Looking for Mr. Banana

Fork, spoon? Attack! Impossible to eat decently, but this tartelette is worth the effort and the dirty fingers. The crispy bottom is like a cup, one containing a divine ‘soup’ of cream, caramel and last but not least thin slices of banana. Liquid sweetness at its finest and most irresistible. This banoffee pie is made by the cook of Sticky Fingers and is completely organic, just like the other pastry and savoury pies of this new ‘Eco Patisserie’ of the Conscious Hotel. Ecological Sticky Fingers is as girly as it gets: wooden chairs and tables, magazines, plants and a touch of pink. Check the bar stools, the wall behind the counter and the raspberry tartelette. Twenty-something ladies chatting and gossiping, working and bragging about their travel plans – ‘Thai islands are so last season, I am into Cambodian ones’. Some twenty-something men zipping cappuccino and latte macchiato from fair chain label Moyee. A no-frills place for a serious moment of Zen while being at one of the busiest streets in town: Overtoom/Amstelveenseweg.

Sticky Fingers
Banoffee tartelette, one, € 3.50
Amstelveenseweg 3, West/Zuid
+31 (0) 20 820 33 32
Opening hours: Monday-Sunday 7am-6pm

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

Pisang & The Coconuts

Have you ever tried to find real Balinese food in Amsterdam? Bebek Bali (Balinese duck) for example. Or a juicy organic chicken ‘bathing’ in Balinese spices. Tricky, no? Well, let me introduce you to Dian Eka Suryani. This lady from Denpasar, Bali, will make your day with her looks – sparkling eyes, colourful sarong – and her exotic food. Her mother, grandma, aunts and the renowned chef Lonny Gerungan taught her how to cook and she picked it up perfectly. I met her on the groovy NeightbourFood Market in the Westerpark and fell for her jaja laklak and jaja pisang rai. She serves these delightful combination of mini coconut pancakes and coconut-banana bites with a brown sugar syrup. To get your own portion of candy, you have to track her down on an Amsterdam food market or book her catering company Enak Sekali. Dian and her Dutch partner dream of a place where they can organize workshops and dinners. Why don’t you have a look at their crowd funding proposition?

Enak Sekali
Jaja laklak and jaja pisang rai, one portion, €5.00
Food markets in Amsterdam (check FB)
+31 (0) 6 53 60 80 09

Fruit Kick-Off

foto-614FAVOCORDutch Indonesians don’t think of  breakfast as a culinary highlight. Lots of them barely eat or just skip it. At home my parents used to start their day with a Caballero cigarette and kopi tubruk, coffee with the coffee residue on the bottom. My mother made me eat a piece of bread with strawberry jam. She served it with her favourite ‘complaint’: ‘Adoe. In Holland draait alles om roti. Waarom, toch?’ (‘OMG. In Holland it’s all about bread. Why?’). No wonder that bread in the morning isn’t my idea of fun. But I try to start my day in a healthier way than my parents. Preferably with a salad composed by Dr ‘Feelgood’ Blend: organic kiwi, melon, apple, banana and goji berries and sweet-sour lactose-free coconut yogurt on top. What to drink with this vitamin c and anti-oxidants boost? A Dr Love, a mix of coconut milk, banana, honey and maca powder (powder of a Peruvian root), if you expect a smooth, Barry-White kind of a day. If it’s going to be just another rough day, call for a Dr Just Beet It instead: coconut milk, banana, pineapple, cauliflower, strawberry and bloody red beet.

Dr Blend
Fruit salad with coconut yogurt, one portion, €6.50
Herenstraat 23, City Centre
+31 (0) 20 528 7920
Opening hours:  Monday-Friday 7.30am-6pm, Saturday-Sunday 10am-6pm