Culinary heaven in Mexico

When NOMA lands in the street where you have your hotel for a 7 week pop-up you know that you might just have hit the right spot for great food. Yes, this is NOMA Copenhagen doing a side step in the tropics. This pop-up was already booked full out before it started and with a 700 USD cover charge this might surprise you, but probably not the foodies amongst us. While I was not in the know for this event to happen it set some great expectations for the restaurants in Tulum in general and I was not disappointed.

noma

Hartwood – one of the examples where a NYC chef with a passion for Mexican food decided to change his life and open a restaurant where his heart is. Eric Werner’s story is well described in this blog at Lucky Peach. Hartwood is an open air restaurant with amazing food using Mexican ingredients. They serve for example pulpo with vegetables you’ve never heard off, ceviche with fruit that is uncommon and all of this is mouth watering. Line up early, put your name on the list and wait knowing that it is more than worth it.

Hartwood

Mamasan – it was the first restaurant at the start of our holidays which we joined for lunch. We needed an airy space because we were just adjusting to the tropical temperatures, and Mamasan offered just that. On our zizag chairs we were tasting our first ceviche. I can tell you this was a great start of our holidays.

Mamasan

Casa Jaguar – run by Patricia Calles and her son Diego this restaurant combines Asian and Caribian food. In a stone setting with a wood fire for the kitchen, amazing dishes emerge and land on your plate. Casa Jaguar has that tropical vibe and the freshest of ingredients that are able to surprise your taste buds.

CasaJaguar

Cenzontle – this secret garden restaurant is a lovely candlelit place with Mexican style dishes with a modern twist. Ivan Angeles the owner, started as a waiter and then opened Cenzontle. It is indeed that hidden garden secluded from the rest of the world with lovely Mexican food being prepared for you. BTW he is also one of the founders of the stone building bar at the corner opposite Hartwood which serves great cocktails.

Arca – I quote from their website: Chef Maya Scales and Chef Benjamin Coe’s menu pays homage to the Yucatan Peninsula using the very best products from local beaches, farms, and the chefs’ own vegetable nursery. Their dishes change frequently according to the seasons and availability of the freshest produce. Below 8 people Arca accepts walk ins only and they can host you at the bar if you need to wait a bit. The best cocktails are prepared for you on the spot at the impressive bar.

Arca

Restaurare – not so upscale and a bit more humble is Restaurare. This vegetarian restaurant makes you turn to become vegetarian after one meal. I had a vegan tofu noodle dish which was amazing. The menu has theses dishes that seem not too interesting when you read their description, but they are amazing when you taste them. The waiter – there was just one – was running like crazy to support the restaurant which was pretty much full. Make sure not to miss it on the Tulum beach road hidden behind the trees.

restaurare

Gitano – A Mezcal Bar and a great restaurant that’s what is Gitano. With life music and parties organized throughout the week you will be sure to test some of their cocktails. And try to come early one day to test their menu. You will order different dishes like vegetables, carbs and fish/meat to form your meal and share amongst all on the table. And don’t forget the cauliflower Mole. This vegetable with the original Mexican chocolate sauce is their signature dish that you will probably see at every table.

gitano

Safari – The airstream serving as a kitchen will lure you in. This open air restaurant is really relaxed and camp (and cheap), with a lovely team bringing it all together. The fish taco’s are great, as is the ceviche, and with the drinks from the great bar you will have a wonderful evening.

Safari

All of the restaurants are in Tulum Boca Paila area, the trendy bit of Tulum. You pass by km 7.5 and the hippy part approximately one mile earlier and continue to find this culinary heaven and these trendy hotspots.

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Street art in Mexico

Mexico is an amazing colorful country. And this colorfulness also jumps out of the murals that you see when you travel through the country. I had the opportunity to spend some time in Tulum in Yucatan Mexico and view some great pieces when wandering the streets.

Aquarela

In downtown Tulum in the back streets there are the best pieces. This is one of my favorites from Aquarela a Miami based artist. The vibrant colors make this a wonderful decoration of the street with the Hotel sign matching perfectly with this surrounding.

animals

That the wild life in Mexico is an inspiration for many shows through the street art with octopuses, birds, tigers, and flamingos which I saw.

party

And how about these two pieces from different artist but both inspired by displaying a setting where creatures with animal heads are enjoying a night out. This must but a thing, so please if you know more about this style, drop me a note.

graphic

And the graphic influence has not been ignored here either. The Tulum Coffee Art club in downtown Tulum has decorated its doors with a nice black and white piece. And a few streets further I found this other graphic one.

So besides from the Mayan temples, Cenotes, beach, and all other great things to see in Mexico, don’t forget to spend some time checking the creativity on the walls.

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Paris: culture, fashion and culinary tips

Paris is  great place to go for a long weekend, and I don’t think I need to remind anybody of that. And while we probably all look for something else please find my tips in this blog for great food, a bit of fashion and culture.

Food – a coffee at Hotel Costes with a sweet or avocado lunch? It definitely gives you the feeling that you’re in a special place, so why not. Or go for lunch at Canard et Champagne, and indeed eat duck and drink Champagne. They serve 4 main dishes all with a different twist on the duck, and serve champagne as if it is water. For your  dinner check Miss Ko for an Asian modern twist with a great beat in the background or Monsieur Bleu for sophistication and amazing food with the Eiffel Tower in the background.

ParisResto

Culture – of course no visit to Paris without a visit to Palais de Tokyo. This museum of contemporary art is open each evening till midnight and has always been able to inspire and surprise me. I’ve been floating in a boat through the basement, stepped into a 3d artwork and saw amazing video art. Let me know when you go and whether you liked it. A few years ago Fondation Louis Vuitton opened in Bois de Boulogne. Currently artist Daniel Buren plastered the facade with its striking coloring. It has different exhibitions on, so when you’re done admiring the building and Daniel Buren’s artwork try to find some time to enjoy the inside. Or go to the other side of town and visit La Maison Rouge. This smaller museum often has exhibitions on that are related to French history or political developments. It is the perfect fun place to learn more about this country and its people.

ParisCulture

Fashion – when I was in Paris this year it was Fashion week. And staying in the Marais neighbourhood half of the galeries were turned into showrooms for fashion brands. It meant that fashionable people were all around and we run into fashion shoots continuously at the corner from our hotel. A lovely atmosphere. For the shops to go, I give you three tips. First always check Colette. Yes, it is overcrowded with Japanese, but as one of the first concept stores in Europe it is still able to provide trends and new cooperation with brands to look out for. Second Merci with a more relaxed environment and in a space that is able to give more attention to its brands. And third, if you’re brave enough to ring the bell and wait to be admitted, visit one (or all) of the l’eclaireur shops for a dramatic emersion in exclusive brands in a museum-like environment.

ParisFashio

Always beautiful, always authentic, always inspiring. Paris is a city that has it all and draws me in to come back over and over again.

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Go local: a visit to Bath in the UK

Yeah, I love my travels. Hopping on a plane, and transporting yourself to a location where you find inspiration, challenging environments and other forms of living. I’m totally aware that you don’t always need to travel far to find this. In the UK take a trip to Bath and you might just find all that.

Stonehenge – half an hour from Bath is Stonehenge. A circle of big stones from between 2000 – 3000 BC is a throwback in time. It is possibly a burial ground of ancient times, and when you stand there it can’t but amaze you how different that time must have been to how we live now. Make sure to book this one in, on your way to Bath.

stonehenge

Roman baths – take a leap in time and transport yourself to approximately 60 AD when the Roman baths were built that you will find in this town. This historical site in the city gave it its name when the Romans built baths and a temple in the valley of the River Avon.

romanbaths

Royal Crescent – and then in the 18th Century the Royal Crescent was built. This build of 30 terraced houses is the most iconic site in town and a great example of Georgian architecture. It is this style that is dominant all over Bath.

royalcrescent

And if you add to this a great range of historical streets with nice restaurants, good hotels and quirky shops what more excuses would you need to spend your weekend here instead of taking the plane to somewhere?

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About Mauritius: restaurants, beaches, nightlife and places to stay

Restaurants – Mauritian menus are often an eclectic mix to please the visitors and provide authentic dishes. So you will come across burgers and pizzas, but also their famous sausages, curries, and amazing seafood. In Grand Baie where I spent most of the time I found a few restaurants that I can definitely recommend. Le Capitaine is the up scale restaurant that offers this great mix, but if you want to go low-key and eat some great lobster go to Puchon in the center of town. La Botteghita is your place for great Italian food, and for the American vibe go to The Beach House. And don’t forget to check my favourite Visite Privee Restaurant, which just opened a few weeks ago and is a great place, with wonderful decoration and superb food.

If you want to really indulge yourself and feel pampered go to 20degrees Sud hotel for great cocktails, lovely food and service at their colonial restaurant. On the West coast at Belle Mare area, I would need to recommend The Plantation, with amazing sea view in The Residence resort.

foodmauritius

Beaches – the beaches in Mauritius are amazing! White sand, the blue-est waters, and the best palm trees. But where to go best? The North is supposed to have a bit less rain in general, so that could be your base. The beaches are either public (with entrepreneurial locals providing sun beds) or private beaches with hotels. The private beaches are often accessible against a day rate. One to recommend is Lux resort, there are two on the island in the North. I tried the one at Belle Mare beach and found that the service is great, the spa is wonderful, and they will for sure have secured some white sandy beach for you. For public beaches Mont Choisy is a good pick or Trou au Biches. You will join and find a local that has sun beds, and truck food in the shade to support any food or drink request you might have. If you are in the South try to visit Shanti Mauritius, which is a wonderful private resort, again accessible for a day rate. It has some great restaurants and service to your sunbed at the beach.

beachmauritius

Hotels – I stayed at a lovely apartment in Ocean Villas in Grand Baie in the North. There is a hotel adjacent so the advantage is that you can join the hotel facilities, but you are free to do so. It has a private beach which is lovely if you don’t want to bother driving around to find a good beach. At one of the next beaches you will find Mystik Hotel which is a bit more funky. It has the best rooftop bar, nice restaurant, swimming pool and a modern look and feel. If you want to go more traditional, and you have a budget to afford 5 stars check out 20degrees sud. This is a lovely colonial hotel with great service and on the beach.

hotelmauritius

Nightlife – There is nightlife in Mauritius that is to recommend to enjoy. As I spent most of the time in the North, Grand Baie, the recommendations are mainly in this area. Note that most of nightlife is happening on the weekend kicking off on Thursday. Go to Banana Beach Club for life music and a nice mix of locals and tourists. If you want to continue after there are a few options, for example club Les Enfants Terribles. This club is mainly frequented by locals and opens from approximately 11pm, and can have some great DJs on. It has a few rooms and a lovely outdoor area. Then you have OMG, and Insomnia/Vintage, where you will find an Asian crowd and popular music. But if you just want a chill after dinner, check the roof top bar at Mystik hotel for some nice tunes. I loved this one!

nightlifemauritius

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5 hard to find speakeasy bars in London

Being aware that my follower base for these blogs is still pretty low, I’m not afraid to disclose my favourite speakeasy bars in London and risk overcrowding;-). These five are all what you wish for: unique, hard to find for people not in the know, authentic, great service, and lovely drinks. So please check these out and join them on your next visit to London.

The Vault – Milroys – SOHO – Milroys is a whisky shop/bar in Soho with an elaborate collection of whiskies. But it is more like a shop than a bar, and when this comes recommended you wonder whether this is indeed the place to go. And then you walk to the back where you see a wall all covered in books and a sign pointing to a button. When you push this button, the bookshelf opens up and discloses a hidden staircase to the basement. This is where The Vault is and where you will see a lovely speakeasy bar, with great service and lovely cocktails.

thevault

Opium – Chinatown – This bar in the main street for Chinatown is also not revealing their entrance openly. On 15/16 Gerrard Street you need to ring the bell, or engage with the door men who seemed to be randomly standing in front of this Jade door. You will get up a few staircases and enter to the main bar with adjacent dim sum restaurant area. Over a few floors you will find a few bars and hidden rooms where to hide away with your best friends or lover. You will find that this bar offers a cocktail menu which will inspire and good choice of dim sum to add if you fancy a bite.

Discount Suit Company – Shoreditch – the name alone is worth a try, and it seems indeed taken from the original purpose of the building, with the name scattered amongst the facade as an advertisement. It is in the basement that you need to go, and will find the hidden gem of a bar. The bar is nice and cosy, serving great drinks and some nibbles.

discountsuitcomp

Purl – Marylebone – The word purl refers to an old English drink consisting of warm ale, gin, wormwood and spices. Expect that English feel and a warm environment to hide for a few hours with friends. The cocktail menu is really strong and if you join on a Wednesday you might be surprised by some live jazz music. I suggest as with pretty much all of these bars to make reservations before joining. In these bars the attention that they want to give to customers and the limited space, will mean that they will monitor closely the people allowed in.

69 Colebrooke Row – Islington – this is the only one of the five which is on a ground floor. It exists since 2009 and feels like you walk into somebody’s living room. You need to adjust first to the dark environment, but you will feel at home straight away by the environment and the great hospitality of the staff. It has won several awards throughout its lifetime and it shows with any cocktail or drink that you order.

colebrooke

These are just a few to consider. I can’t imagine that it will take long before I will do another one talking about ‘the next top 5’. Don’t hesitate to share me yours;-).

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8 hours in Dallas

A US city with over a million inhabitants, known for oil, cowboys and an 80s soapseries, what should you do here when you have a few hours to spare? There are a few things that I can advise you to go and do.

Knox Henderson – this area in uptown North Dallas has a few streets with quirky boutique shops in what seems a quiet neighbourhood. And note we are not talking big brands here, but a vintage clothing store with the most extensive collection (Vintage Martini), a colourful shops with all things Central America (La Mariposa), an art shop for local artist (Art is Art), a furniture store (Nest), and clothing /concept store (The Gypsy Wagon), and much more. Meanwhile you can take a break in the lovely restaurant Sissy’s and enjoy a nice lunch.

dallasshops

A local meal – you can be swept of your feet with an amazing fusion meal at the Reunion tower. On the 65th floor this upscale Wolfgang Puck restaurant with a rotating floor that slowly makes you see Dallas from all angles, serves Japanese style food with some local dishes. But if you want to go Texas style go to Bob’s Steak house, one of the premium steak houses in town that will serve you everything Texas.

reunionbuilding

Street Art – the walls of Dallas are decorated with a great mix of street art and vintage advertisement that bring back old times. Look up and you will see a different side of Dallas.

dallasstreetart

 

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