Discover: Amsterdam in the winter with Drew Jessup

Words & Pictures by: Drew Jessup

Oh, Amsterdam, you were such an unexpected love of mine. As a part of Project87, I visited 'The Dam' from the evening of February 26th to the morning of March 2nd, 2018, sandwiched in between visits to Milan and Paris. To get a little bit more info, before diving into my travel guide, check it out here: #16 Visit Amsterdam.

#16 Visit Amsterdam details how Amsterdam was undergoing one of their most frigid cold fronts it had seen in recent years; the Dutch were off their bikes, the streets empty, the canals beginning to freeze over. Given the circumstances, and my first time visiting, the trip contained an underlying theme. I personally think exploring a new place by foot is the most genuine way of understanding real-life culture, and the best way to discover your own unique, unanticipated experiences. 

Anyway, it was damn cold. So cold that we weren't able to experience a new place by my preferred method and needed to rely on Uber's for travel and the recommendations from others, while still trying to discover new things on our own. Here are the highlights of my trip and things I would suggest to experience when you go. 


TO STAY:

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The Pulitzer Hotel Amsterdam

"Located in the lively and vibrant Nine Streets neighborhood in the heart of Amsterdam the Pulitzer is the ideal place to start uncovering the timeless charm and quirky character of this enchanting city."

- Pulitzer Hotel

We had the best stay at the eclectically decorated, Pulitzer Hotel. The staff and ambiance of the entire hotel were incredibly warm and friendly. Located in the most popular neighborhood in the city directly on one of the most beautiful and famous canals in Amsterdam, the Prinsengracht.  The design of the hotel is entirely unique because it's comprised of restored 17th and 18th-century canal houses, so every space is unparalleled.

The Room:

We stayed in one of the Pulitzer's suites equipped with a master bedroom, glass shower, living room/ dining room, kitchen, and a working loft with a desk, overlooking the Prinsengracht. They even welcomed us with a personalized note, a plate of assorted cut fruit, the infamous Stroopwaffles, and homemade flavored mint, and blueberry waters. The space was more than we needed - such a comfortable, pleasant stay. 

The bathroom was was one of my favorite parts of the room, and unfortunately went un-photographed. All white ceramics, tons of light, a big glass shower with a top and side wall spout that was literally one of the best showers I've ever used. Also completely outfitted with one of my favorite companies, Le Labo. *Great added touch, Pulitzer*

The Hotel

Outside of the bedroom, the hotel had everything we could possibly want. A workspace with good wifi, lots of natural light, food and drink always available. We took full advantage of it on our first day of the trip frantically catching up on work we missed in Milan. Also, a serene outdoor space with heaters and tables.

*Not pictured was a tremendous wood-lined bar, dim lighting, candles, a good assortment of whiskeys. Also a little gym with free weights, a do-it-all Bowflex type of machine, rower, and treadmills. More than enough for a good workout while traveling. 

The Breakfast

   One of the best parts of our stay was the buffet breakfast that we finally made it to on our last morning.

The Space

The space was so incredible. As you walk in, you're pleasantly greeted by a dedicated hostess to answer any questions. In front of her laid a variety of global newspapers depending on where you're from and what you're interested in  - I grabbed the NY Times to see what I had missed. 

Inside was so beautiful. Great decor and natural light you couldn't take a bad photo in. I can't say enough good things about this part and truly was one of my favorite spaces in the whole hotel. 

The Food

They have a great selection of foods, pictured below, that would suit the majority of hotel guests. I'm a very clean eater and had more than enough buffet options. They also have a menu to order from the chef as well. 

 

Pulitzer Hotel Amsterdam, 

Thank you for a wonderful stay and can't wait to return! 


TO EAT:

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Our Favorites.. 

Given Amsterdam's weather, our three full days were spent mostly consuming the cuisine. I would say the food was the only thing we genuinely experienced there. We even had one night we labeled "The Great Food Tour of Amsterdam," featured in #16 Visit Amsterdam because we ate at five different restaurants from 5:30 pm - 11 pm (I'm still full -- but will also take one more pancake while you're up). 

The following are our favorite spots we ate it - some including pictures, some not - with what we ate. As I mentioned in The Breakfast section above, I, and my travel buddy Andy too, are both very clean eaters even on the road. So none of these are the most decadent dishes on the menu, but things we loved nonetheless and could still feel ok taking our shirts off after (It's a part of my job, ok?). 

Brunch was also the meal we were most impressed with and will dominate our food choices. 

The Brunch Options:

Greenwoods 

The first place we ate in Amsterdam. Outside of the food, the staff was so incredibly friendly. The restaurant is off a main street where you open the doors walk down sort of basement style but has the best natural lighting. The music was one of my favorite aspects too, playing vibey tunes from Tom Walker, LEON, JP Cooper, Lewis Capaldi, etc. 

What we ate:

Me: The Greenwood Mega Club

  • Grilled Chicken with smoked bacon, avocado, rocket, cole slaw, and homemade mayonnaise (I went without) on our toasted soda bread. 

Andy: Daily Special

  • Two poached eggs, smashed avocado in a salmon blanket, on an English muffin served with a small side salad of goat cheese, served with lime salt and pepper. 

Piqniq:

Piqniq was actually a recommendation from our waitress at Greenwoods. I asked her what another excellent bunch spot was and she said, "You should try our biggest competitors, Piqniq, but don't tell my manager I said that." So without her manager knowing ended up at Piqniq. The location we went to because there's a few in the city, was small, cute, big windows with lots of natural light. It didn't seat a lot of people and had to wait a minute, but was worth it. 

Their menu consists of small dishes to try with options of ordering 2, 3, or 4. As someone who loves to try things I really loved this. I ordered the 3 option, while Andy went for the 4. We came to a unanimous decision that tomato soup and pulled chicken were the most notable; the pulled chicken may have even been one of the best things I've ever eaten. 

 *I don't like to post iPhone pics, but thought it was necessary to the description*

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OMELEGG

Omelegg was one of the most recommended brunch spots that we got from the people we chatted with in Amsterdam, and also the suggestions I was getting from people on Instagram. They also have a few locations throughout the city, we went to the one in City Center. Staff was friendly, space was busy, but in sort of a hometown-diner way - I loved it. 

There's a ton of curated, delicious looking omelets on the menu, but both Andy and I chose the Create Your Own Omelette. Though we eat clean, we like to eat a lot which this definitely delivered. They pretty much have every egg, vegetable, and cheese option you could want to make your perfect omelet - which  I would say both of us did. 

De Wasserette

Andy and I rushed in here early before heading to the train station. The guys working there were cool and friendly. Andy had Avocado toast, which he raved about, and my coffee was one of the better ones I had in Amsterdam. And there also may be cute kids to photography.

The Lunch Option:

We didn't eat lunch very often, we were mainly eating late brunches and then dinner. The one time we did, and really enjoyed, was at:

Eetcafe Singel 404

Great salad. Big portions. Very cute and friendly waitresses who gave us great recommendations. 

The Dinner Options:

D&A Hummus Bistro

We actually went here twice. Once for dinner, and once on the food tour. Literally, everything we ate was phenomenal, and the waitress we had both nights was so lovely. If you like Mediterranean food, this is a must. 

Castell

They're a BBQ restaurant. We were shopping earlier in the day and met a friendly, hip dude working at All Saints and asked him where we should go for dinner, and that we wanted something meat-heavy. He said that every time his father comes to town to visit they go here because it's his favorite. 

For our entree we got the 400g black Angus prime special and grilled chicken, both were pretty damn good. But the best thing we had while at Castell were the appetizers. We had grilled jumbo shrimp, which was one of the tastiest things I've ever eaten. That appetizer is worth the visit in itself. We also got the sparerib which was one of the things they were known for and was delicious too. The shrimp stole the show though. 

Things to try whatever time it is:

  • The Pancake Bakery

  • Stroopwaffles

  • Cafe Winhel 43 

    • For "world famous" apple pie & beer

TO DO:

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Unfortunately, we didn't take advantage, like we would have, of our first full day since it turned out to be the day you could spend actual time outside. 

The trip to Amsterdam was also so spontaneous that all of the museums we were trying to go to were sold out. 

Below are a few things we were able to do that we enjoyed. 

Hotel Hoxton  

Hotel Hoxton was one of the coolest places we went. We were looking for a work spot, and a lot of people recommended this place for good reason. We stayed and worked here for a few hours, and it was so wonderful. Beautiful space, great coffee, cool people, fast wifi. I think you should stop here regardless, but especially if you have any work to do. 

One of the best parts is that they have a great restaurant and bar in case you want real food and drinks while you're working. 

Coffee Shops

Or weed shops, one of the more fun things to take advantage of while visiting. We went to two coffee shops that I don't know the names of. One was just a little shop we walked into close to the Pulitzer hotel and grabbed a gram that they ground up for us and rolled into two joints. In this case, we ended smoking both just on the street at night. There still seems to be some rules around it with the authorities, but as long as you're keeping to yourself and being polite about it, you can pretty much do it anywhere outside. 

The other shop we went to was like a bar for weed. You walk in, people are at high tables on dates, with friends. You walk up to the bar where there's a menu of what you want. We again ordered a gram, and they have complimentary rolling papers. We grabbed another gram, a table, and just hung out for a bit, which was an enjoyable new experience. I would suggest doing that, but if you just want weed and to explore both works. 

Photography Spots: 

Papeneiland 

Papeneiland is a little bar but sits at the corner of a beautiful cross-section of canals.

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Also, if it's not freezing, everywhere you walk is incredibly beautiful. Here's a slideshow of pictures I was able to take it my brief moments of braving the cold: 

Honorable mentions: 

 We weren't able to experience the list below but would have wanted to and were recommended many times:

  • Canal Cruise

  • Museums: 

    • Amsterdam Rijksmuseum

    • Van Gogh Museum 

    • Stedelijk Museum 

    • Anne Frank House 


The End

Amsterdam was one of the most magical places I've ever been and cannot wait to go back. I hope our top picks help you navigate your trip and if you make it anywhere let me know! 

Until next time Amsterdam.. hope you're warmer then. 

Drew

 

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