The waitress asked for our lunch order. "Wanna split a ham and cheese?" asked Karen. "Save room for dessert."
Susan Harb last wrote for Travel about Old South cemeteries in Virginia.
Diners indulge at the Supperclub's chocolate dinner in Amsterdam.
Details: Amsterdam Chocolate
GETTING THERE: A number of major airlines offer nonstop service from Washington to Amsterdam, including United, US Airways, Northwest Airlines and KLM. Round-trip fares are in the $600 range for late winter/early spring travel.
GETTING AROUND: Be prepared to walk. Taxis are expensive and hard to come by. We enjoyed ambling down cobblestone streets and quiet canals, ducking into cafes and mom and pop shops on a whim. We hopped on the easy-to-ride tram for longer distances, including a distant trek to the suburbs for a massage ($60).
WHERE TO STAY: The heart of the city is 17th century; houses and hotels are tall and slender, and stairways are narrow and steep. Do not expect an elevator. Hotel Agora (Singel 462, 011-31-20-627-2200, www.hotelagora.nl) faces a canal and is next to a tram stop and the flower market, a great landmark for those who tend to get lost, and near the important squares of Dam, Rembrandtplein and Leidseplein for shopping and dining. Doubles with private bath, plus breakfast, are $153.50 per night; doubles with bath down the hall, $112.50.
WHERE TO EAT CHOCOLATE: Throw away the vitamins and eat a bonbon a day. Delicacies cost about 95 cents each. Handmade without preservatives, they should be consumed within 10 days.
Supperclub (Jonge Roelensteeg 21, 011-31-20-344-6400, www.supperclub.nl) specializes in five-course dinners that last four hours or more. Cost: about $83, not including drinks. The restaurant also arranges harbor and canal cruise dinners. The next guest chef dinner is April 18.
Unlimited Delicious (Haarlemmerstraat 122, 011-31-20-622-4829, www.unlimiteddelicious.nl) is a cafe offering several courses of instruction, available in English, including a half-hour bonbon tasting with coffee or tea ($10.25) and 2 1/2 hours of dessert-making and eating ($55).
Australian Homemade has four locations in Amsterdam, two in New York and one planned for Washington. In the Netherlands: Singel 437, Leidsestraat 101, Arena Boulevard 40 and Spui 5.
Puccini Bomboni (Staalstraat 17 and Singel 184) is a bonbon shop and tea room offering light fare and pastries.
Pompadour (Huidenstraat 12 and Kerkstraat 148) is a tea room with light fare and pastries.
INFORMATION: Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions, 212-370-7360, www.holland.com. -- Susan Harb