Category: Nat’s Restaurants

You know that in the United States Mac & Cheese is as common as Hamburgers. All the restaurants put on their menu, and add a twist: you can have with truffles, with bacon, with a different kind of cheese, with lobster or with other substitute.

It is a dish revised so many times that you can write a book about it. You can compare the recipes and compare the restaurants.

We all know that when you add bacon or truffles to any dish the taste is amazing. You can eat shoe soles with these ingredients and you will be happy. So on my mini quest of the best mac and cheese, I am eliminating those cheaters.

What I look for is the best simple mac and cheese (without the fancy toppings).

I think I found it at Beecher’s Handmade Cheese. They even call it on their menu “the world’s best Mac & Cheese”. I don’t know if it is the best, but it surely is one of my favorites. The macaroni are cooked perfectly, and they use their own cheese: one year aged just jack cheese. It’s creamy texture, and its rich flavor makes to this mac and cheese a heavenly taste.

If you are craving for an amazing mac and cheese, don’t think twice go to Beecher’s Handmade Cheese. If you cannot go, good news, you can order online.

The only bad news, I didn’t like many other things on the menu. The downstairs bar, where you can eat is really nice. What I advise is to go have few drinks during happy hour. Then eat your mac and cheese to soak the alcohol and go home with a happy tummy ;)

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 Sardinia you just enjoy life. After the happy hour, and before hitting the clubs, you make a stopover at the restaurants….

There are few classics, and Gianni Pedrinelli is from far the best restaurant in the Emerald Coast. Not only the décor, but also the food and the crowd… You can sit inside or in summer at the terrace. I love the terrace as it is overlooking the garden, with flowing white curtains…. It is a magic atmosphere where you taste delicious food.

If you go there, I highly advise you to take the antipasti buffet. All products are fresh and you have a big variety. For main courses, the scampis are to die for or even their pastas. Actually everything is yummy, even their Scaloppine Milanese.

My evening was perfect, the only funny and, as my mom said inappropriate moment, was when the short waiter asked me if he could offer me drinks after. I seriously think it is funny, and chapeau for his courage… but on the other side my mom is right, we are not in a bar, we are in a 5 star restaurant.

Anyway, that didn’t ruin my evening off course, and to be honest it was so good that I went back to taste different dishes ;)

In Porto Cervo Sardinia, the biggest moment for me is the aperitivo… what else from someone who just loves to drink and eat.

Every day, around 6.30 – 7pm, I sit at the Piazza, order my white wine or Bellini, nibble the little appetizers they bring and observe the people.

The Piazza in Porto Cervo starts populating after 7pm… you have a bit of everything…. Families with kids running around, ladies who think they are dressed to kill (but actually dressed to be laughed at and maybe catch a few “Clients”), celebrities, shoppers and my personal favorite: people who got tanned directly near the sun. These people don’t have the nice summer glow, they are not the lobsters… they have more the “leather look”.

The Piazza in Porto Cervo is not the only happening happy hour spot. “Phi Beach” is another great place, where the sunset is breath taking, and the music takes you to another world.
The only advice I can give you is “do not wear your high heels”. It is a sand beach and believe me walking with heels is a challenge, and let’s say it kills all your style when you fall ;)
At Phi Beach, the crowd is different: not that many kids, but full of hotties drinking and dancing until the sun sets.

People are dressed in “special beachwear”. You know the kind of outfit that you pay a lot but never wear at the beach, because it is too dressy? Well good news, you can wear them at Phi Beach…

When finally the sun sets in Costa Smeralda, you can finally finish your drinks and go for your dinner…. that is another adventure, another post :)

This week-end I went to Castroverde de Campos for the christening of the Petit Bon Bon. She is the daughter of my spiritual son and Miss Speakeasy.

Castroverde de Campos is located 260 km from Madrid, so let me tell you: it was a long trip. This little village with not more than 400 inhabitants is the hometown of Miss Speakeasy’s mom. And has one of the best restaurants that I have ever been: Mesón del Labrador.

The restaurant owner is Miss Speakeasy’s uncle, and the mayor of the village and the owner of basically everything in the village. I call him “El Hefe” ( (the boss), although he claims to be a bohemian ;)

The restaurant is a family business; his wife and son work with him and they have an amazing team.

The Mesón del Labrador attracts a lot of people from all around Spain and the world. Lately, the Spanish prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero had dinner there.

The food is composed of traditional Spanish cuisine revised with influences from all around the world.

El Hefe keeps traveling and giving classes all around the world, and this helps him to bring some new ideas to his cuisine.

We were lucky to taste his food on several days… either at his restaurant, or at his sister’s house, or even during the evening of the christening when he catered the hotel. The highlights of my pallet festival? The foie gras, the pulpo (the octopus), the beef and the veal chops (all grown in the region), the Paella Valenciana (saffron rice with fresh sea food and meat), the white beans (their typical way of doing it, with sauce and meat), l’empenada (stuffed pastry), the boquerones (white anchovies) and off course, all the tapas including my favorite La Pata Negra (cured ham made from cross-bred pigs as long as they are at least 75% ibérico.)

I understand why he has such a success: his food is tasty, his service is lovely and the most important thing is his passion.

I am going back, and I highly recommend all of you to make the same… believe me it is worth every kilometer you do ;)

Nuteras is located on the rooftop of the 200 year old historical building of “Passage de Petit Champs” called “Nupera” in Beyoglu district.

You have the chance to dine with a breath taking view of Istanbul with an International menu.

When I joined the girls for drinks, I was lucky enough to catch the sunset on Istanbul. You know there are some places when you arrive, you simply feel good… well Nuteras is that kind of place. You just want to enjoy the moment.

When we finally sat at our table, we have ordered some Turkish appetizers to start with: Lahmacun (Turkish mini pizza’s with ground beef, tomatoes, mint and onions on top), Pides and meat balls on aubergine puree.

They were all quite tasty, then everybody took a different entrée, I have opted for the lamb chops.

It was a great night: the food yummy, the service great, the atmosphere amazing… OMG, did I finally found a spot where I have no criticism to make????

And I haven’t talked about the best yet, the DJ that comes around 11pm… I don’t think he put one song that I disliked…

I am telling you Nuteras is a keeper. A great place for dates, group reunions and even to bring your friends from outside town…

Just next to the House Hotel in Nisantasi, you have the restaurant Kirinti. This restaurant opened its door on the Asian side of Istanbul in summer 1981, with only 35 seats. Thanks to the quality of food, it quickly started to grow and started to opened more branches all around the city.

Their menu can be easily called a book. You have all kind of food that you can think. Normally I am very suspicious about menus that have too many cuisines, but I was nicely surprised. I ordered beef strings on aubergine puree (typical Turkish dish). It was simply delicious.

The crowd was composed of a bit of everything, few tourist, lots of locals who just stopped by to grab a bite. Will I say it is a pick up place??? Noooo. It is just a great spot to eat something if you need a break from shopping or if you are with people who has different envies.

My big disappointment was the service. To catch the waiters attention was a workout in itself. You know the kind of waiters who just walks around and pretends to be busy, while their tables are waiting to order or to pay or to be served???? I think if they wanna keep their success, they should properly train the stuff and not get cheap labor by hiring kids from the villages.

Overall, if you are around and have no idea where to eat (and you are in no rush), swing by Kirinti. The food is good, and the location very practical.

I have decided to go to Istanbul for few days, for business and lots of pleasure. You know I keep telling you about my favorite hotel in the city, Radisson Blu in Ortakoy.

This time they have disappointed me as the usual people had left the hotel. It is still very well located, but it lost all its charm, as I don’t feel home as I used to.

So when I returned from my hometown Mersin to Istanbul, I have decided to try a new hotel, my moms favorite, House Hotel in Nisantasi.

Nisantasi is the most exclusive district for shopping, fashion, and entertainment… You can compare it to Madisson avenue in NY. House hotel is located between Prada and Prada and just few steps of Beymen (Turkey’s Bergdorf Goodman).

This luxury design boutique hotel has around 40 rooms, and an impeccable service. Its prices depend on the season, but it is worth every penny you pay for it. And to top that, don’t know if it is the quality of the eggs or the Hollandaise sauce that has an extra lemony taste… it has the best “Eggs Benedicts”.

And God knows how much I like that dish and have tried all around the world.

I think my mom is right, this hotel is really a great discovery, and you quickly start feeling at home… a luxurious home ;)

After our long lunch at Cecconi’s, we decided to continue and made a stopover at Aqua. This Hong-Kong based restaurant is located on Regent Street. The space offers 3 areas to dine and drink. I didn’t taste the restaurant as we were on a strictly liquid diet. We started at the rooftop terrace, and when the weather got cold, continued inside at the bar.

The venue is beautiful and full of singles ready to mingle…. It was so packed that they couldn’t give us a table; so we decided it was about time to check the next spot.

We went on Beauchamp Place. I don’t know very well London streets but this one I know it very well as Marroush is located there.

What is Marroush, the best shawarma (is an Arab sandwich-like wrap of shaved meat) place that you can find after a long night out. Sometimes I only go out, so I can end up at Maroush and eat the yummy food…

We decided to start our Beauchamp experience at Nozomi, but the doorman, excited about his power of entrance, decided to let in half of the group. Thanks God he did that cause we ended to a much better place: Ciro’s Pomodoro.

You know I love discovering little secret spots… When we went down the narrow staircase the door opened to a cave full of people, a live band and a great smell of pizza.

My favorite blonde told me that apparently this spot is known by lots of soccer players on Sunday nights and celebrities. So I guess I haven’t discovered the place, but I highly recommend everyone to go there.

We had drinks at the bar while waiting for our table. The place was packed, and the live music band was amazing. Especially the second band was full of hotties ;)

The crowd was composed of singles and doubles. Don’t know if it is the right spot for a date, but definitely the right spot to spend a great night with friends. Don’t know if it is because of my liquid diet, but everybody seemed good looking….

It was a perfect way of finishing my long first day in London. And guess what, I didn’t even need to go to Maroush, as besides the good ambiance, we had good food, as well ;)

This week-end my friend’s (the Meerkat) husband (M. Deco) asked to all of us to join them in London, to celebrate her birthday.

You know me… they say party with friends, well I am there. Especially when it is for the Meerkat, as she was my partner in crime when we were both singles in New York. We did lots of Safari nights in the city ;)

Once in London, we all met at the hotel for bubbles and go to our favorite restaurant, “Cecconi’s”. The group was composed of the London usual suspects, the Meerkat and M. Deco, Miss Speakeasy with her man (my spiritual son), the party animal (believe me no party is the same without her) and later the Tornado joined us.

Cecconi’s, located in Mayfair, is an Italian restaurant with Venitian inspired food. My favorite part of the restaurant is the booths. They are all covered in dark green velvet, and you feel so comfy that you don’t want to leave your table. I guess that is one of the reasons that making a reservation is very hard… Thanks God M. Deco has connections and he makes it happen every time I fly to London.

We ordered few appetizers to share, then some people took pasta some other meat. Let’s be honest I don’t go to Cecconi’s mainly for food. Cecconi’s means, an incredible crowd and ambiance. I think I have never seen that restaurant empty. I am not talking about the usual breakfast, lunch or dinner times, I am talking about between those hours.

Another good point of Cecconi’s is is the crowd, ok you have some occasional “professionals”, but it is full of cute men and women, ready to mingle and have a great time.

I will say to the singles, the perfect place to have a drink at the bar. It is a win win situation: you will always have a good time, but you can also meet your mate ;)

We started at Cecconi’s at 3pm, we were 6 people… at passed 7pm, we were 10 very “happy and loud” people.

Once again, I had a blast. Of course, the company was amazing, and we can enjoy even a bad location; but Cecconi’s has this vibe that just makes you feel good…. Maybe not that much the following day, but that’s another post….