Scenes from the Noordermarkt

Thanks to a tip from Heidi, we headed on Saturday afternoon over to Amsterdam's Jordaan neighborhood in search of the Noordermarkt, an outdoor farmer's market located along the Prinsengracht canal. The market is just a short walk away from the Anne Frank House, which we returned to on another day. By the end of our trip, the Jordaan turned out to be our favorite place for walking and shopping, randomly exploring its narrow streets lined with charming townhouses.

The Noordermarkt occupies a triangle overlooked by the Noorderkerk, a large 17th century church designed by architect Hendrick de Keyser. Though we arrived late in the afternoon, the market was still going strong, filled with stalls doing a brisk business selling an impressive variety of produce, cheese, baked goods, and meats. Below are some photographic highlights.

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Home from Amsterdam






We've finally returned home from our trip to Amsterdam.

Despite a bout with stomach flu that sacked us on our last two days (blame the "Flemish fries" with mayo?), we had a wonderful time exploring Amsterdam. It's a lovely city, even in the drab, wet weather of February.

Not only was the trip an opportunity to go somewhere we had always wanted to visit, we also got to meet a bunch of fellow bloggers whom we had only "known" previously through their online presences. After years of reading 101 Cookbooks, I was very excited to finally meet its creator, Heidi, for the first time. Plus, we also got to know some of the people behind a number of culture, gossip, and music blogs -- namely David, Trent, Rachel, Liza, Frank, and Glenn -- who made the trip the same time we did.

With my fever slowly subsiding, look for posting to return to normal starting next week, beginning with some gastronomical highlights from our Amsterdam adventure.


Agenda: 2/15 to 2/21

1. Currying Favor: A Spicy History of Indian Food in America, food writer Mimi Sheraton will moderate a discussion on the history and evolution of Indian food in the United States, Thursday, February 16, 7:00 p.m., at the Asia Society and Museum, 725 Park Avenue. $30/member, $60/guest (212.517.ASIA).

2. Gravner Wine Tasting, Crush Wine and Spirits will hold a tasting of wines made by Friulian winemaker, Josko Gravner, whose wines are aged in amphorae, large earthenware storage vessel of Greek and Roman antiquity, Saturday, February 18, 2:00 to 5:00 P.M., at Crush Wine and Spirits, 153 East 57th Street. Free (212.980.9463)

3. Winter Challenge, Blue Hill at Stone Barns will present a five course menu made solely from ingredients from farms within 150 miles of the restaurant, Sunday, February 19, 6:30 p.m., at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, 630 Bedford Road, Pocantico Hills, New York. $150/person, including menu and wine pairing, tax and service charge not included (914.366.9600) [Ed.-This listing may be incorrect, and the event may be held at Blue Hill in New York City. Please contact Blue Hill for information on the location].

4. Fifth Annual Beefsteak, Beacon restaurant will hold its annual celebration of "abundant, glorious, gluttonous eating" on Tuesday, February 21, 6:30 p.m., at Beacon, 25 West 56th Street. $95/person (212.332.0500).


Blood Orange Blizzard


If you're suffering from an Olympic chocolate hangover after too many bicerins, here's a fresh, tangy, seasonal alternative to bring you back from Torino -- a Chapala, made with Winter's bounty of blood oranges. (Read more about the bicerin from chocophile David Lebovitz).

The Chapala is a variation on the Tequila Sunrise, but with the addition of fresh lime. In this version, born in the snowstorm, blood orange juice is substituted for plain O.J. Forget any possibility of a vision of a sunrise in a glass, for the blood orange juice blankets everything in a blizzard of deep red color.

Blood Orange Chapala
Adapted from Cesar: Recipes from a Tapas Bar

1 1/2 ounces tequila
Freshly squeezed blood orange juice to fill
Juice of 1/2 lime
Splash of grenadine

Pour the tequila, blood orange juice, and lime juice into a highball glass over ice. Pour the contents of the glass into a cocktail shaker and mix (with minimal agitation). Return the ice, juice, and liquor to the glass and pour in the grenadine.


Agenda: 2/8 to 2/14

1. Port and Chocolate Tasting, sample handmade chocolates from Brooklyn's CaryMo Chocolate paired with tawny, ruby, and vintage ports, Thursday, February 9, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., at The Greene Grape, 765 Fulton Street, Brooklyn. Free (718.797.WINE).

2. Desserts in the Raw, Organic Adventures will present a a course on making raw confections such as cheesecake, chocolate pudding, and macadamia nut cookies, Saturday, February 11, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., at The Plant, 25 Jay Street, Dumbo. $65/person (718.722.7541).

3. Champagne Tasting Dinner, Blue Hill restaurant will serve a dinner paired with Champagnes from the Henriot Estate in France, Sunday, February 12, 6:30 p.m., at Blue Hill, 75 Washington Place. $150/person (212.539.1776).

4. Chocolate Tasting, the French Institute Alliance Francaise (FIAF) will present a tasting of chocolates from Fauchon, Monday, February 13, 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., at Le Skyroom, 22 East 60th Street. FIAF members/$60, non-members/$75, limited seating (646.388.6669).

5. Northern Rhone Wine Dinner, Hearth continues its series of weekly wine dinners focused on regional cuisine with a menu inspired by the food and wine of France's Northern Rhone Valley, Monday, February 13, 7:00 p.m., at Hearth, 403 East 12th Street. $150/person (646.602.1300).


Going Dutch


I have been invited to visit Amsterdam later this month as part of Bloggers in Amsterdam, a special trip arranged by Blogads and the Dutch Tourism Board. In all, 25 bloggers have been selected to travel to Amsterdam throughout the month of February. I'll be joined by my wife, Danielle (we're a two-blog family), and our (blogless) baby daughter, Anya.

In exchange for the free trip, which includes gratis airfare and lodging, each of the 25 blogs will carry a month-long advertisement for There is no official schedule (we're free to do what we want and go where we please), nor is there any requirement that we write anything about the trip. For further information about all the details, a complete disclosure is available at the Bloggers in Amsterdam website.

We're very excited about the visit, as we've never been to Amsterdam before. If you have any suggestions for places to go and things to eat, we want your recommendations. Please chime in below in the comments about restaurants, museums, and specialty food shops, as well as tourist traps that should be avoided. We're also interested in learning about possible day trips outside of Amsterdam, including to Belgium, if it's not too far to visit for the day. We leave in two weeks!


Agenda: 2/1 to 2/7

1. Winter Restaurant Week, participating New York City restaurants are serving three-course prix-fixe lunches for $24.07 and/or three-course dinners for $35.00 (beverage, tax, and gratuity not included) from Monday, January 23, to Friday, January 27, and Monday, January 30, to Friday, February 3. Online reservations are available at

2. Choucroute Month, Les Halles kicks off its annual month-long celebration of Choucroute on Wednesday, February 1. Each Les Halles restaurant will serve a variety of different Choucroutes, from classic Choucroute Garnie to a seafood Choucroute. Choucroute Month continues throughout February at Brasserie Les Halles & Market, 411 Park Avenue South (212.679.4111) and Brasserie Les Halles Downtown, 15 John Street (212.285.8585).

3. All About Fish: The Life Aquatic, fishmongers Ian MacGregor and Brendan Hayes of The Lobster Place will discuss the ins and outs of selecting, purchasing, and preparing seafood on Wednesday, February 1, 6:30 to 8:00 p.m., at Murray's Cheese, 254 Bleecker Street. $50/person (212.243.3289, ext. 25).

4. Sausage and Beer at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, sous chef Adam Kaye and Saw Mill River brewer Charles Ewen will present a five course tasting menu of fresh and cured sausages paired with locally brewed beers, Thursday, February 2, 6:30 p.m., at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, 630 Bedford Road, Pocantico Hills, New York. $95/person, excluding tax and gratuity (914.366.9600).

5. The Glory of Bordeaux, learn about wines from Bordeaux, including lesser-known vintages from neighboring regions, Friday, February 3, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Institute of Culinary Education, 50 West 23rd Street. $80/person (212.847.0722).

6. Piedmont Wine Dinner, Hearth will present a series of four weekly wine dinners focused on regional menus and pairings. The first dinner, featuring a menu inspired by the food and wine of Piedmont, Italy, will take place on Monday, February 6, 7:00 p.m., at Hearth, 403 East 12th Street. $150/person (646.602.1300).