Friday, January 7, 2011

Enjoying the Fruits of War and Colonization

Here we are in Brussels, a land made tasty by the subjugation of faraway lands. We have chocolate (gained in Spanish conquest of Mesoamerica, grown by forced African labor for many years), coffee (more conquering and plantations in Africa), french fries (potatoes gained from Spanish conquest of the Andean peoples), and pastry (gained during brutal French and/or Austrian occupation of Belgium).

Honestly, you don't read this blog to learn about the historical stuff we saw, although the ruins of Coudeberg Palace and the comic strip museum are pretty awesome. So let's talk about food and drink.


We went to Fritland, just off the Grand Place (the city center in Brussels with all the 17th C. buildings). You have two fry options at Fritland - fries on a plate, or fries in a sandwich. The sandwiches are full of things that are either grill-fried or dunked in the same fry-o-lator as the french fries. You can also, instead of a sandwich, get fried foods along with your fries.

The fries are awesome. There are too many sauces for us to rate (we had mixed feelings about the "curry ketchup," and whatever kind of spicy mayo "samourai" is, it's okay, but not awesome), but the fries are crispy-tasty-riffic. You will, however, order too many. The fry portions are big, and unless you are a massive glutton, one container of fries (or a sandwich-full, as "sandwich" means "foot of baguette-like bread with stuff in it") is already too much.

GAUFRES (Waffles!):

The most common waffle here is a large, puffy thing that people put various toppings on. We ignored many waffle places for not looking tasty enough (the truck with the Smurfs on it outside the Musical Instrument Museum, the waffle place down the street from the Central Station which everyone on Tripadvisor hated, the waffle place advertising "Australian" ice cream), and bought a waffle with whipped cream and strawberry slices on top at Elizabeth near the Grand Place. We didn't go to the one at Leonidas off the Grand Place because I kept making 300 jokes to myself in my head.

If you can master the serrated-edged plastic fork that they give you with your waffle, the waffle is a tasty, pre-sugared delight. Do eat it sitting down, though; it's tough to cut with your funny plastic fork while standing.


You get a beer with your entrance to the Brewer's Guild Museum. The Sherbs and I both got a Bell-vue Kriek (cherry lambic), which, despite the bizarre lambic ritual that they do here (pour from tap, scrape off foam with knife, dunk bottom of glass in cold water to wash off scraped foam dribble, dry off bottom of glass on cloth), is pretty tasty. Frankly, we haven't had a kriek we didn't like - Bell-vue, Lindeman's, and Mort Subite "X-Treme" are all pretty tasty and cherry-flavored. They're still a little more beery than a "malt beverage," but that, I think, makes them more flavorful.

There are also framboises, which are lambics with raspberry flavor. Both Mort Subite "X-Treme" and Hoegaarden Rose are pretty good; Hoegaarden is less sweet, for those who like that sort of thing.

Not recommended: Delerium Tremens's "Cactus" lambic. It's green. It tastes more like agave than you want a fruity beer to taste.

In the lambic family is gueze, which the Sherbs calls "beer for people who don't like beer"; it's lighter and sweeter than regular beer. La Morte Subite's house brand is pretty good in this regard.

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