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The Dutch Wooden Shoe Cafe on Cambie and W17th, Vancouver

It’s breaky time again.

For a change we decided that we would go all the way to Vancouver to check out the Dutch style breakfast at the Dutch Wooden Shoe Cafe. I still remember having eaten Pannekoek for breakfast when I was in Amsterdam two years ago.

Yeah, I know. Some people tell me that Pannekoek is eaten for lunch and supper, not breakfast in the Netherlands. But to us, it is pancakes and we Canadian eat pancakes for breakfast. :-)

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The Dutch Wooden Shoe Cafe is located on Cambie around the intersection with West 17th Ave. It’s easy to spot the restaurant. The outside has this faux Dutch windows with flower boxes.

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The inside has a Dutch ambiance and coziness to it. But the place does look old. The dining room are partitioned into three distinct sections giving this large restaurant a small restaurant feel.

I heard that this very Dutch Wooden Shoe Cafe is the origin of the De Dutch Pannekoek House franchise that you find all over BC today. So, if you like De Dutch, you should check out the real deal here.

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The restaurant has a very homey feel to it. It is haphazardly decorated with wooden clogs, paintings and Dutch posters. Along the wall, they have pictures of their past customers lined on a strip on the wall with cute comments written on them.

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We started off with the normal coffee and hot chocolate. However on their menu, they have a half page showing the “GIANT” Coffee Mocha for $4.25. Yeah, they capitalized the word GIANT but at the same time they also put the word GIANT in close inverted commas. It was not in anyway giant, but is sure is “GIANT”. It was quite normal.

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There is a large section on the menu dedicated to Pannekoeken (the word Pannekoeken is plural of Pannekoek). We all pestered Nanzaro to agree to get the Pannekoek because we wanted to order something other than Pannekoek. He flip-flopped a few times on what he wanted. First he wanted the Nasi Goreng (fried rice!) Pannekoek. Then he changed his mind to Curry before finally settling on the Cheese Lover’s Special.

The Cheese Lover’s Special has five different type of cheeses … Edam, Gouda, Swiss, Cheddar and Mozzarella. We felt that this is really expensive because to us it is just a thin layer of pancake with 3 slices of tomatoes on top of the cheeses. This one is $12.15. Their other Pannekoeken ranges from $11 to $13.

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On every table is quite a large bottle of syrup meant for the pancakes. That all-black bottle stands out and so we had to try it on the pancake.

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For me, I had the Nasi Goreng and Eggs ($10). You did not hear this wrong. The name Nasi Goreng is … More on following page. Click here to continue reading

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Amsterdam Series: Pannekoeken Breakfast and Museums

I did not know exactly where I was this morning. I was on a tram trying to get to the city centre when I spotted a bustling flower market. I thought I just spend a few minutes here to check out this place. It’s still early spring and so one could hardly see any tulips around. However, there were quite a lot of bulbs on sale — some of which are bigger than a fist.

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There were quite a few restaurants along the street where the flower market is. My only impression of a Dutch breakfast is the pannekoeken (or known as pannekoek in Canada). We had once tried these dutch pancakes in De Dutch here in BC.

So I guess this is where I could get the real dutch breakfast.

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The interior is dim and cozy. It was early and I was their only customer.

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I ordered coffee as usual … always coffee with milk. And there’s the piece of cookie like they always give you with coffee in Europe.

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I ordered the Pannekoeken but can’t remember which one I ordered. I thought it was banana but looking at this picture now, it does not look like it. Unlike Canadian pancakes, these are quite large but thinner.

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I think the Dutch likes sweet food. On the table was three types of sweeteners. It’s easy guessing what they are even though you can’t read Dutch right?

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My first stop of the day was at the Anne Frank’s House. The Anne Frank House is a museum dedicated to the Jewish girl who wrote a diary during World War II. She and her family hid from the German soldiers as they rounded up all Jews. There was a long line of people.

The museum is the actual house that Anne Frank hid in for a few years. We get to see the secret doorways that her father built and a glimpse of how life was during those few hard years leading to her eventual death in a concentration camp. It was a very moving exhibition. When we got to the final display, everyone was so silent …

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I next went to the van Gogh Museum which is dedicated to the most famous dutch impressionist artists. This museum has the largest collection of van Gogh’s paintings and drawings in the world. It chronicles the stages of his life until his death. I am no expert in van Gogh’s paintings but I could not see some of his most famous paintings here. I guess most of the better ones are in either private hands or in other museums in the world.

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I enjoyed the Rijksmuseum immensely even though a large part of it is closed for renovations. Of all the exhibits, I enjoyed those that showcased the Dutch golden age and how for a short span of 100 years, the little Dutch country dominated the world trade and culture. I also enjoyed the paintings, especially Rembrandt’s complex Night Watch and the simple Milkmaid painting by Vermeers.

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Amsterdam Series: Herrings and Fries at the Windmill

The best way to get around Amsterdam is by using the tram. I can never really understand the tram. It is slow and hogs the traffic. Still for some reason, it really works in Amsterdam for getting from point A to point B. It is long and articulated. I think this form of transport would be great for a city like Vancouver.

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Because it is long, one could actually get on and off the tram for almost any entrance. The tram drivers are some of the most helpful drivers I have come across. I enjoyed taking the tram. It’s because it’s on street level and I get to see where I am. And if I come across an interesting area, I just hop off. All stops were verbally announced and also displayed on board.

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My first stop in Amsterdam is to visit a windmill. I thought there are thousands of windmills peppered all around the landscape in Holland but I soon found out that they are now quite extinct. The only operating windmill in Amsterdam opened to the public is about 25 minutes outside the city centre by tram.

It was a pleasant walk from the tram stop to the windmill. Amsterdam is such a beautiful city. Everyone takes pride in keeping their neighborhood clean.

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On the walk to the windmill, I came across the smallest police station in Holland.

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Just as I came up to the windmill, I saw a fries stand. It smelt so good and I could do with a snack of fries.

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I have never seen so much fries being made. It was lunch time and they apparently cater for office workers around the area. Believe it or not, it was here that I learned fries are deep fried twice. I did not know that. The fries were very good.

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The Sloten windmill is operated by volunteers who gives free guided tours through the mill. There are exhibits of Dutch things and also a room on Rembrandt.

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Windmills here in Holland are mostly windpumps which is designed to drain the land. Much of Holland lies under the sea level. At it’s peak there are tens of thousands of windmills around Holland pumping the water out to sea.

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If you are in Amsterdam, I highly recommend you spend time at this windmill. The volunteers at this windmill are genuinely friendly and chatty. I asked them food unique to Holland. They pointed me to a stall just right across the road.

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Guess what I tried … herrings! The gills and parts of the gullet were removed from the fish which is then salt-cured in a barrel. Some people eat them whole. It came with pickles and onions.

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Kelowna Trip Report: Breakfast at DeDutch Pannekoek House

We saw some travel brochures saying that DeDutch has the “Best Breakfast in Kelowna” and decided to try that for breakfast instead of the ho-hum fare that the hotel dishes out for free. There were a few DeDutch’s in Vancouver but we have never eaten in them before.

Despite that name DeDutch is a BC company with franchises around BC only. Their specialty is a dutch pancake called Pannekoek.

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Knowing how large the servings are we ordered three different types to share. We simply had to try their Pannekoek and opted for their Farmers (Boer’s) Pannekoek. This huge plate costs $14.49.

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Pannekoek is similar to the traditional pancake and is slightly thicker then crepe. The dish consists of Hash Browns, Ham, Bacon, Bratwurst, and Hollandaise Sauce.

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It also included two eggs done which way you prefer and of course the pannekoek itself.

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Their Dutch Toast looked so inviting from a neighboring table that we also ordered this. This is a traditional French Toast sprinkled with Cinnamon and Sugar. It is also served with steaming hot “Cinnamony” Apples. Absolutely yummy especialy when it’s drowned in maple syrup. Cost? $8.79.

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The third dish is “DeDutch DeBakon and Egg”. We always love bacon and eggs — can’t go wrong, right? The dish consists of two eggs, toast, “DeBakon”, Hash Browns and salad. Major yum! $8.69.

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What’s breakfast without coffee, right?

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The total tab came up to $46 including tips. Hmmm … pretty expensive don’t you think? Still it was really good and we enjoyed it very much. I agree this is the “Best Breakfast in Kelowna”.

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