Please welcome Kathy Kelly (gluten-free since 2002) from Staten Island, as she shares the rest of her Amsterdam journey with us. Thanks again, Kathy!
Amsterdam is very lively. No matter where you go there are interesting things to observe. Characters Bar & Grill at the Amsterdam Marriott is very accommodating but a little pricey. They know all about gluten and will modify items for your needs. For about 23 euros I had a large salad, grilled burger and baked potato. Their menu includes grilled steaks, chicken and salmon. (address and more info)The name Characters certainly comes from what you will see while looking out the window. As I ate I saw the following: a group of young guys, one of whom was dressed in a tutu and butterfly wings, wearing a tiara, and waving a wand; someone in a gorilla suit, and many people riding on bicycles with baskets carrying their children or dogs.
Dinner at Restaurant Pantry was a sumptuous feast for a very fair price 21 euros. My meal consisted of a very large garden salad; roasted ham with mashed potatoes and vegetables – which was delicious; soda and coffee. There was so much food that I could only eat about half of it. It is a traditional Dutch restaurant and the staff will spend as much time as you need in going over the menu. They were warm and welcoming in their willingness to meet my needs. Please get to the restaurants before 7:00 p.m. so that the staff can specially prepare your meal.
On Sunday there was an all day free concert in the plaza at the Leidseplain and it rocked. The music could be heard for blocks. Everyone was dancing, singing, and enjoying themselves. A group of girls were body surfing an anatomically correct blow up man doll. When I wore myself out dancing, I was able to sit in one of the outdoor cafe/bars for a drink and relax for a bit. The plaza is surrounded on all sides by these cafes and clubs and you will find everything from rock to sports to jazz to retro. Just stroll around and pick a place that suits you.
For a really good time go to Jazz Cafe Alto, a block off the Leidseplein, they have great live music and it is a laid back atmosphere with a mixed age crowd from 20's to 50's. The barmaid, Daniela is fantastic and gets you served, unlike the usual long wait for drinks. Jazz Cafe Alto www.jazz-cafe-alto.nl
For the most part I have been eating foods that I have purchased in the markets. I emptied out the minibar and I'm storing my food in there. Following are the website addresses for markets that I highly recommend: Marqt (farmer's market) http://www.marqt.com/, BioMarkt http://www.biomarkt.nl/ (this website is in Dutch) the address is Weteringschans 133-137 1017 SC Amsterdam
Another great market for gluten-free goods is Albert Heijn, one is right at the outskirts of the Red Light District (see this link for locations, there are many http://www.amsterdam.info/shopping/supermarkets/).
Click on McDonald's menu graphics to enlarge.
Amazingly, on the back of their placemats, McDonald's has a list of all of the items on their menu and a chart of ingredients, including gluten. I went in to one and checked it out. Mostly it seems that a lot of the salads are gluten-free, and a few other items. There are several McDonald's in the area, so you will not have a problem finding one.
There are so many things to do in Amsterdam! There is a wealth of museums; scooter, bike, paddleboat,and boat rentals; canal tours; city bus tours; and my favorite thing which is just walking around and letting the day take me where it may. Everyone should go to Amsterdam at least once in their life. English is spoken fluently, so there is no language barrier. The Dutch are very sweet. They have a great energy and will always take the time to talk with you and to help you. The culture is laid back and they don't rush, go with the flow and enjoy it!