Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Somewhere out in internet land I saw this thing where someone posted the first thing that came up in Google for each letter of the alphabet. I was intrigued at what my searches would be, so here we go....

A: alexanna beauty salon review (trying to find a good hairdresser here)
B: balexert cinema (looking up movie times)
C: croatia travel (possible vacation destination)
D: dr. who (I'm mildly obsessed)
E: english library geneva (there is one!)
F: fruit seasons in Switzerland (trying to find out what fruits are in season and when)
G: genthod public pool (looking for a pool near the town where I nanny)
H: hiking jungfrau glacier (we planned a trip, then it rained, it was cancelled)
I: ikea sa vernier (I practically live here)
J: jam recipes (already made some!)
K: kinder music geneva switzerland (another activity for the kids)
L: lunar eclipse switzerland (too bad I couldn't see a thing)
M: mike wong (my favorite Thai Take away)
N: nespresso store geneva (for the address so I can buy more capsules)
O: ordering meat in switzerland (sadly a wikipedia article about dog meat came up first)
P: processing weck jars (another canning related search)
Q: quotes (boring)
R: running store geneva switzerland (went looking for accessories and then realized how overpriced everything was)
S: sbb wall clock (a "luxury" wall clock if we really want to splurge)
T: top 10 things to see in madrid (some what useful)
V: unlock a blackberry (definitely a Jim search)
W: wall decal (might put a decal in our small bathroom, I still can't decide)
X: (website to order delivery)
Y: yoga nyon switzerland (looking for the address to the Nyon yoga studio)
Z: Zu Beaute geneva (another hairdresser search)

exciting right???

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Lovely Dinner

Occasionally Jim does romantic things like bring me flowers and Champagne for no reason. And occasionally on the same day I end up making a delicious dinner and the weather is just perfect for sitting outside on the balcony. Almost always there is a cheese course.

"Talapia" with Asparagus and Herb Couscous

2 Pieces of Talapia or other white "non-fishy" fish (I did not have talapia, I can't remember the name but it is similar)
500g of Asparagus (I prefer the thin kind)
250g of Couscous

Preheat oven to 180°
Line baking sheet with foil
Place fish on one side of foil and season with salt, pepper and dill
Place asparagus on other side of foil, season with salt, pepper and drizzle with olive oil
Cook for approximately 10-12 min

Prepare couscous based on box instructions.
I usually follow the 1 to 1 ratio. 1 cup of couscous cooked in 1 cup of water or chicken stock or 1/2 beer and 1/2 water...something like that. And before I had an actual measuring cup I would use my cappuccino cup to measure, not always preparing 8 oz. but still following the 1:1.
Once couscous is cooked (approx 5 min after adding to boiling water) add 2-3 tablespoons of butter and a drizzle of olive oil.
Add chopped mint and parsley
Season with salt and pepper

Remove fish to rest if asparagus needs more time. To check fish for done-ness, I cook it until its firm (similar to the feel of the palm of your hand, the same way I check chicken).

Plate fish, asparagus and couscous, top everything with grated Parmesan cheese.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Y-Files: Nestle Lo - Summer

Yogurt. It's delicious, some what nutritious, and way more exciting here than in the US. Think of the largest grocery store you've ever been in. Now think of the yogurt section. Now multiply that by 4 and that's about how much yogurt you'll find here in EVERY grocery store. They also have the most bizarre flavors here, some in a good way, others in a not good way. I decide to have a reoccurring post called The Y-Files, just so I can introduce you to the awesomeness that is yogurt in Europe.

Brand: Nestle LO
Flavor: Summer (Melon Strawberry)

Based on the picture I assumed melon meant cantaloupe. So cantaloup strawberry flavored yogurt. Ok sign me up. The LO means that there is no fat or low fat. Actually I didn't really pay attention to this part when I was purchasing. Review: Horrible. Disgusting. Never again buying LO, ever. I tried to pawn this off on Jim and even he wouldn't eat it.

It was really that white inside, and had no taste of strawberry or cantaloupe. It tasted closer to peach but the texture was so runny I ate half and tossed it. A huge fail for European yogurt if I do say so. The End.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

24 Hours in Madrid

Our second trip out of the country was in early May when we literally spent 24 hours in Madrid, Spain.

The back story: The day we went to the beach our friend Pierre mentioned he was going to Madrid the following weekend. He had plans to see a bullfight with a friend of his who lives in Madrid. Pierre grew up in Peru and enjoys the sport of bullfighting and knows all the details behind it. Jim got pretty excited and mentioned that he thought seeing a bullfight would be interesting, so Pierre invited him along. Initially I thought it was a "guy trip" but about 2 days later Jim said he talked to Pierre and he wanted to to know if I wanted to come too. Also, Jim didn't want to crash Pierre's original plans of catching up with his friend and with me there it would give us a chance to do some sightseeing.

So there you have it 4 days before we left, we booked plane tickets, a hotel and tickets to the bullfight for Saturday night. We planned to spend the day at some museums, (I went to Madrid in high school, more than 10 years ago! eek. but Jim was a newbie.) then go to the hotel for a siesta and meet up with Pierre for the bullfight that night.

Saturday came and at 7am we were on the flight. And man was I tired. Fortunately, less than 2 hours later we were landing in Spain. It took over an hour to get from the airport to downtown Madrid on public transportation but it wasn't a hassle. After a quick breakfast Jim and I set off to find The Prado. We managed to spend just over an hour there, which is pretty amazing considering their vast collection. But we had an agenda.

Our next stop was the Reina Sofia, a contemporary art museum. I'm sure you can guess why we had to go there.

By that point it was early afternoon and we were beat. We headed to the hotel to relax.

And have snacks, of course.

After our siesta we got directions to the Plaza de Toros from the concierge, and it was close enough to walk to. Unfortunately, it started raining - a lot, almost immediately after we left. The rain apparently does not stop a bull fight.

Plaza de Toros Las Ventas

The crowd waves white towels when they think the matador was exceptional

We took about a thousand pictures and some video too. But I decided to leave most of them off of this post. They might be a little graphic to some people. It was a very interesting experience. I can see how the people who attend really get into it. It also helped that Pierre was there to explain the rules and various aspects of bullfighting. I can also see how people are against bullfighting. But far be it from me to judge another culture. I'm just here to experience it. And I would recommend the experience to anyone who visits Spain or another country where bullfighting is a part of the culture.

We were cold and wet but after the fight our night just got started. In Spanish culture people eat late and stay out later. So after the fight we went first for drinks and then to dinner. We ate at an amazing Argentinian steak house and had drinks with Pierre and his friend. By the time the cab dropped us off at the hotel it was almost 2am! I felt like I was 21 again...until I had to wake up at 6am to go to the airport.

Just like that we were heading back to Geneva. And I found the smallest can of Fanta ever in the airport lounge. It wasn't until later that I realized this picture doesn't actually have a frame of reference for size. But I would say it is half the size of a normal can.

Take away Thai

There aren't a whole lot of take out options in Geneva. Most restaurants aren't really open past 8, and "fast food" is not a popular concept here. In any case, so far I've found our choices to be pizza, kebab and McDonalds. So, you can imagine my delight when Jim told me there was a Thai place that was open late and had take away.

Jim heard of Mike Wong; a local take out Thai chain, from a coworker, and one day on our way to the farmers market we passed it. It was only 10am but we decided to stop on the way home and check it out.

Mike Wong has just 2 location in Geneva, and one in Fribourg. The menu is fairly extensive with all your standard Thai favorites: Curry, noodles and spring rolls to name a few. We have already been back once, and because the prices and portions are really reasonable, we'll definitely be back again soon. Or have it delivered!

beef penang on the left, and chicken red curry on the right

Fun Fact: Mike Wong was originally called McWong. But somebody got upset and they were forced to change it after a lawsuit.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Saturday at the Beach

Remember May? It wasn't too long ago, but if iphoto didn't date stamp all my pictures when I upload them I probably would have forgotten that this trip was in May. I do remember how warm it was. Every day was sunny, barely a cloud and over 20 degrees, err 72ish. And one Saturday Jim and I packed a picnic, met some friends and headed to Cully to go to the beach.

Cully is a small town on the lake east of Lausanne . We took the regional train and transferred in Lausanne. It probably took about an hour total. Maybe I should also mention that Cully is not pronounced "Cul-lee" like this one, but rather Ku-lee. The green arrow on the map is Cully. Our place in Geneva is the pin drop "A" for reference. Not sure what "B" is but it came up on the map and wouldn't go away.

Once we arrived we stopped at a small restaurant on the lake for a cafe and beer, and waited for the other people we were meeting.

Next to the restaurant there was this amazing tree with a plaque saying it was planted in 1798. That's pretty old in my book.

Next we walked up this path towards the "beach" area...

Past this harbor...

This is the ferry that will take you from Cully to Evian, in France.

And here is the beach! Luxurious right? Well, it was more like, grassy-area-by-lake-with-rocky-beach. Actually, it was a very nice place to have a picnic, watch the sail boats, do some tanning, and if your brave, get in the water.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Ignore the beer cans and half bottle of wine... I took this picture because a few weeks ago I spotted Jim on the couch in front of all these machines. 3 iphones, 2 blackberries and 2 laptops (see that one on the floor?) Too bad this wasn't snapped after the ipad came (about 3 days later). We are now literally out numbered 4:1 with our electronics.

Lyon, France : Part Three

More? you say. Well, just a few more pics to share about our trip to Lyon.

On Sunday, after the overpriced hotel breakfast, I convinced Jim to trek back into the park and check out the zoo, especially the giraffes. It was pretty fantastic even though we couldn't spend a lot of time. Then we packed up headed to the train station and were on the way back to Geneva. Lyon was a great time, and so far I think our best weekend trip!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Lyon, France : Part Two

Last week I took a detour back to the US of A, which it lasted about 72 hours. It was a whirlwind adventure where I took just about every mode of transportation that you could think of. My posting took a back seat and then when I returned I was in a time zone haze, then it was a 4 day weekend! So here I am again. And here is the rest of our trip to Lyon...

We spent the majority of Saturday walking around the old part of Lyon; our first stop was near the Hôtel de Ville. We found a cool fountain which for some reason had a couch floating in it.

Then we found an awesome place to have lunch. It might have been a bit touristy but Jim was in heaven.

Cafe Leffe was a total random and awesome find. Leffe is from Belgium and is Jim's favorite beer. He could drink it for the rest of his life I think. In the US they started selling Leffe Blonde a few years ago but his favorite, the Brune is still hard to come by. For Jim's 23rd Birthday I purchased a 1/4 keg of the Brune and they had to special order it which took 2 weeks. This restaurant had SIX kinds of Leffe (check out the place mat above). Including the Radieuse and Ruby which I had never tried. I think the Radieuse is my new favorite. I'm not great at describing flavors but it was delicious. In addition to the great beer they had a great burger, something hard to find in Europe.

After lunch we headed in the direction of the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière. The basilica is a spectacular building that overlooks Lyon from a hill. We took the cable tram up to the top, walked around the church and took in the amazing panoramic view.

After the basilica we walked around some more and found another one of Jim's favorite things...candy.

candied fruit
Biscuits in every flavor
Literally a kid in a candy shop....look at that face!

We stopped for a drink, and decided to head back in the direction of the hotel. We took the bus to the impressive entrance of the Tete d’or Park and walked our way through all the way back to the hotel. It took way longer than we thought, but it was a beautiful day and despite being tired, it was fun. The park has a botanical garden, a zoo, a lake, a velodrome, boat rides, kid rides, open space for play, numerous running and biking paths and its FREE! There was a lot to see, but it never felt too crowded or overwhelming. The map is fairly easy to read and you can really set off to see it all or just one thing.