Strawberry fields forever

"Let me take you down 'cause I'm going to... Strawberry fields... nothing is real... and nothing to get hung about..."

When you grow up between The City (Mexico City) and Central Mexico's strawberry fields, like me, you probably learn how to use strawberries in your everyday life: milkshakes, smoothies, desserts, starters, salads, etc. But I had to come to Italy to learn how to use them in a first course! So here's one of my favorite dishes, perhaps 'cause it brings back my childhood memories, perhaps 'cause it's soooo good and easy to make!:


Reds: Lacrima di Morro d'Alba

It's been a while since the last wine post, right? So here's another one!
Some time ago while driving around the Marche hillside, we got to Morro d'Alba, a nice little town between Ancona and Jesi, you might pass by while outlet shopping  in the area. We got to taste this delicious red wine with a particular aroma of berries, yummy! After a while, I got to taste an equally delicious risotto made of Lacrima wine, it made my love for Lacrima grow even more (one day I'll try to cook it, promise!).

The Lacrima di Morro d'Alba has been known since ancient times, its first historical mention was by Federico Barbarossa, in 1167, during the siege of Ancona. The inhabitants were forced to give the emperor their best possessions, including the famous juice of Morro d'Alba grapes. It became a DOC in 1985. 


Easy pasta

I came back from Dubai loaded with spices and seeds: coriander, curry mixes, pine seeds, burghul, etc. In fact, my kitchen cabinet smells like a spice souk now!
As you know, I love simple and quick recipes (who doesn't?) so, since I have a big box of pine seeds I decided to try a Castelraimondo classic (that would be a recipe I learned to make while I was living in Castelraimondo), pasta with rucola, tomato and pine seeds, so simple but so tasty and healthy.


My first 30's!

Here's a little collage I made to symbolize my first 30 years in this world...

... and if the next 30 are as great as these were, can't wait!!!


Dubai - Day 3

After breakfast we took a taxi to the Souk Madinat, an entertainment complex that includes a traditional Arabian souk (market) with plenty of shops, restaurants and bars, beware, abras here cost 60 dirhams, not the 1 dirham you pay for the real ones in the creek. We walked around, trying to get as close to the Burj al Arab as possible.

Then we took a taxi to JBR (Jumeirah Beach Residences, an area south of the Burj al Arab with lots of shops and cafés next to the beach. We didn't have our swimsuits on so we couldn't jump in the water, instead we walked to Dubai Marina, a nice artificial canal quarter, then we ended up in the Dubai Marina Mall (nothing special after seeing the Mall of Emirates and Dubai Mall, but worth visiting to go to Shakespeare & Co. for lunch or a cup of tea).
Jumeirah Beach
We went back to the hotel to get ready for a special dinner at the Burj al Arab.
entering the Burj al Arab
The Burj al Arab, the world's most luxurious hotel and one of the most photographed structures in the world, stands on an artificial island connected to Jumeirah beach by a private bridge. It was designed by a group of British architects and it took about 5 years to build. It has 202 luxurious two-level suites with jacuzzis, private butler and shopper, free use of the hotel's Rolls Royce fleet, etc.

You can only enter the property if you have a room or a reservation for dinner, afternoon tea, brunch, etc. So after some research online, I decided to book a buffet dinner at the pool restaurant, Bab al Yam (it was also the more affordable one at 325 Dhs, beverages excluded). I booked through the website of the hotel a couple of months in advance and I got an e-mail confirmation with the information and dress code (and a reminder as well) that has to be shown at the entrance to get through.
What can I say about the place? It really is amazing, luxury at its maximum expression: gold, lights, dancing fountains. We got there 15 minutes earlier so we could walk around the lobby and common areas. All polished clean, perfect; even the elevators smell delicious; bathrooms have fresh orchids and Hermés hand lotion.



The Bab al Yam is the poolside restaurant, in the ground floor (you get there through the elevator). You are greeted warmly by the waiters who give you a tour of the buffet: mongolian barbeque, seafood (delicious lobsters all you can eat!) international dishes, sushi, Arabic mezes, cheeses, desserts and ice cream. Everything was delicious, the waiters were very attentive and polite, I just wish I had eaten more of everything! After dinner we walked around the pool and gardens, it was really a nice experience to finish our trip to Dubai.

The folowing day we shopped for sourvenirs in the Mall of Emirates and headed to the airport. Loved Dubai, wish to come back soon!


Dubai - Day 2

Breakfast with a view
After breakfast at the hotel (amazing buffet! fell in love with the hummus) with a beautiful view of the Burj al Arab and Jumeirah, we walked around the Mall of the Emirates. We decided that the taxi was also a cheap way (and a more comfortable one) to move around Dubai so we took one back to the Dubai Mall. I forgot to tell you, the Dubai Mall is the world's biggest shopping mall based on its total area, with more than 1200 shops! If I thought the Mall of Emirates was paradise, this is paradise for first class! Last year it was the most visited leisure and shopping destination in the world. It has an acquarium, an ice skating rink, the world's largest gold souk, world's largest sweets shop (!!!), a luxury hotel, an indoor theme park, children's educational entertainment center and the usual restaurants (160), cinemas (22), supermarket, etc.
Fashion Avenue - Dubai Mall
sweets shop at Dubai Mall
We visited the amazing Dubai Acquarium, which has the world's largest acrylic viewing panel, behind it there are 10 milion liters of water in which 33000 marine animals live. It's pretty impressive to look at and it's great to walk through the see-through tunnel across it, that's as close as I want to get to a shark!

Entrance to the tunnel


After a long walk we had lunch at the Armani Caffè in the Fashion Avenue. I had the salmon carpaccio which was delicious and from what I heard the wagyu beef burger was also good.

We had reservations for the Burj Khalifa at 16,30 so we ran to the ticket shop in the lower ground floor of the Mall to get our tickets and get in line to enter. If you don't want to end up paying 80 Euros to get in the Burj Khalifa, please consider buying your tickets in advance. You just have to go to this website about a month/a month and a half before your visit and choose a day and time to visit it (the better visibility is from the early afternoon, sunsets), you'll have to pay by credit card and remeber to bring your confirmation e-mail together with an ID a half an hour before the scheduled entrance. You'll be kept waiting at a hall with information on the building, like these amazing records (from the Burj Khalifa official website):

At over 828 metres (2,716.5 feet) and more than 160 stories, Burj Khalifa holds the following records:
•  Tallest building in the world
•  Tallest free-standing structure in the world
•  Highest number of stories in the world
•  Highest occupied floor in the world
•  Highest outdoor observation deck in the world
•  Elevator with the longest travel distance in the world
•  Tallest service elevator in the world 

It is really amazing, I read that it can be seen from 95 km. away. The Observation Deck called "At the Top" is only on the 124th floor, but I (being afraid of heights) felt it was high enough. The elevator ride is so fast that you only realize you went that high because you feel it in your ears. There's an open air part and also one behind glasses (sourvenir shop inside). From there you can see everything, if there are no sand storms in the area, and you can use the telescopes (you have to pay to use them) that show you the live vision, a clear day vision and night vision. You get to stay for half an hour, I think. Then we got back in the elevator and to the fountain again to shoot some pictures.


fountain from the Burj Khalifa
Observation Deck
higher floors


Persian Gulf
Burj Khalifa at sunset

Fountain show at sunset

Back in the Mall of the Emirates we had dinner in the food court and went for a beer (we were dying to get some alcohol in our bodies!) at Apres, a bar by the ski area. If you are planning to visit Dubai, write down this place in your "places to get alcohol in Dubai" list!




I've been feeling really creative these days! Perhaps is the spring or the excitement for my coming birthday, believe it or not, I am excited to become 30! So here's a collage of one of my favorite things: shoes, every color (almost), every shape, every height!
And what can I say about bags? The most important accessory in every outfit, can't get enough!

Obsessed - Part II 


Dubai - Day 1

An Emirates perfect flight brought us to Dubai on schedule at 6 a.m. From the arrival everything went on smoothly and oh, what a terminal Emirates got themselves! Big and polished, super clean and organized. The line to get through customs and to get the visa stamp was fast. Did I mention the free wi-fi throughout the terminal? After getting some cash for the taxi at the exchange bureau (the exchange rate is not the best so try not to get much, you can get better rates at the malls) we took a taxi to hotel for 85 Dhs (or AED, it's the same). Note: Take your time to get familiar with the coins and bills, they may look the same.
Burj Khalifa from Sheikh Zayed Road

We drove through Sheikh Zayed Road, the main street with 6 lanes, and enjoyed the landscape: green gardens in the desert and skyscrapers everywhere, an architect's dream. After about 30 minutes we got to our hotel, the Pullman Mall of the Emirates. The room was not ready so we took the metro to Deira, the old part of Dubai where we visited the spice and gold souk.

The metro ride was good (we were tired after the 5 hour flight) and easy to do: we got day tickets (for 16 Dhs each) at the machines outside the station and just tapped them against the sensors at the turnstiles everytime we went in and out. The metro is new, modern, super clean, safe and easy to ride (only 2 lines). The first car southbound (last northbound) is First Class, it needs a special ticket and it has leather seats and 'scenic views'. The second car is for women (or women with children), no man is allowed in here so be careful, you could be fined.


Pullman Mall of the Emirates - Dubai

Long posts on my recent trip to Dubai are coming, but first I wanted to write about the hotel we stayed at, the Pullman Mall of the Emirates. It's a part of the Accor chain and it is classified as a 4 star hotel. However, I would give it easily 5 stars.
It is located, as its name says, in the Mall of the Emirates, the second largest shopping center in Dubai (yes, the one where you can ski), with more than 300 shops, bars and restaurants. That's the main reason why we chose it, since we were going to be in Dubai for only 3 and a half days we had to make the most of it and being near the area of Jumeirah (where the Burj al Arab is), having a metro station that connects it in 4 stops to the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall and in 3 stops to Dubai Marina, it turned out to be an excellent choice.
The hotel has 2 lobbies, one on the ground floor for the arrivals by car/taxi, and one on the 5th floor. The elevators from the ground floor bring you to the Mall access on the first floor and to the 5th floor lobby. From there you have to switch elevators to go to the rooms. There are 24 floors in the hotel and all the rooms have views of Dubai, depending on the side you're staying yo can see the beach, the northern and the southern parts of Dubai from your room.
Breakfast with a view


How to piss off a Mexican

I'm a fan of the Matador Network, a travelers community with great and interesting articles for travelers (not tourists).
They have a series of articles, written by different travelers, on "how to piss off a (insert nationality)", like: How to piss off a Dane, How to piss off a Canadian, How to piss off an Italian, How to piss off a German, etc. in which they give you tips if you really want to piss off a person of a given nationality. Obviously this is done as pure entertainment, using stereotypes that most of times are wrong but they are good for light reading and a laugh. And I've been dying to write my own tips on how to piss off a Mexican, so here they are:
(please Mexican readers, this is just for fun, I know we are not all the same but there's one thing we are the same at and that is we are able to laugh at ourselves, right?)



Just a quick recipe to keep you entertained while I'm in Dubai...
You may have noticed that I'm not a super-cook, in fact, up to 4 years ago I hadn't even fried an egg in my life but things change and I find every day more and more happiness in my kitchen trying to cook new things. This time it was cupcakes' turn! 
Cupcakes are one of those girly foods, after Sex & the City they have become the symbol of the good times with friends after shopping and gossip and after having tasted the delicious ones from Magnolia Bakery, Agnes Cupcakes and Hummingbird Bakery, I had very low expectations on my cupcakes but I still gave it a try. The first recipe I tried was not very good so I used this other one with slight variations on the quantities and the frosting. It was actually not difficult to make (the mess in the kitchen was difficult to clean, though) and the results were worth it!


Packing list: Dubai

Tonight I'll be leaving for some days of holidays in Dubai. This will be my first time there and I can't wait! I've been to Arab countries before but I'm sure I'll be amazed by the contrast of desert and luxury of this city.
Since I managed to get my hands on some nice things from the Marni for H&M collection yesterday, I'll be bringing them along, obviously nothing too revealing because Dubai has some rules regarding dress codes and as I'm a good traveler I know I must not violate them so no bare shoulders, no over the knee skirts or shorts and no cleavage showing.
Promise to bring back many photos and stories!


Feelin' blue

Some years ago, when I thought my thirties were far, far away I discovered the Birkin bag (Hermès). It was on Sex & the City, an episode in which Samantha explains that she was going to get a Birkin because that meant she had reached success. So I thought: "I want a Birkin when I become 30, that'll mean that I'm an adult"... But here I am, almost 30 and almost penniless :)
So the other day, when I saw on one of my favorite blogs the next best thing, and a more affordable option: the Birkin printed on a canvas bag, I decided I had to have it, as my birthday present. I couldn't find the Banane Taipei that the blogger had, but I found the Pomikaki (in a shop called Valios in Corso Italia 11, Milan), they have them in several colors and they are numbered and come with a pretty turquoise foulard. Here's the one I chose:

And here's the Polyvore set I created:

Feelin' blue
Feelin' blue