a bit about Maria
What do you do and why do you do it?
I work in Human Resources, currently in Talent management field, and see myself growing further as HR professional . Work aside, I am passionate explorer of growing food scene of Amsterdam. It is changing from plain and not exciting mix of cafes into a variety of truly good spots. My 'to eat' map is exploding as of recently. I also wish to have a food place of my own one day so I need to gather some inspiration.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had and why was it so effing bad?
I live by 'no regrets' policy. For a short while I was delivering food on a bike and it was the best free gym I have been ever going to. I mean, I never really go to the gym.
Were you born and raised in Amsterdam? If not, where did you grow up and what brought you to Amsterdam?
I was born and raised in Moscow, Russia. I lived there for 17 years and then I jumped with parachute in summer 2011. A month after that I moved to Amsterdam to study and I ended up living here for almost 6 years already. It was one of the best decisions so far.
What’s your current hood in Amsterdam and what’s the best/worst thing about it?
I live in Oost (East) area of Amsterdam for more than 4 years. It is a great place to be right now: so many trendy spots are opening and the streets are buzzing with energy. It was really different area 4 years ago. Best place is the roti paradise, Lalla Rookh, - truly the best in town. Worst thing? There are too many extremely big birds that just casually hang out on the streets. It's scary, I swear.
What kind of music do you listen to and what kind of music do you absolutely HATE?
I listen to mix of Rihanna, Gwen Stefani, Bonobo, Boards of Canada, Ludovico Einaudi and Chopin. And Timati if I feel nostalgic. Never heavy metal, Beyonce or Radiohead.
You’re broken hearted - what tracks does your heartbreak playlist consist of?
The Fray - Kiss me. 100 times on replay. And another 100 times for Anastasia - One day in your life. Cheesy, I know.
Name the best TV shows of all time, and what makes them so good?
The Crown and House of Cards. I love twist of drama and politics.
Name some spots in Amsterdam that are good for a Tinder date.
Foodhallen - at least you won't stay hungry as there are dozens of different food options. And the infamous Pata Negra - no one of the people I know managed to get out of there sober. I did but perhaps that's because I wasn't on a Tinder date. One is supposed to eat and drink during Tinder date, right?
Which public figure would you want to see “roasted”? (every public figure is fair game).
I come from a country where the president is a target of daily roasting routine for over a decade already. I think by now I am immune to all kind of jokes about famous people and, for sure, can't imagine someone being roasted more than him. Okay, maybe only Justin Bieber.
Who’s your hero and where in Amsterdam would you take them out for a serious hang?
I am not really into having heroes but there are always some people who I find interesting at a certain point of time. I would really love to meet Coco Chanel but that's, unfortunately, not going to happen. Maybe for the best since I cannot think of an appropriate place to hang out, anyway. I would also love to eat a burger with Louis C.K. at Rotisserie East. (Oh wow, a day later after this post scrolling through Cool Cousin I saw that Roni from Tel-Aviv also would ask him for a burger. Well, seems like there are quite some fans of his!)
Where do you buy those fabulous clothes of yours?
Stores on 9 streets (9 straatjes) - there are plenty of famous good brands like COS, Scotch & Soda, Filippa K, Karl Lagerfeld etc. Bijenkorf is universally good. I can't say that Amsterdam is the best shopping place - it normally takes me forever here to find what I really want.
What’s the area/ spot in town you’ll never be caught dead in?
I have no limits and stay away from prejudices. I even go to FEBO (fast food places around the city where you get the snack out of tiny microwaves in the wall). But if I have to name one then it is Bazar on Albert Cuyp - last couple of times the food there was not something I would come back for.
What’s the thing you LOVE to do in your city that you never get to do?
Just sit at the canal with friends once it's warm and sunny outside (like 5 days in a year) with nice drinks and snacks. I did it once so far and it felt really good. A moment of pure simple happiness.
Where do you go in Amsterdam for a casual night out?
Normally I stay in Oost, there are plenty of cool bars: Louie Louie, de Biertuin, Bukowski. Bar Joost has a great selection of craft beers. Perfect area for some pub crawling.
Where would you go in Amsterdam to celebrate some freaking good news?
First pizza at La Perla or de Portare Via and then off to bars in Jordaan. It's time for some proper Dutch bruincafe experience and deep fried borrelhapjes (=snacks).
What’s your choice of transportation in Amsterdam and why?
Bicycle. I guess it's self-explanatory.
What are the Amsterdam spots a first-time visitor can’t miss?
The Pijp area - it's super relaxing there and you have a great choice of food, drinks and cute shopping spots. For food I like Pho 91 and wines at GlouGlou, and then get some pretty presents at 'All the luck in the world'.
What are the Amsterdam spots tourists should run from screaming?
Red Light district. Take a quick peek and go to somewhere decent, please.
Tomorrow’s your last day in Amsterdam. How do you spend it?
Cookie from van Stapele, some book shopping at Spui, crispy pork from Nam Kee on Zeedijk, bubble tea at YoYo! also on Zeedijk, then beer time at Het Elfde Gebod and go out at Bitterzoet.
What’s your favorite vacation city in the world and why?
Moscow. It's the most amazing city for me and I miss it like crazy. It's a source of unbelievable energy but it also drains a lot of it, so be ready. As one old Russian song goes: "Moscow never sleeps", and it gets a completely different meaning once you are far away from home. Amsterdam is a metropolitan village and I miss the big city life. Sometimes.