MixinLux event: After-work at Jakob’s

I had already a chance to introduce you¬†to the MixinLux organization some posts ago. After having talked with Mariano and Zach, I decided to attend their last event at Jakob’s, in Clausen, as I was really curious to see how their after-works differ from others in Luxembourg…

As you can see from the pictures posted at the bottom of this post, I definitely had a blast and now I could not wait myself for them to organize next events.

I found several differences compared to other after-works I have attended so far, small details that could make interesting also for you like MixinLux FB page and save the date for next party.

– Even if the location was big enough and most of the people joined the event with their group of friends, there was really a informal, lovely spirit and atmosphere around. I arrived at the party alone but I was not really feeling scared or embarrassed. I got immediately the chance to talk with several different people, being themselves alone as well and I made some interesting chats and business connections. So, if you are new in town, you want to make some different friends and connections (without the Tinder approach ūüėõ ), MixinLux events are for you!

– There was this great matching idea behind this Jakob’s event: at the entrance, every person was given a small gift, ladies receiving a bolt and men a screw. If you were finding the bolt (or screw) matching yours, bingo! free shots at the counter.

– I love this after-work because not everything was about drinking. There was a “sponsor corner” by this two lovely¬†girls¬†from Insolit’PRO, a French company specialized in team-building events. They aim to open their business cross the border – so if you are interested, you should definitely visit their page. I was impressed by how two young ladies could be so passionate about their business and so motivated to expand¬†abroad. Finally some girls power! ūüôā

– Also, there was a Bobbi Brown corner¬†by Paris 8 – if we¬†were coming directly from work and had no time for refreshing your make up, you wouldn’t have had to be worried ūüôā

A big mention¬†also to Jakob’s – for me was the first time at this Clausen bar and I have to say I will definitely come back: friendly service and great cocktails. Their terrace is for sure one of the best in the area.

Enjoy some pictures now:

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And some more:

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A week end in Milan – random pictures

A week end of friends, museums, Libertines concert, and some shopping, definitely.

You can flight to Milan from Luxembourg Findel airport directly. With Easyjet, with some advance, you can manage to get favorable prices even for Friday – Monday flights.

Easyjet flight is landing at Malpensa Airport Terminal 2. From there, you can take a free shuttle to Terminal 1 (10 minutes) and from there getting a train directly to Milan Central Station or Cadorna Station. The ride is taking 40 minutes and costs around 10 euros.

From Terminal 2, you can also take a direct bus for a cheaper price, but the motorway could get pretty busy during pick hours, so you should take in consideration a longer journey.

Just couple of address to recommend in Milan:

Maison Borella hotel, Navigli area. Intimate and Luxury. Outstanding service.
Zen Restaurant, Corso Italia area. Great sushi. Service a bit messy. Really fair price (Sushi Boat below around 15 euro per person)
Mercato Metropolitano, Porta Genova area. It a an open-air market where you have ton of street food trucks . From fish and chips to oysters, from Sicilian food to wine stand, from cocktail area to Burgers. You have only to choose!

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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 ūüėõ ), 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:

РThe 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.
РAmuse-bouche was yummy Рbut 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 ūüôā  photo 4d647b54-50fb-4bd9-8480-78a3c3ce6af3_zpsasqkmsww.jpg

Birthday Dinner at Le Bouquet Garni, Luxembourg

Uff! Even if I pretend to be young, I needed some days to recover from the last birthday week end – after three days of partying I still feel a bit blurred.

On Friday night, that was actually the day of my birthday, my husband booked a table at Le Bouquet Garni. Even if I love French restaurants, we never had a chance to visit this one during our pretty long stay in Luxembourg.

The restaurant is located in the area called “Ilot Gastronomique“, in the Old Town, just behind the Grand Duke Palace. It has preserved traditional settings of the area – stone walls, timbers on view, old furniture. We were welcome in a small entrance and accompanied to our table. The restaurant has different rooms on the two floors and our table was indeed on the first one – just next to the window overlooking the back of the Palais. My husband loved the fireplace, the table was quite big for two persons and the distance with other guests more than appropriate.

There are two menu choices: a menu for 40 euro (starter, main, dessert), with brasserie imprint, and a more gastronomic one for 72 euro (again, starter, main, dessert). Both have several choices between fish and meat, plus there is the possibility to upgrade the second menu to four dishes for 85 euro.

We had a glass of champagne rose’ as aperitif – on the table there were olives and nuts to enjoy – and we went for the “Menu Selection”: cauliflower welcome from the chef, lobster as starter, sole a la “bonne femme” (with mussels and shrimps) as main and moelleux au chocolat as dessert. We accompanied the dinner with a bottle of Chablis Gran Cru.
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 photo 9ca588c8-ba0a-4838-aadb-69691aad4282_zpsqhvumuel.jpgThings I loved about the night:
– The sole and the chocolate cake were just perfect. Amazing combination of tastes, fair portions, great raw materials quality. The sole was accompanied by potatoes mousse that was just delicious, while the dessert was also composed by a yummy fruit sorbet. I am still dreaming about both.
– The service and the settings were great: I really appreciate some distance between tables, the timing of the dinner was almost great, we did not wait too much but it was not even too fast. The bottle of wine was next our table but we were always served by the waiter and our glasses were never empty.
– The two menu choices are perfect if you are coming for a dinner with friends – and therefore don’t want to splash the cash – or for a special occasion – like we did. All the dishes were appealing and the portions look correct for the price.
– The location is really romantic and perfect for a tete-a-tete.

Things I did not really love about the night:
– Overpriced aperitif (and drinks). As said, we ordered a glass of champagne rose’. I have been to the most expensive restaurants in Luxembourg and normally the maximum we paid was 18 euros (with an average of 13/15 euro). The champagne was billed 26 euro per glass – 52 euro for two glasses (!!!!). As it was a blind choice – the waiter asked us if we wanted an aperitif, so we did not have any list in front of us – I really think it was too much. Skip the aperitif if you don’t want bad surprises. Drinks had a pretty high recharge as well – 9 euro for the water, 4 euro each for espresso but in line with other similar restaurants, French wines starting from 40 euro and upgrading very fast. No Italian white wines below 100 euros. What is the sense then of having a 40 euro menu if you are going to spend the double for water, coffee and wine?
– The lobster of the starter was great, but was accompanied by a light sauce that was made only of vinegar. We were provided a spoon and when I tasted the bisque I was almost disgusted. The lobster alone indeed was very good.
– Service a bit worst at the end of the dinner, when the dessert was taken to the table we were still finishing our last glass of wine. We had a very dry wine, so I would have loved to take a sweet glass with the cake. In this way we ended up not finishing our wine and not ordering anything else. We had also to ask the waiter to wait couple of minutes to serve the coffee as he seemed a bit under pressure for made us leaving – it was not even 11 pm, so not so late and we were not the last table.

In conclusion: we had a lovely dinner. We will come back for sure, maybe to try the brasserie menu, as the settings are perfect for a romantic dinner, but please remember total price is escalating fast with the drinks – so still recommended for a special occasion and not for a “I don’t want to cook” night ūüėõ

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 Janette,  Rosport 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 Рupstairs Рand the downstairs space is transformed in a soft lighted lounge, in a similar style Рif 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 ūüôā

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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 ūüėõ

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

Amsterdam – favorite spots

This is the busiest period of the year, unluckily. I have been under water for work and studying for my exams. I spend part of my working time in Amsterdam and this month I did not want to leave at all. Business trips are always kind of nice: you don’t have to cook, to wash dishes, you don’t have to clean your house. Normally you do reasonable working hours and having people around is something different than my day to day job. Even if I was really tired at the end, I decided to write a small bit on my Amsterdam’s favorite places.

My relationship with Amsterdam, like all the long and fashionable relationships, did not start well. In the first trips on my own I was finding the city pleasant, yes, but extremely touristic. I was annoyed by so many people “out of it” around and after a while it seems to me I was finding shops selling all the same kind of things – kebab, chocolate, silly t-shirts.

When I started to travel to Amsterdam for work, being out most of the time with Dutch people or, at least, people that are living in Amsterdam for long time and that have a different approach to the city than teenagers during their Interrail, I started discovering different areas of the city and I definitely fall in love with them.

My beloved eating spot is Momo http://www.momo-amsterdam.com/. It is just off Leidseplein. You can head there for a drink or a dinner. It is not extremely cheap but it is the kind of place you go for a date or with someone you want to impress. You can have fabulous cocktails and tapas style fusion dishes. They have impressive sushi and the environment is business but fresh and noisy. Reservation recommended.

A more low profile place where you can have a beer (they have more than 100 ) or something very Dutch to eat is the Gollem http://cafegollem.nl/overtoom/.

The one I usually go is located in Overtoom, tram n.12, 5 minutes walking from Museumplein. The location is old style and the customers are mostly Dutch, on the hipster side. You can have some nice snacks with your beer (fried Gouda mmmm!) or a proper dish (try the Flemish Stew!).

On the shopping side you have more than one options: as said, in city center you can find all the high street brands. I love loosing¬†my mornings off¬†going down with the tram on Leidseplein and follow bus n.2 till Kalverstraat. You should have a bit of patience, good gloves during winter and you can stop by at the small Starbucks in front of the flowers market for a break. You have also your “Montenapoleone” area, that is represented by¬†PC Hooftstraat (tram n.2, 3, 12, just next block to Museumplein). But, honestly, you can find Gucci and LV everywhere around the world..

I prefer to go locally and my favorite shop is for sure Rituals (http://eu.rituals.com/en-nl/home). I am not a fan of beauty products with strong smells, but those from this brand are never too much. The fragrance of your bath or shower is following you smoothly during the day and they have great consistence. I love the Hamman series and I have just discovered the Diwali line they did for Christmas time. They have just started also a complete men line with aftershaves, balms, creams.

And then, just because I cannot find it in Luxembourg, I love stopping at COS. I think the person you invented this brand was¬†friend of¬†mine in one of my previous lives, because there is nothing in the shop I would not buy. I love their minimalist lines and the¬†colors, all black with some bright exception. I really hope they will hope a shop soon in Luxembourg, because so far they don’t even deliver their online shopping here, therefore¬†you should really travel to buy something.

So, do you like Amsterdam? What are you favorite places over there?

 

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Business as usual – L’Observatoire opening

Let’s start like that: sometimes is really nice dressing up a bit and have a poshy night. And also it is really admirable they changed the setting of the former Coco Mango Sofitel¬† bar, as in the last occasions we have been there it was really painful having a pleasant evening without feeling a bit too stressed (people surrounding your table, long queues at the bar just in front of the entrance, temperature moving from Luxembourg to Sahara desert after half hour there..). So this is a nice beginning.

Moreover: Ciceron Events are always extremely funny, Livio is a great host, cool people, old school music, business as usual, as we always say.

Now. The new L’Observatoire should have taken the good things about Coco Mango and changed those bad.

It was not exactly like that. The setting of the space changed, we said, yes. Now the bar is looking over the valley (remember, we are at the 8th floor and without fog you have the best view in Luxembourg probably) and it moved a bit farer from the entrance, so people queuing for getting their cocktails are not blocking those just arrived. The colors are always a bit flashy (and trashy) but this is a choice, and it is not bad definitely.

What definitely was bad was the service and the attitude of the night: the event was supposed to start at¬†6 pm (well, it is called “afterworks”) and have finger food from 7 pm to 9.30 pm – based on FB event description. We got there are 6.20 and we were rudely blocked in the elevator as the bar was not yet ready “and the event starts at 7 pm”. When we tried to say “well, the FB invitation was saying something else” we were replied pretty boorishly, again, and we were asked to wait in the hall. They allowed us, finally, to get in only 5 minutes past 7 …

The “finger food” was a small table at the entrance filled with sandwiches (mozzarella & nuts, salmon, cream cheese and ham) and sweets, a lot of sweets (candies, gummies, chupachups..). The food itself was barely enough for 15 people and 5 minutes before 8 pm everything was removed.

Coming back to us. We arrived then. We got our table and as we were still waiting for friends we wanted only a cocktail or a glass of wine. We asked for the list of drinks and the waiter told us “I am the list, as we don’t have one” – later during the evening we discovered that they had one actually….. Not something you expect from a 5 stars bar. Then it was remarked that we could order only bottles at the table – what? – and when we noted we were just two of us they offered us a glass of (bad) wine. We finally ordered a bottle of wine (from the restaurant list) and we continue drinking the same wine through the evening (4, 5 bottles) until a certain point when the “boss waiter” told us they finished that one and he proposed us something more expensive. I told him as it is not my fault that they finished the wine we were drinking, he should have¬†offered us¬†the other he proposed but at the same price of the initial one (15 euro difference, honestly). He said “I am going to check” and magically he appeared back with the initial bottle of Macon we were drinking… and we continue to drink again and again… Really? You want to cheat on me pretending my wine is over to propose me another more expensive bottle?

Last word of the night: overpriced. I can understand, as said, you are a 5 stars hotel bar, but you are not in the city center and people have to come specially to your location.. so, weren’t prices before not high enough? Cremant Bernard Massard passed from 35 euro to 68 euro… (yes, the bottle you find for 8 euro at the supermarket). Vodka passed from 100 euro to 150.. Glass of wine is in average 15 euro and the cheapest wine bottle is about 45 euro. It was possible to order a dish with 3 overfried frozen shrimps and 3 oily chicken brochettes for the nice price of 25 euros. Too much, above all for the shitty (ops..) service we had. Just say, the ordinary waiters were more than nice, always smiling and precise. The one that was playing the boss was more interested to have fun himself than to clients¬† and was bouncing around with very vain attitude.

I have to say. We had a great night, the new bar is better looking, but the price change was unexpected and non-justified and does not include a better related service. Maybe we will give it a second chance.

Check it out:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Coco-Mango-Sofitel-Luxembourg/123002021108955

40, Boulevard d Avranches
Luxembourg, Luxembourg

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