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Big Brunch at NDSM-Werf

For my birthday, all I really wanted was to be surrounded by people and things that I love. If you know me, you know what a few of those are: I love my daughter and husband, I love food, art, living in Amsterdam, food, and art… and I love brunch. So, what better way to kick off my birthday weekend than with brunch?

The birthday factor required extra oomph. It couldn’t be just any ho-hum brunch. It had to be Brunch with a capital B. Something Big. In a Big place. With Big things going on.

And the Big Brunch at the NDSM-Werf was it.

Welcome to the Big Brunch NDSM Amsterdam

As part of the 24H Noord festival, five cafes and restaurants operating out of the NDSM-Werf—Noorderlicht Cafépllek, IJkantine, Bbrood and Loetje—joined forces to cook up one Big Brunch… right on my birthday morning! It was a gift from the brunch gods, dropped right on my brunch-loving lap.

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Let’s Do Brunch in… Munich

Since I’ve had Tala, finding a baby- and family-friendly brunch spot to indulge my love of brunch has become more important than ever. Now before entering a restaurant, I run through a quick mental checklist: space for the stroller, peace and quiet, a spot to breastfeed discreetly, and families with babies or young kids are always good indicators.

We’re lucky that at five months, Tala doesn’t need space to play yet, and is still too small for a high chair. But families with older kids need more. So I’m glad that this month’s guest blogger Bronwyn Darnoc chose a family-friendly restaurant perfect for Sunday brunch. And it’s in Munich, Germany!

Bronwyn is the creator of the Simply for Flying flight logbook, which you might remember from Tala’s first flight and my first giveaway. An Aussie living in Munich and a traveling mama with two little ones, Bronwyn recently relaunched Simply for Travel, her blog about kids and travel. This month, she brings us to her favorite kid-friendly brunch spot in Munich.

When I first moved to Munich nearly three years ago and asked everyone for the best coffee location in town, there was an overall unanimous response for Bar Centrale. Being a bit of a coffee snob, I was desperate to taste a good coffee without long-life milk! I can definitely vouch for this location, as the moment you step in you feel like you are in a typical Italian coffee bar, which you would find in places like Rome or Milan.

It didn’t take long to realise that the owners of Bar Centrale own a whole group of fantastic venues throughout Munich, like the Cortina & Louis Hotel. But it’s the Brenner Grill that deserves a big nod for its kid-friendly Sunday brunch!

Brenner Grill Munich

Image from Brenner Grill

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Let’s do brunch in… Rome

Time to take a break from Berlin and fly off to another European city for  brunch!

This month’s guest blogger is someone who I’ve been delighted to get to know online—not just because she’s a fellow Filipina, but because she’s a creative soul who’s generous with her inspiring work and creative finds.

Kat Conte has a knack for discovering artists and artisans, and shares their stories and portraits on her blog Zero the One. She teaches a Video Portrait workshop on Skillshare, and her workshop was a huge hit at this year’s The Hive conference in Berlin.

So I’m happy to welcome Kat here to share another kind of find—a foodie find. Loosen your belt a notch as she takes us for an Italian-style Sunday brunch, il pranzo della nonna, or grandma’s lunch… in Rome!

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Breakfast in Berlin

There were many reasons to join Marlon on his recent business trip to Berlin. First of all, it was a long trip and I wasn’t thrilled about the prospect of being a single mom for four days. Second: hello, it’s Berlin. Who can say no to Berlin?

Aside from being one of my favorite European cities—in case you haven’t noticed!—what clinched the deal was the feeling that I have friends in Berlin. From past experience tagging along on work trips before, exploring by oneself is fun, even liberating, but it can get lonely. Having local friends makes a world of difference. Company is great, and I get to discover places that I might not have found or chosen on my own.

This is how I found myself doing what seems to be a very Berlin thing: breakfast. With frühstück menus displayed prominently at many cafes, it seems locals are mad about breakfast. It’s a good thing I had some pretty cool Berliners to introduce me to this very Berlinische pleasure.

My first breakfast was with the lovely Lena from Mina Moka. She took me to her brunch pick for my Let’s Do Brunch series: 3 Schwestern in Kreuzberg.

Bethanien Mariannenplatz Berlin

Lena wrote her guest post on 3 Schwestern in the winter, so with summer in full swing, it almost seemed like a totally different place.

3 Schwestern Kreuzberg

We sat outside in the courtyard, basking in the warm summer sunshine, brunching on picks from the day’s menu and chatting about bloggers, travel, babies, Berlin… a little bit of everything. [Read more...]


One of my new pleasures is taking Tala on long walks in Westerpark. I’ve been meaning to show Marlon what I’ve discovered while he’s at work, and to bring the camera too. This weekend I finally got to do both.

Spring in Westerpark

After a long winter, spring is finally kicking in and everything is in bloom.

Magnolia blossoms

During my first spring in Amsterdam, I was surprised by how quickly the flowers came and went. Now I make sure to take photos before they’re gone.

Blooming trees Westerpark

Walking past all the trees in bloom, we reached the Westergasterras, a restaurant housed in one of the old brick factory buildings beside the Gashouder, a gas tank that dates back to the 1900s.


The Gashouder looms large over the restaurant’s biggest draw: a large, spacious terrace that is perfect for sunny days. Westergasterras also has a cool industrial interior, with a big brick fireplace and metal pipes everywhere, but in spring it’s all about this terrace.

Westergasterras terrace

We stopped for a light lunch and coffee, plus one of the best sticky toffee cakes I’ve had in a while. I find casual dining in Amsterdam to be hit and miss, so it’s always nice to come across a place with good food.

Westergasterras food

I love discovering places like Westergasterras: so cool yet so laid-back, unpretentious, and most importantly, kid-friendly. There was a high hipster-to-stroller ratio, and all around the restaurant were toddlers wheeling around on loopfiets (balance bikes) or kids drawing on the ground with chalk.

Chalk drawings

A decent lunch, a cool new discovery, and another reason to love our neighborhood. Not bad for a laid-back Sunday. How was your weekend?

Let’s Do Brunch in… Antwerp

I’ve been grounded for almost five months and I’m itching to travel again! With the baby, our trips need to be short and easy, so I’m looking at cities within a short train ride from Amsterdam.

One of them is Antwerp, where Marlon and I went last year for a half-day trip. That just wasn’t enough to fully explore this beautiful, design-savvy city, and I’d love to return. When I do, I’ll make it a point to stop by this month’s brunch place, recommended by guest blogger Noortje Emmerink of Peppermint, who has lived and worked in Antwerp as a fashion designer and stylist.

Although I only met Noortje very briefly at the Meet the Blogger last year, it’s easy to keep in touch with someone in blogland. I’ve kept up with Noortje’s blog because of her eye for design, cool and colorful style and fun, light feel.

True to her style, she’s chosen a place that’s as cool, colorful, fun and light as her blog. Find out what it is, after the jump!

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Let’s Do Brunch in… Bali

Winter has overextended in Europe, but back home in Southeast Asia, summer is already in full swing. This long Easter weekend in particular is prime beach time; everyone’s out of town and the endless parade of vivid sunsets, bright white sands and turquoise waters on my Instagram and Facebook feeds are killing me.

So it’s perfect that this month’s virtual brunch is in the beach paradise of Bali.

Sanur beachfront Bali

I’ve never been to Bali myself, but if I did go, the first person I would ask for tips is The Diplomatic Wife. She’s a friend from university who found herself turning from party animal to domestic diva when she and her diplomat husband were posted to Jakarta. The Diplomatic Wife blogs about her life in Jakarta—full of delicious food, easy DIYs, stylish homemaking, and travels around Southeast Asia—on her blog and runs a chic webshop filled with her fab finds and jewelry designs.

Diplomatic life will soon take her to Berlin. But for now, The Diplomatic Wife leads us away from the tourist crowds and glitzy bars to her favorite brunch spot in Bali.

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Let’s do Brunch in… Tagaytay

It’s the first brunch post of the year! So I thought I’d do something a little special and take you to one of my favorite brunch spots, which I can only visit once a year when I’m back home in the Philippines. And that is Breakfast at Antonio’s in Tagaytay.

Tagaytay was always my family’s halfway point during frequent weekend drives to the beach—Puerto Azul in Cavite, and when that went downhill, White Sands in Nasugbu. Five years ago, Marlon and I were married there. It’s now way more developed than I remember (and more than I’d like), but for a weekend activity, a long leisurely drive to Tagaytay never gets old… not when what awaits you is a fresher, cooler climate and a beautiful view.

This classic panorama of Taal Volcano—a lake within a volcano within a lake within a volcano—is exactly the view from Breakfast at Antonio’s backyard.

Breakfast at Antonio's Taal Volcano

The younger sibling of Antonio’s, one of the Philippines’ best restaurants and a yearly pick for The Miele Guide’s 20 Best Restaurants in Asia, Breakfast at Antonio’s serves all-day breakfast in a setting that reminds me of a weekend resthouse.

Breakfast at Antonio's Tagaytay

It could belong to someone you know: an older friend, maybe an relative. That is, if you have relatives who are really… successful (read: rich).

Breakfast at Antonio's parking

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Let’s Do Brunch in… Berlin

Our last brunch date for 2012 is in a vibrant, creative city that I’ve been to twice, but only really fell in love with this year. And that is Berlin!

One of my regrets from last spring’s “working” visit to Berlin is that I didn’t get to try any of the many breakfast places I saw or read about. My impression was that Berlin seems to be wild about breakfast—an impression confirmed by enthusiastic Berliner Lena from Mina Moka. Lena is a self-confessed brunch addict and big city lover, which makes her the perfect person to be our Berlin brunch guide.

Happy brunching, and here’s to more delicious brunches in 2013!

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Let’s do brunch in… Florence

Georgette Jupe is, as her blog says, a Girl in Florence. She’s also the girl who led us to our awesome Notte Bianca experience in Florence, by supplying the only English itinerary I could find online.

An American who’s been living in Florence since 2007, Georgette has a self-diagnosed obsession with food (as I would, if I lived in Italy!), making her a great fit for a guest post about, well, food. I like her blog’s local, not-your-typical-expat approach to everyday life in Florence: its food, wine, culture, humor, language and more. It’s a fun read, and a great resource for anyone Florence-bound—both travelers and immigrants (I won’t say tourists and expats!) alike.

So what does this Girl in Florence have to say about brunch in Florence?

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