The Quiet Musings

The Hague Food Guide

- June 5th, 2016 -
Last updated on June 25th, 2016

I have been living in the city center of The Hague for about five years now. The places I frequent for lunch and dinner have changed a lot. Being a routine and comfort person I tend to stick to the same places. I stop going when I get bored with the menu or if the food quality goes down. Also, if the service becomes so abysmal that the food isn’t worth it anymore.

Without much ado, the places I frequent, as in, when not in the mood to cook or when eating out with friends/family.

Breakfast / Lunch

Will’s Pancake House When I’m craving American Banana Pancakes or a good ole traditional Poffertjes. They take cash only, so make sure you got at least a 20 on you. Still the best and only pancake place in the city. Haven’t set food in the one at Malieveld in ages. Being the city slicker I have become…it is so far for just a plate of pancake. (Note: I walk, I don’t bike)

Walter Benedict This French Bistro at Denneweg that specializes in poached eggs have an all day breakfast menu. For the ones with a large appetite you can even get a hamburger before noon. They have a very good burger loaded with cheese and optional bacon. Love bacon but not that hungry? What about avocado with bacon on toast. Unless you plan to be there early (they open at 9) make sure to make a reservation because they tend to be very busy at times.

Happy Tosti Grilled cheese sandwich, the king of comfort food. Perfect for when you wake up without bread and cheese in the house. Happens to the best of us. Also great for those rainy noons and afternoons when you just want a warm sandwich loaded with cheese.

‘t Achterommetje Guilty free eating. Soup, sandwiches, smoothies and salads. From veggie burger to the best steak sandwich currently. Rather have a grilled cheese sandwich? You can choose your own combi here. Hidden in the alleys of De Passage, they are almost always full. Make reservations if going in the week-end.

Baladi This small Lebanese place can be found at Torenstraat. Fresh made Lebanese manouche (flat bread) with cheese, za’atar, meat or hummus. Try their fresh lemonade. It’s so good, you’ll drink it in one go.

Lunch / Dinner

Woeng Kee My new favorite Chinese restaurant in Chinatown. Their Dim Sum menu might not be as extensive as Kee Lun Palace, but what they do have is good. Their fried rice is fluffy and I love fried rice. They have an exquisite Honey and Pepper Beef (or chicken). It’s so good that I overate. I still need to try their roasted duck, but to avoid an overeating incident again I’ll have to find more dinner partners. Good place to order online or eat in.

Green Bowl No time to cook or in the mood to but you still want to eat healthy? Green bowl’s salad is the answer. I always order the same thing: Deli Steak Salad. A small cut of beef cooked with mushrooms, potato and green beans served on a salad with dressing of choice. Beside a select chef specials (fish, vegetarian, chicken and vegan) you can choose own salad combi. They also have wraps and soups.

SLA Want to eat even more healthy? SLA at Kerkplein is so healthy you feel like eating a hamburger the next day. One of their slogan is “Munch on mother nature” and it’s spot on. Their salads are served cold and they switch menu every season. They are new in town, I have no idea if in colder months they serve warm salads. It’s a perfect go to meal if you want to eat very healthy.

Frietwinkel at Kortepoten. One day Cupcakechic was suddenly gone to never be seen again and now the location is taken by my favourite fries at the moment. Frietwinkel serves organic fresh cut fries with the skin on and it couldn’t be better. Still hungry? They have beef and goat cheese croquettes among others. And on Friday and Saturday you can get beef stew. They have a nice take away box making it easy to get your fries to go.

Dunglemann The Hague’s best beef croquettes can be found at Dunglemann’s. With three locations: Babylon, De Nieuwe Passage and Hoogstraat. A perfect quick lunch for on the go.

Hoender en Hop craving a roasted chicken or ribs with a good craft beer? Hoender is the place to be. I love roasted chicken but not leftover chicken which is why I almost never cook it myself. So every time I crave roasted chicken I get one at Hoender. These organic French chickens are the right size for one meal They are now serving a palm sized chicken which is more starter than a meal. Too bad. Hoender spareribs tho, is addicting, I have to contain myself to not eat these regularly, you know with eating healthy and all. It’s a very salty and fatty meal, so I only treat myself that sporadically. My current favourite special beer to go with a fatty meal is Kompaan’s Vrijbuiter No 45.

Beer Garden In the basement at Kerkplein a stone trow from SLA. It can be a battle of wills; healthy or junkfood, healthy or junkfood? But if you are going to eat junkfood, Beer Garden is the place to eat junkfood. Burgers, hotdogs, quesadillas, onion rings and all the craft beers you want. And even better, the food is organic. They also have a terrace so you have your choice of seating.

South of Houston For a New York experience South of Houston is the place to be. Situated at Plein, they currently have the best burger in the city. Their steak (dry aged meat) and rack of lambs are perfect for meat lovers. Their menu has changed a bit. Some new Starters like Fried Squid, the herb crusted chicken has been replaced by roasted chicken, which I need to try out soon. Their two vegetarians meals have also been updated. All in all a balanced menu. A perfect place for a nice night dinning out.


I would eat out more if The Netherlands had guidelines about salt use. The United States is starting with recommendations for restaurants.

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.

Baladi

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 deliveroo.nl or foodora.nl. 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.

Waldberg

- June 5th, 2015 -

Last month Waldberg opened its door at the Nieuwe Binnenweg 105A in Rotterdam. Waldberg is the first döner restaurant that is mostly organic and focussed on good food.

Most if not all of us are familiar with the standard döner eatery on every street corner. In all my 15 years living here I think I ate at those places no more than 15 times. Even that is too much. I haven’t eaten there in more than two years. A while back a research was published in the paper on how bad the hygiene of most of those places are. Which is why I stopped getting food there. Not to mention how much salt there is in the food.

The owner of Waldberg moved from Berlin to the Netherlands six years ago. As someone familiar with döner and with a passion for good food he was shocked by the state of döner eateries here. Which is one of the reasons why he and his business partner started Waldberg.

The place has a nice, modern and clean interior. All food is fresh and safely stored at recommended cold temperatures. The veggies are organic, chicken and beef meat are from responsible farming, no mass produced meats. The sauces are all made with yogurt. No fatty garlic sauces here.

It’s a bit more expensive than your regular Joe döner but worth every cent hands down.

Waldberg chicken sandwich
Chicken Sandwich
Waldberg wrap
Beef BBQ Wrap

I had lunch there a couple of times, I tried the chicken classic döner sandwich, the beef bbq wrap and the beef bbq sandwich. Delicious and nothing like what we know as döner food.

A döner sandwich or wrap starts at 5,00 euros. You can get beef, chicken or vegetarian(hummus). There is a nice selection of sauces, salads and veggies. You can also make your order a menu with side dishes. I got the french fries one time as side dish. It’s potato pieces with skin on without salt. They don’t have that dreadfully salt shaker that all other places have to drown the french fries in salt. Instead you get a small salt sachet.

Hopefully Waldberg will be a success and expand with more locations. The Hague certainly could use a Waldberg.

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.

Food for the Soul

- September 11th, 2013 -

Thirteen years since I moved from Aruba to Holland and I can safely say I will never get used to some things. I have come to love the seasons, and how the nature changes every time. While I love it’s (mostly) always beach weather on Aruba, as a kid I got bored reading the weather forecast in the newspaper. Which went like this everyday:

Thirty two degrees, sunny, partly cloudy with a chance of rain. Wind is 8 knots from North East.

Right. You must know the wind almost always comes from the North East on Aruba and only changes with bad weather. Even at 18 years old we would skip class if there was a storm coming so we could go to the beach and see how the usual calm sea would turn into huge waves eating up the beaches and flooding the hotel pools. That’s how unusual it used to be on Aruba to get different weather. I learned things have changed a lot due to climate change.

This week fall has made its entrance again, with strong winds, lots of rain and thunderstorms. I love this kind of weather, it’s the cozy stay at home, read a book and cook a nice dish, weather. But it also reminds me that winter isn’t far behind and that it will be months before I will feel the hot sun on my skin again. Thirteen years later and I’m still not used to cold below 15 degrees. This year when spring started and we had the first day of warm weather it was like finding that forgotten 5 euro bill in your pocket. I went straight to the ice cream parlor after work, got an ice cream and sat outside eating it while basking in the sun. It was 17 degrees.

creole fish
Creole Sauce with Cod Fish

So, fall. When fall comes around I get more in the mood for cooking again. Because I never got used to some things like Dutch cuisine or lack of good hot sauce, I still miss the island food. By island food I don’t mean the 4 Wendy’s, 2 Taco Bells, 2(or 3) Burger Kings, 2 Kentucky’s, I lost count Subway’s, Pizza Hut, Domino’s and uncountable Chinese restaurants on 74.52 sq miles of an island. Nope.

I miss Coco Plum in caya grandi where I can eat the best fresh red snapper in sauce crioyo with funchi. I miss being able to buy the best BBQ on Sunday, eat amazing lobster at Fishes and more or the simple pastechi tuna from Pastechi House. I could keep going; pumpkin soup at Suikertuin, pumpkin soup at Alice or a nice tenderloin grilled in the backyard. None of the above I can eat here authentically, I can only try to match it as best as I can.

After three days of fall weather I decided nothing would taste better than creole seafood to sooth the soul for the incoming cold. I dusted off my “Essential Caribbean Recipes” cookbook, went to Marqt(I never loved a grocery store like I do Marqt) for all organic ingredients, including the line caught cod fish. The result was delicious and soul soothing.

In my thirteen years living here I went from, doesn’t like eating, to a foodie who loves cooking and eating good food. I will probably never get used to winter or how distant people are here compared back on Aruba where friendships are formed easily, but I’ll always have good food and my cooking abilities to transcend borders.