Los Enamorados Ibiza
Nu, nu e titlul unei telenovele, ci numele unui hotel nou și foarte cool în nordul Ibizei, creat de un cuplu olandezi, Rozemarijn Witte și Pierre Traversier.
Așa cum sugerează și numele, este un hotel pentru îndrăgostiți, iar sloganul lor spune: “No kids, animals, drugs and candy crush addicts”.
Prețul pentru Iulie și August este de 400 de Euro pe seară (e un hotel boutique, puține camere, cerere mare probabil), dar dacă aștepți până în Octombrie, poți găsi o cameră cu 225 Euro/noapte, ceea ce mi se pare rezonabil dacă vrei să mergi cu your better half într-o vacanță romantică pe insula spaniolă.
Mai mult decât atât, dacă pui ochii pe un obiect care îți place, ei bine, îl poți cumpăra, pentru că totul ce e în hotel e de vânzare. Tare, nu?
Fotografii de Liselore Chevalier.
Hotelul unde singura stea ești tu
Adică hotelul cu zero stele, unde poți privi stelele.
(Re)deschis de artiștii conceptuali Frank și Patrik Riklin (care instalaseră anterior (2009-2010) hotelul într-un buncăr nuclear) și Daniel Charbonnier, hotelul Null Stern constă, de fapt, într-un pat în aer liber, la aproape 2000 m altitudine, într-un sublim peisaj montan în Elveția.
Nu există acoperiș, pereți, sau băi, doar patul, două noptiere și lămpi. “Priveliștea elvețiană este construcția imaginară a noii versiuni a hotelului Null Stern”, explică frații Riklin.
Mie inițiativa mi se pare foarte cool, pentru că unde altundeva poți dormi sub cerul înstelat, în aer curat și într-un decor superb? Libertatea aceasta nu vine însă la un preț mic, 250 franci elvețieni/noapte (aproximativ 1000 lei). Sigur, o poți face și gratis, pe o bancă în parc – deși vei fi privit ca un boschetar, sau pe un șezlong, la mare, cu riscul de a fi buzunărit.
Din păcate, camera este ocupată toată vara lui 2016, dar poți încerca să o bookuiești pentru vara viitoare.
All images © Atelier für Sonderaufgaben/Null Stern
Top 5 specialty coffee shops in Bucharest
I wanted to write this for a long time now, but I was always waiting to take more photos. Call it procrastination, yeah.
I am leaving on a ski trip today and since I don’t think I will be able to post that much the next week, I decided to leave you with some good quality content to chew on (and why not, sip on) over the weekend.
So, here they are, my 5 favorite coffee shops in Bucharest, the capital of Romania, in the order I have discovered them.
The first specialty coffee shop in the city, as far as I remember, it’s located fairly central (right off Victory Way), on a quiet street. Small and intimate, it gets very crowded in the cold season. In the summer they have more tables on a terrace outside. They are roasting the beans themselves. Amazing filter and espresso and the good news is that you can also buy some for home (very good variety – El Salvador, Costa Rica, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Kenya). At night they shut down the espresso machine and the place becomes a very nice cocktail bar.
Address: Str. Lipscani, 9 – Bucharest
2. M60 Cafe
As the name suggest, this is a café rather than a coffee shop, and the difference is that they also serve meals (very good sandwiches and salads) rather than only snacks (muffins, scones, croissants). Nevertheless, you can still have a cup of good coffee here. I really enjoy their cappuccino and flat white. They have great selection of cakes too. M60 has become a sort of creative hub in Bucharest – people go there on meetings or to work on their computers. Very nice atmosphere, and as a fan of The New Yorker magazine, I really appreciate their up-to-date stock.
Address: Strada Mendeleev, 2 – Bucharest
Every time I go to one of their locations it reminds me of the coffee shops in New York: very cute and small and perfect if you’re in a hurry. These guys have teamed up with Origo Roastery and they are selling very good coffee usually in to-go cups. They too attract a cool crowd.
Address: Strada Uruguay, 22 – Bucharest / Strada Visarion, 2 – Bucharest
The people behind Frudisiac have literally built a small Scandinavian barn in the middle of the city as their location. And, as you would probably expect, it’s great (on the outside as well as on the inside). They serve amazing coffee from Drop Coffee Roasters from Stockholm and also cold pressed juices and healthy food. I also appreciated the fact that they were carrying issues of Kinfolk magazine. The barista is a very nice guy and very knowledgeable about his coffee and his tools.
Address: Intrarea Bitolia, 4 – Bucharest
They just opened recently and they are young and passionate about coffee. Their barista, Cosmin, has participated in multiple competitions and won several awards, so you’re in good hands. Featuring coffee from different roasters, you will certainly find your perfect cup here. They’re located on a quiet street and it’s more of a place where you’d go and have coffee and talks with friends rather than by yourself.
Address: Strada George Vraca, 7 – Bucharest
Well, that’s about it. Have a great weekend!
A New York City guide
When I have been asked recently to give a few suggestions of cool places to go to in New York City, I decided to write this guide for anyone else who travels to The Big Apple in the near future.
First of all, if you are staying in a hotel – even though I suggest using Airbnb, for obvious financial reasons – I would pick one of the following: The Standard by the High Line, The Bowery Hotel, The Ace Hotel or if you have an unlimited budget, The Mercer, greatly located in Soho.
The quickest way to get around is by subway – you can buy an unlimited 7-days/30-days pass at every station. If you are a picky person and you find the subway too dirty, there are of course, yellow cabs and ubers. Their price is similar so you might find it easier to whistle for a cab and hop on one than to wait for the uber to come, and you can pay with cards/apple pay in every yellow cab so don’t worry if you don’t have cash on you.
For breakfast I would recommend you stop at Russ & Daughters Cafe, more exactly for a bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon. It’s a NYC thing.
The best coffee you’ll find at Toby’s Estate. I love their Brooklyn location the best, but they have two in the city as well. One near Flat Iron District, and one in the West Village.
I would also mention Brooklyn Roasting Co , Cafe Grumpy, Grounded – on West Broadway, La Colombe, or McNally Jackson – a coffee shop in a bookstore (the perfect combo).
Lunch: Cafe Habana, Gaia Italian Cafe (amazing unpretentious Italian dishes) Cafe Gitane, Butcher’s Daughter – for healthy/vegan options, Jack’s Wife Freda (also perfect for brunch on weekends). The special mention here is La Esquina – I would get the quesadilla with chicken to go.
Best weekend brunch: RinTinTin, The Smile, Dimes.
After you eat at one of these places on a Saturday, make sure you don’t miss the Lavo Brunch (you can eat there as well), but the party starts around 3:30. The door is pretty hard, so consider spending some money there. Trust me, if you like to party, this is the place you want to be on a Saturday afternoon.
Dinner: for a “no secrets” dinner date, go to Buvette. No secrets because the tables are close to each other and you can hear what others are talking. But the food here is to die for. A good wine list with affordable prices and the restaurant is small and cozy. For an earlier dinner (or a late lunch) try their sister restaurant, Via Carota for Italian dishes instead of French and for the best Negroni.
Other good restaurants for dinner: Freemans, The Fat Radish, Gemma at the Bowery Hotel, Indochine, or if you are going on a date, try to make a reservation for a booth at Balthazar. You’ll love the setup.
If you want to party, Acme is a great place to go to on a Friday/Saturday night. For electronic music go to Lavo, for hip-hop go to 1Oak. Up&Down is also nice, as well as Happy Endings.
Try Magnolia Bakery for cupcakes and the best banana pudding and Veniero’s for other desserts.
The best pizza is at Di Fara. The best dumplings (and other Chinese dishes) – Joe’s Shanghai. The best burger at Minetta Tavern. Try also Burger&Barrel and Shake Shack. Best sushi (or one of the best): Blue Ribbon Sushi.
If you find yourself in Williamsburg, it is worth going to Miusa Wine Bar for a bite and a glass of American wine.
Other than that, enjoy yourself, take a walk in Central Park, eat ice-cream, feel good and have fun.
Make sure you follow MissHypeWit’s adventures in the city. She asked for the suggestions and that’s how I got to write this. You can find her on Instagram here.
And of course, don’t forget to take photos.
These are places I’ve been to and I’ve liked. Undoubtedly, there are other amazing restaurants/bars in New York City and it’s also part of the game to discover your favorites yourself.
Mast Brothers Chocolate, Brooklyn, New York
As I was wandering on the streets in Brooklyn the other day I remembered that the Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory is in the neighborhood and I decided to stop by and check their stuff out, mainly because I think they have the coolest product packaging on the market.
Rick and Michael Mast are from Iowa, but they blend perfectly in the Williamsburg landscape, where they started making chocolate in 2007.
The store is designed and curated by the brothers themselves. It’s very welcoming and representative for the brand.
As soon as you get in someone asks you if it’s the first time visiting the factory and then they are offering you an insightful look into the company’s existance and chocolate making process.
They are using cocoa beans from trees grown on small family farms, roasting them differently depending on the beans origin and grinding them slowly using a stone, after a Maya tradition.
No wonder Mast Brothers is Jared Leto’s favorite chocolate.
So give it a try but beware: chocolate is addictve. Enjoy responsibly!
Nashville, Tennessee, part II
The second day I decided to stay in the city and wander around. There were some cool spots that I’ve heard about and they were all scattered in the East side, over Cumberland River, so it was easy for a restless walker like me to go from place to place.
First, I got dropped at Barista Parlor. The same guy who recommended Rolf and Daughters said that this is the nicest coffee shop in Nashville and I considered him to be trustworthy so I went.
And I am so glad I did. Barista Parlor is probably the most hip café in the entire city and it reminded me a lot of Blue Bottle Coffee or Toby’s Estate Coffee in Williamsburg, only it was even cooler.
Both the interior and the people inside were effortlessly charming and that was the main difference from the coffee shops in NYC. People didn’t pretend to be someone they were not and you could’ve noticed that right away.
A huge garage, high ceilings, a few tables, the espresso bar in the middle; the art on the walls – minimalist. The baristas were bearded men wearing checked shirts and knowledgeable about the coffee they were making.
I got a sausage biscuit with orange marmalade and a black coffee. The setup was soothing. I recall writing in my diary: “What a beautiful day! And it is only 10:30 am!”
I hardly left Barista Parlor around noon and started walking towards “Mas Tacos” (another recommendation) even though I wasn’t hungry. Nashville is pretty spread out though (no wonder you don’t see anyone walking and you can easily notice obesity) so it took me a good 20 minute walk.
I don’t think this was a hangout for tourists and I felt like the people I saw there where the same (or if not, the same kind) that I saw earlier in the morning at the coffee shop.
I got Marinated Pork and Ground Beef tacos and man, they were so delicious! I thought they were even better than “La Esquina” in New York. And that’s a serious affirmation. I am not precisely good at describing food, but the tacos were juicy enough and the proportion (between the tortillas, the meat, the vegetables and the spices) was perfect. I sat and ate alone and oh, how I’ve enjoyed it!
The next thing on my map was about 30 minutes away by walk. As I said before, no one else was walking in that area so I felt like a hitchhiker going down the road, with all those cars passing by, and I got the same feeling I had a day before: the enthusiasm of the man looking for adventure… a very primary excitement for the unknown.
I stopped from time to time to take photos, in my attempt to capture what Tennessee was all about.
And I finally made it to… Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. It was rated no 1 restaurant in Nashville on TripAdvisor so I thought I should give it a try (right?!). It is so hard to say, but I think it was the best ice-cream I’ve ever had. The standard cone came with two flavors and because they were out of pistachio (which is my absolute favorite) I got a scoop of Banana French Toast and one of Salty Caramel. It was rich in flavor and the combination was divine. This is how it looked like:
There were only a few customers so I ate my dessert quietly at a table before getting back to Lower Broadway where I was meeting some friends. This time I took the bus.
Looking back at this trip, I can’t help but wonder how I’ve done so much in so little time and how my stomach endured the caloric battle I’ve put him through. What I really miss though is the well-being that I felt those days. How can I get THAT back? Was that what we call in common language…happiness?
Nashville, Tennessee, part I
I landed in Nashville after a two and a half hour flight from New York City. I was really excited about this trip, both because I had to work with some good old friends and because I had a couple of days off so I could explore the city. I had been to Memphis before and I enjoyed it, but I was too young to understand some things that I was now aware of – especially cultural wise.
The chauffeur who was waiting for me at the airport was a kind man and he had a strong southern accent. I asked him for a few tips of what should I do while I’m there, but he told me things that I already knew about from my previous research.
The hotel was located in Midtown. I dropped my bags, took a shower and my first stop was Jack’s Bar-b-q on Lower Broadway, which was (at least from what I read) an important landmark on the Nashville’s touristic map.
The setup was really nice indeed. I had pork shoulder with potato salad and mac’n’cheese. The pork was good, but the meal didn’t raise up to my expectation of what southern cuisine should be like. Then I stopped at Mike’s Ice-Cream, on the same street. Again, the dessert was good but I’ve had better before.
A few hours later, I went to dinner with my new friend, Nick Fouquet. We chose Rolf and Daughters – which is maybe the best restaurant in Nashville – a cool, hip place that somehow reminded me of the restaurant scene in Philadelphia, in terms of the quality of food and the quality of service. It’s a pity I didn’t take photos there. I highly recommend the Chicken pâté and the lamb meatballs though.
The next morning I rented a car, after a long bargain with the employees who didn’t want to rent it to me because I didn’t have a credit card. I acted like they’re going to ruin my trip and managed to get a ride for the day. And so I went on a road-trip down south. My goal was to get to the Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg.
I figured that since it is kind of on my way I should also stop by Loveless Cafe, which was a must-see place from the reviews that I’ve read.
I drove around 30 minutes and when I got there it started snowing. It wasn’t cold out, so as I was walking towards the restaurant I enjoyed the snowflakes falling slowly and fairily to the ground.
At first I thought the place looked like a nicer scene from Twin Peaks, but still creepy. My impresion quickly vanished though when I heard the people laughing and talking joyfully as they were waiting to be seated.
It was warm inside and it was smelling like home cooked food. The visitors appeared to me as if they were under a magic spell which made them better persons and myself too I was about to fall under that incantation when I got seated.
It was already noon and I hadn’t eaten yet. The drive, the wait, the smell, they all added up to my hunger and I was craving breakfast right away. I remember the waiter -who was extremely attentive- telling me to choose either no. 4 from the Breakfast Platters, or no. 5 from the Plates. I chose no. 4, which was Pit-cooked Pork Barbeque with sunny side up eggs and a side of potatoes (cooked in a french way, with cheese and cream). I also got fresh, hot biscuits with their homemade preserves (in three flavors: strawberry, blueberry and peach). And of course, coffee with milk.
The food was beyond delicious and one of the tastiest breakfasts (lunches?) I’ve had in a long time. The service – irreproachable. I said to myself: ‘Now that’s the real southern food’. I just wanted to stay there all day and try all the things on the menu. I was so full though that I could barely move and I realised it was time to go if I wanted to get to the distillery in time.
So here I was, on the road again, listening to country music on the radio. All by myself, like in most of my pilgrimages, floating in the calmness of my thoughts, trying to visualise beyond the aperture that my eyes were seeing in the narrow landscape. I was happy in a strangely, hard to depict way and I was trying to figure out where does that feeling come from.
The Jack Daniel’s Distillery was a very interesting place and I learned many details that I didn’t know about Jack Daniels – the person and the whiskey – on the tour that I took there. Trying to write down all of them would be futile, but an astonishing fact is that the entire world production is made at that only settlement in Lynchburg.
On my way back I saw many Waffle Houses and fast-food restaurants every other couple of miles, but I kept on going as I was still satiated from the great meal I’ve had at Loveless Cafe.
Close to Nashville I watched the sun setting and I secretly wished that the drive was never-ending and that my journey will always be within the state of fulfillment I have experienced earlier that day.
After teasing us with a warm and bright weekend, the weather almighty has chosen to go back to dull, snowy days. Which are not that boring after all (at least in my opinion).
That doesn’t mean I don’t want to book a ticket to Miami anymore. But I’ll rain check that for March maybe.
Instead of thinking of South Beach and rum based cocktails, I decided to let my thoughts wander among the peaks in the French Alps and I set my destination to… Courchevel, France.
Situated in the world’s biggest skiing area, the Three Valleys, Courchevel is precisely the place where you want to spend your perfect winter holiday.
Book a cozy room at one of the many luxurious Chalets in the area. Most of them look like this:
When you’re tired of cuddling and reading next to the fireplace, go take a swim.
Definitely spend a lot of time on the slopes. Courchevel is renowned for its excellent lift system which is “virtually queue free, even at the busiest of times”.
And when you think you had enough, stop by one of the bars on the resort.
If it’s a Saturday, take your friends out for brunch and drink as many Mimosas as you can, but don’t go skiing after that. Enjoy the live music.
As a matter of fact, if you have a Black Amex, you could actually get on the first plane and do exactly what I’ve just imagined. Otherwise, make the best out of your last days of winter, whether you’re at the mountains, whether you’re in a grey, boring city – go out with your friends and have a toast for the upcoming sunny days of spring.
And don’t forget to buy flowers to all your girl-friends on March 1st.
Cafe Habana, Soho, New York
De îndată ce am ajuns în New York, am vrut să mă (re)întorc la localul meu preferat – cel puțin pentru prânz – de pe Prince Street. Se numește Cafe Habana și este, după părerea mea, un loc hip, perfect pentru după amiezele calde și leneșe ale acestui Octombrie.
Acum am mers cu amicul meu, Irving.