This post was supposed to follow shortly after my Sharing the Thanks post in November. Since it has already been well established what a horribly infrequent blogger I am, I’ll skip the excuses. Instead I’m going to take full advantage of the fact that my daughter is sleeping and husband is out of town to make up for lost time.
The original Foreign Exchange, hereafter known as Part I, remains one of my most popular posts (popular being a relative term when you blog mostly for your sanity and not an audience). I think the majority of visitors are looking to pilfer images via a google images search. However, for this little exercise, I am going to pretend that the real attraction is the content- namely, the excitement of a new experience or new product in a country not your own.
This time the Brits and Dutchies visited us on our home turf. We welcomed them with these three Tex-American gems:
1) Hop Doddy’s, Austin, TX
Nothing says American food quite like a burger. Hopdoddy’s is no exception. The writing on the wall states, “Hopdoddy was created to express the perfect union of burgers and beer: Handcrafted Beer (Hop) + (Doddy), the nickname given to the native cow in Aberdeen, Scotland.” Burger and beer- double score! Bonus point for representing the UK in the name. Niels, who has visited quite a few countries, calls this the best burger he has ever had. Whoa. That is quite an endorsement. They should seriously put his picture on their website.
You cannot visit TX and not have BBQ. That would be sinful. We like to drive our visitors out to the Hill Country to the dry town of Driftwood, where you get to bring your own beer to go with your brisket. You can sip your Shiner’s while you bask in the aroma of mouthwatering ribs, sausage and brisket coming from the open fire pit. With your belly full, you will think you have just about died and gone to heaven. Then, they break out the peach or blueberry cobbler for dessert. Heck, you might as well try both. Lucky for us, Andy is a cardiologist.
3) The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
The Alamo Drafthouse is a cinema pub. I’ll admit, I’ve only been to one other cinema pub prior to moving to Austin, but I think the Drafthouse gets it right. The food is usually delicious- I recommend the green chile mac and cheese and the chocolate peanut butter shake- and you can chow down while you are enjoying your flick. This is quite a time saver, especially when you have a sitter on the clock. In this case, we enjoyed the new James Bond movie. I think our friends are plotting European franchises as I type this.
In exchange for our fine hosting abilities, we were bestowed with the following gifts.
At first glance, these look like tiny M&Ms. But they are soooo much better. Seriously, I do not know if I can ever look at an M&M the same way again. Juliette was immediately hooked and we do not give that child candy but if she’ll go poo poo on the potty, I’ll import a whole bag from the UK for her. They are really that good.
A Dutch treat, a stroopwafel is two thin layers of baked batter glued together by a caramel-like filling. I like to pretend that they are a breakfast food rather than a dessert. I often forget about stroopwafel when making my request list for Niels and Minna. Fortunately, they have my back on this one. Totally worth the visit to the Netherlands just to try one.
3) Sinterklaas Candies
Sinterklaas, who might actually be the precursor for our own Santa Claus, is a jolly old fellow who lives in Spain. In November, he makes his yearly trek to the Netherlands by steamboat rather than by sleigh and stays for three weeks, culminating in a family celebration on December 5. During that time, children leave their shoes and stockings by the fireplace to be filled with treats including chocolate letters and my favorite, kruidnoten and pepernoten (addicting little ginger cookies). I am only sad that Niels did not actually put my candies in my shoe.
Another successful exchange was had. We have been doing this for a long time and there is always a new (and usually tasty) surprise. Can’t wait for next time. Already planning our trip.