They will walk all over you in the rain, in the puddle and in this magical setting of FUERZA BRUTA, NYC !!!
The space was bit smaller than what I expected. But also intimate in a just right way. Mysterious red hue of warm light wraps you around and higher than high ceiling with awesome music with great sound starts get you going before the real thing starts. A good size of crowd is gathering and it totally feels like we are going to have a real good dance party! There were only 2 kids in the entire crowd. Gael is one and just this girl with long braided hair at maybe just about Gael’s age. It’s a good mix of crowd and we are all just so curious to see what will happen in anytime soon! People are patiently waiting…
People are already looking up!
Entering the room.
Emi, Denny and Me! Gael’s here with us too! 5 years old and over are permitted to this performance.
Great beat goes on.
Absolute Highest light of the show. Water above your head up on the ceiling!
I am trying to reach out to her as the water stage’s getting closer to the crowd. It’s CRAZY Amazing!
I believe Fuerza Bruta is NOT about synchronization,which is what I really like about, but there’s a short moment of this. 4 performers coming together.
The creators on the front.
Closing dance with crowd.
The evidence of great fun for the night!
The crew outside on smoking break after the show.
That was maybe the best thing we did for the raining friday night of September in NYC. It was still warm out and rain felt somehow friendly and safe and getting inside of theater of Fuerza Bruta made me feel like we were not wasting the golden friday night sitting on a couch watching a TV because of the rain…
This one big crowd participating performance of Music, Dance, Light, Air and Water of Fuerza, the Force is something that you should totally experience! It’s one good stimulation for your senses and mind. And Huge credit to excellent beats and music for the entire night and I really would love to be there if Fuerza Bruta ever will have a one kicking dance party.
Now watch the teasers!
Emi’s dear nephew Denny’s visiting us from Italy for about 2 and a half weeks. He has just arrived in time for his 24th birthday! I can’t believe our little Denny I met 18 years ago ( then 6!) is now all grown up handsomely with a great job as well! It’s always nice to have Denny at our home and it’s just really nice to have your family visit from oversea when especially we are the only ones away from home. Before Denny arrived we had a few things in our mind to do together with him and for sure we knew where to take Denny for his big 24th birthday.
Robataya on the 9th street in East village!
I have been eyeing on this place since the last James Blake concert Heidi and I went near the restaurant. We were looking for an easy quick dinner before the show and ended up walking into little Japan area that is happening around the 9th street. I was pleasantly surprised to see quite a few cute Japanese restaurants and tea houses on one single block. It quickly brought me fun memories from my numerous trips to Tokyo! Bit small and tucked in… A hole on the wall… A little place on the second floor somewhere selling delicious food and drinks…
Robataya is bit fancier than any other ones on the block. The concept of Robataya is not something too up-scaled or so unique as Robatayaki ( Japanese grilling) in Japan is sort of common street food or hearty quick bar food, but this particular one in East village sure scores higher note on the beautiful setting of their Grill bar consisting of wood banquets and chairs that mimics the setting of an open market. The setting is grand but also intimate enough to enjoy the company of rest of the customers sitting at the bar. There’s this sense of “Togetherness” sitting around watching and admiring 2 master chefs’ well skilled clean cooking as a center focus. I really like this.
It’s very common to order directly to the chef as normally the grill bar scale is smaller and also customers sit closer to the chef. Think Sushi Bars. But at Robataya, there are a couple waiters will assist you. I think they wanted to make this easier for both the chefs and the customers and it felt definitely more up-scaled. The guy with a head wrap was one of them.
Our cool 2 chefs for the night. The chef on the left cooked all the dishes we had. The wooden panel in front of him displays his proud name.
I must say watching chefs’ moves at this Robataya is quite entertaining. They don’t put up any sort of show but their whole cooking and getting things are just very interesting! As you can see most of ingredients for any grilling is displayed in front of chefs and it’s sure an eye candy.
Chefs serve the finished dishes and beer bottles to customers at the bar on that long wooden stick with flat tray at the end. Can you see it…? One guy grabbing a beer bottle off the wooden stick!
This is THE SLAT Robataya uses for all their cooking. DELICIOUS!!! Anything you eat you can really taste the deep flavor of this real good salt. I think good salt does the half of the job for any cooking! Maldon from England is also my favorite!
So we were seated in front of Mushroom area and we had tasted 2 kinds. The super big one ( no it’s not porcini) and the little ones on the front on the right side. Sorry didn’t get all the names…
Kobe Beef. Yes it was tender!
Also we had ordered fried oysters in a graded radish sauce. It was bit odd I must admit.
Here comes another pass of beer bottle from the chef!
2 and a half of handsome generations! From left Denny the birthday boy, Gael the lucky one and my man, Emiliano!
Happy birthday to you, Denny again! We love you Denny!!
This is what we had for the night: Snow crab dumplings in clear broth, fried oysters in graded radish sauce, 2 kinds of grilled mushrooms and fresh lemon squeeze, repeat the mushroom because it was so good! Grilled yam with butter, grilled Kobe beef, duck and lamb, simmered pork belly in soy and ginger, simmered short rib in clear broth and chunk of radish, roasted rice balls in 2 ways: one with miso and the other one with soy sauce ( soooo goooddd!), lots of beer for guys and Junmai Ginjo for me the whole time.
Check it out! You will love it!
It’s this thing that running along the Iconic spot of area gives me sort of satisfaction that I am kind of conquering the city or that specific area I am running. Or more like “Shit” I just rant to “Eiffel tower” along the Seine in Paris! Not bad at all. I have been running every single day during this Stockholm, Paris and London trip. I believe now I have way better sense about the city in every way after I ran.
Finally after like million times of visits to Paris, I feel like I just started getting a hang of Paris. I don’t know why it took so long… It’s maybe the city is quite big? I am quite savvy at figuring out any new places but not Paris… It has been a long time I just couldn’t put my finger on it… It must be the language. Sometimes I get slightly upset with myself that I do have issue pronouncing French. Why is it damn hard for me? Whenever not so nice French talks down to me or our group, I sssso want to snap out of it by speaking beautiful proper French back to them. But the reality is “Naaaaa”. I am seriously considering to take a crash course some point, so I can read those menus little better at least.
The hotel ” Lumen” where we stayed at recommend us this place called ” Aux Lyonnais“, a super classic old bistro where you can get all that classic dishes consists of ” Butter, Butter and Butter”. The highlight of September in Paris is apparently Cray fish. But then they cook it with just the same as any other dishes like escargot, or stake…. Butter, garlic and herbs. It’s great but Call me ignorant, but sometimes, I do not understand why people go crazy with French cuisine. Yes I married to a Italian man, and I much prefer great Italian cousin which embraces the core of the main ingredients rather butter in literally every dish. I find Butter quite over powering in most of times. By the way regardless the food, I really loved this old classic decor.
Always love Men serving. Not only in Paris but in general. I don”t know why. When they are older and look firm on what they are doing, it;s even better for me. I find it quite beautiful.
Mine and Cynthia’s Tarte au quemeau, jeunes salades et truffes d’été. It’s like a new born baby mini pizza with super thin crust with shaved black truffles on top. I liked it. But Here’s my thought on Truffle. Unless you can actually get white truffle, I think Truffle oil is a much better option ( Way more fragrant) than Fresh Black truffle. Black truffle comes in Summer and I don’t think actually it deserves to be called ” Truffle”. It’s quite blend. I rather have Porcini. The real deal is White truffle. Or just get a small bottle of Truffle oil!!!
Reina’s starter, 2 almost raw eggs with mixed mushroom. This1 Oh I loved it! It was very different!
Lexi’s super cute a bowl full of ravioli!
Paris’ Opera house by night. It’s so amazing what people can do. All those years ago, we were way more capable and incredible in so many different ways. I mean, How can we build such things these days.. Right? And how can that gold can be such bright yellow!??
What an awesome building is this?!! Not too far from the Eiffel tower. Another benefit that my running brought to me. Get to see more things in person! Hope they had done good water proof system.. For second I worried about the longevity of the structure.
The thing impressive about Paris is that the beauty so consistent in that big of scale. Left bank, right bank, streets, buildings, the way they trim the trees, girls, boys, elders, Seine, cobble stones, shops, museums, galleries, parks, gardens, churches, wine……! And the Flair! The one and only French Flair!
Merci this time didn’t really blow my mind… This time it was all about Japan design including Muji. More of little gadgets and stuff. It did not feel strong at all to me. My biggest reason to go to Merci is always the color. The directional approach of using one color that makes everything magical. But this time, I did not see that. Bit disappointing. Or Maybe No color is New color..?!! Maybe it’s me figuring it out all this late?
They are bath soaps.
Tomato, green apple, Blueberry off the caramel.
There are ton of colors in fashion at least, so maybe the next thing is soft neutral.
Love this man.
Me and my cup of tea, Merci.
Window at Donshia. Love it!
Hussein Chalayan Exhibition at Les Arts Decorstifs Les Arts Decoratifs ALWAYS has quite progressive shows on Fashion and Textile. If you are in Paris, you should be checking out what they are doing!
The Harbor of Stockholm, the capital and the largest city of Sweden full of over 2M of beautiful people reside!
This is my second time here in Stockholm since the last visit about 3 years ago. My little doubt about how much I would remember the city has quickly gone after my good 7 mile run along the water soon after I have checked into Berns Hotel early morning. A strong and perfectly sweetened cup of cappuccino right outside of the hotel gauging out to the park did a quick fix for my 4:00 am NY time Jet lag!
I am here with Gap office to do Fall research and luckily the weather was quite great for our 2 days in this gorgeous city. Filled with beautiful girls and guys, (Really!) the city is just chilled and beautiful. You can walk to everywhere as it is small enough to do so and I definitely believe it is the best way to experience the city. You can do rent a bike but there are also lots of hilly streets, so it can get very tiring especially when you get to the old area of the city, Gamla Stan and Artsy and hip Sodermalm area. You can easily get taxis but again the most areas where you don’t want to miss can pretty much be covered by your two feet!
Here now, come stroll with me to taste the streets of Stockholm!
We are staying at Berns Hotel in City Center area. We were debating between Berns and Lydmar. If I get to come back to Stockholm, I would love to stay at Lydmar. Berns Hotel is super convenient for the location wise with great complimentary breakfast but I think rooms could be better at it’s price range.
The dinning room at Berns Hotel. Their dinning room is the center of the hotel I believe. Somehow Breakfast and Lunch is more popular than the dinner time.
A cute sun-room at Berns hotel. You have a nice view to the park outside. I love this room!
My cute and delicious breakfast at the hotel sun room. Lots of flax seeds over fresh black berry yogurt and muesli. A cup of cappuccino and delicious lox on a piece of multi grain and pumpkin seed bread. Yum! By the way Lox in Stockholm is to die for. Sooo Amazing!
All striped out and I am ready to hit the road!
A clean city, beautiful city and…
It is filled with beautiful him, beautiful her and beautiful couples!
Simple up-dos and ponytails are definitely dominant with little black everything and little denim jackets.
This lady at COS store so chick in her simple yet elevated neutral colors and great accessories.
Saw lots of long braided hair too.
All lean and lanky as majority of other youngsters in the city, this friendly shop girl at Acne pulls off tiny black leather skirt super cool!
Second day going in we are at Sodermalm area. It’s one big mix of Williamsburg, Lolita, bit of Soho and Fort Greene. There are more than enough of good vintage shops in this area. This is a vintage and thrift shop, Emmaus.
You all love Cheap Monday from Sweden. This is the shop in Sodermalm area. Each platform is in letters.
Cheap Monday is the second chain shop where I saw a sewing machine right in the middle of the floor after ” Monki”. I guess they possibly do alterations for the customers right at the sight.
A cool Tee shirt fixture.
On the underground level at Cheap Monday, there is a Screen Print studio with a big glass wall. It’s very cool to see how they make the screen tees.
Now here we are at the Old part of the city, Gamla Stan. This little island is located in between Norrmalm and Sodermalm. Gamla Stan takes you back to the old time of Stockholm with pretty Mediaeval streets and buildings. Royal palace is also located in Gamla Stan.
There are many cute little shops in Galma Stan including super touristy ones. This shop carried many cute posters and stuff. Not bad.
There were quite a few shops of linens and stuff.. Soft, cotton bit antique like and boho-ish..
Lastly, quite amazing dinner on the first night at restaurant Mathias Dahlgren at Grand Hotel, Stockholm.
Every seating at the table is pre- set with this quite Zen like a sheet of brown paper menu, a cracker bag, silver wears and a wooden butter knife and glasses.
Common and widely loved multi grain crackers.
Menu is set up by region and kind of ingredients and all the portion is in between appetizer and main course.
Reina, Cynthia and I ordered 3 dishes and shared them all. The first, Salmon and Deer Sashimi. The Salmon in general here is like gold to me. I know salmon is body does good kind fish but I am not usually so crazy about it unless it’s a top quality sashimi. This was the top quality sashimi and it was amazingly delicious!
They love dill here and actually it has grown on me. Mixed Mushroom with steamed coal fish. Amazing.
Pumpkin and broccoli with Truffle and Parmesan.
Baked chocolate and 2 more… It was so good!
As we are moving on to Paris and London for the rest of the week, we only had really a day and a half in Stockholm but surely fell in love with the city! It’s a great place to people watch, eat, feed your eyes with great modern design and get inspired. Full 3 days will give you plenty time to do the museums and all.
Entrance at Osteria Terra Masci , Santa Maria di Leuca, Puglia
After a long day of swimming and a rewarding refreshing outdoor shower, it always comes down to one important question, ” What’ for dinner?!!” As we are making our lunch at home or grab something easy to go to move forward our days, fabulous local dinner is always a hot topic when we are traveling. As much as we love all those Prosciutto and Specs and all, let’s not forget that Italy is a one big Peninsula. Yes, the blessed rich country is surrounded by all that gorgeous water , especial saltier one. Is that why any fish and seafood tastes way way better in Italy than many other countries? The rich ocean life is something you can’t just pass in Italy and we are totally up for a big feast of freshest local fish and seafood for the night right here in Santa Marina di Leuca!
Our 2 bedroom rental home base during this trip, friendly homeowners had given us a few tips regarding good restaurants. The top of the list was this place “Osteria Terra Masci” which is located at the borderline of Santa Maria di Leuca on Via Castrignano , Tel 0833 758224 ( You MUST make a reservation). It was so wonderful , we ended eating here twice during our 6 day trips. With Beppe and Dani then one more dinner with Philipp and Kit. 100% sitting this time around at their front garden. It is true an experience dinning Al fresco. With perfectly pleasent evening temperature down her at Leuca, it would be shame if you don’t dine somewhere outside with romantic dimmed light at a delicious glass of wine…
Anyway, Here I like to share our wonderful dining experience with you at Terra Masci, so come follow me!
It’s about 9:30 pm weekdays. Calculate this. After the ocean, shower, change… Apperitivo. People are ready to eat by 9-9:30. Lightly washed in pale blue wood trims and white outdoor parasols are bit shabby and bit Greek like. You can definitely feel this is a place for seafood.
Our super professional and friendly waiter for both dinners showing off the freshest stock ups for the night. Such a classic way to serve the customers. Even the stake houses sometimes will bring out their proud cuts for the night to show what they are serving to customers.
For our main course in a family style, We ended up choosing a handsome big fish over the lobster. It will be roasted with thinly sliced potatoes and herbs on top.
The waiter will take care of portioning for the size of the group and just bring arrays of Appetizer dishes. It feel almost like Tapas. Here Shrimp Crudo (Raw) with herbs and fresh olive oil and salt. Delicious!
Lightly grilled Branzino with herbs, fresh garlic, Olive oil and lemon.
I believe this was Sole. Sort of Ceviche, but much lighter on amount of lemon juice. Super delicate. The Olive oil can just kill you. So amazing!
Grilled eggplant stuffed with fresh tuna and olive oil. “The” local veggie. Any restaurant you go, they will have good 5-6 different ways to serve egg plant as an appetizer.
Breaded and fried fish balls. Yum!
Peperonata Picante. Slowly cooked down mixed peppers with tomato. Peppers are also one popular veggie down here and these are always spicy not like ones in Tuscan area. I love this!
Oven baked Stuffed Razor clam. Honestly, I had much better ones in Barcelona. Straight up grilled in open fire with dash of white wine. Sorry Terra Masci…!
The first dish. We chose Spaghetti with shrimps tomato and fresh bits of spicy red and green peppers and touch of bread crumb on top. Perfectly cooked pasta and delicious sauce. The sweetness of Shrimp comes through well and it was well seasoned. I did like the spicy bits of Green and red peppers. See you don’t need ton of thick sauce on any pasta if you make the sauce right like Italians do. You have to make it packed with flavor not runny blend ton of sauce.
This was the main dish at the first night. That big fish was roasted with thinly sliced potatoes over. Fish was beautifully cooked with right amount of texture and saltiness and the potatoes were crispy and sweet. So delicious!
This was our choice of pasta for the second dinner at Terra Masci. Calamari rings and Calamarata pasta. The Pasta literally looks like a ring of Calamari. Yum!!!
Our second dinner at Masci main course for 5. A whole grilled fish with fresh tomato, potato and black olives.
Now watch how to handle and clean this mega fish before you serve!
Philipp serving us.
Another delicate gorgeous dish. Clean delicate flavor straight out from the ocean! Perfect potato and sweet cherry tomato and earthy and salty black olives make a perfect harmony…. Here we added drizzle of spicy first pressed Pugliese Olive oil. YUm YUm YUm!!
Gael always falls a sleep by the half way the dinner…
After the dinner, they always served us ” Finochietto”. Fennel digestive liquor, sort of Limoncello but made with Fennel instead. So fragrant and Ssooo yummy!
We were like the last 2 tables left…
Proud, genuine, generous and Simpaticissimi owners of absolutely amazing “Osteria Terra Masci”, Rino and Sabrina!!
If you are ever in the area of Santa Maria di Leuca, You must stop by here for ultimate experience of delicious seafood feast from the appetizers, amazing pastas, gorgeous fish and professional, efficient and much friendly staffs. You would be completely satisfied. Don’t forget to make a reservation, they get quickly filled up as you can imagine the place is very popular with authentic local dinning experience!!!
The typical coast line of South of Puglia. Here we are at Santa Maria di Leuca, the lowest point of the geographical “Heel” of Italian Peninsula.
About 3 hours of car ride down south from Beppe’s home, Bitonto, We are here at Santa Maria di Leuca, the very final point of Italy, the very tip of the heel of Italy and also the meeting point of the waters from Adriatic Sea and the Ionian Sea. Is that why the reason the water looks particularly gorgeous here? Or is that just Italy is the land that much blessed with rich soil and sun, and enviously beautiful ocean and the ocean life… Anyway you will see this most gorgeous view of Ionic ocean from literally any point of the town of Santa Maria di Leuca and along the coast of the Southern Puglia.
Here I like to show you the map of Puglia so you have a good idea where we are traveling through this time!
The green dots show where we are starting and where we will end at through this trip. Bari is the main airport we had landed also because of our friend Beppe’s Home, Bitonto is literally 10 minutes away from there and Beppe and Dani are on this trip with us for the first 3 days. 2 years ago we had already traveled through “Brindisi” area such as Alberobello, Ostuni and all as you can see in this map. So if you go on a main highway from Bari, it would take about 3 hour car ride to get to the very final tip of Italy, Santa Maria de Leuca! We are now based here for 5 nights and 6 days to travel through by running, swimming, boating and dinning at near areas and planning to drive through and do town hopping and snapping pics of the most gorgeous coast line of Puglia.
Let’s start with the town of Leuca! No this is not where we stayed at but this was one our favorite typical Italian home in the town. The warm yellow wash and perfectly placed 2 palms and the most beautiful garden just melted our hearts. Apart from Olives, Cypress and Pines are maybe the 2 best known trees when it gets to Tuscan area but down here in south, you will see more of Palms and all different kinds of palms. And exotic Fig trees and tons of Oleanders, ” The” flower tree you may call Italy’s National flower trees through out the country. That’s Gael on the front!
Rundown but gorgeous. As Leuca actually means ” White” in old Greek language, you can see white washed homes dominate the town.
I realize any hot weathered places share one thing in common. Simple lines in Architecture. Despite of strong presence of Baroque style down in many parts of south of Italy such as Lecce and Sicily, you can see majority of homes of public are built in simple lines as in Yucatan Mexico or Greek.
A small beach front right in the heart of the town of Leuca. Whenever passing by the beach in the morning, I felt like I was in one scene of old Italian Movie. Sofia Lauren running into Marcello Mastroianni! Also Bit San Tropez..? Did we swim here? Naaa, wait for something better. Much much better!
More palms in town.
Now we are in the car hunting the perfect spot to swim and spend all day in the ocean. 5 minute ride from our base in Leuca, we find a nice big parking lot in front of this cute Trattoria. Also great for after swim Apperitivo!
Approaching the tip of coast line. Dying to know what’s ahead of us!
What else do you really need?!!!!
Need a throw down with Caribbean ocean!
With our Casarosa’s adventurous spirit, No rocky cliff is hardly any obstacle for us! Gael well trained by Emi in Livorno, we are just 2 seconds away from climbing down and jumping into to this sweet gorgeous ocean!
Yeap! That’s my 8 year old son Gael from NYC! I mean who would think he’s from the middle of the crazy city? Gael fits right in with tough locals!
In the water with Dad. Gael earned a nick name during this summer: Il Lupo di Mare. The Wolf of Ocean!
From left, Beppe, Gael, Emi and the far right, Dani. Did I swim too? Of course!!
Now the 4 boys from Rome.
They are showing us off Sea urchins they collected. They said they would it raw with a piece of bread.
We loved it all. We loved it so much, the next day, we had rented out a small boat for 7! Now Gigi, Beppe’s brother and Vivianan, Gigi’s girl friend had joined us for today’s adventure! Captain Emi launching the boat!
Gigi and happy Gael!
Approaching one of million caves along the coast!
It reminds me of Cenotes in Tulum!
Viviana and me.
Sail, stop, swim, lunch, prosecco and sail, stop, swim , snack, prosecco. Now repeat !
Beppe and Dani. What a hard life we live..!
The Light House of Santa Maria di Leuca. The second most important light house of the entire Italy after the one in Genova.
Special thanks to Captain Emi, the man capable of so many things in every way. I love you so much Emi! And Gael, my brave proud son who keeps up with anything and everything that is ahead of us. And dear friends carrying on amazing friendship that is becoming family-ship now… I love you all and thanks for the one of the most beautiful day of life…!