Flashback to 2002 – Food Adventures in Europe

Berlin's Zoogarten in 2002
Berlin in 2002. We’re showing the international gangster sign of stupid Americans.

I throughly love Anthony Bourdain. What was initially disgust for his bad habits (chain smoking and heavy drinking) has turned to amusement. I’ve even had dreams of Mr. Bourdain. Specifically of being his Twitter assistant and twittering away his adventures for him because his fingers were too stained with nicotine to do it himself.

This past Monday’s No Reservations was filmed in Berlin and reminded me of my whirlwind trip in 2002 around Europe.

During the course of six days, Paul and I visited Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Luxembourg and London. In preparation for the trip, we studied the beautifully designed DK guide books.

In particular, the books had appetizing photography of what to eat in each city. This solidified my desire to try regional food whenever possible, such as erwtensoep (thick pea soup with boiled, smoked bacon) in Amsterdam.

Propellor Island Glas Haus
The Glas Haus room at Propeller Island featuring lots of hanging art, a bizarre bed and sheet from Ikea. No television was included in the room.

One thing in common with Mr. Bourdain’s visit to Berlin was his stay at Propeller-Island Hotel. The hotel has 30-plus artfully decorated rooms each with a theme such as the one decorated like an insane asylum or the other one with coffins as beds.

The room we stayed in was probably the least psychotic of the bunch. Unfortunately, the eerie green-lit bathroom made putting on makeup difficult. But it’s a hotel I wouldn’t mind visiting again.

We cheated ourselves with many of the cities. Travel to each city took most of the day, we only were left with a half a day to explore.

Berlin was unique food-wise. Everything ate was either bought or consumed underground: fish sandwiches at the transit center and my breakfast of a weiner from a trainside vendor. Unfortunate and unplanned but no bad food was had.

Luxembourg train meal

The train food didn’t end in Berlin; we bought salads during a 15-minute visit to Luxembourg. One salad which included sliced hotdogs and was nicknamed, by me, as the Official Cuisine of Luxembourg.

Belgium waffle cart

Another highlight of the trip were the waffles. We had both leige and the traditional Belgian, with or without ice cream, served in a restaurant or found at a cart vendor. But we still lost weight because we walked everywhere.

We avoided McDonald’s, but we took photos of their menu in Berlin and Amsterdam.

As for London, we have no food photos, even though we spent two days there. So just imagine us eating fish and chips and stuffed potato jackets. But we did get to see a live show. ’80s glam band and godfathers of techno, Sigue Sigue Sputnik, headlined at Dingwall’s near Camden Dock. They’re one of Paul’s faves and a band I’m sure Mr. Bourdain would appreciate. Pink wigs and all.

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About the photos: a few of the photos were pre-digital camera and scanned. That’s 2002 for you: analog.

7 thoughts on “Flashback to 2002 – Food Adventures in Europe

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  1. Well that was a whirlwind of a trip… so many cool cities and seriously, so little time. Sounds to me like you might want to schedule a less rushed holiday overseas to see more of what you missed (and maybe try more food).One of my sisters has lived in London for 20+ years with her family but i've visited only once, and the food was not exactly memorable, even if i hadn't been (and still am, of course) vegetarian.And btw, it's always a good time for liege!i'm one to ummm… let's just say "not appreciate" Anthony Bourdain… he's not quite Ted Nugent but his vibe strikes me in uncomfortable ways. Obviously i'm alone in my feelings because he's become quite popular from when i used to (occasionally) watch his shows on The Food Network, oh, some 6 years ago. Seems like he's gained quite a bit of notoriety since then…i love the pink wig on that guitar player. i'll have to check out SSS to hear what they sound like.Any trips planned anytime soon?!

  2. I loved the show and how cool that you visited that hotel.As for his view on vegetarians, I agree. Most vegetarian I know are self-rightious and impose their lifestyles on others. So bravo for Bourdain stating his viewpoint.

  3. I don't know if this helps at all but Anthony recenty quit smoking! He's a new Daddy so I guess..he's like, I don't know, trying to be a good example, I guess? By all accounts he's a person I "should" not admire, just based on the drinking/drugs. But, I can't help myself, he's living the ultimate dream; he spent over 20 years working hard and making a name for himself and how he's making a living at something that I would give my pinky toes to do. He does seem like a "dirty f**ker" though doesn't he, like he wouldn't call you the next morning, or maybe even pull your hair a little…. *erin sighs*.Thanks for all the fun Euro info, I will for sure use it whenever I can talk Superfro into going over there!

  4. Hi Kleopatra–Yes, it was a whirlwind trip and I plan to revisit all the cities soon. I guess the similarities between Bourdain, Nugent (and me) are that we all like meat. Meat tasty. Mmm.Hi Anonymous–I've read all of Bourdain's books and enjoy the voice he has in this program and his writing. Thanks for visiting.Hi Kate–Thanks! I revisited the Berlin hotel Web site and they've added some crazy rooms since I've been there. Hi Erin–I hope that Bourdain quitting smoking means that he'll be staying around a bit longer. And don't worry, I have those fantasies too. :PHi Just Jenn–Yeah it was a scary-ass hotel with a scary-ass skeleton key. But clean, clean, clean. That's what matters to this neat freak.Hi That Girl Can Eat–Maybe we should start a Bourdain appreciation club??

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