Our BM#2 arrived last week and 24 hours later we were en route to Brussels for his Belgian birthday bash. We took the 9:00 am Eurostar, equipped with coffee for four (just in case) and oats in a jar. Checked into our hotel and staring at our very cool planned lunch spot, Noordzee Mer du Nord, before 1:00 pm, it was smooth sailing until we found it to be closed. Disaster was quickly averted when the hubs spotted a packed house seafood stand just across the street- ABC Mateos Fish Street & Tapas Bar in Brussels. There were tons of locals sipping wine, a grill, and steaming pots filled with seafood all around, we figured we couldn’t go wrong. Having no idea what the menu said, the cook and I spoke Spanglish with hand signals and pointing enough so that he made us this deliciousness…
I must have looked hungry while we waited because the nice man next to me shared his bread basket. I instantly fell in love with the place.While we were praising the pot of seafood goodness, we made friends with two Spaniards who knew the cook. I practiced my Spanish with the sweet woman and the hubs and Dupree chatted with Valentin about Valencia oranges. Two hours into the trip and we were three happy musketeers.
Referencing our custom-made scavenger hunt google map, we scouted our first stop- A La Bescasse, a hidden away cafe where we sipped “jeune lambic blanche”, a refreshing white beer served in a stone jug that is known all over the city.
Given that it was the middle of the afternoon on a Thursday, we had the place mostly to ourselves, so we sought off to the next on the list- Le Corbeau. At night, the tables are supposedly packed with patrons dancing, but again, we had our selection of seats. Most importantly, the beer was good.All directions pointed to Delirium Cafe and it’s bible-sized book of beers next.These guys were like kids in a candy store. The beers were great, but the beer cheese melted my heart.
With the sun starting to set, we took a break from our pub crawl to buy chocolate from one of the many enticing shops, pick out a beautiful print from a street artist, and stand in awe admiring the Grand Place from every splendid angle. Dinner at Le Marmiton was just around the corner and in one word, incredible. Situated in the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert just off of the Grand Place, the restaurant could have easily been construed as a tourist trap; it was everything but that. A shared order of escargot, seafood dishes for all, and chocolate mousse that no one could contemplate sharing made for an amazing dinner. We all gave it a 10. The staff must have appreciated our scoring system because moments later, we were sipping on complimentary goblets of limoncello. To cap off the night, we meandered over to Au Bon Vieux Temps, a bar that looks like a Gothic Church inside with great live music. It was another hidden gem complete with a leading narrow passageway and a quaint garden in the back. Back at the hotel, the boys got into some debauchery while I got ready for bed.
Once we were all tucked in, Dupree dreamed about our old high school friends (Hil and Drew, you made an appearance!), while I counted waffles and the hubs his lucky stars for such a fantastic day with two of his favorites. Before we knew it, the sun was up and so were we after the most amazing birthday breakfast Dupree could ask for. Maison Dandoy, according to my very official research, winner of the best waffles, did not disappoint. We had a minor setback when we arrived at the shop rather than the tea room (which actually serves the waffles), but the tourists in front of us picked their Belgian waffles with a bagillion toppings in just enough time for us to walk away with the real deal- Liège waffles, plain for me and simply sugared for the guys. Fueled for adventures in Brugge, we cast one more admiring glance around the Grand Place and were off!