Saturday, March 11, 2006

ZATERDAG IN ANTWERP

Today we got VERY international: we took a day trip to Belgium, landing in international port city and diamond trading center Antwerp. Now I know a thing or two about Belgians, having been taught 2.5 years of French by one in college. Also, I'm a BIG fan of Jean Claude Van Damme, and according to my brother he's just about the most famous Belgian of all time.

***Actually, I am NOT a fan of Mr. Van Damme, not even a little bit, but I AM a fan of Jean Claude Van Hot Fresh Waffle With Slagroom (Whipped Cream), so by some law of syllogism I guess Belgium's most famous Streetfighter is alright, too.

Now about these waffles!



Yes. They ARE streetfood, and yes, eating one at 2pm in Antwerp would be like eating tiramisu or somesuch dessert in the MIDDLE OF THE DAY in THE MIDDLE OF CHICAGO. Like, the only people who do that are tourists...Total EW! Except screw it, I AM a tourist, and that waffle that I had today, so famously Belgian and so warmly sweet and doughy almost made up for yesteday's herring debacle.



ALMOST. I mean, can ANYTHING ever make up for being orally defiled by a bony fish? If it can, it is a fresh Belgian waffle with sweet "slagroom," which is just about the best word for "whipped cream" ever.

So with the Waffle Experience quickly dispensed with, there were only three more Belgian specialities to discover: Moules, Frites, and Bier. Fortunately we were able to kill these delicious birds with one stone at a lovely and non-touristy cafe. One brother and I ordered the special: five flavors of moules (garlic, provencale, curry, white wine, and "scampi,") with a side of frites. The frites were non-too-special, but the moules were outta sight!



They were plump and clean with none of that odious sea-floor aftertaste. The "scampi" turned out to be code for "comes with one little shrimp," but I'm all for the bonus round when it comes to seafood. We all orded Belgian beers; mine was a medium Trappist ale that really hit the spot in both my mouth and mind zones.



Satisfied and mellow, we exited the cafe and strolled around Antwerp in what can only be described as a very mild, intermittent blizzard.

Twenty minutes later I gathered up more of my inner tourist strength and declared it Belgian Waffle/Dutch Pancake Time, and my brothers were helpless in the face of my adorable obstinance. So we found Antwerp's answer to Friendly's, and I forthwith ordered us ANOTHER waffle, this one with vanilla ice-cream and slagroom, and a Dutch pancake with bananas, chocolate sauce, vanilla ice-cream and more slagroom. I'll be honest with you people: I can't get enough of that slagroom. I will also confess: I'm pretty much turning into a fatty-boom-ballatty. Worth it? You tell me, chubby chasers! P.S. You've never seen two delicious entrees dispensed with so quickly. We were like African Fire Ants on a fresh corpse, except there were only three of us and the corpse was covered in luxurious cream.

And I have to say, now that I'm back in Den Haag and only a night's sleep away from returning to the 'States, that I am ready to get back to eating like a goddamned normal human being. Which is to say that maybe eating chocolate and cheese and beer and five desserts/day is the kind of eating one does on vacation if only to appreciate how good restraint really can feel, even if restraint is the norm. And that's the other great thing about travel: it makes my daily routine seem really attractive again, if only because I had some time away from it. I'm pretty sure I just blew your minds with that aphorism, but that's because I'm super-interesting and important now that I've spent some time in The Europe. You're welcome!

5 Comments:

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belgium... bulgin'

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