The Oudegracht is the most famous of the canals that runs through the city center. You can see the wharves down below street level, one of the factors that make the Utrecht canals so famous and so gezellig on a summer day. Unfortunately, the closest photo I can find to match up to this one is one that I took on an icy, grey day in December, with my phone’s camera, so it’s not the best. Still, you can see that not that much has changed in the grand scheme of things. Oh, and those white things in the water are swans!
The large building in the background on the left side of the canal is actually a castle, or a city castle, known as Oudaen. It was built in 1276, and has managed to stick around throughout the years, despite changes in ownership, bullets and cannonfire, and a few changes of purpose. It is now a restaurant/brewery/catering business.
Look! It’s the bridge over the River Kwai! Oh, come on. Like you would have been able to resist taking this shot either. 😉 I like to think the restaurant specifically chose that spot just to be near one of the many bridges along the Oudegracht. And yes, there really are that many bikes here.
As I’ve been reminded, today is St. Patrick’s Day. I’ve seen a few people online mention that they were making colcannon for various potluck parties today. Since I’m not Irish and this blog is about my life in the Netherlands, I thought I’d discuss stamppot, which is essentially the Dutch version of colcannon.
They’re basically the same dish: mashed potatoes with kale and some bacon mixed in. Delicious, I call it! The Dutch also do other variations with sauerkraut, spinach, curly endive, or carrots. I used to make my own American variation on it, I guess, because I liked to mix corn into my mashed potatoes. Stamppot is often served with rookworst (smoked sausage) or gehaktballen (meatballs) and gravy.
A Stamppot-To-Go restaurant recently opened here in Utrecht, on Nobelstraat. They’re open from 4-9 p.m., designed to be a handy way to get a healthy dinner on the table when you’re pressed for time. They sell the different types of stamppot, and some of the traditional accompaniments, as well as soups, including the classic erwtensoep (split pea soup).
(Editor’s Note: Sadly, Stamppot-To-Go has since closed.)
I miss sitting out on the terras in the evening, when dusk doesn’t arrive until 10 p.m. Monday’s burst of sunshine quickly disappeared and doesn’t look to be returning soon.
This is the patio area of a restaurant/hotel on Korte Nieuwstraat, De Rechtbank/Court Hotel. It looks gorgeous, inside and out. Maybe I’ll skip my usual sushi tradition for my birthday and go there next year.