Check out my new blog: www.labonnevivante.ch
Check out my new blog: www.labonnevivante.ch
It is official: www.labonnevivante.ch went online today! The website has a fresh face however our focus will remain with travel, restaurant reviews and fashion.
Looking forward to a fantastic 2015!
What better place to celebrate a fabulous 2014 and a fantastic new year to come than in Gstaad! The charming village turns into complete frenzy at new year’s eve and you’ll find the international jet set flocking here. Restaurants, bars and clubs are fully booked and you’ll better reserve well in advance if you want to score a table with a view.
Where to dine:
La Bagatelle is a charming restaurant with a beautiful view. Come here and indulge in the restaurant’s fine cuisine and authentic alphorn music. A nice restaurant for a romantic post new-year eve dinner with your loved one.
Restaurant 16 used to be a bell foundry. Today it is an über-charming restaurant in Saanen which resembles my own image of what snow white’s hut might have looked like. Admittedly, the food was a bit of a let down at our last visit (luke warm bisque and raw lobster – you get the idea….) but we hope that the kitchen will regain its old culinary strength shortly.
Swiss Stübli at Alpina Gstaad serves Raclette, Fondue and other Swiss specialities. We had a lovely dinner here and the bar offers plenty of options for a digestif or two.
Rialto in the center of Gstaad serves good old Italian cuisine at moderate prices (for Gstaad). This place won’t impress and it won’t disappoint either. A safe choice if you’d like to satisfy that penne arrabiata craving.
Feel like taking a break from all that fine dining head to Crêpery in Gstaad. As the name suggests you’ll find plenty of crêpe options and a cosy atmosphere.
Where to party:
The Gstaad Palace has attracted the rich, the famous and hordes of those who consider themselves in either category for decades now. This is the place to see and be seen. Depending on your energy level and time of the day this is a good place for a drink at the bar or go clubbing at the hotel’s club, the Greengo.
“Pura Vida” or Pure Life , a term used by locals in Costa Rica, is an epitome for Costa Rica ‘s natural beauty. Costa Rica is a land of milk and honey for bird watchers, surfers, divers and bikini aficionados alike. If you aren’t into white pristine, sandy beaches, serene natural parks, fantastic sceneries and a rich wildlife don’t bother coming.
To explore this stunning country rent a four wheel car. Costa Rica’s traffic isn’t as overwhelming as in many other Latin American countries however while it might seem like a relatively small country on a map, plan in sufficient time to get from one place to the next. The streets aren’t always in great conditions and while Costa Rica has highways the maximum speed allowed is 80 km. Yep, you guessed it – this is a perfect place to decelerate. We start our tour with a stop-over in San José. Unlike the rest of this fabulous country San José does not really have much on offer and looks run down and surprisingly unattractive. We recommend to keep your stay as brief as possible however don’t miss out on a dinner at La Esquina de Buenos Aires ( Calle 11, San José, Costa Rica +506 2223 1909) The restaurant makes some of Costa Rica’s best steaks and has a real Argentinian flair to it. If you are up for authentic Asian cuisine head to Tin Jo (www.tinjo.com).
Our next stop is Jacó which is a 2.5 hour drive from Costa Rica. Jacó is one of Costa Rica’s unpresumptuous party towns and while the beach might not be as beautiful as in other places this is an ideal place to let your hair down, enjoy the cocktails and party with the local Tico’s who you will find here in plenty.
Where to stay : Jacó offers a variety of low budget bed and breakfast places. Where to eat: Headed by Richard Lemon, Lemon Zest has become an institution in Jacó and offers some solid, international comfort food and a nice terrace.
Next is Montezuma which is located close to the most southern part of the Nicoya Peninsula and is reachable by ferry from Puntarenas or by boat from Jacó (if you aren’t travelling by car). Montezuma is an adorable, laid back village which has attracted hippies, surfers and artists for decades now. Montezuma also offers some of the countries’ most beautiful beaches and a very romantic scenery. This is a great place to unwind and soak up the sun. Rent a mountain bike or squads and take a day trip to the south of the Peninsula and visit the beautiful beach towns of Mal Pais, Santa Teresa and Manzanillo. While in Montezuma make sure to go zip lining above the Montezuma waterfalls – an unforgettable experience. While in Santa Teresa make sure you don’t miss out on a lunch at Nectar located at the Florblanca resort which offers delicious, fresh cuisine.
Where to stay: The Ylang Ylang Resort (www.ylangylangbeachresort.com) consists of tents and beach villas right on the beach in a beautiful, romantic setting. The hotel also offers Yoga Classes as well as a fresh, healthy menu including Sushi and Vegan Cuisine.
From here we head to Playa de Coco. This is another favorite amongst locals and offers a variety of bars and restaurants. It also is one of the best places to dive if you aren’t up for a 10 liveaboat trip to Isla de Cocos. At Isla Catalina you’ll have decent chance to spot giant mantas between December and April. Sharks and manta rays can be spotted pretty much all year long. Isla Catalina is located roughly 50 minutes from Playa de Coco. Be prepared for a very rough boat ride and don’t forget to pack those motion sickness drugs. Deep Blue Diving (www.deep-blue-diving.com) offers daily trips to Isla Catalina.
Where to stay: Hotel Puerta del Sol is a low key option with pleasant, spacious rooms kept in a marina blue and white theme and very friendly service.
Where to eat: Papagayo is one of Playa de Cocos liveliest restaurants with a good variety of seafood and cocktails. If you are looking for something more refined, head to Citron which offers a nice ambiance and solid yet a little uninspiring Mediterranean
For decades Miami has been one of the flashiest vacation destinations due to its glorious white beaches, easy vibe and party atmosphere. Although only 3 flight hours from New York, Miami couldn’t feel any further from New York.
Compared to NY Miami feels and looks like its loud, colorful and less refined sister. What Miami might lack in sophistication it makes up with its laid back attitude.
What to do:
South beach is Miami’s place to be. Long, sandy beaches lined with restaurants and bars, a unique Artdeco architecture and salsa rhythms in the air. What is there not to love?
Bayside Market Place hosts shops and restaurants and a stunning view of Miami’s skyline.
Lincoln Street offers a great variety of stores. The place for some easy going post-beach shopping
Where to eat:
Casa Tua close by South Beach offers an intimate setting and Italian cuisine. The restaurant is a favourite amongst celebs and you might find yourself sitting next to Cameron Diaz.
Zuma is a stylish sushi restaurant whichfeatures an open kitchen, a beautiful bayside view and a lively crowd. This is where Miami’s rich and beautiful hang out.
Where to party :
Mango’s Tropical Café is a world famous South Beach destination with live music from Salsa to Samba and great mojitos. A perfect place to let your hair down and dance the night away.
Feel like rubbing shoulders with Beyonce on the dance floor? LIV is Miami’s most exclusive and celeb studded club. Be warned though – to get in you will need to dress the part and bring some very deep pockets.
Where to stay:
Hotel Victor offers a prime location on South Beach and features a roof top pool overlooking the beach.
Stay tuned for a review of an exclusive event sponsered by Parmigiani…more to come
Check out my new article on a weekend in Arosa at the Tschuggen Grand :
New Year’s marks a new beginning. New people to meet, new adventures to enjoy and new places to travel…After a lot of work and with the fantastic help of my partners in crime, the design gurus from AWE Design and Communication my new blog “La Bonne Vivante“ is ready to be launched veeery soon…stay tuned as we will unveil the new logo and a fresh design. Here’s to wishing you the Happiest New Year ever!
Travel Review Miami including hottest restaurants and clubs in South Beach
Travel Review Costa Rica River Rafting, Zip Lining, Diving
New Year’s eve in Gstaad Where to ski, where to eat, where to party
Check out my latest articles on the Girlfriend Guide to Zurich:
Not a first timer in New York it was my first visit in December. New York emanates a very special charme in the festive season. Everything is beautifully decorated and you’ll listen to Christmas tunes in virtually every store. If you are not in the mood for Christmas yet I recommend a weekend in New York – you will return transformed
Where to shop
5th Avenue is quite the no brainer when it comes to shopping options in NY. This is a good place to start off your shopping ventures. You’ll find many of highstreet brands such as Victoria Secret, Ted Baker and the likes
Macy’s has it all. While it might lack the exclusivity of Barney’s or Bergdorf Goodman you will find some of the more affordable brands here
Barney’s offers a well selected variety of luxury brands and a to die for selection of shoes.
Bergdorf Goodman emanates elegance and class. This is where New York’s fashionistas shop and you’ll find fewer tourists than in the other department stores.
Soho offers a mix of some of the more edgy designer stores and regular high street brands
Where to eat
ABC Kitchen has become a trendy go to place and has been frequented by celebs and foodies alike. The interior is stylish and cosy and the menu offers playful dishes. The food is entirely organic.
Decoy in Greenwhich Village – The best places are discovered by accident. Unable to score a table at the Spotted Pig (no, we were not prepared to wait 2.5 half hours for a table at this non reservation restaurant) we explored alternative gastronomic options in the area of Greenwhich and discovered a real find. Specialized in Beijing Duck the restaurant offers great alternatives such as linguine with lobsters and tender beef filet. The service is forthcoming and the atmosphere in this tiny, wooden restaurant is very cosy.
Balthazar – An oldtime favourite Balthazar is crowded, loud and French in a very New Yorkan kind of way. The menu includes all the French classics and the wine list offers a good choice. In walking distance to the Broadway this is a good place for a post show dinner. If you are looking for a calm, romantic setting we recommend you go somewhere else.
The Modern – After a stint at the MOMA (a must see whenever I am in New York) stop by for a lunch at Moma’s restaurant the Modern which offers a clean and serene architecture, a concise menu of refined dishes and impeccable service. The menu changes however is seasonal and included risotto or linguine with white truffle which is shaved at the table – delicious. A perfect place to unwind from all the hustle and baustle and you are likely to run into some of the more intellectual celebrities of New York.
Where to go for a drink:
Le Bain at the Standard in trendy Meatpacking district is where the young and the beautiful flock. Steps away from Gansevoort it has taken its place as a hip place to hang out. On weekends the club is open until 4 pm.
Where to stay:
During the Christmas season New York’s hotel prices hit rocket heights. If you book last minute an apartment might be a good alternative and offers the additional benefit of more closet space to stock up newly bought treasures . Check out Sanctuary Apartments in New York’s Lower East Side.
With Christmas around the corner, the hunt for the perfect gifts has begun. While I was in Paris for work I decided to combine pleasure with pleasure and explore the fantastic shopping opportunities in the city of love. And for those with a guilty conscious at the prospect of spending an entire weekend with something as hedonistic as shopping we have some great ideas on how to include a doses of art, culture and great food as well.
Where to shop:
Champs Elysee is home to a Louis Vuitton Store the size of a supermarket. It also hosts many of the big street brands. Venture further down Champs Elysees and explore the Marché de Noël, then take a walk in the Jardin du Louxembourg and hop into the Louvre for a culture escape from the bustling stores.
For more upscale shopping head to Rue Saint-Honoré in 1st arrondissement where you’ll find the oldest Hermes store and a variety of Chanel Stores amongst many others.
Famous La Fayette is home to any upscale brand you can possibly think. The window decoration is a sight of its own.
Where to eat:
After an intense day of shopping these are the places where famished Fashionistas refuel:
La Fountaine de Mars is a bustling little Brasserie close to Chlamps Elysee. With its checked red and white tablecloth and French classics on the menu it doesn’t get more Parisian than that. The likes of Barack Obama and Sarkozy have been spotted here recently. Bring some deep pockets as this is not your low budget option.
Restaurant Petrelle is a super cosy restaurant in trendy Pigalle. With an eclectic décor and dozens of candles this is the place for a romantic dinner for two. The restaurant is also home to a cat and a dog who chill out here. The food does unfortunately not live up to the great atmosphere so there is room for improvement.
Restaurant L’Angelique is an off the beaten path, Michelin starred restaurant and offers an elegant interior and fantastic cuisine. Try the 6 course menu with wine pairing.
Where to stay: Hotel Belmont is a small and cosy 4 star close to Champs Elysee.
While you are there don’t miss the new contemporary art museum, the LV Foundation. The building was designed by Frank Gehry and is worth a visit.
Kunsthaus currently features an art exhibit of the Austrian Painter Egon Schiele and Jenny Saville. It is one of the recent encounters which Kunsthaus has designed to create a dialogue between classic, established and contemporary artists. The exhibition confronts 35 paintings by Schiele with 16 large-format works by Jenny Saville. Egon Schiele’s raw and dark paintings are somewhat disturbing and many tackle the topic of death and illness. He worked closely with Gustav Klimt and some of his works clearly showcase Klimt’s influence in its style and perspective yet Schiele’s topics are far more intense and unsettling. Jenny Salville’s photo-based works are disturbing in their own right yet fail to live up to Schiele’s works and therefore result in a somewhat disparate pair which make Schiele’s work stand out.
As anticipated I attended this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Days in Zurich. It goes without saying that the Zurich Fashion days don’t bear comparison with the fashion weeks in Paris or Milan. Nevertheless it is a fun event and serves as a great platform for local designers who have an opportunity to present their fashion. The fashion days are also a very social event. Fashion bloggers, designers and local celebs all dressed to the nines gathered at the VIP tent for a glass of something sparkling or one of the 3 signature cocktails and Luxemburgerli serverd at the bar. The show openend on a Wednesday evening and as a working girl I had to rush straight from the office and underwent quite a few logistical challenges to convert my office uniforme into a stylish, half way presentable fashion week outfit.
The opening night featured Lala Berlin, Luc von Siga, Julian Zigerli , Bibhu Mohapatra and Max Mara. My favourite designer of the evening was Turkish designer Luc von Siga who presented femine and wearable fashion with oriental patterns and smart cuts.
The Anabelle Award showcased 5 young designers and JC Castelbajac. For those of you who thought “JC who”… be assured you are not alone. I was clueless too and decided to put an end to my ignorance right away (or more plainly – I googled his name during the show) Turns out he designed a teddy bear coat which was worn by Madonna in the film “pret a porter”, married a supermodel and made Lady Gaga cry recently… Now, who ever called the fashion business a shallow one. Elise Kaufmann won the award with a futuristic collection with great details such as wooden elements and rose quartz.
Friday’s Notte Italiana was sponsored by Trois Pommes and exclusively dedicated to Italian Fashion. I was particularly inspired by Di Liborio’s show which included a lot of fringed suede and made me think of upscale, sophisticated cowgirl outfits accompanied by punk music.
The last night of the Zurich fashion week was dedicated to Swiss Designers. Little Black dress presented a wearable, smart collection with graphic patterns which might find their way to my very own closet sometime soon.
Overall, a great event and we look forward to next years Zurich Fashion days!
Stay tuned as this is coming up next week:
Coming up in December:
What to make of this staggering mega city – a melting pot of trends with its own, unique funkiness, peculiar, urban and yet deeply grounded in tradition? Now, one thing is for sure – Tokyo is unlike any other place in the world.
I recently spent a few days in Tokyo for work and while I didn’t have nearly as much time as I would have liked to in order to explore the city, itdefinitely left a strong impression with me.
What strikes first time visitors is the overwhelming amount of people in Tokyo. In any other part of the world these masses would likely create a gigantic chaos but Tokyo manages to keep things organized and structured; there is no pushing and shoving. Why is that? It might have to do with the patience, friendliness and firm politeness of the people who live here.
Shibuya, Tokyo’s famous shopping area is notoriously crowded. The area is popular with Tokyo’s teens and the department stores feature affordable clothes and Tokyo’s latest fashion trends.
Fashionistas, be warned though: You’ll have a hard time finding a pair of shoes if you happen to be size 39 or larger as this is considered XL in Japan. I have been through this heartbreaking experience…
Ginza, Tokyo’s upscale, posh shopping area is the ideal place for those who seek contrast from Shibuya. Ginza is the Japanese version of Zurich’s Bahnhofstrasse except that the stores are twice as large ( hands down the biggest Bulgari Store I have ever seen). Ginza is also home to some of Tokyo’s most famous restaurants, many of them Michelin starred.
Don’t miss the Meiji shrine in the middle of a beautiful, serene park. Famous with tourists the Senso Ji Temple is another must see.
There are many snack stolls and restaurants around the area. Hot Udon, just around the corner from the temple offers great udon nouple soups and battered shrimps and is very affordable.
This is also a good place to stock up on souvenirs for your loved ones.
Where to eat:
Sushi Ichi in Ginza just next to the Cartier store offers mouthwatering sushi of fresh fish from famous Tsujiki market. The Michelin starred restaurant can host roughly 12 people and provides an intimate setting and the service is extremely friendly. I had some difficulty finding the entrance (it is hidden just behind the Cartier store) and the waiter who I had called came out of the restaurant to look for me .
3-4-4 Ginza, Chuouku, Tokyo, Telephone: 81 3-3567-0014
The New York Bar & Grill at the Hyatt Tokyo is located on the 52nd floor and offers an incredible view of Tokyo. It also hosts a bar with life music and a great jazz band was playing when I was there. The food is western comfort food and a good alternative when you need a break from all that fantastic sushi, kaseiki, udon and soba cuisine.
Japan, Tokyo, Shinjuku, Nishishinjuku, 3−7−1-2, Telephone: 81 3-5323-3458
Boudoir is a stylish salon offering manicures, pedicures and other beautifying treatments (it is also one of the only places in Tokyo which has Shellac – unbelievable but true…) The staff is extremely friendly and very helpful and speaks good English.
2 Chome-25-3 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0001, Japan
How to get around: The metro might be a bit confusing at first but this is the best way to get around. Taxis can be pricey and are therefore an alternative for shorter routes or if you have difficulties finding a certain address.
What better way to spend a girls weekend than with a road trip to Italy! My mom and I had a fabulous time in Verona, Venice and Milan. Read about it here:
Home to Romeo’s and Julia’s famous balcony and the Arena, adorable Verona is a definite must visit in its own right. While Verona might not wow you the way Venice or Rome do, it can easy acclaim the title “Cutest City of Italy”. Everything is easily accessible by foot and the squares and little medieval alleys provide a picture perfect scenery which seems almost too perfect to be real. The list of sights is vast and to see it all you’ll probably have to put in two full days. In addition, Verona is full of great eateries.
Fontanina: This tiny restaurant is located just outside Verona’s center. The Michelin starred restaurant is divided into 3 sections. The interior is very particular with pictures, nipnap and kitsch absolutely everywhere but it all just adds to the warm and very cosy atmosphere.
The menu is concise. We opted for the poached egg with truffle and onion soup. The texture was good however unfortunately the different tastes of truffle and onion seemed to compete and the relatively subtle summer truffle simply lost out. The fish was ok and the truffle pasta was good with a calorie friendly serving size. The crème brulee rounded off our dinner very nicely. Our food was accompanied by a rich Amarone from the region. While the ambiance is very particular, the food unfortunately fails to enthuse as much.
Our next stop was Venice (a 2 hour car drive) where we spent a sunny day walking around the romantic alleys, shopping souvenirs and simply enjoying a day a la Veneziana.
In the evening we returned to Milan and had dinner at Giacomo – the bistrot that be. The neighbourhood was packed and we had some difficulty finding a parking space and ended up valet parking or to put it plain: We left our car complete with car key with guy named Francesco (a complete stranger to us) and were beyond relieved when we found Francesco and our car (still with tires) after dinner. What is there to say about Giacomo? Unfortunately only one thing – It is overrated. We wil not return but nevertheless spent a fun last evening in this overpriced and slightly uncomfortable establishment.
White, sandy beaches, azure blue water, relaxing spas and fantastic food make Koh Samui a top destination for all types of vacationers; honeymooners, island hoppers couples celebrating their anniversary and stressed out working professionals like myself. Koh Samui’s gastronomic landscape is as varied as its vacationers and can therefore rightly be considered a paradise for food lovers. Apart from the island’s tourist traps it offers restaurants which cater to a wide variety of tastes – from solid down to earth curries to upscale cuisine –you will find everything on Koh Samui.
The Spirit house in Chaweng simply oozes romance and a definite must visit for all lovebirds on the island.
Just a few steps from Chaweng’s bustling main street the Spirit houses offers a serene and secluded dining experience.
The restaurant’s two floor, semi open architecture features various dining areas with a view on the lush fauna surrounding it. The dining areas are tastefully decorated and candlelit. The restaurant only features Thai dishes and some of them are rather unusual such as …which has an interesting taste to it or the banana flower salad. The beef is tender and well prepared. The banana flambé marks the end of our indulgences. It certainly is something to look at and tastes delicious. Although the menu is Thai, this is not your regular thai fare, the cuisine is far more elaborate.
Pherensiri is a small eatery with 7 tables in one of the quieter streets of Chaweng.
The bohemian atmosphere and down to earth cuisine reminds me of some of the eateries back home in Zurich’s Kreis 4. The menu features western and Thai dishes and everything tasted are prepared with care and taste delicious. The Vietnamese spring rolls and wantan filled with mozzarella cheese are excellent, so was the kohpangan and the club sandwhich. The service is friendly and attentive.
Founded by two Expats the Larder features creative, upscale cuisine with fresh ingredients at affordable prices. The dining room which can host roughly 25 people emanates an elegant yet warm atmosphere. The interior is tasteful yet minimalistic. Even during off season all tables are occupied.
The menu features a divine selection of starters and main courses with some very creative names. We opt for the scotched duck egg which comes in a type of…cover and tastes great. The goat cheese with pear and nuts is excellent too. For a main course the chicken with vegetables fails to enthuse particularly while I jealously taste some of the beef and truffled fries of the plate in front of me. The beef is tender with a coal type taste to it and the truffled fries are hands down the best ones I have ever had. The portions aren’t as small as in other fine dining restaurants and we contemplate on whether or not to have a desert but the selection is simply too good. At the end we opt for a brandy panna cotta with caramelized bananas – too good to be true. Tonight the chef isn’t in but we meet the sous chef who is only 18 (!) years of age and learned his skills at the Larden for the past two years. We are very impressed and cannot praise this establishment highly enough!
Ocean 11 is a rather famous address in Bangkok and has been topping the lists of many Gourmet Guides in Koh Samui. Naturally our expectations were dementsprechend high when we ventured to this restaurant on a Tuesday night. The restaurant is located right by the beach and offers a pleasant, airy setting.
The menu is a mix of Mediterranean and Thai influences. We start with the Tuna with Algen which turns out to be Salmon with algen and the beef Carpaccio which comes half frozen.The pasta with tiger prawns is good but no culinary innovation and the Gnocchi Quattro staggione have a Thai taste to it which does not pair well with the supposedly Italian roots of this dish. To make things worse the crème brulée with lemongrass is an utter disaster. The texture is flocked and we can’t taste a hint of lemongrass.
Our waiter is an overly enthusiastic personality who walks around with his thumb up mumbling some German words as he is overheard we speak German.
In summary, Ocean 11 is a culinary disappointment and we can’t get our head around why this establishment has been receiving so much praise by a number of magazines.
If you are in the mood for something quick try out the local food stall.
If you’d like a break from thai food head to “Stacked” a burger restaurant on Chaweng’s main street.
We were fortunate enough to visit Koh Samui for a short but splendid vacation break and like to equip you with a few tips of what to do in Koh Samui:
Rent a car or mofa and drive around the small island. A tour around the island takes roughly 1.5 hours.
Visit Namuang waterfalls and zip line above the waterfalls for a little adrenalin kick. There are two waterfalls – Namuang 1 one is easy to access and only at 5 minute walking distance from the parking space. Namuang 2 is more difficult to get to.
On your way, visit Nikki Beach club for a cold glass of something refreshing.
Stop by Bho Phut, a cute little fishing village with some nice cafes, bars and shops.
Go diving: Most diving spots are around Koh Tao. You will not find many corals or big fish however you will see gigantic mussels and big schools of tuna fish and barracudas
Sail rock in between Koh Tao and Koh Panang is by far the best dive site in Koh Samui with interesting rock formations and caves and if you are very lucky you might spot a whale shark.
Visit the big Buddha statue and marvel the beautiful view from above the temple.
Go to the spa: Chaweng offers countless spa’s and you can’t leave Koh Samui without having had a massage. Magnolia is one of the best spas in Chaweng. It offers a nicely decorated interior and excellent service.
What better way to open a new restaurant than with a glamorous, stylish opening party! Louis’ offers a splendid lake view and a modern and clean interior with gigantic chandeliers. We haven’t tried the menu yet however were served a preataste and and can’t wait to book a table.
Restaurant Louis’, Seestrasse 457, 8038 Zurich, Tel 41 44 221 15 15