Foodie Friday! : Van Buuren

One of my favorite restaurants in Leiden, Netherlands is “Van Buuren”. Fun fact: the restaurant is owned by the famous DJ Armin Van Buuren who hails from Leiden.

We decided on Van Buuren as the dinner location for our ladies night because I was craving some steak.

While the steak is on the smaller side in American standards, it comes with an AMAZING herb salad on top and potatoes on the side. Can’t forget the chimichurri sauce. YUM. The dish will run you 19.75 which I think is a little steep but not so bad if you treat yourself once in a while.

listed on the menu as: STEAK-SUKADE-USA-180 GRAM -  With chimicurri & a Herbsalad
listed on the menu as: STEAK-SUKADE-USA-180 GRAM –
With chimicurri & a Herbsalad

For dessert, I always get the tiramisu because it is one of my all time favorite desserts. I was so excited that they have plated it differently and it is ADORABLE. I was a little bummed that the jar wasn’t for keeps 😦


Obviously, I would recommend this restaurant to others because we find ourselves going back again and again. However, if you are looking for a larger, fattier steak, this place probably won’t satisfy your hunger.

Bonus: On Sundays, they have a 13 euro house steak special!


Foodie Friday: Tatortot Hotdish


You can take the girl out of the midwest, but you can’t take the midwest out of the girl.

I know it’s been quite some time since I’ve done a foodie Friday post. Up until Dubai, I was eating salads all the time. Not too exciting, huh?

Well, vacation is over, diet/fitness has been put on hold until after Thanksgiving week. I mean, c’mon I don’t like to set myself up for failure.

Thanksgiving in the Bot household isn’t complete without some tatortot hotdish action. At first glance, you think, “these people just throw a bunch of stuff that tastes good together”. Um…yep, that’s about right!

The salty, crunch to the tatortots greets your tastebuds than you get savoriness of the ground beef and vegetables. Mmmm. I like to top off my tatortot hotdish with LOTS of green onions and a dab of sour cream. Completely optional, but you’re missing out if you don’t try it at least once.

Again, I’m not one to measure out ingredients so this is a rough recipe.


  • 1.5 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 can Corn
  • 1 can Peas
  • 1 can Cream of Mushroom
  • 1 can Cream of corn
  • Tatortots
  • 1/2 cup Cheddar
  • Green Onions
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Optional: Sour Cream

1. Brown your ground beef. Salt and pepper to taste

2. Drain and transfer your ground beef to a casserole dish.

3. Add your peas, corn, cream of mushroom, and cream of corn

4. Add half a cup of grated cheddar. Optional: Add 1/2 cup of sour cream

5. Mix.

6. Salt and Pepper to taste

7. Layer frozen tatortots on top.

8. Throw it in the oven at 400 degrees for about an hour or until the tatortots are slightly browned.

9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 min.

10. Top it off with a little more salt and pepper! Optional: Here is where you can add your chopped green onions and a dab of sour cream.

11. Devour tatortot hotdish.

SO EASY. Enjoy!


Foodie Friday: Chicken Katsu Salad


Well my dear friends, the time has come. I’ve reached the point in my life where my metabolism is starting to crap out on me and I need start thinking about eating healthier. I have been experimenting with salads as of late. And I have come to LOVE Chicken Katsu Salad. Ok, so it’s not the healthiest of salads but believe me, it’s healthier than the crap I’ve been putting into my system.

I love the crunchy texture from the panko on the outside and the juicy chicken on the inside. In conjunction with the sesame dressing it is Yummmers! The salad mix and the vegetables help give it kick of freshness to the fried goodness.

It’s quite the easy meal. Find your favorite salad mix. Throw in some grape tomatoes or whatever veggies you dig. Fry up your chicken katsu and top it off with your favorite sesame dressing! I have an unhealthy obsession with sesame so I threw some toasted sesame seeds on top as well. While I was cooking, I was snacking on pine nuts so meh, threw that in there too! haha. OH – it was goood.

I used a chicken thigh because that’s what was thawed at the time. First, I dipped it in a beaten egg and then coated it with panko. I did this process two times but I like the extra breading. If you want go light, one coat is perfectly fine. I know people also like to coat it with flour as well but I skipped that step because I wanted more panko!

Next, I fried it in a pan at medium heat for just a few minutes on each side. After it’s reached a golden color or in my case I like things slightly burned, throw it in the oven. I put it in the oven at 220 degrees Celsius for roughly 10-12 minutes to allow it to fully cook through.

Of course you can do the same with chicken breast but remember to pound it out well and go through the same process.

That’s my super lazy and somewhat healthy meal at the time. I’m no chef so this cooking and eating healthy thing is a learning process. I know I’m not alone on this one, so don’t be frontin’!


Foodie Fridays – Greek Goodness

I wanted to start to write about food and I thought “Foodie Friday” had a good ring to it. Now, don’t go assuming I’ll be posting EVERY single Friday. I’ll be trying out new recipes every so often and post about some amazing food I had here and there. I’m no food critic, but dangit, I know what I like.

My first post will be about a surprise hit. Greek food. I had no real interest in Greek food prior to visiting Greece. I’ve had Greek food in Florida and here in Holland, but it was nothing that really WOWed me.

Oh man, how I’ve underestimated the Greek cuisine.

In true tourist city form, Athens’ streets and alleys are lined up with cafes and souvenir shops. At the restaurants, they had their own designated “hype men” who would try to attract your attention and then force you to a table. If you wanted to look at a menu, you had to do it in stealth mode so no one at the restaurant would see you. In all reality, all the menus started to look the same after a while. Their variations of traditional dishes, however, are amazingly incomparable.

The Greek Salads, er, salad as they would probably call it in Greece was delicious. The salad itself is simple: throw some cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, feta cheese, some olives if you’re feeling fancy, and top it off with a traditional vinaigrette. I don’t know why I just couldn’t get enough of that stuff! I never took a picture of it because well, it’s a salad!

The Mr’s co-worker suggested that we ordered “arni sto fourno” – which is roasted lamb. AH-MAZE-BALLS. We ordered it at a couple different restaurants and they each had their own take on the traditional dish. The lamb literally fell of the bone and melts in your mouth. I just don’t understand how they can get it that tender in such a short amount of time. I don’t care how – I just want to thank them for mastering it.

"arni sto fourno" at Estia Cafe
“arni sto fourno” at Estia Cafe

I’m not going to lie, once I find something I like it’s hard for me to deviate from it. I’m a creature of habit when it comes to food. Why fix it if it’s not broken? I got the traditional Greek salad every single day either as a starter, main, or side. However, I was STARVING one day and I had the waiter suggest something for me at “Estia Cafe“. He suggested that I try the “lamb in clay dish”. It was lamb with pasta that looked much like large grained rice cooked in a red sauce. Mm Mm. I can’t even find the words that even remotely describes how delectable it was. I couldn’t feed Ittybot fast enough! If little man can’t get enough of it, this mama bear is happy. (Side note, Ittybot was in a food coma soon after and passed out for 12 whole hrs!!)

"Lamb in a clay pot" at Estia Cafe
“Lamb in a clay pot” at Estia Cafe

Pricing was reasonable. We spent around 21 euros for lunch and about 35 euros for dinner for the 3 of us. That included starters and drinks for every meal. A word of caution, make sure to double check if you are being charged for bread and/or olives. We are so accustomed to bread being complimentary so we were rather surprised that they charged us for it when we didn’t specifically order bread.

Final thoughts: Bring your stretchy pants and go and pig out in Greece. Your belly will love you for it.