I absolutely love Wednesdays.
The mornings are rough with my 8:30 a.m. class, but a mere hour and a half later, I’m completely free. Usually, I’m not even awake at such an hour, let alone a short metro ride adventure.
And today, and all week, the weather has been perfect. On Sunday I lounged at Cinquantainere for hours, determined not to return home until I got too cold. Sure enough, I left at midnight.
A friend and I took advantage of today’s beauty and set off on two missions: splurge on a fabulous lunch outdoors and hunt down some of Brussels’ famous cartoon murals.
First, the lunch:
It’s not hard to find quality food in Brussels. Any inviting brasserie or café would have probably provided an excellent lunch experience. But, we students do have zero income, and we do want to dine out frequently.
With a bit of internet research, we landed on Le Fils de Jules, a Basque-meets-Belgian brasserie of sorts in ultra-fashionable Ixelles. The business lunch special at 13 euros is a steal — a handsome appetizer and an entree that changes daily.
Today the starter was tuna tartare, blended with herbs and olive oil, with a lovely balsamic reduction on the side. We savored the light, fresh fish, paired perfectly with a glass of the house vin blanc. We moved on to thin slices of tender duck breast in jus beside bright orzo with sundried tomatoes.
With the sweet server who let me pretend to speak French throughout meal, and the restaurant’s charming mini terrace, we left more than satisfied in all respects.
But we still wanted dessert.
Luckily, through culinary explorations via the recent Goûter Bruxelles festival (which also led me to vegan hippie shops selling almond milk!), I knew of the most reputable ice cream shop in the city — Comus & Gasterea.
This stuff is damn good.
The first time I journeyed over with my roommate, we finished our cones of organic lush within minutes. We turned around and went for round number two. No shame.
The caramel salé (butterscotch) has won my heart, but the burnt coffee, passion fruit and speculoos were all fantastic as well. The flavors are intense but not overly so, and nothing beats the creaminess. According to its website, Comus churns out more unusual flavors like curry, celery and eggplant, too. My Bi-Rite/Humphry Slocombe/General-San-Francisco-Artisanal-Ice-Cream-Trend adoration cannot wait to dive in.
And that left a few hours to go on a comic strip walk.
Brussels is basically the capital of the comic strip world. The Belgian favorite is Tintin, but The Smurfs were born here as well. There’s a Comic Strip museum, and even more interesting, there are around 60 comic strip murals in the city.
My friend acquired a map with known mural locations flagged, and we walked through Dansaert and Anderlecht neighborhoods and found 10 murals before calling it a day.
I returned home with time to unwind before dinner with the host-family, do a little homework, eat and even go out for a drink with friends.
Once again, I love Wednesdays.