Posts tagged ‘NY Times Travel’

October 27, 2010

Travel Tales: Bill Clinton Ate Here

The New York Times Travel Magazine posted an article on Monday called “Restaurants’ Best Press: ‘Bill Clinton Ate Here’,” and I giggled. I know this strategy all too well. I have fallen prey to this marketing tactic. Two summers ago, Family Summer 2008, my family and I went on a culinary trek through Holland in honor of Bill Clinton. We were in search of Bill Clinton’s poffertjes.

A few members of my extended family had gathered in Holland before we all headed off to Belgium for my cousin’s wedding. My Aunt Jane had lived in Amsterdam some forty years ago and was really in the mood for some poffertjes.

Poffertjes are balls of fried pancake dough, and they’re amazing. Fluffy and warm and crispy and buttery, they’re served with your basic breakfast food condiments — Nutella, jam, more butter, powdered sugar, syrup, fruit and cream. My mom said that we would be road tripping to a small town called Delft to find a cafe rumored to have the best pofferjtes in the land. “How do you know?” I asked. “Because Bill Clinton ate there!” Ah, of course.

So it wasn’t that much of a trek, more like an hour in the car. Delft is a beautiful little town. If they hadn’t been able to get the permits to film in Bruges, you can be pretty sure Colin Farrell and Ralph Fiennes would have had their shoot-out in this canal. A fairy tale town.

The cafe, in the middle of the town square, was not shy about their Bill Clinton affiliation. There was a photo in the window, almost the size of a life-size cutout. The wall outside the bathrooms was dedicated to him. Newspaper clippings, framed photographs, a signed napkin. Hillary would pop up here and there but for the most part, it was Bill-only. It is the most concentrated amount of Bill Clinton I’ve ever experienced. And he ate here in 1997. I’m actually surprised their awning wasn’t just a picture of Bill’s face, throwing everyone a thumbs up, “Best pofferjtes in the land!” The menu featured the picture from the window, Bill arm-in-arm with the owner, next to “The Bill Clinton Special” — strawberries and cream. That’s what I ordered, and that’s what I’ll order again. Simple but classic. Thanks, Bill!

Walking through the square, feeling thoroughly satisfied and pleased with the former President, we passed three other poffertjes places that advertised the exact same thing with the photographic evidence to back it up. So much for brand loyalty.