A Layover Snack in Amsterdam

A few days ago my travel companions and I had a 6 hour layover in Amsterdam so we decided to leave the airport and visit this picturesque little city. Meandering along the canals like zombies after a 12 hour crying-baby-adjacent flight from Buenos Aires we tried to soak in as much of the weird tranquility of the place as possible, but after almost getting nailed multiply times by noiseless bicycles coming at us (legally) out of nowhere, we decided to sit down for a bite and a brew to rest a bit and adjust to the fact that we were in Europe for 3 hours between crossing from South America to Asia. For me, this adjustment also involved nostalgically daydreaming about crossing through here on a Eurotrip with my best friend in the summer of 2008, and the amazing experiences we had, and the completely different perspective I saw the city in back then. And Dutch. That’s a language anyone needs a beer to adjust to….

Based on absolutely nothing besides the fact that there were already people sitting there and they looked happy, we chose this place – Cafe de Twee Zwaantjes, a nice little outdoor place on the edge of one of the canals. We asked the tie-dye clad-despite-being-in-his-late-50s waiter for a menu. He said he didn’t have one. We asked about types of wines and he said “White – its a Cabernet Sauv – Chardonnay.” Not a good sign…we passed. We asked which beers they had – he responded only one – we ordered a round. When we asked whether they had french fries or anything to munch on he looked at us funny and said something about “Well I guess croquettes…” so we nodded and gestured “1.” He came back with the beers which we cheersed and downed quickly.

And then something awesome happened. I think when we ordered what was apparently the ONLY thing they had on the menu, we were all three expecting it to be pretty atrocious. “Croquette” is pretty vague and only makes clear that it is breaded and fried, a process which can go wrong very easily. He also did not specify what the croquettes were OF and we were trying hard not to assume it was some sort of stringy cheese (due to the proximity of the place to the “Cheese Museum” – see above). What actually happened was that they were Bitterballen and they were delicious, a shared opinion which surprised us all equally. The croquettes were of a thick stew-consistency braised beef with plenty of onion and chives mixed in. Mushy, warm and comforting filling coated in a perfectly fried crunchy golden exterior. Went fantastically with our second beer. A great way to say hi-bye to a city that has stayed awesome for the past 4 years…

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