Monday, 31 January 2011

Zorre Mexican Restaurant Review

Quickly locking our bikes, Sam and I ran full pelt under heavy fire from a heaven-flung load of hailstones, through the doors of Zorre and into the cosy, calm warmth of the restaurant. We had been invited to come and try their Mexican food and give our opinions about it.

Zorre may be familiar to you under the old name of Tacos and was set up in 2004, in the Westerhaven, by the brother and sister team of Petroeska and Rogier Lankhorst.

Since then, with the advent of a new name it has undergone a makeover, which is a success and pleasing to the eye. The orange interior has a feature wall, decorated by an enlarged Mexican street scene, in varying hues of orange and a complement to the chocolate coloured walls. Dependant on your mood or party, you can choose between various seating arrangements. There is the family arrangement, of a large round wooden table and chairs (including baby seat), the café style with metal table and chairs opposite a wide wooden wall bench, or high wooden bar tables with aluminium bar stools to perch upon. With tiny flickering tea light candles and atmospheric background music, one feels welcome.

The name Zorre comes from the local dialect (Gronings) for a graspol, literally ‘a clump of grass’ and sounds Spanish at the same time; a little bit of Mexico in Groningen. The grass also reflects their ethos in only producing food that is freshly made. They use only the best ingredients and wherever possible, organic.

Petroeska greeted us with a bright friendly smile, and our table was quickly covered with a starter of fresh crispy tortillas and guacamole dip, a cola and Mexican, Corona beer. From the menu we could choose between Taco’s, Tostada’s and Torta’s either separately or in combination with each other and side dishes. Every Taco on the menu comes from a different region in Mexico and its toppings are decided by what is prevalent in that area. Not knowing the sizes of the dishes we asked Petroeska’s advice and came up with a selection that we could share.

Sam’s choice was a Quesadilla taco filled with cheese and paprika and a portion of Galletas de papas, fried croquettes filled with potato, cheese, egg, jalapeno peppers and coriander. When asking his opinion about the food I got a general thumbs up. The cheese on his tortilla was ‘holy,’ and of the Galletas de papas he said, ‘it’s real, not like the McDonalds,’ a big compliment coming from an 11-year-old boy!

I chose a Tostada Fajitas, a fried corn tortilla, filled with frijoles (refried beans), strips of marinated chicken and paprika with fresh coriander hidden under a hat of melted cheese. Absolutely delicious! Tostada’s are easier to eat with the hands due to their crispiness. I also chose a Taco, Papas y chorizo, filled with potato, chorizo cheese, and green peppers, also a very tasty combination. The dishes are well thought out so that you are able to taste the ingredients independently and as a whole. All dishes are colourfully and beautifully presented and come accompanied by little side dishes of sour cream, guacamole and a chopped tomatoes and onion combination. To share, Sam and I had a Caesar salad (invented by Caesar Cardini, an Italian-born Mexican who, when a 4th of July 1924 rush depleted the kitchen's supplies, made do with what he had left, resulting in the birth of the Caesar Salad).

In Zorre you can eat as much or as little as your appetite demands. Every week there is a Quesadilla (tortilla) of the week on offer; when we visited the special was salmon and cream cheese. When trying to decide how hungry you are, their guide is:
1 Taco = a snack, 2 Taco’s = Lunch and 3 Taco’s = a meal.

They have a kid’s menu and if you are short of time, they also do take away. Zorre provides a catering service as well as workshops, for if you’d like to learn more about making your own Mexican food. For more information their website is:

After the first courses, being curious and still having enough room for a dessert, I decided to try a typical Mexican pudding, Pay de Quesos, literally ‘tart of cheese,’ which was light and tasty.

Whether Zorre is new to you or not, why not cut out the voucher on this page and take it along to Zorre (before 31st March 2011), to sample one of their freshly made Quesadilla’s absolutely free!

© Alison Day
Alison Day Design 
First published in the Connections magazine #30 Winter 2011 

Monday, 17 January 2011

What's Hot, What's Not - 'Home Keeps Moving' by Heidi Sand-Hart.

She has spent the greater part of her young life traveling all over the world, living in countries such as India, where school trips were by no means ordinary, and involved visiting jungles inhabited by tigers and elephants and crystal clear lakes. It is here too that her mother set up two orphanages, to help the unwanted baby girls rejected by their families, who would be unable to meet the demands of the customary dowry expected of them when the girl reached marrying age. So, from an early age Heidi learnt to interact with people from other cultures and had the added bonus of young Indian sisters to play with. 

Heidi perceives herself as a global nomad, as during her informative years (due to her parent’s missionary work), they generally spent no more than four years in any one place, often moving after only one or two years; as a result she attended over 9 different schools. Her life, although challenging has been unique, and although friends have been hard to make along the way, those that remain, are worth their weight in gold. Adaptation becomes the name of the game, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. One point she does make, however, is that she sees all the variety and excitement she has experienced as a gift. ‘Real life’ is rather more mundane and to try to re-create this lifestyle now as an adult would cause her to be alienated from her peers.

Often feeling mature beyond her years, and grappling with unresolved grief within, as well as the delayed adolescent rebellion (due to a highly organized and pressured nomadic existence) has meant that compiling Home Keeps Moving has been a long time in the making. It wasn’t until she came across the “Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds”, by Ruth van Reken and Dave Pollock that she was able begin to rationalize her thoughts enough to make headway and to express precisely what she thinks makes her feel different as a TCK, in comparison to others.

A cultural chameleon she certainly is, and it is interesting to hear that she has managed to build a relationship (on her own terms) with each of the three main cultures she is involved with. Of her birth country England she says: 

“Whenever I arrive in London, the familiarity makes me feel at I almost belong there”. Of Norway: “It was never more than a summer holiday destination to me, until we moved there in 1996, and it highlighted a lot of TCK tendencies to me, so for that I am grateful”. And finally, of her mother’s country, Finland: “Finland is called “the Land of a Thousand Lakes,” and I have pleasant memories of steaming hot saunas, night swims, roasting sausages on open fires, moonlit boat trips with our cousins, adventure, and beauty”.

But as to where she considers home to be: “The truthful answer is that home is wherever my family members are”.

Heidi’s book, ‘Home Keeps Moving’, provides the reader with an honest and interesting account of the life of a TCK and MK. As well as including her own experiences, for extra dimension, she has included accounts from other multi-cultural global nomads and TCKs, including her brother, Ben. Her story touches on the advantages and disadvantages of being a third culture kid in today’s world. It is a lifestyle, which can be said to provide, on the one hand, a rich education about the real world and its issues, as well as how to interact with people of many cultures, and on the other, how to deal with culture shock, continual packing and unpacking, and the inevitable restlessness caused by the lifestyle of a global nomad.

© Alison Day
Alison Day Design 

First published in the Connections magazine #30 Winter 2011