Barefoot in Luxembourg meets People: Meet Zach and Mariano

For the third chapter of the series “Barefoot in Luxembourg meets People”, today we will get to know better Mariano and Zach, two lads with different backgrounds but several passions in common.

 

What is your name? What do your friends call you?
Zach
: My name is Zach, and this is the way my friends are used to call me, although Zachou is very well used by a few ones
Mariano: My name is Mariano Della Porta. My friends used to call me ‘Tanguero’ because my second activity and my passion is the Argentinian Tango.

Describe yourself with three words.
Zach
: I would say that the adjectives which come the most when people are talking about me are smiling, energetic, optimistic and attentive (well, that’s four).
Mariano: The three words that describe myself are positive, determined and smiling.

How long have you been living in Luxembourg? What are you doing here?
Z
: I’ve been in Luxembourg City for two years now, straight from Shanghai, working as an actuary and risk analyst within financial institutions.
M: I’ve been in Luxembourg for three years now, working in fashion.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Z
: I’ve been led to like this city a lot after two years in its walls. In five years I will still be here !
M: In five years I will still be here as well then 🙂

What do you like doing in your spare time?
Z:
During my spare time, I am organizing afterworks for expatriates and locals. This is one of the things I loved about Luxembourg, its huge potential of young people coming from everywhere due to European institutions, banks and so on. That’s why we created with two friends MixinLux, an association mixing new comers, locals, cool and young, and making them meet each other with a drink and really good music.
Besides this, traveling is my other hobby. One of the other thing I like about Luxembourg. You can travel any place you want quite easily with fair prices.
M: During my spare time I am dancing tango and I am organizing amazing afterworks:  with Zach, I am one of the founder of MinInLux. MixInLux aims to gather young professionals, expats and new comers around in a same place, after work, with nice music and drinks. The main underlying idea is to meet friends, friends of friends, colleagues…

What is your most beloved place in Luxembourg?
Z
: There are a lot of beloved places for me in town. On the bars’ side, it all depends of your mood and the people you’re going with. But the Jakob’s (drinks and atmosphere) in Clausen, the Bouneweger Stuff (chilling) in Bonnevoie, the Vinoteca (view and talking), the Zanzen (chilling and view) or the Urban (beer and atmosphere) are one of my favorites.
M: I don’t have only one beloved place in Luxembourg city, but my best place is the Jakob’s House in Clausen because there is an exceptional service and at the same time the restaurant is amazing.

What is your favorite restaurant in Luxembourg?
Z
: On the restaurants’ side, I really like the Japanese Aka Cite’. For pizzas, Il Punto downtown with no doubt. For cheese and wine, La Cave a Fromages near the train station of course (so nice owners).
M: My favorite restaurants in Luxembourg are Il Punto and Al Bacio for pizza and Italian food.

What is your preferred night-life spot in Luxembourg?
Z
: Night life spot ? All of them 🙂
M: My favorite night-life spot is Rocas with no doubt, because you have a possibility to listen anytime original music, sipping an excellent beer or good rhum. In other words, I love simple places where good music comes first.

Do you have a favorite drink?
Z
: My favorite drink is the Aperol Spritz. I fall in love with this cocktail. But a Battin or a good rum definitely works fine!
M: My favorite drink is as well the Aperol Spritz, but I am also a fan of a good beer with a good cigar.

Where do you do your shopping usually?
Z
: As everybody in Luxembourg, I’m shopping on Saturdays at Auchan, Kirchberg, where I usually meet all the people I know in Luxembourg at one time. Except that this time, they wear sneakers instead of suit shoes 🙂
M: I’m shopping for food as well at Auchan , Kirchberg, but my favorite shop for clothes is Boggi Milano where I’m working 🙂

What do you like about Luxembourg life?
Z
: As mentioned earlier, I really like to simply go out and meet people coming from all around the world, with different stories and interests. Most of them traveled a lot, which give us a point in common! I also find Luxembourg very beautiful and rich in history. I really like just hanging out on the Vauban itinerary within the city’s walls and discovering the city.
M: I like life in Luxembourg for many reasons. For example you can meet people coming from all around the world, with different cultures and interests. In this city you have less stress and more social life.

What would you improve?
Z
: The thing I would like to see improved is the buses connection in the city by night. We lose sometimes a lot of time in public transports to reach two different places, and if you miss one, the remaining option is walking. Having buses on a more regular basis would make the Luxembourg night life more dynamic.
M: It may seems strange but in Luxembourg there is nothing to improve, because it is a country in continuous evolution. Maybe the bus drivers !!!

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?
Z
: In a 200km distance from Luxembourg for a day trip, I would suggest Strasbourg. Lovely city, atypical downtown, nice food and a lot of things to do/visit. For history lovers, Verdun really worth it.
M: Metz 🙂 because Metz dedicates two weeks to the Mirabelle plum during the popular Mirabelle Festival held in august.

What is the best adjective to describe Luxembourg?
Z
: Luxembourg in one word would be ‘unexpected‘. After two years, I’m still discovering something new in the city, a like path, a bar, some people, or a place to visit.
M: ‘Romantic’ city.

If you want to know more about the organization Mariano and Zach are the founders, head to Mix in Lux FB page or join their next event at Jakob’s House on September 24th.

A new cozy wine bar: La bulle de vin, Luxembourg

On Friday night, I have been invited to the re-opening of La bulle de vin, a very stylish wine bar located in the Old Town, just next door to Companero.

The bar and the restaurant were already open to the public but the new management invites friends for a tasting to celebrate the re-launch.

The bar, as structure, used to be one of my favorite in town when it was still called “PM”, but the previous managements were not able to valorize such great architecture.

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The concept now is that the entrance hall is dedicated to chill out: the music is soft, each table has great own space and you can relax, drink and chat.

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Going down, the middle floor is working as restaurant.

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Then, down at the basement, a stunning high-ceiling “party room” with a dedicated bar. This room has higher volume music (with a separated system from upstairs) and tall tables. You know, I am kind of claustrophobic in this basement Old Town bars, but actually here you have a very high staircase leading outside.

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Back to the bar offer, La bulle de vin has an outstanding quality value. They offers great, non-commercial wines at fair prices. You can also have champagne and wine tastings – they change each month – and, to accompany your glasses, you can combine delicious platter of cheese and charcuterie. .

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Yesterday evening we had tasted three types of wine – plus a glass of pink champagne to bubble before leaving. Wines were great and the bar personnel is well prepared to explain you the wine background. We only had some finger food but looking at the dishes that were arriving at other tables, I am definitely motivated to come back for food. Environment is trendy but not formal.

The basement party room could be also privatized for parties and La bulle de vin organizes special events like Wine Tasting for Girls – subscribe their newsletter to receive update on the events!

What to do: Gare – Station

From this Friday on, another new monthly series is going to start on Barefoot in Luxembourg about best recommendations for each area of the city – and eventually also out of the city sooner or later. I based my suggestion on what I am doing normally and on my favorite places.

Feel free to comment with your own suggestions, I am always happy to know new places!

I am starting with the Gare – Station area, as my office is just overlooking one of the most busy street of the city and it is here that, normally, I spend most of my time when in town.

Where to go when you crave sweets or you are meeting your bestie after some shopping:
Kathy’s Deli & Cupcakery
I love this place for two reasons: first, you can go there whatever time of the day it is. For an overindulging breakfast, for a colorful lunch, for an afternoon meeting with tea and cookies or Saturday brunch . Secondly, it is the only place where I fancy having cupcakes. I tend to eat not too many sweets, because I don’t really like cakes, biscuits, macarons (sorry!) and I am more a burger and chips girl, but Kathy’s cupcakes are just perfect. They have lovely combinations (smors are my best!) and they are not soo sweet. Also: non-lactose milks – and soya, rice, etc – available for your drinks!
Casa Fabiana
Even if I am not very much into this restaurant for lunch, I love the tea room settings and above all on Saturdays it is perfect for a coffee break, a snack and some chats. Bonus point: very amiable service.

Where to go for your girls’ lunch
Ekxi
When my sister was working in my same building, this was our usual lunch place. I love the fact you can choose between several different type of foods: from focaccia and lasagna, to soups, to sandwiches to salads. And everything is “natural”, with ingredients well written so whatever allergy or food preference you have you shouldn’t ask twice the waiter. My favorite dish there is the Thai Spicy Soup with mushrooms , they also have pretty good deals for lunch (salad, sandwich and drink for 8,40 Euro) and if you are in a hurry, the fruit-shake with watermelon and mint is just delicious.
Sushi and More
I started to hate sushi chains when I was in London, as I normally find the food there extremely cheap and insipid, and the opening of Sushi Shop in Luxembourg couldn’t help me to change my feelings – even it worse them. Sushi and More is a quite different story, as they have some well presented sushi, tasty, and the combinations for lunch (sushi box plus salad plus soup) are all for 11.20 Euro. They have also several “out of menu” items while my beloved box is the chirashi one. The location is clean and waiters are smiling and kind. Not for a date, but definitely worth a good lunch.
Sushi Ogasang
Talking about good deals, Sushi Ogasang is a more refined place – I keep it normally for my “special” lunches. They have several lunch bento box formulas (around 14 Euros), including a vegetarian one, and, boys will be boys, an All-you-can-eat trail (15 euros for lunch, 22 euros in the evening).

Where to go when you want to have shopping but you don’t know what you want to buy
Hema
When I enter in Hema, normally I feel the same then when going to Ikea. I know I have to buy only a small thing (like the cleanser for my contacts) but I end up always with my bag full of stupid things. In fact I think Hema is helpful in two ways: for cheap home things (we bought there our curtains, but they have also dishes, small electro stuff, towels) or for totally silly compulsive items, like colored notepads, cake kits, gardener tools, candles. And… have you ever tried Hema cookies?

Where to go when you need to shop for a dinner date
La Pause du Gourmet
Here at La Pause du Gourmet not only you can have delicious lunches (not on budget), refined wine tastings or organize your evening events (business nights, birthdays, dinners), but also buying amazing wines, cheese and charcuterie. My favorite is the truffle cheese (prepared with truffle bits, not just aroma) and the pesto one. Hubby is a fan of all the Italian charcuterie, including the Colonnata lard.

Where to go when it is Sunday afternoon, your fridge is empty and you girlfriend is coming to your place
Monoprix
Monoprix is open until 7 pm on Sundays (all Sundays, not only those of city-shopping) They have great fruit and vegetables selection, wines and champagne, fresh bread and croissants, meat, cheese, cleaning stuff and many more other products – and your final bill will be lower than driving to the next petrol station to buy some last-minute beef filet , Cabernet and chips.

Where to go for a quiet drink with your colleagues

Hotel Park Inn
I know pretty well the station area is not popular among professional expats and Luxembourgers. It could happen anyway that you want to stop by the way for a drink, so, the Hotel Park Inn is definitely the best place to go for me. The ambience is swanky but not posh (forget Sofitel!), the service friendly and the prices reasonable. Above all, you are on the first floor over Avenue de La Gare, so you can enjoy the chaos without being in it middle. Recommended for an after-work drinks.

Where to go for a romantic dinner date
Taj Mahal (on budget)
Le Chatelet (elegant)

Where to go for a dinner/drink with a buddy
La Bella Napoli
They
 offer a very good Italian style tiny pizza at reasonable price – I am not a fan of their other dishes and I would recommend personally to go there only for the pizza, but feel free to try and let me know! The environment is a bit messy but pleasant, with efficient service. If you stick to the pizza and beer menu, it is very reasonable priced.
QG
For having a beer at QG, you definitely do not need to dress up. They have plenty of space for chatting, a terrace, a pool table and they are open until 3 am over week-ends. It is not a fashionable place, but it is kind of place where you can spend a funny evening with your friends without being bothered about the surroundings. I love their Bloody Mary.

I noted a couple of new places open their doors in the area recently but haven’t had a chance to try them yet.. so stay tuned for some further updated, gonna test them during next weeks 🙂

Friday evening: a (posh) idea for after-work drinks, Vinoteca, Luxembourg

In Luxembourg there are just few months to enjoy the open air life, therefore during summer period I always try to arrange my evening in some garden or terrace. I talked already about it on the blog and you know there are several restaurants and bars in the city that offer breathtaking panoramas.

One of the best bar with view, for a quiet ad intense after-work, is definitely the Vinoteca – that is located behind the Palais and well hidden through ancient archways. This is the kind of place I tend to visit only during summer for being on the terrace, as I really don’t like the interior design.

I arranged for drinks with a friend on a Friday evening, some weeks ago and we had pleasant time.

After the pictures, some pro and con of this place.

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Things I loved about Vinoteca:

  • The location. Not to mention the amazing view, I also like the kind of atmosphere this place has. It is never too crowed, it is a bit far from the movida area of the city, so perfect if you, like me, are catching up with a friend and you want to talk quietly.
  • The service. I booked a table in the afternoon (highly recommended) and they were quick and nice in their replies. The waiter who was serving has had a big smile, was calling me by name even if it was long time I did not visit the place and was always there to help.
  • The quality of the products. Essentially it is not a place for a cheap drink, but you get the quality for what you are paying for. They have a good selection of wines, cold dishes to share and even hot dishes if you fancy having dinner.

Things I liked a bit less:

  • The wine approach. You can have glass, big glass, half pitcher o bottle for selected wines. As we were not sure how long we wanted to stay, we started with half pitcher of one of the most expensive wines they have. If I am paying 60 euro for half a bottle, I would expect at least that you fill up the pitcher showing me the bottle. We got directly the pitcher taken to the table, so – eventually – it could have been whatever wine inside. This was not the case – because the wine was great – but if I would expect a different level of service.
  • The charcuterie platter. They have different dishes with cheese, ham, charcuterie, so we decided to go for a mixed one for having a bit of everything. When the platter arrived, it was actually composed only by two kinds of salami and one of pancetta. We would expect at least one portion of ham. My friend does not eat salami, so we ended up leaving half of the platter.

To sum up, Vinoteca has a lovely terrace perfect for after-work drinks. The quality of the wine and of the food is pretty high, as well as the final bill. I would recommend it for a quiet talk with a friend, for a date with someone you want to impress or for a special celebration.

Aperinetwork, the Italian way of Aperif, at White House

Aperinetwork” embarked in 2014 through the initiative of three Italian guys – Federica, Alessandro and Matteo – who wanted to import the “aperitivo” into the Luxembourg nightlife culture. Some bars offered already a combination of tapas or small bites afterwork, but if you have ever been to Milan, for example, you clearly noted the difference. Moreover, Aperinetwork aims to create a less formal bound among foreign people living in Luxembourg, giving the possibility to new expats to enlarge their network and spend some quality time not bothering about work related troubles.

The Aperinetwork events took place in various locations in the past (Apotheka, Steiler, Conter..) and recently, for the last two events, they have found their home at White House by Kader.

The concept is more or less always the same: reduced price drinks and Italian food buffet, plus funny music as background.

Yesterday evening the White House was totally sold out. We luckily arrived a bit before the start of the evening – that was planned at 7.30 pm – and all the tables were already occupied. We had our drink at 50% off (Hendricks Tonic at 7 Euro instead of 14, Red Wine 4.5 Euro instead of 9) and watching the main room becoming more and more busy. We hadn’t indeed the pleasure to try the buffet: you can clearly see that free buffet is not in the Luxembourg culture as, as soon as it opened, it looked like the bread distribution in a Third World country. Calm down people, this is not your dinner, it is supposed to be an appetizer to avoid getting drunk and keep on drinking….  The concept is probably not yet clear to the most and we refused to fight to get a pizza bite. Instead, we relaxed in the smoking room on the second floor, one of the best thing at White House – that avoid you, above all during the winter season, to get a cold outside if you wish to smoke.

The evening was really pleasant: it is a good way to reconnect with people you are not seeing for long. I (mostly) stopped partying hard during the working week, but Aperinetwork is one of the event I always like to attend, as it is fresh, a bit posh and an unusual and valid alternative for few drinks afterwork.

For being updated on next events, like Aperinetwork page on Facebook:

Aperinetwork Luxembourg

Check out also White House next events and features:

White House Luxembourg
17b rue des Bains,
L-1212 Luxembourg

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