Saturday, January 9, 2016


Hammarby, Stockholm, January 9, 2016—
I WRITE THIS in Stockholm, but much of my heart is still in Amsterdam, where yesterday noon we had our last Dutch meal for the time being at Worst.

I haven't given Worst credit here, partly because I rarely write about lunches: dinner has a way of shouldering other items aside. (I've been remiss, for example, at not mentioning bakeries, and cafés, and poffertjeskramen.)

Worst — the word is Dutch for "sausage," and was applied to this restaurant with a deliberate sense of humor, intending it to be the Worst restaurant in Amsterdam — Worst is the sidekick to Marius, the restaurant we've dined at twice in the last few days. The owner-chef was greatly influenced by Chez Panisse in Berkeley, where he worked a couple of years; Worst is in a sense to the Café Chez Panisse what Marius is to the downstairs restaurant.

But only in a sense, for Worst is not a café, or a bistro, or a brasserie; Worst is a wine bar. I'm never sure exactly what a wine bar is, for I never go to them. Wine to me is something to have with dinner (or, now and then, lunch); it's a food; and it's not to be sampled with three or four other wines, unless in fact a tasting is going on, which is a very different matter, having nothing to do with Eating.

One of the things that makes it a Wine Bar, I guess, is the seating: very casual, on stools, at tables big enough to require sitting with strangers when it's busy. Another is the menu, which is quite restricted and, I think, fairly unchanging. A third, of course, is the very extensive wine list.

But we've taken lunch here two or three times in the last few days, partly because it's close to our apartment, partly because we do love Kees, partly or mostly because it's really good.


Today I had baccalà. Steady readers know my fondness for salt cod. This was an excellent baccalà, with a beautiful smooth texture, a perfect balance of cod, potato, and cream (if I'm not mistaken), and it was piled to just the right thickness on its toasted bread.

The three pieces lay on a very nice piperade; I couldn't have made a better one. It was all so good it made me doubly, triply sad to be leaving Amsterdam once again.

Saumur Champigny, Château de Villeneuve, 2001: light but substantial and rewarding, fruity, still fresh
•Worst, Barentszstraat 171, Amsterdam; +31 20 625 6167
Restaurants visited in 2015 are listed at Eatingday's Restaurants

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