Thursday, March 21, 2013

Frites with the Grandfather of Gin

Matt and I spent last weekend in Antwerp, the 2nd largest city in Belgium, in the excellent care of new friends. This was our first proper excursion to Flanders, the Flemish region of Belgium, and I have to say, we loved it. The city felt much more relaxed than Brussels with what appeared to be more bikes than cars, and it was definitely a more alternative city, with more funky, independent shops than you could ever visit in a weekend.

True to form, we ate our way through the weekend starting with a delicious meal prepared by our friends in front of the fire; later that night, we wound up in a beautiful old bar full of exposed brick and something its hard to find in Brussels: real Belgians. We settled in with a deck of cards, kindly offered from the barman, and indulged in the many flavors of jenever, the Flemish Grandfather of gin. When we had sipped more shots than a human should, we stumbled to the local dive with "the best frites in town". It was frites with ketchup and mayo for the vegetarian (indeed, the best I've had in Belgium) and bitterballen (Flemish meatballs) for the omnivores. Just enough fried food to keep a jenever hangover at bay.

 The next morning we walked to Michel van Tricht and Son, what the Wall Street Journal refers to as the best cheese shop in Europe; for a cheese-lover, it was the epitome of the paradox of choice. So much cheese and so little time! After a delightfully indulgent breakfast (my favorite was a goat cheese with fig in the center), we headed to town. We spent the day wandering through the markets, popping in and out of shops, and sampling the local fare. Highlights included chocolate drinks at Quetzal de Chocoladebar and, of course, street waffles.

Antwerp, I miss you already.

1 comment:

  1. Oh no, sounds like something else to put on our itinerary!