One thing I have been enjoying while I have been here in the Netherlands that I was very concerned about before I arrived is the food. As anyone who has ever had me at their house for dinner knows; I am a picky eater. I don't like many things, and usually am not willing to try much either. So the fact that I am enjoying the food here is a very nice surprise for me.
I have been eating regular food like pizza and salad most days. But I have also tried many Dutch foods. My friend Maarten has hosted me at his house and cooked for me twice. I have also had the pleasure of eating a delicious dessert called a Boscha Bol which is like an éclair but in a ball shape. Very tasty.
Those that know me well know I love French fries and although they are actually a Belgian food, they are abundant in this region. Any place where French fries are sold on street corners to be eaten in a large cone with mayonnaise is alright with me. I am someone who actually likes mayo on my fries but the amount that is put on is even too much for me.
I have also enjoyed a delicious appetizer treat called bitterballen which is like a little croquet filled with pork. I can see them being very popular if they were sold in the U.S. It is served with mustard (which I still don't like).
Perhaps the greatest highlight of my trip here in the food department came yesterday. My friend Juliette told me a couple of weeks ago about a legendary almost mythical person known simply as the Pizza Man. The legend had it that this guy who lives in Eindhoven loves pizza and built a stone pizza oven at his home. And on Fridays he opens his house to anyone who wants to come over. As if this were not good enough this man has fresh dough and all the toppings a person can imagine including fresh vegetables, meats, all different types of cheeses and anything else you have ever desired on a pizza. Supposedly you make the pizza with all the fresh ingredients and just hang out at his house. He also has beer, wine and soda as well as gardens to sit in a trampoline on his roof and much more.
My friend invited me to go with her a few weeks ago and I couldn't so yesterday she & I went to visit this legendary pizza man and it was all true. It was one of the coolest things I have done. It was an amazing way to meet all different sorts of people from all over the world. Last night there were 2 women from China, people from Belgium, France the U.S. (me) and many other places. I wonder how different people hear about it. It is pretty much a secret among the people at Philips that know about it. I asked the woman who sits next to me at work if she knew anything about a pizza man as she has lived in Eindhoven for quite a while and she knew nothing.
The pizza man experience was pure bliss. The way it works is you walk in take a number as that is how they keep order amongst who can make their pizza because the pizza oven can only fit 2 pizzas at a time in it. Juliette and I decided to share a pizza because she doesn't eat much. Our pizza had 3 types of cheese, including fresh mozzarella, it had bacon, garlic onions and fresh tomatoes. it was absolutely amazing.
This is a picture of the pizza oven there is a man that either still works in a pizza place or used to that is in charge of the cooking of the pizzas. He takes the pizzas from the area where you make the pie and puts in in the oven. He also chops wood for the oven and places that in and removes the finished creations. You can see his legs in the picture.
This was our pizza fresh from the oven. Going in I was a little scared because right away we realized we left off shredded cheese. Which you shred by hand yourself. But as you can see it looks and was delicious. The crust was thin but crispy and everything cooked to perfection.
The experience is great and all you have to do is donate what you feel comforable with. The pizza man has a refridgerator completely stocked with beer so you can drink as much or as little as you like. What you can't see in this picture or what happened immediately after I took this was I opened my beer moved the table a bit a spilled my beer all over our delicious fresh pizza. Luckily it was saved and only about one piece was completely soaked in beer which did help to cool that piece off quite a lot.
We enjoyed our meal and I am certain that I will go back to the pizza man before my trip to Eindhoven is complete. It is just a great experience. The garden seating the kids on the trampoline the relaxation. It is something that I can't really imagine being replicated. Had I not seen it with my own eyes I don't think I would have truly grasped the entirety of how great it truly is. Even the fact the Pizza Man doesn't charge anything to people. He does accept donations, but you can go and eat and drink and donate what you are comfortable with, it is something that I really can't imagine happening in the U.S. I made a donation.