Happy holidays! See you in 2015!

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Thanks so much to everyone who came by for our final Borrel at The Ossington! … And thanks to all of you who paid us a visit during our 10 months there. It’s been an amazing experience, far beyond anything we could’ve hoped when we first started. Seeing The Ossington transformed into a cozy cafe with people enjoying our food and a drink was a dream come true and the perfect way for us to spend our Sundays. We had a blast. … Is it weird to do an emotional online thank-you speech? Too bad, doing it:

Thanks to all of the Ossington staff for being so welcoming and putting up with us, from the smoky and oily smells in the kitchen to pouring us (many, many) drinks. Big thanks especially to our main Sunday bartenders Nick McKinlay and Katie Emery who worked through crazy busy and crazy quiet days alike with the same amount of enthusiasm and positivity … and somehow managing to do so on just a few hours sleep after working a crazy Saturday night shift. Owners Ben Rahn and Andrew Salem were always enthusiastic about what we were doing and gave us a risk-free opportunity to try this out. As a result, we’ve been able to learn, grow and make really dumb mistakes without the fear of going bankrupt; that’s a very privileged position to be in and we’ll always be indebted to them. Finally, Ossington captain Tim Stewart, who runs a tight ship with millions of things on his plate, yet always had time to help steer me on a steady course through all the highs and lows.

That’s not it for us, we will be popping up again in 2015. We’ll keep you posted on when and here you can get your next Dutch fix. Until then, vrolijk kerstmis en gelukkig nieuwjaar!

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Farewell Borrel at The Ossington on Dec. 14!

ossThanks to everyone who made it out to one of our events this past weekend. The Beer Academy was absolutely packed on Saturday! We had an amazing time there and I especially enjoyed getting to use “the finest deep fryer ever made.” Big thanks to everyone at The Beer Academy for making it such a special day.

Sunday was great at The Ossington as well, looking as cozy and festive as ever with the mulled wine flowing like, um, mulled wine.

This upcoming Sunday will be our final Borrel at The Ossington. It’s been an absolutely amazing run there and we’re so grateful to The Ossington family for giving us a place to host our humble Dutch food endeavour for the past 10 months. Some of you have commented on how the front room in The Ossington bears a distinct similarity to the warmth and coziness of bruin cafes (brown cafes) in Holland. We couldn’t agree more, and seeing that place fill up with friendly faces every Sunday afternoon has been a wonderful experience for us.

Not to worry, we are going to continue to Dutch things up in 2015 and will be popping up (see what I did there?) at different places in the city. We’ll have more information on all of that soon. But for now, please join us for our farewell Borrel at The Ossington on Dec. 14!

Double Dutch duty this weekend!

BeerAcademy_fb_eventI can’t believe the late post on this but we are doing double Dutch duty this weekend!

On Saturday, Dec. 6 we are honoured to be guests at The Beer Academy. We’ll be serving our typical Dutch dishes there from noon until 5 p.m. Located right downtown, why not take a break from your Christmas shopping and stop by for a pint and a snack?

And as usual, we’ll be back at The Ossington on Sunday from 1-6 p.m. Last week was fantastic! With the help of some friends, we got The Ossington looking extra cozy and there was a great “gezellig” atmosphere.  … The Dutch word gezellig is nearly untranslatable in the English language. It signifies any kind of atmosphere in which people feel cozy, comfortable and just have a great time. I’d say that was the exact atmosphere of last Sunday and we hope to keep that spirit going for our remaining Sundays at The Ossington this December. Please join us for one or both of these events!

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We’re off this Sunday but back for my birthday on Nov. 30!

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Dear friends,

Apologies for the late notice but there will be no Borrel this Sunday, Nov. 23. But we will return Nov. 30, which just so happens to be my birthday! So why don’t you come celebrate with me?

In addition to some free snacks, discounted menu items and drink specials, we’ll also be previewing a new and “gezellig” (the Dutch word for all things cozy) Ossington for Sunday afternoons ahead of the holiday season. We’re going to fill the bar with lights, candles and decor and have some mulled wine going to make Sunday afternoons there even more comfortable as we head into Christmas and the weather gets colder.

I guess it would make more sense to switch these Sundays off. But when I think about it, if I was asked what I would want to do on my birthday if it fell on a Sunday, it would be hanging out at a bar in the afternoon to enjoy some drinks and good company. True, I’ll mostly be busy cooking, but anyone who knows me knows that with any party I host, I’m usually busying myself in the kitchen anyway. I enjoy it.

Hope you can make it next Sunday or one of the Sundays coming up in December!

Boerenkool is back!

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Happy October everyone! We’re nearing our fourth week since our long break and it’s great to be back. Our new and improved bitterballen and krokets have been going over really well. We’re excited about how much closer we’ve gotten the taste to the real thing across the ocean …

Even more exciting is the return of everyone’s favourite potato and kale concoction: boerenkool! Mixed with homemade bacon lardons, topped with gravy and a side of smoked sausage, it’ll almost make you glad winter’s on the way! While we referred to it as “stamppot” last winter, technically stamppot is a generic term for any potato-veggie mashup. So just in case we introduce another Dutch mash in the future, we thought it best to be more specific. … And thus concludes today’s didactic Dutch lesson.

Anyways, we’ll have steaming hot boerenkool ready to go every Sunday to help make this winter just a little easier to get through. Hope to see you soon!

IMG_0822Boerenkool is introduced to a new audience in this historic photograph depicting the second annual Holland Day in Canada in 2009.

Borrel’s back this Sunday, Sept. 21!

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And … we’re back! Borrel at the Ossington is starting up again this Sunday, Sept. 21, from 1-6 p.m. It’s been a while and we can’t wait to see you again!

The forecast is calling for low 20s and it’s not yet officially fall, so we’re going to stick with our summer menu items while we still can. While our travels in Holland definitely inspired some ideas going ahead, you won’t notice too many changes to the menu right away but we promise some surprises next season. But a big change right now is the bitterballen and krokets: On top of a new and improved recipe for the filling, we’re going to be deep-frying them fresh onsite. (I know, I know, it’s the way they’re always supposed to be.) We think you’ll really like them.

Hope you can make it by for a drink and a snack this Sunday for our official reopening. Tot ziens!

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Borrel taking a break until September!

photoDear friends, this Sunday, July 20, will be our last Borrel for a while. At the risk of oversharing, Alison is not only one of the world’s most wonderful waitresses, but more importantly my fiancee and we are getting married at the end of the month! Following that we will be going on our honeymoon.

But fear not, Borrel at The Ossington will return Sunday, Sept. 7! And part of the reason our honeymoon is so long is that we will be investing time back in the Netherlands, studying and sampling more Dutch treats that we can try to recreate for you back here in Toronto. … OK, it’s hardly a business trip, but we do hope it can help make Borrel even better going ahead!

We would like to thank everyone who has attended the Borrels or World Cup matches for their enthusiasm for our humble little venture. Considering I have absolutely no prior experience in this line of work, your compliments about the food are what kept us going, knowing that we were doing something right. It’s been a huge thrill to prepare these foods for such appreciative customers and we hope to continue to do so for years to come. A final big thanks to everyone at The Ossington for giving us the opportunity to do this.

We hope to see you this Sunday. … And again in September! (Enjoy the rest of your summer, it’ll be boerenkool-appropriate weather again before you know it!)