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Restaurants

IMG_1366 IMG_1380 IMG_1398 Amsterdam: July 2014 IMG_1400 IMG_1402 IMG_1403 IMG_1324 IMG_1333 IMG_1363 IMG_1387

This Amsterdam post has been sitting in my drafts for a good two weeks now–waiting to be finalized with text and witty commentary. The reason that I have been a bit hesitant with this post is because it was an uncharacteristically tame trip to Amsterdam. But it was my first trip to Amsterdam, so I suppose the perusal of major attractions requires some responsibility.

Bae and I decided to take a quick 36 hour trip to Amsterdam last summer. We were staying in Berlin at the time, so the quick trip was very simple to execute. We only had a short amount of time so we tried to get as much done without completely inundating ourselves and ruining the trip. As we had left Berlin very early the first thing we did was eat lunch and take a nap. This may sound like wasted time, but you already know how much I need adequate sleep to keep me from acting like a petulant child. After we just walked along the came upon a canal cruise sponsored by Möet, this was an obvious choice and we thoroughly enjoyed being able to take in all of the sites while being seated comfortably and drinking merrily. For dinner, I was excited to try some local cuisine but after asking around discovered that this was basically just steak and potatoes–which was totally fine, as these make up my primary food groups. We decided to try a lesser known restaurant called RED that is known for their delicious surf and turf menu and were definitely glad we did. As someone who tries to abstain from decision making, you can never go wrong with filet mignon AND lobster.

After dinner we began our usual mini bar crawl along the canals. The weather was still warm enough that we could enjoy our drinks outside and it was a particularly beautiful night. We broke up the night with romantic strolls through the Red Light District. I have to say that I found the whole experience to be completely underwhelming. I feel like I’ve seen more nudity and outrageous behavior on European and Australian beaches than in Amsterdam. Or perhaps it was all those spring breaks in Mexico… I wanted to up the ante so we bought tickets to the “Moulin Rouge Live (and Interactive) Sex Show”. There was some comedy involved, but I mainly entertained myself by trying to volunteer Bae to participate (he was not enthused). When it came down to the actual sex show it was kind of just depressing. Regardless, if you go to Amsterdam you have to go to at least one so I suggest you do.

The next day was our pre-established shopping day. As per the guidance of one of my girlfriends, we had breakfast at Bagels and Beans and it was AMAZINGGGGGG. Absolutely a must. We were quite fortuitous because this trip aligned perfectly with the major sale seasons and I believe we bought three pairs of shoes and a new suitcase (to fit the shoes). For lunch we chose this adorable Mexican restaurant overlooking the canals called Rose’s Cantina. Apparently all the dutch culture really evoked a craving for Mexican… The day was perfect and we actually ended up playing cards on the balcony of the restaurant for far too long. We ended the trip by trekking all of our luggage to the I AMSTERDAM sign, snapping a quick photo and ubering it to the airport.

Although the trip was a success, there were several things that I still want to do on the next trip: Visit the Anne Frank House and Van Gogh Museum. Eat at Vinkeles, De Kas, and Ciel Bleu. Spend far too much time loitering in coffee shops. Check out the club scene. Visit the tulip fields and windmills as they were out of season when we went 😦

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The finale of the Grand Roman Adventure consisted of seeing the Colosseum (obviously) and more importantly, eating. While I normally like to check out local recommendations made by random people I meet along my travels, I do like to indulge in at least one, or five, exemplary meals. Normally, I will do my research beforehand and my go to website for this is Elite Traveler’s breakdown of the chicest restaurants around the world, broken down by city, and all normally boasting at least one Michelin Star. The choice on this particular trip was simple as the restaurant is located in one of the best hotels in the city. As we have a tendency to gravitate towards hotels with killer views and overindulgent ambiance, basically anything owned by the Relaix & Chateux group, Bae and I had considered staying at the Palazzo Manfredi for the duration of this trip. However, since the hotel is perfectly situated to overlook the Colosseum and the Imperial Forum it is tragically far from just about anything else of interest. So we decided against staying at the hotel but chose to dine at AROMA, a Michelin Star ranked restaurant located on the top floor of the Palazzo Manfredi.

The restaurant was exquisite in every way and truly deserving of a place on my list of favorite restaurants around the world. The views were stunning and we were able to get a reservation that befell the time of sunset, when the Colosseum would be illuminated by a breathtakingly gold sky. True to form and having learned absolutely nothing from his debilitating hangover, Bae dove head first into a leather bound wine menu about the size of an encyclopedia. Unfortunately, Chef Giuseppe di Lorio  has changed the menu a bit since our visit so I am unsure of what the initial plate consisted of–though obviously, lobster was a focal point. The main course was the “Entrecôte of Argentinian Kobe Beef and ‘Chianina’ beef filet with wine jus and ‘Ratte’ potatoes”. The dish was definitely one of the best entrecôtes I have experienced and perfectly cooked to my medium-rare (but mostly rare) preference, something I’ve discovered is a rarity when traveling abroad. The entire experience was perfection, to say the least, and an ideal end to my first Roman Holiday!

In case you missed it:

Roman Holiday: May 2014 Part II

Roman Holiday: May 2014 Part I