Friday, October 31, 2008

Dutch Croquettes @ Van Dobben Croquettes (in Amsterdam)

Well, Free Lunch Week is winding down. I hope everyone is fatter and happier for it. Just to show my commitment I'm skipping my office Halloween Pot-Luck Party and heading out to get something special and tasty (after the costume judging). More posts will follow next week, but today I'm bringing you something special. My friend Kemal in Amsterdam has been participating all week long and wrote an article for the blog. So, today he'll be posting vicariously through me and you'll be eating vicariously through him. Bon appetit:

Amsterdam – No people like gruel as much as the Dutch. The Dutch kitchen has all kinds of raw filets, uncooked fish species and warm meat gruels. My favorite meat snack is the croquette (in Dutch: ‘kroket’). I didn’t want to disappoint my American friend Todd, so I went to the best croquette lunchroom in Amsterdam.

Just in the middle of the capitals tourist area, in a desolate alley, lies lunchroom Van Dobben Croquettes. It specializes in typical Dutch meat lunches: plain bread with cold sausages, Dutch meatballs, and even sandwiches with liver. You name it and they’ll have it over here. Van Dobben is such a famous and good place, that even the royal family buys their foods from here. Therefore, the company can use the Royal logo on their name.

Their all time best seller is the Van Dobbenkroket. This is a fried meat gruel stick, with a golden crust. This thing is a delicious snack and is very popular. People eat them at lunches and dinners. They even fry smaller ones on parties: the so called 'Bitterballen'. These are gruel meatballs with a brown crust. Mmmmmm, meat.

Yesterday I ordered a croquette on a plain sandwich. Though the waitresses’ service is always very direct and sometimes even rude, they serve you well over here. My croquette ended up in front of me within a minute. The croquette was broken into two halves, each one on a side of the sandwich, with some butter under it. Together with some free, real Dutch mustard. Yes, we love our sauces over here.

My first bite went okay. Sometimes a croquette can be way to hot. In that case, you’ll burn your mouth. This one had a good temperature. And the gruel didn’t have too many pieces of meat. This means that the cook has a good mixer and good ragout.

You recognize a good croquette when you can’t guess what kind of meat’s in there. By the way, the thing can have all kinds of meat. Mostly it’s the stuff that butchers don’t use, like hoofs, ears, testicles and other leftovers. But no horse meat. Lucky for me that I couldn’t guess which meats where in my croquette. The only thing I do know, is that it all tasted damn great.

Next I ordered a Dutch meatball. They cut it into two and serve it on a plain sandwich too. Normally the waitresses put some extra gravy on the balls, but today I didn’t get any. It still all tasted good though. My glass of milk made my day. Fresh and cold. It was a good combination for lunch.

Author: Kemal Rijken (

Date: October 31, 2008

Eetsalon Van Dobben: Korte Reguliersdwarsstraat 5, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Croquette sandwich: € 2,25

Meatball sandwich: € 3,35

Milk: € 1,50

Total: € 7,10

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gourmet Sausage @ Dogmatic Gourmet Sausage System

I heard about the opening of Dogmatic Gourmet Sausage System's first store in Union Square last month, but was reminded about it in yesterday's New York Times Dining Out Section. DGSS started out as a hotdog stand in the Bleeker Street Park in the west Village in 2006. They committed themselves to serving handcrafted sausages, grilled to order, that have no hormones, no antibiotics, no nitrates, no artificial flavors or colors and are naturally low in fat. The original cart added the sausages to fresh baked artisinal breads filled with gourmet sauces and roasted them on a metal spike. The new restaurant on Broadway and 17th provides the same but in a restaurant environment.

There are a variety of meats and sauces, of which I chose the pork sausage and the truffle gruyere sauce. The susage was amazingly seasoned and grilled nicely. The baguette had a nice crunchy exterior and a chewy interior, enhanced by the intermingling sauce. Although not that big, it was pretty filling, but if you're really hungry, I'd suggest going for two. Plus, it's a better way to try out more flavor combinations.

How have you been celebrating Free Lunch Week?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Bulgogi Bob @ Kofoo

Free Lunch Week continues!

Kofoo, whose name is derived from the combination of "Korean" and "food", occupies a tiny store front near FIT in on 8th Ave and 26th Street in Chelsea. This place is blindingly fast and highly addictive. It divides the locals into two groups: one that has to try everything on the menu, and one that tried one item and could never deviate because it was so good. I plan on being part of the first group.

I tried the Bulgogi Bob. "Bulgogi” (also spelled “bulgoki” and “pulgogi") is Korean barbecue; the term literally means “fire meat” or “flesh on fire.” The meat is barbecued over charcoal and usually marinated in soy sauce, sugar, and other ingredients. In this case it was marinated beef tossed in sesame seeds and served over sticky rice. Because it's been marinated in soy sauce, the meat is sweet, tender, and juicy. This was an extrememly filling meal and on any other week I would have saved half of it for another day.

On any other week....

Scotch Eggs @ The Wombat

Wow, what a crazy week already, and it's only going to get better. To kick off the first ever Free Lunch Week I'll post about brunch to get things rolling. Remember, the rules of Free Lunch Week are that you're free to eat whatever you want this week. Let me know what you get and if you'd recommend it to me. Don't worry about the impending economic doom or the slowing of your metabolism and you get older.

The Wombat is an Down-Under themed restaurant/bar serving Australian riffs on American cuisine in East Williamsburg. Looking at their menu I saw Scotch Eggs, which I have never had, so it seemed the obvious choice. For the uninitiated, scotch eggs are hard-boiled eggs encased in sausage and bread crumbs. They are deep fried and served with a sweet and savory mustard sauce. Also, they're awesome. Eggs, pork, and fried all equal a happy brunch customer.

What did you eat?

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Anne Taylor Knopke Memorial October 2008 Free Lunch Week Fun Run/Lollygag Walkabout

Next week will be the first ever Official Free Lunch Week. It's not that the lunches are free, but that you're free to and encouraged to eat whatever you want for lunch for one week. No price limits; no regard to your personal health. For one week you're not allowed to bring your leftovers from the day before, even if it's 5 oz. of sevruga caviar.

Can you....

...add a ground all-beef patty to your milkshake? I don't see why not. an early lunch at 11 am and then go for second lunch at 3pm? It's encouraged.
...put sun-dried tomatoes on a sandwich. No! Sun-dried tomatoes are the enemy of sandwiches.

In honor of this momentous occasion EVTT will be making daily posts for you to comment on with the details about what you had that day. Be sure to mention where you got it from and if it was good or not. If you have a picture, even better. Hopefully everything we eat on Free Lunch Week will be good though.

Have a good weekend and start planning your Free Lunch Week today! Hey, it's for a good cause.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Melissa Munchie @ Johny's Luncheonette

Are those onion rings on there? Yup.

Johny's Luncheonette has been serving up their version of greasy spoon sandwich art for 15 years in Chelsea on 25th street between 6th and 7th Ave. Known as "The mother of all father and son hole in the walls" I decided to give it a try.

While a lot of their specialty sandwiches look promising (the Famous Sloppy Johny with Grilled Chicken, Bacon, Onions, Cheese and Coleslaw on a Hero is the signature dish), I defaulted to an out-of-towner for my decision. Hey, that's what I do. I eat so you don't have to. She picked out the Melissa Munchie: Hot Roast Beef, Sautéed Mushrooms, Onion Rings, and Melted Mozzarella on Garlic Bread. As you can see I muffed up the sammy and got it on whole wheat, a mistake I will not duplicate next time. Overall, I love any sandwich that throws on side items; coleslaw, potato chips, french fries, and in this case, onion rings. It's a good sandwich, but a little dry, I was craving a little spicy brown mustard to go with the onion ring theme. Next time I'll stick to the menu. What's another sandwich that looks good to you?