Broodjes at Boca's
Called "broodjes" in Dutch, Amsterdammers are infatuated with variations on the sandwich. Several spots make them in small form, so snackers can consume an assortment in one sitting. At the De Pijp location of Boca's, we tried several, including one with smoked mackerel and a lemon-caper mayonnaise, and another filled with Reypenaer cheese, topped with whole grain mustard and pickled onions. But it was the miniature sandwich stuffed with delicately smoked Dutch eel and slices of crisp apple that made me officially join the broodje fan club.
'Hari-Boca's' at Boca's
To keep my jet lag at bay, we stopped at an Italian gourmet shop called Renzo's for a caffeine jolt. As promised, my latte came with the requisite snack—in this case, a light-as-air Buitti e Buoni (translation: "ugly but good") meringue cookie studded with toasted hazelnuts. Other coffee-snack pairings during my trip included Speculoos cookies, heavily spiced with ginger and cloves, and disks of rich Dutch chocolate.
Bakabana at Warung Mini Van Wou
The former Dutch colony of Suriname brings a touch of the exotic to Amsterdam's snacking culture. To get an introduction to the cuisine, we hit a Surinamese take-away shop near the Albert Cuypmarkt called Warung Mini Van Wou, where I swooned over a dish called "bakabana"—fried slices of plantain topped with a not-too-sweet, wholly addictive peanut sauce.
Bal Gehakt at Van Dobben
Italians and Swedes traditionally have the corner on great meatballs, but Jennifer insisted that I try the Dutch meatball sandwich known as "bal gehakt" at the stalwart Amsterdam diner Van Dobben. Unlike the average meatball, this one was giant, spiced, and sliced. Served open-faced on a soft, squishy white roll, it was capped off with a serious dollop of peanut sauce. This was the one snack I pushed away, finding it too salty, with a slick and sugary topping.
Salted Beef and Liverwurst Broodje at Van Dobben
Appeltaart at Cafe Winkel 43
No trip to Café Winkel 43 would be complete without a generous slice of their justly famous "appeltaart" (aka apple pie), consumed with glee on the restaurant's patio. A deep-dish thing of beauty, brimming with thin slices of apple, crunchy nuts, and sweet raisins, it was more reminiscent of a rich apple cake than a typical American apple pie. Topped with a helping of fresh whipped cream, it was made even more delicious with the pairing of a dark, malty local brew called Brouwerij't Ij Natte.