Of course right when we’re about to move ramen shops start opening in Antwerp! At least we were in time to try Takumi, a Sapporo-style ramen restaurant that just opened on the Marnixplaats! We met our friend Joachim who just returned to Belgium after traveling for almost a year. Glad we could catch up before Stockholm!
Ingredients out and ready for our handcut steak tartare!
On Sundays we love preparing brunch at home. One of our favorites is steak tartare! It may seem a bit daunting, but it’s not too hard to prepare. You need to flash freeze your steak, then chop it up finely. I recommend doing half very fine and the other half a bit more roughly chopped to have an interesting texture. Once you’re finished, add plenty of salt and put back in the refrigerator – the salt kills any bacteria. Then play around with whatever flavors you prefer! I like my tartare a bit sour and spicy, so lot of mustard, capers, red onion, and tabasco!
This year for Koen’s birthday we headed to one of our favorite seafood restaurants in Antwerp – Fiskebar Fiskebar on the Marnixplaats. We enjoyed oysters, North sea shrimp, and fish…plus we were excited to find a limited edition sea buckthorn beer from Mikkeller on the menu!
Koen and I see New Year’s Eve as a reason to indulge. Normally that means champagne, lobster, foie gras, and any other decadent food or ingredient we can think of – but this year we decided to challenge ourselves to create a kaiseki dinner for the two of us.
This year we made a traditional Christmas dinner, with Beef Wellington as the star. This year Nikki wasn’t able to join us, which meant that for the first time we could have meat at dinner. Koen and I have a tradition of eating Beef Wellington every Christmas Eve and it seemed like a fun idea to make altogether at our place in Antwerp. For the starter Barbara made her famous pear and butternut squash soup with fried sage and bacon. Yum!
Marrying into a Dutch family means getting to celebrate Sinterklaas every December. I love how much effort goes into writing poems and creating surprises for everyone! This year we celebrated at Barbara’s place in Tilburg to exchange gifts and surprises.
Part of the fun of being in Stockholm is visiting all of the islands. For dinner we headed to the Gamla Stan, Old Town, for dinner at Pubologi. This is again a recommendation from a colleague who lives in Stockholm and she said the menu is always changing and super creative. We weren’t disappointed. I loved the seasonal ingredients and innovative combinations! I especially enjoyed dessert – I’d never eaten pine needles before!
Walking through Kungsträdgården, a park in the city center
Bakfickan is one of the restaurants located in Stockholm’s Opera House. Earlier this year we dined at the Michelin-starred Operakällaren, and were excited to go to the more casual Bakfickan for some typical Swedish dishes.
The space is very small – only 28 seats – and very cozy. I ordered my go-to dishes: Toast Skagen and Meatballs with all of the typical fixings (brown gravy, potato puree, lingon berries, and pickled cucumber slices). The meatballs were soooo delicious! Definitely the best I’ve had in Stockholm.
Babette was recommended to us by a colleague for dinner. She had me at cozy little winebar, but peaked my interest even more when she told me they have a small but interesting and constantly changing menu and great pizza!
I did a bit more research and read that this is a chef’s favorite – that in the weekend you may find some of Stockholm’s most famous chefs enjoying a glass of wine! Babette was opened by three sommeliers and one chef, so it makes sense that wine is at the forefront of the menu. From Stockholm Food Stories, “Notably, the restaurant opened up in an old pizza joint and they have kept the pizza oven as the main cooking item – which of course adds an extra layer of complexity for Olle T Celltom when cooking the food. The pizzas are tasty, made with really good produce and innovative thinking when it comes to how to combine the quite classic Italian toppings on the pizza, and especially it is impressive to be abele to produce the pizzas in a standard pizza oven. One would have guessed that they like so many places would have flown in a oven from Naples, but no. This is your oven from the pizzeria on the corner.” So of course we had to split a pizza!