Yes, It’s a Pancake Ship

I recently found myself wandering the streets of Groningen in The Netherlands on a cold December day when I came upon The Pancake Ship. Yes, The Pancake Ship. The Dutch pannenkoeken are far from the typical Bisquik pancakes and maple syrup we Gen-Xers grew up on; rather, they are as big as a charger plate and just a bit thicker than a French crèpe, and the Dutch top them with everything, smoked fish included. The extensive menu at The Pancake Ship cuts across sweet and savory, but if you go for the savory – with meat or cheese or both – be forewarned that the fries and salad are served not on the side, but on top of the pancake. This is a purely logistical presentation as the pancake is so enormous that it hangs off the edge of the plate. The savory pannenkoeken here are a triple layered concoction of heartiness that are best eaten with a pint, or maybe a half pint, of the local beer. If you go for one of the sweet versions, know that the sugar level is high, but oh so worth it. And get a beer with the sweet ones as well. In fact, always get a beer.

Once the pancake extravaganza was over, one of the owners asked me where I was from – an innocuous question I’m often asked when traveling. I told her that I live in DC, but I grew up in Florida. And then the most unexpected thing of the day happened. She began to reminisce about living in Daytona Beach, Florida, when she was in her teens. She talked of  crusin’ the main drag and on the beach in a convertible with the radio blaring. I myself have done the same thing, so the bonus part of The Pancake Ship turned out to be a bit of nostalgic chatting about old Florida.

The Village Coffee & Music

Fancy a fab cup ‘o’ joe on quirky furniture that spans decades of styles?  Welcome to the “Best Little Coffeehouse in Utrecht” — The Village Coffee & Music.  Grab a hand-crafted cup of coffee or a decadent hot chocolate, relax on vintage comfy chairs, and check out the art-lined walls. This is a great joint for relaxing…and listening to The Cure & The Smiths. They may look like hipsters here, but I do believe there’s more than a bit of Gen-X going on.

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Gaming Galore – The Mothership

 

I love computers, but not as a gamer or coder or programmer or anything of the sort. I love them from a historical point of view. The history of computers is a fascinating one. I used to love the Computers & Business Machines exhibition at the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC, but when the newly renovated museum reopened after years of being closed, this wonderful display of postwar technological history was gone, with just a fraction of its items being relegated to a much smaller exhibit on technology in general. I was rather dismayed.

So I was thus most happy to discover the Computerspielmuseum in Berlin, which details the history of computer gaming and contains an archive of 20,000 games that are currently being digitized. The museum’s collection of gaming devices is not enormous, but it is varied and illustrates how the original form and design were so simple compared to today’s complex systems. As someone who remembers the first Atari system hitting the market, I’m constantly amazed at the complexity of today’s gaming systems.

Any gamer will love this museum. Go forth and play!!

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A Picnic…Danish Style

The Perfect Six Pack

The Danes are known for their love of traditional smørrebrød  — open-faced sandwiches of buttered rye bread with meat, fish, or vegetables.  Aamanns Deli & Take Away in Copenhagen offers this Danish classic, yet with a modern twist. Here, they pile them high with such delicacies as beet-cured hake, pork rillettes, and barrel-cured herring. A mighty fine sandwich indeed.

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An Old School Dive Bar

When I was in high school, I used to hang out at a joint called Einstein-a-Go-Go…or Einstein’s for short.  Now lest you think this was any old bar, let me just give you a little taste of the groups who played there while still touring in vans and staying in fleabag motels — Jane’s Addiction, Nirvana, They Might Be Giants, 10,000 Maniacs…you get the idea.  And by the look of me now, you wouldn’t think that I would go near a mosh pit…oh, but I have…and on more than one occasion.

Fast forward 25 years to Henry’s Cellar Bar in Edinburgh.

 

With a CBGBs vibe, this is a bar is loved by locals.  Like Einstein’s, it has a great pedigree of musicians that includes Tom Waits & Annie Lenox. With a bitchin’ indie music vibe and bartenders who pour mean cocktails, Henry’s is the place to be for live music nearly every night of the week!

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