Wednesday, September 11, 2013

In Bruges

"You're going to Belgium?" One of my more outspoken and discerning food critic friends asked with obvious distaste, "To do what, see how much mayonnaise you can eat?"

I have to admit that I had similar reservations about the food. I had heard about the waffles, and the french fries, and I kept hearing about buffets that offer fifteen different kinds of mayo infusions. Honestly, I was sort of expecting the cuisine to be like  in England (another country that I have never visited but still feel strongly that they have horrible food). Fried everything, extra grease, slathered in mayonnaise, and served in a soggy paper cone. Yet the Belgian tourism office website declares in huge font straight away that this place is a "Foodie's Delight," that fine haute cuisine abounds with the quality of the French and the quantity of the German. Of course I understand that the Belgian tourism office website exists solely to get people to come spend money in Belgium, and that they're likely to have a palpable bias, but I figured that if the food was really as bad as I imagined, that they might just not mention it. So I came in cautiously optimistic, with an open mind.

I come to tell you now that the cuisine of West Flanders is unbelievably good. In your face, haters.

Whether it's braised rabbit in a rich and spicy bearnaise (with a heaping side of fries), mussels steamed in white wine and garlic (with a heaping side of fries), or a chicken, crusted in herbs and roasted to succulence (with a heaping side of fries), it's all magnificent. It seems as though Belgian tourism got it right. It really is haute French cuisine, and plenty of it.

A nice dinner doesn't really come cheap, though, it's easy to spend $30-40 before even ordering a beer. So it's a good thing that the street meat is just as good. A bratwurst is just a few Euro and those waffles we keep hearing about are even less.

I wish now that I'd taken a few photos of the food, but I just can't quite get myself to pull the trigger on that in a restaurant. Maybe next time. I did get a snap of this $7 coffee in Bruges, though:
Worth it? Yes.

No comments:

Post a Comment