Out&About

THINGS TO DO WHEN YOU DON'T WANT TO STAY IN

La Fromagerie, Cheese Lovers!

There are many places in London you keep on your list but happen to bump into by accident or happy coincidence. This happened today as I left Persephone, the amazing bookstore of female authors gray covers books and turned right. Spotted La Fromagerie, the latest branch in Bloomsbury of the amazing cheese shop that opened their first shop in 1992 in Highbury Park. London for you. Years and years and so many places yet to visit.

If you love cheese like I do this is your spot. Not only they have a nice deli but also offer a few tables for nice food - my "grilled three cheeses" was divine - and wine. Perfect stop if you are exploring the area!  

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Practicalities:

52 LAMB'S CONDUIT STREET
WC1N 3LL

Tour suggestion: Visit the Charles Dickens Museum in the morning, stop by Persephone Books and have lunch here at La Fromagerie!

Dominique Ansel’s Blossoming Hot Chocolate

Finding great places for REAL hot chocolate in London has become a thing for me. I have written about SAID and Paul’s here before but just visited a new place worth highlighting. I guess once you see the video you will understand why! They have a special treat if you ask for the blossoming hot chocolate. There is an option sans flower called the Chef’s Hot Chocolate but I wasn’t going to miss out on this food porn video! 

So this happened @dominiqueansellondon 😳😱😋➡️ Blossoming Hot Chocolate!

A post shared by carpe digi by @crisrodrigues (@carpedigi) on

There are plenty of other delicious treats at Dominique Ansel and the store is beautiful. Not the cheapest but great experience. I am sure you will not regret it!

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Practicalities

Dominique Ansel Bakery, 17-21 Elizabeth Street, SW1W 9RP, London

www.dominiqueansellondon.com

Isabel, Great Option in Mayfair

Well, what to say. It is a nice stretch of real state packed with restaurants, bars and stores from quintessential British brands to international ones. Not as low profile as other parts of London. Still, Isabel is a nice option, tucked away a bit farther from Piccadilly than Cecconi's - another favorite of mine - for example.

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Photo courtesy www.elitetraveler.com

Photo courtesy www.elitetraveler.com

Isabel is the latest venture of Chilean-born Juan Santa Cruz (of Casa Santa Cruz in Notting Hill). Its cuisine highlighted by mediterranean small plates (like tapas) to share (or not!) and an Argentinean influence. Love the pizzette, the beef short rib ravioli (too good) and the desserts. Great selection of wines too. Ambience impeccable. Service as expected.

Photo courtesy www.urbanologie.com

Photo courtesy www.urbanologie.com

Practicalities:

ISABEL MAYFAIR, 26 ALBEMARLE St, London W1S 4HY TEL +44 20 3096 9292

Hero image/illustration courtesy www.luxurylondon.co.uk

SAID dal 1923 = Hot Chocolate!

Winter is coming. I like my hot chocolate straight from the bar, an excellent quality and melted chocolate bar that is! Thick and smooth. 

Well, SAID is just that. Excellent quality chocolate, very tasteful hot chocolates in milk, dark and gianduia flavors. The ambience, music and location (off Carnaby Street) is also great. It does not get better than this.

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Practicalities:

SAID dal 1923 Antica Fabbrica del Cioccolato at 41 Broadwick Street, W1F 9QL

Postcards from Maputo

I first landed in Maputo over a month ago on a working trip and I instantly fell in love. The streets are very colourful, full of character and the Portuguese colonial heritage lingers in every cobble stone street. 

After settling at the Polana Serena – a local landmark and a place known for hosting business meetings at its bar overlooking the Maputo bay – I took my camera and went to explore the city before my meetings, scheduled to start on the next morning. 

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The city is small, with less than 990,000 of the 25 million population living there, and very easy to navigate. All the landmarks are close to the sea, either downtown or near the Polana and Sommerschield neighbourhoods. 

Four weeks later, in the peak of the Southern African summer, I came back on another work trip and the impressions only grew bigger. Some of them are reflected on my postcards below. 

Morning run after a stormy night.

Morning run after a stormy night.

Capulanas in the air. Colours on the streets.

Capulanas in the air. Colours on the streets.

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URSS-like architectural legacy in Maputo.

URSS-like architectural legacy in Maputo.

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Washed high tech Maputo.

Washed high tech Maputo.

Local colours during a little walk at sunset.

Local colours during a little walk at sunset.

The glory of a 6AM run. Under pink skies.

The glory of a 6AM run. Under pink skies.

November in Maputo. Summer evenings by Maputo Bay.

November in Maputo. Summer evenings by Maputo Bay.

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Priscila Azevedo Rocha is a financial journalist and economist based in London since 2013. Passionate about traveling, she is always keen on discovering new places by tasting the local food.

The River Cafe: an Italian to Splurge

It took us three years to go, a mix of having too many other options for Italian in London and never being able to get a reservation the times I tried. Guess I was lucky last week when I called and they had us on a waiting list, offering us a table a few days later.

Photo courtesy of www.bookatable.co.uk

Photo courtesy of www.bookatable.co.uk

The River Cafe is in Hammersmith, almost Fulham and sits by the Thames. I imagine going there earlier must be very nice for the view.

Photo courtesy www.hg2.com

Photo courtesy www.hg2.com

The food is truly Italian, perfect produce put together in the nicest of ways. I am not eating meat these days so I couldn't try the Secondi Piati but they all read wonderful. The Mozzarella di Bufala for starter and the Zucca pasta I picked were divine, flavors on point. Their wine and drinks list is also very smart. So is the service. 

Compared to other great Italians (here) in London price is a bit on the high side. If you would like to avoid surprises get an idea by checking their sample menu here. Expect to see some famous faces so be ready to put on your best one! Like you belong :)

Practicalities/Address:

Thames Wharf
Rainville Rd, London W6 9HA
+44 (0)20 7386 4200
info@rivercafe.co.uk

Top Peruvian Food in London

South American cuisine is one of my passions. Peruvian restaurants in particular have been trending in London for years now and new places open from time to time. Here is my list of favorites.

1. Lima - Chef Roberto Ortiz runs this delicious restaurant. Having won a Michelin star a few years ago, there's no going wrong at Lima. Everything there tastes amazing including the pisco sour. The ambience is simple but the food is very sophisticated. I recommend the Tuna Nikkei and the Red Mullet ceviche, absolutely delicious. The sister restaurant is called Lima Floral and it's more chilled. 

Lima's beautiful plating. Photo courtesy of www.limalondongroup.com

Lima's beautiful plating. Photo courtesy of www.limalondongroup.com

2. Coya - The most fancy of them all, Coya is a member's club too. The decoration is incredible and the food is to die for, try the Arroz Nikkei with Sea Bass. The only problem here is the service which has disappointed me sometimes. It's perfect for lunch too, when they have express lunch menus. 

Coya. Photo courtesy of www.coyarestaurant.com

Coya. Photo courtesy of www.coyarestaurant.com

3. Pachamama - Super lively with a DJ in the evening so expect to have a lot of fun. 

Super stylish Pachamama. Photo courtesy of www.pachamamalondon.com

Super stylish Pachamama. Photo courtesy of www.pachamamalondon.com

4. Ceviche - I love the relaxed vibe of Ceviche, it's great for lunch. Order the causas and yuca to start. They do great set menus so it's a a good option for birthday celebrations too. I've only been to the one in Soho but they have opened one in Old Street as well. 

The colorful duck at Ceviche. Photo courtesy of www.cevicheuk.com

The colorful duck at Ceviche. Photo courtesy of www.cevicheuk.com

5. Chicama - From the same owners of Pachamama, Chicama is the newest of them all. The food here is less traditional and more creative, it's actually seafood Peruvian inspired. My favorite dishes are the aubergine with plantain, the crab salad with green papaya and the tapioca marshmallow. it's an amazing addition to the Peruvian scene in Chelsea. 

Practicalities/Addresses:

Lima - 31 Rathbone Place, London W1T 1JH

Coya - 118 Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 7NW

Pachamama - 18 Thayer Street, London, W1U 3JY

Ceviche - 17 Frith Street, London W1D 4RG

Chicama - 383 King's Rd, Chelsea, London SW10 0LP

All photos: courtesy from respective websites.

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Paula Pinaud is in love with traveling, food, art and fashion. Passionate about Yoga and healthy lifestyle. Born and bread in Rio. Living in London since 2011. Here to share interesting experiences and tips.

A Foodie Long Weekend à Paris

I am addicted to discovering new restaurants specially some off the beaten track. This weekend in Paris was a mix of new places and my favorite ones. 

Bistrot Vivienne is located on a beautiful gallery on the 2eme and it's worth your time just because of the scenery. I went there for a coffee but it's also perfect for lunch. It's a special place. 

I went to Le Pas Sage, a cool french tapas to start the evening. Later, drinks at Le Compas, a traditional brasserie in Ópera. I love the cosy atmosphere there. It was a cold night but we managed to stay on the terrace as the heaters did a great job at keeping us warm. We tried the crème brûllée and crêpe which were lovely.  

After a few drinks we headed to La Mano in the 9eme. The music varies from remixes of Latin/Caribbean to vintage songs but the vibe there is unreal. The DJ and the dancers seemed to be in some sort of trance. Give it a try and you're in for some crazy fun.

Photo courtesy of www.little-apple.fr

Photo courtesy of www.little-apple.fr

To cure the hangover from La Mano on the next day you can do brunch at Little Apple, a little American comfort food can do no harm. Burgers and salads were incredible. It's in the Marais so you can go to Les Philosophes for dessert: they serve a tarte tatin to die for! There's nothing like it. However, try to go early to get there before they run out. Since it's so popular chances are you'll get there late afternoon and they will be gone already. Next to Les Philosophes there's also Au Petit Fer à Cheval, another favorite for lunch or coffee. 

Photo courtesy of www.cafelapaletteparis.com

Photo courtesy of www.cafelapaletteparis.com

In St Germain is my favourite bistrot La Palette, where it's great to sit outside and just feel like you're in a movie. Serving simple and delicious food like salads, organic eggs and croque monsieur with great wine. On Rue de Seine there are amazing galleries to visit. My top one is Galeries Rauchfeld at number 22, which already hosted the works from the Brazilian artist João Machado. 

Photo courtesy of www.brasserielipp.fr

Photo courtesy of www.brasserielipp.fr

Nearby you find Brasserie Lipp, a bit more touristy but an institution nonetheless, worth a visit. If you're looking for somewhere more upscale go to Ralphs for lunch, the burgers are delicious and their patio the cutest thing ever. Another option is La Société for dinner: after all these years it still got it. 

In the evening head to Bastille for dinner at Chez Paul, a very French restaurant where every dish is delicious. I love their confit de canard so I always go for this one.    

I adore the 8eme. If you're in the area go visit the Jacquemart-Andre museum, the French version of the Wallace Collection in London or the Frick in New York. A gorgeous location and as we are in France, great restaurant too. You can start the day with a brunch there before checking out the exhibits. After that you can go for a walk at the beautiful Parc Monceau and visit the neighborhood. For dinner there's Les Gourmets des Ternes an authentic French restaurant loved by the locals and artists (you can see their pictures with the owner on the walls, like a French version of Ciro Pomodoro in London). I saw Charlotte Gainsbourg there once. 

The other option for Sunday evening is to walk around Montparnasse, where the trains from Britanny (the galettes/Crepes region) arrive hence the many Crêperie there. The one I love is La Crêperie Josselin but you can choose any around the station and you cannot go wrong. 

Monday morning it's time to go back to London and start the week with a detox program :) 

Practicalities/Addresses:

Bistrot Viviene - 4 Rue des Petits Champs, 75002

Le Pas Sage - 1 Passage du Grand Cerf, 75002

Le Compas - 62 Rue Montorgueil, 75002

La Mano - 10 Rue Papillon, 75009

Little Apple - 27 Rue de Saintonge, 75003 Paris-3E-Arrondissement

Les Philosophes - 28 Rue Vieille du Temple, 75004

Au Petit Fer à Cheval - 30 Rue Vieille du Temple, 75004

La Palette - 43 Rue de Seine, 75006

Galerie Rauchfeld - 22 Rue de Seine, 75006

Brasserie Lipp - 151 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006

Ralph's - 173 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006

La Societe - 4 Place Saint-Germain des Prés, 75006

Chez Paul - 13 Rue de Charonne 75011

Jacquemart-Andre Museum - 158 Boulevard Haussmann, 75008

Les Gourmets des Ternes - 87 Boulevard de Courcelles, 75008

La Creperie de Josselin - 67 Rue du Montparnasse, 75014

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Paula Pinaud is in love with traveling, food, art and fashion. Passionate about Yoga and healthy lifestyle. Born and bread in Rio. Living in London since 2011. Here to share interesting experiences and tips.

Lemonia, my Greek in London

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There are places you go and always want to come back. Lemonia is a place I was introduced to on my first year in London when a dear friend came to visit. It is been a favorite ever since. Greece holds a dear place in my heart. It is where I spent my long honeymoon and many happy days and nights traveling the country. So, only natural that the food brings great memories.

Lemonia is a top Greek in London, not only because of the food, but also because of the lively ambience. Always packed, full of big families, warm and loud. Not to mention the funny and nice service. When you visit Primrose Hill this is the place to eat. Just 10 minutes walking and you are in for very good flavors and buzz. And you may even bump into some of the local residents, Jude Law for example ;)

Practicalities (booking advisable):

89 Regent’s Park Road, London NW1 8UY
Phone: 020 7586 7454

Eating out in Brooklyn

During this trip to NYC it was about time I visited Brooklyn. Manhattan was even more chaotic this week with the protests against Donald Trump so getting away from all this mess was just what I needed. 

We went for brunch at Colonia Verde a trendy spot in Fort Greene with Latin American food.  The day was beautiful so we got a table at the terrace which added even more charm to our setting. All the dishes were delicious! I had the 'pão de queijo' - the Brazilian cheese bread - burger: I never thought the two of them could go so well together.

Pão de queijo Burger: who would've thought? 

Pão de queijo Burger: who would've thought? 

The shrimp tacos and quesadillas were great and even the Brussel sprout salad that I'm usually not a big fan was amazing. They do great drinks with tequila and mezcal too if you're in the mood for a boozy brunch. Also, our waiter was the best.

We walked around a bit, got some gifts at Greenlight, a cute independent bookstore before heading to Williamsburg the other hipster area of Brooklyn.  We stopped for a coffee at the moroccan style, Café Mogador. Originally from the West Village this new location is fascinating. I was obsessed with the banana leaves :)  We had only coffee and juices but I will definitely come back for brunch. 

Photos courtesy of www.cafemogador.com

If you only go to one bar in Williamsburg make sure it's Hotel Delmano.  In spite of the name it's not actually a hotel.  The cocktails are incredible and we loved the stylish décor of the place.  I'm very much into gin these days so I tried the Tutu's tincture and the Ninety Nine roses but they also have great wines on the menu. 

Hotel Delmano, photo courtesy from www.hoteldelmano.com

Hotel Delmano, photo courtesy from www.hoteldelmano.com

Finally we went for dinner at the Lighthouse, a laidback venue with excellent food. We had the homemade burrata and ceviche to start and the steak as a main, all delicious.  I loved the vibe in there.

I can't wait to discover even more cool places out there.

Practicalities:

Colonia Verde - 219 Dekalb Ave., Fort Greene

Green light Bookshop - 686 Fulton Street

Cafe Mogador - 133 Wythe Avenue

Hotel Delmano - 82 Berry Street 

Lighthouse - 145 Borinquen Place

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Paula Pinaud is in love with traveling, food, art and fashion. Passionate about Yoga and healthy lifestyle. Born and bread in Rio. Living in London since 2011. Here to share interesting experiences and tips.

Brunch in Dublin

Dublin has to be the brunch capital of Europe... We all love brunch so much!

Brunch here is equal to "casual first date", "meeting old friends", "quick chinwag over yum food", "I deserve more than tea and toast", and so it goes.

I've selected my top spots for brunch - bon appetite! 

L'GUEULETON

Photo courtesy of www.lgueuleton.com

Photo courtesy of www.lgueuleton.com

The Place... A cool french, retro-chic open plan. Staff is nice and service is super fast.

The Atmosphere... Bring-your-own-paper-sit-back-and-relax type of place. 

The Crowd... Good food fans!

Top Tip... Brioche French Toast with Bacon, Fried Banana and Maple Syrup does the trick for me. The cheese board served with walnut and raisin bread goes well with a nice glass of vino.

COPPINGER ROW

The Place... Sit outside for a bit of people-watching.

The Atmosphere... Busy and fun, the usual city centre small yet cozy venue. Super-friendly staff!

The Crowd... Buggy Ville! For young parents who are slowly coming back to their routine.

Top Tip... Crab and Crayfish with Basil and Lemon... or as I like to call it "game changer". 

THE GREENERY

The Place... When less is more. Beautiful paintings on the wall and a well equipped bar.

The Atmosphere... Staff is young and vibrant, music is gentle on the ears, very busy on weekends.

The Crowd... Another yummy mummy hot spot (I love it!). Rugby players - Oh hi! - and your usual locals.

Top Tip... Poached eggs with hollandaise sauce are to die for! My homebody is all over the chicken wings.

Austin Restaurants and Museums

I just got back from the Formula 1 in Austin. It was my first F1 adventure and hopefully not the last. I found it amazingly fun and chill. Very diverse and interesting crowd. Food and drinks abound. Lovely day, sunny and warm. I also had a chance to spend some days in the city and to try a few places I recommend if you visit.

Cool tower at The CIrcuit of the Americas where the Formula 1 in Austin happens.

Cool tower at The CIrcuit of the Americas where the Formula 1 in Austin happens.

We didn't stay right downtown (hotels were very expensive for the F1 weekend) but a few streets down, closer to the interstate, at the corner of RedRiver St which is packed with bars, restaurants, food trucks and nightlife. If this is not your cup of tea try staying downtown which offers a more sterile environment!

Restaurants/food trucks:

- Veracruz All Natural Tacos, a food truck or more so an old school bus turned into a food truck - best tacos I have eaten outside of Mexico. Cheap, amazing flavors. My favorite place in Austin. The breakfast migas is to live for.

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Migas breakfast tacos at Vera Cruz. YUM.

Migas breakfast tacos at Vera Cruz. YUM.

Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill - right on Red River St, American southern comfort food. The building is very interesting and big and the same is always packed which is a good sign. Portions are massive (yummy green chile chicken macaroni!) and the corn bread alone is worth the visit.

La Condesa - Guadalupe St, downtown Austin. Mexican (or modern Mexican as they describe themselves), sit down restaurant, packed and kinda trendy. The food was really good but I'd still go to Vera Cruz instead. Although for dinner La Condesa was a good option.

Juan in a Million - also an amazing option for Mexican. Not as fancy/pretentious as La Condesa. Maybe a step up in comfort from Vera Cruz although the flavors are pretty similar in quality. Definitely a great option.

As for museums:

- The Blanton Museum of Art, right on the University of Texas-Austin campus. I wasn't lucky to see their permanent collection (going through renovations) but the two exhibits they had on were pretty sweet. For a 9 dollar ticket it is worth your time just for the hall work by Teresita Fernández, called Stacked Waters. I think I spent at least 10 minutes circling this room in awe.

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- Thinkery (former Children's Museum) - great option if you are traveling with kids. Beautiful, modern building with lots of interesting activities for kids of all ages (from babies to maybe 9-10 years old). Very cool to offer kids a breather from adult programs when you are traveling as a family. 

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Paris Quick Pocket Guide

Ok ok. Finally get to write down some of the tips I usually give for Paris if friends ask. I know some of them are pretty obvious but hey, you never know how much people have researched after all.

My FAVORITE MUSEUMS (there are SO many and it is impossible to chose them all):

- Centre Georges Pompidou - just the building is worth the visit but they always have interesting exhibits going on (right now they have Magritte!). If modern, conceptual and abstract is not your thing don't go.

- Musée D'Orsay - again an amazing building. More classic collection and usually pretty cool exhibits going on. 

- Musée Rodin - the house, the gardens, the collection (specially Camille Claudel pieces). Everything.

- Musée Picasso - don't think if you have visited one Picasso museum you have seen them all. This Paris location does not disappoint in any way. They just opened a Picasso-Giacometti exhibit I am dying to see.

I won't mention The Louvre but if you haven't been, obvious tip, go.

Going up the Eiffel Tower, a question I always get: yes, totally worth it. But book ahead to avoid disappointment and to try to beat the long lines. You can also walk across the river (to Trocadéro) or arrive via Trocadéro) to get a better view of her!

PLACES I ALWAYS LIKE TO VISIT: Place des Vosges (AND its surrounding neighborhood Le Marais), Jardin des Tuileries just for the walk and Ile Saint-Louis (for sure the place I would love to live at if Paris was an option! And Notre-Dame is just across the river!)

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FOR FOOD, COFFEE, TEA, DESSERTS, ICE CREAM:

- Le Relais de l'Entrecôte: the classic Steak&Fries. Love.

- Les Cocottes: so close to the Eiffel Tower, so charming and SO good.

- Le Hangar: amazing little restaurant, typical written by hand menu, tucked in a little alley, about 5-8 minute walk from Georges Pompidou.

- Le Derrière: trendy, different, great food (and not too far from the Picasso Museum or the Georges Pompidou).

- Berthillon: for great ice-cream. But the one on the Ile Saint-Louis. Just check their website for closed days (they have those).

- Sébastien Gaudard: for desserts, yum. Right by the Jardin des Tuileries.

- Café Kousmichoff: super teas and nice brunch.

- Café Marly: an option with great views of the Louvre pyramid (price follows the view of course).

Stores you don't want to miss (special mention to the drugstores in general and the super French beauty brands): Le Colette, Le Bon Marché and Publicis Drugstore for a combo of things (I have left links of the websites so you can see what I mean!).

There are infinite options for hotels and places to stay. The sky is the limit for budget but there are nice cute places where you don't need to spend a ton of money. But it is Paris and usually the hotel will be a detail on your trip. But some people do care enough about hotels so... I like to stay close to Ile Saint-Louis but I am being very particular here. Another thing I check is how far the place I am looking at is from the subway (for convinience). Here are some hotels I like: 

- Hôtel Particulier Montmartre > most expensive but maybe for special treat?!

- Hôtel Providence

- Hôtel Bel Ami > super location!

- Hôtel Dauphine Saint Germain > another one at a super location!

- Hôtel de l'Abbaye > classic look&feel and nice location!

Something I want to try for a next time: rent a place with A la Parisienne. They seem to have a good selection, all sizes, sometimes more convenient than a hotel (specially for families).

Good resources (in Portuguese) of Paris from specialists (I am not one!): Conexão Paris and BEM in Paris - they both have great instagram accounts you can follow for tips.

Assaggi: Jewel of an Italian in London

Some places are so good you almost don't want to tell anyone about it. But hey, what is the point of having a blog if you cannot talk! Ha. So there you go. Perfect fresh pasta, great service, enough of a hidden gem in Notting Hill. Walk fast by it and you may miss it (it is tucked in an alley). Impossible to regret a visit. It is a big favorite of ours.

Where: 39 Chepstow Place, London W2 4TS Telephone for reservations: +44 020 7792 5501

Photos are courtesy of www.assaggi.co.uk