Bilder & De Clercq answers the question “What the hell should I make for dinner?”
A typical day. At work. Potentially bored, most likely busy. Doesn’t matter, the question is always the same. “What the hell am I going to make for dinner?”. The question penetrates my brain and flows into my blood, red hot, trying to think of another god dam thing to make for dinner that’s easy enough to make after work, ideally in one pot so my boyfriend won’t bitch and moan about the kitchen looking like the aftermath of a stage 3 hurricane, and something that won’t take over an hour to make so we’re not face down in our plates. Oh and did I mention I like it healthy? And fresh? Well where the hell would I find something like that after 6pm in Amsterdam? We got no Whole Foods here. (bastards! come to Amsterdam!) We got Marqt, which is good for some overpriced organic foods and meats but if you buy everything you need for a meal there you’ll most likely leave feeling ass raped.
So what’s an Amsterdammer left with post 6pm when the fresh markets close at 4pm, butchers at 6pm, and vegetable stores (if you’re lucky) at 7p. Not a whole helluva a lot. Basically it’s Albert Heijn, with its god damn baby blue sign shining from every nook and cranny of Amsterdam. It’s convenient, it’s cheap, and it’s completely uninspiring. Sure you can pick something up from the many take away traiteurs, but in the 3 years I’ve lived here I think I’ve taken away maybe 5 times. At the most. The more likely scene is me going into one, seeing mostly unoriginal creations, not knowing what the hell I want to eat anyway, and then feeling like an asshole when I walk out (and secretly thinking I could make it better and even cheaper!). So what do we have? Not much.
Enter Bilder & De Clercq. It comes into the ring swinging, boldly answering the question that gnaws at me day in and day out. The store is a living 3D cookbook. It’s amazing. Instead of spending countless hours cruising food porn sites, I can just walk into Bilder & De Clercq and dinner is laid out simply, attractively, and the best part is all the ingredients are measured out for two people. Holy shit, where has this place been all my life? And god bless these two Dutch ex-media guys that jumped head first with enough fire under their asses into the black abyss of the Amsterdam gourmet food scene to open a completely new concept in grocers.
So here’s the low down. Go. To. This. Place. NOW. It’s light, its bright, it’s inviting from the second you walk in. The baby blue on the walls here is like the sound of waves of the ocean, rather than the AH blue that makes you want to vomit. Huge posters of mouthwatering food hang from the ceiling. The hunger pangs in your stomach heighten. Walk around the open plan store. Each poster represents a meal, whether it’s an appetizer, main course or dessert. Fourteen original recipes each day, three rotate out each week. Vote on your favourites. The recipes are more Ottolenghi than Meat and Potatoes. Hurrah! A grocer with actual chefs that think of inspired dishes. God forbid anyone does anything different than boil the shit out of a vegetable. But not these chefs. Did I mention all the food is mostly organic and all locally sourced? Like it’s traceable to the name of the pig in your sausage. He’s Jerry. That’s how well they are connected to the food that goes into each station.
Now, stop drooling. Approach a poster. Underneath each poster is all the ingredients laid out for you as if you were brain dead, and a recipe card. It’s like fuckin’ cooking for dummies. Step by step. You gotta be an idiot not be able to make these quick healthy meals. Seriously, it takes all the thinking out of what’s for dinner. And did I mention these god dam genius’s suggest a wine paring for alcoholics like me?! Absolute brilliance. Now take your shit to the checkout. The meal is one set price, per person for two people. And they don’t close until 21:00 so people who actually have a job can shop there, make a meal, and be in bed before 23:00. And the best part – There’s no food waste! Sustainable. Good. Food.
Take that shit home. Cook it up, dinner in 30. BOOM. You’re done.
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