Thursday, September 6, 2012

Silves restaurant

You see, I was on holiday...and this is why, for the first time in 6 months I had a chance to read How To Spend It completely with all the detail.

Sure enough, there was an article about the 2 Michelin star restaurants in Portugal...but these were not the ones that interest me. I am much more curios to visit the place the author mentioned in the very end of his article. Silves and the restaurant Restaurante Marisqueira Casa Velha - apparently a typical portuguese place with superb seafood. He recommends the wreckfish aka stone bass.

Will report back once I get my feet into Portugal.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Another one for the wish list - Marseille - Mama Shelter

I am trying to eliminate the newspaper cutouts in my household as they are making me claustrophobic. So here is another wish list entry - again from FT's How To Spend It.

Marseille - accommodation: Mama Shelter Marseille. Check out their website! Inviting! and still in my price range too - as there are plenty of other fabulous accommodations featured but way out of by price range and until now will stay out of my wish list.

Anyways, apparently, according to FT HTSI the lobby has a 4m long table-football game for up to 18 people.

And there is a Mama Shelter Paris too.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sirolo - Restaurant La Cambusa

We ate here 4 nights out of 7. The three other nights we thought to try other restaurants and were utterly disappointed.

This place is not on the main piazza but on a side street. It is a small and lovely place with a few tables and a familial atmosphere. I must admit that there are restaurants in Sirolo with a nicer view as Sirolo is on top of a cliff overlooking the sea and La Cambusa sadly is not one of these restaurants. We did not mind. I prefer good food and good service over a view. We tried these 'restaurants with a view' too and we only liked the view. The area and streets around La Cambusa gave an insights to the lives of the local italians - you could hear the telegiornale (news) from an open window, two houses over an family set the table in front of their house to eat outside, the doors and windows were open and for the evening you felt as if you were not dining in a restaurant with your family but you were part of the entire town.

In addition, in La Cambusa the service was excellent.

We have been a bit weary lately with our 2 year old to go to restaurants. He eats nicely and never demands "kids menu" but ... keeping him sitting for c.2 hours plus is a challenge. La Cambusa gave us a nice table (that became "our" table) at the end of the street and L. was free to roam around the streets nearby as the center is closed to traffic.

During the course of these four evenings we had a chance to try out quite a large selection of their menu. We liked it all. My italian husband said that there was one food that was not excellent, but admitted that he was at fault for ordering it as he should have known that there was a ban on fishing in the region and the fish he ordered is good only is caught and cooked on the same day. Everything else, excellent!

I do not know exactly how to express my gratitude towards La Cambuso. Eating is such an important part of our lives and we enjoy eating out and we were afraid that L would not allow us this luxury over the holidays (God knows we have been trying to educate him on restaurant behaviour - but...). We try and we try and often you go to restaurants and yes, they have a child seat, and yes, they have a children's menu (the purpose of which escapes me) but the looks on their faces when you come in with a kid say it all: "PLEASE GO!". However, La Cambusa was not like that. OK, they did not have a child seat but they were welcoming, they thought of ways to make our lives easier (location of our table - cleaning L's fish before bringing it to the table) and they made our holiday that much better as eating out was an enjoyable experience for the entire family.

I highly recommend. The address is Via Cialdini 13, Sirolo, Italy. And the only way I could think to thank them was to write a raving review on Tripadvisor!

Here are some photos:

Our table:

The food:
L eating fried rosmarine

My absolute favourite!

Paris - to do

I love reading the FT Weekend How To Spend It section.

I love the pretty things even though they have a price tag that is way out of my reach and sometimes I really wonder, who are these people who are buying these. Mostly I love the fact that even though the magazine is all about the best of the best, it is still humble.

One of my favourite sections of the magazine is Perfect Weekend and I am linking here Pierre Herme's Paris perfect weekend as I want to remember the places he talks about for next time we go to Paris. Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bouneweger Stuff

I find most cafes and bars in Luxembourg either boring or stuffy. Not at all the types of places you would like to hang out more than once. So I was interested to see in the Good Idea newsflash an ad for Bouneweger Stuff: Link here

Cannot wait to try it out!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Brunch in NoLita - Cafe Habana

If the place looks the same, smells the same, tastes the same, feels the same and is still the same way completely full 3 years later - they must be doing something right!

I welcome you to Cafe Habana in New York. An amazing place to have brunch or lunch or breakfast or dinner. It is very close to where I used to live in NY so we went there as often as we could.

From the outside

As the name implies they serve Cuban food. I cannot comment on the ethnicity of it as I have never been to Cuba. However, the food at Cafe Habana makes me want to go to Cuba. We have had pretty much everything on the menu and if you can only make it there once, I would recommend the corn (which I just learned from their website is Mexican style) and the cocktails. Everything else is the icing on the cake. 


Eating corn

The place itself is relaxed, loud and messy in the best possible way. It's ALIVE! and when you are there, you feel ALIVE. I would not go there in my evening gown but 'just off the beach' wear. Really, if this place was not in the middle of the concrete jungle they could as well lift it and place it just next to a beach and it would fit there beautifully.

Now - as usual, a picture is worth a thousand words (especially if the writer is me...) so here are some more:

Highly, highly recommended!!!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Brunch in Brooklyn: Vinegar Hill House

I would have never found it if it was not for M-L. There is no sign outside and I had not heard of it before. Lucky for us that our favourite local knew where to go. We also timed our arrival perfectly as we got the last free table and suddenly after us there was a long line of people wanting to come in to this wonderful place. As it is mainly a walk-in restaurant then timing is everything!

I said Wonderful? Yes. I thought so. It was a lovely mixture of French and Italian and American and being in your friend's summerhouse. The place itself is small with small tables and little space between tables. Luckily still enough space that you are not forced to hear every word the other table says. (About this later in another post). The interior design looks like someone went to the local flea market and bought a whole lot of things they liked and then found a place for each and every one of these things. I liked the interior but completely loved the garden that I saw in the back (on my way to the toilet). Had we known about the garden beforehand we would have probably asked to be seated there. Next time...

I also liked, scrap that, loved the service. They were kind and helpful and not at all in a fake way. They were accommodating to people coming in who clearly had had a late night before as well as families with babies. Somehow, smoothly, they fit us all in so that the overall atmosphere was such that I really did not want to leave.

Now, for the food and drinks:

As we got there around...hmmmm....13 to have breakfast we started off of course with a couple of mimosas. Delicious.

Then I had an 'Sunny duck egg': egg on toast and salad with spicy sauce which was quite frankly amazing and the duck meat hidden below was like a trying to get the picture at the bottom of your plate when you were a child. The pleasure of finally getting to it was truly satisfactory:

We were way too full for dessert, but decided to try this drink everyone seemed to be having:

And even though it looks cool and is served in a huge plastic cup I strongly advise against it. It was disgusting (sorry). But really. My best guess is that this serves as a hangover drink, for which it would be quite perfect. However, with no hangover...stay clear!

Highly recommended if you are in Brooklyn and need a place for a lovely brunch!

Check out their menus and info on their website 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Restaurants to try: Antwerpen

As usual, we turned to the NYTimes travel section when looking for travel tips and advice before our Antwerpen trip.I did not make it to all the restos they recommend so I quickly quote them here, as I want to remember to go there next time

This is from the article A Fashion-Forward guide to Antwerp: 

"Graanmarkt 13’s restaurant is overseen by the young, talented chef Seppe Nobels, who trained at Michelin star establishments (Graanmarkt 13; 23-3-337-7991; By day it serves country club food like caviar and club sandwiches; at night Mr. Nobels offers modern versions of European classics like beef carpaccio with foie gras and pork cheeks cooked sous-vide with spring vegetables.

Antwerp’s local fashion crowd and academy students tend to hang out and drink coffee at either Biologisch Dynamische Bakkerij (Volkstraat 17; 32-3-216-0042), a cozy organic bakery and cafe, or the Cafe ‘In de Roscam’ (Vrijdagmarkt 12; 32-486-425-606), which hosts a festive Sunday brunch.

Almost a year before the anticipated May opening of the Museum aan de Stroom, the museum’s ground-floor Storm cafe (Hanzestedenplaats 5; 32-3-231-4300; started drawing crowds of locals curious to check on the building’s progress. And they keep returning — for the harbor views, tasty sandwiches and, on occasional Saturday nights, live music."

I must say, I was pleasantly surprised when now I saw from 'restaurants we recommend' in the NY Travel section Chez Fred being one of the 8 top restaurants and having a New York Times pick. Go Fred!  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Antwerpen - YOUR

As I am in the shopping mindset, here is another one for you. YOUR in Antwerpen.

I must say that the selection in this concept store is lovely and ranges from books to small decorative items to jewelry to clothes and shoes and electronics and watches + they have a beauty salon inside the store.

BUT better than that is the Service! The Service, with a capital S is absolutely phenomenal in this store. The assistants are extremely helpful without being pushy and they are honest (or appear to be) in their opinions and they assist. Tremendously.

So we went in just to take a look...and we bought and bought and bought...and we are still happy with our purchases.

They call their store as: YOUR premium store for damn fine products.

I agree.

Better yet, it is open on Sundays...

and ladies, don't miss out on the YOUR shoe store across the street where you can get shoes in over 100 colours - choose from a few classic designs and put together your rainbow!

Amsterdam: de Weldaad

I know that in a year I need furniture and decorative elements. Last time in Amsterdam, just next to the lovely Apple Pie place, I found the store: de Weldaad. Yep, and I fell in love again. There was a myriad of curiosities, decorative items and furniture with real antique mixed with not-so real antique (or so is my guess). My kind of place - a place where I can wonder and get lost and a place from where I want to buy just about everything! A great place to browse and get inspiration, and hopefully, in the future, to shop!

Check out their online presence:

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Winkel: THE Apple pie

Yes yes yes! That's what I am talking about!

And now, from another angle:

Apple pie is the thing in Amsterdam. I did not know. I found out on my third visit...and now i am contemplating going back...for that apple pie.

In case you have not tried it yet, get up, and go to Winkel (Noordermarkt 43) in the Jordaan area, quickly becoming my favourite area in Amsterdam. The apple pie is lush and comes with an enormous scoop of whipped cream.

As you are next to the Noodremarkt, I recommend to check that out too! Photos to follow later....

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Antwerpen: Chez Fred

So I discovered a new city - Antwerpen. I had been reading about it for a while and people keep telling me to go there. So we went. A mere 2.5h drive from Luxembourg, it is a perfect weekend getaway destination.

We stayed in a wonderful hotel (more about that in another post) and they recommended great places to eat. For Sunday lunch/ brunch we ended up going to Chez Fred. It felt a little bit ironic, driving to Amsterdam, to go to a French restaurant, but it looked wonderful and had nice french old music as the background, and we stayed.

Oh, were we glad we stayed!  We saw two women by the window having the most delicious looking breakfast. That's exactly what we wanted after a night out! So I asked,"what are they having".Our waiter guy answered: "breakfast". It could have been snobby but, no, he was just honest, and it was what he said... breakfast. We have not found many places in Luxembourg where to get breakfast on a Sunday at 12 so we wanted that, breakfast.

And this is what it was.

We started off with fresh orange juice.

Then we got the breakfast platter + an egg (not seen in the photo)

A glass of cherry beer:

After which they brought a basket of croissants and jam. They were sooo fresh and warm that I completely forgot about taking a photo. And then, of course, coffee:

For the admirers of women in lingerie, this place is a special treat as there were huge photo prints by Marc Lagrange. If you do not know him, google him! I'd like to say that a style close to Helmut Newton....

A place to remember, and to return!

Chez Fred
Kloosterstraat 83

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Shop: Restored

The estonian speakers who read my other blog will not be surprised when I say: I love Amsterdam! I do indeed! It is because of Amsterdam that I am writing a business plan and looking hopefully into the future, albeit moving slowly, but still hopefully.

In Amsterdam there are also some of my favorite new shops, one of them being RESTORED. They have a nice online presence too at It is a beautiful little space on Haarlemmerdijk and you can get completely lost in just a few sqm. For me it has been a great find and a place I return to every time I am in Amsterdam.

They have a wonderful selection of 'things they like' from clothes to interior design to books and magazines and it is there that I discovered one of my new favorite magazines: Anthology ( I just wish they would sell this also in a place that would be more accessible to me. You lucky people of US and UK. I am jealous! I cannot be travelling to Amsterdam just to buy the next issue...can I?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Skiing dinner - la Ferme

I am trying to make it a habit to write about places that I like quickly after I visit them. Hence another post about our recent ski holiday.

We chose to live in an apartment as it is most comfortable with a small baby who has severe food allergies. Full access to fully equipped kitchen was what we wanted and had. Therefore we also opted to prepare most of our dinners ourselves. The last night, however, our friends invited us out to dine in a restaurant - la Ferme (Centre Commercial, Plagne Bellecote, tel: +33 (0)4 79 09 29 32)

It is a recommendation with reservations...

The place looked lovely. Very authentic old French ski restort type. And here comes the was underground in a shopping really, it was not authentic at all. And I could not see any windows that looked outside but I think they were all fake windows/mirrors. Nonetheless, it was cosy and with good company you quickly forgot that you were indeed in a shopping mall.

We were a group of 10 people so we ordered different things and got quite a good overview of the menu. None of us were disappointed with the food. Quite the opposite. We were close to licking our plates in the end and the foor was plentiful to start with.

Our group had: mushroom risotto (for the vegetarian among us), salad, shared cheese fondue with cold cuts, raclette and ...hmmm... cannot remember more.

Me and P had the raclette and it was delicious. A raclette is a dish that consist of melting a big round chunk of cheese with a special device and then scraping it off and eating with boiled potatoes and salad and cold cuts. The name comes from the french verb racler which means, to scrape.

As the cheese melts you take a knife and scrape the melted cheese off and eat and wait for more cheese to melt. In addition to being very good this dish is a great crowd pleaser as it is cool. A specialty in Switzerland and Savoy region of France, I recommend trying this if you are in the area.

Back to la Ferme and here is a photo of the table. You can see the fondue pot, cold cuts, salads and overall feel of the place. No white tablecloths...

The waiters were again surprisingly accommodating with all our requests and wishes and we were pleased.

We finished off the dinner with a round of génépi.

And we were very happy customers:

Another thing that was unique to the Plagne area was that they considered that people might wish to go to another village int he evenings and the lift was kept running between Belle Plagne and Plagne Bellecote until 00.45 at night. This is why we had the chance to go to Plagne Bellecote at all...

Good thinking!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Skiing lunch - d'Altitude la Bergerie

We went skiing last week to France in Plagne area and enjoyed great food in more than one restaurants. However, one for me was exceptional. Not just the food, but the atmosphere, owners, waiters, the whole package. Basically, I completely fell in love with a nice little chalet restaurant d'Altitude la Bergerie. As it is on the slopes, you can only go there for lunch. The ski map of Plagne has one of the worst mappings for restaurants that i have ever seen on a ski map so I am now not even sure where it is exactly on the slopes but it was definitely towards the Plagne Centre area.

The restaurant is full. Every day, every lunch. Even the menu says: reservations are recommended. We happened to stop there way early for lunch and were fortunate enough to get a table. People coming in 15min later had to wait for a long time.

I am used to, quite frankly, bad service, coming from Luxembourg. I do not expect great service from the french either. Maybe it is that my expectations were low...but rather I venture to believe that the service there was excellent and very friendly. I am learning french and I try to speak it every chance I get. Usually this annoys the hell out of waiters but the girl there was kind and helpful and allowed me the luxury to order in my broken french. She was also quick to bring our order with...wait for it...A SMILE on her face. This is a big deal in France.

The menu

The food itself was plenty and delicious. We chose local dishes and were not disappointed: plenty of cheese, meat and salad. Unfortunately i cannot remember what they were called.

Melted cheese with local ham

Daily special - veal stew
It was a chilly day when we found this place so we especially appreciated the fireplace in the middle of the restaurant. The chalet type decorations on the walls of old skis, old photos, etc were a wonderful added touch.
P next to the fireplace
All in all...if you go to the Plagne - go eat at la Bergerie on the slopes (there are a few others called the same name in the villages). You will not regret!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Brunch in Paris - Coco&co


Real brunch in Paris? With pancakes and fruit bowls and eggs any way you want them? Try this little eatery in the 6th Arrondissement (Saint-Germain). We went there a while ago, in March 2010, and enjoyed it. Plus it gets high points for its interior decor from me!

However, this place comes with some warnings:
1. book ahead. My sources tell me it is still full full full
2. I hear they have raised their prices. Not sure how much
3. The service is truly french. I.e., speak french! and be prepared that your order might get mixed up and /or could take a while. We were there with good company and did not even notice the wait.

I have also read the tripadvisor comments and they are horrible. I think completely unfairly but I promise to go check it out again next time we are in Paris and post an update after that.