Ok, so everyone knows about the Belgian waffle. I can attest to their goodness…and the fact that a waffle in Belgium is very different from one in the U.S. The most notable difference is that in Belgium, they are made with yeast, and rather than some kind of faux strawberry topping and non-dairy (gnarly) “whipped cream,” the waffles are left nearly naked — simply sprinkled with a bit of powdered sugar. But I digress. Let’s get on to the crêpes. Yes, go have the waffle…it’s kind of a “must do” when in Belgium. But then head to the Bar Du Matin for their Sunday Brunch in which they celebrate the crêpe. I recommend the “Barry White” (powdered sugar) or the “James Brown” (brown sugar). But if you’re after something savory, there is the “Fellini” (tomatoes, fresh basil, olive oil, and mozzarella) or the “Clint Eastwood” (ham & cheese). Whatever you fancy, the Sunday “Festival de Crêpes” will soothe your soul…as will the mimosa that accompanies them.
But there’s more to Bar Du Matin than the crêpes. Each Tuesday night, there is what we in the U.S. would call a “drinking game”…but this is a version that is more reminiscent of Mrs. Robinson than Bluto, and is based on the theme of a specific cocktail. And then there is the music scene, which is fab & ecclectic. On Thursdays, there’s live music…from reggae to soul to jazz to hip-hop to pyschic blues to funk…whatever your flavor, you’ll find it here. And on Fridays & Saturdays, dance the night away (à la Leo Sayer) to rockin’ dj sets. And then finally, we get back round to those Sunday crêpes…just what you need after a boozy Saturday night!
In the heart of historic Antwerp lies the Hotel Julien, an upscale boutique hotel in a 16th century townhouse with an interior courtyard and a rooftop terrace. Minimalist in design, yet melding cosmopolitan and traditional elements throughout, each room is uniquely appointed with designer furniture and custom Egyptian cotton percale sheets, providing an inviting sanctuary following a long day of business or sightseeing in the city. Be sure to grab a cocktail or a Belgian ale at the boho-chic Honesty Bar in the lobby before heading out for an evening on the town. And if you fancy the photographs on the walls, ask about purchasing one from Gallery Fifty One, with whom the hotel partners to showcase the work of local photographers.
The Chocolate Line
I am always seeking new and interesting flavor pairings when I travel. In the world of chocolate, The Chocolate Line in Bruges offers up some of the most unique flavors that I’ve found. Created by Dominique Persoone, this little shop in Bruges will blow your chocolate mind. And lest you think that I am exaggerating, this is the guy who invented the chocolate inhaler for The Rolling Stones…and grass flavored ganache. It’s difficult to choose favorites here, but the Tequila, known as a choc-tail, is up there. Chocolate ganache with lime that is only meant to be eaten after taking a shot of tequila? Yeh, sign me up! And who could resist the Chapeau Napoléon — bitter banana ganache topped with marzipan and covered in dark chocolate. Five minutes in this place and you will surely be in a chocolate coma. Go on, indulge your palette with one…or three of their exciting flavor contrasts.