Sunday, June 02, 2013

Dutch Design - Day 37 - Amsterdam Day Trip "Is this the worst or what?"

We were able to schedule an additional interview with De Culinaire Werkplaats, but since they are in Amsterdam, we had to take a day trip out. I was nervous because we decided to take our bicycles as well so we wouldn't have to take the trams when we get in to the city. Although I'm pretty confident on a bicycle now, my initial experience biking in Amsterdam still made me nervous.

The crowds of bicycles were my biggest worry, and yeah, they were still something to deal with, but it wasn't as difficult as it was on the slower side being a sunday. Whew!

I got to try a different role for this interview as we had a different set from the usual film crew. Sound and audio was my responsibility for this session and I had an interesting time trying to handle the boom mic. Marjolein Wintjes and Eric Meursing of De Culinaire Werkplaats are really intriguing people. I love how they call themselves 'initiators' instead of something else. They view themselves as provokers of thought on the subject of food. The way they approach their craft brings a much more fresh approach to culinary design and instead of just focusing on the taste, they focus on the why. Ideas of thinking about food, what we eat, where it comes from, why we eat what we eat, why we prefer one food over another, why does this cost this much, why, and why and why. They question the whole notion of what we think of as food and it's incredible to break out of the box and think about the reasons behind everything we know about food.

Afterwards, we decided to have dinner at the place that we were told about. Worst. What a name. The Worst. Get it? Haha. But yes, they specialize in sausages, like wursts. They were delicious, they have some great standard dishes like the kipcurrywurst curry chicken sausage and the lamwurst lamb sausage. A few items on the menu seemed especially unique like the kreeftenworst met koolrabi en spinazie lobster sausage with kohlrabi and spinach or the veal tongue "weisswurst" with lentil and leeks or what I really want to try but didn't, the pieds de cochon (pig feet) with white beans and roasted tomato. Mmmm. Must come back!

Charcuterie plate

kreeftenworst met koolrabi en spinazie lobster sausage with kohlrabi and spinach

Lamb sausage

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Dutch Design - Day 36 - Eindhoven Day 8 "Are we too old to ride the swing?"

Exploration day! I decided to visit the newly opened Philips museum. It isn't the most exciting museum, but it is a nice glimpse into the history of one of the most important companies in relation to lighting and electronics.

The museum also displays some of Philips' recent product developments.  Their research into healthcare and environments opens up new opportunities and I find them very interesting. Products such as HealWell that explore the correlation between controlled lighting and health, the GreenPower LED technology that improves efficiency in greenhouses, and the Color Kinetics system that enables flexible lighting control without requiring re-wiring.

Radio Royaal again tonight, but this time with the whole group!

gillardeau 'speciales' (3 stuks) met zoetzure komkommer en brioche
'special' gillardeau oysters (3 pieces) with pickled cucumber and brioche

parelgort met tuinbonen, oesterzwam friture, waterkers en extra vierge hojiblancapearl barley with broad beans, oyster mushroom chips, watercress and extra virgin hojiblanca olive oil
kabeljauw met asperges, gestoofde spinazie, zeekraal, lardo en sc. hollandaise
cod with asparagus, steamed spinach, samphire, lard and hollandaise


Friday, May 31, 2013

Dutch Design - Day 35 - Eindhoven Day 7 "Open Your Windows!"

The Muziek Op De Dommel festival is taking place this weekend and it is taking place near our apartments at the Van Abbemuseum on a floating stage in the Dommel River in Eindhoven. The venue was close enough that someone said to "Open your windows!" and we could hear the music flowing in.

The tasting club took our first dinner at Radio Royaal in the Strijp-S area in Eindhoven. We were here to try out the restaurant before we chose a restaurant for our group dinner tomorrow. I got the 3-gangen menu or the 3-course menu as it is a great deal.

I always have lots of fun with menus with unfamiliar dishes, but it's always a delight looking at a menu in a completely foreign language so every dish is a surprise (though our waitress did walk us through to explain what most of the dishes were), as trying to interpret mystery menus without any help is always excites me.

pastramia van kalf met radijs, geschroeide zwaardvis en ansjovismayonaise
pastrami of veal with radish, seared swordfish and anchovy mayonnaise
vis (dagaanvoer)
daily fish (I don't remember what it was)
chocolade dessert
panna cotta met bloedsinaasappelmarmelade en limoen yoghurtmousse
panna cotta with blood orange marmalade and lemon yogurt mousse

omelette sibérienne met frambozencoulisSiberian omelette with raspberry coulis

This was easily one of the best meals I have had on the trip. Every dish was delicious, all courses were consistent in quality, taste and presentation. The ambience is a unique experience with the building being a former power plant. Turbines are still in place and the support beams are exposed giving a very industrial feel. Pushing the quirkiness of the environment even more, a wooden swing is installed along with a metal net badminton court. The open kitchen makes the process of cooking food very transparent and is representative of the Dutch mindset of openness.

Of course, as they offered panna cotta on the dessert menu I had to order it. I am usually disappointed with the blandness of panna cotta...BUT I was blown away and amazed by their version. This is by far the best panna cotta I have ever tasted.

Creamy texture of panna cotta + sweet tartness of blood orange marmalade + tartness of the lemon yogurt mousse = AMAZING!

I would come back just for that panna cotta, but everything on the menu is delicious. Though I will have to say the best cooking from this place are the desserts.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Dutch Design - Day 34 - Eindhoven Day 6 - Dual Interview Day "Design is to define and redefine"

This was not a good morning. On our way to our first interview of the day, around Strijp-S, I was unfortunate enough to get into a bike accident and took a dive into the pavement. The guy who clipped me hit my back wheel. He barely asked if I was alright before he sped off without any consideration of my well-being. I didn't feel hurt at all, but when I checked later at the first stop, my right knee was scratched up pretty bad.

Post-accident. My bike doesn't look at all damaged.
Our first interview was at Piet Hein Eek. The atelier and showroom were nice (and really piqued my interest for stuff to buy). I wasn't really in the space as the interview was happening as I was tending to my injury, in the washroom applying bandages. Doh.

After the interview, of course we went over to the Piet Hein Eek restaurant (again. :D) for a quick lunch break. Yum yum. I got to try the daily special Truffel kroketjes met ham, truffle croquettes with ham.

Our second interview of the day was fun. We got to interview Jetske Visser at her new atelier. I really appreciated this interview over some of the other ones. Unlike the previous interviews with other designers who are more well established and have had been designing for quite a while, it was great to see design from someone who's coming in from a fresher and younger perspective. She was less clear with her intentions of creating her designs and expresses instead her fascination with exploring the limits of techniques and materials. She is such a nice person and I hope great things for her.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Dutch Design - Day 33 - Eindhoven Day 5 - Dual Interview Day "Why? How far do we go with this actual idea of needs. Do we need or we do desire?"

Dual interview day within Eindhoven loaded with so many ideas. It was a long day as our second interview at edhv ran long.

Our morning was rough as we had to ride our bicycles through the pouring rain to get to our first studio, Nacho Carbonell. The interview was awesome, Nacho is such an inspiring person with very clear ideas on asking hard questions of why. One of the strongest insights I got was from his rhetorical question of asking about why objects

"What I'm trying is to understand is probably this obsession that we have with objects and this necessity that we have with objects. I think we are in need of some things, but, why? How far do we go with this actual idea of needs? Do we need or we do desire?"

Our second interview was with Wendy Plomp and Remco van de Craats at the edhv studio. We were pretty drained as this interview was very long but we were given with such great insights. Wendy was so awesome, she talked to us about her involvement with the Dutch Invertuals and was kind enough to give us some Dutch Invertuals swag.
Remco gave us an in-depth explanation on edhv's process and the creation of their process books. Being able to visit a design studio and having someone share their studio's process is such a humbling experience. Asking them to take time out of their day to tell us what they do already feels like an intrusion into their work, but when they go the extra effort to tell their story and share a little bit about themselves and their knowledge, it's a heartwarming feeling of honest connection and respect.