Greek spankopita in Leiden

While I drink Chianti wine and swipe Spankopita crumbs off my keyboard, this post comes in existence. For the aspiring sommeliers, the wine is a Chianti Classico Piccini delightfully fermented in the year 2014. Listening to The Beatles because my housemate is a musical superstar (with a PhD in science btw). Ultimately, it’s the perfect stay-cation.

Although summer is a great time for a sunburn in Greece, you too could just stay wherever you are and create a stay-cation, like me.

Last weekend, I city hopped to Alkmaar (a pitoresque Christian town in North of Holland) and Utrecht (bigger, but lovely, city ruled by canals and catacomb like restaurants and cafes in basements providing enchanting views of the canals through little windows), and while neither of these can be called urban metropoles, both served their purpose in relaxing, wondering around city parks, breathing in fresh air, stretching those legs and eating that good food.

Sweet Potato Fries in Alkmaar

Fries, but with more fiber and less starches than regular potatoes. What’s not to love? Even better when shared with a cutie pie.

Sweet potato fries in Alkmaar

Don’t be disappointed at the sweet potato’s relatively limp texture compared to the crunchy french fry. The sweet potato is still providing you with many more vitamins (and beautiful beta carotene that turns to vitamin A in your body thanks to enzymes in the liver) and therefore contributes more to your health (and the beauty of your skin). Plus, they just look gorgeous!

Turkish street food in Utrecht

Right as you exit the Hoog Catherijne/Central Station passage of Utrecht, you can enter the Swan Market. Upon such, you will be immediately charmed by the Turkish Street Food stand (just like I was).

The place is called Nar Catering, by the way. Not only is there good food to eat, but there is the pleasure of seeing multiple generations of a family preparing authentic homemade Turkish food together. As grannies tirelessly roll dough with a pin and flip pita’s on the stove, a younger girl and guy describe you the products. I had a pickled paprika filled with cooked rice, a pastry filled with potatoes and green peas, and a Gozleme (which apparently is the key to happiness). Loved it!

Bonus point about this food market of Utrecht is that you can pay in cash or by card, instead of having to purchase those ridiculously overpriced coins usually sold at food truck festivals in The Netherlands. Bitch, please.

As weekend came to a close, I got ready for the week ahead. PhD life goes on, and the prospect of cool courses and symposiums keeps me going! Just today I signed up for a Public E-Health symposium. If you’re also in the region of Leiden, and interested in the health care system, you might also be interested to know about the Public E-Health Day on the 29th of September. If you also sign up, maybe see you there!

Spankopita in Leiden

Finally, just on my way home today after work, coincidentally bumped into a most precious treasure: a new Greek deli in Leiden!!! I practically became starry eyed just hopping from shelf to shelf and admiring the extra virgin olive oils, black olive pastes with sun dried tomato, plum & apricot jams, rice farmed by local Greek families, etc. The owners didn’t know whether to thank me or to call the police on the charge of crazy foodie on the loose. Luckily for me, no arresting took place!

Greek Deli in Leiden

The place just opened and once queues will be forming, you will know you read about it here first!

Since we still have a beautiful bottle of EVOO from Tuscany (bought while on wine tour there), I am saving buying the bottle of EVOO from this deli for later. Not that I won’t be there every other day buying the spankopitas (spinach & feta pastries, or as we would say in Croatian: burek).

Greek deli and figs in Leiden

Greek olive oil and olive paste in Leiden

Have a great week everybody! Almost wished you a ‘greet’ week there.. Time to round off the post and lay off the wine.

Best wishes,

Ana, MD