Amsterdam · food · travel

travel: Tiffany Eats Amsterdam

Amsterdam

On this week’s episode of Tiffany Eats Tampa- we are taking a break from my beautiful (and delicious) city of Tampa and continuing on with our European Adventure! The second stop on our Eurotrip was Amsterdam- let the shenanigans begin! (Check out my post about Bruges, the first stop on our adventure here)

Tiff’s Amsterdam To-Do and Eat List

1. Check out the Flower Market

Flowers

When we first arrived in Amsterdam, we checked into our AirBnB- which, unfortunately, was not a great start to our trip- the place was in a perfect location but the home itself was very dirty, let’s just say that- but I was determined not to let that get in the way of our 2 day stay in this beautiful city. Okay, let’s have some real talk- when I say “I was determined not to let that get in the way of our stay” – I mean after about an hour of semi-panicking and trying to decide whether or not we should try to find a new place to stay but realizing that was pointless and then me trying to hold back tears of disappointment and such and my lovechunk trying to cheer me up- that’s what I mean 🙂 #travelstruggles 

I finally said “let’s go explore and have some fun!” So we decided to check out Bloemenmarkt which is the world’s only floating flower market. I mean, how can you be in a bad mood when looking at a bunch of flowers, right??

tulipbulbs
Check out all those tulip bulbs!

It is a fantastic place to go to check out stall after stall of flowers (mostly tulips) and souvenirs. I have never seen SO many tulips in my life- it was an oasis of color! We spent about an hour, or so, just perusing through the shops and taking in all the sights and smells- it was a perfect way to spend our first few hours in Amsterdam.

2. Take a Big Bus Tour

amsterdam2

I LIKE BIG BUSES(and I cannot lie!)- okay, okay- but seriously- big bus tours are one of my favorite things to do when I go to a major city! It’s a great way to get a feel for where all of the big sights are located, you also get to listen with headphones to an audio recording telling you about the places you are passing, AND your feet get a break- what more can you ask for???

What we like to do it sit on the bus and relax while it goes to each stop on the tour- usually that takes about an hour to an hour and a half. Then we will decide where we want to get off and explore- but trust me, when you are traveling and walking around all day long- that time spent sitting on a bus is much needed for your precious feet! I don’t care if some people think it’s the “touristy” thing to do – it’s a really great way of scoping out the city and it’s also super convenient. 2 thumbs up from this girl!

bigbus
I love that bus!

 3. Check out the “I Am Amsterdam” Sign

Sign

The “I Am Amsterdam” sign is iconic and is a perfect photo op! The sign is actually located behind the Rijksmuseum which is beautiful in itself. Walking to the get to the sign was simply stunning- you go through the museum entrance, and there are gardens surrounding you with fountains you can run in and out of- just a really cool place to sit and enjoy your surroundings.

museum
Rijksmuseum
sign2
Where’s Waldo?

Let me just say that taking a picture in front of, or even around, the “I Am Amsterdam” sign is no easy task, there are people EVERYWHERE! But it’s a fun place to be and you can climb in and out of the letters like a little kid(or traveling adult) 🙂

4. Eat a Stroopwafel 

 

stroopwaffel
Yummmm!

When we were done goofing around at the “I Am Amsterdam” sign- we decided we were starving (climbing in and out of signs makes you hungry- fun fact!) and to our luck there were several cafes and food trucks located right outside of the museum. Before coming to Amsterdam I did some research about Dutch cuisines and kept stumbling across something called a “Stroopwafel” so of course we had to try it!

A  Stroopwafel is basically a waffle made from two thin layers of dough with a caramel-like syrup in the middle. This one was made fresh- which meant the syrup in the middle of it was still warm and gooey and OH MY AMSTERDAM it was heavenly! It was very hard to share just one so we had to go back and get a second. #worthit 

5. WATCH OUT FOR BIKES

bikes

Before I came to Amsterdam, I spoke with my friend who has been there before and she gave me a great tip- WATCH OUT FOR BICYCLES! And i’m so glad she said that because there are LITERALLY (surprisingly, i’m not exaggerating) bicyclists EVERYWHERE! There are four times more bikes than cars in Amsterdam- it is basically how everyone gets around.

I nearly got ran over by bikes at least twice while we were there- I had to learn quickly to be very cautious for bicyclists when crossing any street or even walking on a sidewalk because they own the roads- not the cars. Just be careful and cautious while walking on the streets to see where the bikes have the right of way and whatever you do, do NOT stop in the middle of a street and take a picture because you might just get run over! #TiffsTips 

6. Have a Hot Dog

 Dodging bicyclists can also make a girl hungry- okay, i’ll be honest, everything makes me hungry– so we decided to stop for a snack before our next adventure. And I know what you’re thinking, “a hot dog? Really”? These aren’t your typical American hot dogs, these are some fancy pants hot dogs!

hotdog
That’s a classy dog

See?? I told you! They serve it on a nice kind of bread with some cheese melted on top- it was quite lovely, I must say. The perfect afternoon snack.

7. Eat some Dutch Cheese

Cheese2

Holland is the #1 cheese exporting nation in the world- so of course we needed to sample some of the countries best cheeses! We stopped at several different cheese stores- there are plenty to choose from. Every single one was fabulous in my professional eating opinion.

We bought 3 different kinds and nibbled on them while we explored the city. They were simply divine. Side note: I highly recommend carrying around mints or gum after nibbling on cheese all day long- you will thank me later 🙂

 

Cheese
Cheese Everywhere!

8. Take the Heineken Brewery Tour

heineken

This was such a cool experience and a MUST while in Amsterdam. As this was only my second brewery tour, I thought I knew what to expect- someone would walk us around and talk to us about the history of Heineken and about the beer making process- I was wrong- this was actually a self guided brewery tour- which was VERY unique and cool.

You walk through several different rooms and levels where you first learn the history of the company and then you walk into the room where they make the beer- it felt like we were in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”- they had stations set up where you can stir the barley around and actually help make the beer!

Brewery
Making beer, no big deal 🙂 

They even had the Heineken horses, an interactive ride, beer games, make your own bottle stations, and more! It was just a really cool experience that I would have never expected on a brewery tour. I rate this and the beer A +.

Heinekin2
Sampling 🙂

10. Eat a Dutch Pancake

Pancakes2

When you’re in Amsterdam you HAVE to go to a place called “The Pancake Bakery” and try some Dutch pancakes- don’t ask any questions, just do it! Yes, I know i’m bossy but you will thank me afterwards.

baconpancake
Bacon, Apple, and Cheese pancake

You guys, these pancakes were insane- in a good way! First of all, they were as big as our plates and they were definitely not like any pancake I’ve ever had before. They were thin, light, and almost airy. Mine had bacon, apple, and cheese inside- YASSS!!! If you’ve been reading my blog then you should know by now that I love me some sweet and saltiness- and this was just that! Sweet and savory and simply delicious!

lemonpancake
Lemon Pancake

Chris got the lemon pancakes which was also delicious- they were so filling I don’t think we were able to finish them:( What I also loved about this place was they didn’t have your typical syrup like we’re used to in the states, they had a pot with a stick in it and what came out was this thick, molasses-like, syrupy amazingness! I took a video for your viewing pleasure- i’m always thinking about you guys!

 

11. Go to Zaanse Shans

windmills
 
Zaanse Schans is about a half hour outside of Amsterdam and it is SO worth the drive. I knew I wanted to go to this place before we even left for our trip because I read about it and saw pictures and it looked breathtaking. I was so worried that we weren’t going to be able to go because it was our second and last day there and it was raining and cloudy so I was starting to give up hope on checking this place out- but later in the afternoon the sun came out and shined it’s glorious head and so we took an Uber (our first ever Uber to be exact) to Zaanse Scans and i’m SO thrilled that we did!

This place is like something out of a dream- when you close your eyes and picture the countryside of Holland with windmills, green fields, and little baby goats and sheep frolicking around- THIS PLACE is what you are thinking of!

babygoats
Baby goats!!!!!

There are huge windmills that you can actually go inside of, a cheese shop, a clog shop, a museum, and so much more- we had the best time just walking around taking in all of the beauty!

 

sheep

The animals are also very good at posing for pictures as you can see by this smiley goat right here 🙂

Goat

The clog shop is also a great place to go to get some Holland souvenirs as well as your very own pair of clogs!

clogs

 

clogginaround
Just cloggin’ around

I truly can’t say enough good things about this adorable place, I’m so happy we got to go on our last day- it really made our trip so much more special and it also was nice to get out of the city and see some of the countryside and it’s beauty.

Pretty

Bottom Line: Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see and do all of the things that I would have liked to being that we were only in Amsterdam for 2 days. I would have loved to see the Anne Frank House (I recommend booking in advance for that, which unfortunately we didn’t do) and taking a canal boat ride- but we still had a fantastic 2 days in Amsterdam and would definitely recommend adding it to your list of places to explore! 🙂

Xoxo,

Tiffany

Have you been to Amsterdam? What was your favorite places to see? Did you eat a Dutch Pancake? I’d love to know! 

 

 

food · tampa · travel

eat: Loli’s Mexican Cravings

lolisisign

The Tampa Food Train is back in action! ALL ABOARD! I wish I could take you all with me to this place- like a foodie field trip- wouldn’t that be fun?  Because this is another place that is near and dear to my heart belly. But first I need to tell you the history of my love for Loli’s..let the “foodie-tale” begin!

Years ago, in 2011, when my lovechunk was still in the U.S. Navy, he was stationed in San Diego. It was a lovely time, featuring great weather, lots of sunshine, and also lots of tacos. Let me start by saying that San Diego has AMAZING cuisine – especially lots of Mexican cuisine- being that it is so close to Mexico there is an abundance of authentic restaurants and taco shops everywhere.

During our 2 year stay in San Diego we enjoyed our fair share of tacos- but me personally, I had my fair share- and then some! Chris had to leave me and go on a deployment for 8 months 😦 and well, what else is a girl to do while her man is gone but eat lots and lots of tacos?? #tacotherapy Let’s just say I became quite an expert on good Mexican food and not-so-good Mexican food.

Anyhow, fast forward to 2014. Since coming back home to Tampa, Chris and I have been on a mission to find some authentic Mexican food #tacosnobs with little to no luck. Some places came close but we just couldn’t seem to find something that was good enough until one fateful night….

It was December 19, 2014- a night I will never forget. We were at my work’s Christmas party, being merry and such, when it was time to eat. I didn’t know what they were serving- I don’t ask a lot of questions when it comes to eating I just grab a plate 🙂 So we got in line and discovered they had food catered and it was tacos & tamales. We stuffed our plates and sat down at our table. I remember taking a bite of that chicken taco – it was like fireworks went off in my mouth! I’m pretty sure I had tears in my eyes from being so happy- I looked at Chris and said “BABE! TASTE THIS!” and I shoved the taco into his mouth…he chewed and I waited for his head nod of approval…and I got it! This food was legit! I found out the name of the place that provided the delicious food…it was called “Lolis Mexican Craving’s”.

We were so excited to go there- I don’t think we even waited a full week! Loli’s is a hole in the wall- when I say that I mean it’s very small, with 5 tables, and that’s basically it. No frills. When the food is THAT good you don’t need any frills! When we arrived we discovered they have more than just tacos and tamales. They also have sopes, tortas, and quesadillas. We’ve never head of a sope before but we thought we’d try it and i’m SO glad we did because they are FANTASTIC!

 

sope
Sope

A sope is a traditional Mexican dish that is fried masa- formed into a round shape- topped with refried black beans, meat of your choice, lettuce, avocado, crumbed cheese, and sour cream. I like to get the ribeye sope (pictured above) – it’s my personal favorite. I often ask myself, what is better than 1 sope? The answer is…2 sopes!

 

sopes2
Chicken sope & Ribeye sope

Let me explain what an authentic Mexican taco consists of- a corn tortilla, your meat of choice, cilantro, and grilled onions. They also have sauces to choose from like an avocado cilantro (my fav) and some other spicy ones that I’m too afraid to try. Chris says the habanero sauce is “on point but proceed with caution as it’s very spicy”. Loli’s has a lot of options to choose from for your taco, sope, quesadilla and torta needs – ribeye, chicken, pastor, campechano, shrimp, fish, lengua, chicarron, chorizo, carnitas, and vegetarian. If the only tacos you are familiar with are from “Taco Bell”- I beg you to come to Loli’s and experience these bad boys! You will thank me 🙂

My favorite tacos are the pastor, ribeye, and fish tacos. The pastor tacos come with onions, cilantro, and pineapple- the sweetness just goes impeccably with the saltiness from the meat.

 

pastortaco
Pastor Tacos

The fish taco is fried white fish, cabbage, avocados, cilantro, and pico de gallo- squeeze some lime on that- perfection!

 

Fishtaco
Fish taco

Their tamales, tortas, and quesadillas are also delectable. It’s hard not to order half of the menu every time we go.

tamale

Now, I need to confess something…when we first discovered Loli’s I was very selfish (only child syndrome) and I told Chris that we shouldn’t tell anyone about them because then it will get too popular and busy and we’d have to wait forever to get our food ( #princessproblems) . Well, that didn’t last long- we told everyone we knew how great and authentic this place was. And other people discovered this great place and so on and so on- basically the word got out- because now Loli’s has lines out the door anytime you go there- people even wait outside in the rain for their food- I’ve seen it! And honestly, I’m so happy they have been so successful- they deserve it! And yes, now princess has to wait in line for her tacos and sopes, but it’s definitely worth the wait- I promise you! Don’t believe me? Check out this bulletin board on the wall of the restaurant that people can write notes on. It’s unanimous- Loli’s is the best. Also, they just started opening on Sundays- they are now open 7 days a week! #bestnewsever

reviews

 

sopeprincess
Sope Princess

Bottom Line: Go have some authentic Mexican food at Loli’s Mexican Cravings..tell them “Tiffany Eats Tampa” sent you- and then bring me a sope!!! 🙂

Xoxo,

Tiffany

What is your favorite Mexican food dish? How many sopes can you eat in one sitting? Let me know!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bruges · food · travel

eat: Tiffany Eats Bruges

Bruges

Tiff’s Bruges Must Eats!

Imagine an enchanting place with chocolate & waffle shops on every street corner- with serene canals running through and bells echoing in the background. Well I have wonderful news- this place exists! It’s called Bruges and it’s truly magical.

In my last post travel: Bruges,  there were many things we loved to do but eating was, of course, one of our favorite past times in Bruges (and every other place for that matter). Below is a list of some of my favorite foods from our adventure, enjoy!

1. Frites

DSCN1286

I know what you’re thinking…”fries?? really?” but let me tell you what- frites (fries) are a BIG deal in Belgium- they are no joke! And we can taste why…they are delicious! I want to say while we were there for only 2 days we must have eaten at least 3 different orders of frites and they were all so tasty! They are traditionally served with mayo but everywhere you go offers a variety of sauces- but me, I’m a ketchup & mayo kinda girl. They serve them with the tiniest fork I’ve ever seen in my entire life, I felt like a fancy giant  (pinky up) attempting to eat my frites with a little baby fork- but let me just say, as a professional eater, bare hands work much better for dipping. #Tiff’sTips

2. Waffles

Waffle

No words needed, I’m just going to leave that there….

Just kidding 🙂 (butseriously)

You have to get a Belgium waffle when in Belgium! But let me tell you that some waffles are just more exceptional than others. Remember how I said that the guy whose apartment we were renting owned a waffle shop and we were staying above it? Well this waffle is from his shop, Oyya Ice Bar, and let me tell you this was by far, the best waffle we’ve ever had, period, end of story, case closed, that’s all folks! We did try another waffle during our stay from a different place and it just wasn’t anything to write (or blog) home about. But this waffle- this waffle was crispy, flavorful, and scrumptious! We also added gelato and whipped cream to it- a winning combination!

3. Chocolate

DSCN1292

2 words…Belgium Chocolate. First of all, like I said, there is chocolate EVERYWHERE! I’m not even exaggerating! I’m sure if they could figure out a way to make chocolate flow through the canals they would because it is all over the place and I absolutely love it!

DSCN1293
So does Chris!

One of the first things we did was go into several different shops and treat ourselves to some of Belgium’s finest chocolates. All of them were so creamy, rich, and smooth. Simply perfection. You can really taste a difference in quality from back home. We stocked up and brought enough chocolate to last us a few months- but it only lasted a week or so- oops!

We went into a shop and they even had tools that were made out of chocolate!

DSCN1297
All chocolate

 Here is a testament to the deliciousness..we brought some home for my parents to try and my Dad (who is VERY picky by the way) and Mom said “Tiffy, this is the best chocolate I’ve had in my LIFE!” My Mom even said she didn’t want to share the rest of it with my Dad but she felt bad and shared it anyway. #truelove

4. Flemish Stew

DSCN1337

Did you think I was going to go to Belgium and just pig out on fries, waffles, and chocolate all day long? Well, you were right but I also enjoyed some traditional Flemish cuisine. (fun fact: Bruges is located in the West Flanders region of Belgium so they are Flemish).

We asked what a traditional/local dish was and we were recommended the “Flemish Stew”. When it arrived we looked at it and were surprised there weren’t any veggies in the stew- but let me tell you that this little pot of stew stood on it’s own and didn’t need to be showed up by any carrots or potatoes! This had a taste unlike any other stew I’ve ever had. It’s made with a rich dark Belgian beer but it has a sweetness to it from the brown sugar that balances so well with the onions and ale. This dish definitely had depth and I was all about it! Those fries were pretty lovely as well. I even went a little crazy and dipped a frite (when in Bruges) into the stew and suddenly “A Whole New World” from Aladdin started playing in my head because it was such an explosion of flavors and crispiness! Superb!

Bottom Line: Go to Bruges and eat until your pants get too tight! It’s worth it, I promise! 🙂

Xoxo,

Tiffany

 

What are your favorite foods to eat in Belgium? Do you dip your fries into any foods? What sauces do you like with your frites? I’d love to know!