Hidden Gems

Amsterdam is a city full of hidden gems, some in plain sight (but overlooked) and others in places you don’t expect them. For IDAHOT (International Day against Homo-, Bisexual- and Trans phobia) we did a show at CMA on Paradijsplein. In the former meter-building of the Eastern Gas Works. Inside it looks like a bar / theater from the turn of the century, red velvet, ostrich feathers and ‘brocante’ which translates best to flea-market art. When I told the rest of the crew what the surrounding looked like, I said “its old trash but its got atmosphere.”
If you’re looking for me, I’m not in the picture! These people are the ones that are important, my job is doing the design and styling of the flyers / posters and taking care of the mon€y that goes in and out. That was May 17.

Last night I went out to dinner with friends, our first stop was the Proeflokaal (Dutch for tasting tavern) of Wynand Fockink. Many Amsterdammers have never been there or know of its existence, and I like to keep it that way. It’s one of the gems of the city.

-slurping-tulip-glasYou will find the Wynand Fockink Proeflokaal and liquor store in the Pijlsteeg, an alley behind the National Monument on the Dam square in Amsterdam. In around 1679 Wynand Fockink started a liqueur distillery. Soon a Proeflokaal was added, where customers could taste and buy the products. To this day, this practice has continued; here liqueurs and genevers are still being made using the same 17th century traditional craft methods. Wynand Fockink produces more than 70 Dutch liqueurs and genevers which can be tasted in an authentic 17th century environment in the old time honoured way of bowing to the drink and slurping the first sip from a traditional tulip glass.

Knowing what we would have for dinner, cod, we had us poured a ‘Mykonos’, a shot of Angostura bitter, a shot of Singelburger bitter (with a hint of ginger in it) and to finish the drink off a shot of lemon liqueur. Then we made a bow to the drink and slurped the first sip. Why waste good stuff because the glasses are filled to the brim.

Afterwards we went to Casablanca, to stay in the theme of southern places. Casablanca is a small theater restaurant on Zeedijk, which I’ve passed many times but never went in. Until now.

The decor is circus, all around, posters, clothing, props and Corgy toys of circus cars and trucks from the fifties. We had a wonderful meal, a vegetable stracciatella soup*, cod and a sweet dish to finish it all of. If you’re wondering what stracciatella soup is, (I did too, thinking of ice-cream) it a very tasty aromatic vegetable broth with loads of fresh herbs, but minus the beaten egg. Try the Food network for a recipe.

After dinner we had a nightcap at ‘t Mandje, Amsterdam oldest Gay bar (since 1927) when sodomy was still a crime.

BOWI5739-3Okay, here’s a photo of me during IDAHOT, together with the Brothers Grimm. Dresscode was black and gold…

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