Living off the street and loving every minute of it
I’ve been here in Amsterdam, Netherlands for 3 days, and today realized something startling.
I am the largest person in this country.
Not only am I the largest at 6’2, 280, I am the largest by about 70 pounds or so. I mean, I just can't find another big guy on the street. Nowhere. Nada.
That said, I did find the one and only Big and Tall Men’s Clothier in Holland yesterday (a hobby of mine), and concluded that if in fact I did live here, I would most likely be naked. That’s based on the fact that t-shirts in this joint cost $45 dollars, jeans $110, and a jacket, $150. With the amount of clothes I need, I’d be out of cash before I filled my sock drawer.
So how do they do it?.. Stay so fit? Is it because they all (and I mean all) ride bikes? Walk everywhere? Eat healthier? Drink wine? Smoke grass? (ok, just the kids)
I say this as I watch some thin guy down a buttery Apple Pancake washed down with a double cappuccino.
I think its in the genes.
None the less, I’ve had fun eating here for a few days. Yes, you can always find your pancakes, gouda cheese plates, tomato soup, fried sausage croquettes and canal-side herring stands (yuch)….. but I always love to eat ethnic food in this part of Europe, as the mix of people has had such an amazing impact on the cuisine (think Indian food in London).
One of my favorite eats here are Falafel. There is a joint that makes darn near the best I have ever had… so I have had 3 since I arrived. It’s called MOAZ, and who knew, it’s a vegetarian place. (for more, http://www.moazveg.com )
This is no run of the mill falafel. These are incredibly flavorful, fried to just the right size. They stuff their homemade pita bread (fresh from the toaster), hit it with chopped lettuce, and then you stuff it full with a salad bar full of goodiess like pickles, beets, peppers, etc. Top it off with some yogurt sauce and get busy.
Some research on my part (not much) did show a lone USA location, in Philly. But for some reason, I’d bet the one here tastes better. Maybe it’s the 90 foot Heineken sign hanging above my head.
Other street food here includes Hot Dogs, which are terrific (any hot dog made east of the Atlantic is made with love), the fore-mentioned herring stands, pastry and waffle shops, and lots of ice cream. Throw in about 100 Belgian French Fry stands and you could give yourself a serious stomach ache.
I haven’t actually eaten in a “real” restaurant yet, but I’ve never been a fan of Dutch cuisine. So the pubs and schwarma stands will just have to do.
NEW YORK CALLS
There is good falafel and amazing Halal food (street meat) in New York City… and many will argue the best Halal can be found at the corner of 53rd and 6th Avenue.
This cart is soooo popular, they often have a line nearly ½ city block long. They open at 7:30pm and remain open until 4am. The line is there all night. No joke.
A week ago, I decided I couldn’t take it anymore, and walked down there after working late one night.
I had the chicken and rice platter for a whole $5. This is a container packed with chicken, yellow rice, pita triangles and lettuce that must weigh 10 pounds. The meat here is halal, which means it is produced hormone free and in a humane way, according to Muslim laws. Ask for the spicy red sauce (just a bit)and the magic white yogurt sauce… and damn. Amazing. Now I know why they line up. You will not believe this value, and it just tastes terrific. What a find.
They are so popular, they now have their own website: www.53rdand6th.com .
TIP OF THE WEEK
If you are in need of that perfect midtown joint, visit one of my favorite spots here - http://midtownlunch.wordpress.com . This site has all of the scoop on where to eat in the black hole that is Midtown NYC.
Until then, I’ll see ya at 49th and 6th. Ciao from Amsterdam.