Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House

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FACTS:  Located in Chinatown, Philadelphia

WHAT I ORDERED:

Snow Pea Tips with Fresh Garlic

Hand Drawn Noodle Soup: Roast Pork Noodle Soup; Served with Spinach, Cilantro, Scallion & Sour Pickle

MY ANALYSIS:  

My main objective for coming to Nan Zhou was to try their “hand drawn noodle” soup.  And, not surprisingly, I selected the roast pork version, which also includes spinach, cilantro, scallions, and a sour pickle.  I found the noodles, resembling the shape of spaghetti, to be both tasty and fresh.  However, and surprisingly, I wasn’t fond of the broth and found it to be somewhat lackluster.  That being said, I am really looking forward to trying one of their hot dishes during my next visit.

In addition to the soup, we ordered a side of snow pea tips.  After being introduced to these delicious greens over a year ago, courtesy of Lloyd, I am officially hooked.

QUICK TIDBIT:  If you prefer a wider and thicker noodle, be sure to ask for the “shaved noodles” instead.

Fat Salmon

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FACTS:  Located in Washington Square West, Philadelphia

WHAT I ORDERED:

Naked Gyoza with Spicy Tuna: Comes with Masago, Scallion, Pico De Gallo & Sour Cream on Deep Fried Gyoza Skin

Sushi & Sashimi for 2 (30 Pieces): Tuna, Salmon, Super White Tuna, Yellow Tail, White Fish, Albacore Tuna, Smoked Salmon, Scallop, Shrimp, Salmon Roe; Comes with Miso Soup & Salad

MY ANALYSIS:  

Fat Salmon is a vibrant Japanese restaurant, located near Washington Square Park.  And, considering how long we’d gone without having sushi, I was really looking forward to this dinner.  Of course, it was a great excuse to finally check this place out, as well.

As an appetizer, we ordered the naked gyoza with spicy tuna.  Naked gyoza?  What could this possibly be?  Turns out, this dish consists of a spicy tuna blend, served over a crispy wonton.  However, despite its lovely presentation, I didn’t care for the flavoring.

For our entrée, we ordered the sushi and sashimi plate for two, which comes with miso soup and salad.  We actually opted for this selection since it looked to be a great value, along with the fact that it contained most of our favorite items.  For the most part, I thought that the fish was both tasty and fresh.  I must admit, though, that I’ve had better shrimp tempura rolls elsewhere.

Regardless of my critique/opinions, I will happily head back in order to give this place another chance.

QUICK TIDBIT:  Be sure to take a stroll around the beautiful park afterwards.

Café Bern

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FACTS:  Located in Amsterdam, Holland

WHAT I ORDERED:

Salads

Zwitserse Knoflooklsa – Garlic Salad

Jemenitische Sla – Spicy Salad

Fondue

Gruyere Cheese 

MY ANALYSIS:  

If you’re looking for a local restaurant, in addition to that local feel, Café Bern is the perfect choice.  The food is fantastic, the place is packed, and the vibe is good.

We started out with two different salads to share between the two of us.  Both being very tasty, my favorite turned out to be the garlic salad, based on how magnificent the dressing was.  However, I also really liked the spicy salad, which easily lived up to its name.

Based on my fondue craving, I had been anticipating this meal for days.  And, as luck would have it, this restaurant was only a few blocks from where we were staying.  Between the delicious French bread and the melted gruyere cheese, I couldn’t get enough of this savory goodness.  But, as they say, “All good things must come to an end,” including my glorious vacation in Amsterdam.

Without a doubt, I highly recommend this place.

QUICK TIDBIT:  Be sure to check out their newly renovated space on Nieuwmarkt.

Albert Cuyp Markt

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FACTS:  Located in Amsterdam, Holland

MY ANALYSIS:  

The Albert Cuyp Market began in 1904 and is located in the De Pijp neighborhood.  Here, you will find everything from fresh herring and flowers to homemade stroopwafels, along with bargain-basement clothing and other household items.  And, surprisingly, aside from the traditional Dutch booths and fare, I found this market to be very similar to the local street fairs held in New York City as well.

So, if you’re in the area or have some free time, it’s definitely worth checking out.

QUICK TIDBIT:  Free Admission

Restaurant De Kas

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Green Olives, Brussels Sprouts and Fried Carrots

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Carrot, Ginger Bouillon with Tortellini Filled with Lady’s Blue and Spinach

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Apple Crème with Fermented Rhubarb, Celeriac Granola and Pear Baked in a Salt Crust

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Warm Smoked Norwegian Salmon with Romaine Lettuce Roasted on the Big Green Egg and a Crème with Meyer Lemons

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Sea Bass with Roasted Red-Meat Radish, Sauerkraut, Parsnip and a Hollandaise Sauce

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Trifle of Caramelized Red Beetroot and Blood Orange, Chocolate Crumble and a Blood Orange Sorbet

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FACTS:  Located in Amsterdam, Holland

MY ANALYSIS:  

Set in a glass greenhouse and located in Frankendael Park, Restaurant De Kas couldn’t have been any more spectacular.  In fact, it’s one of the best dining experiences that I’ve ever had.  And, other than a dire situation, nothing was going to stop me from going there, not even a cold and rainy day!

Upon entering, I immediately took a stroll through the restaurant’s greenhouse, where organic herbs and vegetables are grown.  However, much of their produce is also harvested in the gardens, on the farmland, and through local suppliers.

As for the structure, space, and interior design of the building, it is equally as stunning as it is breathtaking.  The space is open and airy; the design is modern; and, aesthetically, it’s simply flawless.

Of course, each and every dish was nothing less than superb, along with being exquisitely presented.  From the beautifully arranged soup to the perfectly cooked salmon, I couldn’t have dreamt up a more perfect meal.

I highly recommend this place; it’s one not to be missed.

QUICK TIDBIT:   Be sure to check out their website:  http://www.restaurantdekas.nl/

Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam

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FACTS:  Located in Amsterdam, Holland

MY ANALYSIS:  

The Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful public libraries that I’ve ever seen.  It’s modern, sleek, and truly extraordinary.  And, as you mosey your way up to the 7th Floor, you will come across its gourmet cafeteria.  Not only does this cafeteria contain a multitude of different food stations to choose from; but also the variety is vast, it’s well organized, and everything looks extremely fresh.  It’s really quite impressive, to say the least.  So, without a doubt, I highly recommend visiting here.

QUICK TIDBIT:  Free Admission

Ree7

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FACTS:  Located in Amsterdam, Holland

WHAT I ORDERED:

Sandwich: Crispy Chicken with Avocado, Parmesan, Cheese, Red Onion and Rocket Lettuce

MY ANALYSIS:  

While visiting The Nine Little Streets, we were hoping to find a cute/good lunch spot. Enter: Ree7.  And, as luck would have it, we couldn’t have stumbled upon a more delightful café.

Not only do I love this restaurant’s décor, but I also found the food to be equally fantastic.  More specifically, my crispy chicken sandwich was packed full of healthful and delicious ingredients: it was also generous in size and extremely tasty.  In fact, it was so delicious that I hope to replicate it at home one day.

So, if it isn’t obvious enough already, I highly recommend this place.

QUICK TIDBIT:  Be sure to take a stroll around the neighborhood as well.