A Very Belgian Weekend: No Rest For the Wicked

I have weekend stories to tell! Last weekend was such a lovely and very filled weekend. Autumn has arrived thought, and sadly, that also means the sore throats and stuffy sinuses are here. So of course, after a weekend like that, I now feel rather ill. But for a weekend like that, I’d be ill every week!

Friday I had a big day at work. Presentations all day, mine last of course. The amounts of coffee and bananas I had to eat to keep me awake and focused! (I think it went quite well, even got a pat on the back from my supervisor. I believe that means I was successful.) When I got back home, I was welcomed by a fun crowd in our living room. The boyfriend’s best mate came over for a visit with his girlfriend. Double date! I let them finish their card game while I tried to get rid of my work modus, and then we went into town.

I took them to a typical Belgian restaurant, not having been to one myself in ages. I love the multiculturality of our cities, with their American inspired burger restaurants, Italian pizza and pasta, Japanese sushi and teppanyaki, Nepalese curries, etc. But this was the perfect occasion to go back to a typical Belgian place with typical Belgian food. We decided on De Wiering in Leuven.

When we went inside, I noticed how similar a “typical Belgian pub” actually is to a “typical English pub”. Well, to be fair, we don’t really do pubs. It was a restaurant. But it had the same typical dark little corners with dark wooden chairs and tables and lots of odd clutter on the walls (like the super creepy looking dolls hanging by the side of our table). On the menu, there was a whole section dedicated to “Grandmother’s kitchen”, with dishes like cherry beer beef stew, and a dark trappist beer rabbit stew. Have you started to drool yet?

Of course, we started with a beer and some appetisers. As you do when in Belgium. For mains, I had ham in mustard sauce. My goodness that was more than goodness! The ham was a chunk of stringy meat on bone. Haha, I am not making it sound very tasty, but it was the best meat I’d ever had! The sauce went really well with it, and the veggies pleasantly surprised me, being more than just cauliflower and broccoli. There was mushroom, capsicum, asparagus, and plenty more. I couldn’t finish my dish because it was simply too much, and it made me really sad to leave that heavenly food behind.

Overfull tummies and three beers later, we moved to the Oude Markt, the old market square that has the biggest line up of pubs in the world. We were quite lucky with the weather, I think it was the last nice night of the year, so we got to sit outside on the massive super cosy square. But after one more beer, there was simply no more room for more, and we wobbled home truly satisfied.

The next day felt like a wonderful Sunday. Or even better than a Sunday, because Sunday still had to come! I wanted to offer our guests Belgian breakfast, with rolls and sweet breakfast buns. Another good side of having your Sunday on a Saturday, the bakeries are actually open! (See one of my previous posts for my rant on the bakeries being closed on a Sunday.) But of course I got to the bakery with no cash, so the leftovers from the day before would have to do. And it wasn’t that bad really, who doesn’t like a sandwich with speculoospasta (also known as cookie spread: it is a spread made out of Belgian gingerbread biscuits, omnomnom)!

We drank coffee, listened to music, played music, made fresh juice and ate chocolates. The weather was horrendous but our home felt more than warm and cosy. Ah, wonderful autumn relaxation!

And then suddenly, Sunday turned into Saturday! We dropped of our friends at the train station for their journey back, and in the evening we went out for a beer with other friends. One of my ex-classmates also picked up her boyfriend abroad, and he moved over to Belgium just at the same time as mine did. So we thought our boys could bond, and took them to what I now consider the most awesome beer cafe EVER! The Capital, on the Grote Markt in Leuven.

They claim to have over 3000 thousand different beers, and I must say I was impressed. You can choose from 2 menus: one ordered alphabetically, one ordered by kind (blond, trappist, IPA, dark, stout, etc.). The waiters are very friendly (a rare breed in Belgium, that’s for sure), and they definitely know their beers. I was looking for a new tripel to try  and I got recommended a La Corne. I googled it afterwards, and I was a bit disappointed by the glass they served it in. For Belgians, serving a beer in the wrong glass is like serving it in a smelly shoe. It is simply not done. Mine did come in a La Corne glass, but turns out this beer can also be served in probably the coolest beer glass I had ever seen!

corne-blonde-verre-et-medaille

The place is also very nicely decorated. The coolest part is probably the floor, where a few glass tiles show you the beer basement. There, a mysterious never been seen person (I think it’s a beer gnome) puts the beer on a wheel that rotates to the pub above. Pretty neat!

And then came the real Sunday. We cycled to my parents place (about a 30 minute cycle through the forest) for a family party. Me and the boyfriend were both very tired, but we made it in one piece. As expected, my dad outdid himself with the food and drinks. There was salmon, tuna, shrimp for starters and appetisers. And for mains: a proper Sunday Roast! Lamb roast with french beans and oven baked potatoes.

We returned to our lovely home content but exhausted. And then there was Monday. As my boyfriend likes to say: “No rest for the wicked”!

 

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