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Have you ever been to Madrid Airport? Especially Terminal 4? It is the 11th biggest of the world and the 4th in Europe.

Well if you haven’t been, let me advise you something; arrive 3 hours in prior to your flight.

Cause it takes 30 minutes to check in, 45 minutes to pass the security control, and an hour and a half to reach your gate….

Sure there are nice stores, but that is not the reason, cause you don’t have time to shop. The reason is you need to walk, take the train, get lost, and walk again to catch your flight. In such big airport, you expect to have stores near your gate, well they exist, but they are closed, I guess hiring so many people will cost a lot….

Don’t get me wrong, beautiful airport…. But here are few problems….

As I have mentioned before they have an underground train to bring you to the gates; so instead of walking 45 minutes you walk 20 minutes before and after the train.

On the other hand, they don’t have a train station to bring you to the city or to other destinations… even our little Geneva airport has that….

And you better be sure about your Terminal before arriving at the airport, there are no indications on the road about companies and their Terminal. Once you arrive, there is no one who really tells you what to do… you are basically on your own.

My friend who traveled with us, after asking few people learned that she should take the bus shuttle between Terminals… these buses are supposed to pass every 5 minutes, but actually it was every 20 minutes.

Basically, she was stuck in the wrong Terminal and the cabs refused to take her as it wasn’t far enough, so she barely made to her flight.

I am telling you Madrid airport is beautiful and big. But if you want to enjoy your trip and not miss your flight, you have to arrive 3 hours in advance, wear comfortable shoes, know your terminal… and have a little picnic (drinks and a little snack) with you. Because from the moment you leave your cab, to the moment you arrive to your gate, it is a journey in itself ;)

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….

Since I arrived to NY, I have been quite lucky with the weather. Normally I am in search of great terraces in Geneva, who will think I will be doing the same in NY… especially when some terraces are not allowed to be open on specific dates.

Thanks God NY is full of Italian restaurants, and they don’t follow those official rules ;) So with this beautiful sunny day, Lady Fleur and I have decided to check Da Silvano.

This restaurant that opened 36 years ago, is serving Tuscan food and attracts not only the locals but lots of celebrities. The secret? Well to start with delicious food, great service and an amazing terrace.

We were lucky cause we found right away a nice breezy spot to sit. We decided to share an artichoke salad, then we both took pastas. I had the Penne Integrali al Pesto, which is whole wheat penne with basil pesto (trying to be healthy, lol). Lady Fleur took the Spaghettini Puttanesca, described on the menu as Spaghettini “whore style”, tomato, garlic, black olives, capers, anchovies.

They were both incredibly tasty and we finished with my favorite “Torta della Nonna”… miam.

The crowd was a mixture of the hip youth of Greenwich Village, some tourists, some “wannabes” and off course us, the hungry ones.

Let’s take a minute to describe the Greenwich crowd. The boys are young, with hats that look like condoms (but I guess it is stylish) and the girls are even younger, with very long legs and daisy dukes and ankle boots.

One thing is sure they are not eating pastas; or the water in the village has a special power to make them thin and tall… not very sure.

But one thing is sure, fashion or not, they should all wash their hair, and iron their clothes. I thought the grunge look was so last year, what happened? Did I miss the memo?

The service was great. Da Silvano himself came to check if we enjoyed our lunch. He fell in love with my bag hook, proposed me 100 usd for it. Then later when I tried to give him back his money, he wanted to purchase my necklace for 200 usd.

So maybe that is the secret of Da Silvano, you go there, you eat and you leave with money… especially when the hook and the necklace cost in total 55 usd, and almost left the restaurant with 300…

What can I say, besides, will go back and this time bring more accessories to be able to pay my rent;)

This year I have spent Easter in NY. Lack of my niece and nephew no egg fight, no egg hunt… but guess what? Easter brunch!!!!

To keep the good habits we decided to go to Westville, my favorite brunch spot in NY. This restaurant has two locations. I only go to the one in Chelsea. It is our spot with my boyzzzz. This time lady fleur joined us, as well.

As usual we shared the yummy dishes from the market. Grilled artichokes and fennels, brussel sprouts (don’t say “beurk”, I became addicted), and grilled zucchini with tomatoes and mozzarella.

Then I ordered my usual Sunday brunch fix: eggs benedicts with a side of crispy bacon. I am sure you all know this dish, but for the ones in the unknown of this dish, it is poached eggs on bread with hollandaise sauce on top. Everybody can do poached eggs; the secret is the hollandaise sauce. I think at this point I can write a “Zagat” of good and bad hollandaise sauce in NY. And the one at Westville is simply delicious.

No need to say it is very light… But believe me, it is worth every calorie of it.

The pictures will be added next week, as I forgot to take them, oops… I guess I was really hungry.

After our lunch, we hit the J&R Terrace (the amazing roof terrace of my boys) to play cards under the sun. Did u ever hear of this game called Americano? In Turkey everybody knows, for the rest of the world it is a kind of rummy, but to be able to open your hand each game has a different rule.

I think from far it is the most addictive card game… ask lady fleur who is infected and dreams about playing again.

We played for 4 straight hours, with some white wine and vodka, some food to nibble, and a helicopter in the sky. I guess it was there to film the NY Easter parade… or they were curious about our game, and stayed there to understand the game, lol.

Between you and me, they must have been confused, because of the weather changing we started at the terrace, continued inside to finish at the terrace…

Overall, best way to spend the Easter Sunday, no egg hunt, just tanning, playing cards and drinking with my peeps!!! And I am the Spring Bunny, so who needs the Easter Bunny anyway ;) ))))

In a big city like NY, restaurants have a life expectancy between 6 to 12 months. The restaurants that are still open after that period of time are definitely the winners.

Stanton Social is among those lucky ones. This three – level restaurant that is located in Lower East Side opened its doors in 2005. You will think after 6 years it will lose the hip and get less crowded…. Wrong!!! Not only it is still very packed; but it has so much success that the owners opened another restaurant with the same concept a block away called “Beauty and Essex”.

The concept is simple; you have a menu full of dishes to share from all around the world and a great selection from the raw bar. They have few famous dishes such as the French onion soup dumplings, the Kobe beef burgers, the Stanton social beef wellington, lobster roll sliders and duck empanadas.

When Lady Fleur and I, decided to have dinner there, I was salivating to the idea of the delicious dishes. Normally, I advise people to go with big groups so you can order a lot of dishes and share. As we were only two, we made a smaller selection.

We started with the Bistrot Salad (haricot vert, tomato, smoked bacon & poached egg) and yellow fin tuna sashimi. We also ordered spicy lamb souvlakis (Greek specialty where small pieces of lamb are grilled on a skewer), the crispy eggplant parmagiano, and had to taste the beef wellington.

What can I say the Chef/owner Chris Santos knows his food. Everything was delicious.

The place, as usual, was packed. I have one big, actually two big complaints about Stanton social. They have only one unisex bathroom on the main dining area, so you have to plan ahead if you want to visit it, as there is always a big queue.

The second complaint will be the noise. I understand it is a busy restaurant, but they must be able to arrange something, cause it is so noisy that you have to shout to be able to communicate.

At a point, I thought I should bbm lady fleur for better communication. Lol, just kidding.

The service was great as always. Our waiter was really helpful (although he could have washed his hair), and the maitre d’ brought us Potato & Goat Cheese Pierogies (fried dumplings of unleavened dough) with caramelized onions & truffle creme fraiche.

He said, I know you didn’t order this dish, but I know at some point during the night you are going to complain about something, so I prefer to bring this ahead to apologize… As my hubby pointed out the following day, I guess my face is in their kitchen with a warning: “be careful, she can be bitchy”. Lol

You see, being demanding sometimes help;)

Overall once again it was a great dinner, and how can it be bad with my lady fleur!!!!

Each year, I take off from my life and go for two weeks to a clinic in Germany to fast. It is an incredible experience.

I know, I know, there are lots of people who believe, “fasting” is not good for your body. I respect their opinion, but if it is that bad, how come each religion has a fasting period? And also why do I feel so good after?

This clinic is called Buchinger, and it is in Überlingen near the Konstanz Lake (100 km from Zurich airport). The name is definitely not very glamour, especially when you compare it to Barcelona, NY, Istanbul or Portofino… lol.
At the clinic, you can either do a low calorie diet or fast… I prefer fasting.

Let me explain you how it works.

The first day, is digestion day, when you spend your day eating fruits, or rice or potato. I prefer eating rice. It is 150g uncooked rice divided in three. In the morning, they give it with apple compote, at lunch with vegetables and at dinner with apple compote, as well.

By the way, you can do the rice day once a week, and it will clean your body (and you can lose weight).

The second day, they give you Glaubert salt (sodium sulfate decahydrate) in the morning, which basically empties your body. It is always better to start fasting on an emptied stomach.

For lunch they bring your soup, which is basically a broth, to your room. At 2pm you have tea with a little bit of honey. My first year at the clinic, I used to wait all day long for that tiny honey. I will lick the bowl so I don’t lose any of it. Now I cannot even see that honey, so I am eating a yogurt instead.

Finally, you finish your second day with a bowl of soup.

From the third day on, your food (if I can call it like that) is the same. Basically every day, you start with tea, chose between a juice and a soup for lunch. At 2pm, you receive your tea with honey or yogurt. And all your dinners are composed of a bowl of soup.

You must be thinking, you must be so hungry… actually you are not, the first three days are supposed to be the hardest ones, you can experience headaches… but after that it is paradise. You are literally high and become very active and creative.

The second common question is: “what do you do all day long?”

Well they propose you gym classes every morning and walks in the afternoon. Two, three times a week you have cooking classes. They also offer painting classes. In the mean time, you have a full equipped gym, a heated pool, and lots of massage choices.

Every evening they propose a conference about different topics.

If all that doesn’t keep you busy, you can ask for a TV and DVD in you room, and they have a great selection of movies.

The center has few rules though, you cannot use your cell on public places, cannot smoke in the center and although you are free to hit the town, have to be back at the clinic by 11pm.

Between us, there are always ways to go around the rules ;)

My mom makes fun of me when I talk about the clinic, she says “you talk as if it is a vacation spot; finally, it is a diet place where you starve.”

What can I say, for me going to Buchinger, is like going on vacation from my daily life. When you come back from your vacation, you feel rested (unless you go to NY with me ;) ), but you feel heavier as well, as you let yourself go …

But when you come back from “NewBuchingerYork”, you feel rested and you are skinny with lots of energy.

I don’t care what people say, I love fasting, and I think Buchinger in Uberlingen is the best. They have one in Marbella, but let’s be honest who wants to go to Marbella and fast!!!

You just wanna go to Marbella, to shop, to eat, to drink and to partaaay ;)