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We decided to celebrate my mother’s birthday at Chateauvieux with some friends. Unfortunately, the  chef’s table was already booked, so we opted for the second best solution, in the main room.

You have to know that The Domaine de Chateauvieux is in Satigny which is near the airport of Geneva. Even if it takes you 15 minutes for the airport, it took us almost 45 minutes to reach there (basically the time to go to Paris by plane). I mainly blame my Tom Tom (or the slut in the box) for that. I have suspicions that her job is to show me the “longest” way….

Chevrier, the owner and cook of Domaine de Chateauvieux has several restaurants under his belt. Café des Negociants and Le Vallon are only two of them. I love what he did with Vallon, but not such a fan of afé des Negociants. I tried twice since he took over and got disappointed.

Anyway, back to the birthday dinner…
When you enter the restaurant, you can see the kitchen as it is behind glasses… so all the cooks are like fishes in an aquarium; when you look at them, they get curious and look back at you, lol. The main fish, Philippe Chevrier, was very happy to see us (go figure why).

The main dining room is beautiful and spacious; quite busy I have to add…

No need to say, but just in case, if you are on a budget, don’t go to have dinner at Domaine de Chateauvieux. The appetizers start at 80 usd, the main courses go up to 230 usd (the lobster) and the tasting menus starts from 300 usd …

The wine list on the other hand starts at 290 usd…

We didn’t choose the tasting menus, some of us have started with the “Seared force-fed duck liver “foie gras” on stewed mango with lime and pepper caramel sauce”, and continued with the “Simmental filet of beef, braised shoulder, watercress with chanterelles and onion sauce”.

Some others took the “Ancelin n°2 oysters slightly cooked with vodka, sea water jelly flavoured with ginger and apple”, followed by “Pan fried filets of red mullet with baby squid and sea urchin sauce”.

Everything was delicious, but between us, I preferred the “amuse-bouches” they brought us before. I knew I should have taken the surprise menu and let Chevrier be inspired for my food!!!

No need to say it was an amazing evening; the company was delightful and we laughed a lot. On our way out, we finally met Chevrier who was charming and told us they will love to have us dine in the kitchen next time….He said the kitchen is a male’s world, and they always appreciate ladies eating while they cook for us

He just forgot to mention that you need to book way in advance to get that famous chef’s table, will keep you all posted when I will finally eat inside the aquarium 

After waiting for 8 years, I finally saw my girl having the happiness she deserved. I was in Milan for her wedding :)

As I don’t take the plane anymore for Milano (for the ones who don’t know, check my previous Milano adventures), I took the train. After two movies, I was in my cab bringing me to “The Gray” Hotel.

The Gray is situated just next to Rinascente and across the Duomo. It is a very modern boutique hotel with an amazing staff. The rooms are lovely, but a little small. On the other hand, let’s not forget we are in a boutique Hotel in Italy, and not in a chain hotel in the States.

My biggest problem will be, the thermostat in the room and the “do not disturb” sign. They both were in the same unit that works with the electricity. And you have power when you have the key in the wall.

I know you will all say, “you think everywhere is warm”, but I promise this time it was quite hot. The thermostat showed 27 degrees and not possible to set it lower. My plan was to keep the windows open while I was not in the room, so when I come back, could shut them and eliminate the street noise, and have cooler temperature.

Guess what? When you take your key, you lose power… you lose electricity, you lose the “do not disturb” sign as well, and your room becomes an open door for every staff in the hotel (who kept closing my window).

Not particularly clever their system!!! What happened to the old good “do not disturb” sign that you can hang on your door???

Anyway, this little problem, didn’t stop me to have the best time, and let’s be honest if you are in Milan, you don’t sit in your room, you just go out to walk and shop 

The civil wedding took place on Thursday afternoon, near Milano Due. It was beautiful and then we hit the “Four season Hotel” for aperetivo.

The Fours Season in Milan used to be an old convent, and they kept some of the walls intact. It is a beautiful hotel between via Monte Napoleone and Via dells Spiga. In other words between my two favorite streets ;)

No need to say, the rooms are very cheap ;) you don’t simply pay the name of the hotel, you also pay the address… when I used to live in Milan, I liked their aperitivo as the food that came with was yummy.

You know in Milan, the happy hour is sacred; they bring you lot’s of food while you have your drink. Some places even have a buffet with yummy foods.

At the “Four Season Hotel” you don’t have a buffet, you have waiters bringing you the food. The tip is to tip them well, so the food never stops ;)

This time we took over the room in the back near the fire place. I guess the crisis even hit the hotels, because while sipping our bubbles they only brought breaded olives stuffed with tuna, and fried sage leaves. We had to order some mini sandwiches, which will have never happened in the past.

The crowd on the other side didn’t change, some guest having relaxed meetings and some shoppers, drawn under their shopping bags, having their drinks.
Let’s not forget my favorite clients: some Russian special ladies, sorry in Milan their code name is models, entertaining their “uncles”.

We had our fun, we were not there to eat just to celebrate the union of my girl and the wise man, and off course check out the crowd a little ;)

On Friday morning, after having my breakfast in front of the Duomo I hit the mother ship that common people call via Monte Napoleone. I had brought 4 options for Saturday night wedding reception, but was still not sure about my outfit.
Yeah that is my excuse to shop and I am sticking to it.

For lunch I met my spiritual son, his girl and their baby (does that make her my spiritual granddaughter???) and my mom at Trattoria Bagutta.

Wow, that was a nice walk on memory lane; I think I haven’t been there for at least 10 years. It is situated on via Bagutta (I know big surprise), which is by Piazza San Babila, and via Monte Napoleone. This trattoria is open since 70 years and you can see the caricatures of some judges on the walls, next to some paintings of various artists.

The menu is simply composed of everything we love… we started with grated artichokes and grana padano, fried artichokes (I know I am into artichokes these days) and tuna carpaccio. My friend and I then took a Milanese (breaded veal cutlets) and my mom and spiritual son took the pasta with mushrooms.

To finish we wanted to share a “Torta della Nonna”, and it was my least favorite… it seemed they have done it few days ago  what a shame as Bagutta is famous for its antipasti buffet and dessert carriage….

Well let’s be positive and say less calories, and no sugar rush as I had a very busy afternoon. I had to raise Milano’s economy and shop till I drop. Between you and me, mission accomplished ;)

Instead of a rehearsal dinner, my friend organized a rehearsal drink at Armani/Nobu. Well it makes sense as she met her man there 7 years ago ;)

I was really shocked to see the bar so empty on a Friday night. Apparently not only Geneva, but Milan is also empty on week-ends during winter (everybody goes to ski). I don’t know on what they will ski as this year we don’t have any snow… but anyway.

We were already 20 people, so didn’t really care about the rest and had our own fun. Instead of the food on the buffet they brought us bento boxes with no very attractive food. One thing really attracted my attention in the bento box: Tacos.

I thought it was a mistake or they were tacos revised Nobu style, but nope. It was tacos with beans and meat…

And the worst? When we sat for dinner, it was written on the menu.

What happened to Nobu? Isn’t it Japanese anymore? Am I gonna see a kebab sandwich on my next visit? Or maybe a couscous … And let’s ask the most important question: “is Nobuyuki aware that they are serving Mexican food in his Japanese restaurant in Milan?”

Maybe when you fuse Japanese in Italy, it comes out Mexican….

Anyway, after dinner, sat at the bar with my friend, we had to catch up…. The service at the bar is… nonexistent. I have never been ignored that much by bartenders, I seriously don’t know what their function is. They don’t take your order, and they are not even cute so they have no excuse to be brainless and inefficient. Another mystery.

On the other side, I have to say the bar is really a pick up place, and I have to add also that it is full of desperate ugly men. I don’t know if we were losers’ magnet or it was the vibe in the bar, but we had several “no way Men” who approached us.
What happened to the days where Nobu was a hip “Japanese” restaurant, where the crowd was full of hot boys and girls and the bartenders were yummy (and efficient).

As i have mentioned in my previous post about Nobu in Milan, Armani invested in these high power ventilation systems so we can smoke downstairs.
Between you and me, it was so powerful that my contact lenses were too dry and had to non-stop blink to water my eyes…

Thinking about it, that newly earned tic is maybe what attracted the losers around the bar, lol.

Saturday was the second shopping day marathon… after emptying some stores we decided to have lunch at Paper Moon. Another Milano institution. When I lived in Milan, it was my Friday lunch spot.

They first announced us 45 minute wait to actually sit us right away between grumpy and piggy (the lovely names i gave to my table neighbors…)
That should have been the first sign to make us leave… It has always been a touristic place as well, but it became way too commercial and touristic.

I ordered my fix Carciofi e Pana (artichokes and pana cheese) then asked for a parmesan risotto. My mom took their special of the day, pasta with meat and artichokes…. Her pasta was swimming in olive oil; my risotto was bland. We ate in 25 minutes, paid a fortune and left the place unsatisfied.

Note to myself; don’t ever go back to Paper Moon in Milan. Better to eat at a café a Panini than being ripped off and disappointed. I always have Bagutta, Cova, or Saint Ambreous (i know not the cheapest spots) if I want to eat when I hang out in the shopping area….

Thanks god, the shopping was not disappointing, how can it be with all these amazing merchandise???

We finished the day with a coffee near the Duomo before going to the hotel and get ready for the partay !!!!

I am sure you remember from my previous posts in Milan, the restaurant Bistrot. A yummy restaurant where my friends always go and love. The owner opened a new place called “Ristorante Giacomo Arengario” just on the left side of the Duomo, on the top of the “Novecento Museum”.

When we arrived at the bottom of the museum, they were a line for people visiting a museum. We took the other door and after giving our name to the doorman, took the elevator to the 3rd floor.

The elevator doors opened to a jazz music band and people drinking and talking. It seems first quite small, but you start walking and arrive to the bar, where you see the beautiful bride and the broom (or as we call him the wise man) greeting.

We right away took a glass of bubble and continued to discover the place. One side of the restaurant has wall to wall windows and looks at the newly cleaned Duomo.

The weather was perfect, so the view was even more breath taking. We right away assured a table with a view close to the main family table.

During the cocktail, the waiters passed with trays of several Italian appetizers. It was so delicious that they couldn’t make 2 meters their tray was empty and had to go back to the kitchen. Finally, we all sat down, and the food festival started…

They were so much food that at a point I decided to eat less and drink more ;) We started with sashimi of scampi, followed by 3 different pastas, then fish and then veal… I think my friends were afraid that we will be starving.

During dinner, we had a belly dancer who put a silly smile on all the boys’ face and collected good money so she didn’t know how to leave, lol. I think she set the mood, and nobody wanted to sit and eat anymore, but wanted to dance and drink…

We had an incredible evening, the broom was so happy that he was no longer a wise man… he did some pretty wild things, looking forward to see the pictures ;) the Bride, my girl, although she was carrying my future fiancé, didn’t stop dancing. Well we know she is a rock star!!!

When the music finally stopped, I think we were all ready to pass out… I heard some saying let’s go to Armani Prive to continue the evening… I continued the party in my bed, couldn’t feel my feet anymore.

I love every food that comes out from Giacomo’s kitchen, always tasty… used to love his restaurant Bistrot , and now I am in love with his new spot: “Giacomo Arengario”. Apparently you can have lunch as well, or as my friends, organise private parties.
And I have to say the staff was amazing as well, they did an incredible service and never left me without bubbles ;)

Thank you guys, it was an amazing evening, and I wish you lots of happiness!!!


Now that I talked about the health clubs in Geneva, let me write about NY health Clubs.

In the city you have three main clubs, “New York Health & Racket Club”, “Equinox” and “Crunch”.

When I used to live in the city, I had my gym in the building so had my trainer who would come to help me workout.
I visited once the NYHRC, and managed to subscribe without knowing… Imagine my shock when two years later I received a letter saying that they couldn’t get my monthly payment as my cc has expired. It seemed surreal, as I have never given them permission to use my credit card.
For my defense I had given a cc number (in case I wanted to enroll) that I was never using, and was directly paid in Switzerland.
Anyway, after several heated phone calls, and email where I proved them that I never accepted to apply to their gym, they reimbursed me… and banned me for life from their gym.

Now that I have a foot in the city, I wanted to go to Tracy Anderson studio in Tribecca. The ones who didn’t hear about her, she used to be Madonna’s personal trainer, and now is working with Gwyneth Paltrow and Shakira. Her new A list client is Jennifer Lopez.

Her method reminds me of Jane Fonda’s dance classes with other original workouts. I love her energy, but don’t think her DVD’s explain you well how to follow her…happy that no one saw me trying to do it.
Her studio is very tiny and packed and no AC, and the membership fee is higher than an apartment rent in the city. Seriously you have the option, either invest in real estate or in Tracy Anderson studio (and you can her class once a week if she is in town)
I decided to pass, because not worth it to spend that much for a gym that I will use only 6 months a year.

I opted for the next best thing, Equinox. They have great classes and locations all around the city. For someone like me who doesn’t have a fixed address yet, it is ideal. Wherever I live, I can find one nearby.

I tried few classes; very interesting after Geneva health clubs. So much variety, I did some yoga, where in a HOOOT room, you do things with your body that nobody shouldn’t do (and pay the consequences after).
I did some dance classes where I danced the Zumba, and I have been “Calvinised” (class designed by a dancer called Calvin, who kept using words that I didn’t understand and perform moves that I couldn’t do).
I spent the class feeling like a hippopotamus in a room full of glasses and laughing at myself. Move away black swan there is a pink hippo in town!!!
Thanks God I did the Hip Hop class, where I knew how to shake my booty and have the 50 Cent attitude.

The classes are clearly much better in the States, but there isn’t a big respect for the hygiene. These ladies will come with their street shoes in the classrooms, and won’t mind to bring the street dirt. I guess my Swiss side doesn’t honestly accept that…

Ohh and ladies, great venue to watch cute boys… I needed help to close my mouth when I saw all these men working out with bodies to die for… I know I know most of them are gay, so what???? I can still look and it for sure brings my cardio up a notch ;)

Off course after all my NY Food festival; I need to do some damage control. A friend of mine told me about this remarkable coach who transformed her.

I did every health club in Geneva; Holmes Places was the worst for me. I paid a huge amount of money, and went twice I think. The classes are worthless, and I really don’t like the atmosphere. Silhoutte was another club that I stopped going because of parking issues.

The last couple of years I started to go to Plaza Sport. I had excellent classes with great teachers; unfortunately, they fired those teachers… so I only go for Zumba classes.

So when my friend told me about “Palestra”, I was really excited to start. It is a more private gym, where you have 3 trainers who help you shred the weight and build your body.

I am working out with the boyz; each of them in their own way tortures you. After the first session, I didn’t manage to walk. I had to literally roll out of bed. After the second session, I was limping…. You will think that it gets easier with time; but no… they stimulate new muscles at every session. In other words after each session I discover a new muscle in my body.

Next to the workout, the big persecutor gives you a diet. This diet is to eat protein and vegetables (hmmm, never heard of that, lol).
The good news is you can have dark chocolate at night (a little, not the full bar!!!), and can drink max 6 glasses of bubbles per week. Not tempting yet? well what about this one: “once a week you eat whatever you want!!!!”

There is however one big rule: don’t eat any fruit or salad after 6pm.

When I heard that rule, I started to laugh, thinking of “The Gremlins” and asked him, what will happen if I eat after 6pm? Will I become a monster? Or like in the movie, be the cute Gizmo that gives birth to naughty gremlins…

Not sure if he got it….

Anyway, so far I love the challenge, I just wish I had less pain in my muscles….And I have already started to see the results (no kidding I work out 4 to 5 times a week)

Don’t worry though it won’t stop me to try new restaurants and criticize them ;)