On a green wave in Amsterdam

I recently met up with friends in Amsterdam and discovered a whole bunch of new places in the city. One thing I noticed: Amsterdam has become so health conscious. Everywhere you look is vegan, organic, homemade, it's a green wave. But I also found a very nice cake shop and a bar!


I arrived at 10am on a Saturday morning, but the streets were still empty. Sleeping in on Saturday morning, I would have done too if I was at home. It was a bit sad walking around all by myself, but then I saw this great window in the lovely Herenstraat. I love shop windows with cool fonts. Nothing better than starting the day with a health kick and at Dr Blend they know their smoothies. Mango and goji berries were my wake-me-up drink of choice but the menu is full with superfood juices in rainbow colours. The Irish girl who made my juice was so friendly and chatty, it gave me an extra instant happiness boost. This place opened only a few months ago. Simple deco with a few touches of brocante furniture (I loved the wooden carpenter's bench) and my favourite teal colour on the wall.

Dr Blend
Herenstraat 23-1
Amsterdam
Website



Now that I had the health kick it was time for the caffeine kick and although Louis looks more like a bar I was told by a local that this is also a great place for a nice coffee. Sitting on the corner of one of the canal streets it is an ideal place for absent minded window gazing. This is the kind of bar I would happily sit in all day, reading weekend papers and meeting friends. The menu is small but for me that is perfect for days when you want to switch off and don't have to face choices. A couple of salads, a soup of the day. It has got a brown cafe laid back style atmosphere, but don't be deceived. That coffee is made by a barista and on the menu is a very special sandwich: the sukade, a Surinam specialty of stewed beef on toasted bread, must try! And all very reasonably priced. For lazy Saturdays.

Bar Louis
Singel 43
Amsterdam


Another place that opened very recently is Vegabond. It was the name that attracted me here first, I think it is such a great name for a vegan shop. Vegabond is a wholefood store and a deli. You can buy all kind of superfoods here but there are also a few seats in the large window overlooking one of the smaller canals where you can eat the healthy cakes and sandwiches. The morning sun was still beaming when I had my second cup of coffee with a little mid-morning treat of vegan banana bread. While I was eating it they were setting up a whole range of vegan cupcakes in the food counter. Next time. I still had a long day ahead of me filled with tasting good food and drink. Vegabond is another great place to chill in the morning and see the world pass by.

Vegabond
Leliegracht 16
Amsterdam
Website


Haarlemmerstraat is one of the streets close to the train station at the beginning of the area 'De Jordaan'. Many years ago this was a street filled with coffee shops and the odd kebab place. A few years ago I celebrated New Year in Amsterdam and on 1st of January we had a very nice lunch in a new place on Haarlemmerstraat. You could already feel something new and hip was bubbling there but now only four years later this street has boomed into the cutting edge trendy spot of the city. It is filled with places that shake, rattle and roll this girl.

First stop: the cutest little cakes you have ever seen are at Petit Gateau. Ladies who lunch and watch their calorie intake will only have one, but I wanted to try them all. Bite sized cakes and madeleines in all flavours from the great French patisserie cookbook. There is an open kitchen, where you can see the cakes being made in front of you. Upstairs are tables where they serve great breakfast and brunch - and scones with lemon curd!
Cake for breakfast anyone?

Petit Gateau
Haarlemmerstraat 80
1013 EV Amsterdam
Website


Nukuhiva is the name of a paradise island in French Polynesia  but it is also the name for the fair trade fashion shop of Floortje Dessing. Floortje is the globetrotter of Dutch television. She traveled every continent for her TV travel show. Its during her travels all over the world that she was often confronted with poverty and inequality. She wanted to make a difference with fair pay for fair work and that is how Nukuhiva, the shop with fair fashion started. It was one of the products she sells, the O My Bag story, that drew me to her store. O My Bag are a Dutch company that produce vintage looking leather bags. The bags are made in India with eco friendly leather. Starting point for O My bag is respect for nature and respect for people. The leather comes from cows that have died a natural death and the bags are produced by local people who are paid fair, work in good conditions, with equal opportunities and are not exposed to harmful chemicals. Business with a heart but also a sense for style and fashion, I love it!

Nukuhiva
Haarlemmerstraat 36
1013 ES Amsterdam
Website



Although Haarlemmerstreet is getting filled with new places, you can still see a bit of the old. I like how these two window signs next to each other show this: on the left the rather slick and trendy deli and on the right the kebab place that has been there forever.



I met up with my friends in one of the fancy new places in Haarlemmerstraat: Vinnie's deli. Danish and Dutch vintage design and organic products go hand in hand here and it works. High quality ingredients and a menu that can please customers who prefer homemade. It's cozily small inside with a white staircase leading to an upstairs room where you also sit close to your neighbour. The staff is so fantastically friendly though, it reflects on the guests too, I only saw smiley faces around me.
There's a nice menu with sandwiches (pumpkin hummus drew my attention) but all three of us took something of the breakfast menu for lunch: homemade brioche with poached eggs and spinach and it was yum! Great coffee too.

Vinnie's Deli
Haarlemmerstraat 46
1013 ES Amsterdam


At the end of Haarlemmerstraat just before it turns into the Haarlemmerdijk you find Stach on the corner. This is one of a chain of organic food shops. I love the packaging and again the window signs. This place gave me a very New York delicatessen feel. I saw organic sweets, ready-made meals, lots of gluten- and dairy-free, Irish cheddar popcorn, sourdough or spelt pastries and breads, homemade granola's and muesli's. All in the cool Stach packaging.
Can we have a Stach in Antwerp too, please? With such friendly smiley staff too?
Stach has two other locations in Amsterdam where you can sit down and enjoy a healthy sandwich and organic coffee.

Stach
Haarlemmerstraat 150
1013 EZ Amsterdam
Website



Six & Sons, finally, a shop where your man won't have to be waiting outside. Instead it is you who will be tapping your fingers because this place is full with cool men stuff. Like the 'Campfire Cologne' or the 'Sea salt soap' for sailors. He will be staring at the fantastic brass bicycle like you are at a pair of Louboutins. Just make sure he doesn't come home with one of the stuffed ferrets. While you let all that coolness sink in, you can have lunch or coffee in the upstairs room. If you like Kinfolk and the hipster scene, this is definitely your shop!

Six & Sons
Haarlemmerdijk 31
Amsterdam
Website


I walked into the Tea Bar Store and was sold immediately. The perfume is enchanting and the selection overwhelming. Teas in flavours and smells I had never seen before. I went home with a bag of Lavender Earl Grey, to cheer up rainy Spring days.

The Tea Bar Store
Haarlemmerdijk 71
1013 KC Amsterdam
Website



SLA means 'lettuce' in dutch. A fittingly simple name for a place that oozes purity. This is 'salad bar - the next generation'. All salad ingredients are presented in the glass counter and you can either ask for one of the salad suggestions or you create your own. Pick your choice from a range of 100% vegan dressings, different types of lettuce from paksoi to kale, grains or pulses, three seasonal vegetables and a topping - no not the chocolate one. Think seeds, herbs and nuts.
The people behind SLA know good produce, they work with quality local producers who make an effort to keep to high sustainable principles. You have to like good food to create a unique catering concept like this. This is the kind of salad bar I stand at with my notebook to write down salad ideas for lunch to try at home. Just looking at the SLA counter and I feel like I am bursting with health.
Sounds all too veggie for you? Nothing to worry for the meatlovers, you can also add japanese style steak or organic chicken filet to your salad. How much more prefect can it be?
I tried the raw cheescake with a green juice when I was there and my god, that was the first time I took dessert and didn't feel guilty but glowing with healthy colours.

Sla
Westerstraat 34
1015 MK Amsterdam
Website
SLA is open for lunch and dinner (till 2100hr)
They als have a SLA in Ceintuurbaan 149, 1072 GB, Amsterdam

If you are in the Westerstraat area on a Saturday you must visit the local famer's market on the Noordermarkt, so many great food stalls!

One product I saw in all the green shops I visited is the chocolate bars of Tony's Chocolonely. Their chocolate is made 100 % slavefree. Their mission is to make the best chocolate with fair trade and fair business, they want to 'raise the bar' so that everyone will use 100% slavefree chocolate. Chocolate never tasted this good. The milk chocolate with salted caramel is my absolute favourite. 

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