H/B/F 2017: best of Bruges–food and drink

Shortly after arriving in Bruges and settling into our B&B, Andrew and I headed out on a walk and stopped for a drink at t’ Terrastje, a little gem where I got a flight of Belgian beers.

Our host, Lut, highly recommended the De Veloren Hoek, a restaurant within walking distance open that night.  We absolutely loved it!  Andrew and I shared a great bottle of wine, and I had some of the best moussaka ever.  We didn’t wait long for a table under the awning and were very well taken care of by our waiter, Thomas, and the owner, Daniel. We went back for lunch with some Brits from our bike tour later in the week!

I was craving truly Belgian food one night, so we popped into The Habit, a little hole-in-the-wall place with just a few tables.  I had THE BEST mussels I’ve ever had, hands down.  They called them the ‘Sophia Loren’ mussels since they had a bit of a kick.  I loved that instead of a simple wine broth, it was filled with delicious crunchy leeks and onions and celery. Delish!

On our bike tour, we stopped into Café Vlissinghe for a drink with the group.  It’s the oldest establishment in Bruges!  While there, we saw our host and her husband eating lunch, a sure-fire way to know you’ve found a local gem. Andrew and I went back later on for a drink in the evening another night.

After four days in Bruges, I realized we hadn’t gotten any Belgian waffles yet!  Sacrilege! Andrew knew of a Rick-recommended place off the main square, Fred’s Waffles, and it did not disappoint one bit.  Most waffle vendors simply throw a packaged waffle onto a grill; Fred’s made ours’ from scratch and you could smell them cooking a mile away!  So delicious and a great way to end our time in Belgium.

H/B/F 2017: In Bruges!

Nope, not the movie.  (We’ve actually never seen it; it’s on our to-watch list.)  Andrew and I departed Haarlem for Bruges via train after spending two weeks in the Netherlands. We stayed at B&B Setola, and we’re so glad we did!  We had the cutest room, met some new friends and even saw our hosts at one of the local watering holes on our bike tour, which means the place was LEGIT.

We took a walk around town and saw the main square:

While out, we stopped at a local bar and I tried a flight of local favorites (we were in BELGIUM, after all), including Bruges Zot, brewed right in the city.  I tend to prefer amber and dark beers, but lighter brews are what’s in season now.  Thankfully, there always seemed to be a decent selection wherever we went.

The sights in Bruges are simply beautiful, from the Burg Square:

to the beautiful canals:

to the only Michelangelo statue outside of Italy, the Madonna of Bruges, housed in the Church of Our Lady:

c

On another day, Andrew and I took a tour of De Halve Maan Brewery.

On our last full day, we took a bike tour (usually a good idea on a FIRST day as an orientation, but they didn’t have availability) around the town, which we loved. Quasimundo did a great job, and our guide, Jos, was excellent.  We even met a British couple and ended up inviting them to join us for lunch at the fantastic restaurant we went to for dinner our first night.

While on the bike tour, we visited a ‘beguinage,’ which is a home for nuns.  

Other sights included Old St. John’s Hospital:

As well as the Groeningemuseum, where we saw EVEN MORE Dutch Masters:

We visited Choco-Story, the chocolate museum, which featured a live demonstration after presenting an incredibly thorough history of chocolate and the process by which it becomes the sweet treat we know today. In Belgium, the term ‘praline’ refers to any filled, hard-shell chocolate.

Obviously, we wanted to try some special chocolates.  We visited The Chocolate Line, known for its inventive flavors, including fried onions (a sweet/salty combo that leaves you with a distinctive ‘onion’ taste), Cuban cigar, chili pepper and more.  Andrew and I brought a small box home and are still working our way through it.

One new thing we did on this trip was mail some of our souvenirs home.  We collect books from the art museums we visit, and because we did SO MANY in the Netherlands, we managed to amass a non-trivial amount of big, heavy books.  At the advice from our new friends at our B&B, we decided to try mailing a box home with our books and some souvenirs to lighten the load, and boy–we were glad we did!  While it might have been a *small fortune* to mail, not carrying those books and a couple bulky items for two more weeks was priceless. 

On our last night in Bruges, we made sure to get waffles topped with ice cream. We chose a little window making them fresh and mine might have been one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten.