So one of the reasons I love this blog is the community of people who read, sometimes occasionally making comments or suggestions. On my original post saying I was visiting in Amsterdam a while, there was a suggestion from commenter Kramer to try a restaurant somewhat off the beaten path, but worth a visit. I cautiously did my research, decided that it looked good, and on the last night of the trip, went along with a friend to try it out.
My goodness what an excellent place! It was just wonderful, and one of the things that was great for me was that the restaurant – Marius – is a spiritual cousin of Chez Panisse, Alice Waters’ legendary restaurant in Berkeley that I’m a fan of. (See also an article in the NY Times about it here. Since that article was written, the restaurant has moved to slightly larger premises down the road, and now takes cards.) The chef-owner of Marius, Kees Elfring, worked at Chez Panisse for some time a while back. The same philosophy of locally sourced fine ingredients fuels the place, and (as Kees Elfring told us – he came and sat at the table for a while to chat) Marius is one of the characters in a trilogy of plays (and films) from the late 1920s and early ’30s by Marcel Pagnol – Panisse is one of the other characters. (I’m surprised I did not make that connection, to be honest…)
All of this is right up my alley, as you know from reading this blog. There were some of my own favorite cookbooks on the shelves near the table (Chez Panisse vegetables, the Greens cookbook, etc), and when Kees came by and we chatted about sustainable local sourcing of food, I mentioned one of my favorite writers on the matter that I’ve mentioned here before – Michael Pollan – only to find that Kees likes his writing as well and in fact had dined with him during the 40th anniversary celebrations for Chez Panisse last year.
So, great conversation and a truly great meal with splendid ambiance and service (thanks Kees and Kim!). What an excellent way to end the great time in Amsterdam. Thanks so very much for the suggestion, Kramer!