Meet the Brigadeiros

The brigadeiro is a Brazilian born chocolate. The mere sound of the word brigadeiro makes Brazilians like my friend Fabiano from São Paulo drool. And right so. This sweetie, a.k.a. the Brazilian truffle, is extremely rich and creamy. It’s made from condensed milk, cocoa powder and butter and is covered with chocolate sprinkles. One bite and you’re hooked. Since the beginning of July this chocolate drug is available at Sweet Bob. The first brigadeiro brand in town is run by three Brazilians. They created the concept for their own brigadeiro shop in São Paulo and were determined to launch this in Amsterdam. ‘We just love the people, architecture and lifestyle of this city.’ During my first visit to their store they almost blew me away with their enthusiasm, Brazilian charm and their chocolates in dozens of flavours. The original brigadeiro, the milk chocolate one, is great, but don’t forget to try the other versions, such as the ones with dark chocolate, pistachio and coconut. They are made to match with the coffee they serve. Have I already told you they sell superb chocolate cake and a divine ice tea from Rio too? Sweet Bob is a place that really made my heart jump and I’m pretty sure it will make your heart skip a beat too.

Sweet Bob
Brigadeiros, one, €1.50 – €2.00
Brouwersgracht 113, City Centre (Jordaan)
+31 (0) 6 26 38 78 24
Opening hours: Monday-Friday 11am-8pm, Saturday 10am-9pm, Sunday noon-8am

King Tofu The Third

Tofu is most definitely not the sexiest ingredient on earth. I only say ‘yes’ to three tofu dishes. Two are made by the best and most precise cook alive: my Dutch-Indonesian mother (85). I regularly crave for her ketoprak, a ‘salad’ of fried tofu and bean sprouts, or her baso tahoe, tofu filled with seasoned minced meat to be eaten with peanut sauce. The third dish I discovered one year ago at Toko Bandung, an Indonesian takeaway and small restaurant (est. 1962) on the outskirts of Amsterdam. Formerly it was owned by a Chinese family, but recently Toko Bandung was transferred to a Dutch/Dutch-Indonesian couple. Luckily the new owners kept the friendly shop assistants and fabulous cook(s). So you can still enter and pretend you’re in Indonesia and enjoy the great sweet and savoury snacks, including tahoe telor made to perfection: an omelette with tofu chunks dressed in a somewhat spicy sticky soy sauce, served with cubes of sticky rice. Have a tjendol with it, you know, that super duper sweet Indonesian coconut drink!

Toko Bandung
Tahoe telor, €6.50
Pieter Callandlaan 333-335, West (Osdorp)
+31 (0) 20 619 91 03
Opening hours: Monday-Friday 9.30am-6.30pm, Saturday 9am-5pm

Rasta Baby

Last Saturday I once again ate at the happiest restaurant of my neighbourhood: Plato Loco, a Caribbean restaurant owned by Magda – sparkling eyes, enchanting smile. Lots of plants and vintage, bachata music and a regularly changing menu blending influences from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Jamaica. Bananas, herbs and the devilish yellow pepper Madame Jeanette rule the list. I suggest you to analyze the spicy mango dip next to the salt cod croquettes or the coriander salsa coming with the jerk chicken. This grilled bird shines on a plate with rice, coleslaw and sweet banana. It has the looks of an ‘easy peasy’ kind of dish, but it takes a lot to prepare a perfect version. Jamaicans use a whole array of ingredients (spices, ginger, brown sugar) to create a marinade, let the chicken swim in it for 24 hours and then grill it. The meat has to be tender, the skin crispy and somewhat sticky. I had the original version in Kingston and Treasure Beach and let me tell you this: Plato Loco’s jerk chicken is the real thing!

Plato Loco
Jerk chicken, one portion, €18.00
Rombout Hogerbeetsstraat 29, West (Westerpark)
+31 (0) 20 358 50 47
Opening hours: Wednesday-Sunday 5pm-midnight