Thursday, March 04, 2010

Penguins know why

Last Saturday was a beautiful day. Mild, some blue sky, some Jason and I decided to take a break from traveling and enjoy a weekend in Brussels. We had a couple more places to tick off the Top Brussels Pubs list. First up was Toone.

This place has some serious history. It's actually not only a pub, but also a marionette theatre. And I do mean a real theatre. Right now, they're putting on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with a run time of about two and a half hours. I guess storage space is limited because, creepy though it may be, the marionettes hang from the ceiling when not in use.

My favorite feature of the interior was this fantastic door. Plz to have awesum door 4 mai howse?

Some of the walls are covered with old show posters. I took a photo. I took a photo for youuuuuu. And all the things that you dooooo. And it was all yelloooow.

Afterwards, we were ready to get our frite on. And we had heard from many different sources (including a commenter here on this very blog - thanks Kate!) that the best frites in the city were at a stand in the middle of Place Jourdan. And that the surrounding cafes will let you bring your frites inside - genius. And yes, just as we were warned, the queue was horrendous...

But so totally worth every minute of the wait. This right here is one very happy carb lover:

But, Begium? Screw these little forks we're meant to eat our frites with. We'd much rather stage a duel with them. In fact, we carried them around in our pockets all day, attacking one another at random intervals. "Aaaaggghhh! Fork to the neck!" "Gaaaaarr! Fork to the belly button!"

And after we'd exhausted ourselves with the Great Frite Fork Duel of 2010, we settled into one of our favorite cafes in Sablon. (Sablon!) La Kartchma, a very charming little place with a gorgeous Art Nouveau facade.

Now. Saturday evening we had grand plans. I had heard about this very cool restaurant and decided that we just couldn't leave Brussels without going here. Get this: there's a forest in Brussels. And I do mean a pretty proper forest. And in the middle of this forest is a lake. And in the middle of this lake is an island. And on this island sits a restaurant - Chalet Robinson. It sounds pretty fabulous, no? They even have a mascot, Gerard le Canard (Gerard the Duck). Plus, you have to take a little ferry to get to the island. I was SOLD. A FERRY, PEOPLE!!! Who doesn't love a nice novelty method of transportation???

And it was beautiful. The chalet, the forest, the lake, the boats... It was truly the perfect setting for a special dinner. Too bad they forgot that a special dinner is about much more than the setting.

From the moment we walked through the front doors, it was all downhill. The interior was trying way too hard to be hip. The service was totally rubbish. The food was mediocre. And expensive. (Which we would have been fine with, you know, had the food actually been GOOD.) And I never even laid eyes on Gerard le Canard. Where the hell was that bloody duck anyway??? If you're going to brag about a mascot, you better damn well be sure that he's ready for showtime come Saturday night. Am I right??

Anyway, we recovered nicely and spent the remainder of our evening at a great bar off the Grand Place, listening to a fantastic standards trio. So all was not lost. Plus, we still had all of Sunday to look forward to. Right?

Well, sort of.

We woke up Sunday morning and saw that the weather was not ideal. Perhaps "not ideal" is putting it mildly. It was all monsoon stylie out there.

In fact, it was one of those days that if you don't have to, you just don't go outside. JUST STAY IN. But, we were on a mission to complete The List. And if you can't stay home on a shitty day, I figure the next best place to be is a cosy pub. The weather had gotten so awful that I couldn't get a photo outside. But inside...La Brocante has, hands-down, the best pub sign I've ever seen anywhere in the world. Penguins know why.

The crowd was beyond interesting. There were two old guys at the table behind us who were so drunk that one of them spilled an entire beer all over their table, chairs and the floor and didn't even notice. Then I watched an old lady madly stuff her pockets with sugars and packets of ketchup and mayo while her companion distracted the bartender. She later eyed up a full size bottle of mustard but I guess she decided it wasn't worth it since it was half empty. It takes all kinds I suppose.

I think we all know how Sunday evening was spent. But I'll give you a reminder: USA!!! USA!!! USA!!! US....oh shit.


Vegemite Wife said...

Ah Sablon!! Nice scarf by the way ;)
The condiment thief should head to Gent - they have mustard there definitely worth stealing. The Huz is stealing raving about the pot of baby poop we got that day.
Too bad about the restaurant on an island on a lake in a forest. I'm guessing you missed the previous day's special: foie gras.

Kate said...

Glad you enjoyed Maison Antoine! We lived about 10 minutes walk from there--not a good thing for my waistline, as we were probably there 2-3 times a week. I can still picture all the people that work there. I miss those frites. There is a good pizza place on the Place Jourdan as well. Must get back to Brussels!