Oh, Amsterdam. The city stole my heart last week when I visited my friend Megan (she’s there for a few months on a job rotation – boss babe alert!). The trip was pretty last minute by my standards, but the timing was right, the credit card points were there, and after a lot of back-and-forth, I decided to just book it.
Last minute trips are not usually my thing – but after Amsterdam they might become my new m/o. Usually, I book things 6 months in advance and procrastinate the planning process due to a warped sense of time. But because this trip was booked on such short notice, I jumped right into research and planning. I ended up going into the trip with just enough of an itinerary to keep me moving without it being totally inflexible, and I left feeling like I accomplished everything I was hoping to.
The trip was incredible in so many ways. Reconnecting with a close friend is the literal best thing in the world and it was awesome to spend some quality time with Meg. We’ve known each other since June of 2016 (we started at Cadreon on the same day!) and since then have bonded over everything from Programmatic 101s to Bachelorette Mondays. It was so nice to spend our downtime watching shitty Netflix holiday specials (PSA: everyone please watch Holiday in the Wild with Rob Lowe/Kristin Davis), drinking a lot of wine, and solving all the worlds problems over long dinners at trendy restaurants. Love you Meg <3.
My time in Amsterdam also served a very overdue chance to reconnect with myself. It had been a while since I had that much alone time, and while Megan was working I just explored. Went to all the museums. Strolled neighborhoods at my leisure. I appreciated the time I had to journal, wander, and reflect.
The most valuable takeaway from my trip though was inspiration. I didn’t realize it before I left, but I’ve taken a big interest in design this year (mostly interior design, typeface, and all things Tyler Spangler). I moved into a new room in June which meant decorating a big blank space, and I think that’s where the love affair began – but visiting Amsterdam was like walking into one of my own Pinterest boards. I walked into Hay Design and was like: OHHH. This is what I’m talking about. I felt so heard by the design gods – everything felt so modern and sleek and colorful and perfect.
Anyway – enough of that! Below is a recap of just the food & drink elements of our trip. I also did a lot of boutique browsing, museum going, and like I said: just straight up wandering. If you’re ever headed that way, have the best time and don’t bypass the Stedelijk Museum! I went at the very last minute and it was the highlight of the whole trip.
Where We Ate & Drank
Back to Black Cafe
Vibe: The coziest.
(Coffee/)Food Score: 5/5! Get a croissant with jam and a latte!
Vibe: Trendy, sceney, neon! Asian inspired dishes served tapas style. So much fun.
Food Score: 4/5
Vibe: Greenwich Village Sweetgreen. Came here per many guide-book/blog recommendations and ended up staying for over an hour to journal and recharge. The food was SO healthy and nutritious and tasty and perfect – I wish we had one in New York.
Food Score: 5/5
Tales & Spirits
Vibe: Dim-lit, cozy, rustic. We were in market for cool craft cocktails, and oh did they deliver. We also got bitterballen here which was 100% on my radar to try during my visit, they did not disappoint.
Food & Cocktail Score: 5/5
Vibe: Upscale Boerum Hill. I just sat at the bar and journaled – my bartender was talking to another customer about Studio Ghibli films which I’ve recently become obsessed with, so it was a really nice little break from my day.
Food: 4/5 – I got Sheep’s Milk ricotta toast & a black coffee and it was fuel.
Vibe: Botanical garden but with alcohol! Really really beautifully decorated restaurant, and when you sit on the second floor it feels like you’re looking down at a jungle. We loved this place.
Vibe: Solid bar. We were really trying to go to the brewery next door, but it had closed by the time we arrived. We enjoyed standing at the bar and eating Apple Pie for dessert after Bar Botanique!
Vibe: We came here per the recommendation of one of Megan’s coworkers and I’m SO happy we went. We didn’t know what to expect cuisine-wise for “traditional Dutch fare” but the food was incredible (think, lots of meat and potatoes). We were tucked away in a cozy corner where we had a full view of the restaurant so we felt like queens. We laughed so much and stretched our stomachs past their natural limits, and I don’t regret a single bite. Major Game of Thrones vibes.
Food: 10/5 – run, don’t walk.
Pannekoeken House Upstairs
Vibe: This place is like your Dutch Fairy Godmother’s magic treehouse. By the time we got here (we went straight from Haesje Claes) I was so full – but we were resolute on experiencing this food after reading rave reviews. The place is super tiny and only seats about 10-12 people at a time, so it was a super intimate setting, too.
Vibe: Surrounded by the hippest humans in Amsterdam, in a super intimate, cozy, just-perfectly-lit space. We came here on the night I arrived and it was so special that we returned the night before I left. I wish I could bottle up this magic and transplant it in NYC!
Food / Wine: 5/5
Coffee & Coconuts
Vibe: C&C is in a converted movie theater, so there are many floors, the highest looking down onto a balcony which looks down upon the base floor. It’s massive, but still feels quite airy and fresh inside. We went here for a last-hoorah breakfast and was a great way to put some healthy-ish food inside our bodies after a few days of over-eating and drinking.