Amsterdam was the 2016 scene of the convergence of the Five Bs-Birthdays, Beer, Bitterballen, Bourbon & Blues.
My son Rudy, lives in San Rafael, CA and I see him and my grandchildren once a year, but, every now and then he is in Europe on a shoot-he's a cameraman, not, a hitman. This year it was Amsterdam and since the trip coincided with my birthday (June 24) and his (June 25), my Father's Day gift was a trip to Amsterdam, that most friendly of European cities.
Our hotel was the Radisson Blu that featured the largest buffet breakfast I have ever seen-eggs, bacon, sausage, fresh fruit, yogurts, Viennoise, breads, rolls, and if you like, omelettes cooked to your specs. And it is included in the price of a room.
I arrived early Friday night June 24 and after unloading my gear, Rudy, Becky, his Seattle-based producer and I, headed for my favorite bar in Amsterdam, the Caffe Hoppe, an institution since 1670.
Any visit the Hoppe must include Bitterballen, the Netherlands Nosh– beef or veal (minced or chopped), beef broth, butter, flour for thickening, parsley, salt and pepper, resulting in a thick roux,rolled into a ball and deep-fried to a crunchy crust with a smooth, runny interior. Accompanied by a shot of ginever and a glass of Amstel it has become an addiction.
Our new friend Edo sent us to dinner at Lucius, still packed to the gills with seafood lovers at 10:30. It was herring season and we started with a whole herring washed down with ginever before attacking the fruits de mer platter and Dover sole.
No rush on Saturday morning-breakfast was served until 11:30AM. After a 30 minute walk to the recently renovated Rijksmuseum, we spent 3 hours savoring the history and art of Amsterdam. The city was in a festive mood and there was a live concert on the banks of a canal from 5-10PM.
As our thoughts turned to dinner, we naturally thought of the Caffe Hoppe where the bartender foolishly inquired if we wanted an order of eight or twelve bitterballen.
Dinner was the Kantjil & and de Tijger for a Classic Rice table-there was barely enough room on our table for all of the elements of that colonial tradition. Dinner for there with a bottle of wine-100 euros.
It was Rudy's birthday and the Bourbon Street Blues Club was our way of topping off a fabulous two day birthday party. SRO evey Friday and Saturday nite when Lamar Chase from Oakland,CA rocks until 4AM. Two hours and 5 Four Roses later we headed home but with that hunger that attacks when you have been drinking all night, so of course, bitterballen at the hiotel before retiring.