I love any excuse to eat at Het Gebaar – my favorite restaurant in Antwerp by Chef Roger Van Damme! This time we went with Koen’s parents to celebrate Dook’s birthday! Het Gebaar is located very close to our apartment right next to the Botanical Gardens. The cuisine is typically Belgian with local, seasonal ingredients and can’t-miss beautiful, fantastical desserts!
Because I’m now working in Brussels, I thought it’d be fun to spend an afternoon exploring the city with my parents and seeing where I work. My dad was too sleepy due to jetlag, so my mom and I headed to Brussels! We didn’t have too much on the agenda – just wanted to walk around and enjoy a nice lunch at cowfish restaurant. cowfish is located right off of the luxury shopping street, the Boulevard de Waterloo, so it was the perfect location for us!
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!
Museum Plantin-Moretus is one of my favorites in Antwerp. I always recommend to visitors that if they only have time for one museum to go here. You get a little bit of everything when it comes to Antwerp’s history. The museum is the former house and printing press of the family Plantin and Moretus. By walking through the building you’re able to see their relationship with Peter Paul Rubens and art-loving mayor Nicolaas Rockox, as well as discover how they lived and worked in the 17th century.
Nicole and Adam were in Antwerp for Easter weekend. So for Easter day we prepared a delicious brunch with fresh fruit, fresh baked bread and pastries, and poached eggs with Hollandaise. Yum! We needed the energy for our walk through Antwerp in the afternoon.
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!
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?
Koen and I always celebrate two anniversaries:
- March 29th, when we first started dating
- 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. “
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!