tried out a well known restaurant and see what all the fuss was about, and so we ended up going to BRIDGES.
Those who know me, know that I like to really taste food. This was like tasting a 'symphony'. It all came together beautifully.

I just want to show pictures of the food (because I like that sort of thing) but for a better description and idea of ingredients please click on this menu-link Bridges Menu
One warning though. I wasn't joking when I said I needed to save up. Wallet?➠➠BIG!

It was a beautiful day and when we got there, we decided to start with a drink in the elegant courtyard, where we sat on very comfortable couches, sipping our Champagne. Very nice indeed!
We were then escorted into the modernly decorated restaurant (with a slight sense of 'strictness' to it) and decided to go for 'the lot'.
This restaurant is known for its fish (hence Fins and Vins) and therefore we started with a 'fish-amuse'.

For 'starters': 1 Salmon tartar and 1 Octopus Carpaccio (smoked?).

For our main meals we had Monkfish and the Dish of the Day, 'Fish Menu'.

And finally, for desserts we had a 'Choco Fondant' and choice from the heavily laden Cheese Trolley (accompanied by a beautiful Muscat and Port).
Love this picture

As we walked out of the restaurant, into the inner courtyard and then through to the entrance courtyard (with fountain) we watched some hotel guests practice their cycling skills on some 'rental bikes'. What fun. Cycling through Amsterdam on a 'soft' (no other description for it) night. I felt it had been a wonderful evening, well spent.
(marks: 8.5)

Reunion in Amsterdam

Marja and Michel came up with the good idea to have the Ithaka crew (+partners) meet up again in Amsterdam. So we did.
Last wednesday we all met up at M&M's temp. place and went for a trip through the canals in an original 'sloep' (or Sloop).
We all brought things to eat and drink (including the tradionatl Raw Herring and onion (from our favorite place 'Stubbe's).
It was lovely to see each other again in such a special setting and also to meet (another) Sonja and Wil (wives of Bas and Anton).
We sailed all along the canals of Amsterdam, through the Red Light district (all proper now) and further down the Amstel where I saw the most beautifully designed house boats. What a great place to live in. Ah well, dream on Son.
Here are some pictures.
Michel at the helm, while the others are unpacking food and drinks.
bicycles everywhere in Amsterdam

Another sloop passed us and Marja recognized the 'captain' from her sailing time in the Med., way back.
Beautiful scenery with the sun having come out.
We decided to moor alongside Café Restaurant 'De Jaren' for some proper, hot coffee and whipped cream (of course) to have with Wil's scrumptious, home made apple pie.

19 July 2010

Friends and food

Herbs and Pesto.
I am sure that when my British friends (especially 'The Girls') read this, they will fall off their chairs with incredulity in their eyes.
Fact is that I have started experimenting with cooking and (yes it's true) having people over for dinner.
I don't have a lot of photographic proof yet, but it will surely come. Mark my words!
Here's a picture of my home made pesto (with Tuscan Olive oil  and Parmesan cheese which we bought in Italy) and my teenie-weenie, but utterly sufficient 'Herb Garden'.

Also some pictures of my friend and I cooking in 'her' kitchen. They'd invited us over for a barbecue. We had Lamb filet, Red Gurnard, Scallops, Gambas + garlic bread and salad
One advantage of both of us having been born and raised in the tropics is that we ladies know how to light a barbecue (while the men took the dog for a walk).
Dessert! I now know how to make this 'pavlova extraordinaire'. Orange inside, because it was the day before the World Cup Final.... Didn't help though.

12 July 2010

Watching the Final.

We were invited by Marja and Michel (from the Ithaka (Atlantic crossing)) who are in Holland at the moment, to watch the final with them. Their neighbour had decided to organize 'something' on a well known bridge in Amsterdam right in front of the house where they're staying.
The bridge is called De Magere Brug or 'The Skinny Bridge'. It is a very old, wooden, double-swipe (balanced) bridge and got its name from 'the Amsterdammers', because it was so narrow.

Magere Brug in Amsterdam

As we got there, we found Marja and Michel in a bit of a pickle. The door had just slammed shut behind them and their spare key didn't work because the other one was still in the lock, on the inside. Fortunately, because of the hot weather, the windows were open and they were able to borrow a ladder of another neighbour. Michel (still up for a challenge) shot up the ladder, through the window and, within a minute, we were all inside the house.

From upstairs we had a good view of the bridge.
Fake 'grass carpet rolls' were unrolled on the tarmac and next to the bridge was a barge, stacked with lots of bright orange, inflatable, Chesterfield couches (click here). A large screen was put up in the middle of the bridge, A beer tap was installed and there was even a professional news camera man there who had asked if he could film from 'our' window for a bit.
The Chesterfields were then placed in rows, and there it was... an instant outdoor-cinema.
The inflatables were incredibly comfortable and fun.
As the sun set, we watched the Final with just under a hundred people, at a top location, under top conditions. Camera men on the bridge and camera men in the helicopters flying over us. Our 10 seconds of fame.



08 July 2010

Anouk in Concert

On the 4th of July, by invitation of Sjors and Lillian, we went to see a Dutch rock star Anouk in concert (English lyrics). The stage was set up outside the 'Gasfabriek' in a park called the Westerpark.
We decided to walk and meet up with Sjors and Lillian there.
I realised how popular this lady was, as the crowds were multiplying and growing more dense the nearer we got to our destination. We were able to find each other quickly and found a strategic spot for ourselves.
There was an American tribute band which I really liked called Q4, which played a mix of jazz, fado and rap. Interesting and refreshing, though the others didn't think so.

Then Anouk came on. A true, larger than life, Rock-Chick! And that voice. Wow!
Her behaviour at the start was a little non-committal but later, she 'let rip'.
I was glad to find out that I knew some of her songs and could (try) to sing along. There were many 'stars' singing in the crowd (some, actually, very good). They knew the lyrics and put some real feeling into it.
All four of us really enjoyed the concert so, thank you Sjors and Lillian for arranging the tickets and inviting us.

Rests us to buy the cd.

Lillian and Eric                            Sjors enjoying a beautiful balad

03 July 2010

Watching the World Cup in Amsterdam

Last Thursday we were invited by Eric's lovely friends, Sjors and Lilian to watch Holland play against Cameroon at their home. Great idea, so we 'hopped' on our bicycles and when we got there we found that they had put their tv + chairs + nibbles and drinks outside on the curb and decorated the front of the house in 'football-style'. Max (their son) decorated our faces with 'Dutch-flag-crayon'.
More friends came and we all watched the game outside, together with a whole lot of people who were at the pub on the street corner and another lot on a 'canal boat' on the Amstel (canal), in front of the home.
Barbecues were 'smokin', televisions were blaring, people were roaring and ooooooh-ing and Vuvuzela's were...vuvuzela-ing?
We had a great time and as I was watching the game I realised how much I enjoyed the friendly atmosphere in this city (of (somewhat) ill repute)). Holland won and a mighty roar went up.

Then, on friday the 2nd of July, Eric and I watched Holland play against Brazil outside a pub. 
It was a nerve wrecking time. The pub and street were full with people watching the match on different screens. 
There was a constant, LOUD flow of advice coming from the mouths of 'experts' (including me, I'm afraid), telling the football players what they were supposed to do.
Holland won again! The first thing I heard was a, very loud, Dutch man screaming... A CASA! at the tv.
The noise level was overwhelming and people were jumping up and down and going crazy.
I was happy for Holland but so sad for Brazil, and I truly hope that nobody will be yelling...a us when Holland plays again on Tuesday. 
We downed our 'celebration Corona' and decided we were 'brave' enough to risk going to a square called 'het Leidse Plein' right in the centre of Amsterdam. 
The place was like an orange colored, Mega-anthill. 
Traffic was brought to a halt. People were chanting. Drums were beating.
Party Time in Amsterdam!
Eric and I look orange because the pub had put up orange tarpaulin.
Het Leidse Plein after the football match.