Sunday, April 29, 2012

Playing tourists in Brussels

A thing we like to do on Sunday, is playing the tourist in our hometown Brussels.  We then just walk through the city, often with a goal or two.  This time we wanted to check out Stanley Kubrick's recently opened photo exhibition. Along the way we stopped at the place Poelaert  for some city views, did a little chocolate shopping stop at Laurent Gerbaud (you must try "gare aux noissettes" ) and went to say hello to little baby falcons.... It's a nice feeling to discover new things, to take the time to get lost on those streets we already know...even if our little walks always turn out to be a little longer than we planned.

Spring is in the air!

Blue sky & clouds...

City views at place Poelaert.

I love black & white photographs, so definitely didn't wanted to miss out on Kubrick's exhibition. Before being a memorable film director, the young Kubrick worked as a photographer for the New York magazine LOOK. A selection of 130 photographs is shown at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels.

We bought some "Gare au noissettes" which is home-made praliné,  Piémonte nuts, grilled salted cashew nuts, milk chocolate and cane sugar. Delicious!!  Also bought a few chocolate coated coffee beans. Laurent Gerbaud himself is always in his shop, he's very accessible and friendly, so that's a good reason to have a coffee and a chat there while choosing your chocolates. Must do a blog post on him sometime.

Somewhere in the left tower of the St Michael/Goedele cathedral a couple of peregrine falcons is nesting for the 8th year on a row! So we went to say hello to the birdies (3 of them this year). You can see them live on a tv posted next to the cathedral or here.

 To end our journey, a well-deserved apero : cold white wine, sunshine and sardines on toast... I must do a blog post on sardines, later on!   Sometimes there is no place like home and the best restaurant is at home too. We are lucky to be lucky.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Rotterdam, part II : Villa Augustus

While planning our little getaway to Rotterdam I hesitated wether to sleep in Dordrecht or in Rotterdam. I finally opted to sleep in Rotterdam cuz I thought there would be more to explore there, but definitely wanted to check out the Villa Augustus on our way home. Villa Augustus is a restaurant/café and hotel in a huge garden that is very well maintained.  In the restaurant/café part there is also the bakery and a little shop with lots of yummy things and a few books about gardening & cooking. They serve a wide menu, we had scones and cheesecake with a nice cup of tea. For the hungry ones, they serve high tea like in England! I really like those kind of places, where they use everything to their best, the space, the nice architecture, including good decent food and a green setting... interesting kind of "concept store".

No sunshine, but here are a few pictures :

The restaurant/café/shop.

The rooms are located in the old water tower, we had a peek in a few, they looked pretty cosy.

Greenhouse with baby salads & rucola growing peacefully.

The grocery store inside the café, selling seasonal veggies & fruit.

The bakery with live cooking of various desserts.

That's it for now, don't know yet were our next getaway will be, but can't wait to make other travel plans :-)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday Store at The Hub

Besides brunching and being lazy on a Sunday, I also enjoy to do stuff.  This time my friend Pauline, who is interested in lots of ecological & sustainable things,  invited me to the Sunday Store at The Hub.  It is a monthly market for local, creative, sustainable and funky people. The Hub is a co-working space for social entrepreneurs of which Pauline is a member. Anyway at this little market you'll find all sorts of things, very reasonably priced : second hand clothes and objects, lots of self-made things, mostly jewelry but also for example some book plants.

Here's Pauline (on the right side) and her friend Natacha who designes some really cool jewelry, made out of silver. Her brand is called Nimzu (forgot to ask what it means!) and she also sells on Etsy! For those who don't know, Etsy is a huge online handmade marketplace, check it out!

Oh and I even bought myself a little present :-)

Ta Ta and wish you all a happy Sunday night x

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Little getaway to Rotterdam

Last weekend we took a little getaway to Holland to celebrate Easter and to get some fresh air.  First stop was Rotterdam, about 150km from home, I'd always heard it was cool …and it was, even though the weather wasn't all sunshiny.  Rotterdam has this edgy, a little raw, big city feel with lots of skyscrapers with brownstones. I always like the vibe in a city with water, specially port cities, they feel airy & breathable or something...

We stayed at hotel New York that has got the most comfortable bedding and softest sheets ever. I read the architecture is Jugendstil and the interior felt a bit like on an old cruiseship sometimes. It used to be the main office of the "Holland-Amerika" line.

Happe Me at the hotel.

A must do there, is take a water taxi.

City views.

The Sonneveld House was recommended by a friend and was worth the trip. It is a modernist villa built from 1932-1933 by architects Brinkman and Van der Vlugt.  It is so very avant-garde for that time, with lots of elements that you'd also find in a fifties home.

Two streets worth the check out for shopping & food : Witte de Withstraat & Pannekoekstraat.

We had breakfast at Pierre's, a French bistro, but I would recommend it for an apero or maybe dinner.

And last but not least, we had a delicious Italian meal at Oliva, didn't hear of it, just saw it and booked a table.

MMMM I still remember the taste of the sweet red onions with the proscuito bruchetta, the freshness of the fish with the lobster risotto, the tasty gnocchi and the ooh so delicious home-made ice-cream (lemon cacti, pear pistachio, white chocolate). Oh and did I say that the bread, the olive oil, the glasses of white wine and red wine were also good. Ok i'm hungry now!  To be continued...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sunday Brunch with friends

Easter is already gone but here are the pictures of our little Sunday brunch we organized at home with a few friends.
We started with a festive drink : bubbles + elderflower syrup + lemon + raspberry, mnjam!

Lisa's famous pancakes, check out her cool blog (mainly about food, travel and being pregnant for the moment)

Fresh apple mango raspberry smoothie

Home-made cinnamon rolls!

French toast with Paul's brioche mmm!

Asparagus rolled in Italian ham, soo perfect with soft-boiled eggs, green salad with apple and walnuts, potato salad  with lots of herbs, yoghurt and big capers...

It was a nice time and I got spoiled by my friends with chocolates (a blog on those will follow) and some nice herbs and plants.

Chives, curry (smells niiice) and strawberries

Happy Easter holidays x