In my search for a beautiful outdoor terrace to while a meal away with Teko, it took an ostensibly harmless drive this afternoon to Breukelen to enjoy a nice three-course lunch and to witness my inner demons working overtime. As our trusty little Ford Fiesta arrived to an intimidating parking lot full of six-digit luxury cars it became apparent that this wasn’t going to be one of those cozy places we usually went to. The restaurant itself was charming, set beautifully by the historic and rather busy river Vecht and not that different to other atmospheric places I’ve been to. As in many instances however I was the only clearly non-Dutch person in the all-Caucasian clientele and staff, and the only one speaking English within hearing distance, a combination that’s been my accepted reality for a majority of my life here. The strangers sitting with us out in the terrace – a mix of distinguished elderly, privileged-looking couples, and flashy Carrie and Samanthas – were likely some of the wealthiest people in the area if not the country, and my middle-class butt sitting there in search of quiet repose and rewarding enrichment became an exercise in introspection. There’s nothing like a restaurant to remind you of your place in the world.
Intimidating circumstances and internal conflicts aside, Slangevegt was unfailing, from the enviable setting to the friendly service to the too-pretty-to-eat food. The weather cooperated, which is something more than any of us could ask for, and we had a nice table a few feet from the river. I’d like to say the meal made me feel better about myself at the end but even good food wasn’t strong enough to delve that deep. Like life, however, the search continues.