Thursday, August 16, 2012

Friday Five- Brussels

Tomorrow morning (well technically today, since it's past 1:00am here already), TLS and I are driving to Brussels for the biannual Flower Carpet. We went to this event in 2010 and loved it. I have been looking forward to this for the past year and a half or so, and I am not sure how I will be able to sleep tonight.(On another note, I should probably start packing?) This will be our fourth time together in Brussels, and my fifth. Clearly we love this city. This week's Friday Five is dedicated to one of my favorite European cities.

1) Beer
just your average day at the grocery store
I am not a big beer drinker by any means. I dislike almost all of the beers that I've tried. Whenever I get beer here, it's usually a Radler (beer mixed with lemonade). However, I love Belgian fruit beers. Whenever we go to Belgium, we like to stock up on his and her beers (Trappist beers for him- including the Hermes Birkin Bag of Beer- fruity and pink for her). My favorite bar has a list of various fruit beers to pick from. I may have drank my way down it. Twice.

*If you are interested in stocking up on beer in Brussels- by far the best selection we have found is at the Beer Temple. However, prices here are a little higher, so we usually go to the Del Haize supermarket first and pick up whatever we like from their selection, and then get the rest at the Beer Temple.

drinking from what is quite possibly the coolest glass ever

2) Chocolate
chocolate covered grape skewers from Leonidas

Yes this is kind of a no-brainer considering it is one of the things that Belgium is most known for, but good Lord is the chocolate good. Almost all of the shops have samples for you to try, and I love doing the walking chocolate tour- going into each one and trying a sample and buying a few pieces to try. Thank goodness we drive there instead of fly, because we always bring so much back with us, that there is a big difference between what our bags weigh when we get there, and what they weigh when we leave! (Coincidentally, there is also a big difference between what we weigh when we get there and what we weigh after we leave after all of the beer, chocolate, and frites!)

3) "Our" bar
I don't even know the name of this place, but there is a bar right off the Grande Place that T and I "discovered" on our first trip to Brussels, and it has kind of become our regular spot. It is where we first learned about Westvleteren. Like I said, their beer menu is great and the owner now recognizes us and treats us as regulars. Most of their seating is outdoors, and it is just a great place to sit, drink, relax, and people watch.
fun times
Seriously, if you held a gun to my head, I could not for the life of me tell you what this place is called, but for anyone who may be going to Brussels in the near future, I will try to remember to take down the name and address and give it to you. (Don't really know the address, but I could stumble my way from it back to just about any hotel at 2:00am. Hypothetically, of course.)

4) Food

Pretty much, if you know me at all, you know that food is very important to me. When I travel, I love to eat out and seek out the good places to eat. Usually, my must-see list is more of a "must-eat" place. Brussels is no exception. I love getting waffles and frites from the stands.

My favorite dish to eat there is Carbonnade a la Flamandes- a beef stew made with ale. It is delicious and I will eat it even when it is 90 degrees outside. (Which is good, because coincidentally, it is supposed to be 90 degrees this weekend. How about that?) My love of this dish got the concierge at the Marriott to recommend to us Fin de Siecle. (The restaurant does not have a website, so here is a link from a food blogger that describes it better than I ever could.) It has gotten a bit of a cult following in Brussels, and has top marks on TripAdvisor. They don't take reservations and the wait to get in can be long at times. I honestly don't remember if they take credit cards or not. We were not disappointed. Both of our dishes were excellent and were well worth the wait. We are going to Brussels with another couple, and it is the guy's birthday. His wife asked me if I could recommend a nice restaurant to go to, and guess where I suggested?

5) The Grande Place at Night

The Grande Place is gorgeous all the time, but at night, the buildings just look incredible when they are all lit up. Every night, at 11:00pm, the city puts on a light and sound show in the Grande Place with the colors and timing of the lights on the buildings set to music. I can not put it into words, but it really is incredible. When the Flower Carpet is not going on, people will just come and sit on the cobblestone street and look up and wait for the light show. It really is one of my happiest memories from Brussels. I am beyond excited to take my new DSLR with me to try to get some better pictures of it this time around. If you are ever in Brussels, be sure to catch the show. You will not be disappointed.


  1. have so much fun! I adore Brussels!

  2. How fun and beautiful! Brussels is definitely on my travel bucket list, especially after this post. ;)