A Long Walk to Barca

The idea was to grab lunch outside. We picked up Apoorva who was working in Coffee Company and started walking in the general direction of Sarphati Park. We kept striking off places as we went, not this, not that. We crossed Hotel Okura and walked passed a branch of Loetje. I have been to the Loetje near Museumplein and the one at Ouderkerk, this one we have not tried yet.

Loetje’s steaks are one of the best I’ve ever had. It is no nonsense and comes minimally placed like an island on a stark white plate surrounded by a moat of gravy. The steak is simple, juicy, and flavorful. The no-fuss approach to food presentation is refreshing and somehow transgressive. When it arrives the steak actually looks quite dismal but one bite, it takes just one bite, to know that this steak is no mistake (joke credit: Bambi).

We settled for Barca, an old favorite, on Heinekenplein, for tapas and beers. The fountain in front, like the one at Eddy’s, lends a nice fun feel to the ambience. While the area around Eddy’s has a mall-centric suburban vibe this neighborhood is hipster and bohemian. I even took an artsy shot with my camera to go with the flow.

We ordered the yoghurt chicken, burger, deep-fried calamari, meatballs in tomato sauce, and Spanish potato omelette. The chicken in yoghurt sauce was the best, followed by the calamari, burger, the omelette, and then the meatballs. Barca is a fun place to hang out. They have a good terrace as well as nightclub-ish, dark, moody interiors. The service while polite was slow and forgetful. However, I would not let that get in the way of visiting it again.

The thing about long walks is that you can talk in a meandering fashion. While we discussed the new and old joints in the neighborhood, even the old people’s home, we also chatted about our summer plans, what we were reading, the bipolar weather in Amsterdam, and Bambi’s lack of walking in a straight line skills.

The last is actually a thing, the child cannot walk from one place to the other in a straight line, it is like watching a drunk pup galloping and skipping, and jumping, with arms and legs everywhere. But, he gets there, eventually, in his own way. Like our conversations. Like life.

Perhaps, the learning here is that the straight and narrow is overrated, what is the fun in that? Maybe this is the summer in which Bambi learns new things and I unlearn old ways. As I suggest to him to walk in civil order, he makes me see the joy of taking the longer route to somewhere and I realize I am growing up with him.

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