Tag Archives: gastronomic

Montreal- an unexpected foodie city !

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Loved all the places we ate our way though !
Friday night – Foxy. Super grill food , just deliciousness !

Saturday brunch at Olive + gourmando. We waited for 30 mins – it was so worth the wait !! Owned by the same people that own Foxy. I had a summer salad with pumpkin seeds , quinoa , cauliflower , chicken.
DH had eggs. We both had spritz. Yummy.

Dinner was at Le Mousso. An 11 course tasting menu ! Heavenly. We did the wine pairing to go along with it. Every dish was creative , well done , superbly thought out.

Sunday brunch , our last meal was at Lawrence. Loved the food , scene , vibe and the chilled out neighborhood. I ate the eggplant on a flatbread with egg. So ,so good.

I need to come back to try all the other restaurants this city has to offer. Till next time Montreal- you were fun to visit !
#canada #foodlovers #foodiecity #greatvacation

When in doubt , head to Italy ! 

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Italy is my favorite country in the world.  New York is where I wanted to live as a child , Italy (  Regions of Tuscany or Umbria ) are where I would love to retire. 

Day 1 in Milan. We checked in at the Bulgari. A true test of a hotel is what they do when they are in trouble. With that internet down , printers not working the hotel was in trouble. But with a smiling face and no stress visible they handed it like complete pros. 

We had the 4 th floor room , garden view. Very nice. 

Candy and a tamarind drink at the lobby. 


Drinks at the ever popular bar with outdoor seating. Felt like an oasis in a busy city. Loved it. 

We did lunch at convivum restaurant. It overlooks this piazza.  Everything is gorgeous here. 


We dined at the 2 Michelin star restaurant , Seta. We really enjoyed our meal. The lamb was one of the best I have ever eaten. ( At the Mandarin Oriental ) 


Day 1 – a success !! We also went to the gym – so that was great. Could slightly justify the over eating. 

Roganic- a culinary experience

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Dinner was highly recommended at Roganic by London foodie friends. So I booked it 2 months prior to our trip and roped in some friends to come with us.
Overall , it was absolutely amazing. Small, intimate tables , 1 seating per night ( which was brilliant ) and just 12 seats or so.
It’s an outpost of the restaurant in Lake District.

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Some yummy live butter.

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Choice of breads

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The meal was just outstanding. Interesting layers, so complex!

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This is the crowd that went to eat this meal.

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Atera- 77 Worth St- 2 michelin stars

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Atera- 77 Worth St- 2 michelin stars

It was DH b’ day today. I read about Atera in some magazine and decided to book it, since we both like innovative, gastronomic , experimental cooking. Thanks to A/ex concierge, I made the request for a table in July and promptly, in Aug ( since the restaurant only takes tables 2 months out), they got us a table for tonight, 9.30 PM. It was such a fantastic experience! Before the meal even started off, there were so many SNACKS!! ( 7 to be precise) , 10 main courses, then , 5 desserts and 2 petit fours.

Since I can’t drink currently, still managed to convince hubby to get the wine parings- which he’s glad he did, as he really did enjoy it and Scott Cameron is such a super talented sommelier.

Chef Matt, was very much around, working the kitchen and presenting the dishes to the guests. He was very friendly and open to chatting about the inspiration behind his food.

They only offer dinner service, this restaurant is best if done in a group of 4 (there is just 1 table for that), or a couples outing.

It was one of my favorite meals that I have ever had- and I highly recommend it to everyone to go. They are in the process of re-creating their menu and I can’t wait to go back in a few months, to see what the new menu tastes like.

It was worth every penny spent, and it was a really fun and enjoyable evening.

Like I told hubby- he may buy better presents for me, but when it comes to his b’day dinners- I totally rock !! ( Park Avenue Autumn, Au Passage Paris, Atera just to name a few).

If you want to read other reviews, check this out

http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/17/three-dishes-at-atera/

Good bye Eden Rock, Hello Christopher hotel, check in at Isle de France: day 2

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So, we slept well last night in our gorgeous duplex. 🙂 We were up by 9 am, ready to go to eat breakfast. It was a vast, scrumptious spread of fruits, cheese, breads, egg, bacon, chicken sausage, home made jams, fresh pressed juices, all while overlooking the beach! 🙂 Some last minute packing and then soaking up the sun in our beautiful terrace at Eden Rock. The breakfast was just super.

We left, and as always, were lost again. I had a lunch meeting with The GM at hotel Christopher. http://www.hotelchristopher.com ( the pictures on the website have not been updated since the renovation, so perhaps my pictures sell the property better.) I would not sell this necessarily to families with young kids, as I think young kids do enjoy the beach and direct access is great to have. There are 2 beaches very close to the property that one can access. It’s a great property- very contemporary, but not cold in feeling. They have 13 rooms that have a small terrace that overlooks the Ocean. Very spacious, beautiful rooms, decorated in Asian/ Italian influenced styles. The Ocean Suites, were just spectacular- on the 2nd floor, bright, great views and unobstructed views of the Ocean. The spa is one of the only ones on the island that has treatment rooms facing the ocean. Now, thats a perfect spa ! Also, some great promotions at the property- credit for your stay to be applied daily towards food or spa. The more you stay, the more you earn. One of the more affordable rooms on the Island, but the only draw back, is that it doesn’t have a beach. It has a super large infinity pool, great views, 2 fantastic restaurants. I really liked the hotels and I had happy clients return!

After lunch, we checked into Hotel Isle De France (www.isledefrance.com/ voted 4th most beautiful hotel in the Caribbean, by Conde Naste readers) and did a site inspection. The hotel is very open in feel. As soon as you walk into the property, you feel like you are on the water, it just has a very tranquil feel. The rooms are all white and light grey.

A 3 bedroom suite # 43

We decided to try dinner at Taiwan hotel, restaurant Parci. They were orignally only serving to hotel guests, but recently have

allowed other guests. It was a great recommendation.

It’s taken close to 2 hours to upload the pics and post all this, so till tomorrow night, bon nuit! 🙂

Have you been to either of these hotels? what did you think of them? share your thoughts and feedback with me.

Sicily -Day 3

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Sicily -Day 3

The morning started at 9 am with a site inspection of Villa Sant’Andrea. It was a private residence of a family and stayed for a century till 1950 till it was converted to a hotel. OE purchased it in 2010 and has been in renovation since. 60 rooms. 22 jr suites and suites total.

The hotel hadn’t opened for the season, so please excuse the pictures. So this is a great property for anyone who wants to be right on the beach, with access to Grand Hotel Timeo as well. The hotel operates a shuttle service between the 2 properties, so you can stay at either and enjoy the amenities of each one. You can also sign at each property and get billed at the end of your stay. This is a slightly younger hotel than its cousin property. I think an ideal stay would involve 3 nights at Tameo and 2 here.

http://www.hotelvillasantandrea.com/web/ovsa/villa_sant_andrea_hotel.jsp

Mt. Etna visit

Mount Etna, is an active stratovolcano on the east coast of Sicily, close to Messina and Catania. It lies above the convergent plate margin between the African Plate and the Eurasian Plate. It is the tallest active volcano in Europe, currently standing 3,329 m (10,922 ft) high, though this varies with summit eruptions. It is the highest mountain in Italy south of the Alps. Etna covers an area of 1,190 km2 (459 sq mi) with a basal circumference of 140 km. This makes it by far the largest of the three active volcanoes in Italy, being about two and a half times the height of the next largest, Mount Vesuvius. Only Mount Teide in Tenerife surpasses it in the whole of the European-North-African region.[2] In Greek Mythology, the deadly monster Typhon was trapped under this mountain by Zeus, the god of the sky, and the forges of Hephaestus were said to also be located underneath it.

Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is in an almost constant state of activity. The fertile volcanic soils support extensive agriculture, with vineyards and orchards spread across the lower slopes of the mountain and the broad Plain of Catania to the south. Due to its history of recent activity and nearby population, Mount Etna has been designated a Decade Volcano by the United Nations.

We are going to the gate Zafferana, the main entrance of the park. We are going for olive oil and honey tasting first. (it was heavenly)

Sicily has 245 days of sunshine and temperatures in the winter are 60-63 degrees.
The snow that is on the mountain 7 months a year gets collected in an artificial lake ( largest in Europe).One of the largest eruptions was in 1928-29. The volcano has not killed a single person. It has 128 craters.

We went up to the crater, it was super windy and cold, it was icy and you had to hold onto someone, for you never know if you were going to get blown away!

We then went to a vineyard Barone do Villagrande. It has been owned by the same family since 1747. We were in the town on Milo. The volcano, has made the soil super fertile, so its great for wines, olives, pistachios etc. Another interesting fact, is that the volcano, has yet to claim any lives! It flows so slowly, that before it gets too close the people have over 3 weeks to evacuate.

Taormina is a bull shaped city. Now we are at the acropolis. It’s a Greek -Roman theater. The original theater was different from what it is now. The Greek wanted to see the enemies from the height. There were chairs for the VIP’s. Then the Romans arrived and they wanted to do the gladiator fights here vs the tragedy plays that the Greeks were interested in.
The theater was enlarged-5,500 people can sit in here now. It can be evacuated in 10 minutes. They also built the structures in front of the theater. It used to be a huge 2 floor structure. It is now 1 structure.

It used to be made in Marble and carerra. It was used as the quarry of the city. In 1861 after the unification the local community decided to restore it. Restoration was done in 1955.

Castel Mola is one of the most beautiful medieval villages in Italy. Some info on it , here

http://www.castelmola.com/

Dinner:

Was a Sicilian Feast!

The course inbetween was a pasta course. In my excitement to eat the Sicilian pasta, I missed to take a picture! it was made with a duck sauce.. so , so good. I also seemed to have missed the next course- a fish course.. silly me!

We had live Sicilian singers/ performers also entertain us. We all were laughing so hard , as they were just so comical. Its ironic that the Sicilian tradergy songs end up being so lively!

Another great evening. Service was remarkable. The waiters remembered what kind of water we preferred, who preferred what kinds of wine. A great hotel, fantastic staff and a remarkable experience.

Sicily – day 2

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Breakfast was a super spread of different breads , a vast assortment of fruits , honey , cold cuts , jams and so forth. I tried the coffee granita with a brioche which was just divine!!

A brief history of Sicily- Sicily was dominated by 19 different colonies. Spanish rules for the longest for 600 years. Sicilian as a language is a mix of Spanish , Italian , French , Latin and Arabic.

Today we are going to visit Villa Cuseni. The architect was the same as the Rockfeller Robert Kitson, in a Greek theme . It was built in the 18 th century but renovated in the 1920’s. In 1843 the house was abandoned and it because German head quarters for 3 years. He returned after 3 years to find the house empty.

Casa Cuseni is a villa designed and built by the painter Robert Hawthorn Kitson in 1905. He had visited the area with his family as a young man with an artistic disposition and resolved to make his home here, far from the Victorian rigours and influence of industrial Yorkshire and his large successful family.

The house and gardens offer a harmonious mixture of art nouveau and Sicilian styles. Robert Kitson’s teacher and friend, Frank Brangwyn, designed the panelling, table, sideboard and chairs and painted a mural in the dining room.

When Robert Kitson died in 1948, his niece, Daphne Phelps, went out to Sicily to sell the house. She fell in love with the place, the country, the people and decided to stay on and have paying guests.

For the next 50 years Daphne managed and cared for Casa Cuseni, ably and affectionately assisted by Concetta and Peppino Cundari.

This villa was just reopened to the public in the last few days. It has some of the most beautiful gardens in this town. 1898 Oscar Wilde came to Sicily. Robert Kitson was in prison ( the 1st owner). In 1095 he requested the best artist to come to his home. Alfred Gast was the artist who painted the murals This was the first deception of homosexuality in painting form.

The gardens of Cuseni, are one of the  most beautiful, but due to the bad weather (unseasonable I must add), we didn’t do much of a walk around the gardens.

At lunch time we visited hotel Ashbee. It’s a boutique hotel of 25 rooms. 5 different categories. 9 rooms are suites. The next group of pictures is of the Ashbee Suite.


The pool was gorgeous.

The Ashbee suite- separate from the mail building- a private Oasis.

 

Going to the town of Savoca. The town where ‘Michael Corlioni’ got married in the Godfather movie.We visited Bar Vitelli where the movie was filmed for some scenes.

  

  

Site inspection of Hotel Timeo

Grand hotel Timeo opened in 1864 and it has only 5 rooms. There was a single family occupancy! D.H Lawrence wrote here, Lord Byron was a guest here.

31 double rooms in Villa Flora. 39 in Tameo. The double classic category is in this building. All rooms are duplex in this building. Double superior has sea view and mini terrace. Mini suite is a new category. They are bigger and great for families.

Junior suite executive there are 5 rooms with terraces. Junior suite deluxe has a balcony vs a terrace. The view of the JS deluxe is astounding as its on a higher floor. There is a terrace that has “backstage access” to the Greek Theater. It’s wonderful and great for VIP clients.

     

While I took pictures of the rooms, my pictures don’t do any justice to the hotel, so I do suggest you see the link below, to find out just how special the hotel is! http://www.grandhoteltimeo.com/web/oght/grand_hotel_timeo.jsp

Hotel is ideal for those who are seeking a family vacation, away from the noise of the city, there is a shuttle that runs from this hotel to hotel Sant Andrea (another OE property) in town.

http://www.orient-express.com/collection/hotels/villa_sant_andrea.jsp

It also has private access for VIP guests to the amphitheater, which was just amazing.

Afternoon was at leisure , we all went to do some shopping into town. The town is very cute with lots of ceramic shops, galleries, stores, boutiques etc.

Dinner was at a wonderful trattoria called ‘Tiramisu’. Just wonderful.

Short trips from Taromina

The Aeolian Islands or Lipari Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea north of Sicily, are the Aeolian Islands ; a popular tourist destination in the summer, and attract up to 200,000 visitors annually.

The largest island is Lipari. The other islands include VulcanoSalinaStromboliFilicudiAlicudiPanarea and Basiluzzo.

Stromboli erupts every 15 minutes, so its a great place to go to view this with a guide, its a long trip, a whole day with a 1 am return, but I highly recommend it.

Had a busy but great day, it was so much fun!! 🙂 Its hard to capture it all into words!