The Shrimp Seduction

The thing about food porn – I guess about porn in general – is that once you’ve spotted it, you can’t get it out of your head. And that’s exactly what happened when I saw some spicy shrimp on the FB-page of the Westergasterras: big mama’s laying on lettuce, cucumber and red onion, served on a toasted bun. I had visited this bar and restaurant almost a decade ago and was never tempted to return, although it’s almost in front of my house. The food didn’t impress me much by then. But lately my friends have been talking about the good food they had there. I bet this has something to do with the cook that rules the place since a couple of years: Thomas Bert. The moment I saw the shrimp on FB I knew what I had to do. I practically ran to the place and screamed for the spicy shrimp bun. The shrimp were even bigger than on screen and damn tasty: juicy and delightfully spicy. Made to match with the Surinamese style red onion and cucumber. Food porn in action? Hell, yeah!

Spicy shrimp bun, one, €7.00
Klönneplein 4-6, West (Westerpark)
+31 (0) 20 684 84 96
Opening hours: Monday-Thursday 11am-1am, Friday 11am-3am, Saturday 10am-3am, Sunday 10am-1am (daily: kitchen 10am-10pm)

Sweet Surrender

My friend Marios is all about the great little places of Amsterdam. One of his favourite coffee and lunch spots is a cute one in the bustling Utrechtsestraat: Zuivere Koffie, literally: ‘pure and clear coffee’. This small place with wood and vintage dishware is like a comfortable ticket to the past. It’s hundred percent laptop-free, the women that run the place chat with each other and their guests, the house cat gently passes by. In the middle of the place there’s a table with home-made pies that will make your heart skip a beat: apple pie, carrot cake, date pie and a pecan pie. Marios urged me to eat the date pie, but I couldn’t resist the one with pecan nuts, orange and maple syrup. So glad I surrendered. The combination of pecan with sweet and fruity ingredients is much better than the usual pecan-caramel merger. This crown jewel is fresher, lighter and ‘sunnier’. Best eaten on the little garden terrace, the other hidden gem of Zuivere Koffie.

Zuivere Koffie
Pecan pie with orange and maple syrup, one piece, €4.00
Utrechtsestraat 39, City Centre
+31 (0) 20 624 99 99
Opening hours: Monday-Friday 8am-5pm, Saturday 9am-5pm, Sunday 9.30am-4pm

A Slice of Rome

So you think you know pizza? I bet you haven’t tried pizza al taglio, Italian for ‘pizza by the slice’, literally ‘by the cut’. This type of pizza is baked in large rectangular trays and generally sold in square slices. It is known for its extraordinary crunchy crust and its airy bottom. This pizza 2.0 was invented in Rome and was brought to Rotterdam by the owners of Sugo. Since three months Amsterdam has a Sugo branch too. Do say ‘yay’ to this breaking news. The organic flour used comes from Vicalvi, a hamlet near Rome. It consists of both wheat and spelt – low on carbs, rich on protein. Many other ingredients are of Italian descent also: the cheese, the charcuterie, the tomato paste. The slices are as fresh as it gets and have toppings that will make you sing o sole mio instantly. Do you care for potato, truffle sauce, mushrooms and Parmezan cheese? Or pancetta, gorgonzola, spinach plus mozzarella? The one with caramelized onions, walnuts, olives, mascarpone and mozzarella is my favourite: sweet, smooth and cool. What else are you looking for in an Italian?

Pizza al taglio with caramelized onions, walnuts and mozzarella, one slice €3.40
Ferdinand Bolstraat 107, South (De Pijp)
+31 (0) 20 363 87 37
Opening hours: Sunday-Thursday 11am-9pm, Friday-Saturday 11am-10pm