Category Archives: Netherlands

Indonesian Cuisine in Amsterdam

Blauw Restaurant WEBRestaurant Blauw Amsterdam
Amstelveeneweg 158-150
1075 XN Amsterdam

Following on the heels of earlier successes in both Utrecht and the Hague, Blauw opened its Amsterdam restaurant in 2008, in the leafy district immediately adjacent to Vondelpark.  One needs a reservation here, for it is a privilege to be among the 90+ diners that enjoy its famous Indonesian cuisine, created by Agus Hamerwan, a chef extraordinaire.  The tone for its friendly, relaxed atmosphere is set by Jerry, the manager, whose smile and joviality is simply contagious.

Blauw  Rice Table 2 WEB

Rijstaffel – Indonesian Rice Table

 blauw-appetizer-web-vertLemongrass, aniseed, curry and coriander.  Cinnamon, ginger, chili and lime… To sample an Indonesian Rice Table at the hands of Agus Hamerwan, is an unforgettable experience; yet it would be difficult to remember, much less name, all the 18 side dishes that accompanied this rijsttafel, the Dutch name for this presentation of many dishes at once – a practice that has its origin in Dutch Colonial Indonesia.  The accompanying dishes include meats, fish, vegetables, eggs and nuts prepared in countless blends of spices, from simple to exotic, some ever so mild and others hot and spicy.  These offerings were arranged in boat-shape dishes and we “sailed” with ease through this sea of flavors, and colors, and textures.  

Agus would visit our table from time to time to explain how a particular dish was made, why he chose to use a particular spice in an unexpected way, to tell us of his life. His personal culinary dream is to constantly experiment with spices, using them in different ways that still reflect and respect his native country’s cooking traditions, and thus elevate Indonesian cuisine to a level of excellence in a city that boasts many Indonesian restaurants.  In this he has succeeded.  Restaurant Blauw is included in the 2013 edition of “Where the Chefs Eat”.  Energetic and caring, when not preparing meals in the restaurant, he devotes his time and talents to fund-raising for charities.

So how does one end such a meal?  With our chef’s cool, velvety coconut milk panna cotta, made with the vibrant green leaves of the pandan plant, giving this naturally sweet desert a brilliant green color and unique flavor.   Thank you, Agus and Jerry, for a most memorable meal in Amsterdam!

Blauw Jerry & Agus WEB

Jerry & Agus – an unbeatable team


All content on, both images and writing, is copyrighted material © Ginda Simpson unless otherwise indicated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this content without express and written permission from Ginda Simpson is prohibited.


Bed and Breakfast Amsterdam

Bed & Breakfast Amsterdam original watercolor painting - copyright Ginda Simpson

Bed & Breakfast Amsterdam                                            original painting – copyright Ginda Simpson

Bed and Breakfast Amsterdam
Sloterkade 65-1
1058 Amsterdam

       This lovely century-old canal house in a quiet residential neighborhood of leafy southwest Amsterdam offers a retreat from the touristy center and a taste of authentic Amsterdam “at home” hospitality.  The house is typical of canal architecture; its slate blue façade with potted daffodils on its balcony sends a welcoming picture to the weary traveler at the end of a long day of sightseeing.  Indeed, this is one of its many special aspects.  The immediate neighborhood boasts no less than fifteen ethnic restaurants, and a sun-drenched café/restaurant on the corner, where neighbors and friends meet and soak up the rays while enjoying a chilled beer or aperitif.   

As with all structures of this type, the stairs are steep, but the climb is worth it.  Our suite on the uppermost floor has lovely views onto the canal in front, and garden views to the south.  Tall windows and a large skylight add luminosity and warmth in a spacious suite completely decorated in white – a comfortable sitting room, a fully equipped kitchen and dining area, bedroom and full bath.  The only accent color is green, in both the decorative items and the lively foliage of plants. The minimalist décor is soothing and welcome when one’s senses have been saturated with the sights and sounds of this very animated city.  Not another thing is needed.  No detail is overlooked here.  The innkeepers display a genuine and generous sense of hospitality with their many thoughtful gestures – from current wine and chocolates left bedside, to a selection of cereals, teas, coffee, and ginger biscuits for a light breakfast.

Bed and Breakfast Amsterdam is a little distant from the city center, but a thirty-minute stroll through Vondelpark, one of the most beautiful and popular parks of Amsterdam, brings you to the fashion and museum district of the city.  Although there is public transport easily at hand, we chose each morning to meander into the city by way of this vibrant park, through which the local community walks, jogs, and cycles to school and to work.  It is a pleasant way to feel part of the city, if only momentarily. 


All content on, both images and writing, is copyrighted material © Ginda Simpson unless otherwise indicated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this content without express and written permission from Ginda Simpson is prohibited.






Dutch cuisine in Old Amsterdam

Restaurant Greetje - WEBRestaurant Greetje
Peperstraat 23-25
1011 TJ Amsterdam

Make a dinner reservation at Greetje’s.  Then meander along the picturesque canals of Amsterdam, east of the Red Light District and Nieumarkt until you arrive at the unpretentious doorway of Restaurant Greetje.  It is a doorway that leads to a culinary adventure that is both authentically Dutch and yet full of surprises.  The dining rooms are small, the atmosphere relaxed and intimate, décor a pleasing blend of Delft tiles and porcelains, antique furniture, mirrors and brocaded dining room chairs.   And the wait staff genuinely eager to take care of their dinner guests.

Restaurant Greetje - breads  WEBRestaurant Greetje - appetizer WEBOpened in 2005, the restaurant has pleased many diners with its highly creative cuisine that utilizes local, in season ingredients to recreate popular Dutch dishes in a most inventive way.  So best to order one of their tasting menus that offers the opportunity to sample morsels of appetizers that truly tease the taste buds, colors and textures arranged as if they were part of a painter’s palette.  Especially noteworthy are their ‘Hot Lightning’ cookies – a type of potato patty served with a walnut-rum dressing on sweet and sour red cabbage, or perhaps the ruby-red beetroot, pickled, or frittered, or prepared as a curd.

Restaurant Greetje - main dish WEBRestaurant Greetje - dessert WEBFor the main entrée, there are several choices.  We selected the Dutch rib-eye in a red wine sauce with raisins and another special of white asparagus with ham, boiled egg and potatoes, drizzled in clarified butter – a dish that was wholly satisfying yet still left room for the grand finaleIf the appetizers were the painter’s palette, the grand finale of desserts is the chef/ artist’s masterpiece.  No need to choose only one sweet here – how about crème brûlée, and apple crisp, and homemade licorice ice cream to name only a few of the temptations.

 A truly memorable meal in Old Amsterdam.  Now meander again along the canals as the sun sets…Canal View WEB

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All content on, both images and writing, is copyrighted material © Ginda Simpson unless otherwise indicated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this content without express and written permission from Ginda Simpson is prohibited.