June 16, 2009

Museum night

Because of an initiative from Quintus, Leiden this year has its first museum night
Saturday 4 July seven museums can be visited until the wee hours.

More information can be found here

January 14, 2009

Jut en Juul - Lifestyle for kids

Looking for a fun and not so ordinary gift for your kids or to give to a newborn? There is a new store on the Lange Mare in Leiden that sells fabulous kids stuff.

Fair trade toys (the wolf in the pic won a Belgian award for toys)

But also designer lamps for kids rooms.

The beauty is they have cute gifts in all price ranges, from as little as € 5,95 for a cuddly toy, but you can easily spend quite a bit of money, there are so many original things to buy there!

They also give the possiblity to register at their store, so that after you had your baby and people want to know what to buy, they only have to go there. Somewhat of a novilty in the Netherlands, but already really common in countries like the US.

Have a look at their website (Dutch) for more info.

October 11, 2008

Autumn in Leiden

Just look how beautiful Leiden is on a glorious, sunny October day

Het Plantsoen

Huge tree in het Plantsoen

Wild mushrooms

October 3, 2008

Leiden ontzet

3 October is a special day for the city of Leiden. Each year marks the anniversary of how the people of Leiden ran the Spaniards, who occupied Leiden, out of town. To mark this occasion the entire city celebrates with music, markets and kermis. And a lot of people (not yours truly) eat 'hutspot' (a mash with potatoes, carrots and onions). The morning of 3 October every citizen of Leiden can have herring and white bread at city hall, as that was the food that was brought to Leiden to feed the starving citizen.

It is a very local anniversary, but it does mean that all shops and offices in Leiden are closed and everybody who works in Leiden gets the day off. Personally I hate occasions like this. It reminds me of carnaval, another local feast that is celebrated mostly in the South of the Netherlands.
It seems that days like this are just an excuse to get hammered and make a lot of noise/ nuisance. Luckily for me the weather is too crap, so a good excuse to stay inside!

July 12, 2008

Olivier - part II

After last night's successful night out at new hot spot Olivier we were curious about the food and decided to have lunch there today. Three words for it.

Big, BIG disappointment...

Service still quick and friendly, but a wild spinach salad that has regular spinach, none of the promised croutons and lacks all imagination just isn't worth paying 7,50 for.
I had feared such already, as their lunch menu didn't look all that imaginative, but this was such a disappointment that I don't think we'll be back there for lunch anytime soon.

Will try their dinner menu sometime, as that looks much more promising. Will keep you updated of course.

New beer cafe - Olivier

Earlier this year a new cafe opened in Leiden, Olivier.

In the building where there used to be the former Elisabeth Gasthuis hospital, now a fabulous Belgian beer cafe has emerged. The inside is like a 'bruin cafe'. Outside there is a huge terrace and two places where you can sort of lounge. For any kind of weather, the perfect outside spot right in the middle of town!
They have a huge beer menu with different types of Belgian beer and you can also have lunch and dinner there. The menu especially for dinner looks very appealing with its Mussels made in four different ways.

Plenty of friendly staff and most surprisingly not at all too expensive. We just went for drinks had about 6 to 8 special beers and two 0.75l bottles of LaCouffe and two rounds of 'bittergarnituur' and paid 65 euros. Not bad at all!

Will def go back for lunch and dinner one day! (make sure you have a reservation, this place is immensely popular at the moment!). Oh and if the bouncers tell you they can't let anyone in because it is too crowded, don't make the mistake to argue with them. The bouncer is always right :-)

June 21, 2008

Leiden getting ready for quarter finals Euro 2008

Orange, orange, orange, everywhere!

June 1, 2008

New favorite restaurant - La Diva

We've been meaning to go here for a long time and finally made a reservation, for a Portuguese themed night of all nights (we're going to Portugal later this summer on vacation). A perfectly good excuse to familiarize ourselves with the Portuguese kitchen.

Restaurant La Diva on Noordeinde 19 in Leiden is a restaurant that (when it's not having a theme night) does 'cuisine du jour'. No menu, you eat what the chef has prepared. There is a three course (during the week) or a four course menu. Three courses with wine for no more than 40 euros and four courses with wine for about 50 euros is an absolute bargain these days. Even more so when you see the good quality of the food.

The chef, Gerrit Jan, comes to chat to his guest in between courses and is a delight to talk to. His parents run a vineyard in Portugal and last night he served some of their wine. Very delicious indeed. When we mentioned we'd be travelling to Portugal he gave us their card and insisted that we'd go visit their vineyard. I think we might just take him up on his offer!

All in all, if you're looking for good food, good wine, a not too big a restaurant, with a personal touch, good staff and you're looking for good quality versus decent prices... you definitely need to go and enjoy dinner at La Diva.