After our night in Antwerp we took the train back to Brussels and met up with our friends Andrew and Kristin (on their honeymoon) and Jeremy and Tracey (who recently moved to Amsterdam). The weather was fairly cold and damp, so we camped out at one of our favorite bars, the cozy Poechenellekelder, catching up for most of the afternoon. Plus, they had a whole menu of Christmas beers…
Nuetnigenough is a favorite restaurant in Brussels, with a great beer list and amazing food. Since our last visit they’ve stopped taking reservations, so we decided on an early dinner to ensure a 6 person table. As with previous trips the food was great and the beer selection was even better…
Brouwerij Alvinne, one of our favorite Belgian brewers
However, the service was quite poor, with the male waiter essentially ignoring us even after we went up to get his attention. Quite strange, and not something that has happened to us in Brussels before.
After dinner we walked through the Christmas/Winter market which is quite large and rambling, stretching from the Grote Markt to Saint Catherine square. The light show in the Grote Markt was fun to watch and quite beautiful with the old buildings.
St. Catherine’s cathedral was also nicely lit up. We picked up several gifts from the market, then headed home when we got too cold.
On Monday morning we tried a new cafe, Delish, for breakfast, which had surprisingly nice bagels. Next, we met up with Kristen and Andrew and went to Cantillon, one of the premier sour beer producers in the world. As with our previous trip, we enjoyed our time there! Eric started with the standard lambic, one year old from the barrel, while Leandra tried the Rose Gambrinus (raspberry). We then split a bottle of the Zwanze 2013 – a tripel style, which was bready and dry, rather saison like; we all agreed it would be better with food. Our second bottle was the apricot (Fou’foune), good enough that we bought several bottles to bring home with us.
Cantillon is not far from the Gare du midi (train station) where we caught a 30 minute train ride to spend the afternoon in Ghent – after stashing our beer bottles in a pay locker for the afternoon.
Upon returning from Ghent, we visited one last Belgian pub, La Porte Noir, which was new to us. Situated down a set of stairs in a cozy brick basement, this pub had a good selection of beer and was a relaxing last stop in Brussels.
We said goodbye to our friends and on the way back to hotel we noticed a frites shop, Belgian Frit’N Toast, which fueled our final packing job of the trip. (Leandra’s side note: the spicy mayo is very spicy!)