The Food Walk of Fun

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Best Friend and I both recently received our first paychecks from our first real jobs. Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows I feel that anything that holds any kind of significance ought to be celebrated, preferably with food and a good glass of wine.

Cue the first edition of Haarlem Proeft (Haarlem Tastes). Ten restaurants in Haarlem’s historic city center joined forces to create a culinary walk allowing people to “discover new restaurants or re-discover old favorites”.

Each restaurant offered guests a signature dish paired with a glass of wine. Though intrigued by the concept and the idea of discovering new eateries, I was a little apprehensive – first time events can be duds! – but I needn’t have worried.

The turnout exceeded the organization’s expectations – more than 600 people attended – but because everyone had a personalized restaurant route it was never too crowded. Despite having to visit ten restaurants in five hours, we never felt rushed, even after we managed to get lost and rack up a twenty mintue delay!

Normally, I keep a notebook on blog-worthy events, but this time, I took pictures!

1. Noor

Ahi Tuna Steak with Wasbi Mousse and Candied Seaweed. Not too big on the mousse (not enough wasabi flavor) but very charming little restaurant and super friendly staff!

2. Wensen

I had high hopes for this place as they don’t have a set menu, but cook what the guest desires (“wensen” means wishes in Dutch) but, for me, it was just okay. The deep-fried shrimp was excellent, but the Thai fish bouillonwas too salty.

 3. BastiJan

 Steak with Mushrooms and Cabbage. Super yum and one of the few restaurants that served red wine.

4. Truffels

I had soft-shell crab this summer in Florida and it rocked my culinary world, so I was stoked when it popped up on a stick in Haarlem. The soy-foam bubbles looked cool (but didn’t last long) and tasted like salt, which gave the couscous a little kick.

After Truffels, we set off in search of Zuidam and got lost. If someone had told us it was next to the windmill, we would’ve known where to go, but no one did (until we gave up on the map and asked for directions). 

Our little detour did allow for some scenic shots, though!


5. Zuidam

This Thai-style soup was out of this world. Made with chicken stock, chilies, spring onions, and coconut milk, it was creamy and just the right kind of spicy and almost made me ask for another bowl.

Here, we also discovered that the restaurant offered to take guests to the next restaurant by boat, which obviously beat walking and gave me a chance to take more pretty pictures!

6. Willendorf

 Cold Couscous Salad and Lamb. Perfection.

7. Nobel

Salmon mousse wrapped in smoked salmon is a little cliché, but Nobel is that kind of place in the best way possible. What they do, they do well and it’s classic, but approachable.

8. Spaarne 66

Not the best picture, which is a shame because it’s easily one of the best dishes. Mostly because it contains all of my personal favorites: beets, duck, and pumpkin. It’s Fall in a shot glass!

9. Vis & Ko

Paella and perch and I was excited to see it. I rarely eat paella (it’s one of those things I’d never cook at home) and I’d never eaten perch before, but after this deliciousness I’m going to start. Yum!

10. Lambo’s

Tired and feeling a little full, we finally made it to our final destination at ten to six. We were welcomed like we were the first guests, handed our last glass of wine and served lamb with funny little croutons and cranberry jelly. It wasn’t the most spectacular dish on the list but with the venue’s plush seating and lounge-like atmosphere it was the perfect place to end our food walk of fun.

I’m positive they’ll put on the event next year, and I’m positive I’ll be attending. The only thing I’d recommend is to serve larger portions of food to offset the copious amount of wine.

And maybe dessert.

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