Barefoot in Luxembourg meets People: On Two Feet

The usual Wednesday’ series “Barefoot in Luxembourg meets People” today goes Rock, with a sparkling music duo, the “On Two Feet”, for our boldest interview so far. Put your seatbelt on!

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Good Morning. So,” On Two Feet”, who are you?
We are a world famous rock band with years of militancy in the hugest live summer festivals in Europe…. just kidding, in reality we are an “open” acoustic band, made up of friends who like to play rock and blues music, entertaining people with extemporaneous shows.
Basically “on two feet”, rather than being something physical / tangible, is something ethereal, a sort of musical philosophy that takes you to play what you like, wherever you are, whoever you are with, in any manner and with any instrument just for the pleasure of doing it!

Where does the name “On Two Feet” come from?
It is the literal translation from Italian of the initial name of our band, which is a kind of word-joke, difficult to explain in English. When we were young, before one of our first live performances, we have been asked the band’s name for the billboards. We had no name and the answer was: “Well, here, on 2 feet (that in Italian means: off-hand, on the spot) … we don’t know”. Guess what? On the billboards we were presented as “On Two Feet”. We loved and kept it!

Describe your music with three words.
Acoustic rock music

Except for the music, do you have any other hobbies?
It’s very rock but definitely true: fast cars!! We are crazy about Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren and so on… we dream about them, we talk about them, we drive them on the circuits: we are great fans!!!

How long have you been living in Luxembourg?
It’s almost 10 years, even if we came from different places. We arrived here just to make an experience and indeed we are still there! To most of us no-longer-young-people Luxemburg does this strange effect! Certainly Luxembourg lacks many things, but has an exceptional  “quality of life”, you feel comfortable here.

What is your most beloved place in the city?
We like Place D’Armes for the different offer of bars and restaurants, and it is lovely during the weekend going there to enjoy some bands performing live or some good jazz duo-trio playing at lunch time in the summer, while walking through the flea markets. But we also love to relax in the parks, like the one in the Petrusse Valley, playing there our guitars, and then cross the street, cast a glance at the “Libreria Italiana”, or have a beer in one of the bars in rue Munster, in the lowest part of Luxembourg, that is of course very charming both during the day and the night.

What is your favorite restaurant in Luxembourg?
We think that there are several very interesting choices: if you want a nice place with excellent Italian food in the city center, you can head to “Essenza” or to “Mi&Ti” or to “Al bacio”, if you prefer to have a ride in the countryside, you can go to “Elch” or to “ToitpourToi”, if you are looking for relaxed atmosphere visit “Maho”, if you are a sushi fan book at “Yamayu Santatsu” … and if you want the best homemade pizza you have ever tasted, you should come to our place as we are the pizza masters!!! (Laughing).

What is your preferred night-life spot in Luxembourg?
Right now we like the “Go Ten”: great service, the drink selection is “dangerous”, always cool people and tasty Asian tapas platters. And then it is very well located in the city center, so that you can jump from one place to another, meeting people. And because the winter time is coming, and you cannot always be outside, we will spend some time at the “White House”, of course!

So as musicians, which place would you suggest to listen to good live music in Luxembourg?
Apart from “Den Atelier“, definitely you have to go on Thursday night at “LiquID Bar” if you like more blues oriented music. Otherwise I heard that “Melusina is starting to organize nice events with a very good selection of live music with interesting artists! What we also love a lot are the “open mic nights” organized in small bars where we are used to jump in and play something fun: I remember epic nights both at Rocas and at Konrad.

Do you have a favorite drink?
Gin Tonic! We love the enormous variety of Gin produced all around the world and the various different Tonic proposition. Of course what makes the difference is the expert bartender who advices you the appropriate Gin flavor to your taste and the best Tonic to be combine with. Try the Mombasa Gin with Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic, some cardamom and … you are immediately in the mood!!

Do you pay any special attention to your appearance during concerts and in your personal life? Where do you do your shopping usually in Luxembourg?
We are not fanatic, but of course we tend to be sufficient rock looking!! And at the end it’s easy: get a nice pair of jeans better if ripped, a nice t-shirt, boots or converse, some accessories around your neck (foulard or pendant) and chains around your hips!!! Personal life? What is personal life? We are always on stage!! (Laughing) We pick up stuff from everywhere, both in cool places like The Kooples or the more fashionable Smets and in high-streets one like H&M. We are actually waiting for someone to start selling JOHNJOHN stuff here in Luxembourg!!

What do you like about Luxembourg life?
Its multiculturalism: even if the country is pretty small, you can meet people coming from all over the world. When you go out for drinks, you can hear a lot of different languages, easily meet new people from different countries and cultures. That’s something unique!

What would you change or improve?
The road-works!! There are too many of them, but of course they are useful. The problem is that they last years and cause nerve-racking traffic jams! And people should learn to drive with “more rhythm”, to say it in a musician way: they are too calm and relaxed, and sometime to cross a 100 meter distant traffic light it takes you ages!!!

 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?
Trier
, there are lots of very nice club bar to go in the night!!! 🙂 (Laughing)
We would suggest visiting Maastricht, or to collect some bottle of champagne in the Reims-Epernay region in France. The problem is being sober enough to drive back safely…. Remember always bring a sober driver with you!!

What is the best adjective to describe Luxembourg?
Quiet or quite…a lot!!

If you want to listen “On Two Feet” on stage, next appointment will be at “Al Bacio” on Thursday October 15th, starting from 6.30 pm. There will be an after-work formula: so, no entrance fee, no reservation, free Italian buffet, you pay for what you drink and listen to their music. More information on the FB event here.

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Barefoot in Luxembourg meets People: Vittorio

For the series “Barefoot in Luxembourg meets People”, this week we meet Vittorio, an Italian expat working at the EU, with music in the heart.

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What is your name?
My name is Vittorio Merlo.

How do your friends call you?
Vitto.

Describe yourself with three words.
In alphabetical order: Family, Library, Music.

How long have you been living in Luxembourg?
I am here since July 1994: more than 21 years… I am Italian and before to come here I was living for 35 years in Milan.

What are you doing here?
I am working as librarian for the Court of Justice of the European Union

How do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Older… 🙂 I normally don’t like to plan for more than 2 years, the life is taking new directions suddenly and very often things happen without being able to expect them. If nothing special happens I will probably be still working but closer to the retirement, my five children will be growth up, and I will continue composing and singing my songs.

What do you fancy doing in your spare time?
As I have just said since I am 15 years old I compose and sing my songs in Italian. It is like a diary, a way to keep trace of my emotions and feelings. I sing about my family, politics and social problems, I have also written a love song for the Red Car: Ferrari! I have published 3 CDs and I like to present my songs in solo concerts at the piano. You can find my music and videos on my YouTube channel and in all the music platforms like iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc.

What is your beloved place in Luxembourg?
Home sweet home, my house in Bissen.

What is your favorite restaurant in Luxembourg?
The Italian restaurant Notaro in Luxembourg and La Rameaudière in Ellange-Gare.

What is your preferred night-life spot in Luxembourg?
In the past it was L’Inoui in Redange/Attert but unfortunately it is actually closed, I hope for a while only. I like places where you can speak with friends drinking a good glass of wine, like Culturando at Limpertsberg or Beim Abruzzebier in Grosbous.

Do you have a favorite drink?
Dry white wine, definitely, during my concerts too.

Where do you do your shopping usually?
For clothing I like Boggi but I use online shops too, like Herrenausstatter. I like cooking too and I find the choice in Auchan very good, additionally for the Italian food Enoteca Italiana in Foetz is helpful too. I like fish and I think is a pity that La Provençale doesn’t serve private families too.

What do you like about Luxembourg life?
Everything but the climate… however exceptionally this year I cannot complain, it was a wonderful summer! The nicest since I am living here.

What would you improve?
I think the public transports are not enough, mainly in the countryside. There are many villages where you cannot live without a car and on Sunday you are almost totally isolated. The management of the traffic is also bad, sometimes I have the feeling Luxembourgers like to create the traffic jams…

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?
Probably the nicest place around Luxembourg is Trier, however everybody knows it. I would like to suggest a visit in a sunny day to Saarburg, not far from the Luxembourgish border of Wormeldange.

What is the best adjective to describe Luxembourg.
Quiet.

If you want to discover more about Vittorio’s musician and composer activity, here you find the link to his FB page.

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Great tapas on a budget: El Companero, Luxembourg

El Companero was one of the first place I visited when I arrived in Luxembourg. The restaurant at that time was still located near rue du Cure and having dining and dancing space in the same, large room. I have so many confusing memories related to those nights and actually I was not a fan when they moved in the Ilot Gastronomique, as I think the kind of restaurant El Companero is was not and will not be the same of others in that part of the city.

But I am still visiting the place and I also partied there my birthday some years ago. Actually I consider it an nice place, where you want to go for a quick and easygoing dinner and if you don’t want to splurge for the classic three-courses Luxembourgish menu. You can either have food at the restaurant on the first floor or on the cocktail bar basement – definitely the best if you are coming too early or too late.
My personal recommendations: Go Tapas and Caipirina (or Sangria) like a pro 🙂

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The tapas mixed platter is hugeeeee. The quality is fair enough (nothing haute cuisine) but will fill you up before a night out. Tropical cocktails (if you plan not to drink too much) and Sangria (if you share a pitcher with your companions) are the right drink choices and the best in the area. If you wish to upgrade your dinner, add a mixed Jamon and Queso (ham and cheese) platter.

Note also that if you are vegetarian or vegan, they have numerous choices for your appetite –  not extremely healthy, as most of the food is deep fried, but still.
Personally, I am not a fan of the main courses here – above all if you want to cut your bill – but they could be an option for some.

I also tend to recommend El Companero if you are a large group and want to have fun, as the atmosphere is definitely not formal and you can just move downstairs for a dance after dinner!

 

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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House 17 Dinner & The Yacht Week Launch Party

I had the perfect Saturday: early clock, work-out, some shopping (got some sky-high heels from Nando Muzi that I cannot stop contemplating 😛 ), hairdresser appointment.

Saturday night was also great: we got the invitation for the Yacht Week Launch Party. The party took place at House 17 and, considering it was one of the last week-end the club was open for non-members, we decided to book a table at the restaurant to have a final try before requesting the membership.

Our reservation was at 9.00 pm but our guests were a bit late, so we decided to start with couple of drinks.

I had the salmon starter and the sole as main course, Patricia same starter than me and half-cooked tuna fish with kiwi sauce, her husband poached egg with ham and Angus beef, hubby egg as well with beef steak. The dishes were anticipated by a small welcome from the chef.
We girls went for a bottle of Chablis while lads stayed with red and we concluded with coffee before going up for the party.

Curious about after dinner impressions? Scroll down after the pictures.  photo 82089eaa-40cc-47d2-b3d4-8a667c4aecaf_zpskzlqlhfc.jpg  photo e1d99723-7cbb-42be-865a-02f5353e00ba_zpswd7pvb4c.jpg  photo e6f9d7f3-ce66-4618-8692-ca36e0e6e71c_zpsdbjshj7h.jpg  photo d4a4ceed-368a-494f-be00-9c18b5806d2b_zpsfebjerer.jpg  photo b6508f48-2088-49fe-9afb-7036e4a895cb_zps5igldotj.jpg  photo 44cc0ec9-949b-47e3-b7ac-3f478bc12b53_zpsidmifsb2.jpg photo 858ac8dc-bf26-4c41-99f2-27d5e1ef80d2_zpsrtyavocj.jpg Things I loved about the restaurant:

– The atmosphere is just perfect. I think this one of the first place in Luxembourg where I found a kind of ambient that perfectly suits a Saturday night fresh dinner. You know what I mean? Something that you would find in a big city abroad, not too old-fashioned like most of the fancy restaurants in Luxembourg, formal but not trapped in a plaster cast. Relaxed lights, great table settings, sweet background music, correct distance between tables. Just lovely.
– Dishes were extremely good. The combination of my salmon starter was great – I even appreciated the beetroot jelly – even if I would have preferred the salmon sliced a bit thinner. The sole was also delicious. Perfect cooking, portions were really fine as, after two dishes, I was feeling really full for taking a dessert.
– Cocktails are to die for. Hubby had a mojito – and he is not normally a fan – and said it was great.

Thing I loved a little bit less about the restaurant:

– I asked for an aperitif suggestion and I was told: wine, champagne, usual cocktails… As cocktails are such great here, I would have expected they had a house cocktail to suggest. I stayed with my usual Hendricks.
– Amuse-bouche was yummy – but was prepared with meat. As two of us at the table ordered only fish for the entire dinner, it would have been great to differentiate also the welcome.
– I ordered oysters as initial starter – as during the aperitif I was seeing these huge dishes passing by and I was dreaming of them – and, after a while, I was told they were over. Same thing for the wine choice, we ordered a Saint-Aubin as white one and the waiter came back saying they don’t have it anymore. Sad. Better advise the client before he/she is going for the wrong choice and would be deluded.
– As general feeling, service was a bit inattentive: we had to ask for the bread, my first single glass of wine arrived kind of 5 minutes later of those of others at the table, before the coffee nobody was monitoring the room so I had to get up to ask for the bill as we wanted to move up soon.
It was nothing too bad honestly – our dinner was great and we will definitely come back soon, but as the bill is not inexpensive maybe some small improvements would be highly appreciated.

As said, after the dinner we moved to the third floor bar for the Yacht Week party. It was crowded, great atmosphere as well, we met friends and we had a blast. It was long time we were not spending such great Saturday evening – and for sure it was clear when we woke up hangover on Sunday morning 🙂  photo 4d647b54-50fb-4bd9-8480-78a3c3ce6af3_zpsasqkmsww.jpg