The first breath of air as I stepped off the plane brought a big smile to my face. The air here is a little mustier. A little earthier. A little more natural. The increased intensity of the smell are one of my favorite things about Belgium (and the Netherlands and Germany). The onions chopped for dinner – smell even more delicious.
We went for a long walk around Brussels’ city center last night on the way to dinner. A walk I’ve made a few times before. The first being a decade ago. Of course, the architecture that’s stood for hundreds of years is still here, but so is “Pita Street” – a small side street off the main plaza lined with gyro and falafel shops. Pita to pita. The smell of greasy lamb kabob followed us a couple more streets further to Babeko on Sint Katelijnplein. A tiny, African/French fusion restaurant where I discovered Ostrich steak with plantin banana in a cranberry and sweet onion sauce. Wow. Red, like a beef steak, with lighter, subtler flavors.
The service was impeccably French – with the expected Belgian lack of pretense .