A perfect dinner

‘As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.’

-Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast 

This is the quote that my brother hooked me with before taking me to my first proper eating oysters experience, at Umarfisch Restaurant in Naschmarkt, Wien. I was actually curious about these love it or hate it pieces of salt-water bivalve mollusks, because I had tried some in past,  ate them fast and without even adding lemon, and it didn’t feel quite right.  Some say that the first time it is better to try oysters raw, without any condiments, but I don’t think it’s such a good idea. So, at Umarfisch I did it by the book, by my brother’s book, following what he was doing, for he is passionate about oysters and good food in general.

Here’s what I say, when you try oysters for the first time, pour some Tabasco sauce in the oyster, some cocktail sauce, lemon, mix’em up and only after this, sip the meat from its shell. Then close your eyes and enjoy the aftertaste and feeling. Invigorating, divine, just like Hemingway said!

I mean the rest of the meal was yummy too, the baked potatoes, the fresh fish, even the lovely presentation of the plates, but the oysters were something else. It made my forehead stretch and lighten up. I think I even lost a couple of wrinkles. It was solar! Oysters are actually known to bring happiness.

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So, this experience was happening in November, last year.

End of March (small note, oysters are best eaten in months containing letter R, like September to December and January to April), I visited my brother  again, he has been living in Wien for three years now, and we decided to keep the tradition and go for oysters once more, this time adding the company of his lovely wife and choosing a different restaurant, Fischvierterl , as well in Naschmarkt Wien (btw I really love this market, don’t miss it if you’re visiting the city!).

In comparison to Umarfisch which had a Scandinavian colder feel to it, design and atmosphere wise, Fishviertrl felt more cosy, like a family owned Italian restaurant, maybe because of its more classic design, carnations adorned the table, which I really found to be an elegant touch, or because the fact that Fishviertrl is also family owned. As well, the Italian feel could have come from the fast-talking, funny and loud waiter that made things even more pleasing. Anyways, I really liked both these restaurants and I would recommend them for a nice dinner in Vienna.

But getting back to oysters, they came as the same wonderful surprise as the previous time I had them. We ordered a bottle of Austrian white wine to wash them down, like old Hemingway said and it was memorable all over again.

 

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I will say no more, but when you try oysters for the first time, and anything else for that matter, make it right, enjoy it, get the best of the experience.  And it will be rewarding.

Thank you, Alex and Cip for your wonderful company and of course, for feeding me so well! 😉 Love you guys!

 

 

Converse, just do it! Clean them.

I wanted to clean my Converse today and I mentioned it to a friend that seemed appalled by this. „You don’t wash a pair of Converse!They HAVE to be damaged and dirty, it’s part of the style.”
What style?! So I did a little research on Google to see what’s with this getting down and dirty with your shoes, I couldn’t find anything except that Converse brand is about 100 years old, it used to be associated with basketball, it was taken over by Nike at one point and they did a line of artsy Chuck Taylor sneakers (the classic ones that everybody owns, mostly in red or black) in honor of Andy Warhol. That’s just a couple of facts that drew my very short attention span, but nothing about dirty sneakers. So after the research, my guess is that the damaged and dirty Converse sneakers trend came from a bunch of artsy rebels, be them musicians, visual artists, festival goers, etc. who really didn’t care how they looked, I know, I’ve been there, or that it came from hobo chic style, but I don’t think (anymore) that sloppy is cool. Well, I don’t know.

But, my friends, I am washing my Converse, and my other pairs of shoes for that matter, and even though they are damaged indeed cause I wore them over and over, they will at least be clean, and let nobody tell me that having dirty shoes is cool, cause is not, it’s just dirty shoes, wash them! Do it!

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Bubble splash!

Mix it up ladies

It was only in my 30s and after being through many fashion stages- wearing my brothers clothes stage, 80s fashion stage, hip-hop stage, emo, hippie, rock star, sporty mountaineer type, that I realised that it would be nice to be comfortable to take the best from every world and mix it up without ever being afraid you don’t match, you don’t fit, it’s too much, etc. And once I realized this and actually started doing it, the sky was the limit. I’m telling you (as if all you fashionistas out there didn’t already know it) you can create your own little universe just through clothes.

So browsing through some of Phil Oh’s street photos, on Vogue.com, I saw some styles that represent my thoughts above so I wanted to share it with you and why not, encourage you to go a bit crazy with your wardrobe, try mixing new things.

Let’s take this lady in the picture below. She has managed to pull off a rock star look, combined with a classic suit, combined with a hairdo and earrings that bring a bit of hood in the frame.  I see her as a cool, open-minded person, a playful, with a sense of humor kinda of a girl. She’s just going for it all with a smile and a carefree air and I really like that.

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Photo by Phil Oh for Vogue

And what about this one here. A hoodie combined with a stylish jacket and that colorful belt to loosen it all up. She’s got it going on.

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Photo by Phil Oh for Vogue

And her? Well, she just belted up her sporty look with her favorite silk scarf, put on some pink sneakers and went out for a walk. A Frenchy look, delicate but a bit boyish at the same time.

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I guess what I’m saying is that it all goes ladies, mix the pieces that you love and have a great time wearing them!

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Photo by Phil Oh for Vogue

And if you think what you are wearing might be too crazy always remember fashion in Japan.  🙂

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FRUiTS MAGAZINE

„The antique silver and gold of Romania”- an inspiring exhibition

First of all, the exhibition I am going to talk about below is happening in the Museum of History Dambovita, in Targoviste (one hour away from Bucharest), until the 25th of February. After this date, I think it will travel to Bucharest and other cities in Romania, but stay tuned for news.

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The Museum of History

„The antique silver and gold of Romania” exhibition brings together over one thousand archeological pieces of great importance, made out of silver and gold, discovered on the territory of Romania. These pieces are evidence of people’s lives on Romanian land,  from the Neolithic period to Medieval Times (from Millenium V B.C to the VIIth century A.C).

I admit I didn’t go to see this exhibition because I had a historical interest in it but simply because I love jewelry.  Simple, raw, minimalist jewelry is my thing but my eyes sparkle at sophisticated pieces also.  So, in this exhibition, you see them all.  Symbolic beautiful pieces that were worn by the Getae-Dacians people, our ancestors,  to more sophisticated pieces from the Roman period. Apparently, the rich Dacians loved to adorn their bodies and clothes with jewelry so they were masters in working with gold and silver. The most popular shape met in the jewelry they produced was the spiral, a symbol for infinity. The bracelets below were discovered in the area of Sarmisegetuza Regia (the capital of the Dacian state, its ruins can still be visited in Grădiștea de Munte, comuna Orăștioara de Sus , Hunedoara county, Romania).

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In this exhibition, you can find also the already famous Pietroasele Treasure (or the Petrossa Treasure) found in Pietroasele, Buzau, Romania in 1837. This is a late fourth-century gothic treasure that included some twenty-two objects of gold, among which this fibulae below, a sort of a broch, adorned with precious stones.

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I really liked this piece that is said to be a Valcitran disc, which has many interpretations. Some say it could be an umbo (the centerpiece of an organic shield made of wood or leather),  a decoration for the walls, a percussion instrument or the lid to some big pot used for celebration rituals ( similar lids were used in the Orient).  The disc is made of gold and silver and it belongs to the first period of the Iron Age, the VIth century B.C.

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And here are some cups from the Dacians, I wonder how their wine was. Hmmm…

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The pieces below were discovered in the city of Craiova and apparently, they were part of an aristocratic funeral ritual.  In antiquity, the lion was a symbol of courage and power, lions still existed in the Balkan Peninsula in those times and hunting them and fighting with them was a high privilege of the aristocracy.

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I will end this post with some jewelry I especially enjoyed.

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Hope some of you get to see this exhibition!

 

 

Back to the roots

Well well everybody, last time I posted I was in beautiful Ireland, taking six sabbatical months to chill and try new things. And what a wonderful time I had in fairyland! I recommend to all a holiday to Ireland, if only just to take a walk around their wild parks and enjoy the wonderful light that pours from the forever changing skies.

For the moment, I am quite happy to be back in Romania and I’m going to show you some photos from my first trip to Iasi county, to be more specific, from a small village near Iasi, called Madarjesti, in the north-east of Romania. That was back in October but I think it’s never too late to tell a good story.

And this is the story of an ancient lady working in the middle of a heap of corn cobs, doing the same thing she learned to do since she was just a child, keeping her household with the constancy and rhythm of a mantra, irrespective of everything else happening around the world. The story of a time capsule where seasons pass, women do their cooking and cleaning and no force in the world is bigger than the sense of duty,  of routine, of the old ways dug deep into the lives of locals. It’s like a prayer that never ceases to lose its strength.

This story is also about pieces of pita bread cooked in the oven and the little birds made of dough by a grandma with an artistic sense. Why make simple dough when you can make a bird shape, and that proves to me one more time that love of beauty needs no education, no cultural background, it is just there in people’s hearts, a seed to be grown. This same grandma also asked me to search Facebook to look for photos of her and other local ladies that gather once in two weeks at a Daycare Centre for elders in Baltati, a village close by Madarjesti, to make handmade garments and chat and celebrate their birthdays. The vest I am wearing in the photo below is handmade by her!

What else is in this story from Madarjesti? A walk in the open field, at sunset, to gather mushrooms, everyone spread around hunting for the little white treasures that we brought home and cooked. And they tasted like the best Michelin stars food!

Also, I want to mention the beautiful colored houses, blue and green and most of them made from clay. They are small but cozy and beautifully adorned with carpets made by hand, embroidered towels, holy icons and family photos.

Hope the photos below speak a bit more about this ancient story that is life in the Romanian village.

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A marriage proposal…

No, not for me, though I would totally fall for such a proposal, as many of the ladies reading this might.

The following letter, discovered while visiting Tullynally castle (find more about this in my previous post), is written in 1864 by William Pakenham , 4th Earl of Longford, who was in serious want of a wife. Read it and let’s draw some conclusions at the end:

„I seek in a wife, a gentle woman to be by my side throughout the affairs of life- every thought of my heart I will open to her, no secret from her,- one who will be glad with my joys and know my sorrows,- one who will remind me of my duty to God and help me in my duty towards my neighbours.

Of myself, I am not rich. A good estate is overlaid with heavy charges which require prudent management; but I am prudent, and I think a have a sufficiency. I am conscious of a somewhat morose and moody temper (occasioned by the want of a good wife). My interests and inclination are to live a good deal in Ireland and improve my estate, rather than to flourish in London. My habits are very punctual and regular and I do not gamble, drink or smoke…”

How nice is this?

I mean this man wants a wife who makes him a better man („remind me of my duty to God”), who makes him a good citizen ( help me in my duty towards neighbours”). He promises not to hide anything from her and always be true. He is not rich but he is prudent and reliable. He does not gamble, drink or smoke and he is honest about his temper and even shows some humour ( „I am conscious of a somewhat morose and moody temper (occasioned by the want of a good wife”)”.

Well, William Pakenham got his lovely wife, 20 years younger than him, who bared 5 of his children.

 

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