The Quiet Musings

Lebanese lunch in The Hague

- March 4th, 2016 -

I discovered a ‘new’ place in The Hague centrum that is an ideal place to score lunch. Baladi is a small Lebanese manouche place located at Torenstraat.

Manouche is a Lebanese flatbread served with different toppings like za’atar, cheese (akkawi), meat, strained yoghurt and hummus and more. Baladi has a special manouche every month. They also have Lebanese delicacies and drinks.


I found Baladi on Trip Advisor and I went there three times already. Which should tell you how good they are. I tried the Cheese & Za’atar, first time I tried za’atar and I definitely liked it. I also tried the hummus which they make fresh. The hummus manouche wrap is healthy and low sodium (from what I and others tasted) which is perfect for a healthy lunch.

Cheese & Soujok Manouche
The second time I tried the spicy meat and cheese, which was delicious. Left me wanting more. Already planning on getting it again the next time I go there.

The place is run by a young couple, they cook and make everything themselves. You can also ask for gluten free manouche and/or for vegan toppings. There aren’t many places that are that accommodating.

If not in the mood to go out you can also order them on or Foodora has an option to leave special instructions, Deliveroo does not.

Next time you are in town, need a nice, fast and healthy lunch. Try out Baladi.

Gulp, Autoprefixer and SASS

- October 7th, 2015 -

Recently I started my first project with CSS flexboxes. I always try to keep my work flow ‘simple’. Although ‘simple’ can be defined differently for everyone. For me it is vanilla SASS through the terminal and hand code in the Atom editor. I recently started using GIT, I know enough to commit and push my code (again through the terminal), thus using the repository as my cloud backup. I still use plain ole FTP to upload my files to the hosting server.

Hey, I run small web projects, no need for the whole deployment she-bang. Although it would be nice to have a smooth deployment environment for small to medium websites.

Anyhow, back to my autoprefixer problem.

Flexbox requires a lot of browser prefixes and ain’t nobody got time to type down those all day long. Most prefixes SASS mixins won’t do the trick because they use @extend which cannot be used inside @media. And with no @media there is no responsive website. My best option was using autoprefixer which needs Grunt or Gulp, both which in turns needs Node. Man, life of a front-ender gets more complicated with each new technique.

First I needed to decide Grunt or Gulp? I did a quick online search and this article helped me make a decision – Gulp vs Grunt. Why one? Why the other?

Gulp on the other hand is all about streams and building complex pipelines with ease. It uses node.js’ streams, and executes faster, since it does not open/close files, or create intermediary copies all the time.

If you have never used Gulp or Grunt it can get really frustrating. I’m good at installing and setting up environments but I get stuck in the details. I used the following installation guide to install Gulp on my Macbook with Maverick and on my Mac Mini with Yosemite. Getting started with Gulp by Travis Maynard.

My setup in Gulp is with SASS and Autoprefixer only. I got totally stuck with my gulpfile.js for which I got help. This is my current code:


var gulp = require('gulp');
var sass = require('gulp-sass');
var autoprefixer = require('gulp-autoprefixer');

var input = 'sass/**/*.scss';
var output = 'css';

gulp.task('sass', function () {
gulp //add gulp without return to keep session going
// Find all .scss files from the sass/ folder
// Run Sass on those files || pipe adds everything together
.pipe(sass().on('error', sass.logError)) //error log to keep session going when scss contains error
.pipe( autoprefixer( 'last 2 version', 'safari 5', 'ie 8', 'ie 9', 'opera 12.1', 'ios 6', 'android 4' ) )
// Write the resulting CSS in the output folder

gulp.task("default", ['sass'], function() {, ['sass']);

Basically I just want to run ‘gulp’ in the command line once, have it watch my sass file without breaking the session if there is an error in my sass file, add autoprefixer and done.

Obviously I want to expand my gulpfile later with more things like, minifying. And getting a better hang of using pipes and running only one task without the others. gulp-sass also has issues with @import inside a @mixin. I had to import Google fonts directly instead of using a mixin to set the details. So, still plenty to figure out with Gulp.

Getting Personal

- April 6th, 2015 -

For a long while now I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. Love, because I can keep up with my family in Aruba and Curacao. When you only go home every other two years or longer, Facebook is an easy way to see the kids grow and share life. Although WhatsApp is a good thing for that too.

Hate, because it’s easy and addictive. You get sucked up in the “perfect” life we all put out in the world. Rationally I know Facebook can be really fake and superficial, but it’s easy to get caught up. I stopped posting meaningful things a long time ago, I post more on Instagram than I do on Facebook.

Some of you know I used to write a personal weblog years ago. I still have the weblog but I post way less and not so personal as before. I even took down all old posts. Events this year have made me long to get back at writing, and personal is what I feel I write best. I like sharing, even if it’s with one reader only.

So I decided to start this newsletter and I hope I will be able to keep it up with at least one post a week in which I’ll share my regular ordinary life and things I come across, like books, a website and articles. Anything I want to share. It will be personal, like a boring on going biography. Although I don’t find it boring, I like reading about other people real lives.

If you want to join my journey to write regularly, quit Facebook in the sense of no more posts on Facebook(except a least one to share this new endeavour) and find out what I’m up to. Feel free to sign up to this newsletter. Your email is safe with me, I don’t think I’ll send more than one newsletter a week, that is if I manage to write one every week.

This first newsletter will be public, the next one only subscribers will receive in their inbox. The personal tone will start then. I like interacting so I’ll be giving ways in the next newsletter to contact me if you want to react to what I have written or just to say hi.

Till next…. -Darice

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In Defence of Low Salt

- March 24th, 2015 -

Everyone talks about low calorie, less sugar, low carbs, etc. You can stock a whole bookcase in a bookstore with diet books. But “no one” talks about salt. That has a lot to do with the fact that if you eat too much calories, sugar and carbs it will show in the form of fat on your body. Eat too much salt it will only show in a medical test.

When like me you were forced to really think health wise about food before you even got out of college, you realise that we still have a long way to go to really healthy eating habits. If you never eat out, cook all your food with fresh produce, no store bought bouillon, no spice with salt or sugar in it, no processed sauce, etc. You are golden, you control all your food intake. You get platinum if you grow your own veggies. If only I had a garden.

We don’t have to eat salt free, your body needs salt, some more than others. The daily recommendation is 6 grams for a healthy adult. Low salt diet means eating less than that. Most people eat 9 grams a day according to studies 1. The European Union is actively working on getting salt levels in processed food lowered.

I’m a personal believer that we should stop automatically adding salt to everything. Think about what you are cooking and the ingredients that already contain salt. Cheese, processed meats(even unprocessed meats), ketchup, mustard, mayo, etc. Just put salt on the table and let everyone decide for themselves how much salt they want in their food.

Ever watched the Cake Boss, Buddy Valastro’s cooking show on TLC? Every time he adds salt, he says: “Now we add a pinch of salt” and he proceeds to scope 3 fingers full of salt and dumps them in the dish. Believe me if you are cooking something like pasta with sausages your sauce for sure doesn’t need added salt. The sausages and the salt you added to the water for the pasta will make the dish salty enough.

When I cook and eat at home I can easily stay within the salt limits appropriate for my health.

Spaghetti & Bean Balls

The dish pictured above is a recipe from Thug Kitchen. I did not add salt to the pasta cooking water(I never added/add salt to cooking water) and did not add salt to the sauce plus I skipped the nutritional yeast. The only salt comes from the beans because I got them canned instead of dry and cooking it myself and the canned tomato sauce. Even so it was less than 0.5gr of salt for the whole dish from which I ate two days.

Just put salt on the table and let everyone decide for themselves how much salt they want in their food.

I’m a foodie tho and I like eating out, actually I like eating out when not in the mood for cooking and a sandwich won’t do. But mostly, I finally started reaching that fase when I can make certain dishes better than when I eat out. It’s when I crave ethnic foods like Vietnamese, Indonesian and such that I really dine out. But on that those day that I’m tired, lazy or in no mood for cooking I’ll get a burger or something like that.

Hudson Burger

I tried several burger places and some of them add a lot of salt to the meat. I mean the burger already has processed sauce on it, some cheese and one strip of bacon. There is no need to add salt to the meat.

The fact that so many food contains a lot of salt, every time I eat out, for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I have to balance, balance and balance even more to keep the salt intake within limits. The culinaire world might scuff at using less salt, but salt is as addictive as sugar. We are just not used to eating less salt. Once you are used, which takes one to two weeks. You won’t miss the excessive salt and will find a lot of food taste better with less to no salt.

1. Read on Blendle Ongemerkt minder zout consumeren zonder dat later te compenseren | Or download the PDF of the article here.


- February 6th, 2015 -

Dat het politiek met alles is verwikkeld op Aruba wisten we al. Je bent groen of geel, zelf als je neutraal bent word je door anderen “gelabeld”. Er is geen ontkomen aan op Aruba behalve emigreren. Deze week heb ik van dichtbij “gezien” hoe vuil politiek echt is, of beter gezegd, hoe vuil mensen kunnen zijn. Het is tijdens ziekte en politieke aanval dat je leert wie je echte vrienden zijn en wie je hoe dan ook kapot willen maken om een beter gevoel te hebben over zichzelf.

Dit keer is onderwijs het recentste onderwerp van strijd. Veel mensen kunnen het niet slikken dat het schoolgeld van SKOA word verhoogt. Schande, schande dat goed onderwijs geld kost. Want in Venezuela is het gratis, hoor je? Gratis! We laten even terzijde dat een diploma in Venezuela nergens iets waard is. En dat je een dag of twee in de rij moet staan om een schrift en potlood te kopen.

In plaatst van 30 gulden per maand opzij te zetten voor goed onderwijs voor je kind, gaan we als een goede Arubaan het gezicht van SKOA persoonlijk beledigen en voor alles uitmaken. Nou laat me meteen eerlijk zijn en zeggen dat het gezicht van SKOA mijn bloedeigen moeder is. Dus dat je weet dat ik niet 100% neutraal ben, maar wel heb ik nu voor het eerst inzicht vanaf de kant waarvan je voor alles word uitgemaakt.

Op Aruba hebben we een beeld dat omdat je een “hoge” functie bekleed, je wel rijk moet zijn. Dat je via “friends & family” je positie hebt gekregen en dan dat je je via duistere wegen blijft verrijken. En eerlijk gezegd kan je niemand de schuld geven dat ze zo denken, corruptie zit overal op het eiland. Dus het is voor velen moeilijk om te bevatten dat niet iedereen corrupt is en dat sommige zich echt inzetten voor het welzijn van het eiland.

Afgelopen dagen zat Facebook vol met dreigementen aan het adres van mijn moeder, ze zouden wel wat klappen uitdelen om duidelijk te maken dat ze geen schoolgeld gaan betalen. De meer gedurfden gingen tijdens het manifestatie wel even in haar gezicht vertellen dat ze een dief is en nog ergere verwensingen dat ik zeker ben dat ze mij niet over heeft verteld. Een dief.

Nou laat mij jullie vertellen wie jullie dief(en weet ik nog allemaal wat) noemen. Die persoon heeft zich meer dan 30 jaren ingezet voor het onderwijs. Ze begon haar carrière als kleuterleidster, werd schooljuffrouw, waarvan de meeste jaren op San Nicolaas. Solliciteerde naar de functie van staffunctionaris bij SKOA en werd volgens sollicitatie procedure gekozen. Heeft jaren als staffunctionaris gewerkt en uiteindelijk gesolliciteerd voor de functie van directrice. Oh ja, ze heeft als alleenstaande moeder op haar schooljuffrouw salaris ook nog 3 kinderen opgevoed waarvan 2 naar Colegio gingen. Voor zover ik weet is ze nooit bij Colegio gaan staan schelden en schreeuwen dat ze duizenden guldens per kind moest betalen zodat haar kinderen naar Colegio konden gaan.

Sinds haar baan bij SKOA heb ik ook niet gemerkt dat ze een duurdere auto heeft aangeschaft en elke jaar naar Miami gaat om te shoppen. Wel heb ik gemerkt dat ze 24/7 op haar persoonlijk huisnummer en mobiel wordt gebeld door docenten, ouders, pers en iedereen die wat van SKOA nodig heeft. Die vergeten even voor het gemak dat zondagochtend thuis geen werkuur is. En niet te noemen alle persoonlijke beledigingen die ze regelmatig te verduren krijgt.

Wat ik hiermee allemaal bedoel? Het is je goede recht niet eens te zijn met een hogere bedrag schoolgeld. Ga dan als een fatsoenlijk persoon op een fatsoenlijk manier je bezwaar indienen en zo nodig ga je naar de rechter. Op Aruba is er een serieus geval van onfatsoenlijkheid, mensen aanvallen en kapot maken. Er is geen respect meer. Wanneer een moeder blij is dat haar kinderen en kleinkind duizenden kilometers ver weg wonen van Aruba dan weet je dat het echt goed fout is.

A Day Eating Out in The Hague

- January 10th, 2015 -

Keeping a reasonable healthy diet means I usually stick to the same places when eating out. I seldom try new places without research first. Plus I usually avoid your usual standard lunch like bread(pistolet) with cheese/ham/kroket and other standard staple Dutch lunch.

Even at home I never just eat a cheese sandwich, at the most basic I’ll eat a cheese sandwich on sourdough bread with a bit of mustard, tomato and green on red onion. Peanut butter sandwich? Make that Zeemansboter with banana and sprinkle of brown sugar on sourdough bread. They don’t sell Zeemansboter anywhere in The Hague but you can buy it online. Or check their site for stores that sell them elsewhere.

Back to eating out. I’m listing three go to places for every meal of the day. My dinner choice here is questionable, I wasn’t overly impressed but the place is worth a try.


Will’s Pancake House

A household name in The Hague. Situated in the city center in China Town. Run by Will’s son Berry and his wife. The best pannekoeken, American pancakes and poffertjes. They also have waffles. Good price, fast and friendly service. My go to place when craving a sweet breakfast. Notice: you can only pay with cash.


‘t Achterommetje

Hidden in the alley street that runs across De Passage. I walk by almost every time I go to Marqt for groceries, which is a lot. I finally decided to have lunch there. Healthy and delicious food, good prices but very busy during lunch, you have to be lucky to get a table. Or eat there after 14:00 which I noticed is more quiet. You can get sandwiches, soup, salads and high tea. They also have warm meals later in the day but I haven’t gone there for that yet.

Pumpkin Vega Burger
Pumpkin Vega Burger

That was one of the best veggie burger I had. It was large and left me completely full, I even skipped dinner that day.


B.I.T. Grill & Café

This new restaurant annexed to Hotel Corona is focused on meat and more meat. I went there for their Gourmet Cheese Burger. Good price and premium meat. You get fries or baking potato with it and some slaw. For no more than 13 euros. Service is a bit uptight. It wasn’t busy at all when I went but when I asked for a table at 17:00 they had to get the reservation book like it would be a major imposition. I ate and went leaving the (big)place more than half empty. I can imagine they get busy after 19:00 so make reservations to be safe. I may go back to try their meat stew. I’m big on good service when dinning out, so if I don’t feel it next time it will be the last.

The Burger Quest

I’m currently looking for a good burger place. Hence I tried B.I.T. out, the meat was good but I wasn’t impressed with the burger as a whole. I currently have two more places to try and one in Rotterdam. I’m not a big meat eater so it will take a while before I have tried them all out. Once you have tried The Kim Chief Burger you won’t be happy with just any burger.

If you rather make your own burger I recommend getting a Merguez burger at Marqt. Grill it on the grill pan and serve on lightly toasted bread with mayo(Hellman’s), ketchup, mosterd, onion, tomatoes and slaw. Simple, easy and beats most burgers you can get at café’s.

An ode to retro

- December 12th, 2014 -

Just like most, I can barely remember how I passed all my free time without a computer, internet and a smartphone. Being a kid from the 80’s it was a two channel TV, play outside, comics and books. Which probably explains why I started reading the newspaper at an early age and watched the obituary news every night on the local channel. That’s how I spend most of my days. It’s probably also why I have some jingles and commercials stuck in my head, you watch them over and over again enough times, they’ll be forever burned in your mind.

For all my love of shiny gadgets, there is one item I won’t replace for a smart version. And that is my wristwatch. I have been wearing one every day since I was 10 years old. My first one was a black digital Casio. I used to wear my watches till they stopped working and were beyond repair. I never leave the house without my wristwatch, if I forget it I have a constant feeling of missing something. The same feeling you get when you forget your smartphone.

This year a lot of wearables came on the market with the highlight being the Apple Watch presentation. Companies are doing their best to get traditional watchmakers to come work for them in an attempt to give smartwatches the same classic look as traditional watches. Wasted energy in my opinion.

Just like hard copy books are still popular and small bookstores are making a come back. The traditional wristwatch will be a classic that won’t go out of fashion. There wasn’t a moment I thought about switching over to a smartwatch. I have enough anxiety already thanks to my smartphones that vibrates and blinks all day long with new messages, emails, tweets, etc.

Give me a nice retro watch that does just what it needs to do: tell the time and make me look fashionable.

Nixon - The Sentry watch

The battery usually lasts more than a year. Changing the battery is as simple as going to wherever they sell watches, wait 10 minutes and pay less than 10 euros.