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Jan 2, 2012 09:59 PM

Layover Amsterdam

Meh. I had higher (no pun intended) expectations for this episode -- having been to the city numerous times, and hoping for some new insights.

Lots of beer drinking (tho there were some dec suggestions), not a lot of interesting food places (two CH faves, tho, Tempo Doeloe and Blauw), and an excruciatingly long scene at Dampkring coffeeshop -- which will now be even more overrun with American tourists than right after "Ocean's 13" came out -- in which he went on and on about how he was going to follow the network's rules and *NOT* smoke pot. Which he clearly did. Wink wink.

Yawn. Dave Attell did a better job on Insomniac I thought.

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  1. It was almost comforting in it's predictibility; coffeeshop, bar, FEBO automat, herring, rice table, canal boat tour. Even a dismissive nod to the Anne Frank House. My last visit there was 10 years ago and, judging by this episode, I'm not missing anything new.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Sloth

      Well, that's not entirely true. There used to be a time when herring, frites, and frikandel were the only things you could eat there. That is no longer the case, as there are many fabulous eateries at very moderate prices serving really, really good food. Instead of going to that stupid hipster place in Amsterdam-Noord, which Tony clearly disliked, they could've gone to any number of tasty toastie/sandwich places.

      I did find that resto run by brothers interesting, as I had never heard of it.

      1. re: linguafood

        Seems like they always had Indonesian there (since the Dutch East India company has been colonizing the area since the 17th Century). I sorta feel like the only really outstanding foods are from the Indonesian and Thai places (best Thai food i have ever eaten, but I am no expert). Granted the Toasties and Frites are indigenous....and who hasn't had a stoner meal at the FEBO. Gotta love the croquettes. One thing about Amsterdam I have noticed is that the service is usually atrocious. Once we sat in an empty restaurant and it took at least a half an hour for the waitress to stop chatting and take our order.

        1. re: jcmods

          I've only had great service. Friendly, too.

          1. re: linguafood

            Great service in the Indonesian and Thai places for sure. However, the dutch seem to have a lacsadaisical ethic..

            1. re: jcmods

              Try German service for "lacksadaisical".

              I've found the service in all restaurants & snack bars, including the Dutch, to be friendly and quick. de Struisvogel and Singel 404 come to mind in particular.

    2. Extremely uninteresting episode which did nothing to stray away from the stereotype of legalized brothels and weed.

      So far the worst episode for me.

      15 Replies
      1. re: Johnny L

        Yeah, I kinda agree. Which is a real bummer, b/c Amsterdam is one of my favorite cities, and I expected better.

        1. re: linguafood

          I have to agree, and I'm a big fan of Tony Bourdain. However, this episode and the previous episode on Montreal IMO were the worst two of the series and not worth watching.

          I'm wondering if he's free to pick the locations, because it seemed to me he really didn't want to be in Montreal or Amsterdam. The food in Amsterdam didn't appeal to me, and whats with going to an automat for dining.

          Next week is San Francisco and one of my favorite shows of No Reservation was the show he did from there. Maybe this coming show can right the series for me.

          1. re: gilbertdoubleg

            You know--I got the same feeling that Bourdain just did not feel like being in Amsterdam. He just kind of coasted through. When he went for breakfast with that guy who owns the skateboard shops, everything seemed forced. Kind of a shame because Amsterdam looks like a decent place to visit.

            1. re: gilbertdoubleg

              I've never been to Amsterdam, and after watching Tony go there I really have no interest (unless I feel like sampling a bit of that "high test" weed ;-))

              ... but I've been to Montreal lots of times, and rather enjoyed that episode. I think they were similar in that they both seemed a bit chaotic, but at least the Montreal episode was food-focused.

              1. re: davis_sq_pro

                Amsterdam is a wonderful city. I think you'd be missing out if you never went based solely on a shitty TV episode. Your loss (the weed alone is worth it).

                1. re: linguafood

                  "Your loss (the weed alone is worth it)."

                  So true! And I would add rijsttafel as well.
                  I have only been once and had a great time there. We enjoyed some really great meals, saw great art in the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh museums, strolled along the lovely canals and did some shopping too. It is a lovely city and Layover did not do it justice.

                  1. re: EM23

                    It's one of the most beautiful cities in Europe -- the grachten, the architecture. It's best in spring or late summer. It's so accessible, you can pretty much walk or bike anywhere, the people are super-friendly...

                    You can walk into ANY random café and get fantastic coffee every time. Great beer, great breweries. Fantastic sandwiches. And really, really nice weed.

                    1. re: linguafood

                      Hmmm - I suspect that there is a strong connection between the "really nice weed" and the "fantastic sandwiches" of which you speak:-)
                      Speaking of sandwiches, it was in Amsterdam that I had a turkey club served with a thin egg crepe as one layer of the sandwich - doesn't sound earth shattering but boy was it good. In fact we were quite honestly surpised by just how good the food was in Amsterdam - not even one so so meal in seven days. And I'm not talking high end restaurants. We found really good affordable food -- great Indonesian, Italian, seafood, charming old world cafes for really good coffee and desserts. No automat though.
                      Beautiful and charming city.

                      1. re: EM23

                        Check out Small World Catering or Singel 404 some time. Sober. Trust me, it's all that and more. No weed needed '-)

              2. re: gilbertdoubleg

                Well, the automat "dining" *is* kind of a typical Amsterdam thing --like a bad slice in NYC or poutine in Montreal, I suppose. Not that I've ever done it, b/c there are better options just as cheap -- the aformentioned toastie, smoked or cured herring, or a plate of young gouda...

                1. re: gilbertdoubleg

                  I think the show in general is ill-conceived and should be put out of its misery, ASAP.

                  1. re: gilbertdoubleg

                    I don't like the entire concept. I have a hard time getting through an entire episode without surfing off to something more interesting like "Alaska Gold Rush". Add to that that it feels like Tony is phoning it in? I have better things to do. In the commercials he says, and I paraphrase, "In my new show we cut straight to the good stuff." So in NoRes he leaves in the crap? I prefer the crap. May I have some more sir?


                    1. re: JuniorBalloon

                      NR was far more interesting.

                      It's almost as if they had a production meeting & said, 'we have no budget for NR' so we're going to stick you on a plane & keep you flying from place to place .
                      Shoot 36 hrs around each airport & keep you going, so he gets in tired & lagged , goes out the same.

                      & he said, 'fine, whatever'

                      L comes over like he's in there on a 'fine, whatever' basis.

                      1. re: JuniorBalloon

                        Totally agree. I've been trying to figure out what the point of the Layover is in the first place. Maybe he's tired of the amount of work that goes into making a quality NR episode and is seeing if this concept will fly, since that will dramatically reduce the amount of work that goes into producing a show.

                        The entire tone of the show feels smug and self-congratulatory, and seems like they're trying to make a show specifically for people who only like the food and/or bad attitude scenes from NR.

                        1. re: Josh

                          The first few episodes made me think it was all about eating and drinking and maybe NR would veer toward a more cultural aspect and be less about the food but I don't know now.

                2. Let's just say you had to get in the right frame of mind to watch this episode

                  1. Saw this show at a friend's house. What he does in 24 hours is useless to me. How about 4 hours between flights. I can pack more into 4 hours at Frankfurt/Main then I saw in this show. And as a regular A'dam visitor, he needs to hire some new advance people to show some novel, as opposed to guide book standard, venues.