Words & Photos by: Yu-Ming Wu
About a month ago the Amsterdam Tourism & Convention Board sent a surprising email asking us whether we wanted to visit Amsterdam. That was pretty much an easy yes and for the icing, they also included an invitation to visit Valencia, Spain (more on that later). So after a trying to clear our schedule was finally able to leave for Amsterdam the day before the US Thanksgiving holiday. The Board created a simple three day itinerary for a tasting of Amsterdam with ample free time for self exploration. Continue reading for a look at my 72 hours in Amsterdam.
LLOYD HOTEL & Culturele Ambassade
Oostelijke Handelskade 34
1019 BN Amsterdam
For the three days, the Board booked the Lloyd Hotel just three stops from Amsterdam Centraal but outside of the central area. Staying within the central area has its perks in addition to some cons. Amsterdam has been explained to me as a cousin of Las Vegas and can stay lively into the early hours of the morning. So some hotels in the central area can be noisy (especially on the weekends) but for those who enjoy a hazy night out, getting home quickly is the perk here. My recommendation: stay in the central area.
The Lloyd hotel is a great hotel with eccentric rooms from one to five stars. The star system rates rooms from the simple and low priced to the top tier and highest priced rooms. The hotel was rebuilt in 2004 with nearly 50 Dutch designers adding a unique treatment to each of the 116 rooms. Staying at the Lloyd is pretty easy with the a tram stop just steps away and Amsterdam Centraal is just 3 stops away.
1017 CG Amsterdam
After making friends with the KLM attendant enroute to Amsterdam, I asked her for some recommendations on the city. So after checking in and meeting up with a few travel friends we were off to an area called ….. for lunch. While it’s not recommended just wandering around looking for a lunch spot, I was lucky enough to found a place called Stacey’s Pennywell, a large corner pub with a sizable menu. We ordered a tasting selection including a salad, sandwich and a pasta and each were extremely delicious.
1012 KD Amsterdam
A set dinner was booked at the Brasserie Harkema, a contemporary version of the classic Parisian brasserie located in the heart of Amsterdam. The menu and interior are both modern but with such a large space one can quickly be forgotten. And that was exactly the case, reception was extremely friendly but once seated service was hard to come by. With the exception of having to ask for everything twice, the food and overall ambiance was great.
1071 ZD Amsterdam
MOMO is a pretty legit Japanese restaurant located at the Park Hotel in the Museumkwartier neighborhood of Amsterdam. The restaurant takes its inspiration from the masters of New York and London and describes it self as the spot to go for Pan-Asian cuisine, cosmos and the ultimate chill-out. A lunch was set here by the tourism board and their bento box lunches were pretty delicious and fresh. MOMO is located at Hobbemastraat 1 just off the Singelgracht.
1012 PT Amsterdam
Burger Bar is one amazing burger joint serving up three tiers of beef, Irish beef, Black Angus and their top tier Wagyu beef and two weights, 200 and 270 grams. Each beef patty is freshly rolled into a 200 or 270 gram template and grilled to perfection. Add an order of Belgian fries and you’ve got the perfect post night out meal. Burger Bar is located in downtown Amsterdam between the Damrak and NZ.Voorburgwal on the Kolksteeg 2.
DE CULINAIRE WERKPLAATS
Fannius Scholtenstraat 10 HS
1051 Ex Amsterdam
The second of the two set dinners was at de culinaire werkplaats, an interesting conceptual dining experience that may not be for everyone. Self described as a “novel eating initiative & experience”, “the team of de culinaire werkplaats creates & makes contemporary dishes, bites, delicatessen, new foods, and invents sometimes even new ways of eating. inspirational concepts, like “black’ or “flowers’, are guiding our creative perspective on foods & eating.” While innovative, the “contemporary’ dishes created from a strict criteria of choosing raw materials requires an acquired taste. This menu really isn’t for me but for those with strict organic/vegetarian diets, this would be great place to try.
1054 AB Amsterdam
A visit to Amsterdam would not be complete without a tasting of Indonesian Food and a rijsttafel or “rice table” an elaborate meal adapted by the Dutch from the Indonesians. The rijsttafel is unique to Holland so you won’t be able to find such a meal else where in the world. My choice was at Blue Pepper for a meal with nearly 16 different dishes over the course of the 3 hour meal. Everything was delicious but be prepared for the long meal and if you are jetlagged, you may end up taking small naps in between dishes.