Sunday, 31 July 2011

Granny vs. Sandra

On my last day in Groningen I made one last trip downtown to visit one of the best apple pie/cake places in Holland (so I was told). The day before Sandra had made apple cake for lunch, so I couldn't help but compare the two. In the end, it was a tie :)

Granny's Appeltaart: A-Kerkhof 43, Groningen

(ok, the cake was still baking at the time I took the picture, but we worked so hard to prepare this lovely meal I had to post this picture)

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Schiermonnikoog (Part 2)

So we finally arrive to the other end of Schiermonnikoog (to one of the beaches), only to find no parking! (Yes folks, this is what the parking lot looked like when we got there.)

Luckily, we found a spot at the end of one the fences. After locking up the bike, we headed down to the beach, had lunch, and took a walk in the water.

As we headed back to our bike, we were surprised by all the outgoing traffic! But we managed to get out without crashing into anyone :)

As we headed back downtown, we stopped at Bernstorff aan Zee for a drink. Although we didn't try the food, it's still worth visiting because of the amazing view from the outdoor patio!


Bernstorff aan Zee: Badweg 117, Schiermonnikoog

Schiermonnikoog (Part 1)

So to expand my Dutch experience, Sandra decided to show me one of the islands surrounding Holland. The closest one to Groningen, which we visited, is Schiermonnikoog (quite the mouthful). We spent the day cycling from one end of the island to the other (yup - it's that small!), while visiting the local beaches, cafes, and shops along the way.

 The first and most important thing to do before you start exploring the island: 
Rent a tandem bike! (So you get the full Dutch experience!)

Some of the local houses we passed on our way to downtown Schiermonnikoog... 
(very quaint - reminds me of cottages)

The view of downtown...

The local grocery store
(Notice the flag by the entrance? It's Schiermonnikoog's own flag. Each island has its own)

Kwalitaria: The only fast food joint in Schiermonnikoog
(I was surprised to find out it was a fast food joint. To me, it just looked like another cafe!)
'T Peperhusjen: The Local Candystore
(They have a huge variety of Dutch sweets, especially licorice!)

Of course I couldn't pass up the opportunity to take a look inside ... 

Graaf Bernstorff: One of the many hotels in the heart of downtown  

Their restaurant's outdoor patio is a great place to sit and enjoy the weather 
(and watch people pass by ;))

And of course, it's also a great place to eat!
(This is what croquettes look like on the inside)

Graaf Bernstorff : Reeweg 1, Schiermonnikoog

Wednesday, 27 July 2011


Don't be fooled by its' old school appearance, this cafe holds the best surprise in town - poffertjes! Poffertjes (pronounced: po-fur-cheese) is a Dutch style dessert made up of little fried dough pockets, sweet syrup (usually rum flavoured), and a mountain of powdered sugar. I decided to order their special: poffertjes with strawberries, whipped cream & powdered sugar. 

This dessert dish is guaranteed to satisfy anyone's sugar craving for a good year (it sure satisfied mine, which says a lot!) A word of advice though: it's also best not to overindulge in this dish because it is a serious heart stopper!

If you want the full Dutch experience - this is a must! 

The man working his magic...

 And voila! Poffertjes!
Address: In front of City Hall on the Main Square (can't miss it!)

Tuesday, 26 July 2011


Pakhuis are Dutch houses that were built very high and very small back in the day in order to economize land and avoid increasing property taxes. Unfortunately, in doing so, it made moving furniture and other unwieldly objects quite difficult since the stairwells were too narrow.

 The solution?

Build a pulley! 
(look up!) 

Fast(er) Food

Coming from North America, I thought I'd seen everything in terms of fast food - but clearly I was mistaken. The Dutch have made fast food - even faster! Febo is a fast food chain in Holland that prepares classic American fast food (burgers and hot dogs) and Dutch style delights (croquettes on a bun). They serve them in one of two ways: the typical way where customers place an order at the counter or in vending machines (seen below). 

Now THAT'S FAST food!!


Dutch style fast food - Croquettes on a Bun
(Croquettes are basically deep-fried pureed meat (not sure what kind of meat though...))

Monday, 25 July 2011

A Dutch Spin on Sheppard's Pie

After a couple days of eating out and shrinking wallets, we decided to stay at home and make dinner. Sandra suggested a Dutch dish from her Grandma's recipes. I soon realized that she was making Sheppard's pie - but with one surprise - apples and cinnamon!

The pictures don't do this meal justice. It was surprisingly delicious!

Here's the recipe for anyone who's interested in trying it:

Mashed potatoes
Snow peas (finely chopped)
Ground beef
Salt & Pepper
Shredded mozzarella cheese

Pre-heat oven to 350F (180C)
Grease casserole dish with butter or oil
Marinate the beef with some salt and pepper
Add oil to frying pan and cook the ground beef over medium heat until brown 
Spread the cooked meat on the bottom of the casserole (first layer)
Add the snow peas on top (second layer)
Peel and cut apples into thin/medium slices 
Layer sliced apples on top of snow peas (third layer)
Sprinkle some cinnamon on top of the apples
Add mashed potatoes on top of the apples (final layer)
Sprinkle some shredded cheese on top

Place in oven and cook for 20-25 minutes. 

Eet Smakelijk!


      Friday, 22 July 2011

      NOVO Bakkerij

      This bakery is particularly special because it´s run by people with disabilities. It´s refreshing to see people with disabilities show that they are equally as capable as the next person to work a regular job. They're responsible for everything, from baking delicious desserts to organizing the shop. It´s easy to miss, but if you do find it, don´t dismiss it because of its´ simple exterior and decor. The people there are very friendly and welcoming, the baked goods are delicious, and it´s a great way to get to know the community. Not only delicious, Novo is also enlightening and inspiring!

      (The chocolate chip cookies ("chocokoeken" seen above) are to die for! I bought two packages!)

      Definitely worth a visit! Enjoy!

      NOVO Konditorei/Bakkerij: Stoeldraaierstraat 52, Groningen

      Thursday, 21 July 2011

      You've Got Mail

      Now you may be wondering why I would post pictures of typical mailboxes. I mean, they're just mailboxes. Who hasn't seen one before?

      But what's so neat about these mailboxes in particular is who they belong to...

      Yup, this one belongs to the yellow boat.


      What better way to walk off breakfast than to do a little shopping.
      Where? The local markets!

      Groningen has two main markets located in two different spots downtown. They are open Tuesday to Friday, rain or shine. The first market is located in front of City Hall (shown in the first post) and sells mainly clothing, fabrics, and flowers. The second, located behind City Hall, offers a taste of local and international foods (of course, I spent more of my time at the latter).

      Here are just some of the many things Groningen markets have to offer...

      Now, this fish stand is particularly special because it sells a traditional Dutch fish that most locals eat: Hollandse Nieuwe 

       (I apologize for the reflection)

      And this is how they eat it...

      Nice and raw on a simple hamburger bun.
      (Another way to eat it is to simply drop the fish into your mouth!)

      And no, I did not try it. Maybe another time :)

      Wednesday, 20 July 2011

      Ontbijt Bagels

      Bagels & Beans is a local breakfast spot for anyone looking for a sweet or savoury meal in the morning. The exterior is friendly and inviting, while the inside feels so warm and cozy. The menu is filled with a variety of bagels, spreads, and fillings, which makes it difficult to choose. But even with all the tough decisions you'll have to make, it's the perfect place to start your day - rain or shine!

      Even before you step into the restaurant, the tables outside give you a preview of the great food that awaits you inside.

       Signs are offered on each table to catch the waiter's attention.
      This one says: "Thirsty"

      The signs are not just used for the waiter's attention...
      It can even be used to catch the attention of that cute someone next to you
      (Translation: Want to go on a date?)


      The good thing - they're only given one answer :)

      Date or no date, you can always count on having a delicious breakfast! 
      (L: Classic BLT; R: Traditional Dutch bagel with honey, goat cheese & walnuts)

      Eet Smakelijk!

      Bagels & Beans: Ambachtsweg 40-42, Groningen