We will always have Paris

This weekend we finally made it to Paris again. Last time was 4 years ago - and I really wanted to go back to show the kid the Eiffel Tower and where the love between her parents begun. We went for lunch at the bistro where we first ate together and passed by the bar where we first had drinks. Good memories to treasure forever - so it is good to relive these moments sometimes. Saturday we went to the Eiffel Tower, and sat down to see some skaters do their thing with the most perfect views. Our daughter fitted right in with her bomber jacket, sneakers and her trying to do tricks on her step. She is the coolest. We walked by the canal St Martin, full of people lunching or drinking wine by the water.
After an afternoon of walking we rested a little while at the hotel, enjoying the terrace and the nice room, before going to dinner at La Régalade - a restaurant where they still serve you the entire terrine of paté with a jar of pickles for your fresh bread and the best rice pudding with a wooden spoon. Delicious. After dinner, we went for a late night walk around the Louvre (outside), to see the lights of the Eiffel Tower and the big wheel. Even at night, Paris is a stunner. After a good night's sleep and breakfast, we went to walk around Le Jardin des Tuileries, sat in the green chairs beside the fountain in the sun and let the kid have some fun at the playground. After an afternoon stroll at Le Marais, we got back in the car and made our way home.
Paris will always have a special place in my heart, because that is where I met the man of my life. I think Olivia has a little bit of Paris in her heart now too - because in the car back home she missed Paris already. What a great, sunny weekend!
More Paris; Here, and here

A Creative Sunday

My relationship with Brussels is a difficult one. I studied there for 5 years, taking the train from where I live every day to go to school, so I never got to experience the real Brussels life. Then I worked in Brussels for 5 years, commuting every day while trying not to bump my head to the steering wheel after standing still for an hour over 5 km. And now it just annoys me to go there, because I don't think I have ever gone to Brussels without ending up in a traffic jam, or coming across some crazy people.
Maybe I'm just a suburb kinda girl.
Anyway, what I wanted to say is that the only reason that I do have some sparkles of love for this city, is because of my friend Laura. When we studied together, she always took me to the cool lunch places, the bars, the hotspots but also the deli shops with the best tea, cookies, fish, whatever. Being a real Brussels chic, she always knew where to go and I really value these years in Brussels with her for this reason.
We still try to get together as often as our busy lives let us, and yes - sometimes in Brussels.
So for this Sunday we left kids and husbands home, and went to 'Creative Sunday' at Le Phare du Kanaal, a nice co-working spot & café. Creative Sunday is an afternoon with 3 workshops - one beauty (manicure), one food (how to get creative with herbs and spices) and one DIY (make your own small terrarium) and a sweet buffet (too many doughnuts). We had a good afternoon getting creative in the early spring sun, making our own mustard & gravlax mix and making a scrub & taking care of our hands and nails with all organic products.
Could be a concept I will try to get to my small city.

Melchior: the new hotspot in town.

We were supposed to go on a romantic getaway to Budapest last weekend, but our little monster got sick on Thursday and we could not get ourselves to leave her - so we stayed home. Budapest and the thermal baths will have to wait. But we did want to take a few hours for ourselves close to home, so we reserved a table for lunch at the new restaurant Melchior in my hometown Tienen. Such a beautiful restaurant it is, lots of brick, metal and wood. Warm, sexy and stylish, just what Tienen needed. We went for the lunch menu - 3 courses with some appetizers beforehand. It was all very tasty - flavours, creativity and quality were great. I cannot wait to go back and taste the full evening menu! Great cocktails too! Welcome Melchior!

Dirty Thirty Dancing Brunch

This weekend we helped 2 young women of 30 celebrate the start of a new era with a special brunch for their friends and family. They are into dance movies - so we did a subtle Dirty Dancing / Grease theme.
For the food we focused mainly on what they liked to see on their special buffet and we came up with this menu:

Fresh still lemonade with ginger, mint, lemon, lime, rhubarb bitters and pomegranate
Home made mini cheese burgers
Italian penne salad with rocket salad, sundried tomatoes, pine nuts and green pesto
New York Style bagel with a poached egg, herby cream cheese, smoked salmon and baby spinach
Morroccan bread with 3 different home made dips: red beet / hummus /sesame - red bell pepper / hummus & grilled vegetables tapenade.
Assorted cheese and cold cuts
Pecan Danish
Greek yoghurt with homemade granola
Winter fruit salad with kiwi, apple, pear, clementines and pomegranate
American super fluffy pancakes with maple syrup
(Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of our tasty burgers and bagel - grrrr)
Happy Birthday, Girls!

Photos by me and Fadil Altinisik
Location: 't Zwak Moment