Tuesday, July 17, 2012

travel tips [amsterdam with aline hart, day one]

Following on from Talisa's travel tips in Paris, my Dutch friend Aline Hart shares her guide to a city very close to my heart, Amsterdam.

Day One

Put your sneakers on – this day will be filled with hiking through the mazes of the shopping streets in Amsterdam.

Before we start our retail journey we need energy and fuel: Toos&Roos is our first pit-stop destination. This tiny breakfast/lunch restaurant is situated in the middle of the Negen Straatjes – 9 streets filled with small and quirky shops and restaurants, the perfect start for our hunt.

Toos&Roos was previously known as Buffet van Odette. Due to its popularity Odette located to a bigger venue. Lucky for us the new proprietors still serve the old patrons signature cakes. My favourite is the Sticky Toffee Cake {recommended for the hard-core sugar fan}.

Satisfied but filled with a different kind of hunger we start exploring the Negen Straatjes. In the Negen Straatjes you can find a big variety of boutiques and specialty shops {De witte tandenwinkel}, along with the more familiar brands {COS, Filipa K}.
Shops you have to visit are RIKA, Sky and Tenue de Nimes  - this last store is specialised in denims. And if Amsterdam is the Jeans capital of the world then this shop is the Holy Grail. 
If you’ve got a wallet you like to empty I would advise you to visit Van Ravenstein. In this shop they sell the more Fashion Capital worthy brands such as Givenchy and Christopher Kane. Tip: every Saturday Van Ravenstein opens its basement where their outlet is situated. And if you’re lucky you can find the perfect Peter Pilotto dress with a nice discount!

Another favourite is BonBon Boutique – all BonBon Boutique jewellery are hand made by Bonne van der Ree. In her unusual designs she combines semi-precious stones, Swarovski crystal and beautiful vintage finds: elegant, fine, but with a raw edge - just like their designer. Besides her own jewellery, Bonne also sells jewellery, accessories and illustrations of local designers and friends.  

Before we continue with our journey we need to fuel up again – time for some fast food. French fries are a big thing in Holland – the way we eat them differs from other Fast Food-nations. Preferably we like to eat them with a meaty snack like a kroket or a frikandel and a big chunk of mayonnaise. Like was quoted in Pulp Fiction: we like to “fuckin’ drown ‘em in it”. 
Personally I think that the best French fries are sold at Vleminckx Sausmeesters. As the name of the place indicates there is a wide selection of sauces to decorate your French fries with. If you’re traditional you choose the regular mayonnaise but if you feel adventurous you choose ‘Speciaal’, ‘Oorlog’ or ‘Joepie-sauce’. Take the bag of fries with you and sit down by the Canal and watch the boats going by.

After this indulgence and time of reflection, we take our bikes and go to the Boerenmarkt on the Nieuwmarkt. Every Saturday you can find here a farmers market where they sell a big variety of high quality produce. Everything that is being sold is organic and origins from local farmers. Here we stock up on freshly made pestos, bread, fruits and vegetables for our Sunday, reserved for some downtime.

For dinner we go to Proef – this restaurant serves a set 3-course meal that changes by the season. You can choose from a meat, fish or vegetarian menu, which is composed of seasonal and sustainable products from the region.
To finish off this hectic day we go to a cocktail bar called Door74. Before going there I advice you to make a reservation {the number to dial is on their website}. Nothing left for me to say here: just indulge in the mystery and be surprised.

1. Toos & Roos Herengracht 309, 1016 AV 
2. Buffet van Odette Prinsengracht 598, 1017 KS, www.buffet-amsterdam.nl
Negen straatjes www.de9straatjes.nl/uk/
3. RIKA Oude Spiegelstraat 12, 1016 BM, www.rikaint.com
4. Sky Herengracht 228, 1016 BT, www.skyfashion.nl
5. Tenue de Nimes Elandsgracht 60, 1016 TX, www.tenuedenimes.com
6. Van Ravenstein Keizersgracht 359, 1016 EJ, www.van-ravenstein.nl
7. Vleminckx Sausmeesters Voetboogstraat 31
8. BonBon boutique Rosmarijnsteeg 12hs, 1012 RP
9. Boerenmarkt
10. Proef Gosschalklaan 12, 1014 DC
11. Door 74 Reguliersdwarsstraat 74, 1017 BN, www.door74.nl

1 comment:

  1. Great little city guide - I'll bank it for when I find myself in Amsterdam!