In Graz: Brasserie Santner, nicely French…
Since more than 6 years living in Graz, dining out has too often been a somewhat disappointing experience for me – in this otherwise very charming and pretty city (and the 2nd largest in Austria, after Vienna).
Until this Tuesday, finally (yes, finally), after hearing quite some great reviews from the past year, since the Brasserie Santner opened its door around 2012, I paid my late visit.
It was a great visit!
Maybe partly because after so many frequent unsatisfying dining experiences here, I didn’t expect too much from the Santner. However, I was surprised from the amuse-bouche to the end (and nice wines too).
L’une des adresses préférées de Josephine ? l’ Hotel ICON
What about an affordable hotel with a rooftop pool overlooking Victoria Harbour of Hong Kong? I managed to find one in my last trip!
Hotel ICON is located on the Kowloon side, about 5 minutes work to the Hung Hom station, and very close to the Polytechnic University.
I did enjoy my stay there very much. Luckily I had good weather, so was chilling out by the pool all the time, it was fantastic!
Here about the hotel –A) Location: Tsim Sha Tsui East, Kowloon, a bit off the central touristic spots, but there are shuttle buses every 20 minutes to TST metro station and Harbour city (major shopping centre of HK), so actually very convenient. And the neighbourhood has enough to offer – shops, restaurants, a DFS opposite the hotel etc., and is nicely set away from main tourist flows. B) Facilities: the hotel opened in 2011, and building is designed by the leading local architect and interior designer. The 3 restaurants – a lobby café, a buffet restaurant and a Chinese restaurant are all very popular, and can be difficult to book at times. However I tried their famous breakfast buffet once, was not bad, but I was not that impressed to be honest. On the other hand, I personally don’t like to eat at buffets.
The pool (and pool bar) with harbour view is on the 9th floor, about 25 – 30m long, heated. The size is reasonable for real swimming, which is great. There’s also a well- equipped gym facing the pool and the harbour, and a SPA. Everything is perfect in this area, very nice changing room and shower with sauna too, providing everything you need from hair dryer to swimming suits.
So, highly recommended!
Lin Heung, the real and remote Hong Kong
Yum cha ‐ the southern Chinese style morning or afternoon tea, involves eating Dim Sum (small dishes steamed, fried , or baked sweets) and drinking tea ‐ is one of the most traditional daily activities in Hong Kong, many old people still keep this habit and go to the ‘tea house’ of their neighborhoods, as they’ve been doing for the last decades.
Lin Heung Tea House is one of the oldest in Hong Kong, before changing its previous name to ‘Lin Heung (‘the scent of lotus’ in Chinese)’ in 1889 (Qing dynasty), it was a cake bakery famously known for its Cantonese‐style moon cake filled with lotus seed.
Hong Kong: Seafood Excursion
There are a few islands around Hong Kong, mostly famous for seafood restaurants. The most popular ones are the Cheung Chau Island and the Lamma Island.
It was a Saturday evening, in order to avoid the weekend crowds, I went to the least touristic Lantau Island – about 30 minutes with ferry from the Central Pier.
The ferry journeys in Hong Kong are always nice – you got to see the beautiful Victoria Harbour and the city’s exciting skylines from a distance. And it’s the best way to reach the Lantau Island; many people (particularly expats) prefer to live there and commute to work by ferries every day, for its relaxing tropical island flare and the sense of oasis outside the busy scenes of Hong Kong.
Graz: Happy 30s!
What could be possibly better than a hearty New York porterhouse of dry-aged American beef from Nebraska? Hardly much!
So, on Wednesday, I decided to celebrate my 30th Birthday with one of those. I love steaks, anyway….
Apparently there are very few steakhouses in Europe that import beef from the US, luckily there’s one in Graz – the Steak Boutique, thanks to the owners American wife, who also makes their New York Cheese cake herself.
I’ve been there a couple of times before, and loved it, and that’s why I wanted to have birthday dinner there. But things do change, as we all know…
Hong Kong: Under Bridge Spicy Crab, the Crab-way to Heaven
You’ve got to go local if you want to know your destination well; and I LOVE to go local in
Knowing that I’m no huge fan of crabs, nor of spicy foods, my gourmet loving friend – an
American investment banker who’s been living in Hong Kong for years – insisted on taking
me to this famous crab restaurant: Under Bridge Spicy Crab.
Well, it’s famous, but a lot of other things too, and I tend to not give fame too much faith as
learnt from past disappointments; plus, the amount of crabs I’ve eaten so far is quite enough
Hong Kong: Amber – that Wild Kid on the Playground
I’m currently reading a book called ‘Decisive’ by Chip & Dan Heath, quite interesting read with lots of practical advices on how to make better decisions, and has surprising insights on how often people make wrong decisions.
However, that’s how indecisive I am; and probably the reason I always go for tasting menus if I see them…
The tasting menu of Amber – or, the ‘9th degustation menu’ – is made of 8 signature dishes (incl. two deserts); and that, became a strange experience…