Saturday, May 5, 2012

Fat in Europe

Demented Hot Dog Man

Now that last month's Eurotrip is over, I can still taste the sausage, and am kind of still feeling the hangover. I invite you to salivate over my photos, mostly of street food. It's important to remember, though, that there is no good Mexican food in these countries; jarred salsa tastes like rancid ketchup. So, 'Merka is still better... specifically South O.

Amsterdam and Rotterdam
Those right-wing Dutch folk are trying to push out all the zillions of high-as-a-kite tourists with their new laws. But for now, the sweet smell of weed still lingers on the street. (Actually, I think it's kind of gross. Sorry.) I don't need the help of THC to get the munchies, and luckily there's an automatiek around every corner to soften the razor sharp edge of a hunger pang, offering mostly traditional handheld Dutch snacks. It's the fastest fast food ever. 

Smullers near Amsterdam Centraal Station --
insert coins, extract chicken burger.

There's loads of excellent Indonesian restaurants in the Netherlands, but if you're on the go, try a bami --
a breaded and deep-fried rectangle of thick, spiced noodles.

Giant warm stroopwafel --
sticky, caramel-like sauce sandwiched between two waffle cookies.

Remember that thing called "Occupy?" Still going strong here.

Kapsalon, a Rotterdam specialty (name roughly translates to barber shop):
fries, döner meat, melted cheese, salad and mayo.

Erasmus Bridge connecting the north and south of Rotterdam,
and the typical spring weather.

Two words: beer geek. That is what I was for the whole 24 hours in Belgium. 

Just your average convenience store:
Trappist ales, cherry lambics, and the go-to Jupiler (what you get around here if you just order "a beer").

Train stations have the best food. This waffle is no exception.

View from the top floor of the Magritte Museum

If I had any €€€, I would have dined here and had myself some fine Waterzooi -- traditional Belgian stew. 

Frites and mayo go together like peas and carrots.
Like peanut butter and jelly.
Like a beer and a cig.

Münster (and Enschede)
No, not like the cheese. That cheese comes from a little town in France with the same name. Münster is the town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany that I called home at one point. Known for its rainy weather and throngs of bicycles, Münster isn't exactly full of culinary excitement. Or any kind of excitement, really. Which is why, on Good Friday when everything was closed, we went to the Dutch border town of Enschede, along with hordes of other Germans. 

View from my friend's window. Sure ain't no bustling metropolis, but I guess it's ok.

Don't let the modest helping fool you, for I had three plates of
homemade schnitzel, salad with fluffy yogurt dressing and pan-fried potatoes.
Thanks to the Gorkes.

Pretzel roll with prosciutto. Everyday bakery items are divine.

Pommes Spezial --
curry ketchup, mayo, onions.
Can possibly curb your hunger til the next sausage fest.

This is what you get when you order coffee in Dutch. 

The oliebol is a Dutch doughnut that weighs the same as a baseball.
Wear all black on a windy day for the total effect.

My second favorite city in Deutschland, home of the biggest gay pride parade around and the most annoying/crazy Karneval street parties. On Easter morning I walked across town to the city's crowning glory, the Cologne Cathedral, where the rising sun was poking out from behind the church's gothic spires. Then I caught a train to Berlin. 

At Engelbät, the cozy creperie with endless possibilities.
Mine was filled with broccoli, almond slivers, tomato sauce, cheese, and pesto.
Wash down with a thimbleful of Reissdorf Kölsch.
And if you don't like Kölsch beer, don't say so too loudly around these parts. 

I once lived by the adage:
"A tomato-sauce-poppy-seed-stick a day will keep the doctor away."
Aka Knusperstange.

The Rhine river --
And a bridge with a bunch of "Love Locks" attached to it.
Who decided that a padlock was a good symbol of love? 


The sacred döner sandwich:
All hail to the spinning meat in the window, especially after a night of slamming Beck's.

This is not another NYC, despite all the flawed reviews from tired hipsters that say so. Berlin is unique. Berlin is magical. Berlin might as well be its own country, an aberration compared to the straight-laced complacency of most of the Fatherland. Even the color of the subway trains -- a hideous yellow not even fit for a limited-edition crayon -- is like nowhere else, not to mention the little Brandenburg Gate etchings on all the windows. 

East Side Gallery, where Smart cars and Coca-Cola trucks pass colorful remnants of the Wall. 

Bratwurst at Alexanderplatz, and the iconic Fernsehturm (TV tower). 

Waffle with Nutella, sandy sitting area of a Sunday flea market.
Makes total sense.

Beef Brisket from White Trash Fast Food, and a fish tank--
it was marginally cool. 

Street food fav, the Noodle Box --
bean sprouts, crispy onions, sometimes chicken. 

They like to eat arugula on pizza. Weirdos.

They also like to eat spicy salami on pizza. 

Shrimp tacos from Santa Maria in Kreuzberg --
they also have a Taco Tuesday with €1 tacos.
I think this place was specifically designed for Americans needing their Mexican fix.

Berlin is a falafel mecca.

The typical meal at home: tortellini with pesto and mozzarella tomato sandwiches,
and a tasty Rothaus Pils.

And with that, I headed to Tegel airport, a tiny building where you can still say goodbye right at the gate like in the movies, for the last time. In a few months it will be no longer in operation, and the new Berlin Brandenburg airport will take over. Yes, there are so many expats in this city that they actually need a new airport to handle the influx. With fingers crossed (or thumbs pressed, as they say), I smuggled a bunch of pretzels through security, which I froze and ate later. Catch ya later, Berlin. Try not to get too cool. 

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