ZAPPAZ Amsterdam » Restaurant & Cocktail Bar

Zappaz Amsterdam is a brand new restaurant and cocktail bar with influences from Casablanca. It was time to try this new jewel on the IJdok.

Read more

Vegan friendly » BarTack in Amsterdam West

Oh how I love Amsterdam West. I can’t get enough of it and it may has to do with the fact that I live there. Well, I live in Amsterdam New West (yes boys and girls, that’s outside the center of Amsterdam). But I also love it because it’s fast developing. Since I have a baby, I walk around a lot more instead of using my bicycle and by doing so, I discover new shops, restaurants and coffee bars. This is also how I discovered Bartack.

Bartack
You may have heard of Bar Spek on the Admiraal De Ruyterweg in Amsterdam West. Well, they are the same owners of Bartack, so when I walked past the other day I had to check it out. The look of Bartack is industrial combined with a little touch of vintage. Round tables, mixed with some big lounge chairs and small stools. The space is not wide but long with the kitchen in the back (or front, depending on which way you are entering)

Interior Bartack

The Menu
They are open for breakfast from 8am (go for the fluffy pancakes!), up to lunch and dinner. I noticed that the menu offers a lot of vegan options, something you see more and more of in Amsterdam. I love plant based foods so I was happy to see this. From soup to salads or a variety of filled pita breads, I decided to go for the vegan falafel with coleslaw and tajine saus. The open kitchen is always good news and this dish didn’t disappoint me al all! (yummie!) Oh, and another important note; the coffee is great! Yup, bad coffee will turn me off completely and that would have been a shame.

Falafel at Bartack

Add this one to your hotspot list!

Bartack
Postjesweg 124, Amsterdam
Website

Love,

Elke

The BEST Breakfast Sandwich You’ll Ever Have in LA

Los Angeles is a city of transplants, as many of us have uprooted ourselves from where we were born and bred to create lives in the Southern California sun. We come together to share traditions from our pasts, form new ones of our own, and are lucky enough to sincerely call this City of Angels home.

With the influx of people from all over bringing with them their unique backgrounds and cultural flavors, it’s no wonder the restaurant and bar scene has such an improvisational air to it. New hot-spots pop up almost daily; and, if you ask anyone for their advice on the U.S. cities with the most dynamic food, it’s no doubt that Los Angeles ranks high. But, what better to help a new place begin to feel like home than a dependable and familiar neighborhood go-to? I recently sung the praises of one of my top-choice beachy eateries, Playa Provisions (see the post here!) Still, with so many options right outside my doorstep, my list inevitably continues. Another contender for my favorite menu is nestled comfortably on Abbott Kinney Boulevard in Venice, and it’s a perfect reminder of the melting-pot that L.A. truly is.

Gjelina Take Away
Together forming a foodie trifecta in Venice are three restaurants, Gjelina, Gjelina Take Away, and Gjusta (the latter is the youngest addition to the family – a bakery inspired by an east-coast Jewish/Italian deli). Co-owned by Shelley Kleyn, Travis Lett, and Fran Camaj (Gjelina is named after Camaj’s mother, and Gjusta, after his aunt!), this trio of restaurants seamlessly combines traditional Italian cuisine with the contemporary farm-to-table California taste. The little sister to its neighboring restaurant, Gjelina, Gjelina Take Away (affectionately known as GTA) serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week. Offering a quicker experience than dining-in next door, GTA has all the perks of this popular establishment without the wait.

gjelina-take-away-interior
GTA’s interior

Walking into GTA in the morning never fails to intrigue me, as the eclectic mix of patrons is rarely repeated. And, those who stumble upon this hidden spot find themselves faced with a gorgeous spread of daily items displayed to entice each passerby, and all made from seasonal, local ingredients.

gta-behind-the-counter
Behind the counter

In my quest to find the best breakfast sandwich in LA, GTA caught – and kept – my attention. Braised kale, melted gruyere, a crisp, yet runny, fried egg, thick-cut bacon, and hot sauce (if you want it!) on a grilled English muffin…this sandwich may look small, but it’s packed with mighty flavor. And, when I decide to give-in to my need for a treat, GTA’s version of the popular granola and yogurt option beats out its competition. Served with honey and seasonal fresh fruit, the granola is made in-house and is perfectly chewy, sweet, and salty.

Gjelina Take Away-breakfast-sandwich
THE Breakfast Sandwich — so good.

Gjelina Take Away-yogurt
Satisfying house made granola, fresh fruit, and creamy yogurt.

So, if you’re planning a trip to L.A., you’ll be able to find authentic food from all over the world, no matter your taste. But, if a reliably-delicious breakfast is what you’re after, with market-driven ingredients and beautifully delivered dishes, this eatery has everything you’d hope to experience during a treat-yourself morning out.

Travelers’ Bonus: Gjelina Take Away puts you smack in the middle of one of the hippest shopping streets in Los Angeles, Abbot Kinney Boulevard. After you clean the butter and egg yolk off your face and fingers, pop into the boutiques and art galleries for trendsetting fashion, clever gifts, and musings of all sorts. You could easily spend a couple hours taking it all in as you digest your mouthwatering morning meal.

Gjelina Take Away (GTA)
1427 Abbot Kinney Blvd. (two blocks north of Venice Blvd.)
Website

Love,

Shae

*Shae is our guest blogger from Los Angeles. An educator whose lust for experience influences her teaching, she travels with the desire to immerse herself in diverse cultures, seeking new adventure and inspiring others to engage with compassion and expand their world view. Follow Shae on Instagram! @seekvantage

NYC Hot Spot »The Standard Biergarten, High Line

Once the long winter comes to an end and we get into the early days of Spring, New Yorkers have one mission: to drink outside! The Standard Biergarten – located on the street level of the trendy Standard Hotel and directly under The High Line, is an unexpected outdoor oasis in the midst of the Meatpacking District. This area (typically known for its boujee nightlife scene) plays host to a relatable clientele of young business professionals, college students, and tourists. If you’re looking for a relaxed place to grab a beer, chat with old friends, and hopefully meet new ones – this is a great place to do it!

standard biergarten
Busy and buzzing!

The Standard Hotel has really added a touch of Europe with their Biergarten

After lining up at the door to buy food and drink tickets, $9 each, and settle in for a German brew and tasty snacks (bratwurst, currywurst or pretzels!), bar-goers enter an open brick-walled space filled with picnic tables and benches. Groups gather for fun-spirited conversation as a festive staff, dressed in festive T-shirts and Oktoberfest-inspired dirndls, serves rounds of beer. The communal tables add to the room’s chipper vibe and make mingling and flirting that much easier, while two free games provide a great ice breaker for meeting other trendy but laid-back neighborhood regulars.

standardbiergarten2

Although the place gets packed wall to wall and can be extremely noisy, the ambiance remains more playful and carefree rather than rowdy. Combined with the sociable crowd, open-air space, and casual atmosphere – makes The Standard Biergarten a solid, upbeat hangout for those looking to waste away the hours over a favorite brew.

High Line Walk
If the weather is particularly nice, make sure to take a walk along the High Line while you’re there! This 1.5 mile long, elevated park was built on an old NYC railroad line and is the perfect portrayal of urbanization. Since opening in 2009, the High Line has become one of Manhattan’s most talked about attractions and possibly the best location for sunset viewing since it’s located on the West side and overlooking the Hudson River!

the-high-line
From The Standard Biergarten to the Highline

the-high-line_view4
The View from the High Line

thehighline_view

Enjoy a bit of European fun in the middle of New York!

The Standard Biergarten
848 Washington St, New York, NY 10014, USA
Website

Love,

Casey

*Casey is one of our guest bloggers from New York. She’s a 25 year old that grew up in Long Island NY. After graduating college, she moved into NYC and took a job in marketing. She and her large friend group of about 9 girls are all about trying out trendy restaurants and keeping busy with all this amazing city has to offer. She also has her own personal blog, Adolescent Adulthood. She will publish an article in the beginning of each month.

Mr. & Mrs. Watson, a Vegan Food Bar to open in Amsterdam

If you are following the latest food trends a little bit, you know that plant based food is making waves right now. Many cities around the world cater vegans and vegetarians with amazing vegan hotspots and Amsterdam couldn’t stay behind. Mr. & Mrs. Watson is going to be a vegan food bar in the heart of Amsterdam and opening this coming July!

adam-jaime-119568

The idea to open a plant based food bar came only natural when founders Aleid Koopal & Kirsi Rautiainen discovered that there is only 1 vegan restaurant per 1000 vegans in Amsterdam while in Berlin and New York you can find vegan restaurants all over the place. They thought this was way to less of course and with the current knowledge about climate change, they knew something had to change. Did you know that the agriculture industry is causing more pollution than the whole transport industry combined together?? (yes, this includes airplanes!) Crazy right? No wonder people – that used to love meat, become flexitarians or even vegan.


Some shocking facts

So back to Mr. & Mrs. Watson. What will they serve and what can we expect from this vegan food bar? For a sneak peak you should check out their Instagram account! (looking goood) Expect vegan pizza’s, pad Thai, cakes, waffles, special drinks and even vegan cheese! Their mission: to make vegan food attractive and more accessible to a larger audience. They explain more in this video:

mr-mrs-watson
The location will be at the Linnaeuskade in Amsterdam East photo by Mr. & Mrs. Watson

We are looking forward to this one when it opens and of course we will keep you updated!

Mr. & Mrs. Watson
Linnaeuskade, Amsterdam East

www.watson.bar

Love,

Elke

Want to know more about veganism and why it’s totally hot right now? Check our interview with vegan hottie Isabella Machiné or check where all the vegan restaurants in Amsterdam are based!

vegan-restaurants-amsterdam

 

*Header photo by Mr. & Mrs. Watson

Opening of Ferilli’s at The College Hotel

Ladies and gents, it’s time to suit up, put on your prettiest dress, polish your shoes, grab your highest heels and head over to Ferilli’s at the College Hotel. This new fine-dining hotspot will make you feel as if you left Amsterdam and ran away to upper-class Manhattan, chique bartenders included. A perfect, romantic night is waiting to happen. So, have something to celebrate? Or are you in need of a unique place to spend the evening? This Italian hideaway in the posh College Hotel is your perfect getaway for every special occasion (the fact that it’s Friday, weekend or whatever is also a special occasion if you ask me).

ferillis-at-the-college-hotel
The College Hotel in Amsterdam

Ferilli’s
Bites at the opening of Ferilli’s

Just think of the most delicious Limoncello cocktails (Gin/Tonics are so last year), combined with Prosecco for that extra sparkle. And the perfect Italian appetizers, simple, pure flavors with that certain je ne sais quoi (yeah, I know, that’s not Italian) which will make you want to eat more and more. Oysters with lemon, tomato jelly with homemade pesto, polenta, tempura ansjovis, Italian sausage, oh such a pleasure. It’s perfect, and that’s no surprise with Michelinchef Donatella Zampoli at the reins of the kitchen. There is no doubt that you will find quality on your plate.

cocktails-at-Ferilli’s

But that food won’t taste as good if you are not dining in a nice atmosphere. Well, they got that part covered. From the fully stocked bar (hello great wine and Peroni beers) to the lighting, to the crisp white tables to the art, the fireplace and the occasional mirrored wall. Even the powder rooms are high class. The whole of Ferilli’s just oozes style, classy cozyness and luxury. You go here to get pampered. And if the weather allows it, a big secluded terrace will welcome you for a sip, a laugh and a ray of sunshine.

garden-of-Ferilli’s

I have to say, Ferilli’s really pulled it off at the College Hotel. Everything is designed for you to make memories. I can’t wait to find an excuse.. euh, occasion to go there to enjoy a special night, can you?

Ferilli’s
College Hotel
Roelof Hartstraat 1, Amsterdam
Facebook

Love,

Jill

Playa Provisions » The Must Try Breakfast Spot in LA

As Los Angeles continues to grow and evolve, it seems that around every corner, a new restaurateur is aiming to fulfill his or her dream of owning a successful haven for the SoCal foodie. And sometimes, whether you’re a settled local or an eager traveler, it’s a challenge to keep up with each innovative establishment. Some things, though, are unwavering…like the occasional need for an amazing breakfast experience!

I’ve had my share of Los Angeles breakfasts out (it’s hard to pass up the opportunity with almost 300 sunny days a year; who can blame you for not wanting to stay inside to cook?) And, while I may be biased toward the leisure of the beachy west-side life, I have solidified my choices for the TOP BREAKFAST SPOTS, and here’s my first!

Playa Provisions
With the picture-perfect Playa del Rey Beach as its backdrop, Playa Provisions is one of my favorite places to enjoy a sunshine-filled breakfast or brunch. Executive Chef, Brooke Williamson, of Top Chef, alongside her equally-as-talented Chef husband, Nick Roberts, opened this multi-concept space a couple years back, after seeing huge success with their other two gastro pubs, The Tripel and Hudson House. A restaurant, bar, café, and even creamery, Playa Provisions never fails to have just what you’re looking for, whatever the occasion.

Playa Provisions interior
This modern, yet beachy interior makes Playa Provisions a fun place. (Photo by playaprovisions.com)

Playa Provisions
“Dockside”, Playa Provisions’s restaurant, allows a panoramic view of the beach.
(Photo by playaprovisions.com)

While Dockside, Playa Provisions’s seafood-based restaurant, is an ideal dinner spot, Grain, the back bar, offers a variety of whiskeys and other signature cocktails, and Small Batch, a creamery with myriad homemade dessert options, reminds you what it’s like to be a kid in a candy store. But, it’s King Beach, Williamson’s and Roberts’s café, that puts this eatery at the top of my LA Breakfasts list. 

pp-latte
Impressive latte art!

The King Beach’s Breakfast Sandwich at Playa Provisions is mouthwatering..

When I find myself frequenting the same local spots to get my fill, I like to make my way around the menu to discover my favorites. At Playa Provisions, my top picks have never let me down; first up is the Breakfast Sandwich… King Beach’s Breakfast Sandwich is mouthwatering. A masterfully-cooked egg, turkey and bacon sausages, melted Gruyere, vinegar-cooked collards, avocado, and house-pickled habanero hot sauce on a precisely-toasted ciabatta roll; this is surely the sandwich from which cravings are made.

pp-breakfast-sandwich

pp-coconut-chia-seed-pudding
Coconut Chia Seed Pudding and coffee for two? Yes, please!

Looking for something a bit lighter? The Coconut Chia Seed Pudding, topped with fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, in-season kiwi, a bit of ripe mango, and sprinkled with Hemp Seeds, is surprisingly filling, totally satisfying, and just sweet enough to feel indulgent.
And, for those moments when that sugar-yearning really takes over, the homemade Cinnamon Rolls and the Dulce de Leche Biscuits are made fresh and are undeniably delicious. 

Okay, so Playa Provisions sure knows how to deliver. Still, there are top contenders for the best breakfast place, and a few are nestled comfortably on Abbott Kinney Boulevard in Venice… More on this soon!

Playa Provisions
119 Culver Blvd, Playa Del Rey, CA 90293, USA
Website

Love,

Shae

*Shae is our guest blogger from Los Angeles. An educator whose lust for experience influences her teaching, she travels with the desire to immerse herself in diverse cultures, seeking new adventure and inspiring others to engage with compassion and expand their world view. Follow Shae on Instagram! @seekvantage

Hotel Pillows Anna van den Vondel Amsterdam

Amsterdam, booming more than ever! Brand new hotels are popping up like mushrooms. Especially the small boutique hotels grab my attention. I don’t like the ‘room factories’, those grand hotels with hundreds of rooms that lack of personality. If I have to choose between these giants and the small, intimate ones, I definitely pick the last, no doubt. Are you also a ‘boutique lover’? Lucky you! Last springtime week – (my gosh, wish we had this kind of flowering, friendly season all year around) – I took a look at the newest boutique gem in Amsterdam. Say hi to Anna van den Vondel, the first scion of the completely new (inter)national hospitality brand ‘Pillows’.

Expect a cozy, luxury and an Instagramable, pastel colored interior

Anna van den Vondel, situated next to the lovely Vondelpark in one of the most authentic, decadent neighborhoods of Amsterdam. With a total of 31 luxury rooms she certainly deserves the title ‘boutique’. Upon arrival I was positively surprised by the bright, stylish entrance. I didn’t get the feeling I walked into a ‘normal’ hotel. No reception immediately in your face, no obtrusiveness, just a relaxed ‘feeling like home’ vibe and genuine hospitality. Pillows has given the definition of ‘hotel’ a whole new twist! Expect a cozy, luxury and an Instagramable, pastel colored interior. Hands up for the amazing styling skills of the hotel owner, all my credits for her. At the moment I’m busy with furnishing my own little house in the lively East of Amsterdam and I can tell you that’s hard enough..

Hotel Pillows Anna van den Vondel Amsterdam
The living room

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset
Just a small impression of Anna’s room

Is breakfast your favorite meal of the day? Good news! At Pillows Anna van den Vondel they serve all day breakfast, ye-hesss! They create all the yummy food and bites in their beauty of a cooking island in the middle of the living room. I’ve never seen something like this before in a hotel and I love it. Imagine you can eat poached eggs, croissants and Greek yoghurt at 7 a.m, 1 or even at 7 pm. Would you rather have dinner in the morning, afternoon or night? No worries, there’s also a clock-less dining menu. During the tasting menu which I had last week I tried the juicy mini-burgers and fresh Caesar salad with very tender grilled chicken breast, keep these two in mind! Side note: all the staff is multi-functional trained. This means they can play any hotel role, so cool! Besides I’m very enthusiastic about Anna, her rooms and food, it’s noteworthy that she isn’t accessible for wheelchairs or for people who have difficulty walking.

Hotel Pillows Amsterdam Breakfast
All day breakfast yum!

Cooking island at Pillows Amsterdan
The beautiful cooking island

I definitely keep this hidden gem in mind when family or friends are coming over. Oh and when I’m around I’ll certainly do a drink (or two, or three) with a mini-burger on the side. See ya there?

P.S. Currently they’re working on a webshop. This is the place to be where you can buy all the amazing, stylish (interior) stuff of the boutique hotel. I’m already a fan of the scented candle, whose scent you can smell through the hotel hallways. Shopaholics beware!

Pillows Anna van den Vondel Amsterdam
Anna van den Vondel 6, Amsterdam
Tel: 020-6833013
Facebook

Love,

Sharmaine

 

Heineken opens a bakery!

Heineken is the leader of the pack when it comes to beer but when they announced that they are going to open a bakery this month, we were a little surprised.

But actually it’s not such a crazy idea. Heineken isn’t the first that is using their yeast to created tasty bread. A couple of students created BrouwBrood, where they use the rest products of beer to create tasty buns. This way they avoid food waste and create a healthier bread.

Heineken opens a bakery

Heineken are using their so called “A-Gist” (yeast) to create this bread. In order to give it the best opportunity, they have asked master boulanger Mark Plaating to create the bread. Curious on how it will taste? You can try it yourself between the 18 -21 of March on the Vijzelgracht 37 in Amsterdam. Watch the video here:

Heineken Pop-Up Bakery
Vijzelstraat 37, Amsterdam
Open daily from 12 til 9pm

Did you know that you can drink beer made out of rainwater? This beer brewer did it!

Beer made out of rainwater

Koala Republic Amsterdam

Innovating seats, a Scandinavian and Japanese look plus healthy homemade food. Koala Republic has opened their doors on the Jan Evertsenstraat in Amsterdam West.

The Jan-Eef, as locals call it, is one of the most developing streets in Amsterdam at the moment. 5 years ago it may have looked a bit miserable, but once the Mercatorsquare was re-done, the rest of the neighborhood followed the example and new entrepreneurs saw the light. One by one, new shops and coffee bars started opening (like T’s where we love to drink our popcorn tea!)

Koala Republic
Innovating seats at Koala Republic

Koala Republic is one of those new hotspots and you may discovered it by chance because it’s a bit tucked away next to a döner shop and a jewelry store. We walked inside for a quick peek and immediately took note of the cool interior. There is a sky high table for 2 where you’ll need to climb the stairs, and there are seats with swings for your feet. You can also sit on the bright orange cushions, chill at the bar or grab a larger table in the back.

seats at Koala Republic
Where will you sit?

The food menu at Koala Republic is very healthy but far from being boring. Everything is homemade. From eggs to a Indonesian style chicken broth (Soto) and a corn tortilla wrap, they even serve healthy fries made from vegetables served with a wasabi mayonaise. Besides eating in, you can also buy some of their products like coffee and peanut butter. 

Menu Koala Republic

Go and check this new place out, even if it’s only to climb up those stairs and drink your coffee from a new perspective.

Koala Republic
Jan Everstenstraat 115, Amsterdam
Facebook

Love, 

Wander-Lust