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Lois

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  1. We're back from our trip! It was great, and we followed the advice above about exploring Haarlemmerstraat and the Westerpark on the first day. That was perfect. I had a good sandwich from the shop mentioned (Vlaamsch Broodhuis), and it was fun to peek in all the windows and buy a few little treats. By the way, what is up with the huge number of Argentine steakhouses in Amsterdam? I felt like we saw them all over the place. When we returned to Amsterdam at the end of our trip, we rented an apartment near the Vondelpark on de Lairessestraat. We had a kitchen there, so we did more takeout and cooking at that point; we were also frankly a bit sick of eating in restaurants with our two-year-old, after ten days of traveling. But we did have an enjoyable lunch at Brasserie de Joffers on Cornelius Schuyp(or something?)straat, and did some hanging out at the Groot Melkhuis as well as 't Blauwe Theehuis, both of which were very pleasant. One highlight of the trip was happening to go to the Rijksmuseum on the morning of Rembrandt's birthday--so we ended up with belegde broodjes and croissants and very tasty cake, not to mention free admission. That was a treat. I took the advice about getting a Turkse pizza from the bakery (Mescan?) on the Rozengracht, and it was fantastic. And I took my daughter to the Albert Cuypstraat market, which was fun--though we unfortunately overlooked the ice cream place just mentioned. A shame!
  2. Oh, that all sounds completely brilliant. Thank you. And since our later stay in Amsterdam will be further south (near the Vondelpark/Museumplein area), I think it would be nice to explore a different section of the city. It seems like that southern neighborhood is well covered in Klary's upthread suggestions (I've copied a lot of them). We're really looking forward to our visit. (Now I just have to pack and get through the plane ride.)
  3. Can anyone recommend some casual but tasty places in Brugge? We'll be traveling with our two-year-old, and while she is accustomed to eating in restaurants and is fairly placid for a two-year-old, she is still a toddler. Any ideas?
  4. It's a hotel on Martelaarsgracht, on the first night. Our flight gets in at 11am Amsterdam time, so we should have the better part of an afternoon to hang out, assuming we don't collapse. Suggestions?
  5. I'll be in Amsterdam with my family (me, husband, two-year-old daughter) for one night on Thursday, and then again at the end of our trip (July 14-18) for four nights. The first night we're staying right by the Centraal Station. I expect we'll all be exhausted and will eat whatever we can forage, but if there's something great and handy, I would love to know about it. And for the last several days, we'll be staying near the Museumplein and the Vondelpark. I've never been to Amsterdam before and am a bit clueless about its geography, but I'd love to hear about places that would be especially good to take a two-year-old in that area. (I've noted the spots in the Vondelpark.) We'll have a kitchen in that apartment, so great food shops would also be good to know about.
  6. Hey, I wrote that article! Thanks for the link and the sympathy. The cold french fries really were awfully bad in the roll. I don't know if it made it better or worse that they didn't even use nori for a lot of the rolls--the "gringo sushi" all had these weird, dry, floury wrappers.
  7. Wow, wild horseradish--sounds fantastic. Carrot Top, thanks for the link to the other thread--I missed that. MsMelkor, what kind of mushrooms do you find? And, if I may ask, where in the North Bay?
  8. I'm working on a piece on foraging for wild food: greens, mushrooms, berries, seafood, what-have-you. I'm interested in hearing what people find and the region where they find it, anywhere in California (or elsewhere, for that matter). What are your great finds? To what lengths will you go to keep others from learning about a site? I'm especially interested in spring produce. Note: in accordance with the user agreement, I am not planning to quote any posts here; I just want see what people are doing out there for general information. However, if you're willing to be interviewed about this topic, please feel free to PM me or note that in any response. Personally, I love wild blackberries and used to harvest them in my old neighborhood in SF; I always felt like I was getting a little bit of rural experience in the middle of the city.
  9. Lois

    California Country

    In Lodi, Wine & Roses (also a hotel and spa) for high-end; School St. Bistro for lunch or casual dinners. I haven't tried Rosewood (I think that's the name), which is also owned by Wine & Roses, but bet it would be good. (I think all of these are mentioned in the Short Stop article on Lodi in the very same issue of Via you cite.) In Woodland, there's a year-old place called Tazzina Bistro, run by a young woman who's a native of the area, that I liked very much. Davis is also getting some good spots (Seasons, Tucos Wine Bar), and Sacramento's restaurant scene is absolutely booming, with some really good high-end places and tons of new stuff. But I guess Sacramento isn't actually out of the way. In Chico, aside from Red Tavern, there's also the Raw Bar (sushi and other things). The Fifth St. Steakhouse has good steaks.
  10. Lois

    California Country

    Thanks for the link, ludja. The decor at Echo was great when I went (earlier this year). However, I've heard that they were planning to move out of the old, funky, slightly gritty, slowly gentrifying part of Fresno they were located in, to the more recherche part of town. I don't know what happened with the great murals they had, but I'm sure the food would still be excellent, whatever the location. You know, there's now very good food in Lodi, too, and Woodland. Still no joy in Stockton or (as far as I know) Modesto.
  11. Lois

    California Country

    I've been to the Red Tavern several times, and it's really excellent. I'm originally from Chico and it is head and shoulders above anything we had there back in the day when I lived there. (I actually wrote them up myself once, in a brief piece.) It reminds me of some of the best neighborhood places in San Francisco--not the big flashy places, but spots where you can get innovative yet simple and very well-cooked food. The other places mentioned are not ones I've been to, but I've heard good things about all of them except the brand-new place in Fresno; this piece was the first I've heard of that one. There is, however, another very good place in Fresno called Echo.
  12. ludja, I think Draeger's carries it. They're in Menlo Park and also, I believe, Los Altos. (Or Los Gatos. I get them confused.) They will undoubtedly charge you an arm and a leg for it, but they'll probably have it. The Oakville Grocery at the Stanford Shopping Center also might well have it. In San Francisco, the various Lucca delis (one on Valencia, one in the Marina) would be a good bet, too.
  13. Jensen, you can also find jook at Gam Lei Sig, 918 S Street, (916) 446-6888.
  14. I wanted to note that the new issue of Sacramento magazine has a great roundup of local food sources (farmers' markets, CSAs, great grocery stores/food markets, and more). It's the cover story, by Kira O'Donnell, and it's excellent and very comprehensive.
  15. Thanks, everyone, for the recommendations. We had a great (if pricey) brunch at Ramos House. I had crab hash and some beignets--very yummy. And Iva Lee's was really fun, too. My mom loved her dinner and seemed to have a very happy birthday.
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