Every couple of months Koen and his friends have a Boys’ Weekend. This time Koen was the host, so I was very happy to escape the boys and stay with Hannah in Leuven for the weekend. We had beautiful, sunny weather and decided to explore the Belgian vineyards of Hageland.
We visited the heart of the Hagelandse wines – Wezemaal (Rotselaaar). They have a visitors center in a 19th century neo-gothic building where you can learn about the Hagelandse landscape and watch a video of the winemakers themselves sharing their passion. We didn’t realized you needed to make an appointment and were lucky we were able to join another group!
For a late Mother’s and Father’s Day, we took Dook and Els to Sir Anthony Van Dijck, where we also celebrated Koen’s birthday last year. When Koen and I told his parents where we would be celebrating his birthday, we learned that Sir Anthony van Dijck was a favorite restaurant of Koen’s grandfather. In fact when Els met Dook’s father for the first time it was at Sir Anthony Van Dijck! So this was surprise culinary destination!
Day Four was our first day spent together with everyone. One of the big things everyone wanted to do while in Tuscany was to see the countryside, visit vineyards, and sample Chianti wines. After a bit of searching we decided on the Chianti Afternoon Wine Tour.
Day Three was a Sunday – the first Sunday of November, sooo all the museums were free! After a bit of discussing, Koen, Tamar, my mom and I decided on Galleria dell’Accademia, most famous for housing Michelangelo’s David. We left early in the morning and luckily the line wasn’t too bad!
Danish breakfast! The big breakfast on the left and the small on the right.
Day three began with another delicious breakfast at Brødflov on the Falkoner Allé in Frederiksberg. We were the only none Danish people in the crowded organic bakery, so we felt like we made a great choice. The staff was super friendly and helpful. Koen ordered the big breakfast that came with your choice of two types of bread – in Koen’s case a sourdough roll and a tebirke. Tebirkes are a sort of Danish poppy seed pastry that are flaky and a little sweet and sticky thanks to the butter and marizipan. In addition to the two types of bread, Koen received three types of Danish sausage, two types of Danish cheese, and a portion of skyr (Icelandic yoghurt).
I ordered the smaller version which also includes two types of bread and chose the spelt sourdough and kanelmonster (giant cinnamon roll). With our breakfasts you’ll see a portion of homemade raspberry jam. As an American I thought it was just to eat on my bread. But then I looked at the girl next to me and realized I was eating my breakfast completely wrong. First of all the bread comes sliced in half and you receive two slices of cheese. So you put one piece of cheese on each slice. Then you put the jam on top of the cheese. Yum! Luckily it wasn’t too late and I enjoyed the rest of my meal the correct way. Both the big and small breakfasts came with a cup of coffee and the fresh juice of the day, which was carrot, apple, and ginger.
Breakfast at Gather – 2 cups of coffee, a lemon muffin, and an egg and kale sandwich with caper mayonnaise
For our last full day in New York City, Koen and I wanted to visit a museum. We only had time this trip to fit one in, so after a lot of thought we decided on the American Museum of Natural History. Last year we visited AMNH and loved it. This time we also wanted to take in the special exhibitions – Dark Universe at the Hayden Planetarium, IMAX: The Great White Shark, and Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs. We started our day with breakfast at Gather in Park Slope before taking the train to the Upper Westside to AMNH. Luckily at the museum you’re allowed to exit and reenter. So we visited the Hayden Planetarium first for the Dark Universe show and then headed to Shake Shack for lunch. I did not want to leave NYC without visiting Shake Shack! After lunch we visited the last two exhibitions – the IMAX show and the Pterosaurs exhibit. We ended the day in Park Slope. First we had dinner at Beet II and finshed with wine at Brookvin. A great last day!
I love experimenting with soup and was excited to try the Watermelon Gazpacho from Green Kitchen Stories. It was a relatively warm summer day in Antwerp and a cold soup sounded refreshing. Although the soup tasted delicious, it was a bit much as a main course. I think it would be better as a starter – strained and served in drinking glasses for a party, perhaps with a shot of vodka.
American Museum of Natural History, Theodore Roosevelt Equestrian Statue
I was lucky enough to celebrate my birthday during our trip to New York City! We decided to save the American Museum of Natural History for the occasion. I had no idea the museum is so big! Luckily you can leave the museum and come back, so we spent a couple of hours in the morning exploring before taking a break to have lunch in Central Park. After spending a few more hours at the museum, we went for a birthday cupcake in Soho followed by a delicious Italian dinner from Di Palo. To end the evening, Koen, Christina, and I went for cocktails at Apothéke, a speakeasy in Chinatown.