Thursday, 28 April 2011

Life in Amsterdam

In order to guide you better to the best places in Amsterdam, we have launched a new blog in March 2011: Life in Amsterdam. .. and twice a week a post will be added to the list.

Posts in Arts & Artists

Discover the Amsterdam of Amsterdam-impressionist Mark Raven (see art work displayed left). >>

Best Comedy in Amsterdam >>
Best Dutch Musical Artists (f) >>
Best Theatres in Amsterdam >>

Posts in Beauty & Relaxation

Best Hairdresser in Amsterdam >>
Best Spa & Sauna's in Amsterdam >>

Posts in Cafe's & Bars

Best Wine Bars in Amsterdam >>
Best Cocktail Bars in Amsterdam >>
Best Sky Bars in Amsterdam >>
Best Jazz Bars in Amsterdam >>
Best Irish Pubs in Amsterdam >>
Best High Tea in Amsterdam >>

Posts in Dining & Wining

Best Sushi in Amsterdam >>
Best French Rest. in Amsterdam >>
Best Dutch Rest. in Amsterdam >>

Posts in Events & Meeting People

... posts will be uploaded soon.
Events in Amsterdam >>

Posts in Food & Fun Shopping

Best Organic Stores in Amsterdam >>
Best Ice Cream in Amsterdam >>
Best Chocolate in Amsterdam >>
Best French Bakeries in Amsterdam >>
Best Wine Shops in Amsterdam >>
Best Take Aways in Amsterdam >>
Best Outlet & Vintage Shops (f) in Amsterdam >>

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Mark Raven, the Amsterdam impressionist.

Mark is a true Amsterdammer and his life long love affair with the city is recognizable in his art; most of his works display rough outlines of Amsterdam sceneries, yet leave room for personal interpretation. Read about Mark Raven's Amsterdam; special sights and other city delights.

Where can we see you with your easel and brush?

I'm not a painter as such; I am a graphic artist and I try to combine traditional graphical techniques, as etching and lithography, with painting and possibilities of image manipulation. In this way I create a balance between classical and modern. I work from my atelier on the Nieuwezijdse Voorburgwal 174. Yet I get my inspiration from the city as a whole. I simply love the Amsterdam streets, bridges, water and the sense of humor of her people - it never bores.

You are a self-taught artist. How did you develop your unique modern suggestive work style?
I am influenced by painters like Emile Nolde, a German expressionist. Kandinsky, Klee, Marchel Duchamp and Andy Warhol taught me about art as a conceptual principle.

Does your work also have Warhol-price tags?
It is my aim to make my work affordable and visible. I can do so by reproducing my impressions as posters and on T-shirts or postcards. They are a great gift for expatriates who return home and want to take a bit of Amsterdam with them.

Besides your hide away on one of Amsterdams most beautiful canals, the Brouwersgracht, what is your favourite spot in Amsterdam?
My stamkroeg Café de Prins, Prinsengracht. Especially on the terrace on a summer’s evening, you can watch everybody passing by... neighbours, friends, locals, tourists and all those beautiful Amsterdam women!

Ah, the Amsterdam beauties… which other Amsterdam sights do you enjoy?
The Amsterdamse bos with its great relaxing sceneries. For a great city panorama in head down to the lunchroom on the 6th floor in the Metz building. I also enjoy going to the Vondelpark on Sundays to watch the Amsterdammers relax. As an artist I particularly enjoy the city in its most vibrant colors during sunrise - it’s simply magnificent- and, of course, the Magere brug on the Amstel (painting below)!

Say you are a tour guide, where would you take your foreign guests to?
I would take them to the banks south of the Y, where interesting new architecture is rising. Then, we have lunch at the Restaurant ‘Open’ on Westerdoksplein for its great setting and views. Afterwards, we can explore Java and Borneo island.

Where can we find you on Saturday nights?

I incidentally end up in Pacific Park in Westerpark or the Winston in the Warmoesstraat. The Milky Way is still the place were my personal favourite musicians perform, and it is also good place for world music and dance. On the morning after, go for a ‘bakje troost’ at Winkel on the Noordermarkt.

Bakje troost? Your favourite drink?
“Bakje troost” literally means “little cup of comfort” and refers to ‘a cup of coffee’. Nowadays, I start to appreciate wine, though.

Wine, now we’re talking! Where do you say ‘Proost’ or ‘Chin chin’?
My new place to go is Di Vino, in the Boomstraat in de Jordaan.

And what do you do to relax?
Of course being creative greatly relaxes me. On Sunday afternoons I also enjoy watching the Amsterdammers relax in the Vondelpark. On rainy days it’s fun going to the movies… at the Movies (Haarlemmerdijk 161) or “dimsumming” with friends at Oriental City in the Damstraat.

Mark Raven's Store and gallery
(near Dam square, behind Royal Palace)
Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 174, Amsterdam
Open daily from 10:30-18:00 hrs

Kiosk at Museum Square
Paulus Potterstraat 3b, 1071 CX Amsterdam
Open daily from 10:30-18:00 hrs
(hours may differ in winter: please inquire)
See locations on Google Maps

Monday, 17 January 2011

Sky View Bars in Amsterdam

Amsterdam has few high rise buildings, but here’s a list of bars that do boast a good bird’s view of the city.

Blue - Sky Bar in the heart of the city (photo above)
Blue is the place in the city centre for a 360 degrees' view of Amsterdam. Blue serves breakfast and (late) lunches. Of course, you can also come for a coffee or after-work drink. The venue closes at 18h30 (21h on Thursdays) as it’s located in the shopping centre Kalvertoren. You can rent the venue for private parties. Expatica and Cosmo Polite host the Speed Date events here.
Blue, Shopping center Kalvertoren 3rd floor, Singel 457, Amsterdam, T. 020.427 39 01

23rd Bar - Highest Bar in Amsterdam As the name suggests, the Twenty Third Bar is situated on the 23rd floor of the Hotel Okura Amsterdam. This Cocktail & Champagne Bar has a stylish trendy interior with superb panoramic views. Twenty Third Bar is also open from 18:00 to 01:00 daily. Twenty-third Bar, Hotel Okura, Ferdinand Bolstraat 333, Amsterdam, T. 020.6787111

M’s Cafe on the Keizersgracht
On the 6th floor of Metz&Co, a luxury products' department store, has a beautiful view over the Keizersgracht and the busy shopping street Leidsestraat. The bar is open for lunch, afternoon tea. The cafe closes at 18h (Sundays at 17h). Not all tables have a view, so better reserve a table.
M’s Cafe at Metz & Co, Leidsestraat 34-36, Amsterdam, T. 020.5207020

La Place in the Public Library - View of the Water and City
This coffee bar/lunch restaurant is on the 7th floor of the OBA, the public library. The Public Library is east of Central Station, and since La Place faces south, one can see the whole om Amsterdam's city centre. La Place is a self-service restaurant with healthy, fresh and home-made foods on its menu. All dishes are prepared right in front of your nose, so you know that no one messed with your food. The ambiance is pleasant and easy-going. Open 10h-22h.
La Place in the OBA Library, 7th floor, Oosterdokskade 143, Amsterdam

Canvas on the 7th - Highest Roof Terrace Bar in Amsterdam (photo below)
Canvas is set in the former canteen of the Volkskrant. Enjoy the terrific view of Amsterdam from the terrace on the 7th floor over a breakfast, lunch or dinner. On Friday and Saturday nights, around 22:00, the restaurant is transformed into a club.
Canvas op de 7e, Volkskrant building 7th floor, Wibautstraat 150, Amsterdam, T. 020.7163817

Monday, 15 November 2010

Jazz bars in Amsterdam

Looking for jazzy vibes? Here’s a list of the best jazz joints in Amsterdam. No reservations, no entrance fees, just order a drink and enjoy the jazzy tunes!

Jazz Café Alto - authentic smokey* jazz club, at least it was smokey and dark in the pre-smoking-ban era. Photo left. Jazz Café Alto, Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 115 (Leidseplein area), Amsterdam.

The Cotton Club - authentic cheerful jazz club. Photo below. The Cotton Club, Nieuwmarkt 5, Amsterdam.

Café Casablanca- honours jazz on a daily basis since 1945. Also has karaoke on Fridays evenings. Café Casablanca, Zeedijk 24 (side street Nieuwmarkt), Amsterdam.

Jazzcafé 't Geveltje - Brown cafe meets jazz centre. In the room in the back music is played and taught (e.g. jazz workshops for beginners) and in the bar you can relax and talk music. Jazzcafé 't Geveltje, Bloemgracht 170 (Jordaan), Amsterdam.

Bourbon Street - Think Blues Brothers. Every day live Blues, Rock, Soul, Funk and/or Pop. Photo left. Bourbon Street, Leidsekruisstraat 6-8 (Leidseplein area), Amsterdam.

Maloe-Melo “Small piece of old New Orleans” (quote from owner and bartender Jur). Blues & Rockcafe Maloe-Melo, Lijnbaansgracht 163 (10 mins walking from Leidseplein), Amsterdam.

Live Jazz on Sundays in Amsterdam

Brix, stylish New-York-y bar-restaurant with live jazz on Sundays from 6pm and also vocal jazz on Monday nights. Brix, Wolvenstraat 16 (9 little streets), Amsterdam

Frenzi, Enjoy a Mediterranean lunch first and then enjoy live jazz from 3 - 6 p.m. Frenzi, Zwanenburgwal 232, Amsterdam

Cafe van Zuylen, Authentic Amsterdam brown cafe with live jazz on Sundays from 5 - 8 p.m. Cafe van Zuylen, Torensteeg 8 (Jordaan), Amsterdam

Cafe van Leeuwen, informal spot popular amongst locals with a performance of a jazz quartet every Sunday from 5 - 8 p.m. Cafe van Leeuwen, Keizersgracht 711 (corner of Utrechtsestraat), Amsterdam

Bar Barca, enjoy live classical jazz and tapas. Sundays from from 6pm till midnight. Bar Barca, M. Heinekenplein 31 (De Pijp), Amsterdam.

Sugar Factory, has live jazz by the Wicked Jazz Sounds ensemble on Sundays. Sugar Factory, Lijnbaansgracht 238 (Leidseplein area), Amsterdam.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Amsterdam's Best Burgers

Last Saturday's Wagyu burger at Sorels inspired me to list Amsterdam's five best burger places. So stay away from the 'burgers out of a wall' or the BigMac as they are not so big in The Netherlands!

1. Burger Bar - Simply the best!
Type of hamburgers: beef burgers, Wagyu beef and Black Angus.
Burger Bar, Kolksteeg 2 and Reguliersbreestraat 9,
Amsterdam, T. 020.624 9049

2. Sorel's @ Marriott Hotel
The new midtown bar and lounge of the Marriott Hotel serves a delicious Wagyu beef burger with Gruyere cheese and caramalized onions - the inspiration of this blog post! Of course, there is also a classic burger on the menu.
Marriott Hotel, Stadhouderskade 12 (Leidseplein), Amsterdam. T. 020.607 55 55

3. Burgermeester
Though some were served cold burgers, mine have always been hot and delicious. The menu boasts exotic hamburgers (eg Tuna burger, Spanish lamb burger) and American 'side dishes' as brownies and milkshakes.Burgermeester,
Albert Cuypstraat 48 (De Pijp), Elandsgracht 130 (Jordaan), Plantage Kerklaan 37 (Artis), Amsterdam. Open daily from noon till 23h.

4. Half Moon Lounge @ Hilton Hotel
The Hilton burger is served in every Hilton Hotel and everywhere it is good. (FYI - Photo is not of me eating a Hilton burger).
Hilton Hotel, Apollolaan 138, Amsterdam. T. 020.710 60 00

5. Lust
To quote a friend: "Lust is for a burger lover.. the bloody thing is huge!"
Lust, Runstraat 13, Amsterdam. T. 020.626 57 91

Have a great one!

Fundraising at Expat Drinks

Over the summer most drinks were attended by Cosmo Polite members. The E5 donation of the Cosmo Polite guests (aka non-members) were put together to support seven entrepreneurs in third world countries. Read below about three entrepreneurs who we have helped to build a better life.

Join the drinks on Friday to raise more money for starting entrepreneurs in need (of a cow or new sewing machine, I'm not talking a fast car ...)

Maria Elena Ugalde Cambronero (Costa Rica)
Maria Elena is 24 years old, married, and has 2 children. One is a year old, the other 3 months old, and they are her top priority. She would like to buy 2 cows to fatten. She has land with grass for tending to animals, which is an extra help. She has dedicated herself to her farm for several years, and would like to expand. She would like to get to earning a good profit from her purchased animals, so that she has support in tough times. In the future, she would like to provide a higher standard of living and more financial stability for her family. She would also like to continue growing both as a person and producer.

Jeanne Batamuliza (Rwanda)
Jeanne is 53 years old and is married with four children. She is well-known in the business of selling a variety of goods, which also includes the sale of tea. She has been in this business for about two years and her business hours are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day. Jeanne needs to request a Kiva loan to expand her shop through purchasing a variety of goods like rice, sugar, beans, cooking oil and some other foodstuffs. With these additional goods, she will hopefully earn more profits which, in turn, will allow her to keep reinvesting for better financial stability in the future. In addition to that, she will continue taking care of her family.

Kimsreng Im (Cambodia)

Mrs. Kimsreng Im (who is in the photo with her loom), is 28 years old, has been married since 2009 and just had a young son. She lives on an island on the Mekong River about 15 kilometers from Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia.

Kimsreng has been a silk weaver for 13 years. She sells her finished products to a middleman, who then takes them to sell in Phnom Penh City. She is requesting a loan of $300 to purchase silk materials for her weaving business.

Currently, the Cosmo Polite Portfolio contains the following loans:
read more about the Cosmo Polite Fund here
  1. Emerence Nshimiyimana (Rwanda) - Summer 2010
  2. Kimsreng Im (Cambodia) - Summer 2010
  3. Yeimy Yhonatan Benitez Caballero (Paraguay) - Summer 2010
  4. Tsunday Barongo (Kenya) - Summer 2010
  5. Jeanne Batamuliza (Rwanda) - Summer 2010
  6. Maria Elena Ugalde Cambronero (Costa Rica) - Summer 2010
  7. Doris Mugure (Kenya) - June 2010
  8. Yako Adjoyo Semekono (Togo) - May 2010
  9. Carlos Cesar Hernandez Torres (Peru) - May 2010
  10. Oem Nom (Cambodia) - May 2010
  11. Batjargal Sodnom (Mongolia) - April 2010
  12. Neang Kimla (Cambodia) - April 2010
  13. Sanchez Antonio III (Phillipines) - April 2010
  14. Bayrjargal Demchig (Mongolia) - April 2010
  15. Peninah Kibet (Kenya) - April 2010
  16. Adjowa Adjalo (Togo) - February 2010
  17. Jacob Tawai (Kenya) - February 2010
  18. Grace Iwo (Nigeria) - February 2010
  19. Natalya Bondareva (Ukraine) - January 2010
  20. Senfuma Joseph (Uganda) - January 2010
  21. Kei Uy (Phillipines) - December drinks
  22. Uche Ike (Nigeria) - December drinks
  23. Maqboolan Maqsood Ahmad Group (Pakistan) - October drinks
  24. Azra M.rafiq Group (Pakistan) - October drinks
  25. Rukiri 2 Group (Uganda) - Table Invitee dinner
  26. Hermenia Soon (Phillipines) - September drinks
  27. Letecia Ocular (Phillipines) - September drinks
  28. Marguerite Kayitesi (Rwanda) - August drinks
  29. Noeun Sorn (Cambodia) - August drinks
  30. Deborah Alaho (Nigeria) - July drinks
  31. Areli (Peru) - July drinks
  32. Yarisa Mojica Jimenez (Dominican Republic) - June drinks
  33. Dafina Vasileva (Bulgary) - Thanksgiving dinner 2007
  34. Hamza Homidov (Tajikistan) - Thanksgiving dinner 2007
  35. Digna (Peru) - Thanksgiving dinner 2007
  36. Tomás Medina (Paraguay)- Thanksgiving dinner 2007

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Best Take Aways in Amsterdam

A Take Away, are called 'afhaalrestaurant' in Dutch. The take aways listed below are more like deli's though. In Amsterdam more deli’s ('traiteur' in Dutch/French) are arriving on the scene and for us hard-working people that’s a god send! The only down-side is the early closing times, which are designed for those who leave the office at 16h55.

Centre: Lombardo's
Lombardo’s is the new kid on the block and has impressed my culinary-critical friends at my private lady soirree party last Sunday. Beautiful salads, cute sandwiches, to-die for cheesecakes were served. Lombardo’s sells Iberico hams, special delicatessens, wines. They deliver free of charge within the A10, and is ideal for business lunches. Lombardo’s, Nieuwe Spiegelstraat 50, Amsterdam. Opening times: Mondays - Saturdays, till 19h

Jordaan: Small world Catering
Small World Cafe did a great job catering the Thanksgiving dinner I was invited to last year. The Australian-owner knows how to please the tongue of his clientele, which mainly consists of Jordanezen (people who live in the Jordaan) and expats. This ‘corner cafe’ is indeed small and 80% of the premises is the open kitchen, in which all dishes are freshly prepared. On the menu are sandwiches, sweet treats, salads, take out meals juices and coffees. Small World Catering, Binnenoranjestraat 14, Amsterdam. Opening times: Tuesdays - Saturdays 10h30 - 20h, Sundays 12h-20h.

Oud-West: De Peperwortel (The Pepper Root)
De Peperwortel has been ranked ‘best deli’ in Amsterdam for years. The menu boasts Dutch, Mexican, Indian, Italian and Spanish dishes. The portions are large, so don’t arrive too hungry at this deli; before you know it you’ll be having your Paella for days on end! They do not deliver, but do cater for parties. De Peperwortel, Overtoom 140, Amsterdam. Opening times: daily from 16h-21h and in the weekends from 15h-21h.

Oud-Zuid: Van Dam Catering
Van Dam made its name as a butcher, yet the name is more known for its lunch cafe that welcomes many famous Dutch people. Since we do not recognize these ‘rich and famous’, there is only one reason to visit Van Dam and that’s for their quick service during lunch hours and great foods sold at the deli counter. Unlike what you’d expect, the prices are very reasonable and the quality outstanding. The menu is vary international, ranging from Japanese chicken yakitori to French chocolate mousse. Van Dam caters most entertainment and fashion events, so I assume that the presentation of the dishes are impeccable. Brasserie Van Dam/Deli, C. Schuytstraat 8-10, Opening times: Mondays-Fridays 9h-18h30 and on Saturdays 9h - 17h.

KNSM/Java: Oceaan Deli
Martijn, owner of Lombardo’s, recommends OceaanDeli. The traitteur specializes in cheeses and sausages, which will certainly please the Mediterranean-culinary-lovers amongst us. The menu includes tapas, curries, French (oven) dishes, and many daily dishes. Oceaandeli caters for luncheons, parties and diners. OceaanDeli, C. van Eesterenlaan 21-23, Amsterdam. Opening times: daily from 12h-21h, Saturdays as of 11h.

De Pijp & Utrechtsestraat area: ??
can anyone recommend a good deli in De Pijp and/or around East part of the centre?

“Eet Smakelijk” as we say in Dutch!