Wednesday, November 29, 2017


Eastside Road, November 29, 2017—
IT DOESN'T TAKE LONG to get back in the routine. Pasta tonight — not penne, it's true, but a close cousin, rigatoni, with delicious home-made tomato sauce. Cook chopped up a bit of Franco's fine guanciale and sweated some chopped onion with it, then added a jar of the sauce she made last year — just perfectly ripe tomatoes and olive oil, salt and pepper.

Green salad afterward.

     🍷Rosé, Guilhem

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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A baked potato.

Eastside Road, November 28, 2017—
NORMALLY WE FAST on Tuesdays, you may remember. But it's over a month since we've eaten normally, and I thought it best not to rush back into the routine. So today we half-fasted, as the funnymen have it. In fact we reverted to our earliest concept of the "fast," when, not trusting the concept, Cook often baked a potato for dinner.

She did again tonight: a Russet for me, a sweet potato for herself. We drizzle a little olive oil on the split potato, and salt and pepper it. No other garnish, but the usual green salad afterward, tonight with Alta's quince vinegar in the dressing. Tasty.

     🍷Rosé, Guilhem

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Home again

Eastside Road, November 27, 2017—
HOME AGAIN, after twenty-four hours' travel, the dining during which needs no attention. Home, and in no mood to cook. And not particularly hungry, for that matter.

A shopping trip to our supermarket in Healdsburg suggested the solutions: let's finally try a pizza from their oven. I asked for a Margherita, of course, and in ten minutes it was out of the oven in its cardboard box — never a good idea, but what else can they do? — and quickly home.

There we slipped it onto a proper pan and reheated it in the oven. (The house, vacant these last four weeks, was a little cold, and profited from the heating.) You know: I have to say: it wasn't bad. Thin, crisp crust, decent mozzarella, good tomatoes, no overload of basil. I'll do it again.

I'd also bought eggs and butter at Big John's, and picked up a loaf of Como bread at our favorite bakery, so dinner was a cinch: omelet and toast. As I've mentioned here before, I cook omelets in olive oil, in an iron pan used for nothing else (and kept in a paper bag when not in use). I break two eggs (three for me!) into a bowl, rinse my hands, and let a few drops of water fall into the eggs, which I then whisk with a fork. Into the hot oil, lift the edges to let egg run under, shake to loosen from pan.

Grated parmesan carefully strewn down the middle of the unturned omelet; then fold over twice and flip to brown a bit more. Salt and pepper. Serve — with buttered toast. Very pleasing.

     🍷No wine goes well with eggs, but we'd had a bottle of Petite Syrah, Preston of Dry Creek, as an aperitif, with the neighbors down the hill…

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Sunday, November 26, 2017


Via Damaso Cerquetti, Rome, November 25, 2017—

WHY HAVE WE NEVER been to this wonderful restaurant before? It's not as if we've spent few evenings in Rome… and it's certainly not unknown. A friend recommended it years ago, but we never seemed to get around to it — perhaps because of its location, a little off the usual track.

But only a very little. It's in a secluded corner adjacent to the Ghetto, a very quiet location, but easily walked to — which is what we like to do.

I started with this delicious Tortino di baccalà, carciofi e patate — a compound of salt cod, artichoke and potatoes, beautifully balanced, the flavors perfectly merged. For a secondo, Saltimbocca alla romana: we can't leave Rome without one of its most characteristic dishes.

The Contessa had the carciofe alla giudia she'd been hungering fdor — the best we've had, I think, the leaves perfectly crisped.

And the dining room is stunningly beautiful, and the service as good as any I've seen. We will certainly be back — alas, not soon.

     🍷Frascati Superiore Heredio DOCG, Vallechiesa (Malvasia/Greco/Bombino), a little dusty on the tongue but fine with the baccalà)
     Merlot/Sangiovese, "Rosso della casa" (Tuscany): fruity, balanced, light

•Piperno, Monte de' Cenci 9, Rome; 📞+39 06 68806 629

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Saturday, November 25, 2017

Back to Litro; Grappolo d'Oro

Via Damaso Cerquetti, Roma, November 24, 2017—
WE TOOK A LONG walkabout today, starting with the stroll uphill to the Janiculum and Litro, where we'd dined earlier this week. We wanted to show it to a new guest who hadn't arrived in time for that occasion.

Here I began with the same bruschetti as night before last: anchovies and butter, with lemon juice and a very thin slice of lemon; tomato — simply tomatoes picked dead ripe and canned in water with a tiny bit of salt. Deep, deep color and flavor.

I went on to "Pollo Litro": a boned chicken thigh and drumstick, cooked very slow and long, then quickly to color its skin. It was served with two kinds of mushrooms, also slow-cooked: I'm sorry I can't supply the kind of mushroom; I know they weren't porcini.

     🍷Vino Rosso (Grignolino), "Ottavio", Cascina 'tavijn di Nadia Verrua, Scurzolengo (Asti), ?2016: Characteristic varietal, fruity and edgy, best I've had of this favorite grape of mine
•Litro, Via Fratelli Bonnet 5, Rome; 📞+39 06 45447 639

WE WALKED ON to Trastevere, because I wanted a gelato — two flavors: Black rice and rose; chestnut and myrtle. These were remarkable gelati, complex and deep in the flavor, just what I expect from this place:

•Fatamorgana, Via Roma Libera 11, Rome; 📞+39 06 58036 15

And then on across the river to make our way to our favorite café, not for its comfort — one downs one's caffè standing at the bar — but for the quality of the beans and roast: with Caffè Doge (Veneto), this is one of my two favorite coffees in the world.

•La Casa del Caffè Tazza d'Oro, Via degli Orfani 84, Rome; 📞+39 06 67897 92

IN THE EVENING we dined late, our last celebratory dinner with granddaughter and fiancé and Dutch friend visiting. The restaurant was jumping: the table next to us seated twenty-two locals also celebrating a birthday, more noisily than we.

We began with two platters of assorted antipasti: panzanella, polpetti, burratina con alici, baccalà mantecato. (In the photo, the polpetti are at 10 and 4 o'clock: the first made of eggplant and ricotta, the other di bollito, minced meat and vegetables.)

The contessa went on to her favorite baccalà mantecato, the individual serving crowned with a flattened fried artichoke. I moved to agnello alla romana,lamb chine roasted with garlic and rosemary, served with oven-roasted potatoes. Difficult to eat, but delicious, in its forthright, meaty way.

     🍷Prosecco, Ca' dei Zago, Valdobbiadene, 2016: very dry yet fruity, the most Champagne-like prosecco I've ever tasted
Syrah, "Prodigo," Donata Giangirolami (Lazio), 2015: serious, deep, dry, full

•Grappolo d'Oro, Piazza della Cancelleria 80, Rome; 📞+39 06 68970 80

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Friday, November 24, 2017

Cesare; Emma

Via Damaso Cerquetti, Rome, November 23, 2017—
MIDDAY DINNER at a favorite trattoria today, famous in our family at least for its pasta caccio e pepe. You take the number 8 tram up to the end of the line at Casaletto and walk a few feet to Cesare. In good weather you'll be outside in front, but it's a little chilly these late November days, so let's sit inside.

I stuck to the popular basics: alice in olio and the aforesaid caccio e pepe.The anchovies are served as plain as you please: delicious and strongly flavored fillets in a pool of fine olive oil. You have to be careful with this dish; the oil can catch at your throat. Fluids stand by to ease the occasinal problem.

You have your choice of short pasta or long: if the latter, spaghetti or tonarelli. I chose the latter: egg pasta, made in house of course, cooked perfectly. The pasta is drained, then tossed with plenty of highly flavored grated pecorino cheese, a little of the cooking water added I'd guess, a liberally dusted with very finely ground black pepper. It's a magnificent product of cucina povera, poor man's cuisine.

     🍷Trebbiano in carafe
•Da Cesare al Casaletto, Via del Casaletto, 45, Roma; 📞+39 06 536015a

THIS WAS NOT the end of the day's dining: we spent the evening at rather a trendy spot in centro, dining rather late. We began with some appetizers, including a splendid Burrata di Andria e alici del Cantabrico, a big mound (300 grams) of milky burrata criss-crossed with anchovies and marvelous confited tomatoes.

I went on to fettucine with white truffles, because after all it's November and here they are. This is one of the great dishes and I'll say no more about it.

     🍷Frascati, Principe Pallavicini, Poggio Verde, 2016: typical but absolutely first-rate; Nebbiolo, Cavallotto (Langhe), 2015, ditto
•Emma, Via Monte della Farina, Roma; 📞+39 06 64760475

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Via Damaso Cerquetti, Rome, November 22, 2017—
WE CAME TO ROME to celebrate the impending marriage of our Roman granddaughter and her Algerian-born fiancé, who had just been granted a visa to travel next spring to Oregon for the wedding. A special event, suggesting a special dinner, at a favorite spot: and we were joined by our French daughter and a couple of old friends from Verona.

Litro is biodynamic. It's a wine bar. The menu is limited (also the kitchen facilities) but enthusiastic. The flavors are BIG. The service is both professional and hilarious.

We started with marvelous bruschetti: anchovies and butter; deeply flavored tomato. I think of them, in this photo, as Hamza and Francesca, respectively.

I'm on an anchovy kick, so I took also a Spiedino di alici alle nocciole e miyo wasaabi, anchovies rolled around a ground hazelnut paste bound with wasabi. Sharp, salty, delicious. This must be what umamami is all about.

I went on to my perennial favorite, tartare: in this case a Battuta di Fassona, chopped Piemontese beef, with wasabi and good mustard, and garnished liberally with endive and lettuce — from the restaurant's own garden, as I believe. Sweet, rich, delicate beef!

     🍷Querciole, Ca' de Noci (Reggio Emilia), 2016: refreshing, unusual; Beaujolais Villages "La Bonne Pioched," 2016: fruity Gamay flavor, skins-and-stalks flavor, soklid
•Litro, Via Fratelli Bonnet 5, Rome; 📞+39 06 45447 639

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Sarà una volta

Via Damaso Cerquetti, Rome, November 21, 2017—
BACK TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD standby for a late supper, where I had a fine artichoke alla giudia and a plate of pappardelle with cinghiale (wild pig) ragù, and the five of us had so much fun, and such interesting conversation with the owner-host, that no photographs were made…

     🍷Pecorino, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo in carafe

•C'Era Una Volta, Piazzale Enrico Dunant 13, Rome; 📞 +39 06 53627 8

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Monday, November 20, 2017


Via Damaso Cerquetti, November 20, 2017—
FRIENDS AND FAMILY arrive today, and by dinnertime we were not yet into thinking seriously about where to eat. I had a place up my sleeve, a neighborhood place with an interesting menu playing a few variations on local standbys but never descending to the level of tweezer food.

I started with a twist on steak tartare. The chopped beef was sweet and pleasant; there was a barely poached egg on top; the dish was accompanied by smoky sautéed porcini; and underneath it all was a soft layer of parmesan cheese-infused mousse — no idea how that was accomplished.

Then a simple spaghetti alla gricia: spaghetti tossed with fried guanciale (cured pork cheeks) and grated Pecorino cheese — a specialty of Lazio, like last night's carbonara. Both these dishes were expertly done: I recommend this place.

     🍷Traminer from Friuli in carafe
•L'Osteria di Monteverde, Via Pietro Cartoni 163, Rome; 📞+39 06 53273 887

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Sunday, November 19, 2017

There was a time…

Via Damaso Cerquetti, Rome, November 19, 2017—

WE TOOK THE 12:37 train from Varenna to Milano, then the 2pm train on to Rome, where our hosts met us at Termini and drove us to our (their) apartment — what a generous gesture, and how we appreciate it.

I have to admit I was tired and a little dazed from… well, I don't know what, exactly. Perhaps a near-week of just the two of us with minimal input other than beauty. Perhaps the train, which sailed along at 150 mph from Milan to Rome without stopping.

In any case we washed our hands and said goodbye and thank you to our hosts and then walked down to a place we recalled from last April — honest, dependable, not terribly expensive, and nearby.

There I had fagioli e tonno, nothing more than cold cooked Borlotti beans and cold canned tuna, which I seasoned a little further with salt and olive oil. A very simple dish, easily simulated at home. I've usuually had this dish with white beans, cannelini for example: but the meatier borlotti are very good as well.

And then, since after all it's the first dinner in Rome in quite a while, spaghetti carbonara. It's about as good here as anywhere else. The egg yolk is deliciously yellow; the guanciale is first-rate; the pasta is cooked to just the right point — what's to refine further?

     🍷Pecorino, mezzolitro

•C'Era Una Volta, Piazzale Enrico Dunant 13, Rome; 📞 +39 06 53627 8

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Saturday, November 18, 2017


Via Venini, Varenna, November 18, 2017—
HERE JUST FOR a day, because tomorrow's train leaves from here, and we didn't want to rush things in the morning. Rushing is not indicated in this idyllic corner of Italy.

And, like Bellagio, Varenna is in the grips of basso stagione; much is closed. Including the restaurant we'd thought to try. So we walked on a little further, to the interestingly rhomboidal Piazza San Giorgio, and took a table al sole, in the sun.

fagiole e cipolle

We started by sharing two generous appetizers: a plate of bresaola with arugula and Parmesan cheese; another of perfectly cooked cold Borlotti beans with sliced raw white onion.

I went on to salsiccia e patate, grilled cotechino sausage and curious french fries.

No room, no need, for salad or dessert…

     🍷vino bianco in mezzolitro
•Albergo Del Sole, Piazza San Giorgio 17, Varenna; 📞+39 0341 815218

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Friday, November 17, 2017

Alla darsene di Loppia

Via Eugenio Vitali, November 17, 2017
DINNER AT MIDDAY today in what seemed — after a little online research — likely to be the best restaurant in the area. Darsena, accent on the first syllable, is Italian for "dock," and Loppia is a tiny village a mile or so downcoast from Bellagio, a village with its own tiny sheltered harbor set between a pair of small warehouses.

Whatever. Darsene di Loppia is an elegant place: a long shoebox of a dining room, say fourteen by fifty feet, highceilinged, besutifully lit and painted, with ten or twelve well-spaced tables, quiet, professional staff, an an engaging and thoughtful menu and wine list.

Crudo di tonno

I began with Crudo di tonno: clean, deep red, meaty tuna under a cap of deliciously anchovied puntarelle and set about with equally delicious slices of lardo.

Afterward, Filetto di Vitello farcito con Olive Taggiasche, pomodoro secco, su purea di Topinambur: a slice of veal steak spread with Taggiasco olive paste and rolled, bound with Jerusalem artichoke purée, and garnsihed with a bit of barely cooked broccoli, a generous spoonful of savofry red cabbage, half an artichoke, and a single asparagus spear (from Chile: I asked). The vegetables all complemented one another remarkably well.

Dessert: a white-chocolate sphere, hollow, filled with licorice mousse and covered with lukewarm raspberry sauce. Ingenious and once again deeply flavored.

     🍷Spumante of the region; Lugana CàMaiol Molin, 2016; Barbera d'Alba Elio Altare, 2015; all perfectly correct and enjoyable
•Ristorante Darsene di Loppia, Via Melzi d'Eril 1, Bellagio; 📞+39 339 42.29.884

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Thursday, November 16, 2017


via Eugenio Vitali, November 16, 2017—
WE TOOK A WALK up to the supermarket yesterday — a mile or so — more out of curiosity than need, since there are perfectly nice little alementari here in the village, and a butcher, a wine shop, a pasticceria. But while there we bought a package of gnocchi and a small jar of tomato sauce. Also a lemon, a bottle of Arneis, a small bottle of olive oil.

Today at the local shops we bought some arugula and a bottle of red wine, and tonight Cook put a number of those things together for our second dinner "at home." The gnocchi weren't the best I've had — a little doughy — and Cook thought the sauce could have been better, but I'm not complaining. I dressed the arugula with lemon juice and olive oil, and had a snort of Fernet Branca for dessert.

     🍷Dolcetto, Giuljn, Elio Perrone (Piemonte), 2015: fruity, smooth, hearty

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017


via Eugenio Vitale, November 15, 2017—
DINNER AT HOME: Pizzoccheri bought fresh-made (of course) at the supermarket a mile or so away — a brisk walk. Pizzoccheri (accent on the second syllable), I read on Wikipedia, are a flat pasta made of buckwheat flour with a big of wheat flour mixed in. These were not flat, as you see, but formed into ravioli, stuffed with greens, the butcher told us, and ricotta. The filling tasted like spinach to me, but I don't say the hell with it: I love spinach.

Cook simply boiled them in salted water and added sage leaves and butter, salt and pepper. They were interesting, substantial, and enjoyable.

     🍷Arneis, Axzienda Agrficola Gino Battaglia (Roero), 2016: supple and refreshing

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A weekend at home(s)

Friday, November 10—
LUNCH TODAY — in fact a midday dinner — at a restaurant we like quite a bit, just across the street from the apartment we've been sharing for the last week with our hosts. We say goodbye to them today, for another year or so, so why not take them to lunch?

We've eaten here a few times over the years, and this time I think it is even better. I begin with Rundercarpaccio met oude Reypenaer, pestodressing en pijnboompitten: beef carpaccio with old Amsterdammer cheese, måche, parsley, fennel greens, and pine nuts with a pesto dressing.

I'm not sure I had a second course; perhaps a salad. I'm writing this several days after the fact. The dessert was memorable: a sort of vla, fortified with genever, with little almond cakes and chocolage-covered nougat lollipops.

     🍷Viura/Verdejo, Conde Pinel (La Mancha), 2016: delicious

Restaurant De Heerlijckheyt Het Loo, Koningstraat 1, Apeldoorn; 📞+31 55 521 3997

Then we took the train to Amsterdam, to have dinner and spend the night with friends. Yolanda is a professional cook and cookbook author, and knew what we'd like to eat. She began us, for example, with hareng. You can't have too much of this, especially when served with delicious gherkins.

Main course was salmon, simply poached, coverfed with a strew of chopped herbs, garnished with cherry tomatoes. Then a quinoa pilaf with chopped parsley. Salad. Dessert.

And, since Krijn was involved, a number of bottles of spirits: the odd Cleveland Bourbon I'd brought him (bought at De Heerlijckheyt), another Bourbon, and a marvelous artisinal Apfelkräuterbrand Mühlengeist from Brennerei Spanier Holsthumer Mühle Startseite, I think. Smooth, fruity, a little edgy.

Next day, Saturday, November 11, we took the bus from Amsterdam to Luxembourg. We had a quick cup of coffee chez Yolanda, then nothing until reaching Brussels, where a half-hour stop allowed time to buy a pistole ham-kaas at a dubious convenience cafe.

Arrived in Luxembourg a little early, say 4:30; we had time for boissons (that delicious Luxembourg Rivaner white wine) during a short waIt for Catharina, then to her new home.

Dinner was, again, salmon — not a all unwelcome. Catharina served it with rice and “grandmother sauce,” a thin sour cream (I think) based sauce with herbs, very good; and a green salad. She is our Swedish daughter, and knows our tastes.

     🍷Rivaner sparkling wine

Proud Croatians in a Luxembourg fund-raiser
Sunday, November 11, we spent enough of the afternoon at a special fund-raising cultural "culinary" event that we hardly needed to eat (or drink) otherwise. There were sixteen countries represented: all the Scandinavian ones; Luxembourg of course; the United States (rather weak: pancakes and lemonade!); Croatia, Bulgaria, Morocco, Israel, Germany, a number of others. Nearly all these countries were handing out samples of sausage, pastries, breads of various kinds, cheeses, wines, and spirits. Ireland was particularly generous with her whiskies. Croatia boasted an excellent Slivovitz.
Then Monday, November 32, we took a train from Luxembourg to Lugano by way of Mulhouse and Basel. Another short-ration day, with coffee and bread and butter — Catharina's delicious home-made bread — and then nothing until we found a restaurant car on the last leg of the trip and availed ourselves of another ham-cheese tosti with a glass of white wine.

That evening, though, we booked into an excellent hotel, the Victoria, whose only drawback was that its restaurant was closed. Oh well: another was across the street, and there we had our first Swiss meal in probably forty years. It was a hell of a lot better than the last one, a gluey fondue somewhere in the sticks. Here we had spaghetti Bolognese and a nice green salad and amused ourselves watching three businessmen (I guess they were) from India drinking "double Jackies" and Johnny Walker Reds with chicken pizzas, ordered without looking at a menu.

     🍷Red, Veneto

•Cafè Retrò Ristorante Tivoli, via Generale Guisan 6, Paradiso, Switzerland; 📞+41 91 993 16 54

And now I'm finally caught up with Eating Every Day, and have only to get around, one day, to bringing up to date the

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Four days of typical Dutch: 4: Zuidlaren-Apeldoorn

Dining room, Jufferen Lunsingh
Zuidlaren to Apeldoorn, November 9, 2017—
Zuidlaren to Apeldoorn, November 9, 2017—
WE AWOKE TO BREAKFAST marred only by a tedious hotelkeeper, complaining about his problems supplying WiFi, about Russians taking more than they eat, lecturing at length on Drentse history. But I have to admit that the bed had been comfortable and the breakfast plentiful.

We did not look around Zuidlaren but went immediately to Westvelde, where it had originally been our intention to spend the night at a tranquil counntry hotel particularly recommended by an Amsterdam friend. Alas, a website misunderstandig had led us to believe it was unavailable excerpt for its restaurant. We stopped for coffee, promising to return for lunch.

Then we drove on to nearby Veerhuizen, site of a penitentiary and a former colony for paupers and the homeless. Like so many country museums in The Netherlands, it offers a fine cafe with a particularly fine applecake and an absorbing gift shop full of items (including books) related to the history of the place.

•Bitter En Zoet, 9341 AR Veenhuizen; 📞+31 592 385 002

The prison museum itself was most moving; we spent a good hour contemplating the history of detention and hopeful improvement of mankind. Today there are only 600 or so prisoners in the nearby active penitentiary, some of them Norwegians — the two countries cooperate, attempting to solve the problem of too many prisons, too few prisoners. (USA take note.)

Then, free at last, we drove back to the country hotel for a fine light midday supper: mosterdsoep met prei; salade met visrilletes. My mustard soup was quite different from yesterday's, very pretty, bound with particularly good cream and floated with a fine olive oil.

The salad contained cod and mackerel rillettes — I was a little worried about the latter, as I find mackerel unpleasantly oily: but these blocks of rillete were really nicely done, easily taking their place among perfectly fresh salad greens. (I suspect from their own garden.)

•De Jufferen Lunsingh, Hoofdweg 13, Westvelde; 📞+31 592 612 618

It was a long drive home, but we had time to stop in Zwartsluis for hareng. This is an absolutely delicious and indispensable Dutch specialty: raw herring, eaten simply either as a broodje (in a soft bun, which is how my delicate Contessa prefers it), or cut into pieces and eaten with knife and fork (as Hans prefers), or simply by flipping the two halves of the herring into the chopped raw white onion, then, holding them by the tail, bending your head back to take them in whole — as I do.

•De Vollenhoofse Poort, Stationsweg 3, Zwartsluis; 📞+31 38 386 61 40

But one does not live by herring alone: let's have a last Dutch pannekoeken. Where better than the pannekoekenhuis in Hoog Soeren, a charming little village outside Apeldoorn? It was crowded, and for good reason. The beertap had run out of steam but everyone was in a good mood. I had my favorite: speck-gember — the dinnerplate-size thin pancake perfectly cooked, covered with strips of delicious Dutch bacon, and topped with a generous spoonful of candied ginger. Drizzle it with stroop, of course, that extra-light molasses, similar to Lyle's Golden.

•Berg en Dal, Hoog Soeren 30; 📞+31 56 519 12 19

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Four days of typical Dutch: 3: Groningen en Drenthe.

Hanging kitchens of Appingedam
Dwingeloo to Zuidlaren, November 8, 2017—
AFTER YESTERDAY'S relatively quiet day this was a busy one, with two museums, a walkabout, and an odd B&B at the end of the day. And, in between, naturally, eating.

We drove first to Gieten, to stop for coffee at a bakery particularly recommended by our Dutch guides. The Netherlands knows two kinds of bakery: broodbakkerijen, where you go for your various loaves of bread, and banketbakkerijen, where the really tasty items are. This bakery, long a favorite establishment for miles around, performs both functions.

Here we had coffee and applecake, of course; but we also bought things for the trip — delicious crisp speculaas wafers; fine dense pastries involving speculaas wrapped around marzipan. I've been to a number of Dutch bakeries; I can see why this one is special.

Founding couple, Bakkerij Job

•Bakkerij Job, Stationsstraat 22A, Gieten; 📞+31 592 26 06 56

Then we drove on, farther north in Netherlands than we have ever been, to the fine old port city Appingedam. Here we had our walkabout, to see the famous "hanging kitchens" on canal houses, and to visit the fascinating Stad Museum.

We drove out into the country to visit a marvelous landhuis — I suppose "manor house" would be the equivalent, but it seemed quite palatial to me, including even a "trouwkamer" seating over forty in which the local count would preside over local weddings.

Here, too, in a former stables-plus-carriage house, there's a comfortable bruincafe-type bar-and-lunchroom, and here we had a delicious ham-kaas tosti with fries and, of course, a local beer.

•Museum Landgoed Fraeylemaborg, Hoofdweg 30 Slochteren; 📞+31 598 42 15 68

And then it was time to turn southwards toward the night's hotel, a B&B-type stop in the middle of Zuidlaren. The approach to the place was odd: my iPhone's Waze took us down a narrow drive into what looked like an empty field next to a pond. It turned out to be our parking lot, and we checked into a comfortable room.

Where to eat? Most places were closed for the season, but we found a modest place on our street, and here we feasted very traditionally indeed, on worst en boerenkool, sausage and mashed potatoes with kale.

•Cafe de Paris, ? 6 de Millystraat, Zuidlaren

Note the question mark: This place seems to have more than one name. I think this is the address.

Four days of typical Dutch: 2: Blokzijl to Dwingeloo

Blokzijl to Dwingeloo, November 7, 2017—
A FTER BREAKFAST in our splendid hotel Geertien we continued driving northeast, first to the (for anglophones) ruinously named little town Ruinen (pronounced Rrrownen) to see a fine country house-barn a friend is thinking of buying, and to have coffee and appelgebak at a little place owned and run by a Turkish immigrant justly proud of his applecake. Alas there were no longer any croissants to try: I bet they're good too.

•Brink Croissanterie, Brink 19B, Ruinen; 📞+31 522 47 14 72

And then on to Dwingeloo for lunch, later dinner at our hotel. Lunch was, for me, simply a cup of mustard soup, a dish we learned to love in Eenrum, years ago on a bicycle tour. It's chicken stock, I suppose, and good cream, and a healthy amount of good Dutch mustard, simple enouugh.

Dinner: ribeye steak. I suppose this was more or less a traditional Hollandse biefstuk, not that different from what we had on special days when I was a boy: the steak somewhat overcooked in spite of my ordering it rare, served with a light brown milk gravy and, what is certainly not traditional, a very sketchy jab at accompanying vegetables.

Dessert was very special, really elegant and delicious, as carefully thought out for textures ads for flavors. A licorice frangipane parfait, of all things, beautifully composed on the plate and quickly deconstructed, as you see, to try to figure out how it was done. It's the second licorice dessert we've had on this trip, and quite different from the other, and quite as enjoyable.

     🍷Costières de Nîmes, François de Posquières

•Hotel Wesseling, Brink 26, Dwingeloo, Netherlands; 📞+31 521 59 15 44