Nike shut down the Damrak

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Nederlands Away Kit is Unveiled in Amsterdam

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New Orange

Hey all. I realize I haven’t posted anything recently, but that’s because my lovely parents are visiting! Forgive me. I’ve been busy enjoying their company and showing them around Amsterdam.

Last week, Nike hosted an event at the Bijenkorf (our big department store- like Macy’s) on the Damrak here in Amsterdam. Those of you that know the city know that the Damrak is the main artery through the middle of city center. Well, guess what? Nike closed it down! Trams and cars had to be re-directed because there was a huge crowd in the middle of the street. Yeah, they have that sort of power, I suppose. Anyway, the purpose of shutting the street down and causing a huge ruckus was to unveil the Netherlands away kit for the European Championships this summer. Behold:

Black is the new orange

Cool. (read: Can’t wait til I get mine.) And yes, that is a giant projection screen on the side of Bijenkorf. Beneath it was a elevated stage, where the team captain made some remarks followed by a surprise jam session with DJ Afrojack. See?

Nike-sponsored concert on the Damrak

Not a bad way to spend a Thursday evening.

Cool American

Here is a good lesson in how the rest of the world views Americans. No, not that they (we?) like ranch dressing, just that they (again, we?) are cool.

Behold:

Not Cool Ranch. Cool American.

Ranch? What is ranch? The rest of the world may never know (or care). And it doesn’t matter, because they are (I guiltily confess) delicious. Way to go, Americans. Keep on being “cool”.

Egg salad tea sandwich

The other night, my girlfriends and I got together for a tea party. I use the term “tea party” loosely because our “tea” at this party was actually a warm tea cocktail with rum and lemons. That’s just how we roll. Naturally, I wanted to make something that was still on point for the occasion so went with this: The egg salad with salmon and dill… tea sandwich. Otherwise known as the tea sandwich not for wimps. Yes, it was complete with triangular portions & removed crusts which I consumed at a later time. And naturally, I neglected to take pictures of it at the party. Thankfully (more for me than for you), I had enough ingredients to make it again. This time, on toast for brunch. You won’t hear me complaining about having it twice in one week.

You can find the recipe HERE. (Note: I really like their egg peeling technique. I also really like peeling eggs in general. It’s so satisfying! …No?)

Chimichangas

Those of you that barely know me know that I love Mexican food. It might have something to do with my heritage. Guess what? It’s not too easy to come by in Europe! Go figure. I have had a hard time finding corn tortillas (finally did at 9Euro a bag), decent salsa (Tostitos brand will have to do for now) and I’m still on the hunt for real chorizo (might try to make my own!). But, we did have a glorious Mexican feast made right at home recently.

Behold the Chimichanga.

I used the recipe from one of my favorite food blogs, Spoon Fork Bacon. (Note: Since I like my Mexican extra caliente, I subbed out the poblano for two spicy red peppers. Also, I used Cholula, my absolute favorite hot sauce, instead of the Sriracha, and larger tortillas since this was no appetizer.)

Rigatoni & goat cheese

Made this a couple nights ago for some girlfriends. Not the most beautiful presentation/photograph, but the flavor made up for it. You can find the original recipe HERE. I should have served it up in our ramekins to make it prettier. Maybe add chopped basil on top. For shame, Julie, for shame. We also had roasted chicken and garlic green beans, but those were even less picture worthy (i.e. sort of ugly).

Happy Valentine’s Day

As Jaro pointed out below, he is in frozen Ukraine this week, so I’m holding down the fort in Amsterdam. While I miss him today, I get to spend a really lovely evening with my girlfriends, so I’m quite content with the way this “holiday” is working out. …Provided we find a decent place with my necessities: good wine and good cheese.

To all my darlings near and far, my family, my friends, my secret admirers (I’m just going to assume I have some)… happy valentine’s day. Hug someone you love today. Maybe even twice. There’s really nothing like a good hug.

In Exile

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Man found frozen on Ukrainian bus. Authorities say he wasn't drinking enough Vodka.

I arrived in Ukraine today…Or should I say I was exiled to Ukraine today? The weather is what I always imagined Siberia to be like so being here feels like I’m being punished.

The ice in Kiev does not have the same charm as it does in Amsterdam, or Chicago for that matter. Let’s be honest, the city isn’t all that pretty to begin with and do you think they really have a system for snow removal in a place where the parking meters have a pulse? Don’t think so. I almost killed myself on the sidewalk outside our apartment because they’re covered with ice. Imagine if I’d cracked a rib in this place! I will say crossing over the frozen Dnipro with the snow falling was pretty cool.

Fortunately, when I arrived at the apartment it was nice and warm and the smell from the bathroom was here to welcome me – one of the joys in Ukraine is the smells (My wife wrote extensively on the subject a while back). We have a lovely stench which our landlord refuses to admit exists coming from our bathroom. Hoping to finally get that taken care of this week.

It’s not all bad though. I’m excited to get some work done here and I’m hoping to meet some new people and see some new places. Fingers crossed that a few of them are winners. So long as I don’t freeze to death or slip on the ice and fall into a coma, I’ll consider this week a success. Wish me luck.