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Published: August 19th 2019
August 19, 2019
UGH….Travel day. We all know how this is going to play out. Tired. On edge. We shall survive, perhaps even thrive!! Positive outlook!! POSITIVE. OUTLOOK!
The alarm scared the hell out of me. I truly think I jumped out of bed! I was sound asleep, even after some VERY strange dreams about members of my family, who shall remain nameless.
The car is coming to pick us up at 8:30 am, we shall be ready! We had our final breakfast at the Rueben’s, the car is here and we are READY! The drive to Heathrow wasn’t too difficult -particularly since WE weren’t driving!! We had the same driver from Southampton – so we “caught up”! hehe. He’s a Brexit supporter….so we don’t have a lot in common.
Easy ride to the airport. Check in. Easy. Security…must admit – easiest Heathrow security check EVER! Christopher was NOT stopped….a first! We got to the lounge (NOT a KLM lounge, but the Priority Lounge system. Interesting. I missed the bar – a little early, but the screaming child (I. MEAN. SCREAMIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNGGGGG Child) was a bit too much at this hour. Mommy & Daddy were not silencing her at all. Just let her scream. OK….back in my day….NEVER. WOULD. HAVE. HAPPENED. All it took to shut us up was “the look”. You don’t obey the look - heaven help you – because NOTHING else would! I think parents are AFRAID to be parents! I don’t have children (never wanted to be a parent) so I shouldn’t judge…but that doesn’t mean I won’t! AMIRIGHT!?
Their flight is called (thank goodness they are NOT on our flight) and the room is suddenly VERY quiet. Going to be a long flight for Mommy & Daddy…and the other passengers!!
Time to go! We got to the gate and got on board the plane – a short 45 minute flight to Amsterdam. Uneventful. Full plane. No screaming children (YAY)!!
We arrived in Amsterdam, got our luggage and our driver was waiting for us. Excellent! The drive to the Hotel, about 20 minutes, went quite fast. We are reserved at The Pulitzer Hotel. Fingers and toes CROSSED!
Could NOT have asked for a better hotel. YES! Ending on a VERY High note!! This is a beautiful, centrally located hotel with a wonderful staff. Thank you Maureen…you done good! Funny aside, had lunch with a dear friend Barbara, we discussed Amsterdam and hotels….little did I know that we were already booked at the Pulitzer (her favorite) – I called Christopher to say we should stay there – he just laughed. “we’re booked there…” – I don’t always listen, I guess…or HE doesn’t tell me! Yeah…that’s it. He never said anything….probably told me.
We were upgraded. I heard bits and pieces of the conversation, in Dutch, where I SWORE I heard…VIP, Upgrade, etc….AND…we WERE! The room is wonderful. We are located in the Keizersgracht 226 building, which was built in 1615! Nothing but trees as old as that in the USA!!! The hotel is a series of connected buildings the width of the block consisting of 22 buildings. SO. COOL. They have a boat – for Hotel Guests ONLY….we have booked our “voyage” for tomorrow at 5pm. We shall have a tour of the canals…can’t wait. I did it YEARS (1979) ago in college.
Up to the room. Luggage arrives. Unpack. Let’s go for a nibble. Haven’t eaten since breakfast, at it is now 3:30ish. FOOD. NOW! The bar downstairs will be just fine. The Bar menu starts at 4 – they make an exception! A glass of Rose, some crostini and we are SET! It was all so wonderful.
Time for a walk. We walked around the neighborhood, went towards the Old Town and just wandered. Found a SONY store – looking for a new phone for later. We THINK we have made our choice. YAY!
Back to the hotel for a bit of a rest. Christopher was asleep in a matter of minutes! I mean OUT! I was in and out of a relaxing sleep. Guess we needed it. Finally about 7pm we thought it time to consider dinner.
SO….check the Google. Where should we eat?! There are 2 “nice” restaurants near the hotel. Christopher found one, I the other. We go to his choice….fully booked. We go to my choice. Outside or the “high table” – we take the high table. I am SO HAPPY WE DID!!!!!
The restaurant is called ENVY. It’s a small narrow space, black walls, ceiling – natural tables, huge bulbous light fixtures above the very long “high table” actually beautiful space. Neither of us brought our phones. First time EVER we wish we had our phone at dinner! PICTURES won’t do this place justice, but it would be nice!!
We take our seats. Menus arrive. UM….this is only wine. We want FOOD! AH, the food menu arrives. So many, MANY options. We select the four plate wine pairing meal. So VERY glad we did!
The amuse bouche arrives. 2 white chocolate orbs atop a raw beet. The orbs are filled with beetroot juice – pop it into your mouth and bite down. An amazing explosion of flavor happens in your mouth. SUBLIME. Beets, white chocolate (which neither of us like) – but here….perfection!
First course. Steak Tartar with feta cheese and blueberries, paired with a Macedonian red wine served chilled – Excellent. The wine was dark with dark berry and plum flavors. Perfect pairing. Probably wouldn’t drink the wine on it’s own, but it does work so well with the Tartar.
Second Course. Plaice (fish) with creamy polenta, chili and coriander oils. OH. MY! Atop the fish are fried corn kernels, not unlike “corn nuts” only NOT as hard or difficult to chew. The flavors are sublime, the polenta was almost a foam texture – not rubbery, not crunchy – soft and smooth – even the strategically places micro greens were purposeful and added a mild grassy taste. The wine was a French Sauvignon Blanc – excellent acidity, flavors of jasmine and stone fruit. LOVE!
Third Course. Dual Purpose Beef (aka: milk cow) Artichoke Cream and Olive Tapenade. You have NEVER tasted a trio of flavors such as this. I promise you. The artichoke “cream” (puree) was smooth, artichoke flavor came through, fried artichoke bits topped the “cream” the jus of beef was just the most perfect something extra – unexpected, yet so VERRY necessary. HEAVEN! The tapenade did NOT have garlic (YAY) the black olives were finely chopped and once again, without them, the dish would have been something else and not as special. The beef were two small cubes – just the right amount of food. This dish was paired with a Sangiovese from Tuscany. Excellent. A very drinkable red wine, but with this beef dish – taken to the next level.
Fourth Course. Dessert. It’s called: Yogurt, Lemon, Granny Smith, Parsley. HARDLY DOES THIS JUSTICE! The yogurt is freeze dried…who knew? The lemon is a “waffle” of lemon semifreddo made with egg white (amazing melt in your mouth goodness), the granny smith are 2 very thin slices of strategically placed granny smith apple, the parsley is a gelee. The waffle is topped with pistachio ice cream and small dollops of smooth yogurt. There is also an ice orb of lemon which was tucked ever so gently behind the pistachio ice cream. I can’t say ENOUGH about this dessert. A perfect balance of sweet (but not too SWEET and sour but not mouth puckering sour) – BALANCED! A sublime ballet of sweet and savory. This was paired with a dessert wine (we normally do NOT drink dessert wine…we made an exception). SO GOOD. Again – that balance of sweet and mineral and savory. A perfect way to end a perfect meal.
You might think this meal cost in the HUNDREDS of dollars. NOPE! Not at all! This place is a GOLD. MINE! When in Amsterdam, you MUST, I INSIST, visit ENVY!
Back to the hotel to scribe and mellow out. Not at all full or uncomfortable, but perfectly satisfied. Our meal lasted just shy of three hours. As dinner should be. Particularly, if small portions and wine pairing.
We thoroughly enjoyed our first night in Amsterdam. Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.
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