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I don’t know if you have been to Geisha in NYC, but it is one of my favorite sushi restaurants in town. I like their sushi because beside the fact that they are fresh and tasty, they use little rice so I feel the fish and not only the rice when I eat..
With my girl we have to go there at least once every other week. So yesterday with the bad weather and all, we decided to go to have our fix…

When I arrived, the restaurant was still packed. We ordered our regular dishes: chicken salad to share. It looks like a regular chicken salad but the miso sesame vinaigrette makes the whole difference. And believe me we tried to replicate it, it is never exactly the same taste.
We also ordered some sushis to share. I highly advise the White Tuna Crunch Roll. It is spicy hawaiian white tuna rolled with potato crunch, asparagus, topped with creamy avocado and slices of white tuna. You just want to order more and more.

By the way if you go at night, you have a bigger selection of sushis; including one with truffles called Black Truffle Tuna Sandwich, where you have diced tuna, black truffles, avocado and chives, topped with micro greens, served with spicy truffle vinaigrette… I don’t think I need to say that it is amazing.

I always order the same food but this time we ordered a new dish: the Tartar Trio, where you can sample spanish mackerel, yellowfin tuna and salmon tartar. Each of them is more delicious than the other one.

The food was as good as always, the service was a mix. We had the over happy and nice lady who check on us times to times; a model wannabe hostess who was so skinny that I wanted to throw her food (and maybe manage to make her smile), an ok waitress who took our order, and lost busboy (the “assistant” of the waiter).

Little info; in the states the restaurants have a specific chain of command: you have the hostess that welcomes you, the maitre d’ who checks if everything is fine, the waiter who takes your order, and the busboy who serves you. Generally the busboys are latinos and half of them don’t know a word of English. They don’t need to as they only serve you water and bring your dish.
But when you leave a tip (and in the US the service is not included and you have to add 15 – 20% to your final bill); the waiter gets a higher percentage than your busboy. I think it is unfair, car besides writing your order, and speaking English the waiter doesn’t do much… whereas the busboy runs around to serve!!!

Anyway, so that was my lunch, if you are shopping at Bloomingdales, or Barneys, or even you are doing your Madison Avenue shopping, “Geisha” is the perfect spot for lunch.

Yesterday I have spent my day doing some errands, and at night decided to go to M. Chow in Tribecca. When I was living in New York, I used to go very often there when it opened… then I started to get empty and the food not great…

Last night, when at the last minute we decided that we were craving for Chinese food, we decided to give another shot. Found a table for 9.30 pm, and went not very convinced. I was sure it was gonna be empty. But it is located in Tribecca after all; if it is empty, I can always go and check another restaurant in the hood.

To my big surprise, it was packed, after a short wait we sat to our table.

If you don’t know Mr. Chow, the minute you sit they propose you their menu.
But as we are Mr. Chow specialists, we exactly knew what to order. We ordered few appetizers: the “Squab and lettuce”, which is actually diced chicken, so go figure why they call it squab.
The chicken satay, where the satay sauce is to die for, I think it is pure butter with some peanut flavor (no need to say 1000 calorie per bite).
Than we ordered the green prawns, that looked like brussel sprouts but tasted great, and we ordered the fiery meat, which is actually buffalo meat. The sides were string beans and steamed brown rice with mushroom…

Did I tell you that we were really hungry?

Everything was delicious… The service was great, I don’t know what is happening in New York. I guess I have been too long in Switzerland with the bad service… so I am confused when the service is good.

There was a bit everything in the crowd… A group of people who were celebrating a birthday, and the birthday girl of 50 years, was wearing a crown; couples like us, and even a celebrity. Tony Hale, you can see him on TV shows.
Funny fact, he was playing a serial killer in the last episode of Medium that I had watched few hours before. Small world i guess..

Beside him, our table neighbors were definitely not Mr. Chow specialists. They kept asking us about our dishes. Come on people, we are not an information desk!!!! Ask your waiter for dish advice or read my blog before going to a restaurant.

So to sum it all, great food, happening place (new tables arrived at 11pm), great service (although I prefer them to not be that touchy when they talk), some annoying table neighbors, and a wonderful date… my best friend who shares my love of food and critic.

I will say another successful night in the big Apple

You know what they say, Friday night, date night… well as I have a full time date (my best friend) this week; we decided to go to dinner on Friday night.
You know me, I rarely go out on week-ends; I believe it is for amateurs.
And imagine the week-ends in New York… leave the tourist and the locals, you have also the BBQs (Brooklyn, Bronx and Queens).

But again, now that I have a date for a week, let’s take advantage of being in “couple”. After long discussions and several vodkas on the rocks we decided to go to Kingswood.

The Kingswood is located in West village and has been a hip place since it opened. We arrived with no reservation and the “hot” Maitre d’ told us we had to wait 45 minutes for the table. We ended up waiting only 10 minutes before getting the table.

It is definitely a happening restaurant. There is great music and great bar. Normally you can see celebrities or fashion people. Last time I was having dinner next to Jenifer Esposito; this time I was having dinner between a couple who could be my grand-parents and a couple where you could definitely see he was in fashion, and she was in vodka….
The rest of the crowd was big groups having a great time.

The Kingswood is famous for its burger and truffle fries. But this time we decided to take some appetizers… the food was a bit disappointing, we should have stick to their burger.

The service was impeccable. Although the restaurant was packed, our waiter was always around to check on us, and we had the bonus of the Maitre D’ to check on us as well. Did i tell you that he was really hot???
I would go back just for him, and order him as a side dish for my burger.

The only problem is you never know in NY, if the men are for you or your gay friends :(

Oh well, I like this place, the night crowd is great, I heard that for the brunch it is more a gay crowd and the food is amazing. So I will go back and check the food, the crowd and the Maitre d’….

My best friend’s boyfriend is out of town this week, so he is my date for the whole week. So we do lots of catching up…

As he had already a dinner planned we decided to meet at his office so he can show me his new t-line and grab lunch. As he was tired of listening people bragging about how ecological they were; he decided to put some humor and create a T line and totes with anti-eco slogans to awake the awareness.
You have to check his website I personally love “be organic, eat an organ”, LOL

I was very excited to learn that his office is just by “Eataly”. I am sure you heard about it, and if you didn’t it is about time. They opened it few weeks ago in New York. The concept is simple… imagine all the best amazing fresh products now put them in a beautiful room, and add some chairs and tables. So either you can buy these fresh product, or eat them at the seating points divided by gender… pasta, pizza, pesce (fish), manzo (meat), salumi (cold cuts) and verdure (vegetables).

I guess I don’t need to add more, it is just mouth watering… We selected the meat section (you know I am a carnivore). My complaints? There was not enough food, I would have easily eaten two portions of my tagliata (sliced beef). And don’t believe when they say, “affordable prices”; it is very expensive… worth it, but expensive.

And the good news? This is especially for the single ladies out there. Ohh and as we are in New York; for single gay men as well…. There are lots of hot men in eataly; gay, straight, bi….who cares, they are all hot!!!

And let’s be honest, if they are at Eataly, it means they appreciate the good quality products… so you won’t end up for your first date, a la terasse du subway for an early bird special;)

i am telling you, it is gonna be my new hangout… good food, good wine and hot men; what else can a girl wish????

PS. I am putting this post under “Nat’s tips” category as well; you know as you can buy food and meet a hubby? or a wife at the same time …

My first day in New York is off course to check what is happening on Madison Avenue… Madison Avenue in NY is the high fashion street in the city. All the big fashion brand stores are aligned next to each other, just to tempt you with their latest collection. So with my friend we started on 60th street and Madison; and walked up to the end (which is for me where the Ralph Lauren store is).
And crossed the street to walk down until we reached Barneys… I was trying very hard to stick to my new resolution, just window shopping not buying anything.

Who am I kidding? When I arrived to the shoe department, my only thought was “do they have it in my size???”
But the good news is I only adopted one pair of Prada and we all know it is a big progress for me :)

When I do Madison Avenue, I have to stop a “Bilboquet” for lunch. Bilboquet is a tiny French bistrot just on the corner of Madison and Cavalli store, where I basically lunch every time I am around Madison avenue…
Bilbo owes its success to the non reservation policy (you know when people cannot get in, they believe they are missing something) , and good food. And it is the who’s who of Madison. You and I won’t recognize them, but New York socialites love to hang out there.

And on Saturdays, when you go to brunch (and I highly advise to be there before 1am if you want to eat before the evening…)it is full of party people who dance on the tables. So basically you eat, you drink and then by dancing you eliminate all the calories… ohhh and you have fun!!!

I have started my lunch with the tuna tartare (i know it is my new thing, i have to eat it everywhere) which was fresh and delicious, followed by the special of the day, the veal with mustard sauce… it was delicious. I was so hungry that I even forgot to take a picture of it to post for you. Promise, next time!!!

The great thing? We managed to ask them to keep us a table outside. I know I wrote “no reservation policy”…but we all know the rules are done for the exceptions to occur ;)
Let me tell you we were lucky to be the “exceptions”, because I saw many people waiting a long time on the side walk just to have lunch.

So in other words….
Beautiful weather? Check.
Shopping? Check.
Good food? Check.
Great company? Check.

It seems that I just had a perfect day… and it is only my first day in New York!!!!

Today I am finally flying to New York…. I don’t know why, but I love long flights.
Swiss Airlines doesn’t have the best service, but I always take it because they have direct flights from Geneva to New York.
My routine on the plane is simple; I read highly intellectual magazines (Gala, Voici, People, Us weekly) before take-off, than I order my food and ask for my glass of wine… and continue to drink wine with my food. By that time the movies start; so watch the movie while I dine… then I ask my big bottle of water, take my sleeping pills and sleep until an hour before the plane lands… I know: it is the perfect organization :)

Whenever I land to New York, I have a feeling to be back home; the smells of the city, the traffic, the yellow cabs where you are never sure if you will survive to their bad driving or smell.

And the minute that I arrive home, I need to unpack and go out to do my emergency shopping, this is if I didn’t organize a Fresh Direct (online very good quality grocery store) delivery… Once these tasks are done, I am finally ready for New York. I meet friends for drinks and dinner…. and more drinks. come on, I need to catch up and fight my jet-lag, and the best way is to be up and partying my first night ;)

So last night after my routine, I met my best friend at 44 ½, which is located on 44th street and 10th avenue, so not very far from my apartment.

For the funny story; my friends and I have been kicked out from that restaurant couple of years ago. It was the first and last time it never happened to me. As my best friend used to live around the corner and knew the owner; we all went for the Easter brunch.
All our orders came wrong so we sent them back; all our bloody marys where too spicy so we complained about them… and finally our check was wrong… so we sent it back 3 times. I can see why they got annoyed with us, but it was really not our fault.
So when my friend explained to the owner all the problems that we had, and try to help him to do better next time; he asked us to leave his restaurant and he refused our money. I don’t know what went wrong. Some blamed on me as I criticized the bloody marys by saying, “I guess the bartender is in love with Tabasco” … come on would you kick someone out because of that comment????
So we banned that restaurant until last year, where my friend told me to give another shot. Since then I have been once or twice… more because of the location than the food…

So last night I was nicely surprised with the great quality of food. We were not very hungry so we ordered 3 appetizers to share.

The Tuna Tartare

Crab cakes, tuna tartare and spinach salad with poached eggs. Yummy.
First of all, they managed to get rid of all the onions and shallots that I cannot digest, then they presented well, and they were simply tasty…

And when my friend told the owner that we really loved the food, he came and thanked us, and sent us a desert. I guess you complain they kick you out; you compliment they send you a desert.
I am giving you good tips or not ;) hahahha

Joke aside, it was a great experience… and I have to admit, my relationship with 44 1/2 started very bad, and gets better every time I go. And normally restaurants gets worst with years.

If you are in the neighborhood, give a shot …

As in few days I am leaving to NY, we decided with my friend to go to “Quirinale” for drinks and dinner, for old times’ sake…

It used to be my hangout, and I was there at least 3 times a week in the past, but then I stopped going that much… and all the bar crew that I knew left for better offers and the cook left to Luigia restaurant . So to be honest I was curious to see how it would be the new Quirinale.

We didn’t reserve, as we wanted to sit at the bar. When we arrived at 8pm, they told us that the bar was fully booked… for dinner. Because new policy, you can have dinner only on left side of the bar, while across you, on the right side people can only drink and watch you eating…
Just to wonder, what do you do when you finish eating? Do you need to book another spot across the bar for drinks????

Anyway, so instead us sitting us on the other side where it was empty, they disturbed all the eating side and asked them to squeeze, so they could fit us, and not take off the few reserved spots. By the way, later I saw some people eating on the drink side!!! Maybe I should report to the police… View full article »

You will think, life stops when you come to Geneva… let say it is a little calmer than the rest of the world, but we still have amazing restaurants…
And I have to say “Le Vallon” is one of them. I am never disappointed when I eat there… The food is savory and the presentation is great. As we always say you eat first with your eyes.

So today after doing the famous Geneva market searching for fresh vegetables and fruits… we decided to treat ourselves with a nice lunch. Normally “Le Vallon” is closed on the week-ends… like most of the Geneva restaurants. It is always a challenge to find a lunch spot on the week-ends outside the city center. So after looking for few restaurants, to our big surprise Le Vallon was open. Apparently this new hours are for the last 4 months, no need to say I am shocked that no one told me, lol ;)

The restaurant was quite full, with I have to admit not very hip people… it seemed a little bit like 3rd age convention. They were offering a business lunch menu that was quite complete, including an appetizer, a main dish and desert, to a reasonable price (for Geneva at least) of 55CHF.
I took my salmon raviolis, which are actually smoked salmon in a shape of ravioli, filled in with ricotta followed up a steak tartare. My appetizer was to die for, and the presentation was beautiful.

The tartare was good, but too much ketchup in it for my taste… but the secret weapon was the shoe string French fries. How can I describe it, not oily cause was cooked in the oven but yet so crispy… just warm potato chips in the shape of matches…
Someone took the menu, and chose the beef carpaccio to start with; she complained that it was too thick and too cold. But her main dish was a fish on an olive risotto. I have to say this was my first olive risotto, and won’t be the last. And she had this desert which was all around red fruits. You have to taste it, but first you have to see it…

Considering all, beside “the rock’n’roll” ambiance, the service is great, the food presenting is great and the food is quite delicious. Yes I admit it is a little pricey, but in Geneva even pizzerias are pricey… so you should give a shot.

I might go back on Saturday a last time before New York ;)

“Via Tornabuoni”, if I literally translate it, it would be “the street that returns good”….
Do I need to add more about this famous shopping street in Florence? All my friends were there; Prada, Fendi, Cavalli, Channel, Valentino just to cite my favorites… and they had the whole new Fall collection. No need to say I did some retail therapy, and guess what??? even forgot to eat…

I had an expresso at Cavalli’s Café called “Caffe Giacosa”… passed by the famous mozzarella bar Obikà. It is a new restaurant concept which centers its offering on the Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP, together with the research of recipes and artisanal products typical of the Italian tradition.
In other words it is like a sushi bar (let’s admit even the name sounds like Japanese), but instead of sushis the chef prepares different kind of Mozzarella.

After doing some damage, checked out from the hotel and drove to Florence airport. My flight back was short, an hour and 15 minutes.
And when arrived to Geneva, I was curious to know if my car would be there, because I had decided to try a car service called “Parking Friend”.

It is basically a service that picks up your car from the departures, and brings it back at the arrivals when you are back. It coast much less than the airport parking, and you can ask them to wash, or even do some mechanical work.
They have a website, so when my sister asked me, if it was secure to leave my car with the keys to a stranger, I told her, I don’t think they planned a big scheme to steal my Fiat Panda. I hope for them that they have bigger targets… lol.

But in the back of my head, I was thinking, what if… anyway, good news!!! my Panda was all clean waiting for me at the airport. And I really liked the efficiency of Parking Friend. When you make the calculations, it comes to cheaper to take your car and ask them to hand wash, than take a taxi (and we all know how Geneva taxi’s are expensive), and bring it to parking de Rive, where they hand wash superficially and you pay a lot….

OMG, I am already back in Geneva, I need to plan my next trip!!!!

I thought I couldn’t leave the region without seeing the tower at Pisa and staying a night at Florence…
The Pisa tower or the freestanding bell tower of Pisa’s cathedral was intended to stand vertically. But due to a poorly laid foundation and loose substrate; the tower that has been constructed in 1173 began to lean soon after.

I have to admit it gives you butterflies to see in real a tower that you saw on pictures, movies or even cartoons ….

After our visit to the tower, we took the road for Florence, and checked in at the hotel; Gallery Art Hotel. This hotel that belongs to The Salvatore Ferragamo fashion group, is very modern boutique hotel. It is located just by the Ponte Vecchio… in other words near the action.
The rooms are nice, but as every boutique hotel, you have view on the wall, or on the narrow street… My room was great and big, and my bathroom was as big as my room. But my mom didn’t have that chance, she had a tiny room, and her bathroom was so small that she could shower and go to the toilet at the same time…

As we arrived on Sunday, we really wanted to visit the town, so we ran to see Michelangelo’s David at the Galleria dell’Academia. After waiting in line for 45 minutes (a big advise you can buy your ticket online, so you don’t need to wait as long), we finally saw David, who was portrayed between 1501 and 1504, after his victory over. Funny story there are two more copies of David in Firenze, one in front of the old city hall, and one on a hill overlooking the city.
And off course I had to see all three of them to see if the proportions of their anatomy were correct ;)

That night we went at the Osteria del Porcellino. This restaurant is located since 1969 near Ponte Vecchio. The restaurant is run by Enzo Ferrera, and once again a restaurant that works is a restaurant where the owner is present.
Him and his stuff were really lovely, actually he was so lovely that at a point I thought he was gonna ask for my number.Lol I guess I am Enzo’s type ;)
We have started with the antipasti misti della casa, which was composed of fried brie cheese with truffle oil, some delicious Tuscan cold cuts, and the house crostinis.
Then, off course I had my Bistecca Fiorentina, which is an Italian T-bone steak. It literally melts in your mouth, and I highly advise roasted potatoes to accompany it….

The food was delicious, the staff lovely (especially Enzo), the crowd was composed of lots of tourists and locals actually… the only down part was all these street singers and magicians who annoyed us during dinner. I feel for them, but can’t they hear themselves???? It is more painful than pleasant for us… so we decided to bribe them so they will leave us alone…
It was a perfect evening; I didn’t want to sleep late because I had a date with via Tornabuoni, the high fashion shopping street. I wanted to look fresh for my shopping therapy