Restaurant Rouhi – House of Rituals

House of Rituals is the new flagship store of Rituals Cosmetics. It is located at Spui 10 (where the Sprit store used to be). They have their own restaurant called Rouhi. The menu is inspired by Asia. An east meets west experience. 

The restaurant was supposed to open this week but due to the new Covid19 regulations, they were not able to. In the meantime, they have created two take-away menus. One has meat and the other one is vegetarian. They also offer a wine box pairing to go along with the menu. We went for the vegetarian menu and also got one sparkling tea bottle which the bartender recommended. We went for the one called Grøn that has 5% alcohol but they also have one with 0% (Blå). 

The vegetarian menu consists of wonton crisps with wakame mayonnaise, a daikon salad with ponzu, miso eggplant yakitori, crispy cauliflower with sesame and truffle, a pear tart with miso and cream fraiche, tea and friandises. 

The menu comes with a candle and a QR code to play music to set up the mood. 

The whole meal was filled with delicate flavours and a nice combination of textures. We enjoyed all the dishes. If you get a chance, also try the sparkling tea. 

Restaurant Rouhi

Spui 10, Amsterdam

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Restaurant Wils

Restaurant Wils by Michelin star chef Joris Bijdendijk (Rijks), is located next to the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam. The restaurant focuses on cooking on a wood fire. You get welcomed by a glass on kombucha made in house, the flavor changes all the time. We got the one with passion fruit and it was delicious. I am a big kombucha fan. We got to see where they keep it and did a little taste test. You can see it and get a better impression of the restaurant by video on my Instagram Reels or my TikTok

They just launched a new menu. We went there for lunch and had the 3-course lunch menu (€45) plus a few extras. They also have a 6-course set menu (€85) and some a la carte dishes. We started with the Jerusalem artichoke with snails and hazelnut which was really nice. The wood fire gives it a good flavor without overpowering it. My favorite dish was actually the extra dish that Pieter ordered. It was the dried aged rib eye with hollandaise that came with a side of leek & bone marrow. The beef was so tender, the fat would just melt in your mouth. And it had been years since I had bone marrow. The combination with the grilled leek was delicious. I also very much enjoyed the Orchard sour cocktail.  The pumpkin tart with speculaas crust and pumpkin seed ice cream was a great ending.

Restaurant Wils

Stadionplein 26, Amsterdam

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My Guide to Lima, Peru (From a Peruvian)

This has taken me a bit of time to write. We went to Lima back in February before the rest of the world went into lockdown. And even though this is not really a time to travel, hopefully in the near(ish) future it will be again. Lima is not the gastronomic capital of South America for nothing. All the micro climates make my country very rich in agriculture. And you see it in the variety of dishes and different types of local cuisines.

So if you plan to go to Peru, I do advise you to spend a few days eating your way through Lima.

Where to eat:

El Pan de la Chola:

This is an all-day bakery/café. If you love bread, you will love this place. I find that the portion of their sandwiches are large. You can easily share it with two people.  

Osaka:

This is one of my favorite restaurants in Lima, and after years of going there the quality hasn’t gone down. They serve Nikkei food (Japanese-Peruvian fusion). They have two locations. The one in San Isidro has a nice terrace. Their cocktails and mocktails are also great. Reservation is advised as it gets full fast, especially on the weekends. 

El Bodegon:

This restaurant has a large variety of Peruvian dishes. From seafood to old school dishes. If you’ve never had Peruvian food and want to get a good impression of it, this is the place to go. I love their Chicha morada (purple corn drink). I always order it with some lime juice on the side, because most places make it very sweet. I love their grilled octopus, Papa a la huancaina and Causa with crab. Reservation is advised.

Pescados Capitales:

This is a ceviche and seafood restaurant. I love their Leche de tigre with rocoto and grilled octopus. 

Cremoladas Curich:

Cremoladas are slushies. They have a large variety of options to choose from. They are all made from fresh fruit and natural ingredients. I usually go for the one with passion fruit or Lucuma.

Picarones Mary:

Picarones are a type of doughnuts made from squash and sweet potato, served with a syrup. This is a cart that only sells picarones located inside the Kennedy park in Miraflores.

Manolo:

This is an old school café. I love their stuffed churros with dulce de leche or chocolate..

La Lucha:

This is a very popular sandwich place. Their specialty is Pan con chicharron, which is made with pork and sweet potato. They also sell fries and fresh juices. All their sandwiches have meat but if you are a vegetarian, the fries are worth a try. 

Shizen Barra Nikkei:

This is another Japanese-Peruvian restaurant. I loved their tiradito with scallops and rocoto and their scallop nigari with smoked yellow chili sauce. 

Mercado Nº 1 de Surquillo:

This is a market very close to Miraflores. They have many fruit stands, so you can get a chance to buy and try all the exotic fruits from Peru. Try Chirimoya, Mango (the Edward kind is my favourite), Granadilla and Lucuma. They also have juice and food stands.

Where to go for coffee:

Neira café lab is located in Miraflores.

Tostaduria Bisetti:

This one is located in Barranco and they roast their own coffee.

Vegan restaurants:

I wanted to try El Jardin de Jasmin but in the end I didn’t get a chance to go there but it was recommended to me by friends and family. 

Kennedy park:

This is probably the most popular park in Lima. It is known as the cat park. It started when people dumped their cats there and they reproduced. Despite that, kinder people do take care of the strays. You can see food trays and water bowls all around the park. Adoption and neutering campaigns are done there so that they keep it a bit under control. One of our favorite activities when we are in Lima is to first stop by a supermarket. There is a Metro (supermarket chain) right by the park, this is where we get cat food and ham. And then we go around the park feeding the cats. Most of them are very friendly. 

Besides the cats, the park is located in area surrounded by restaurants and bars. And there are often art fairs going on there. At night there are also a few food stands. 

Transportation:

Lima is a big city with a lot of traffic. Taxis are cheap (compared to European prices, or at least cheaper than NL). If you are just staying in Lima, I recommend to use taxis and don’t rent a car. Besides the traffic, people drive like crazy and don’t often follow the rules. You can hail a cab from the street but you need to pay in cash. If you do this, hail a cab that doesn’t look very old, as often their seatbelts don’t work.

When you are at the airport order a cab from one of the stands before you go out into the parking lot, there are a lot of scammer out there. There are plenty of official stands right after the exit from where you get your luggage. The airport is about 45 minutes to 1 hour away from Miraflores. We paid around 16 euros for a cab from the airport to Miraflores. 

If you are going to the airport also order it through an official company, don’t hail one from the street. The airport is far and for long rides it is safer to order it from a company.

Payment:

You can use your credit card for most restaurants but taxis are cash only unless you order them through an app like Uber. 

Shopping:

Mercado Indio is a market where you can find traditional Peruvian handicrafts. They sell everything from clothing made from alpaca to clay products and silverware. It is the place to go if you want to get souveniers. It is located in Miraflores (Avenida Petit Thouars 5321).

Larcomar is a shopping center overlooking the ocean. It has many restaurants and a supermarket (Wong).

Jockey Plaza is a large mall in the district of Surco. It is about a 25 minutes ride from Miraflores, if there is no traffic. If it’s a hot summer day and you want to escape the heat, this is a good place to go to. They have air conditioning and many restaurants.

Jallpa Nina is an artisanal ceramics shop. They make the tableware for a lot of popular restaurants in Lima. It is also in Miraflores. 

Where to stay: 

Miraflores and Barranco are the best areas to stay as a tourist. These two neighborhoods are next to each other.  They are full of restaurants and you can pretty much walk everywhere.

Miraflores is the most popular one. The Indian market where you can get a lot of traditional souveniers like alpaca scarfs and silver jewelry is in this district. You can go to a shopping boulevard called Larcomar. The Kennedy park (aka cat park) is also there.

Barranco is more the artsy district with galleries. There is a nice concept store called Dedalo there. They also have a farmer’s market there every Sunday morning. It is called Feria Ecologica de Barranco. There is stand there that sells tamales and they are amazing. This is the address of the market: Calle San Martin cuadra 7.

Safety: 

Miraflores and Barranco are usually fine. And by that, I mean there are pick pockets everywhere. We have them in Amsterdam. There are plenty in Lima too, but those two areas are generally safe. You just don’t want to be very ostentatious, or walk by yourself through dark and empty streets for example. Just try not to walk with your smartphone on your hand all the time as that makes you an easy target. And I always keep my purse on my front where I can see it. I am the better safe than sorry type. Just be smart and aware of your surroundings. 

If you would like to get a better impression of Lima through videos, you can always check out my Instagram account @cravingsinamsterdam. I saved all of my Stories from this trip in my Story Highlights under Lima.

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Phu Quoc, Vietnam

We spent the second part of our holiday in Phu Quoc, Vietnam. We flew in from Singapore with a connecting flight in Kuala Lumpur. The beach in the area of Long beach is beautiful and all the locals were super friendly. We were there at the beginning of December which is high season, but it was not too busy while we were there. It gets busier towards the holiday season. If you don’t speak or understand Vietnamese, it is handy to use google translate.

How we moved around:

Renting a scooter is the cheapest way of transportation on the island. We paid about €8 per day. The longer you rent one, the more you can negotiate the price. Gas is also pretty cheap. There are some gas stations in Phu Quoc town, but you can also buy it in front of some shops. You can tell if you see plastic bottles with a yellowish liquid at the front of the shop. 

Where we stayed:

Phu Quoc, Vietnam

We booked the Intercontinental Phu Quoc Long Beach resort. The resort is quite new, it opened in 2018. The resort is beautiful. The beach was clean, the water was clear with hardly any waves. It was basically a salt water pool and I loved it. The resort has 2 big pools and a kid’s pool which is, I have to say very smartly hidden from the main two pools. You can’t drink the tap water in Vietnam but the resort does provide you with complementary water bottles in the room, and you can always request more. The breakfast buffet had a large variety of options, from local cuisine, to Korean, Chinese and Japanese dishes. The resort also has a nice rooftop bar which is very popular for watching the sunset. We also ordered room service, had lunch at the beach restaurant, and ordered food & drinks from the pool bar. For a luxury resort the food we tried was pretty average. The resort is about a 20-minute ride from Phu Quoc town. Riding the scooter in the evening from and to Phu Quoc town was a bit chilly since a part of the road by surrounded by a forest, so we had to wear a light jacket. 

Where we ate:

The language barrier made it a bit difficult for us to find proper Vietnamese food. We tried some restaurants that were recommended on English websites but they were nothing worth mentioning. The only restaurant we loved was Nhà Xua 68. It specializes in hot pots. The place was full of locals which was already a good sign. The menu has an English translation which is not the most accurate. They had Dutch hot pot which when we asked what it was, we found out that they actually meant duck and not Dutch. We ordered the sour squid hot pot which ended up being baby octopus. Never mind being lost in translation, the food was great and so was the service. The restaurant does have Wi-Fi, so you can use google translate. We had a great meal with fish, vegetables, the hot pot and 2 drinks for €12. We came back here on our last night. We have to thank the owner of Banh Mi Lam for this recommendation.

Banh Mi Lam is a Banh Mi food truck by the side of the road. It is only open in the evenings. He also sells them with omelet if you want to skip the meat. And he serves them in a paper bag. We paid about €0.7 per sandwich. We also came back here twice. He has a few tables where you can sit down. He doesn’t sell drinks though. 

We discovered Fresh Bar PQ about half way our stay and we came back every night afterwards. It is a smoothie truck which only opens in the evening. The average price per smoothie was about €1.20, same price as the night market but with more sustainable packaging. The owner serves them in paper cups and he actually asks you if you would like a straw to avoid waste. And if you do, they are also paper straws. You also get a discount on your drink if you bring your own cup/bottle. The owner is super nice. He taught me a few words in Vietnamese. 

How we relaxed:

Besides reading by the pool or beach, there are many massage parlors in Phu Quoc town. An hour massage will set you back around €10. I loved getting one-hour foot massages. And the shops usually have Wi-Fi. 

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48 hours in Singapore

We were in Singapore for a very short time but we made the best out of it. It is definitely worth a visit. It is super clean, very modern and the food was great. Although it is quite expensive, you can have very good meals at hawker centers for about €5. 

How we moved around:

We had planned to purchase a tourist public transport card but when we asked for it at one of the metro stations we were told they didn’t sell it at that particular one. But they told us that we could also pay for each ride using our credit cards. Just blip your credit card when you go in and out of public transport. Keep in mind that you need one credit card per person. This was very handy for us. But we ended up grabbing cabs more often than public transport to save time. You can hail cabs from the streets, and shopping malls have a designated area for them. But we also downloaded the grab app which is the Asian version of Uber, but you do need to have internet for it. One thing to remember is that you cannot always pay the cab by card, so it is handy to always have enough cash with you. 

Where we stayed:

We stayed at Hotel G. We paid around €100 per night. The hotel had a great location. The room was very small but it was clean. And since we were only going to sleep there, it worked great for us. The only thing I would advise if you decide to book with them is to avoid their breakfast. Ours was already included in the price so we decided to try it out, but the food didn’t look appealing at all so we left without eating. Good thing is, there is plenty of options close to it.

Where we ate:

We had the famous kaya toast breakfast at Ya Kun Kaya Toast which was around the corner of our hotel and at Toast Box, which was just across the street. And there are also plenty of 7 eleven stores around.

If you like brown sugar boba, I recommend you try HeyTea. We went to the one located at Ion Orchard mall. There was quite a line for it but it was definitely worth the wait. We came back a second time to get our boba fix. The food at hawker centers and mall food courts is known to be good in Singapore, so give it a try. While we were at Ion Orchard mall, we also had lunch at the food court. If you are there, also try the soursop juice and sugar cane juice. 

We went to Long Beach UDMC seafood restaurant to try their famous chili and black pepper crab. They are known for having a spicier version of the chili crab which is why we came here. My favorite of the two was the black pepper crab. You pay market price per crab, ours came to about €52 per crab. It was not a cheap meal but it was delicious.

Where we took pictures:

We didn’t make it to Gardens by the Bay because of time but we did visit the colorful Peranakan houses and the Spiral staircase at Fort Canning. If you visit Fort Canning, be prepared to wait in line for a picture at the staircase. It was not very busy for us since we went early in the morning, but we still had to wait about 20 minutes to take a shot. 

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Festive Christmas Brunch at Goldfinch Brasserie (Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam)

I can’t believe it is already November. The holiday season is approaching fast and so are the events to celebrate. The Waldorf Astoria in Amsterdam has an especial 5 course menu for the 25th of December at their Goldfinch Brasserie. 

Their festive menu consists of a Coconut Snowman filled with shrimp, a Black Truffle Benedict with hazelnut hollandaise, Pork belly with beetroot & terragon, Lobster & chorizo puffed pastry with bonito flakes & a Christmas tree made with 64% Manjari chocolate and mandarin.

The cost of this Christmas brunch is €99. 

The Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam

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My skincare favorites

It’s been a hot minute since I posted about skincare but since I always get questions on my instagram stories when I show a new product, I thought it was time for an updated version. These are the products I am currently loving:

Ole Henriksen Balancing Force Oil Control Toner

I have combination skin. My T-Zone gets oily very easily . This toner makes my skin feel cleaner, it minimizes my pores (around my nose) and also helps dry up any breakouts.

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair

I’m 35 years old and I started using it for wrinkle prevention. I am on my third bottle now. This anti-aging serum absorbs quickly and leaves my skin feeling smooth and radiant. It is more on the pricier side but a few drops go a long way. Since I’ve been using this, I wear a lighter foundation.

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Intense Reset Concentrate

I use this when my skin is acting up or when I’m stressed since I can see it on my skin (hello 12-hour shoot days). This helps restore hydration & gets rid of irritation and redness. 

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

This is a hydrating serum. I especially love using this during the colder months when my skin gets extra dry. The texture is a bit sticky but if you apply other products afterwards, it goes away. What I also like about The Ordinary, is that most of their products are very affordable (usually under €10). 

Laniege Lip Sleeping Mask

I love this lip mask. I actually use it also in the morning. It also has hyaluronic acid which helps lock in the moisture. It leaves my lips super soft. I have the original one in Berry flavor.

Biologique Recherche Serum Placenta

I was very intrigued about this brand. I had read good reviews online but wasn’t able to find any website that would deliver to the NL. After some research I found that the salon Rob Peetoom in Haarlem is an official retailer so I went there to buy it. This is a repairing serum. The active ingredient is hydrolyzed placental protein from pigs. It reconstructs damaged skin, reduces pigmentation, lightens dark circles & calms acne breakouts. I’ve been using this for 2 months now. I use it day and night as a spot treatment. I’ve noticed a very slight improvement on my dark circles, nothing mayor. Where I have noticed the most improvement is when I have a breakout. It helps it heal faster. It reduces inflammation and lightens the dark spots that are left afterwards. They don’t use perfums, so the smell is not the nicest but I don’t mind it. It absorbs very quickly and the products that I use afterwards mask the smell.  

Sans Ceuticals Activator 7 Body + Hair + Face Oil

This oil hydrates your skin. It has Vitamin A and E, and botanical oils. Their website recommends it for treating scars, dermatitis, acne, dry skin and eczema. It leaves my skin super soft and it has helped me with my eczema. Luckily I don’t get it often but this helped sooth it. I use it on my face, neck, hands (especially on my cuticles) and on my feet. I sometimes also use it on the rest of my body. This oil is plant-based and cruelty free.

Embryolisse Lait Crème Concentré

This is a great moisturizer. I especially love using it during the winter months. During a shoot a few years ago, we had a make-up artist touching up my hands for some shots. She was French and used this cream on my hands before applying make-up. She told me it was an staple in her kit. I went right ahead and bought it afterwards.  

Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Drops

I’ve been using this for two weeks so it is more of a first impression. But so far, I am pleasantly surprised. I’ve been curious about self-tanning for years but I’ve always been a bit scared of it. Since I didn’t want to turn into an orange mess. I got the dark version since I can take a deeper tan. I only wanted it to use on my face. My body is currently darker than my face, since I try to protect my face more when I’m in the sun.

I’ve used it gradually, mixing a few drops with my Embryolisse cream at night after all my skincare. I put the cream and the drops in the palm of my hand, and mix it for a good 30 seconds. Then apply it all over my face, neck (also the back) and ears. You can customise your tan, as you can go from 1 to up to 12 drops per time.  I started with 3 drops the first day and then 2 drops on the next. I wanted to build it up gradually. I ended up using a total of 8 drops in 4 consecutive days till I got the tan I wanted. It gives a nice natural tan. It was easy to mix and it didn’t leave me with stained hands. 

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Peruvian Dinner at Callao (the Hague)

Last Friday we were invited to have dinner at Callao, a Peruvian restaurant by chef Jaime Pesaque (Also chef of Mayta, Nr 49 of Latin America’s 50 Best restaurants 2019). It was a especial evening since Jaime and Jose del Castillo (Chef of Isolina, Nr 12 of Latin America’s 50 Best restaurants 2019) were both in NL cooking a set menu that night.

The evening started with a Pisco Sour workshop made with chicha morada (Peru’s national drink made with dried purple corn and spices). Then we got a demo of how to make a causa with seared tuna by Jaime. And how to make a ceviche carretillero (with fried calamari) by Jose. 

The best part was of course getting to taste them. I haven’t been in Peru in 5 years so I’m always excited to eat my country’s food. The whole evening was a delicious treat. The actual diner entailed of classic ceviche. A vegetarian tiradito made with roasted heart of palm. A more cold weather kind of causa with mushrooms and crispy kale. The mains were beef rib seco and aji de gallina. And for dessert we had manjar de lucuma. 

Callao is located at the fishing port in the Hague. It has only been open for a few months and it is definitely worth a visit if you are craving Peruvian food, or just want to give it a try.

Callao Cevicheria Peruana

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Edel by Dennis

Yesterday we tried the new restaurant by chef Dennis Huwaë (Restaurant Daalder). It is located on the west side of Het Sierrad (previously Lokaal Edel).

Here there is no chef’s menu, only a la carte. He will cook his favorite dishes from all over the world. Dennis is known for making unique flavor combinations and here it will be no different. Only with a more laid-back approach, more comfort food style cooking.

For example, at Restaurant Daalder the pigeon on the menu is: Pigeon breast with sauerkraut cooked in goose fat, green apple jelly, jus of mustard seeds and potato mousseline with horseradish.

At Edel by Dennis the same dish will be: Pigeon and goose liver sausage with a stamppot of the same sauerkraut and potato mousseline. Served with pigeon gravy, apple sauce and fresh herbs.

We tried the salted cod tacos which were delicious. We had a small chicken three ways. Fried drumsticks, yakitori and the breast still on the bone. The last one was so moist and tender. Also loved the fried chicken. The crust was perfectly crispy, not too thick and it was still juicy. 

I am already a fan of Dennis. Restaurant Daalder doesn’t disappoint and I’m very happy we got to sample some of the menu items of this new concept. This menu is more for casual dining and since there is no set menu, you can stay as long or as short as you want. 

It will open on the 31stof October. 

Edel by Dennis

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Lindt Store Amsterdam

Today opened the first Lindt store in Amsterdam. It is located on Heiligeweg 22, where the Le Creuset store used to be.

I personally love their chocolates. I always found it a bit of shame that you couldn’t find a lot of flavors in the supermarket. But now with the new store, you have a lot to choose from in one place. And since they opened just before the holiday season, they also have a selection of chocolates for Christmas time. Chocolate heaven in Amsterdam!

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