Maybe it’s Europe or maybe it’s seeing Before Sunrise in my formative years, but train rides are pretty romantic. The moments of building inertia then the surrender to a lulling undulation of the train car back and forth is evocative. Still inside the motion of a setting, all paintbrush stroke-like. Being in private surrounded by people. And other such sensory experiences that cannot translate easily… And speaking of not translating easily, I am on my way to the Netherlands (via train) for my main Spring Break destination, the tick of my bucket list: Keukenhof to visit its Spring garden. A tulip festival on plant steroids. First though, Amsterdam.
After arriving at the station, I made a b-line to Koffie Ende Koeck for their vegan High Tea. And what a wonderful way to begin my stay in Holland!
There was plenty to eat. From bottom to top: 3 savory tea sandwiches–smoked tofu, cucumber cream cheese, and a zucchini pancake topped with pickled beet. Middle layer: an oatmeal scone with elderflower jam and clotted cream and a yogurt parfait. On top: A slice of chocolate layer cake, a Dutch apple tart and a blueberry crumb bar. A fantastic spread from this charming all-vegan coffee shop and bakery.
Of course I had to pack some to go.
Strolling around the gorgeous streets of Amsterdam, I found several all-vegan shops: Vegabond, a vegan convenience store with lots of snacks I regret not buying as I type this, and Vega-Life, a fashion and footwear store that is all-vegan.
Amsterdam exudes Old World beauty–centuries old churches and various other solemn spired gothic buildings. My room’s view (left) is directly across from them… though behind them, carnival goers shriek as they’re flipped and toppled about. Much like “the pot” and the Red Light district (Rossebuurt), I guess that’s kind of Amsterdam: dichotomous.
Dinner is a holiday, every night. I celebrated this holiday at the all-vegan Meatless District. (Though you may simply see “MD” on the outside.)
This entree that you see here, this was one of the best dishes I’ve had in a very long time. Besides it being plated beautifully, it was absolutely delicious. In case it isn’t discernible, it is potato gnocchi–decorated with dollops of nut mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, 2 spoonfuls of pesto, and two toasts. A sprinkling smoked salt and a delicate pond of balsamic vinegar and oil packed a tremendous punch. Amazing.
Let’s look at it from another angle. It’s like a bouquet of flowers for me.