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!

Le Grec Restaurant in Bonnevoie, Luxembourg

I am currently enjoying a short week at the beach, at my parents’ place, before a well-deserved vacation abroad – it is since our Mexican honey moon last year we are not taking a proper vacation!

In the meanwhile, I was putting my pictures in order and I found out I never talked about a place we really enjoyed, Le Grec restaurant in Luxembourg. Hubby is not a great fan of exotic cuisine, but this is one of the only places he visits with pleasure.

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Things I love about this restaurant :

  • The friendly environment – after being there couple of times, it was like having dinner at a relative’s place. The owner is very funny and you could start a dinner at 9 pm and leave at 1 am – in my language we say: leaving on the knees, you know what I mean 🙂
  • The great food and the giant portions – this is definitely a place for big appetite as portions are huge. But the choice is very wide – they have fish, meat and veggie platters, so you can either mix and share different dishes as we usually do. My personal favorites are the Atherina fish as starter and the Gyros as main (onion alert!).
  • The quality/price – compared to other similar places I have been, Le Grec is definitely not very expensive.
  • The restrooms. It might be a strange thing, but I am in love with the restrooms of this place!

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Things I loved a little less:

  • The atmosphere is really familiar – so not recommended for a posh night or a date. But definitely the place to go with friends for a funny night out! Don’t exceed with the raki as I usually do :))

Late evening dining: Limbo RestoClub, Luxembourg

When I was told about the opening of Limbo, this new restaurant – club in the city center, I was a bit skeptic at the very beginning as I am not a fan of mixed environment concept, first because it is difficult to be good in too many things at the same time, second as the restaurants in da club were I have been in the past were all a big disappointment. In some of them the music was so loud you can barely hear your own voice.

Said that, I first had a dry run at Limbo last week: we had some friends arriving in town in the evening and we wanted to have a late light dinner. Unfortunately, as you are probably aware, there are very few places in Luxembourg where you could eat later than 9 pm in a decent way. I got in contact with Limbo FB page and they confirmed me their kitchen is open until 11 pm. It was quite refreshing and we had a short, pleasant time. We ordered some tapas to share and some great cocktails and the experience was so positive – even limited, as said – that I decided to come back this week end for a full dinner.

The location, the former Secret Garden, has been updated to the need of the new place, has a large wardrobe on view at the entrance and a great, cozy embowered terrace. The tables have a generous gap in-between, thing I always appreciate, and the service is informal but great.

The menu has a fair choice of fusion starters and main courses, meat, fish and vegetarian, plus some menu combinations. Prices are very very honest for being in such great central location.

I had salmon tartare as starter, scallops and patanegra as main, while my friend R. a veggie and tofu platter for starter and beef filet as main.

Here’s the pictures of our dinner, followed, as usual, by my impressions.

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Things I loved about Limbo:

  • Outstanding choice of tropical cocktails: I had both Caipirinha and Daiquiri Frozen and they were both delicious. Finally a place where to have something different than a gin-tonic!
  • Food is great: in particular, high-quality raw materials (as the wagyu beef) and unusual combinations. My salmon tartare was to die for (even if it is strong in onions, so be aware if you are on a date) and the scallops platter was also yummy,
  • Amazing customer service. You get immediate reply from their FB page if you write them for any question/enquiry and the on-site service is also fine.
  • High quality/price ration and value for money – one of the best I have seen centrally.

Things I liked a bit less about Limbo:

  • While food is affordable, drinks price is in line with city center bars. That’s fine for a night out, but if you intend to have only cocktails during your dinner and you are quite like a booze lover like I am, it might start to be expensive. The great thing is that if you take the menu combination, you get cocktails for half price until midnight.
  • My friend’s starter – the veggie tofu platter – was nothing special.
  • It is not a restaurant for big appetite. I personally appreciate when you finish your dinner and you are satisfied but not overwhelmed, but we noted as it might not be the place for a lads only night.

In conclusion, I definitely like Limbo RestoClub very much: the ambience is pleasant and it is the perfect place I would recommend if you want to have a fancy late evening dinner before a night out or a date with friends with some tropical appeal.

Do you know MixinLux?

While organizing my agenda with the events to attend during next week in Luxembourg, I came across the MixinLux afterwork that will be held at Jakob’s next Thursday 23rd July.
If you follow my blog since the beginning, you know I am pretty much a fan of afterwork drinks: they give the opportunity to break your weekly routine, often an informal way for networking and discovering new places and make new friends out of your circle.
Since I arrived in Luxembourg, almost nine years ago, more and more organizations for “afterwork business” were created so I decided to have a chat with Zach and Mariano, who are the founders of MixinLux, before deciding to attend, in order to understand what differentiate their afterworks from the others in Luxembourg.

Zach and Mariano explained me that MixinLux aims to gather young professionals, expats and new comers around in a same place, after work, with nice music and few drinks. The main underlying idea is to meet friends, friends of friends, colleagues we heard about but never had a chance to talk with  … in order  to widen the network or just simply being introduced to other people working in different areas – fed up of discussing always the same working topics even after work anyone? 🙂

When I asked them why MixinLux should be different from the other after work groups, they gave me four specific reasons:

  • For them, good music is essential for a great party. For this reason, MixinLux has four resident DJs playing during their afterwork. Two of them are playing from 6.30pm until 10.30-11pm, the kind of music you need to chill-out and create a bit of atmosphere. The second two start playing around 11pm, only vinyl records, when people are ready to dance.
  • For every event, MixinLux tries to find a new idea to mix people, in order to prevent groups from staying all together during the entire night – and for the after work of the next Thursday, they have already some surprises ready.
  • MixinLux afterworks propose finger food and special cocktails.
  • There is a gopro hidden somewhere during their afterworks taking a picture every 10 seconds, and make a time-lapse with it.

MixinLux association has been created in April 2015 and has already held two events:

  • Aperiteca, in Apoteca, April 9: 250 people
  • Aperikki, IKKI Bar, June 4: 420 people

As said, next one will be held at Jakob’s in Clausen next Thursday. Joining MixinLux event is totally free.

Find more information on MixinLux association and next events on their FB page – some pictures of last IKKI event are following as well:

MixinLux Facebook Page

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Easter Week end At Le Clervaux, Boutique & Design Hotel, Clervaux, Luxembourg

Finally this year we decided to leave Luxembourg for Easter break.

Considering the bad weather forecast and the fact we did not want to spend all day travelling, we booked at Le Clervaux, a hotel boutique located in Clervaux, in the north of Luxembourg.

We took our train on Sunday morning – actually bus plus train, as there were some works on the road – and we got to Clervaux in around one hour and a half.

The village is lovely and the hotel is about ten minutes walking from the station.

Things we loved about our stay

– Our suite was huge. TV in the bathroom, shower and bath, king size bed, Nespresso machine, minibar, amazing wardrobe. Nothing was really missing, it was the perfect room.
– The breakfast the morning after was also outstanding – we had even champagne.
– We booked our stay because of the wellness center in the hotel and we had mostly great time. The “sauna world” has sauna, salt grotto, steam bath, relaxation area and much more. Clean and relaxing. We had also a “couple massage” for 30 minutes that was super.
– The hotel has two restaurants – a gastronomic Italian one (Da Lonati) and a steakhouse/pizzeria (Rhino). We tried the steakhouse, had some shared charcuterie as starter and cote a l’os and steak for main (#foodporn pictures are following the post). Delicious. I would not exclude to visit it again even if a bit far from the city, as it was one of the best meat I had in my life – to remind: yummy truffle mayonnaise and extremely kind service.
– There was also an elegant bar – Cabana Lounge -, that was very animated, where we get drunk after dinner – to remove all the wellness hours’ benefits 😛

The only thing we did not like very much:

– The pool area was shared with the next door hotel and was full of kids. I honestly prefer hotels without kids but I am pretty sympathetic if they are well-behaving. In this case, they were just diving in the pool, making a lot of noises and using the Jacuzzi for their games. I would say this was not the situation for kids. If you book a boutique hotel with only suites, you won’t expect to share common area with another hotel for families. We ended up not using the pool as it was really messy.

On Monday morning there was a market just next to the Castle and we spent some hours around – notwithstanding the cold.

In conclusion, it was a lovely break and if you would like to have some relax without travelling too much, it is definitely recommended – maybe off-peak season in order to avoid confusion.

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Saturday night: Brasserie Mansfeld in Clausen & Melusina

We had (finally) a busy Saturday schedule last week end and I woke up early for my work out at the gym before relaxing a bit and getting ready.

We passed by Melusina, where everything was set for Januar party, hosted by Un Monde Merveilleux, in collaboration with JanetteRosport and Luxuriant. The idea was super cool: fashion shows, exhibitions, artistic performances. Unluckily, our timing was totally wrong as we arrived before the start of the shows and the only thing we could do was admiring the cool white-inspired settings and having a couple of drinks.
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Lately, we booked at Brasserie Mansfeld. The restaurant used to be one of my favorite when I arrived in Luxembourg, the one where we were always going for special celebrations. The closure, couple of years ago, came for us out of the blue and we were really glad when they open again, just few months ago.

There have been some restructuring works that preserved the original building structure but changed a bit the space settings, in a positive way. Now there is only one main dining room – upstairs – and the downstairs space is transformed in a soft lighted lounge, in a similar style – if you have been there in the past, you probably remember that the room at the entrance was more baroque while the upstairs one had a very modern style, so the mood of your night was basically depending on which room you had been placed to.

We were welcome by the new owner, Mr. Zang, and accompanied to our table, isolated on the balcony. The menu has some new inspirations, like the dining formula at set price, 40 euro for starter and main, 49 for including also the dessert. The “Mansfeld classic” dishes for two – Chateaubriand, Sole, Cote de Boeuf, just to mention some, are still on the list and they added some nice platters to share.

Before starting we received a welcome from the chef, a savory amuse bouche composed of salmon mousse.

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We went for an Italian dish to share, a delicious platter that combined charcuterie, grilled vegetables and paned mozzarella, and that was super yummy together with the lovely home-made bread, and we continued with the Chateaubriand. We took 2 portions for 500 gr each (you can either choose the 700 gr), they were presented already on the plat together with exquisite Bernese sauce and potatoes. The only thing that deluded us a bit was the fact that, in the past, the Chateaubriand was always taken to the table as a full piece and cut in front of the clients. Receiving the meat already portioned ruined a bit the nice side of the dish – so it looks not so much different than ordering a tagliata or a filet de bouef. On the other side, the meat was soft as butter, perfect together with its sauce, and tasted heavenly, so there was not much to complain about with mouth full 🙂

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Boys drunk a bottle of French red wine and I took for myself two glasses of lovely Sancerre. The wine list is reasonably wide and has a very good choice of wine glasses at a legitimate price – this is totally uncommon for restaurant at this level in my experience, as either they have combinations of wine for the full meal or they apply extreme recharges to the single glass. Thanks God, this was not the case and I could enjoy my wine without bothering my guests with my disputable choices 😛

The restaurant was pretty busy but the service was fairly correct and the owner came couple of times to our table to check that everything was going well – appreciated.

We concluded with espresso, accompanied by biscuits and home-made chocolate – just perfect.

The price was definitely fair: 254 euro in total for a big starter to share, two Chateaubriand for 500 gr, a bottle of red wine, two glasses of white, two bottles of waters and four espressos.

Mansfeld confirm its historical fashion, in a renewed environment and for a great quality/price. We will definitely come back to check also the new dishes on the menu.

Brasserie Mansfeld
3, rue de la Tour Jacob,
L-1831 Luxembourg

Week End Chronicles: “Saueren Honger” Vernissage and Dipso The Wine Republic

Here some pictures of the most engaging part of last week end – Friday night. Anna and myself went straight from the office to Kjub, a restaurant I have been in the past that is able to merge in the same location a going out spot (resto, lounge, bar) and an art gallery.

 
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In this special occasion, for the vernissage of Saueren Honger, the restaurant settings disappeared and they left space to extremely bold paintings around. “Saueren Honger”, in fact, means “munchies”, in English, “impossible food combinations” – looking at the pictures you should probably understand the concept a bit better. The idea was super cool, it was pretty busy and, aside the classic bar, you can have some gin tonic tasting from Go Ten bar. They proposed different kind of gins to be accompanied with spices and fruits. We had the Rangpur Tanqueray, named after the area from India where this gin is coming from, with strong aromas of juniper, coriander, bay leaves and ginger. We tasted it with lemon leaves first and with lemongrass afterwards. Both drinks were different from the usual gin-tonic we have been used to, extremely flavored and spicy.

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After that, we headed downtown for a drink. We opted for Dipso, a new wine bar concept that was created recently in the old town area, just between Steiler and Monkey’s. The location is small but cozy and the internal décor differs from all other night-life spots in the city center, trying to adhere as much as possible to the area surroundings (rock walls, Spartan tables, dark lightings, bottles of wine all around). The bar was full and we were lucky enough to find a tall table just in the middle of the only room. Clients were mainly professionals and couples. We had a Chablis bottle (39 euro) from the short wine list (from Pinot Blanc to Chardonnay on white side, from France or Luxembourg, from 19 Euro to around 60). Perfect temperature and great taste. We accompanied it with a “Spanish Board” composed by two types of chorizo, one of lomo, cheese and ham. The bar offers different “planchette” (Italian, Japanese, Spanish…) from 19 to 25 euro. Together with the bread, it was quite fine as appetizer and to continue – temporary – our night out without passing out (LOL). The quality of the cuts was indeed great and they were also well presented. Just as talks, we were just noting that, in my town, in Italy, when you order a bottle of wine, a plat like that is considered included in the price of the “aperitivo” . Yes, for sure here in Luxembourg the culture is different and anyway, even if not extremely cheap, it was a very nice aperitif.
We actually wanted to order another bottle after a ciggy break, but when back inside we found our place occupied. The waiter offered us to ask the people to leave but we kindly refused and moved on – note to self: advise the waiter when you are just smoking outside and you don’t have intention to leave next time 🙂

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So at the end, Dipso was a great choice, definitely a place to come back and to suggest if you want to have a glass of good wine and some appetizer in an fascinating kind of medieval settings. Above all, really appreciated, something quite different from all the bars already on the scene.

Some post related info:

Kjub Restaurant – Gallery
49-51 BVD DR. CHARLES MARX
L-2130 LUXEMBOURG

Saueren Honger exhibition will be still available to be seen if you pass by.

Dipso – The Wine Republic
4 ,rue de la Loge
Luxembourg, Luxembourg