Tuesday, June 28, 2011

belly belgique

My belly has an odd, GPS-esque ability when it comes to finding food. One of the first things I wanted to do in Brussels was devour a paper cone of frites— more commonly and mistakenly known as the "French fry". What most people don't realise, is that the ubiquitous "French fry" is actually Belgian. Nowhere on earth will you find a fry that can compare to the frite. Top it with a dollop of eggy mayonnaise (please don't kill it with ketchup) and heaven feels more accessible. Ignore the calories, forget about cholesterol— life is worth living to the fullest. These humble, double-fried potatoes hold special place in my memory, so I was delighted to find myself in front of a frite stand within less than twenty minutes of walking through town. They were exactly how I remembered them— crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, eggy mayo.

After walking around for a bit, taking in the sights and digesting, I decided to seek out another childhood favourite: the gaufre. Surely you have heard of the Belgian waffle? Here's where the waffle as we know it in America becomes portable. Walk up to any stand and order up a sweet, buttery, doughy waffle, and you'll have a great little treat in your hands. The toppings of whipped cream, Nutella and strawberries are mostly for tourists— try it plain, with just the butter and sugar first, to get a real taste of the gaufre's goodness. I remember cold, dark winter days, wandering through the city streets with my mother, peeling off our gloves to avoid getting them sticky as we snacked on gaufres, little trails of steam rising from the golden dough.

Lucky me, I got to meet up with fellow Moleskine Exchange artist Anna Denise, who I previously had the pleasure of meeting back in San Francisco once upon a time. It's always a wonderful experience to meet up with someone in real life, who you've known for several years online and have built a friendship with. We've been exchanging art for about four or five years now, and I find her love of life and dedication to her artwork a source of inspiration.

Anna Denise, knowing how much I love to eat, decided to take me to a most delicious restaurant, famous for its traditional Belgian cuisine. Viva M'Boma is a cosy little place with a menu that's not for the faint of heart— sweetbreads, calf liver, kidneys, horse steak and a raw meat patty mysteriously called the "Americain" are pretty much all you'll find. Not being a big fan of organ meat, I decided to go with the stoemp— a potato and vegetable mash, that was served with two massive sausages and thick ribbons of bacon. It was absolutely divine— and very, very filling. I tried Anna Denise's calf liver and onions, which I must admit, was quite tasty and not so organy.

On Friday night I had a most delicious cuisse de lapin— a rabbit leg in a sauce that I want to say had some mustard in it, from a wonderful little restaurant in some tiny square. I really wish I had written the name down of this lovely little place, it was oh so good and the service was super friendly.

Viva M’Boma / Rue de Flandre 17, 1000 Bruxelles / 02/512 15 93


Joy said...

Yum! Belgian beer, frites and pork - I'm so jealous! =)

szaza said...

It was amazing! My jeans are a little on the tight side...

Frank Meeuwis said...

Damn! I miss those real frites avec mayo! darn people think I'm crazy every time I ask for a 'generous side portion of mayonaise' for my "French Fries!" Nice pics, thanks for posting memories!

szaza said...

Frank!! How are you? I hope you're happy and well.
I like the mayo too :)
Warm wishes from Rabat!