CinEast: a preview

logo_soustitre

Yesterday I was invited to the press conference of Cineast, the festival of movie from East and Central Europe that will take place in Luxembourg from 6 to 23 October.

This was a really interesting opportunity to learn more about the festival and, above all, about its events! (wow!, more things to do in Luxembourg).

Cineast got now to its 9th edition and counted 10,000 participants in total between screenings and events connected.

cineast2016_poster_72

Regarding the movies proposed, its distinctive characteristic is to show a quality program, most composed by movies that had very much success at international film festival (Berlin, Locarno, Sundance), but are less accessible to people in Luxembourg. The idea is also to attract not only movie lovers, but also young people, through as said a series of events, including concerts and gastronomical nights.

Under a cultural point of view, it will be an interactive way to learn about another face of our international population. The festival does not want to appear as a political manifesto, but for sure most of the movies have some political values and touch actual themes. It will be the case as well of the main event connected to the festival, the photography exhibition at Neimenster entitled “Away from Home”, that really should not be missed.

There will be an official competition with 8 recent movies, including the Polish Hristo that will be presented in Warsaw the week ahead the festival, Dogs, that was presented in Cannes, and the sarcastic Kill on Wheels, the only comedy among the movies in the competition, which has a very strong Tarantino accent.

60 long movies and 40 short films are then included in the program, documentary, classic and award-winners. Godless, for example, has been awarded in Locarno and is a pretty tough movie about a home nurse who is trafficking the ID cards of her patients. The last family was acclaimed in Cannes and United States of Love in Berlin, while It’s not the time of my life is a very raw movie on budget that shows the life of its maker. I Olga will tell us the story of the last woman to be executed in Poland and All these sleepless nights will take us through the lascivious life of two youngsters during Warsaw nights.

Movies will be shown in the city – mainly at Cinematique and Neimenster – as well as around the country (Esch, Mersch, Vianden, Mondorf, etc..)

You can find the complete program of the screenings here:

Cineast Programme

As said, Cineast is not only movies, but there will be also plenty of events, some strictly related to the movies, as debates and public interviews, some more on the party side – as reminded during the press conference indeed, the most important art is the art of partying🙂

Take your agenda and note down:

On October 8th, Toporkestra (a gipsy band) will perform at Melusina, followed by a Balkan party.

toporkestra_1

On October 13th, Rotondes will welcome an Eastalgia party, with food, music and quiz inspired by the times when Eastern European countries were part of the communist bloc.

On October 15th, All sleepless nights will be followed by a Warsaw-style party at Rocas.

Last but not least, the closing event, on October 22nd, at Sang & Klang in Pfaffenthal, with Balkan music and live DJ set.

la20fanfare20couche-tard20copyright20olivier20reb20hd20de9toure9

There will be two silent movie projection, with live soundtrack: on October 14th The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, a classic Polish movie, at Cinemateque, and on October 20th, a Slovak night at Neimenster, followed by a jazz jam session.

Details about the events can be found here:

Cineast Events

I will be attending most of the events as they really look amazing, so I hope to see some of you there!

logo_soustitre

Back from holidays: Barefoot in Frangokastello

As you have probably noted from my Instagram feeds, I spent the last two weeks in Greece. My sister was getting married in Frangokastello, in the region of Sfakia, Crete, and I took the occasion for visiting (and eating!) around.

I have to say I was truly surprised by the place: I was anticipated Sfakia is a very rural region and I did not have to expect much. This is true – forget about Malia, Benindorm or Magaluf, and this time for a good reason!

Going out very often – as you see! – in Luxembourg, when I am travelling for my annual vacations, I rather prefer enjoying some relax. I love good food and wine, but I don’t look for posh places – those you have to dress up for getting in o queuing hours for a watered down (and pricey!) cocktail.

I landed in Chania airport with Ryanair from Franfkfurth Hahn and I spent my first night in the airport surroundings, at Areti Suites hotel. It has been a very comfortable solution as I had a late night flight and I was very tired. The hotel is just 5 minutes driving from the airport, rooms are conditioned and huge, and I was offered some local sweets and drinks and water. I had a typical Greek breakfast with calzoni and spanakopita the day after and then I was ready for my trip!

Frangokastello is about one hour and a half from Chania, of which only first 30 km are on the national road and the following part is on mountain roads with some sharp turns and breathtaking views – nothing too scary, I have to say, just be aware of goats travelling on your same way🙂

The landscape, getting out from Chania, takes soon a different perspective. You find tiny villages in the middle of nowhere, with their colorful taverns and local people chatting on the doors.

Frangokastello is a small village on the beach, well known for its castle and with some intense touristic affluence over summer. The temperature was still comfortably hot, above all compared to Luxembourg. A mild marine wind was making it more pleasant during the warmest hours.

crete11

I stayed at Fata Morgana Studio and Apartments, a lovely complex situated 1 km outside the main village, on a cliff. My accommodation was perfect: I had a studio room with air-conditioning and fan, a terrace in the middle of a romantic garden and sea view.

If you prefer a more “central” accommodation – even if, I admit, this might be funny in terms of the village -, my parents were staying at Milos apartment, that have more or less the same facilities and a direct access to the beach. There you can also rent small stones mill in the old harbor!

From Fata Morgana, to get to the main part of the village, you can either walk along the coast toward the castle or take the car from the main road – parking was definitely not an issue, but in the morning I preferred having my power walk before staring my day.

Just nearby, there are two main beaches: Orthi Ammos – that is very natural and suggestive, and the main beach in the village, where you can find also sunbeds and umbrellas (one day, 5 euro).

Beaches are calm and children friendly and taverns to get your drinks and food are few steps away.

The village in fact does not lack of places to enjoy the local cuisine: in the morning, I usually took my breakfast at Maria’s bakery, just next to the castle, where you can have local snacks or croissant, together with fresh juices and the usual freddo espresso or frappe’ (an ice drink prepared with Nestcafe that is apparently very popular in Crete).

crete12

For lunch, my favorite place was Kali Kardia, with its covered terrace and home made food. The average spent for a meal there is around 10 euro per person, including beer or wine, Greek appetizers, fruit and raki. You just have to remember you are on holidays and you have to relax. People are taking it very slowly and this was one of the things I enjoyed most.

For dinner, we usually went to Mylos Taverna, located in the small harbor of the village, or to Fata Morgana, on the cliff opposite my apartment. In both food was authentic, portions big and atmosphere characteristic.

For a romantic dinner, the perfect place was Taverna Ammos, located at the edge of the village.

crete39

My favorite dishes during the vacation included “fava”, a mashed fava beans appetizer similar to hummus prepared with olive oil and onions, “Cretan salad”, a Greek salad plus some rusk bread, potatoes and Mizithra cheese and “Bifteki”, minced meat filled with cheese.

I have to say, we eat quite often at Greek restaurants in Luxembourg and even at the good ones, the quality of the food is far from the one I had in Crete. In particular, there are some foods I don’t normally eat in Luxembourg – first among them, the wine leaves stuffed with rice, dolmades, that indeed in Frangokastelllo were delicious.

With the food, we had plenty of raki, typical Retsina wine and Mythos beer.

I visited a bit around, including a scary trip down from Kallikatris village on one of the most dangerous road of the region – but I survived! – and to Rethymno, that is the third largest town in Crete and it is famous for its Venetian fortress – go there in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the warmest hours.

We  also spent some days in Chania, a vivid city, quite touristic, with a romantic harbor, a picturesque old Town and some nice shops. We stayed in front of Neo Chora beach, just off the main city center, and we were quite satisfied, but I have to say, if I could change my plans, I would have spent more days in Frangokastello, as it was ways more relaxing, typical and authentic.

I was busy for the wedding, so I had to limit my daily trips, but the region offers much more to see, including Samaria and Imbros gorges, if you are up for some trekking, Ellafonissi beach, Chora Sfakion village – from where you can arrange some nice boat trips.

My vacations in Frangokastello were extremely pleasant and we are planning to come back next year already. The summer is very long in Crete, so don’t be afraid to book there from May to October!

frangokastelo

Barefoot in Luxembourg meets People: The Brunettes

A brand new chapter of our series Barefoot in Luxembourg meets people starts this September. Today we have the pleasure to meet Emilie & Emilie, The Brunettes.

Ready?

brunettes-2

 

Girls, let’s kick it off: Who are you? What are you doing here?

We are Emilie and Emilie and we are DJing under the name The Brunettes!

Can you tell Barefoot in Luxembourg followers a bit more about The Brunettes?

We are really cool mums because we are DJs! We work in marketing and communication here in Luxembourg. Friend of us challenged us to DJ at a party at the Buvette Rotondes and we agreed. The following day, people kept asking us to be part of their events. This is how we ended playing at the Urban bar on the 23rd of June, at the Jakob’s for MixInLux’s 1st anniversary party, at Hollerich for the Marx and Mama Loves You,…

Wow, that’s impressive! So why do you think The Brunettes are different from other djs on the Luxembourg scene?

We definitely are funnier, real party girls. We like to play upbeat tunes, the ones you can dance to.

Having been to your DJ set I can ensure this is true🙂 Now, coming back to your Luxembourg background, how long have you been living in Luxembourg?

Emilie 1: I come from Paris and I moved here nearly 6 years ago.

Emilie 2: I am almost a local, I am from Metz and I moved here 5 years ago.

What is your most beloved place in the city?

Emilie 1: I love the Mudam because I am a big fan of their musical choices on Wednesdays and the variety of their exhibitions.

Emilie 2: I really like what is happening in Belval. The university, the new shops and restaurants are turning the place into the most awesome and multicultural environment.

What is your favourite restaurant in Luxembourg?

Emilie 1 and 2: We love Ukulele because we love authentic thai food, cashew nut chicken for Emilie 1 and a good old green curry for Emilie 2.

What is your preferred night-life spot in Luxembourg?

Emilie 1: I often hop by the Steiler on Friday evenings: This place is crazy and I think people over there are really interesting. There always are nice people to meet there.

Emilie 2: Definitely the Buvette Rotondes: It is a great place, there is always something cool happening and we always are extremely well welcomed.

What do you like about Luxembourg life?

Both Emilies: We feel privileged in Luxembourg for the multicultural life, and being able to meet so many people form different horizons. The cultural life is bustling and dynamic.

What do you miss here and you would like to change or improve?

Both Emilies: It would be quite cool to have more little shops life Leif and Beetles and Bugs or Stitch or Honey Mustard. We’d love to see all the new designers get a chance to really bloom too!

What is the best place you visited in a range of 200 km from the city and that you would suggest for a daily trip?

Both Emilies: Reims and the whole Champagne area. Take a tour in one of the houses of Champagne. People working there are the most passionate ambassadors of their products!

What is the best adjective to describe Luxembourg?

Emilie 1: Surprising

Emilie 2: Bustling

Just like us!…

Follow The Brunettes Facebook page in order to be updated on their next DJ sets!

the-brunettes

A new Italian wine bar in town: 14 Degrés and more, Luxembourg city

Touching down in Luxembourg just for one night, I organized an after-work drink – that soon became a big night out  – with my girlfriends. Fancying something informal but refined and very deluded by the last place of this kind we tried recently, we booked a table at 14 Degrés and more, a new eatery and wine bar that has recently opened in the city centre, just in front of Le Royal Hotel.

The concept of the place is really easy going: they serve a daily menu for lunch, they have Italian products to purchase or you can simply sit down, have a glass of wine and some nibbles.

The place is tiny inside, but well decorated and impressive in the details. The outdoor table are overlooking a busy boulevard Royal, but after a while you really don’t care. The terrace is wide and is perfect if you want just to relax.

We got there around 6 pm and welcome by the owner. Started with a glass of bubbles while waiting for the squad to be completed and went then for a bottle of Fiano followed by a Primitivo one.

We were offered some snacks – vegerables, garlic crème cheese and olives – and we then ordered a mixed platter of charcuterie and cheese. With the red bottle we had as well some more cheese.

Some quick pictures followed by my usual impression.

14degrees1 14degrees2 14degrees3 14degrees4

What I liked about 14 Degrés and more:

  • Amazing level of service: even if the place is very informal, the owner was checking on us to see if everything was going fine and was available to suggest us wines and give indications about the food.
  • Food and wine are simple but good, wines served at the right temperature and platters prepared with care.
  • The location is very relaxing and perfect for end of summer gatherings.

What I liked a bit less about 14 Degrés and more:

  • The space inside is not ready for the cold Luxembourg winter and will not yet be able to welcome many people. Anyway we talked with the owner and he confirmed he has already plans for the forthcoming months, including a covered terrace.

In conclusion: 14 Degrés and more offers Italian products for lunch and after-work. For me, it was the perfect place to share a bottle (or more!) of wine with my friends and I really looking forward to come back to try other dishes.

 

The Chef’s touch: Lea Linster, Frisange, Luxembourg

Last month, to celebrate my partner in crime Kochi’s birthday, we decided to spoil ourselves with a starred choice, the one I was craving since my arrival in Luxembourg, Lea Linster in Frisange.

I heard several different opinions about this restaurant and I was very curious to try it – I am generally not put down my negative opinions, nor pushed by great ones, I just prefer to have my  personal.

I got in contact with the restaurant via mail couple of weeks before and I got a quick reply in English – not to be taken as granted in most of  restaurants in Luxembourg. I specified the reservation was for a birthday celebration and we would have loved to have a nice table.

Moving forward to the day, we got to the restaurant at 7.30 pm – there was a private parking just in front. The restaurant was almost complete and we were welcomed at our table, just next to the window, overlooking the lovely garden.

We opted for the Bocuse D’Or tasting menu, a four courses journey through the tastes that honoured Lea Linster of the famous prize, with wine pairings.. During the wait, we were proposed an aperitif, I went – business as usual – for rose’ champagne, while Kochi went for a blanc de blanc.

Together with the aperitif we received some crunchy focaccia bread with herbs, followed by a bread bruschetta with olives tapenade and bresaola (tasty) and a poached quail egg (plain).

Our dinner properly started with a goat cheese mousse and gazpacho as welcome, followed by lobster and tomato starter, a classic melody, not very surprising in the medley but technically perfectly executed

At this time Lea Linster made her appearance in the room, spending some minutes for each and every table and taking pictures with the guests. We supposed it was a short” one woman show” to give an appeal to the visit, indeed from that moment on Lea would not leave the stage, taking not the leading role, but participating, with the brigade, to the simplest tasks of the service.

After a quick relaxing break in the breath-taking garden, we moved ahead with grilled fish and crusty peppers crisp. This is the point at which clearly the dinner had its turnaround, moving from just a straight-forward classic performance to a surprising and amazing celebration of tastes.

My main course was lamb, with potatoes crust, while Kochi had duck, with blackberries. Both dishes were perfectly balances, apparently simple, but built on delicate equilibriums, prodigious in their single components and just perfect together. We smiled.

Cheese trolley, followed by the pre-dessert, a crème brule accompanied by some sweet treats. The conclusion was a strawberry meringue dessert – the most delicious pastry ever tried – and I am not a dessert girl, you know it.

We moved on the terrace again for the coffee and digestive and we were joined at this time by Lea again, who took a small surprise for Kochi, her birthday cake.

While everybody was leaving, we stayed another hour with the chef, pleasantly talking, as we have been friends for ages. It was lovely to discover her background and heard some anecdotes of her life. We left past 1 o’clock, when the restaurant was already closed, with a personalized signed book as memory. It was an unforgettable night.

Walk through our dinner in pictures and discover our final feelings.

IMG_8547 IMG_8548 IMG_8549 IMG_8550 IMG_8551 IMG_8552 IMG_8553 IMG_8554 IMG_8555 IMG_8556 IMG_8557 IMG_8558 IMG_8559 IMG_8560

What I liked about Lea Linster:

  • The location: although passing by I never had the impression of it to be a fairy tales place, indeed the interiors are minimal and warm and the garden, oh my gosh, the garden, a spectacular view and the most cosy settings – why did I not get married here?
  • The food: while the premises were somehow disappointing – the bread focaccia and the aperitif accompaniments were nothing “wow” – the menu slowly but decisively moved to a triumph of aroma architectures. Classic basis, someone would say, but still incredible and rare.
  • The chef’s touch: this is the real competitive value of Lea Linster. I visited few starred restaurants in my short blogger career and in most you have the pleasure, sometimes, to meet the chef. In some exceptional circumstances, we were invited to visit the kitchen (at Cracco, in Milan). But never ever we have been served all night long by the chef herself, like in this case, refilling the water, taking the empty dishes, checking on us during the night. Not only: Lea is talking amiably with the clients – all of them, without differences – like are old friends. It is not the appearance – you are leaving at the cash counter some good money, so we smile and thank you -. No, here it is completely different. You feel this is the restaurant of Lea Linster, not only in the name, but because she is here, she is interested in you, in your feelings, she wants to know everything out of the kitchen and in the room is fine. It would have been probably just a very good dinner without this touch, indeed it ended up being outstanding.

What I did not like about Lea Linster:

  • Considering the level of the restaurant and the exceptional dinner we had, only one thing was not on the point: the wine service. We ordered the champagne aperitif (an astonishing 26 euro per glass):  the sommelier came with both bottles, served Kochi’s white, then suddenly left, went to refill wine to couple of other tables and after 5 good minutes realized and came back to fill my pink glass. The timing of following wines were equally wrong: the red arrived when our main course was almost at the end. Moreover, especially for white wine, the quality of the wine pairing was  not in line with the one of the dinner. As said, everything else was just perfect.

In conclusion: to be reserved for a special occasion, a romantic rendez-vous, a family gathering or someone you want to spoil, Lea Linster might be a “classic” Michelin starred restaurant, but does not fail to impress, above all for the unforgettable touch of the Chef. We had a remarkable food and personal experience, to be kept in our memories until next visit.

 

Barefoot in Luxembourg meets People: Kristy Thibodeau

It is time for another interview of our series “Barefoot in Luxembourg meets people”, today it is the turn of Kristy Thibodeau, an American masseur and blogger living in Metz.

kristy2

Hi Kristy, do you want to introduce yourself to start?

Sure. My name is Kristy Thibodeau and I am originally from Boston, MA USA. I am working in Kirchberg, Luxembourg as an English speaking sports masseur. I have my doctorate in physical therapy, am a certified strength and conditioning specialist, and The Fit Wanderluster blogger.

Sounds interesting! Could you describe us a bit better your work?

I work at LuxChiro and my specialty is sports and deep tissue massage. Comments I’ve heard from clients is that my specialty is difficult to find in Luxembourg. I focus on sports rehabilitation, trigger point and myofascial release, and am certified in the Graston Technique, but can also focus on specific muscular tension release that cause pain or headaches. The massage can sometimes be a bit uncomfortable but I do it with a smile! I have experience working with the fatigued desk-job worker, amateur athletes to professional basketball, football, cyclists, marathon and triathletes.

So I see why – with all these professional workers in Luxembourg – people might be attracted by your work…

My specialty is taught from the States and my experience in sports outpatient orthopaedic rehabilitation gives me a very strong foundation on anatomy and kinetics. I have also run a dozen semi-marathons and 8 full marathons, so I have full understanding on the demands and taxing work that can affect the body with sports training. My hope is also to develop an running injury prevention education course for beginners and intermediate runners in Luxembourg, if there is enough interest.

What do you enjoy mostly about your work?

I love meeting so many people, from so many backgrounds and nationalities and hearing their stories and goals to achieve personal bests from their first 5k to marathon.

Talking about your Luxembourg background, how long have you been living in Luxembourg?

Currently, I’m living in Metz, France and commuting to Luxembourg 3-4 days a week.

What is your most beloved place in the city?

My hope is to move to Luxembourg in the very near future because of the diversity and accessibility to so much culture, options for traveling, outdoor activities, music concerts, etc. The options are endless and comparable to Boston lifestyle.

Nice to hear! And what is your favourite restaurant in Luxembourg?

La Boqueria

What is your preferred night-life spot in Luxembourg?

Hitch or The Tube

What do you like about Luxembourg life?

I love the broad range of professionals with diverse nationalities and the welcoming attitudes of the locals. Also, I’m a big fan of the outdoor music festivals and exploring the forests and countryside to go running.

What do you miss here and you would like to change or improve?

I miss living near the beach and really, really good seafood in the summer (lobster rolls!)

What is the best place you visited in a range of 200 km from the city and that you would suggest for a daily trip?

I’m biased as I live in Metz, but the city is great for shopping, dining, bars, amazing architecture, beautiful parks and walking/biking paths. Also, Reims, for champagne tastings of course!

What is the best adjective to describe Luxembourg?

Intriguing.

kristy3  kristy1

 

 

Business Lunch at Amélys Restaurant, Le Royal Hotel, Luxembourg city

How blissful is to spend a lunch break in town during summer time? Since my office moved out of the city centre, I more and more appreciate this pleasure.

Last week, together with Patricia, we decided for a farewell in style before each other holidays, booking at the renewed Le Royal Hotel restaurant, Amélys. Since the great and advertised restoration that took place during the year, I was really curious to visit the new restaurant and, above all, to see their  new settings. We used to stop off at Le Royal in the past, for business meetings or after-work, but I was always a bit sceptic, due to its old fashion set-ups.

Indeed, when we entered the hall, it was extremely refreshing: seeing how the hotel has now a brand new imprinting. .The luxury signature that has always impregnated its wall stays, but has been met now by a trendy influence and a cool design – something that will not be past next year, but mix and shake, in the perfect combination, classical opulence and contemporary fashion.

We headed to the restaurant Amélys, that is now pleasantly bright. We were welcomed with a radiant smile and accommodated on the terrace – we learned in Luxembourg that when the sun shines, you have to take advantage of it!

We were handle the daily menu and the “a la carte” one and explained we could choose between the weekly proposal – in case you are in a hurry, they are available to prepare and serve you business lunch in one hour – or the classic menu. We decided to go with the suggestions and we started with a glass of Luxembourgish white wine, served at the table from the bottle.

The menu consists in a buffet of vegetarian (and fish) starter, one main dish and a dessert. You can choose only a main or a combination of the three.

From the starters buffet, I had an egg pot, a smoked fish gluten-free roll and an avocado and shrimps cocktail. Patricia had a gazpacho and a feta salad. We could (and wanted!) to take more – you can refill your dish how many times you want basically – but while standing at the buffet, we saw a lovely dessert passing by, so we decided to keep some space till the end of the lunch!

I continued then with the meat dish, an amazing beef steak prepared with artichokes and olives, while Patricia had the cod filet. I accompany my dish with a light red wine..

Finally, we had our dessert: a chocolate macaroon with ice-cream and a fruity cake and sorbet for Patricia. An espresso was the perfect conclusion of our lunch.

Find some pictures of our lunch followed by my usual impressions.

IMG_8408 IMG_8412 IMG_8411 IMG_8410 IMG_8409 IMG_8413 IMG_8419 IMG_8414 IMG_8415 IMG_8417 IMG_8418 IMG_8420 IMG_8421

What I loved about Amélys restaurant:

  • The food was superb: even classic choices like shrimp cocktails or the beef steak are prepared in a refined way, that makes them never boring. Portions are more than fair and the presentation is lovely.
  • The starters buffet is a very alternative concept: I was at the beginning a bit questioner, as I am not a fan of buffet. Indeed – you could have already noted it from the pictures – the Amélys idea of buffet is very far from everything you might have seen so far in Luxembourg: the stands are clean and refrigerate, the food choice is wide and has a great attention to dietary restrictions (vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options).
  • Service is a real five stars item here: from the welcome, to the wine, to the dishes explanations, everything is cared in details. As I was still finished my red wine, they proposed to wait to bring my dessert and when the sun went missing, they turned on the heating on the terrace only for us. All small attentions that are highly appreciated.
  • The price is more than reasonable for the service you get and for the quality of the food and you have several options, including a la carte one, for different budget.

What I liked a bit less about Amélys restaurant:

  • Our lunch was indeed perfect: we really enjoyed every single minutes. There would be nothing actually I will change , and I shared the same feeling with Patricia. I am really looking forward to visit Amélys again for dinner and for their Sunday brunch.

In conclusion: We had the perfect lunch time at Amélys restaurant: the new settings of Le Royal Hotel, refined environment, tasty and eclectic kitchen, enjoyable service. I definitely recommend it for business lunches and gathering with friends,