Brick Lane Colors and Tacos, London

After the long holiday weekend, most Londoners returned to business. However, I had Tuesday off of work (three days in London is never enough!) and so I decided to roam the streets of East London with my camera, doing some vintage shopping and eating copious amounts of street food along the way.IMG_6660

Brick Lane got its name in the 15th century, when brick and tile were manufactured from local deposits. Today, Brick Lane is populated with a large Bangladeshi community and is THE place to go to in London for a mind blowing curry. The area is also world-famous for its graffiti. It’s clear to see that from the local shops, markets, and colors that Brick Lane is an art and fashion hotspot in London.  Continue reading

The Breakfast Club, London

If you follow me on Instagram, then you probably noticed that I was chillin’ in London Town last weekend. When B and I were together, we would go to the UK every Easter. We would see friends in London, and then train it up to Leicester to spend Easter Sunday with B’s grandparents. It’s crazy to think that less than a year ago, B and I were engaged and both of his grandparents were alive. Now none of these things are true, and it’s almost spring again. The trees are blooming and the sun is out late. I feel like this quote by Ernest Hemingway sums up the change in seasons, and my re-birth into a new life . . . .

“You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person died for no reason. In those days, though, the spring always came finally but it was frightening that it had nearly failed.” 

This spring I’m feeling especially fresh and triumphant. I’ve made it through a long, icy winter, and am now rejoicing as the earth unthaws beneath my toes. My trip to London was the start of a new season where gloves were shed and I feasted with friends (I actually ended last summer in London, so perhaps kicking off a new season in London is becoming a tradition!) I took a bunch of photos to share on the blog (London is just so colorful), and I wanted to start with perhaps the most delicious set, taken at The Breakfast Club with Madelien. Feast your eyes on this:

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Sofar Sounds, Amsterdam

I very selfishly don’t want to tell you about Sofar Sounds. Each month, Sofar Sounds host secret living room concerts. The gigs are intimate and the musical acts are fantastic, so as you can imagine, the waiting lists are long! Unfortunately, the more people I tell about Sofar, the more people I have to fight for a spot on the guest list. So while it’s in my very best (selfish) interest not to tell you about Sofar, the concept is such a gem, I would feel guilty not reporting back on my new favorite Sunday evening activity.
IMG_6463If you like beer, making new friends, sitting cross-legged on a stranger’s floor, and rocking out to live music, I guarantee you will love Sofar Sounds too!

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Baked, Amsterdam

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I did not take this photo, it’s from the Baked website: http://baked-restaurant.com/

I want to caveat this entire post by telling you that I’m not your cliché Amsterdam tourist. I don’t spend my weekends in coffee shops, I can’t remember the last time I went to the Red Light District, I’ve never seen a sex show, and I most definitely could not stomach a whole weed brownie. Aside from the occasional white wine or vodka soda, my vices are quite limited, and while I love Amsterdam’s liberal mindset, I very rarely indulge in the leniencies allowed. However, on occasion, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity presents itself . . . and in this instance the opportunity was an invitation to Baked, a fancy six-course tasting menu served with lots of love and a sprinkling of drugs. The Baked website will tell you that this dinner is a ‘tasting trip’ where haute cuisine meets natural highs ‘from Marijuana and Hashish to more esoteric psychoactive ingredients such as Syrian Rue, Magic Truffles and Kanna Extract’. Do I know what all of these things are? No. Was I intrigued? Ohh yes! Several of my colleagues were also interested in becoming gourmet psychonauts, and so last Saturday night a big group of us booked in for an out of this world // mind // body drug dinner extravaganza. Continue reading

Baked Macaroni n’ Cheesecake

There’s really nothing I can say or do to prepare you for this blog post. It’s cheesy. It’s bacon-y. And it’s probably the most delicious one-dish-wonder you will fork into your mouth this week. Saliva glands, prepare! I proudly present to you, in partner with my hungry stomach and my fat-kid imagination, baked Macaroni n’ Cheesecake:Macaroni and CheesecakeBefore I dive into the recipe, I want to tell you how this cheesy brainchild was born. I invited the girls over for a roast on Sunday, and promised them, well, a roast. However, the night before I drank just a littlleee too much, so instead of a pan roasted chicken and baby rosemary potatoes, all I could think about were carbs. And bacon. And cheese. And so I walked through the grocery store, collecting my hungover cravings. By the time I got to the checkout counter, it became apparent – we were having mac n’ cheese. But as this was Sunday dinner, I had to try and make it a little fancy, right? So I whipped out my bundt pan, buttered her up, and took your standard macaroni and cheese to a whole new, fancy-pants level! Continue reading

Rembrandt Canal Cruise, Amsterdam

Hello blog friends! It’s been a while since we’ve had a proper catch up, so I wanted to make this next blog post extra pretty for you! This past weekend, I was invited on the Late Rembrandt Canal Tour. I booked into an early morning cruise, intent on capturing the quiet beauty of Amsterdam before the masses came alive. After grabbing a coffee from de Wasserette, I biked over to the Rijksmuseum to catch the Rembrandt tour boat. I expected it to be a relaxing morning, floating around the canals, sipping coffee, and taking pictures. And while the canals were as beautiful as ever . . . .
IMG_6185It turned out to be a not-so-quiet morning . . . .  Continue reading

Monkeys at Apenheul

I meant to tell you about the monkeys at Apenheul ages ago! However, I visited Apenheul right after my USA summertime holiday, and the monkeys ended up getting put on the back burner in lieu of more exciting, warm weather content (re: beachessunshinefriendship fun-times). However, last night I was doing a little clean-up of my computer, and I stumbled across the monkey folder. In the dead of winter, I thought some sunshine and chimps might be appreciated on the blog :)
20140921Apenheul-21So here’s a little look at one of Holland’s coolest attractions – the first and only zoo in the world where the monkeys live free in the forest, and roam around at will with the visitors. Continue reading

Rolo Pancake Kebabs

My last recipe post, 5 Simple Tips for Making Sashimi at Home, was logged on April 10th, 2014. That means it’s been almost a FULL YEAR since I’ve gabbed to you about a new food concoction. What’s up with that? I could blame the lack of sunlight – it’s hard to photograph recipes after work in the winter when it’s dark. I could blame life – I had a rough summer, and blogging wasn’t really my focus. I could blame work – I’ve had a lot more responsibly, which means longer office hours and less time for fun. But really, the truth is, I just haven’t felt inspired to blog. I’ve wanted to be out with friends, dancing, eating, drinking, and socializing. The thought of being at home alone, arranging plates and jotting down new recipe ideas on a weeknight just felt . . . sad.

However, I’m happy to report that the ‘old Ali’ is back in all her boring glory. I’ve been painting after work, dancing inanely to Taylor Swift for hours at a time, organizing cupboards, surfing Pinterest for recipe ideas, and eating way too much dark chocolate while wrapped up in a afghan on the living-room couch. I’ve gone into full-on winter hibernation-homemaking-hideaway mode, and it feels great :) So here is the product of my first recipe back in the saddle, and ohh god, it’s a good one. Are you ready for a whole lotta fluffy, melting, chocolaty, breakfast goodness? Please meet my new best friend(s), Rolo Pancake Kebabs: Rolo Pancake Kebabs 2This recipe came into existence on Sunday, as I was strolling through my local (Dutch) grocery store. My thought process went something like: I’m craving pancakes. I should buy mini pancakes. I bet I could do something cute with those. Put them on cupcakes? Haha pancake cupcakes. Or what about mini pancake sandwiches? Yum! With camembert and bacon and maple syrup drizzled on top?  OR WHAT IF I MAKE mini pancake kebabs!! It felt right, and soon enough, I had a pack of 50 poffertjes in my shopping cart while excitedly wandering through the grocery store, looking for the perfect pancake-kebab accompaniments.

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Supper Club: The Seafood Bar, Amsterdam

There’s a new club in town and all of the cool kids are joining. Membership is granted based on two simple criteria. 1) You have to work at Sid Lee. 2) You must eat. As many people at Sid Lee enjoy the fine art of eating, we soon had a supreme group of folk enrolled in the Sid Lee Supper Club. And so we kicked off our new initiative with a big, family-style dinner at Restaurant Blauw. The evening was a huge (stuffed, roll-home) success, and a second edition of the Supper Club was scheduled for soon thereafter. Enter The Seafood Bar, one of my favorite dinner spots in Amsterdam. I’ve been going to The Seafood Bar a lot lately (remember this heavenly Instagram photo?!) and was excited to share one of my beloved Amsterdam restaurants with the club. IMG_5812Hands down, The Seafood Bar has THE BEST raw seafood platter in town. Continue reading

Sir Hummus, Amsterdam

I’m super sleepy, but before I retire for the night I need to tell you two things. 1) I’ve re-named Pressed Words (like how I drop that in here all casually?!) As mentioned a few weeks back, I really want to get back into the swing of blogging. To kick-start this resolution, I purchased a domain name and re-branded the space. I’ve been blogging since 2012, and it’s been a crazy ride (life, blogging, everything) with so many ups and downs I could never have predicted. But in these kooky past few years, two constants remain. I love Amsterdam with all of my heart. This city is a huge source of happiness in my life, and right now, I can’t imagine being anywhere else. The second constant is my thirst for travel and adventure. Sure, I may call de Pijp home, but every corner of the globe I uncover becomes a permanent fixture in my heart, and writing about my travel adventures here, in this living, breathing storybook, is incredibly gratifying. So welcome to Amsterdam and Beyond, my space for life, love, food, friends, fuck-ups, laughter, learning, and everything in between. I’m going to continue making small tweaks to the site over the next few weeks, but expect things to get better, more epic, more personal, and more fun :) And please, comments and critiques are SO welcome!

Now, the second thing I want to tell you is slightly more scrumptious. And it’s BIG news. Ready?? A NEW HUMMUS RESTAURANT HAS OPENED ON MY STREET. Yes, I really did just shout that. Behold the chickpea and tahini glory:IMG_5788How often does a hummus restaurant open in Amsterdam? Um, like never. What are the chances of one opening up on my street? Pretty slim to none, I would say. However, de Pijp continues to be one of the coolest places in the entire world, so in addition to amazing Italian eateries, Javanese restaurants, and sushi spots, I now have a local hummus hang out. Welcome to Sir Hummus. Not only is their website adorable, but their restaurant is super cute too. Continue reading