A very social and culinary August

I can’t believe August is almost over. My birthday month passed by so quickly and how social it had been. Robin and I were able to see our common and respective friends in a span of three weeks. For an introvert like myself, that’s quite overwhelming.  Although it had been stressful finding time to set up dinners, planning and cooking meals and finding places to take our friends out, it had been wonderful catching up with the people we’ve been missing for a while. Our August had been a series of dinner appointments, cocktail meet ups and lunch dates – a real culinary month.

We started the month with a dinner treat from my parents in-law at Brouwerij Emelisse, a proud Zeeuwse brewery in Kamperland, in the heart of Zeeland province. We sampled a very tender piece of free-range pork and the popular Zeeuwse mussels with strong glasses of blondes and triples. While the mussel bowl was less than impressive, the beers were surprisingly good. Who knew Zeeland could produce beers when it is so near Antwerp. At the end of the dinner, we were so happy that we’ve had a couple more glasses of wines while enjoying classic hits at home, leading me to a record hangover of two days, the worst I’ve had in five years. Surely a sign of aging.

I needed to work so on my birthday, Robin and I only went out for dinner. I’ve reserved the restaurant two weeks in advance because it was quite difficult to get here a seat here. I still haven’t found my perfect foie gras in Rotterdam so we tried them at De Harmonie. It was an enjoyable dinner that cost us two days salary but one we wouldn’t mind repeating. Hopefully I’d be able to blog about it soon.

On a Friday evening, we hosted a dinner at home for Robin’s friend and co-photographer Jan. He just came back from Korea and we wanted to hear his stories. We couldn’t prepare complicated dishes after a long day at the office but luckily his palate was not hard to please. We were able to impress him with a combination of crispy pork belly and sautéed shrimps and vegetables in coconut milk. Tired from stressful work week and from cooking, I fell asleep while viewing his photos.

On Sunday, Robin’s long time friend who’s living in England came over for a visit with his girlfriend. They requested cocktail and thank God Noah (the former Elit Bar which is now owned and operated by the head barman Erickson) was open on a Sunday evening, otherwise we wouldn’t know where to take them for a proper mix. First we’ve had a late lunch at Boguette, the popular Vietnamese sandwich place of Rotterdam. (No longer a Bougette virgin, I’ve come back several times during the week, for their pork special banh mi, beef summer rolls and lychee bubble tea with mango pops.)

After a boring Spido tour of the Rotterdam port, we went to Level for another round of cocktails. Unfortunately the cocktails were not as good as I remember and Lord how awful and tacky the names were (“John Lemon” are you f@”*# kidding me?!). Whoever thought of renaming those mixes should be fired. I used to come to Level for the ambiance and the great cocktails but now it has become some sort of an “in” place where people go to to be seen and have their Instagram photos taken. Not coming back soon.

Another tiring work week passed us by with barbecue dinner on a Thursday evening. We were already feeling the effects of late nights and alcohol and we were skipping on our running schedule. But the weekend loomed with more appointments – a wedding assignment for Robin and Jan, lunch date with my jet setting friend who was spending a week in the Lowlands and a Sunday with the in-laws before they take off to another 4-week vacation.

When you hardly see a friend whose taste in food is impeccable, you’d take her to the best restaurant in town. I took her to one of my favourite hip places in Rotterdam, FG Food Labs in Katshoek. You might remember it from my an ode to the pork belly post months ago. After I picked her up from the newly-renovated Rotterdam Central Station,  we walked to the restaurant via Luchtsingel, that wooden bridge that connects Rotterdam Noord to the city centre, and enjoyed Michelin-star lunch with the sound of trains speeding by few feet away from our tables. It couldn’t be more “Rotterdams” than that.

We chose a set menu which turned out to be the best decision. We were treated to four incredible dishes, all of which blew our minds away especially that yoghurt-herb combination made exciting by a splash of nitrogen and the use of mortar and pastel. After champagne and a bottle of Tempranillo, we were too tipsy to continue our culinary afternoon so we ended the day with Nutella crepe and went home.

And finally today, I coerced the parents in-law to come with me to the Dag van Romantische Muziek at The Park (Het Park or the Eramus Park). If I had known that Limp Bizkit would be performing, I would probably be at Lowlands Festival this weekend but thankfully I learned it too late because #DVRM is way better. I couldn’t get enough of the soft, sultry voice of Viola Pieper especially when she sang Nature Boy. Sadly we had to leave early due to impending rain. We shared a sushi lunch at Itami at Willemshaven (not recommended, the sushi rice falls apart easily) and finished the day with drinks at Lebkov and Sons.

Tomorrow starts the last week of my birthday month. And then it’ll be another exciting, busy and stressful month which may lead me to freedom or more heartbreaks. But I’ll save that for the next blog. How’s your August so far?

P.S. You’ve probably noticed that I don’t have many food photos. Except for the dinner at De Harmonie, I decided to keep the camera off my food and instead enjoy my dining experience. I get more value that way. Snapping a shot of my meals has become old and tiring.