favorite things · food · friends · greece · hotels · love love love · restaurant · touristy · travel

Athens, Greece

Bring out the stuffed grape leaves, the tzatziki, greek salads with huge chunks of feta cheese then throw in a lot of old buildings and monuments and there you have it – my first trip to Athens, Greece. It is now a proven fact that I can indeed eat those things every single day. Because that’s pretty much all I had during my week in Greece. Lather, Rinse, Repeat. And it was the best food I’ve had in months – I must have been a Greek Goddess in my earlier years because I can’t get enough of everything Greek.

We arrived late in the evening, there was only one flight out of Barcelona to Athens leaving at 6:30 p.m. so we arrived at the airport around 10:30 (3 hour direct flight plus one time difference). The hotel, Grecotel Pallas Athena, had reserved a driver for us at the airport and he whisked us to our boutique hotel, smack dab in the middle of Athens. The location is superb, the eclectic design is super fashionable and I never turn down a free breakfast, which was delicious as well. But as I said, we arrived late, thankfully there were still plenty of options for dinner for us to choose from. We wandered through the streets to the restaurant the front desk dude told us about and enjoyed our first views of Athens. Here are a few sights from that first night:

We found where we needed to get some food in our bellies and guess what we had? Tzatziki!! And a few other things. And there were two singers to help us get into the Greek feeling and welcome us to Athens. After dinner we walked back to the hotel and crashed. A full day was upon us in the morning!

First things first. Breakfast! Yes, tzatziki was involved. 🙂 Along with fresh fruit, a pastry with spinach, a very hot tea and lots of water. Only then were we ready to venture out to the glorious Acropolis in the sky. And I do mean in the sky! It’s high up on a hill. AND we walked! Very proud of ourselves. It wasn’t too difficult but the day was super hot and I only brought a small bottle of water. From the hotel it was about a 30 minute walk to the entrance. You need to buy tickets (I think they were 20 euro each) and there is a place before you enter to buy drinks – lemonade slushes, coffee, beer but NO water! And I can’t even tell you how many times I heard people ask for water and every single one was incredulous that water wasn’t sold. Even one lady said to the man, “You don’t have water!?”. “No, no water,” he answered. “No water?!”, she asked again. He replied, “Maybe if you ask me twenty times more there will miraculously be water.” Needless to say she left without ordering anything. I smirked and ordered a lemonade and strawberry slushy. But then the joke was on me – nobody can enter the Acropolis grounds with any food or drinks. Ha! But water is allowed …….

So Jess and I tried to down my slurpie as quickly as possible, resulting in about 28 brain freezes.

And we were in! There were TONS of people there. But it’s quite an expansive place so you can move around pretty easily, minus those first steps to get up to the top of the hill but once you’re there people spread out. But don’t think about getting any pictures with only you – well, it’s probably doable but difficult.

I was already impressed. First stop was the Theatre of Dionysus – which funny story. We looked out over the Theatre and Jess said that she thought it looked different. I shrugged my shoulders and said wouldn’t it be cool to see an opera here. I think they must do things there still because there were lights set up and speakers, etc.

We continued on … but it was still bothering Jess. She said again, I remember it differently. How, I asked. Well, it seems very open to fight lions and animals. OMG, I laughed so loud that I think I scared people around us. I said, I think you’re thinking of the Colosseum in Rome. 🙂 Ahhhh, good times. Let it be said Jess is a very smart woman! She’s a lawyer in Los Angeles but we all have our blonde moment from time to time.

It was amazing how old this place was, pottery sherds of the Neolithic period (4000/3500-3000 BC) and of the Early and Middle Bronze Age, show that the hill was inhabited from a very early period. Seriously, walking around where people lived in 4000 BC really blows my mind.

The Acropolis was dedicated primarily to its patron, the goddess Athena. It was Pericles in the fifth century BC who coordinated the construction of the site’s most important present remains including the Parthenon, the Erechtheion and the Temple of Athena Nike. There is a restoration project that has been going on for years so we saw scaffolding, cranes, etc. But with things that old they all need a little help from time to time (don’t we all?).

We spent about two hours touring the grounds and taking lots of pictures, just like everyone else. Here are my favorites.

Alright, enough with the old stuff. We needed a cold brewski to take a break in the day. From the Acropolis we could see a very well preserved temple that looked interesting to check out. So after our beer, stuffed grape leaves and ….tzatziki!!! Sorry, I’ll stop. Maybe. We searched around for the temple. Turns out it’s located in Agora with lots of other ruins, a church and a museum. So, when in Athens, go see the temples.

It was the Temple of Hephaestus that we were seeing. The Doric order temple was dedicated to Hephaestus (naturally), who was the son of Zeus and Hera, and a god of blacksmiths, metallurgy, and craftsmen. This temple has been incredibly well preserved so one can easily see the Doric trademarks. The columns are fluted, or grooved. Above the columns is a thick, horizontal element called the frieze. Doric friezes are decorated with alternating patterns of triglyphs and metopes.

The metopes are blank panels in between the triglyphs. Very often, Doric metopes were carved with reliefs of scenes from Greek mythology, and the Temple of Hephaestus is no exception. The friezes of this temple depict scenes of the twelve labors of Hercules, the battle and fall of Troy, and an unidentified battle scene. It’s possible that the metopes that were not carved were, at one point in time, painted. We do know that some art has been lost from this site; records indicate that bronze statues of Hephaestus and Athena Ergani once stood inside as well.

As I mentioned, this temple is located in the Agora which was a place for the citizens of ancient Athens to meet, bond and deliberate on the issues of the day. The Ancient Agora was a dynamic place, where the great thinkers Sophocles, Socrates, Protagoras, among others, would meet and where ordinary citizens could come and interact with their peers, voice their concerns, agree on solutions and courses of action.

Nowadays, it a peaceful place with shady trees, paths and cats among the ruins. We checked out the Byzantine Church of the Holy Apostles and the Stoa of Attalos. The stoa was another place to meet but also an ancient version of a mall, it had 42 shop spaces on the two levels. It was destroyed in 267 AD by invading Herulians. Its restoration took place between 1953 – 1956 by the American School of Classical Studies with the financial support of John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

I really enjoyed the Agro and check out the restaurant Heliaia close by the ticket entrance to the Agros. Yummy food! (see I didn’t say it) and a great view of the Acropolis while you enjoy your food and drink.

Some of my favorite pics from the Agros area.

After the Acropolis and Agros we were a bit pooped. We walked back to the hotel to shower and relax before dinner. I did a little research for dinner – I like to eat at nice restaurants and stay in nice hotels so I always do a bit of delving into the internet for the best places. And this time it also still had to be within walking distance. On our way to the restaurant we turned down this street and there was one cute restaurant or bar after another. And then there was the place I had chosen – Bandiera at Taki 19, Athens. They don’t have a website but the food and house wine was one of the best places we ate in Greece. We had the hot pepper and cheese dip, tzatziki 🙂 and a greek salad. YUM YUM YUM.

Now I’m googling good greek restaurants in Mallorca. Must have more greek food! After the fabulous dinner we stopped by A is for Athens and had a glass of wine at their rooftop bar. Nice place!

And there you have it folks – Athens, Greece. We had an early wake up call to catch our ferry to MYKONOS! Check the blog soon for my time in Mykonos and Santorini.

And our word for the week in Greek was thank you – Efcharistó!!!! xo -k

eat ~ mallorca · food · Majorca · Mallorca · playa · restaurant · spain · yum

Cassai Beach House ~ Mallorca

This place is heaven. Cassai Beach House in Colònia St. Jordi.

We recently discovered this restaurant that is only 15 minutes from our house. Finally someone close knows what they are doing in the kitchen!

The view is breathtaking. The food is scrumptious. And the waitstaff is friendly. Choose from sitting in the interior room where the breeze passes through the restaurant or on the sunny terrace that overlooks the sea.

With a nautical look and feel, you can enjoy lunch or dinner here with a tempting menu. Mediterranean and Mallorcan dishes full of flavor from oysters to burgers topped with foie gras to salmon tartare to paella to salads to steak with a truffle sauce to delicious desserts. SO. GOOD.

This place is the bomb. Fo shizzle my nizzle. And you need to go.

It’s always pretty busy so a reservation would be a good idea.

Cassi Beach House. Carrer Major, 21, Colònia de Sant Jordi. +34 971 070 939

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food · ireland · Road Trip · travel · yum

Restaurant ~ Stoop Your Head in Skerries, Ireland

After Newgrange we were hungry but we wanted something with a bit of a nice view. We took the “scenic” route, scenic to us because this was all new! And tried to drive along the coast as much as possible. We came into a small fishing village on R 127 called Skerries. It was almost too perfect. We spotted a restaurant by the harbor. It’s name – Stoop Your Head. Awesome name, must be an awesome place. My friends, it did not disappoint. Everything was so delicious.

Apparently we weren’t the only hungry ones. The place was packed. It isn’t that big of a place but it does have an outside patio to eat at too. But the weather was a bit chilly so we waited for a table to open up.

Finally one did. Hooray! I had my usual Ireland drink order – Guinness with black currants. And we each ordered the seafood chowder and I ordered the Rockabill Crab sandwich on brown bread. They have quite the full menu – everything, really. From soup, salad, sandwiches, appetizers of paté and falafel to main courses of tempting fish pie, baked salmon or Irish fillet steak. My mouth is now watering thinking of the savory foods!  All of their meat is fully traceable from farm to fork. And they only use Free-Range Chicken and Eggs.

You must check this place out. It is only a 20 minute drive north of Dublin. And about the name – well, it is true, some of the doorways are a bit short. And you MUST STOOP YOUR HEAD! Enjoy. And don’t forget about the Guinness!

food · new york city · usa · yum

Sweet Chick

Get thyself over to Sweet Chick pronto. Not only was this restaurant a perfect stop after a girls night out with the fabulous, one and only Jeannette Cornell; it was also the best fried chicken and waffles that I’ve ever had. It was SO good, that we showed up the next morning  for another round. Yup, you read me right – less than seven hours after shoving our faces full of belgian waffles and crispy fried chicken completely slathered in syrup in our stylin hotel room at the new Ludlow Hotel, we did it again. This time adding bloody mary’s to our brunch.

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Um, yeah. See what I mean!? Check out the link above for their full menu options but everything sounds mouth watering – Kale BLT Salad, Mac N Cheese, Bacon Wrapped Oysters, Duck Confit, and the Pickle Plate with watermelon rinds, okra, eggs, carrots and dill pickles is what I will be starting off with next time. They have two locations, Brooklyn and Manhattan. Check it out soon and I promise you will not be disappointed. Sweet Chick, I love you.

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2014 · amsterdam · food · save our world · travel · yum

The Seafood Bar ~ Amsterdam

The Seafood Bar restaurant in Amsterdam is where it’s at. We got there around 9:30 while navigating the streets with my iphone, we turned the corner walked a few steps and bingo, there it was! As we walked into the restaurant I could already tell this was gonna be good. The place was casual, fun and the food on everyone’s plates looked amazing.

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The place was completely packed. We asked a waiter for a table and he said there would be one opening soon. But then we decided to eat at the bar. So we sat down, adjusted ourselves for some damn good food, and just as we did that the table against the wall (pretty much the third table back that you see in the picture above) opened up. We asked our kind and funny waiter again if we could have it and magically it became ours. We ordered a bottle of white (dry) and looked at the menu. I had no idea what to order! Everything sounded tantalizing. The lobster soup to the boiled king crab legs to the plate of oysters, I had major trouble deciding.

Donita settled on the lobster soup (delicious, fyi) and the prawns mango salad while I ordered the fruits de mer.  Again our humorous waiter reminded me that this was a cold plate that I ordered. Good with me! Maybe Donita needed the cold plate considering she mentioned while our waiter was near that she was hot as she fanned herself with the menu. The waiter then helped her with the fanning process and said, “Shall I help you with that? And, by the way, of course you are hot!” Haha. He had a line for everything.

Check out our food. First, Donita’s prawns mango salad:

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Looks amazeballs! And my fruits de mer. Lemme just say, it did NOT disappoint.

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From the restaurant, to the food, to the service, this place was top notch. PLUS, what I liked about it the most is The Seafood Bar uses exclusively day-fresh products of the highest quality. Their products are 100% natural with no additives. When possible they use biological and Fair Trade products that have a transparent and responsible origin.

I  look for this more and more in the restaurants that I go to. I want healthy food, but also I want food that has obtained the correct way. Look around people, this world isn’t going to last forever if we keep treating it badly. Wake up.

If you are in Amsterdam, do not miss The Seafood Bar. It is located at the Van Baerlestraat 5, one of the most beautiful streets of Amsterdam. The Vondelpark is on its side and only two blocks away from the Rijks museum.

ENJOY!!

 

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england · food · travel · yum

Paul Ainsworth at Number 6 Restaurant, Padstow.

If you are anywhere near the town of Padstow make sure you have a reservation at Paul Ainsworth Number 6 restaurant. You will find it at 6 Middle Street, Padstow, Cornwall.

An interesting spot where there are several different dining areas, we sat in the small room in the front. It was Felix’s birthday and I wanted to find a good restaurant, but actually hoping for something great. And we got even better than that.  Here is how they describe the restaurant – At Number 6 our cooking is all about making the most of what’s on our doorstep in Padstow. Our menus are based around brilliant local, seasonal ingredients, cooked in a simple modern style with a Cornish influence. Everything we serve in the restaurant – from the bread to the chocolate truffles – is made by our team of chefs.

Not only was our food the best dinner I have had in months but the presentation of everything from my perfect vodka martini (finally! someone could do it right on this side of the Atlantic) to the appetizers to the sweet “Happy Birthday” message in chocolate on the dessert tray. Our waiter, who we later found out was the assistant manager, was not only knowledgeable in wines, how the food is made but was also really witty and a fun person to talk to – and usually Felix and I never really want to chat with the staff. Don’t know if you have figured it out yet, but what a great restaurant!

My first course was deep fried oysters. And Felix had goose parfait de foie gras. My mouth is watering just thinking about them. Sorry about the pics, but all we had was the cell phone camera. Just think how much more you would be hungry if I had the good camera.

Didn’t get pics from the main course (oops). I had the veal with chips (that would be fries to you)  and bday boy had the beef. Look how happy we are with the evening!!

Ain’t I cuuuuuute?? And now for the dessert. This was a platter that had a sample of every dessert they had, it was listed for two people to share. We barely made a dent, but it was chocolate, creamy, rhubarb, pop rocks delicious!

I can’t wait to go back!!

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