A good friend of ours just moved to Leuven, so we came to visit to see the new place and explore! This was my first time in the city, but I knew I wanted to have dinner at Würst – the “haute” dog restaurant by Jeroen Meus. We tried a few varieties, but my favorite has to be the most classic – topped with pickles and sauerkraut. After dinner we went for homemade gelato at Decadenza Gelateria. A delicious evening!
Butcher’s Store from De Laet & Van Haver in Hove is a meat lover’s paradise for over 25 years now. 7 years ago they opened Butcher’s Dining next door. We went with our friend Nanw and Mihai on a quest for the most delicious steak dinner. Luckily there are a lot of sharing options! We chose 4 starters to split, followed by an entrecote tasting. Well worth the drive to Hove for a delicious steak dinner!
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!
For Christmas this year, we gathered in Breda for a potluck Italian dinner at Sofie’s apartment. Everyone prepared a different dish to bring for dinner. Koen made sourdough focaccia and I prepared pasta lazio, a penne dish with chicken, artichokes and sundried tomatoes.
When Koen and I hit the milestone of 9 years together, we decided to celebrate with lunch at the Michelin star restaurant Het Gebaar, from Roger Van Damme. I’m not exaggerating when I say this was the best meal I’ve ever had. My mouth is literally watering as I’m typing thinking about this delicious lunch. I dream of the steak tartare…
And now I can’t wait to go back in November to celebrate with my parents for my mom’s birthday!
A couple of weeks ago, Claire and I explored a bit of Brussels before class. We wandered the city discovering the Mont des arts, Magritte Museum, Parc de Bruxelles, and the Royal Palace. It’s shame we couldn’t take photos inside the museum! I’m a big fan of Magritte and it was so inspiring to see the world’s largest collection of his works. Because we started with his earliest paintings, it was evident how his work evolved. Before visiting the museum, I was only familiar with his most famous paintings and signature style. But it turns out he was always experimenting. There was an entire room with paintings from his Renoir Period! If you are in Brussels, you must visit the Magritte Museum!
This summer I’ve been taking classes in Brussels, so I took the opportunity to do a bit of exploring. I had already been to Brussels a few times, but always to the Historic Center and other touristy places. I had heard about Matongé from a colleague and was curious to check it out! Luckily a classmate, Samy, was free after class to show me around – and thought it was funny I wanted to go and take photos. I especially wanted to get plantains, okra, and habanero peppers, because they’re difficult to find in Antwerp. Fresh produce was available in abundance with little markets located throughout Matongé! I bought some Congolese food to-go to try the next day.
With my plantains, okra, and peppers I made Quimbombó con Carne de Puerco y Bolitas de Plátano – okra stew with pork and plantain dumplings. It’s a Cuban dish with a heavy African influence. It’s a bit like gumbo. If you say “King Gumbo” really quickly you get the idea. Everything turned out really well except for my plantain dumplings. They didn’t stay in their form. If I make this again, I will just fry them rather than mashing them and making balls.
Tuesday night USA played against Belgium in the World Cup. This was a match I couldn’t miss! Koen and I watched the game at the Grote Market on a big screen. Of course I’m American and was cheering for America (but not too loudly haha). The energy was high and infectious. Definitely an experience I’ll remember!
My parents have already seen a lot of the Netherlands and the Flemish part of Belgium, so this trip we ventured toward the south into Wallonia. Dinant, Belgium is located at the beginning of the Ardennes on the Meuse River. I searched for city trips within Wallonia and after seeing a photo of the beautiful cathedral, citadel, and river, I wanted to find out more information. Dinant is most famously known as being the home of Adolphe Sax, who invented the saxophone and would be 200 years old this year, and regional cuisine such as the couques de Dinant, Europe’s hardest cookie, and the flamiche, a type of quiche served with a glass of Burgundy, as well as Leffe beer. So we decided to check it out!