Category: Geneva

Halloween, as we know it today, is an American tradition, but it actually originated in Ireland.

It was the celebration of, “Samhain”, the transition between summer and winter. The Celtic people felt that October 31st was a time to honor the dead and try to communicate with beloved ones that died.

During the period when the Catholic Church coerced the Celtics into Christianity, it combined it with “All Saints Day” (November 1st) but also heavily encouraged prayer and religious festivities the night before.

So October 31st previously known as “Samhain”, became “All Hallows Eve”. The church even supported “All Hallows Eve” by including it on all calendars, which increased the number of people celebrating it, and soon it became a holiday commonly referred to as Halloween.

Halloween came to America only in the 1800’s, when Ireland suffered many potato famines, and Irish Catholics came to the country. Their traditions changed to accommodate their new land, so the turnips that were used for lanterns became pumpkins and evolved as a “Jack-O-Lantern.”

Halloween became very popular during the 20’s, when American cities began sponsoring costume parties and parades. Finally in the 30’s Halloween became one distinct holiday.

It was first only an adult holiday, but after World War II ended, the population exploded with the “Baby-Boom”, and the holiday extended to children.

In the 90s, “Baby-Boom” children became parents and have truly embraced Halloween. This holiday became one of the most popular holidays in America.



Now that we know the origins of Halloween. Let’s talk about what it became today.

You will think Halloween became a children holiday, where they go from house to house, to “trick or treat” and collect candies.

In the States, adults get a kick out of it, as well. They love to get dressed and party. Besides few people who gets scary or funny costumes, most of the women get sexy ones.

So every Halloween, women fight to find the sexiest costume. The streets are full of slutty nurses, slutty police officers, slutty witch, and slutty pirates. Name the costume and they will make a sexy version.

I personally don’t like to dress up, so when I am in NY, my friends have to drag me to buy a costume. First I thought it was sweet that everybody wanted to get dressed up. Then I understood why it is such a big holiday. Halloween is simply a one night stand holiday without the remorse (as you are dressed up as someone else).

I have to admit the biggest pleasure is to sit at a coffee shop the following morning, and watch all the walk of shames. The sexy bumbling bee walking without one wing and broken antennas or the slutty baby who looks like crashed baby with her make up half gone…

So tell me who regrets most last night?
The kids who ate way too much candy and have stomach aches?
Or adults who drank too much with a massive hangover and basically don’t remember the end of their night?!?!

I am so luck to be in Europe where Halloween isn’t really celebrated, I spent my night on my couch watching TV ;)

Last night with my three ladies I went to try out “Les Trois Verres” (The Three Glasses)… I guess that makes me the bottle, lol.

This restaurant is one of the latest additions in Geneva’s food industry, and I always heard very good comments about it.

After our “short” happy hour at Capocaccia that finished at 10pm, we were all happy and ready to eat something.

In Geneva, the restaurants tempt to close quite early, I guess people don’t need to work that much… To my good surprise, “I Tre Bicchieri’s” kitchen is open until 11pm and guess what, it wasn’t empty at 10.30pm. When you don’t live in Geneva, this sounds a normal thing, believe me in our city, this is a big deal.

So after spending 10 minutes choosing which table we wanted to sit (my three ladies are as demanding as I am), we found our happiness.

The menu has lots of variety; several kind of salads, lots of pastas, fish and meat.

We have all started with Tuna Tartare. I am sure by now you know I don’t eat onions and every time it is a deal breaker to ask them to prepare my tartare fresh with no onions. Well, good news, their tuna tartare with mango, doesn’t have onions, and it is delicious.

For my main courses, I opted for a Filet Mignon. I eat my filet rare; the instruction seems easy, but very often I receive it either overcooked or not enough cooked (where the outside of the steak is burned and the inside cold).

I am sure they hate me when I send it back, but a good cook should know how to make it.

At the restaurant “Les Trois Verres”, the cook made it perfect on the first go, so I give him a big A+

Overall, it was a great success. We ate and drank well, and we laughed a lot.

I will highly advise this restaurant and apparently you need to check it during happy hour. You have a lot of wine choices by the glass, and also a lot of single choices… I guess by the look.

I will probably check that in winter, so I could sit inside and enjoy their nice décor, wine and men.

Le Bistrot Dumas, is one of those neighborhood restaurants that attract not only customers living around, but also customers who appreciate a great Bouchon Lyonnais.

A bouchon is a type of restaurant found in Lyon, France. It serves traditional Lyonnaise cuisine, which is quite fatty and heavily oriented around meat.

At the beginning, it was owned by Patrice and Marie Baleno, who decided to sell it in 2000 in order to visit the world in their bike.

The new owner, Herve del Puppo, kept the same menu for several years. Only in the recent months he decided to change it with his new chef Habib Ajroudi.

Although I loved the old menu, let me tell you, I adore the new one.

Last week, I went with my Italian friend who recently moved to Geneva. He knows all the new and hip restaurants, but I like to take him to the old and real spots in Geneva. Where the quality of the food stays always excellent, and we have no risk seeing it closed if we go the following week or month.

I was on a diet, and planned to eat light. All my plans collapsed once I entered the restaurant. Diet what?!? With the smells coming out of the kitchen, I was simply starving.

I took the “Octopus Carpaccio” to start with, he went with the “Snail Cassoulet”. Now I know that some people have reservations when it comes to snails. But as you know it is not about the snail, it is about the sauce that they cook the snails. Generally it is with garlic butter, at Dumas they added some cream and white wine.

I dipped my bread in his sauce; I can confirm it is simply delicious and “very light”.

For the main course, I had the “Classic Beef Tartare”, and he had “The veal chop with Dumas Butter”. Just to keep in mind they have four different kind of tartare. Mental note: When I stop pretending to be on a diet, I need to try the tartare with the Dumas butter.

The Bistrot Dumas has a great wine list. We opted for a bottle of St Estephe (a burgundy).

Once again, I left happy the restaurant, and if I am not wrong I brought them a new client, as my Italian friend is thinking to return and bring his parents 

Bistrot Dumas can be a neighborhood restaurant, but believe me even if you don’t live around, it is worth the trip.

You know in your life there is one restaurant where you feel home. Well Auberge Communal d’Onex is where I feel that.

The first time I have been there I was around 10 years old. At that time, I was in boarding school in Lausanne, and my parents would come often to visit from Turkey.

I still remember the first time I saw the restaurant, it looked like a cottage. When we entered as the owner, Valentino and his wife (now ex wife) welcomed us at the door.

I genuinely thought we were going to dinner at my parent’s friends’ house… beautiful house.

Valentino and his staff (that never changed) saw me grow up throughout the years. Every time I go I have a feeling to be back home. They are also happy to see their once grumpy little girl becoming a woman.

The restaurant serves Italian food. When you sit they bring you several bowls right away of stuff the nibble. You have the parmesan cheese, tomatoes, radish, olives or anything that is fresh from the market.

Then you order your food. My favorite dish there is the “orecchio d’elefante”, literally the “elephant ear”. First time I was scared to see a real elephant ear on my plate, but quickly discovered that it is actually a veal Milanese, battered so thin that it becomes huge and looks like an elephant ear.

In winter, we have the chance to taste all the plate with white truffles, my favorite from far is the risotto with truffles.

What I like about Valentino’s food is that he looks what is fresh in the market, and you don’t need to open the menu. He simply tells you what are his latest market purchases and makes you a fresh salad of puntarella or artichokes.

The after dinner treats at Auberge d'Onex

The after dinner treats at Auberge d'Onex

When you finish your main courses, they bring you several jars of candy (candy that reminds you of your childhood), amaretti; bowls filled with of chocolate, fruit, chocolate mousse; plates of cannoli (Sicilian pastry dessert and my sister’s favorite), éclair and so much more…. And if you still need some more sweet, they have their dessert cart.

How can you not feel home with all this? Not that at home I have all those jars and bowls of sugar coma ;)

When you look around, you see that most of the patrons are like you, usual suspects. Valentino and his staff know each and every of them.

For the price, well it is not cheap and they don’t accept plastic (so no credit cards), so you better pass by a cash machine before going. Although lately I saw few clients paying with one… but worst, he takes your address and sends you the bill home.

When you live in Geneva, you keep complaining that there is nothing to do. Geneva is not a big city like Paris, Milan, London or New York, so you cannot expect the city to have the same attractions.

It is true that at 6 – 7pm in winter the roads are deserted, and when the temperature goes below 0 degrees Celsius, it becomes a Ghost town.

Let me tell you, life doesn’t stop after work, you can find several things to do. For example, going to the theater.

The Swiss Arthur prod is a company that brings Parisian shows to our city. They even offer you a season pass where you can purchase in advance 8 shows, and they offer you the ninth one.

The price varies between 250 chf to 810 chf according to your seat.

All the shows are at Theatre du Leman, just under the Hotel Kempinsky, Geneva.

My sister, who is a smart cookie, bought a season ticket for two. Due to my traveling, I managed to catch only two shows. I can tell you that they were very well chosen. She told me that all the selected theater shows were fun and worth every penny.

Last night we went to see a one man show, the comedian name is Olivier de Benoist. I have personally never heard about him, but I guess I was the only one (shame on me). He is one of the funniest men I have seen lately. And the public loves him.

I encourage all my French speaking peeps to give him a shot.

I know that we cannot compare Geneva Theater life to Broadway or Paris, but it is still great. I had a sneak peak of next season’s program; it is really worth it.

We all have hectic lives, between kids, work, traffic, tv, internet, blackberry, or i-phones each of us try to find a moment of peace for ourselves.

I first discovered Insens with my friend “disco girl”, we went for lunch. The minute the elevator opens, and you enter you feel great. Coming from the city noises, traffic and chaos… suddenly you find yourself in silence and calm.

They offer massages, Yoga and Pilates classes also lunch.

I have never tried the massages as I have the best massage therapist, who comes home; but my mom did, and she loved it.

I had lunch there few times. When you book for lunch, you have to choose between the vegetarian and the protein dish (the only two options). This time, we have opted for the protein dish. It was a tuna cooked black and blue with its vegetables, a tomato soup and black rice.

The presentation was as good as its taste; simply delicious.

It was so silent, that we had to talk with our inside voices; you know the voice you use when you want to chat in church, lol.

It was just a perfect moment to relax, eat well and feel just great. After lunch, we were ready to attack the afternoon with full of energies.

So if, you also need to escape your daily life chaos for a little moment, I highly advise you to go to Insens. You won’t be disappointed!!!!

In our days, everybody is addicted to their phones.

I personally sleep with my blackberry; some people even asked me if my phone was surgically attached to my hand… Who can blame me? Between the calls, the bbm, the whats app, the sms, the emails and facebook, my phone is irresistible. All my business and private data are stored in it.

I even thought to create a BAA, “Blackberry Addicts Anonymous” for myself and my friends who have the same illness.

So when I overloaded my poor blackberry with too much information, it started to get tired and freeze. That was a sign to change it and get a better version.

For the ones who don’t live in Switzerland, Swisscom is the biggest telecom company in the country. It is our T-Mobile, Verizon, Vodafon or Turkcell. You will think that they are the best… well I have my doubts.

There are few Swisscom shops in town, I went to the biggest one in the rue du Marche to get my phone. When you enter you take a ticket, like in a post office to wait your turn. When your turn arrives, you just hope to have a qualified person to help you, which is not the case most of the time.

After my purchase that cost me an arm, they have sent me to the “pro” to transfer all my data from one phone to the other. I had already backed up my phone in my computer, but I said what the hell it will make my life easier.

The pro exported all my contacts, the challenge was to start my internet and mails. You will think they are used to that, well wrong again.

After 3hours and 45 minutes, 3 calls to the expert, higher expert and highest expert they failed in the task. I have asked them if they have WIFI access, so I could get connected and make it work. They told they only have cable access… which is quite suspicious, as it is their main job.

It will be like being in a shoe store, without any shoes on shelves; you could only order them through a catalog!!!!

So, after losing my whole afternoon, they finally declared forfeit; and told me a top expert will call me for support.

I came back home frustrated, and thought let me try with the home WIFI connection.

Funnily, it took me only 7 minutes to make it work and function my phone….

I don’t even know if I need to add anything, besides I highly advise you to avoid the Swisscom shop for help. They are useless.

I know it has been a while I haven’t updated my blog… so sorry about that. Good news! Now I am back!!!!

So let me talk about my catering discovery in Geneva. When I decided to organize a party for my birthday, I just wanted to enjoy and not be bothered by the cooking and serving.

You have several catering services available in Geneva, but I wanted something different, more personal than a hotel catering.

Fusion des Sens is exactly what I looked for. After a first meeting with the owner and chef, we have decided to make a menu composed with bite size foods with all the flavors of the season.

Let me tell you, Fusions des Sens (fusion of senses) is the correct name of this catering service. We had a menu composed of 14 different dishes, where you could savor an explosion of flavors in your mouth. We had a sampling of everything: salmon tartar, burbot carpaccio, shrimps, beef, duck, foie gras, risotto, chicken and many more.

Thinking about it, I am hungry again.

They came with their staff, so I had 3 chefs working in my kitchen, delivering a show, while 3 waiters passing around with drinks and food. Every time food came out of the kitchen; it was a game to discover its components. The waiters were very sweet and funny. The owner had given them the instruction to feed me; so if I was busy talking (which we know never happens) and not eating, I was reprimanded.

Good thing that my mom was off duty and party mode that day;)

What can a girl expect more: amazing food, great service and a show that could make blush the show “Top Chef”.

With the Holiday season around the corner, if you are planning a party, don’t think twice, contact Fusions des Sens… and don’t forget to invite me ;)

When I was a kid, every Sunday we will have family lunch. My father will keep a booklet and put grades on all restaurants. He loved to make new discoveries, and we will return to the ones we liked.

Those days, I wished I was hanging out with my friends, but now I wish he was still around so we could make the discoveries together…

The other high point of our Sundays was to be lost on our way to the restaurant. Off course, the GPS didn’t exist then, and let’s admit my father didn’t have a great sense of direction… I guess now we know from whom I inherited that quality ;)

This week-end with my mom we decided to give another shot to one of my father’s restaurant. Auberge Communale de Presinge. This Italian restaurant revives so many child memories, and the food was always very good. The owners finally decided to retire and sold it to an adorable couple.

Our first surprise was to arrive there, without getting lost… Thanks God I have my Tom Tom (GPS); even though she annoys me sometimes, and we have fights…. I have to admit she is very helpful.

The last time I was at that restaurant, my nephew wasn’t even born, so at least 6 years… So I was nicely surprised that the place didn’t change at all. The menu, well it actually changed a little. I didn’t see their famous risotto.

I decided to start with the beef carpaccio and my mom with the smoked salmon. I continued with the beef tagliata, and she took the sea bass again. I hate writing this but: “it was really bad”. My carpaccio was cut very thick, it seemed it was bought from the cheap super market. My mom’s salmon was not good either, it seemed to come from a package.

My beef tagliata was good beef quality, but had no taste what so ever, my mom’s fish was ok. We ordered a lasagna and gnocchi to go for my sister, she said they were with no taste..

The worst? We paid a lot for this food. I am sorry that the food doesn’t happen there anymore: they are a lovely couple, the terrace is great, and the restaurant is full of souvenirs. Such a shame.

Will I return, I seriously doubt…

As I am still craving for the filet of perches, I decided to go to the last place where I had the most amazing ones: Le restaurant du Lac in Versoix.

This restaurant situated by the lake has a great terrace, and you never get disappointed with their food or with the service. The sunny day made it even better.

The main inspiration of the menu is fish; although they offer an amazing selection of meat as well… All products are seasonal and fresh. We decided to start with red label smoked salmon marinated with citrus fruits and virgin oil. Then the sea bass and off course, I took my filet of perches….

OMG (oh my god) they were so good. You’ll tell me with that amount of butter even a shoe sole will be delicious… lol.

They brought French fries and veggies next to it. Normally I don’t like the French fries, but they were damn crispy and good. The sea bass looked very good and fresh, but I wasn’t into grilled healthy fish… I was more into buttery delicious mini fish with French fries ;)

We finished the lunch with a crumble to share…. Ahhh where is my chica ? My all time “crumble” partner ;)

The service was perfect; I guess our waiter noticed that we had some Lebanese blood in our veins, because he tried to bond and started to put Arabic words in his sentences, lol. I don’t speak Arabic, so his efforts were worthless.

The restaurant du lac is not cheap, but is worth every penny… I will definitely return there, actually I have a feeling it will be my summer great lunch spot ;)