Graanmarkt 13

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Carrot Bitterballen

For our first dinner with Nicole and Adam, we chose the restaurant Graanmarkt 13. The food is seasonal, with a weekly menu based on what vegetables are in season. From the site: “Graanmarkt 13 offers a daily varying choice of fish or meat along with various vegetarian tapas-style dishes to share with your company.” Chef Seppe Nobels won the prize “Best Vegetable restaurant 2015 of Flanders” by Gault Millau. So this was the perfect place to take our guests!

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De Arme Duivel & De Koninck with Nicole & Adam!

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Nicole & Adam at the De Koninck Brewery!

You never know who you’ll meet – while on the Trans-Siberian Express, the 5 days from Moscow to Irkutsk, we met another couple who’ve turned into good friends. Nicole and Adam had a similar planning to ours and throughout our 3 week trip we met up in Russia, Mongolia, and China. So why not add Belgium to the list?

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The Butcher’s Son: 12 Year Anniversary

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The Butcher’s Son at De Koninck

Koen and I always celebrate two anniversaries:

  1. March 29th, when we first started dating
  2. October 18th, when we got married

It’s perfect – celebrations of our relationship twice a year!

This March 29th we celebrated 12 years together!!

Where to go? To celebrate we decided on lunching at the 1 Michelin starred The Butcher’s Son at the De Koninck Brewery for delicious steak. To quote the Michelin guide, “De Koninck brasserie is the perfect blend of smart, urban design. Red meat showcased like artwork in display cabinets reminds the visitor that meat is the star of the show here; it is traditionally prepared by the chef and served with delicious side dishes. Balanced flavours come above all else at the Butcher’s son. “

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Dinant, Belgium

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The Citadel, Collegiate Church of Notre Dame, and statue of Charles de Gaulle

I visited Dinant with my parents back in 2014, but Koen had never been. We had a bit of sunshine, so I convinced Koen to take the trek down south. Dinant is most famously known as being the home of Adolphe Sax, who invented the saxophone, and the Battle of Dinant in 1914, where Lieutenant Charles de Gaulle was wounded. The landmarks are the Citadel of Dinant and the Collegiate Church of Notre Dame. Important to Koen and me is of course the regional cuisine – the couques de Dinant, Europe’s hardest cookie, the flamiche, a type of quiche, and Leffe beer which comes from the Leffe Abbey. A lot to see and take in!

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Ostend, Belgium

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Picture Perfect Ostend

Although still cold, the sun was shining – so why not take a trip to the Belgian coast? There are so many cities in Beligum I’d still like to visit and Ostend was at the top of my list.

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Stockholm: Operakällaren

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Operakällaren

We celebrated Valentine’s Day early at Operakällaren, a one star Michelin restaurant in Stockholm’s center. Operakällaren is the city’s oldest restaurant, dating back to 1787 when the restaurant was situated under Gustav III’s opera house. Operakällaren is still linked with the royal family – Stefano Catenacci, the Chef de Cuisines, is responsible for all catering to the Royal Castle. We loved our meal and enjoyed the whole experience – delicious food and a great wait staff! Koen and I were also surprised that Stefano Catenacci came to our table personally to press our duck and even let me try! He also mentioned I’m the first guest to ask!

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Stockholm: Riche

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Riche

I know in November I already posted photos of Riche, but I had to come back! I needed to have their toast skagen again!

To quote the Huffington Post, Toast Skagen is essentially a shrimp toast, but there is one mythical ingredient that sets it apart from any other shrimp toast. Kalix Vendace Roe. This Swedish version of Russian or Iranian caviar is orange, light in taste, subtle and not as pushy as its eastern cousins. It’s often served together with butter fried blinis or toast, some sour cream and very finely chopped red onions – as the star of the show. But in the Toast Skagen, it will have to settle with being the jewel in the crown. An orange colored precious gem, placed on top of this culinary treasure.

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Stockholms Matmarknad

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So many delicious salmon to choose from!

In general, Koen and I really love renting apartments if we’re on holiday. One of our favorite things to do, normally to relax toward the end, is to visit a local market to prepare dinner at our apartment. It gives us an opportunity to try local food and chill at the apartment for an easy evening. Markets are also a great opportunity to delve into the real food culture of a city. Koen is the best at discovering what we need to eat – asking what they miss most when out of the country, what does their family eat at Christmas and other big holidays. Like this we’re sure not to miss anything!

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Stockholm: Esperanto

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View on our walk to dinner

We were curious to try the restaurant Esperanto (now permanently closed) for dinner while in Stockholm. Esperanto is a one Michelin star restaurant that specializes in a fusion of Japanese and Swedish cuisine.

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Stockholm: Matbaren by Mathias Dahlgren

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Evening in Stockholm

In the winter, the days are short in Stockholm. I absolutely love it. The city lights up with a warm glow and you can’t help but feel cozy. After visiting the Vasa Museum, we headed to the Grand Hotel to eat at Matbaren by the chef Mathias Dahlgren. Matbaren was recommened by a Swedish colleague of mine. She told me it’s her favorite restaurant, so of course we had to try it!

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