Saturday, August 18, 2012
Brussels Street Food
I came with a mission. As it is obvious, my motive for travel is food. And it just so happens that Brussels is known for a few key items. I only had 24 hours to hit up some mussels, waffles, chocolate, and fries. As my quest begins, I can’t help but feel like I’m on the Amazing Race… another dream of mine!
After checking into our hotel, we stroll around the Grand Place in search of lunch. We browse through the narrow back streets filled with endless restaurants, and settle on one with patio seating and a list of specials displayed for €10. Once seated, we were given menus with entrees overpriced at €25-35 each. Our waiter attempts to take our order several times and each time we are unsure, so he reluctantly gives us a list of specials and pre fixes. Finally, we are given the €10 specials! For €10 I had a beer with a pot of mussels and fries. Though I was more than happy with the deal, I was not happy with the service. In addition to ordering one plate of garlic bread and receiving five instead, we were given the punishment of record-breaking slow service for ordering off the tourist menu. But we did, after all, choose a restaurant in the Times Square of Brussels. What did we expect?
During the first half of the day there was off and on rain. What better reason to stop for a Belgian beer? We popped into a bar near the Grand Place and I had Chimay blue served in a goblet, just as I like! The rest of our day is spent touring the city by foot, going in and out of chocolate shops, and a stopping for a photo-op at the Atomium.
As day turned to night, we still needed to fulfill two more cravings. We stopped for Belgian fries at a traditional frites shop. They were twice fried, sprinkled with salt, and served in a cone with the sauce of your choosing on piled on top. We chose curry ketchup and spicy American sauce from the extensive list on the wall. No sooner we dogged the fries, we were next door for Belgian waffles. They were freshly made and topped with nutella, whipped cream, bananas, and strawberries. The utensil situation wasn’t ideal, as the fork doubled as a knife for righty’s. Us lefty’s were left tearing it apart with a fork and finger like savages. Nutella dripping everywhere. Nutella massacre. You get the visual.
Needless to say, that was our dinner in Brussels and it was fulfilling. I have achieved all my Belgian food goals and I’m ready to move on to the next city….
Thursday, August 9, 2012
Impasse De La Fidelite 4A 4, Brussels
+32 2 514 44 34
My first time in Brussels was three years ago, and I stumbled upon a massive pub down a quaint narrow alley. It’s called Delirium Café, and the first thing I noticed was the 4-inch-thick binder they called ‘the menu’. I browsed the menu for something different, and it certainly had options. I had a coconut beer, made by Mongozo exotic beers, and it was served to me in a coconut shell. I knew this would be a place to visit again…
This week, I made it back to Brussels, back to the Delirium Café for round two. I forgot just how spacious the interior is. With three floors of bars and outdoor seating, I was surprised at how crowded the place was on a Monday night. Delirium Tremens bottles lined the walls in the lower level. Popular American music played throughout, and there was a lot of English being spoken. Undoubtedly it’s a tourist bar, but I found nothing wrong with that! Famed for having over 3,000 different beers (each with the applicable glass to match!), Delirium Café is the threshold for beer experimentation.
We sat ourselves at a table in the back, and I went off to order a few of the wackiest beers I could get my hands on. I noticed the menu isn’t as thick with laminated pages as it used to be. Now it’s published into what looks like a magazine, with beer categorized by country, and it’s available for sale at the bar for €5! Several minutes later, I returned from the lower level bar with a variety of beer. We had sour cherry beer, apricot beer, and cookie beer. There were mixed reviews at the table. Everyone else voted the cookie beer as most puke-inducing. I thought it was all right, though it didn’t taste strongly of cookies. My least favorite was the apricot beer. It was super sweet, lightly carbonated, and not chilled enough for me.
Our next round was a bit less eccentric. Still, I had Satan Gold, an 8% Belgian beer. It was the tastiest goblet of devil juice I’ve ever had. We finished the round and called it a night. I appreciate all the Belgian beers I got to try during this trip, and being served beer in a goblet is always a good thing. Delirium Café is my number one recommendation for all beer lovers around the world.
Saturday, August 4, 2012
Just when I thought I couldn’t find anything but mediocre overpriced hotel food, I stumble upon Twin Brothers. We took a rapist-van-looking taxi into town to visit a little area called “The Fish Fry”. It’s a strip of pastel painted restaurants/bars serving local food for those looking for a more authentic place to hang out outside the resorts.
We went ahead and sat at a picnic table outside, and ordered the famous daiquiris. Delicious! But our intoxicated taste buds knew better. When we asked the waitress, she confirmed there’s no alcohol in them. We immediately pushed the drinks aside, feeling confused, betrayed, and taken advantage of. Never again will we waste calories on VIRGIN drinks!
We order the conch fritters. They are greasy in the best way, worthy of each calorie. For dinner, we share a plate of blackened salmon, rice and beans, and cole slaw. All the flavors of the Caribbean were in our bellies mixing through our digestive tracks with all the local Kalik beer we drank earlier at the beach. Nothing says VACATION like a bloated beer gut on the beach!