Rogier recommended a particular Frituur -- Lucienne en Erik -- a favorite of his when he lived in Maastricht.
Even the most unstructured trip needs one or two goals! I thought that it would be fun to follow Rogier's recommendation, visit Lucienne en Erik, and check out their Frites. And eventually, I did exactly that.
Last Friday morning I left my big soaking tub in Maastricht -- clean, relaxed, and with a very open-ended agenda for the day: nothing planned! Decided that it would be a good day for a ride into Belgium, and a visit to Lucienne en Erik.
The bike ride was great! Easy cycling out of Maastricht and into the country. Crossing into Belgium was transparent -- no border formalities, no checkpoint, the color of the bike path changed and not much more. This is how all border crossings would be in a perfect world.
Eventually reached the destination town, and spotted Lucienne en Erik. But they were closed! I was desolate. I'd come thousands of miles for some of their fries... and the shutters were down. Then I realized that it was still before noon, and fries are not a breakfast food in any normal sense... so maybe I was just too early? So I hung out on a bench in nice little "pocket square" until noon, then had a very strange experience: bells rang for Noon, but rather than ringing 12 times..., they rung 100+ times! I started counting well into their extended performance, after I realised "this is odd"... then counted at least another 60 peals. What was that about? Maybe a church bell warning to the townspeople: "Frites forager on folding bike in town square, lock up your spuds!"?
Eventually the noon bell extravaganza stopped. I went back to L&E's, and they were open! By 12:15, locals were lined up at the counter, so this was very clearly a Neighborhood Institution, not a Let's eat! Frituur.
Brief conversation with the two people behind the counter: "A friend of mine in California comes from around here, and he tells me you have excellent frites! He suggested I try a medium portion, extra crispy, with Mayo. Possible?"
Here is a rundown on the experience:
Frites: Excellent! Crispy overall, some skins, with a 'bonus' surprising find: lots of good extra-crispys at the bottom of the portion.
Sauce: Mayo was fresh, light, slightly tangy. For all I know it came out of 50 gallon drum, but it was good!
Attitude: Very professional, down to earth, with pride in their operation.
Their question to me as I left: "So did your friend tell the truth?"
My answer: "Yes! Dank u wel!"