For Koen’s birthday we held a second edition of the Chili Cookoff! In 2016 Koen placed in 2nd, so now after two years he was ready to compete again!
The rules: everyone invited brings a chili to be evaluated with the winners announced at the end of the evening. The prizes: 3 hot sauces. The world’s hottest chili for the winner, 2nd hottest chili for the 2nd place, and 3rd hottest chili for 3rd place.
This year was a special birthday for Koen’s mom, Els – she turned 60! So to celebrate it in a special way, we wanted to surprise her with a party! We were very sneaky, telling her that we planned a lunch with the children in Zeeland, but to her surprise we invited family and friends to surprise her at Sand & Pepper Beachbar in Burgh-Haamstede!
To celebrate my birthday a bit further, I organized a Dim Sum and tea brunch at Fong Mei with family and friends on Sunday. Dim Sum is especially fun with a big group, ordering a lot of dishes you can share with everyone! We’re lucky to have such a great Chinese restaurant closeby – Antwerp is actually the only city in Belgium with an official Chinatown.
I’ve been really fortunate the last few years to celebrate my birthday abroad – last year in Copenhagen, the two years previous in New York City – but with our upcoming trip to Japan, this year we kept it low key.
I’m a bit reluctant to admit it…but it’s been forever since Koen and I have thrown a birthday party. We decided there’s no time like the present! So in honor of Koen’s birthday we threw a Chili Cookoff!
Because my mom was celebrating her birthday in Antwerp, of course we wanted to go out for dinner. I feel like over the years my parents have really gotten to know Antwerp the city, but not really Antwerp the province, which comprises of many smaller cities. For the birthday dinner we decided on Orso Pizzeria in Berchem. Berchem is most famous for its art nouveau style architecture. On our way to dinner we were able to look at all of the beautiful houses!
This year Koen’s birthday fell on a Tuesday – my day off. Koen’s parents came to Antwerp that afternoon and we did a lot of groceries – going to the butcher, cheese shop, and Delhaize – so we could prepare a dinner of Koen’s favorite foods.
My parents happened to be in town for Sofie’s birthday. Also in the Netherlands was Koen’s cousin Andrea and her boyfriend Ethan from Canada – so my parents didn’t have to worry about people speaking English. I always love getting together for family birthdays because it gives me the chance to catch up and see everyone! We celebrated at Sofie’s apartment in Breda and enjoyed delicious cakes and frietjes!