The last time I was in Amsterdam, I made quite a few great food discoveries. This time…I guess there was no more to discover?
My eating despair could be summarized in my last dinner. I was staying at the Lloyd Hotel. The menu is very straightforward (see Post #1): headings for ‘Eggs’ and ‘Fried’, with one- or two-word descriptors. I used to rail against overwritten menus, but now I see they’re useful for stimulating the appetite.
I ordered “arugula salad” and “sweetbreads.” The waiter cocked his head slightly, then nodded and walked off. A bit later, the salad arrived. Two minutes later, along came a small plate with two croquettes.
I’ll pause here to explain croquettes (kroketten) a little bit. They’re wads of really thick white sauce with some unidentified bits of meat, shaped into a bloated-Vienna-sausage form, then rolled in bread crumbs and deep-fried. Kids and old people put two of them on a fluffy white roll and call it a sandwich. I’ve had good ones, and I’ve had horrifying ones.
Last spring, I noticed the Spanish eat them too. I assumed they were a French thing. But I met a French woman on this trip who shuddered at the mere mention and said that in France, croquette means ‘dog biscuit.’ I surmise the kroket–croqueta link was forged back when Spain ruled the Netherlands. Maybe the various Old Master painters who went to Spain to pain for the court brought the fried nuggets back? Gastro-historians, please investigate.
So I thought these croquettes I received with my salad were some kind of comped appetizer, even though the Dutch don’t play that game. I ate them, and waited. And waited. Eventually, I realized I was full anyway, and hauled myself off to bed to digest.
I would write some funny kicker here, but it seems more accurate to leave it as is, on that fairly dismal note.
Six utterly uninspiring words:
Sausages in the train station HEMA. Are these meant to be brought as hostess gifts? This particular type of sausage was memorialized on a postage stamp recently, by the way.
Well, at least the liquorice isn’t a total loss. Hey–what?!