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Lots of updates on past posts this time around:

GROUND:
I am pleased to report that our San Francisco Ritual Coffee Beans have been transformed into life-giving grounds that we savor on a daily basis. Thumbs up to Evan for finding our local Natuurwinkel and sneakily grinding our beans there.

FOUND + GROUND:
This lovely Natuurwinkel has also been the source of much happiness on my part. Oh yes: I have discovered Zonnenbloempasta – sunflower seeds ground into lovely, smooth, salty-sweet butter! (Thanks, Joanna, for the suggestion!) Just in time too, as my pindakaas addiction was seriously spiraling out of control. Another week, another empty jar. Oh yes, I am not kidding about this addiction.

FOUND:
BBC2 has come through as our in-home Olympics coverage! Evan discovered this at work, inquiring about where we can view the Olympics since our Sky TV subscription lacks all sports channels. How about that Skier-Cross?! Insane.

NEWFOUND GROUND:
Westerpark, our new favorite running route! Our upstairs neighbor (who ironically hails from none other than Lake Oswego, Oregon) told us about Westerpark when we first moved in. We dismissed her suggestion, as the park looks so small on the maps we’ve seen.

After some frustratingly traffic-laden, angry-bike-bell-ringing runs down the Amstel River and back, we finally decided to try another route last weekend. We headed out from our house, down Haarlemerstraat, our new favorite street (Natuurwinkel located here!). Past cute restaurants, cafes with free wi-fi, fashion stores and tempting bakeries through an arch and there it is: Westerpark with its miles of paved running and cycling paths! Right in the middle of the park are barns, ponies, little garden houses for people to tend garden in the summer, fields of dormant tulips and some open space – a rare commodity in Amsterdam.

FOUND:
Saturday organic food market, just blocks from our house! We had been to the Albert Cuyp market the weekend previous, feasting on fresh, gooey, caramely stroopwaffels. Sadly, there is no photo of this experience, as we ate them too fast and could not be bothered to interrupt our enjoyment for a photo opportunity. The organic market was a completely different (and much healthier) experience with fresh organic breads, meats, cheeses and eggs with feathers still attached. Cheese samples abounded and we took advantage, tasting goat cheeses, sheep cheeses and just regular old (amazing) Dutch cheeses. I am going to miss the lovely round Dutch cheeses when I’m gone.

OLD GROUND:
We just booked our tickets to a very old, inspiring place: Sicily. We’ll head there after we wrap up our work here in Amsterdam and Germany. We’re looking forward to visiting some ancient temples (750 BC), hiking near Mt. Etna if it’s not erupting, tasting some wine from old vines, and seeing life as lived by the Corleones.

Well, this is embarrassing. Last weekend we received two BEAUTIFUL pounds of fresh-roasted coffee beans direct from San Francisco. We were elated.

We would be even more elated if we could figure out how to turn these beans into a powdery substance suitable for brewing.

You see, coffee grinders are not something that are easy to come by here in Amsterdam. Or perhaps we’re missing something?

Four store checks in Amsterdam. No luck.

Three store checks in Hilversum, where we distinctly remember seeing an in-store coffee grinder. Our minds played tricks on us and that distinct coffee grinder is in fact a coffee maker.

Thus deflated and desperate, I am contemplating a mercy visit to Amsterdam’s only Starbucks.

They’ll understand my plight, being from the NW and all, right? They’ll be willing to grind my beautiful beans and turn them into precious granules capable of creating of dawn’s awakening serum, no?

Oh Michelle and Caspian – thank you for the beans. We can’t wait to tell you how much we’re savoring every drop they brew in our bright yellow espresso maker.

Our first piece of mail in Amsterdam. Thank you M + C!

Ritual Coffee

Ritual Coffee

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