Smoked Bar.B.Q restaurant in The Hague

Smoked Bar.B.Q restaurant in The Hague

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My family love barbeque ribs so we went to check out Smoked Bar.B.Q grill restaurant in Torrenstraat in The Hague. Wow! The barbeque meat there was so tender and rich in flavour. We chose the Nachos pulled pork for starters and they were so tasty!! We would have ordered another portion if we could have fit it in!

For mains, we tried the F*CK veggies “smoked” meat lovers plateau for 2 people which had sticky spare ribs, brisket and pulled pork served with coleslaw and fries. The various types of meat served were well seasoned and amazingly full of flavour and the brisket literally melted in your mouth. We also ordered a main course size portion of the sticky Korean spare ribs to share. Their home made barbeque sauce served was incredible – smoky, sweet & tangy! It was a refreshing change from the usual BBQ sauce.

The restaurant smokes everything in their charcoal oven, including avocado and pineapple. We ate a smoked pineapple dessert with white chocolate cream and passion fruit sorbet which was very unique.

I really liked the service at the restaurant as the staff were very relaxed and friendly. The owners were passionate about finding the “perfect” slow cooking method of smoking food and barbeque and traveled the world in search of this. We were even shown the kitchen and met the chef who is clearly someone who loves to experiment to take the BBQ cooking method to a different level. If you are mad about ribs too, check out this restaurant as you won’t be disappointed. It is open from Thursday to Tuesday from 16:00-22:00.

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Poke Labs in Den Haag

Poke Labs in Den Haag

img_49201.jpgHope you had a wonderful summer! Having had a indulgent summer, it was hard to come back to The Hague. I went to my favourite poke bowl place, Poke Labs, and wasn’t disappointed by the quality.

I love making my own poke bowl which involves 5 components: base, premium, mix-ins, dressing and toppings. For the base, you can choose rice, pasta, salad or a rice & salad mix. In terms of the premium, you can choose raw fish such as salmon, tuna, or cooked food such as fried chicken, pulled pork, etc. Poke Lab’s poke bowls come in 2 sizes. The medium size costs €8.95 which comes with a premium and 3 mix-ins. The large bowl costs €10.95 and you get an additional premium choice. I usually go for the medium bowl which is quite a generous portion.

Poke Labs has a big variety of mix-ins. My favourites are the masago, edamame & corn. Then, there’s a choice of dressings (e.g. soya sesame, wasabi) to choose from. What I love is you can have as many toppings as you want. I love the crunchy toppings and have had as many as 5 toppings in my poke bowl!

The other reason why I like Poke Labs is that it is open every day from 11:30 till 20:30 with the exception of Thursday when it closes later.

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Cencalli restaurant in The Hague

Cencalli restaurant in The Hague

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Cencalli is an authentic Mexican restaurant in The Hague. We stumbled across it while taking a shortcut from The Hague City Hall & Central Library to Korte Poten.

The corn dough is freshly made every day. As you enter the restaurant, you see the quesadillas being made on a clay stove. There are a variety of fillings to choose from. We tried the potatoes & sausage with cheese quesadillas and the pulled chicken with chile chipotle tetelas. Three types of home made salsas are given for you to eat with your food.

My daughter tried their Agua de Horchata drink of which the main ingredients are rice, almonds and cinnamon and she loved it. The guacamole is out of this world. I don’t know what ingredients are added to it but it is The best guacamole I have ever had!

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It has a different dinner menu. For example, they have a fried fish in batter taco served with coriander, lime, onion & salsa which is absolutely delicious. Cencalli is not cheap as you are paying for authentic Mexican food that is freshly made but it is well worth a visit. I really enjoyed the experience of eating Mexican food there.

MingleMush in The Hague

MingleMush in The Hague

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Have you been to MingleMush which is a couple of minutes walk from Den Haag Central Station? I wasn’t quite sure what to expect of the food in the Food Hall but I really enjoyed it. I have been there several times and I haven’t been disappointed.

My favourite is the Pad Thai at the Lime Leaf & Red Pepper stall. I love that it is authentic and the portion size is generous. I struggled to finish the Pad Thai on my own. My daughter’s favourite stall is Bohica that serves Lebanese Street Food. She loved the falafel which Bohica serves in a Lebanese flatbread. She has tried many falafels in the Hague and she claims that this stall has the best falafel. We tried the Special Beef Burito at another stall and that was good too.

Minglemush has such a good variety of food that I don’t think anyone would have difficulty finding a stall that they would like. It has a Poke Bar, a stall that sells burgers & fries, pizza, etc.

In terms of desserts, you have to try Don’s creme brulee doughnuts. It’s novel, sinful and good. The middle of the doughnut is filled with a creme brûlée filling, sprinkled with sugar and then blow-torched. An alternative dessert which is also good is the pisang goreng (“banana fritters”) at the Roaming Panda stall.

Another reason why I like Minglemush is the fact that it is open seven days a week from 12:00 for lunch and dinner. During the week, Lime Leaf & Red Pepper stall gets really busy during lunch time despite the chef’s speed of cooking several orders simultaneously. It’s quite a skill to watch.

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LOVE FLOWERS? WHERE TO INDULGE AROUND THE HAGUE

LOVE FLOWERS? WHERE TO INDULGE AROUND THE HAGUE

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If you love flowers, then the Netherlands is the country for you as it is the world’s largest flower and bulb exporter. Just to give you an indication, the Netherlands produced 2 billion tulips in 2017. Royal FloraHolland in Aalsmeer (“Aalsmeer flower auction”) is the biggest flower auction in the world where around 20 million flowers and plants are traded daily.

Hence, as an expat living here, you simply have to make a trip to the Aalsmeer flower auction as the sheer volume of flowers and plants sold here every day is mind-blowing. It’s a visit that requires an early morning start as the Aalsmeer flower auction is open from 7am every weekday. It costs €7.50 to enter and a leisurely walk on the walkway above the main flower market hall will take around one and a half hours. Parking is free and there is plenty of parking for visitors on the roof top of the building. I would urge you to arrive at 7am as by 9am the activity level starts to slow down. Before you go, I recommend that you download the IZI Travel App onto your phone so that as you walk along the walkway, you can listen to the audio guide.

All flowers and plants are sold by auction and this takes place in the auction room where the buyers (both local and those buying on behalf of exporters) wear head phones so that they can hear the auctioneer. The price of each flower starts from high to low and the buyer who presses the button first makes the purchase.

What really impressed me was how organised the distribution system was after the buyers made their purchase. Everything looked so easy and seamless due to the sophisticated organisational structure behind it.  The distributors attach trolleys of flowers to their towing vehicle and transport them to the designated area. Distribution staff wear different coloured vests to demarcate which flowers they can handle.

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There is even a shuttle which is actually an elevator that transports flowers to the customers’ packaging areas which are on the other side of the road. The shuttle is incredibly fast as it only takes 10 minutes to travel 18 kilometres. This ensures minimum time is wasted in getting the flowers to customers in perfect condition.

Although we can’t buy flowers and plants at the Aalsmeer flower auction, here are my recommendations on where you can go to buy flowers.

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There is a peony farm called Horsthoek Pioenrozen just outside Voorschoten that sells to the public. This farm has the freshest peonies at such good value. You pay €6 for a bunch of 10 peonies! It has many peony varieties, single, double and a variety of colours. The farm also sell peony plants. The farm is 30 years old and it used to only supply peonies to the flower auction but now it sells to the public. Depending on the weather, the farm opens for several weeks each year. This year, it opened for business on the 22nd May.

As it isn’t easy to find the farm, here are the directions. As you leave Voorschoten on the N447 towards Leidschendam, you pass an Esso petrol station on your left, continue along the road and you will see the farm on the right hand side before the bridge. It is opposite a building called B. Hoogwerff Kroon.

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My favourite garden centre is De Bosrand in Wassenaar. The quality of the plants and flowers are excellent and they have a good range of plants. Their fresh flower bouquets are unique and beautifully arranged with a good variety of flowers. In fact, De Bosrand isn’t just a garden centre. It sells quite an extensive range of goods such as fish, rabbits, pet toys, clothing, home décor, furniture and Christmas decorations.  On a rainy miserable day, I enjoy going to De Bosrand and spending a few hours there.

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Peony farm is open on 12 May, the day before Mother’s Day!

Peony farm is open on 12 May, the day before Mother’s Day!

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Peonies are one of my favourite flowers! The peony farm in Voorschoten (Click here for my previous blog for its location) is open for business for just one day on the 12th May for its first harvest and thereafter, it hopes to be open every day from the 21st May.

This farm has the freshest peonies and its prices are competitive. I can’t wait to go there on Saturday to buy myself bunches of peonies. What a Mother’s Day treat!

De Horsten’s lilac trees and rhododendrons are in full bloom now!

De Horsten’s lilac trees and rhododendrons are in full bloom now!

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I went for a walk in De Horsten a couple of days ago and it was absolutely beautiful because the purple lilacs below Seringenberg (“the Lookout tower”) and the rhododendrons were in full bloom. As I missed not seeing them last year, I was delighted to catch them this year.

The climb up to Seringenberg was well worth it as the view was spectacular and I love the sweet fragrance smell of the lilac blooms. If you are a plant lover like me, I highly recommend going to De Horsten within the next week as the blooms tend to only last for one or two weeks.

Click here for my previous blog on De Horsten.

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