7.15 am: I am rudely awoken by the Honey Badger’s alarm. I pretend to be asleep. It’s useless.
7.30 am: The Honey Badger presents me with a cappuccino. This is quite literally the highlight of my day and I go “Yeahhhh!” on a regular basis – like I’ve never seen a cup of bloomin’ coffee before.
8.30 am: After half an hour reading the news, I am at my desk. My clients all seem to either a) live in the US; or b) like working at midnight for some bizarre reason. So there’s always a mountain of email to get through (I am attempting not to answer mails after 7 pm in a bid to spend less time glued to screens – success is limited). I get in a good couple of hours of serious writing/editing/blog-posting before the social media ADD sucks me in…
…And suddenly it’s 11 am: I go for a run (on a good day) to work off all the food and wine I will later consume. I am pleased if I don’t hate it too much.
12 noon: I am, once again, starving hungry. Most days, I eat leftovers from the night before that are all tupperware’d up in the fridge. But today, I meet a friend who’s got the day off for lunch. We’re on the Van Woustraat and I have vague recollections of emails, Facebook posts, comments on my blog, press releases – all informing me of great places to eat in the area. I fail to remember any of them and instead we wander into the Vlaamsch Broodhuys. I am annoyed that I’m not trying anywhere new (I’ve been to the Vlaamsch Broodhuys on the Haarlemmerstraat before) and that with five locations it’s essentially a chain. But by this point I’m too hungry to care.
12.30 pm: The service is such that we are actually eating within 20 minutes of sitting down. I don’t have to wave my arms around – not even once – to order my lunch. It is a minor miracle! The food is decent as well: we order two things off the menu to share, but what arrives is a whole board-load of food with a basket of different types of bread. There’s a small caprese salad (the mozzarella is some of the best I’ve had this side of Italy), artichokes in bulgar wheat, smoked mackerel rillettes that remind me of holidays in Cornwall, a nicely dressed green salad, and a generous blob of hummus. The latter is the only thing I’m not too keen on: it’s so smooth it tastes almost buttery, and is tinged with green (basil?) rather than tahini which is completely lacking. That aside, the rest is delicious, and the coffee is excellent too.
1.30 pm: My email has been beeping at me with requests for translations of job vacancies for a Dutch bank, edits to a food story being pitched to an online magazine, and press enquiries from a Norwegian travel publication looking for insider tips to Amsterdam. I’d better get back to my laptop before my inbox implodes.
6 pm: It’s time for a beer. It must be time for a beer – right? I head to Checkpoint Charlie, this funny-looking new place that’s sprung up just south of the Westerpark (because, as we all know, if there’s one thing I like more than a drink in the evening, it’s a drink in the evening close to my house). I’m meeting a lady called Megan who does a pop-up called Pinch. This feels like a two-birds, one-stone situation: I get to try someplace new AND it’s always fun talking to foodie entrepreneurs.
8 pm: We’re two beers down and it’s clear that neither of us feels like going home to cook dinner. I peruse Google Maps, hoping to spot somewhere to eat that I’ve never been before. This is tough – as I said, we’re only a couple of blocks from Westerpark. I finally alight on Duende Dos – it’s a tapas place that I tried to go to once before but they were closed for a private party. It’s also 300 metres from where we’re sitting – bonus.
8.30 pm: Due to equally good service (I’m on a roll today), we’re halfway into our first glass of wine. By this point, Megan and I have covered pop-ups, politics and boys, so we’ve clearly not looked at the menu. Instead, we ask the waitress to bring us a few dishes of whatever she thinks is good.
9 pm: From the kitchen come a dish of merguez sausages and a spinach salad with plenty of fresh goat’s cheese. They’re both good, but nothing life-changing. The roasted vegetables are a little too sweet and oily for me, and the chorizo comes in rather unsatisfying thin slices rather than meaty chunks. Cheese in manchego-shaped slices appears (you know what I mean) with a block of membrillo; only it’s not manchego – it’s kind of rubbery, like a cross between a young gouda and a hard goat’s cheese.
11 pm: We spend about €30 each, including a full bottle of house red, and I feel bad that I already know I’m only giving this place three stars. The waitress was an absolute gem, and I wish that I’d decided 8 years ago to split out my ratings for food and service. Then I figure that Duende Dos has probably been in business longer than my website has, and I doubt they care all that much what I think. Good for them.
11.30 pm: I drag myself up the four flights of stairs to my apartment, wondering whether to pretend to be more sober than I am. Screw that. The Honey Badger wisely opts not to bother berating me for getting home so late without telling him where I am – we’ve been through this so many times before, he’s given up.
12 midnight: In bed. Ugh – this hangover is going to suck tomorrow. Rest and repeat.Leave a comment...