As you can read in Jess' last post, Ghent in quite spectacular. There are buildings and things...and FOOD. Unfortunately, we apparently have no idea how to eat here! We have often gone in search of food based upon lots of research only to find the restaurant closed. This is an extremely frustrating time of year to be visiting. Restaurants are ALWAYS closed...some on the weekend, some on Sunday and Monday, some on Wednesday and Thursday, people leave for extended holidays, etc. All of the mom and pop type places I want to eat are unavailable...kinda sucks.
In general, there is a rhythm to eating and going out here and Jess and I don't get it...but there is also the New Year messing everything up. I imagine we'll get it just in time to leave :)
Of the food we did eat, I was most satisfied. We have had a large sampling of "frites" or chips with mayo and various sauces and I am officially a fan. The mayo is different here, more subtle and tasty and somehow less dense. Fries are basically fries; the only difference seems to be quality of oil and freshness. All are previously frozen, minus the skin and a little thinker than the average American French fry.
The Ghent "noses", a candy Jess describes in her last post arer really quite amazing. They are floral in a way that is surprising and quite addictive.
I finally had the Brussels style waffle with chocolate sauce, which is slightly larger and lighter than the Liege waffles we have been getting from carts. The chocolate sauce was quite watery; the waffle I think less tasty than the more dense and sweet Liege waffles.
I will also tell you that I have tried the best beer in the land (based upon an ever growing sample size :), and it ain't Dues (tried that in Brugges...excellent and interesting, but I don't need it again). The winner by a land slide is the Belgium made beer Delirium Tremens. This is a subtle, lighter colored beer that sits at about 8.5%. The nose is fantastic, body much lighter than expected, and the drink-ability quite high...I could drink these things all night if not for the high AC. Look for the white bottle with pink elephants. At 3.5 Euro per go in a pub, you CANNOT go wrong.
Last but not least, the famous Moules Frites. These are the quite expensive Belgian mussels served in broth, wine, or a cream sauce. They run from about 20-30 Euro a plate and come with a side of the ubiquitous fries. After researching places, we found one that was finally open; the result...truly spectacular! For one, the portion was very large. They serve the dish in a large steamer bowl with a lid. I chose the wine and broth. These mussels are tender, creamy, and lightly taste of the sea. Gone is the rather metallic taste that I find in most American mussels. I cannot afford it again, but I'm definitely glad I made room for the expense. These mussels were at Bridge, a Brasserie by the Bellfor.