Oh, but there was a lot of food the past few days. If there is a better way to spend a long weekend than walking around a pretty city eating Many Delicious Things, I don’t know about it.
With a hotel voucher to spend and a break on our minds, the man and I planned a trip to Groningen. We picked Groningen mostly because we could get two nights’ stay there for our voucher, and only one in Maastricht. Plus, they have a famous museum, nightlife reportedly buzzing with student-fueled energy, lots of pretty old buildings to look at, and… Oh, who am I kidding? We were cheap, Groningen was there, the deal was sealed.
And a great deal it turned out to be. Our trip started with lunch at the Feithhuis, an old building tucked away behind the Martinitoren. We sat on one of its rooftop terraces, an excellent vantage point to spy on Groningers strolling to or from the Grote Markt. Still, we managed to miss a catfight between two women on the doorstep of the Feithhuis. We were brought up to speed on events, though, by a thoroughly excited waiter. “Did you see that fight? Between the two women, one with a little kid?” Uhr, no, we didn’t. We did, however, thoroughly enjoy the sandwich with homemade paté and the mustard soup he brought over.
If it had been up to me, we would have segued straight into drinks and snacks on the Grote Markt (a late lunch meant we were likely to skip cocktail hour altogether if we didn’t get on it quickly), but I had my man to contend with so we just got an unremarkable ice cream and set out on a tour of the area around the Grote Markt. Not too shabby an idea, I suppose, because we saw some pretty things (buildings, squares… ooh, and the Prinsentuin medicinal garden) and worked up an appetite for dinner at Boccaccio. Literally steps away from our hotel, this Italian restaurant served us mixed antipasti (with mozzarella from Groningen… mmmmm!), veal with gorgonzola sauce/halibut with shrimp sauce and cheese/grand dessert. (Can you guess who had what? I’ll give you a hint: the man thought “kalfsoester”, which translates literally as veal oyster, had something to do with oysters and doesn’t go in for raw seafood.) I would have licked my plate if I had dared. Also, I had an aperitif of prosecco with aperol and fully understand why Molly was so excited. I don’t even like alcohol and I pondered buying a bottle of aperol to repeat the experience.
The next day started with a croissant with brie for me, and a ham and cheese roll for the man. Then we explored a second part of town, and bought old-fashioned licorice with gum Arabic at Droppie. The lady wasn’t kidding when she told us to “suck on them before biting in, because they’re kind of hard”, but the flavor was worth the extra bit of effort. Yum. At this point my man wimped out and sat on a bench in the sun to settle his unruly stomach (clearly, an amateur in the eating-many-things department). This meant more food shopping time for me, which I spent at the Hanzehuis buying chocolate with salted caramel bits and chocolate covered marzipan.
Just in time for lunch, the man recovered a little and we walked to Zorre, the place of my taco dreams. I did not know this going in, but one bite of their taco hongos told me all I needed to know. A fresh, fresh, fresh flour tortilla with mushrooms in tomato sauce, mushroomy and bright in taste. Of course I didn’t stop at the one bite, but kept going with both the taco and a crispy tostada, full of corn flavor and covered in guacamole, lettuce and melted cheese. My, oh my. Needless to say, we went back the next day for lunch and tried a quesadilla with guacamole and their mild sauce- big YUM again. Also on the chocolate cake, which was light and moist with lots of sweet chocolate flavor and served with an impeccable espresso. Dear Zorre people, if you open a branch inAmsterdam, I promise to eat there at least once a week. Please get on that?
After the first lunch, my man wasn’t feeling up to strolling around much more, so we went back to the hotel, where I started on “Keys to Good Cooking” by Harold McGee and the man took a nap. Properly refreshed (and fortified by a pound of strawberries), we set out for coffee and wifi at Coffee United. Great coffee, and efficient planning of our next holidays. What more can a person want? Why, dinner of course. So we settled in at De Branderij where the waiting staff was lovely, but the food decidedly less so. The man’s tomato soup was so firey it should be rechristened Tabascosoup, his steak was overcooked and my cheese fondue on the salty side. Can’t win them all, I suppose, and the movie afterwards (The Lincoln Lawyer) did not disappoint.
After breakfast at Bagels and Beans the next day (sometimes chains aren’t such a bad thing, especially not if they sell cinnamon raisin bagels with banana and maple syrup) we walked through the university quarter and saw the Noorderplantsoen park. At a Sola outlet store we bought a new knife and cheese slicer and after lunch (lovely lunch) we paid Coffee United another visit for some beans to take home.
Now all I need is to find some pants that will fit after a weekend of Groningen decadence.