November 27, 2017
Another Year Older

Another Year Older

November 27, 2017
rhodes marine lace dress claudie pierlot fashion blogger
I've been extremely traditional when it comes to celebrating my birthday so far. Except for the years I've been abroad, the celebration has always taken place at home. The most important thing for me is to be surrounded by my loved ones so I didn't really care about where the party took place. However, this year we decided to do something different. Back in August we had been to a very special restaurant and I wanted to go back for my birthday.

This restaurant is like no other. I've never had a gastronomic experience like this one. The name of the place is LAV and it's in my hometown, Leon. The name is an acronym for Laboratorio Alfonso V, and if you pronounce it in Spanish it sounds like "lab", short for laboratory. So what's so special about this place? Well, everything. From the food to the fact that you don't start eating at your table. restaurante lav leon alfonso V hotel españa
It all starts at the bar where you order drinks and eat unique tapas. See the four big grey stones below? They are edible. It's foie covered in chocolate. How genius is that? Meanwhile, you take a look at the menu and choose what you want with a colored marker. 
restaurante lav leon alfonso V hotel españa
Next stop is the open kitchen for some live showcooking.
The rest of the meal takes place at the table. Take a look at the picture below, you can see the menu card. As I said before each one of us chose what we were going to eat with a different marker: red, black, green and blue. When you get to the table you put a colored card next to you so that the waiter knows your menu choices.
restaurante lav leon alfonso V hotel españa
restaurante lav leon alfonso V hotel españa rhodes dress claudie pierlot
All dishes are carefully curated in terms of design and flavors. They are incredibly pleasant to both the eye and the palate. These are the starters.restaurante lav leon alfonso V hotel españa
restaurante lav leon alfonso V hotel españa
restaurante lav leon alfonso V hotel españa
The starters are followed by soup.
restaurante lav leon alfonso V hotel españa
restaurante lav leon alfonso V hotel españa
Afterwards, we had fish and meat. It may look like a lot of dishes, but the portions are small so you don't really feel full until the end of the meal.
restaurante lav leon alfonso V hotel españa
restaurante lav leon alfonso V hotel españa
restaurante lav leon alfonso V hotel españa
restaurante lav leon alfonso V hotel españa
restaurante lav leon alfonso V hotel españa
To transition from the meal to the sweet taste of dessert, you get a digestive mousse in a beaker. A nod to the name of the restaurant.
restaurante lav leon alfonso V hotel españa
And last but not least my favorite part...
restaurante lav leon alfonso V hotel españa
restaurante lav leon alfonso V hotel españa
restaurante lav leon alfonso V hotel españa
The whole experience takes about two hours but it doesn't feel so long.
Have you ever been to a restaurant like this? What's the most unique experience you've had when eating out?
xo Cristina

Restaurant info
LAV
Av. Padre Isla 1, Leon
Tel.: (+34) 987220952
TripAdvisor

OUTFIT DETAILS
Claudie Pierlot dress
Purificacion Garcia scarf

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL LACE DRESSES
English corner 
edible - something you can eat
curated - selected
November 20, 2017
The Australia Series: Honeymooners in Melbourne

The Australia Series: Honeymooners in Melbourne

November 20, 2017
cooks cottage fitzroy gardens melbourne
Cook's cottage 

It was 5am on July 28 when we arrived in Melbourne after a 22-hour journey and a short stop in Dubai. We flew Emirates because it's the fastest way. Needless to say we took a long nap before heading out to explore the city.
As you know, our trips are very organized. The first thing we do when we plan our itinerary is to divide the city map in areas. Then, we make a list of the places we want to see on each of those areas. We also make a schedule but this is never 100% accurate because we never know how long it's going to take to get to a place or how long the visit will last. But we get something approximate. My other main tip -if you follow the blog, you are probably tired of hearing me say this- is to create a Pinterest board because that's where you'll find all the cool stuff to see.

Today I want to share with you our Melbourne itinerary. We spent three amazing days in this beautiful city. Every day was busy and we walked for hours but you know, Spain is very far from Australia so we wanted to make the most of our trip at all times.

DAY 1:
Our hotel was close to Flinders Street Railway Station so we pretty much walked everywhere. The best transport option in Melbourne is the tram which is free around the city centre. The first place we visited was St. Paul's Cathedral, then we walked into the cobbled Hosier Lane famous for its edgy graffiti. Out next stop was Fitzroy Gardens where you can find Cook's Cottage. This is actually the oldest house in Australia, it was moved brick by brick from England to Down Under. We ended our day seeing the Melbourne Cricket Ground (the Mr. always asks for sport stadiums to be included in our itineraries). As it was winter in Australia it got dark really early every day so on our way back to the hotel we got to see the city lights and the skyline along the Yarra river. 
yarra river melbourne cricket ground
Yarra River
Royal Exhibition Building Carlton Gardens Melbourne
Royal Exhibition Building at Carlton Gardenshosier lane graffiti melbourne
Hosier Lane graffiti 

DAY 2:
After getting a good night sleep we caught and early train to Brighton Beach. I had seen the colorful bathing boxes on countless occasions and I was really excited to see them in real life. You can read more about Brighton Beach on this post. We came back just before lunch and after refueling at the famous Betty's Burgers we continued visiting city landmarks such as Parliament House, the iconic Princess Theatre, the Old Treasury Building and Carlton Gardens. We arrived at Saint Patrick's Cathedral right in time for mass. Attending a religious service abroad is an interesting experience. Bathing boxes Brighton Beach Melbourne
Bathing boxes at Brighton Beachunique people queen victoria market melbourne
Royal Arcade Melbourne
Royal Arcadesunset yarra river skyline cbd melbourne
DAY 3:
It was the last day before we had to say goodbye and board a plane to Cairns. We enjoyed a wonderful morning at the impressive Queen Victoria Market. We visited the arcades which are little shopping centres from the 19th century with unique architecture. Our favorites were The Block Arcade with its mosaic tiled floor and Royal Arcade with its one-of-a-kind shops. They are a must if you are looking for special gifts or craftsmanship to take home like I do (I don't like tourist souvenirs). We spent the last hours of the day in the Botanic Gardens and visiting the unforgettable Shrine of Remembrance, a memorial to all Australians who have served in war. It's hard to describe with words how we felt after the visit, it made a great impact on us.

WHERE TO EAT
Pilgrim Bar, below Federation Wharf there is a waterfront venue that caught out attention by the lively atmosphere it had on our first night in Melbourne. We hanged out with the locals and warmed up while enjoying drinks and a light dinner.

Betty's Burgers is located in central business district (the locals call it CBD). The decor is a mixture of American dinner and beach bar so colorful and pretty that will surely lure you in. Their other specialty is concrete, a super-thick milkshake.

Chuckle Park is one of the best bars in Melbourne. It's tucked away in a lane off Little Collins Street. Decked out to resemble a camping-style outdoor space complete with faux grass, tealights and a caravan, Chuckle Park offers a relaxed vibe with Mexican influenced food.

Hopetoun Tea Rooms, we ended up here looking for desert after an incredible lunch at Chuckle Park. This is a small Victorian tea room located at the charming Block Arcade. With a window display like theirs, it's impossible to not walk in.

Queen Victoria Market is mainly a food market but you can also find about everything else: clothing jewelry, souvenirs...you name it! However, our favorite part were the food stalls. Just take a look at the pics to see why.
queen Victoria market Melbourne
queen Victoria market Melbourne
Queen Victoria Market
Chuckle Park MelbourneLunch Chuckle Park Melbourne
Lunch at Chuckle Park
hopetoun tea room melbourne
hopetoun tea room melbourne
Shrine of Remembrance

We were so tired at the end the day that very often we didn't feel like going out for dinner so we used to go to the closest supermarket to get a few things and ate at the hotel room. Instant soup has become a classic for us. As soon as we arrived to a new city we asked where the closest Woolworths Supermarket was.

Two things surprised me while in Australia. First, I was surprised by the amount of hashtags everywhere to share your photos on social media, they were even in the streets. Another one was that we found the doppelganger of a few of our friends and relatives, oh we had so much fun with this! Has it ever happened to you while abroad?

Stay tuned for the next installment of The Australia Series. Next stop is Ayers Rock! The second stop on our itinerary was actually Cairns but unfortunately I barely have any photos to share. The coolest place we saw was The Great Barrier Reef, but we don't own an underwater camera. I know, I know, who goes to The Great Barrier without the proper gear?... I've learnt my lesson and since Christmas is right around the corner maybe it's time to get a GoPro. Do you guys have one? Do you recommend it?
xo Cristina

FOR THE STYLISH TRAVELER


English corner
doppelganger - someone that looks the exact same as another person, yet not a twin.

melbourne travel guide

November 13, 2017
November in Madrid

November in Madrid

November 13, 2017
ultramarinos quintin restaurant madrid
I think that Paris is overrated. Yes, it's a splendid city but I can't think of anything that I can only find in Paris and not in Madrid. Maybe it's because I'm not really a romantic. Or maybe it's because I'm Spanish and our countries have many similarities.

Let's analyse the situation.
What makes Paris so dreamy?
Is it the pretty cafes? Madrid has plenty, for instance Salon des Fleurs the coffee place + flower shop that stole my heart.
Is it the food? Spanish cuisine is also famous all around the world. El Perro y la Galleta is a must if you are in Madrid.
Is it the architecture? Here you can see a few of the things that the capital of Spain has to offer. 
I believe it's all been a remarkable marketing strategy. The French have created an aura of romanticism around Paris. They came up with the je ne sais quoi philosophy and the fabulous French girl. 
Don't get me wrong, I'm not starting a campaign against Paris. I'd be happy to visit every once in  while. I just think that Madrid (and other European cities) deserves much more love than it gets.

Today I want to show you a bit of the beauty of Madrid. How spectacular it looks this season. The good thing about living in a big city is the variety in terms of leisure. You never run out of new places. On the 1st of November, which is a holiday in Spain, my husband and I had made plans to eat out and enjoy an afternoon stroll around El Retiro afterwards.
ultramarinos quintin restaurant madrid
ultramarinos quintin restaurant madrid
ultramarinos quintin restaurant madrid
ultramarinos quintin restaurant madrid
We had a delightful lunch at Ultramarinos Quintin. This place is part market, part restaurant which focuses on Spanish food made with fresh local ingredients. The menu is pricey but given the quality of the products it's worth it. The light inside is quite low which creates a cozy ambiance. We started with pumpkin soup, then had a seafood salad to share and my main dish was pork with red cabbage and caramelized chestnuts. Guys, I'll never forget the caramelized chestnuts, it's one of the most exquisite things I've ever had! I wish they had sold it in jars to buy it. Finally, for desert we had their delicious homemade ice-cream. Needless to say, we loved the place and it has entered our list of Madrid favorites.

Our next and final stop was El Retiro. Beautiful any time of the year, the autumnal colors make it even more magical during this season. el retiro otoño madrid
el retiro otoño madrid
el retiro otoño madrid
el retiro otoño madrid
el retiro otoño madrid
What makes a city "dreamy"in your opinion? 
I'd love to discuss this with you in the comments below.
xo Cristina

RESTAURANT INFO
Calle Jorge Juan, 17, Madrid
Tel.: (+34) 91 786 46 24 – 91 431 71 03

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English Corner 
overrated - have a higher opinion of (someone or something) than is deserved (sobrevalorado)
to come up with - to think of something such as an idea or a plan
leisure - activities that you do to relax or enjoy yourself (ocio)
stroll - to walk without hurrying, often for pleasure (pasear)