June 2 – 5
After our day out we returned to the houseboat to relax some, including a short nap for each of us, and soon enough it was time to head out in search of dinner. We walked back to Koningststraat thinking we might consider eating again at Eetcafe Vab Beeren since our first meal was so good, but hopes were dashed when we discovered that they would be closed for the length of our stay. So, we stopped at a pizza joint down the street, but it was crowded and for some reason, they had alcohol (wine and beer) for take-out, but none for on site consumption. And so, we settled on Phu Thai, a busy operation next door.
As luck would have it, this was a good choice as the food was excellent, the service prompt and friendly. Along with a couple of Thai beers to drink, we started with the Koeng hom place (deep fried shrimp with sauce), four large shrimp with a tangy sweet sauce for dipping.
They were delightful and we would have been happy eating a few more servings, but judiciously stopped at just this one so we could attack our shared entrée, the phad nam man hi kai (Dish with oyster sauce and vegetables with chicken), like a Kung Pao but without the cashews that often accompany that dish. So often when in Europe we’ve found that one can get tired of a sustained diet of the local cuisine and various ethnic options (Thai, Chinese, Middle Eastern, etc.) can be a welcome change.
Back at the houseboat good Wi-Fi meant we could stream a couple of our favorite shows and later fell into bed for a good night’s sleep, not exactly having chased away jet lag (it would resurface a day or so later) but thankful for the rest we got. Our plan for the next day, as it would be a rainy one, was to take advantage of our transportation passes and basically spend a good part of the day taking one or more trams out to the end of their line and back.
But first we decided to go in search of a late breakfast and so wandered in the area in-between the Centraal Station and Nieuwmarkt where there was a concentration of likely options. When we arrived, it turned out that most of Amsterdam had the same idea as us, with long lines snaking out of many of the preferred establishments. We settled on Archie’s where the highlight of the meal was my first cold Heineken draft beer. Was it before noon? You bet, but I wasn’t going to pass up what would end up being my only shot at the stuff.
We would later find that reviews for the place were pretty dismal although our food wasn’t that bad. My omelet with cheese, onions, tomato and paprika was overcooked but edible and we were just glad to get a bite to eat without having to wait too long. Joanna had a falafel with pita sandwich which was good enough and although many of the reviews complained about the prices, we didn’t find them to be exorbitant, we walked out having paid 28 euros ($30) including a cup of coffee for Joanna.
Finished, we walked over to the Centraal Station to hop aboard the number 24 Tram and take it to its end of the line at VU Medisch Centrum, Amsterdam’s university hospital, rated one of the best academic medical centers in the country in terms of patient care and research. And thus, we rode the rails, so to speak, disembarking at the last stop where we waited for the tram to turnaround, take a driver break and then climb back aboard for the return journey.
As we knew we’d be passing by the stop for Brouwerij ‘t IJ, we figured it was the right time to get a beer on a rainy afternoon. Unfortunately, most of Amsterdam had left the breakfast places we encountered earlier and instead taken up residence at the brewery, with nary a seat available inside or out. We noticed what appeared to be a restaurant and bar just down the street along the canals on either side. This would turn out to be an interesting place called Mooie Boules.
It’s a family friendly (at least on the weekends) place with beer, wine, spirits, a food hall featuring three vendors and the main attraction, Boules or Bocce Ball. We ordered a couple of beers at the bar and as no seats were available downstairs, climbed up to one of the two upstairs Boule pitches and spent the next hour or so enjoying our drinks as we watched two families engage in spirited games.
We drained the last of our beers and walked to the tram to head back towards Centraal Station. Along the way we hopped off in the area known as the Jordaan thinking we’d try to find the Hotel Acacia (now the Linden) and bar (it’s now a coffee house) we frequented in 2007 with Doug (aka the Griz), but got hopelessly turned around and after admitting defeat, found a different tram to take us to the station, and then the walk back to the houseboat.
With our last night ahead of us we concentrated on consuming the remaining beers we had in the fridge before heading out to dinner, this time making our way to il Sogno, the pizza restaurant we’d skipped the night before. As we’d filled up on beer before arriving, the lack of it or wine didn’t diminish the nice experience we had here.
The pizza was as good as it gets and we finished up with a dynamite Tiramisu, brought to us by the friendly gent we took to be the manager of the operation. It was a fine way to finish our three nights in Amsterdam, a place full of memories and yet with new ones waiting around any corner. I’m sure we’ll return one day to create them. Care to join us?
Phu Thai: https://www.phuthai.nl/
VU Medisch Centrum: https://www.vumc.nl/
Mooie Boules: https://mooieboules.nl/amsterdam/
il Sogno: https://il-sogno.nl/