France + The Netherlands !

Wow I think I need to make this Europe trip a yearly thing.

After our week in Italy, we flew to Paris! Paris, my friends, is a dream. All the buildings have the beautiful, iconic french architecture and the food lives up to the hype.

One night we went to a restaurant that served Tapas. The menu was in French and they did not have an English copy, so google translate and the one waitress who spoke good English were our best friends. We got 7 different tapas and they were all delicious. My favorites though, were the beef tataki and the carrot coconut soup with a poached egg. AH it was all so good.

 

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caprese salad + fried zucchini flower + carrot coconut soup w/ poached egg

My only complaint about this restaurant, and about Paris in general, is that they do not have restrictions on smoking. You can smoke as close to buildings as you want. Our table was right next to an open window, and the people sitting outside, inches away from the window, were smoking up a STORM. We smelled like we had smoked a pack ourselves by the time we left, but it was worth it because the food was so good.

Most days for lunch we would pick up a sandwich and salad somewhere on the street, in between our sight seeing. This salad was one of my faves. It had smoked salmon, a poached egg, green peas and lentils.

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Okay are you ready for the greatest meal yet? In Paris we used my trusted friend Yelp and found this place, Pascade. If you are in Paris it is a must. They serve nearly everything in a souffle, but it was very different than a normal souffle. Normal souffles are puffed up, but these looked more like a german pancake. But they called it a souffle, so thus, it is a souffle. And it was delicious. Everything on the menu was a souffle with different combinations inside of it.

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This souffle had lamb, cooked in a curry sauce, with carrots, onions and cheese. It was unreal. The flavors were strong and worked well together. Andddd, the souffles had a little bit of sugar on the outside which gave it a nice contrast.

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The one on the right had broccoli with daikon, with passion fruit in the middle of the daikon. The one on the left had prosciutto, arugula, and a puree on the bottom. They were divine. I wish I could go back to Paris just to go back to Pascade. Also to get more macarons.

When in Paris, one must have macarons. Thus we got about 10. Let me tell you, these things are addicting. My favorite was this one – salted caramel dipped in chocolate. It was everything good about macarons.

 

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After our trip to Paris we went to The Netherlands! We spent the first day in Rotterdam, then in Delft, and finished in Amsterdam. Rotterdam is a fascinating city. Much of it was destroyed in the war, so it had to be rebuilt and was mostly done with really modern architecture.

Also in Rotterdam, they had a huge food market where sold food from all over the world! The following are from that market:

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several different types of hummus and cheese spreads
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meat for sale. fresh off the animal’s leg. lol.
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turkish street food. tasted like a mediterranean quesadilla.
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strange fruit
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this one tasted like a sweet dragon fruit !
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inside the dragon egg

These fruits were a little strange looking, but so yummy. The yellow one was a “honey” dragon fruit, and tasted pretty much exactly like that! A sweeter version of dragon fruit. The other one looked like it was a dinosaur egg, but tasted a little like a jack fruit.

Another super popular thing was to eat Red Herring, raw. They chop off the head and clean out the rest of it, then you dangle it above your head and take a bite! It still has the tail attached so it looks a little freaky and a little unsettling, but it was actually delish. It tasted like delicious fresh fish, like you would have on sushi. So if you ever get offered raw Red Herring, eat it.

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After Rotterdam came Delft. Delft is the cutest little town I have ever seen. It is pretty quiet and has canals going everywhere, and EVERYONE rides a bike. Like, everyone. Which is a good idea since it is a beautiful place. On the Sunday we were there we went out to the country side and went to church. It. Was. Beautiful. It was so green and the water was pristine. I definitely think I could live there. This picture doesn’t even quite do it justice.

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One thing that is very popular in The Netherlands is CHEESE. They love their cheese. I love their cheese too. They have lots of cheese shops like this one and for sure the best part is the samples. The two flavors we bought to bring home were asparagus and coconut. Yeah, you read that right. And they are both so good.

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One of my favorite things we did in The Netherlands was wander around their farmer’s markets. They had so much fresh produce and lots of beautiful flowers, but also HOT FRESH STROOPWAFLES AND LIEGE WAFFLES.

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liege waffles that will change your life

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Our last stop of the trip was Amsterdam. We went to lots of different art museums which was phenomenal. One of my favorites was a special exhibit featuring Banksy’s work. If you haven’t heard of Banksy before you should probably google him right now, but he is a graffiti artist. No one knows who he is, but his work has become really famous. This is one of my favorite pieces of his that we saw.

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Another fabulous art museum we went to was the Rijks museum. It was insanely large and had a lot of incredible pieces of art. Directly outside the museum, though, was a restaurant. When we first decided to go to the museum restaurant we had low expectations because most museum restaurants are nothing to write home about. This one, however, BLEW OUR MINDS. Before we even ordered they brought out these little cake bits that were carrot ginger flavor.

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My brother and I shared two appetizers. One was “artichoke hearts with artichoke cream, aji amarillo granite, and sweet-sour potatoes” and the other was “cooked ham of goat kid with white asparagus, blaarkop kefir and ghekin”. hahah if you’re thinking to yourself that you don’t know what half of those are, don’t worry I didn’t either. But all I know is they tasted delicious.

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cooked ham of goat kid
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artichoke hearts with sweet-sour potatoes

For my entree I ordered the cod fillet with zucchini, pistachio and BBQ lemon. It was unreal. There was a pistachio foam under the fish that paired perfectly. This was a dish to write home about. My brother ordered the dry aged duck, which came in four different dishes, all featuring a different part of the duck. I only have pictures of a couple of them, but they were all great.

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cod fillet
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duck tongue with a curry sauce
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duck breast with rhubarb

The moral of this story is to go to the Rijks restaurant. Actually, the big moral of this story is to go to Europe and eat all of this food. You won’t regret it. This was the trip of a lifetime and one I’ll never forget!

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