Sunday, March 28, 2010

Recurring Dreams

I'm pretty certain I never want to live in Australia again but in between bouts of insomnia are persistent dreams of familiar beaches, surfing and warmth hitting on my body. The frequency of the dreams is getting a little disturbing now... They started roughly six months ago in October with one dream a month, then by January they increased to about two a month and by february they occurred about once a week. Now, this week I have already had three, last night was the most recent.

The scenes and people change but they always take place by Sydney beaches, there is always sparkling clear blue water and sounds of people enjoying themselves, there is always sun, lots and lots of sun, and I'm always blissfully happy. Occasionally, they get lucid, and I begin to think to myself - something isn't right because I live in Amsterdam now, of course! i'm visiting Sydney, I need to call my parents and tell them to come say hello before I head back to my life, but I can't, I have to fly out soon and there's no time. And then the dreams fade out and disappear.

Am I homesick? Or am I just going mad from all the cold and lack of nature and clean beaches?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Restaurant Week in Amsterdam

Last week was Restaurant Week in Amsterdam, for €25 you can try a 3 course menu at one of Amsterdam's finer restaurants that you might not usually be able to splurge on. We were a little lazy with organising so we only got to try two restaurants, we will definitely try and reserve in advance next year.

Rozengracht 133, Amsterdam

Food 7/10
Atmosphere 8/10
Service 7/10
Value 7/10

Nomads is one of the most atmospheric restaurants I have ever visited. It is decadently designed like a sultans harem with large mattresses and pillows, private booths with huge sofa's separated by curtains. Nomads comes complete with ambient and Arabian music and on some nights even a belly dancer. The cuisine is Middle Eastern/North African and you wine and dine reclining while hot and cold mezzes are served to you on a platter.

Pros: The deserts are incredible!
Cons: It was a little bit too see-and-be-seen for me. The music is a little too loud and makes chatting difficult.
Tips: Best to go with a group.
Don't order cocktails - with a small bar staff and large crowds cocktails can take more than 30 minutes to arrive.

Amstelstraat 9, Amsterdam

Food 9/10
Atmosphere 9/10
Service 9/10
Value 9/10

Hands down the best food I have had in Amsterdam so far. Flo is a French Brasserie concept restaurant, with plenty of fresh seafood and typical French dishes, the food is excellent quality with excellent presentation. The restaurant has a great atmosphere and really gives the busy Parisian bistro vibe, best of all is the gorgeous art nouveau setting. 

Pros: Michelin recommended restaurant. 
Cons: Couldn't find any!
Tip: Must try the French classics like steak tartare and creme brulee.
Do ask what wine they recommend with a particular dish - the combination can be pretty amazing.