In a word, it's the beer. Beer is to Belgium what wine is to France or Italy. And we love beer!
The geography does not lend itself to vineculture, but the flat, wet lowlands are perfect for barley, hops, and wheat. And the variety of beer Belgium produces can challenge the most expert palate.
The cuisine, richly textured by geography, is as diverse as the cultural make-up of the people. French, Dutch, and German influences are immediately apparent.
So, why Belgium? Belgium embodies the rich cultural history of European hospitality, but lacks the pretense we Americans sometimes associate with things European. The association of beer with working class tastes makes seemingly high brow dishes more accessible to our democratic American sensibilities.
We may not be able to afford the finest wines in the world, but we can afford to drink world class beer. A beautiful 750ml bottle of Trappist Ale, purchased in a restaurant, often costs less than a drinkable California wine purchased at Safeway. And, really, which would you prefer to enjoy with a steak, a loaf of bread (grains), or a bowl of fruit (grapes)?
Here at Bel, we hope to approximate the experience of Belgian hospitality. Brussels sprouts and Belgian endives aside, we want to provide you with a taste of the Grand Place in Brussels—without the 13 hours of air travel.
Belgium in Pacific Standard Time.
CHEERS! - JEN AND RICH
3215 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA. 94110
Tues-Sun: 5pm to 10pm