Travel

A weekend away in Rome

Ahhh traveling – it really makes all the difference in the world. For me, there are two kinds of trips: those that are memorable because of the place you visit and those that are memorable because of the people you visit them with. But they have to be memorable!!

Rome falls in the first category. I was there last February (it was also the very first post on this blog – remember???) and had a magical time, so a few weeks back we decided to go back – this time with another group of friends but following the same concept: take a weekend away from good ol’ Brussels, to one of the best European destinations in my view. And with cheap AND convenient Ryanair flights (how rare is that…), there was no hesitation for another moment: Rome it is.

We really had a great time again. Visited some super cool restaurants, ate tons of gelato, got lost in the swarms of tourists and fell in love again with the eternal city. We even managed to fit it some artsy stuff, so as not to feel too much like tourists.

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Tourists or no tourists noone can actually resist this view. 

I love quick city trips like that, they always make me feel I did something great, fun, relaxing, different than my typical weekend in Brussels (which usually consists of visits to the market for groceries, a bit of (window) shopping around my house, and maybe a couple of coffee meetings with friends at the same places – yes, I might look 31 but I’m really 78 at heart!) My weekend in Rome was exactly as I would dream my every weekend to be – or to put it better as any blogger’s that respect themselves should be 🙂

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People watching at the Spanish steps is probably my favorite passtime.

This time around I got the chance to discover a bit more of the Monti area. COMPLETELY BEAUTIFUL in case you were wondering. The restaurants, the cobble-stone streets, the yellow lights at night, the smell of jasmine all around, the people having drinks on the street, the feeling that you’re living in a film ALL THE TIME. I couldn’t recommend it more. So close to all the touristy stuff, well-connected by means of public transport AND a completely charming neighborhood, seriously, what’s not to like?

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What I haven’t yet done in Rome and I really want to try is SHOPPING. Even looking at the Gucci window made me feel happy, I’m also thinking stalking Alessandro Michele outside the Palazzo Alberini-Cicciaproci (ie Gucci’s design HQ) at some point, snap a picture of him (or two.or a selfie with me.or just me pretending I just saw him.) (Please read this amazing article on him if you don’t feel you know the new Gucci magician very well.) I admire him for the amazing creative push he has given to the house, but then again, I was always a huge fan of Italian fashion, yes truly, I know in our day and age everyone is trying to be the cool, nonchalant french girl with the red lip and the messy hair, but I’ve always longed to be the strong, voluptuous Italian woman (yes Sophia Loren, I’m looking at you), wearing prints (Roberto Cavalli!), embroidery (Gucci!) and glitter (Versace!) I realize just now I’ve never really talked to you about my crazy love for fashion…hmm..I should definitely do some more of that.

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Most of all (and first of all), such cool trips always are the best opportunity to catch up with friends. We had the most amazing time with my two girlfriends – one traveling with me, one hosting me there. Life is great like that you know, when the only things you need are a good chat and ice cream. And Brazilian sushi which I didn’t even know existed until this trip. To the next one 🙂

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Where we ate:

  1. Gelato at La Romana: Ok, maybe people that have even read a traveler’s guide to Rome are laughing at me right now, because La Romana is supposed to be like the best gelateria in town anyway (and very famous), but it’s true I hadn’t tried it before. Don’t let the super long queue dishearten you (remember, catching up with friends is amazing, do so while waiting!) Once you’re in, you’ll feel the happiest people on earth. I have my go-to combination when it comes to ice cream – chocolate/pistachio, and I’m picky about the pistachio, and this time believe it was like I was eating an actual frozen pistachio!!! Such rich flavor, so fresh, so true….nothing like I’ve tasted in “gelaterias” outside Rome EVER.
  2. Dinner at Da Bucatino: I was so happy and full when I left this place, I thought I could roll back home like a big ball of gelato. It looks warm, traditional, delicious, busy, happy, like heaven on earth basically. Every single thing we tasted that night left us drooling for more (although we couldn’t have more because we would have a heart attack right then and there). I had the pici pasta with artichoke and bacon, a traditional roman dish, that left me so satisfied that I think I could have it every day. It looks fairly easy to make, I think I’ll give a try once at home hoping I can recreate the experience!
  3. Brazilian sushi at Temakinho: OH MY LORD. Did you even know the concept of brazilian sushi. BECAUSE I DIDN’T. I’m not a huge fan of sushi, I like it a lot of course, but it always leaves me hungry, plus I can’t have like 40 rolls because people stare. But when my friend and host suggested to try it, I was quick to accept the challenge, as I found the Japano-brazilian fusion just brilliant. And I was so glad I did. The food is amazing, the decoration of the place is worth every Instagram post (it has pineapple wallpaper for peete’s sake!), the staff is super friendly and the caipirinha normal was one of the best cocktails I’ve ever had in my entire life. I’m sure in a city like Brussels where sushi is really popular this place would make huge money…
  4. Brunch on Sunday at Queen Makeda: this was one of the richest buffes I’ve ever seen for brunch in my whole life and it comes at the price of 19 euros (with coffee and juices included – and I mean as much as you want!) True, the quality of food is top notch and the crowd so happy and vivid, let alone the restaurant itself that it’s a feast for any hipster and their Instagram account. And again people – SO.MUCH.FOOD.ARGH. (I’m actually tired of the latest trend in Brussels where brunch means scrumbled eggs with 2 slices of salmon, one cup of coffee and a glass of juice, and this is at 25 euros just because it’s brunch.) Best to book a table especially if you are a big group, however the place is rather big and could fit 2-4 people easily if you show up early enough.

What we did:

Walk around the Monti area. As our last trip was all about Testaccio, this time we thought to stay close to home (my friend who was playing host to us for the weekend leaves right next to the Colosseum, it’s pretty ridiculous and totally gorgeous!!) Walk around, pretend you’re a tourist, take millions of pictures and at night just start wandering in the little streets, it feels so romantic, so authentic, so “European” in a way…the first night we arrived we took a walk around and all we could say was “it’s so lovely” over and over again, it’s really a place that warms the heart.

What we saw:

If you happen to be in Rome until November 27, go visit Rome’s museum of modern art (MACRO), where you can live the experience of DIGITALIFE 2016. It’s a great exhibition that plays with the concepts of fluidity, rain, water, fog, but also data, 3D and algorithms. Again, we were treated greatly by the stuff who were very polite and eager to explain and even gave us a short discount when they realized the queue for one of the spectacles was too long to allows us to get in.

 

 

 

 

 

Travel

3 San Francisco restaurants

Remember how I told you my job takes me to places?

Last week, it was San Francisco. This was my third time in this beautiful city. I was there from Monday to Friday for work, but made the mistake and did not stay for the weekend as well…the result? HUUUUGE bummer that I had to leave on a rainy morning to come back to Brussels without having gotten even a glimpse of the Golden Gate bridge!!!

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Sunrise in San Francisco – view from my room in the Hyatt Regency.

What I did do however was to try three amazing restaurants that I really could not recommend more:

  1. Liholiho Yacht Club – Ok this is one of those places I would never try on my own if it wasn’t for someone to make me go in! Not because the place does not look good enough (actually it’s really pretty, with plenty of light and great buzz), but because the cuisine was described to me as “modern Hawaiian” – and I was like “what the hell, I don’t think I’ve ever even tried traditional Hawaiian!!! Liholiho is a great place to try: super friendly stuff, food that tastes fresh and real, very pleasant crowd to look at. You can either go for a date or book the Ohana table and get there with your friends. In which case, GET EVERYTHING!!!! You won’t be disappointed. The only minus? There’s not a chocolate option in desserts – unacceptable!!!
  2. Foreign cinema – Whoever thought of this concept was purely genious. Checking the menu AND the films on show? Hell yeah! This was a real gem in one of my favourite neighbourhoods, the Mission. I come from a country where open air cinemas are a big thing, and I really miss the experience of watching a classic favourite while nibbling and drinking wine. Foreign Cinema gives you this pleasure. Unfortunately, we were quite a big group and did not manage to get seated outside. I promise next time I’m in SF and the weather is good, I’m totally going – even to watch a Chuck Norris movie!!!! The only minus? It can easily get too loud if you’re sitting inside. Not necessarily the restaurant’s fault, but still….
  3. Wayfare Tavern – I don’t know why, but this restaurant made me feel a little bit like I was in New York (I’m serious when I say I don’t know why, I’ve never been in New York!) Dark wood deco, super smart people and waiters as friendly as they can be, this is definitely a place to go back to, as it is also so closely located to the hotel I usually stay in. I tried the burger, which was quite good and really decently priced (!!!) and for the first time in my life devil’s eggs. And since then I’m crying that I’ve lost so many years not having tried devil’s eggs. Me, who I love eggs. Like really love them. The restaurant comes with a private room as well that you can hire for events. I also noticed that everyone in my group was also enjoying their drinks – another plus! The only minus? We hadn’t booked a table, but were lucky ’cause we showed up at 6.30pm for an early dinner. By 8pm we had to clear our spot, which is always a bummer…

Have you ever been to any of these restaurants? Would you be tempted to go now that you read this exquisite blog post??? 🙂

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Outside Foreign Cinema – take me back to Mission, PLEAAAASE