This defiant island of Russian modernity and Europeanness is a vibrant arts centre filled with cool bars, restaurants and galleries. With an aptly revolutionary name, the former Red October chocolate factory looks straight into the Kremlin’s eyes – a vivid reminder that Russia is not all about totalitarian control and persecution.
Of course you cannot visit Moscow without visiting Red Square. I was especially excited to see St. Basil’s Cathedral in person! Long, long ago when my family first had internet my icon was the St. Basil’s Cathedral. I didn’t know then that it was in Russia, but I was drawn to the tulip shaped domes and bright colors! If you’re visiting Red Square, I definitely recommend you have lunch or dinner at Grand-Café Dr. Zhivago for a Soviet-style meal.
I think Lonely Planet can describe the Cathedral best:
This gargantuan cathedral was completed in 1997 – just in time to celebrate Moscow’s 850th birthday. It is amazingly opulent, garishly grandiose and truly historic. The cathedral’s sheer size and splendour guarantee its role as a love-it-or-hate-it landmark. Considering Stalin’s plan for this site (a Palace of Soviets topped with a 100m statue of Lenin), Muscovites should at least be grateful they can admire the shiny domes of a church instead of the shiny dome of Ilyich’s head.
When we decided to go to Moscow, we knew that we had to eat at White Rabbit, the 23rd best restaurant in the world. If you have Netflix, it’s possible you saw the episode featuring Chef Vladimir Mukhin, discussing the inspiration and philosophy behind White Rabbit – modern Russian cuisine with locally sourced ingredients. The restaurant is also located on the 16th floor of Smolenskiy Passage with an amazing view of the city.
For Koen and my big trip this year, we planned a three week trip from Moscow to Beijing, traveling by train on the Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian Express. After a ton of research, an intinerary was made and we were ready to go off and explore!
The first day we arrived in the late afternoon and wanted to start off slow, to save our energy because the next day we had a lot of planned to do. So we decided to head to Sahli for a delicious Georgian meal.
A good friend of ours just moved to Leuven, so we came to visit to see the new place and explore! This was my first time in the city, but I knew I wanted to have dinner at Würst – the “haute” dog restaurant by Jeroen Meus. We tried a few varieties, but my favorite has to be the most classic – topped with pickles and sauerkraut. After dinner we went for homemade gelato at Decadenza Gelateria. A delicious evening!
This past weekend Koen was away in Rotterdam for a boys’ weekend, so I invited Hannah to come to Antwerp for a girls’ weekend! We planned for a delicious Japanese dinner at Osaka (edit – Osaka has since closed its doors after 20 years), followed by drinks at Dogma. The next morning we had a delicious breakfast at Lints, coffee at Caffènation, and then a walk in the Botanical Gardens to see the cacti! A great weekend!
Often for work I need to go to London and I always look forward to choosing where to eat in the evening. This time I was in the city for a week, so there were many opportunities to explore the culinary scene. Because my hotel was in Mayfair, all of the restaurants we visited are in the City of Westminster (click if you want to read an earlier post about the borough). To make it easy, I’ve divided the restaurants into 4 categories: British, Indian, Pubs and Street Food!
This year was a special birthday for Koen’s mom, Els – she turned 60! So to celebrate it in a special way, we wanted to surprise her with a party! We were very sneaky, telling her that we planned a lunch with the children in Zeeland, but to her surprise we invited family and friends to surprise her at Sand & Pepper Beachbar in Burgh-Haamstede!