Burghers and fries

SN&R Illustration By Mark Stivers

I’m just back from a trip to Belgium and the Netherlands, where we were battered by the strong Euro and ate fried potatoes twice a day amid the good burghers of Amsterdam and Flanders. One doesn’t think of the Low Countries as the culinary capitals of Europe, and, well, they aren’t. Still, I can vouch for plenty of treats. Those frites, naturally—I didn’t ask what they’re fried in—and steamed mussels, which we had in Bruges; lapin à la gueuze (rabbit in a sauce of Lambic beer) in Brussels; and, of course, sweets, from flavored marshmallows and severely modern bonbons at Pierre Marcolini (www.marcolini.com) in Brussels’ high-end district, to gingersnap-like speculoos at a since-1829 biscuiterie on the Rue au Beurre (Butter Street), to the tiny stroopwafel that came alongside my cappuccino in Amsterdam. I didn’t go to Benelux for the food, but I have to say I’d go back for it.