Saturday, September 29, 2012

Friday Favourites

Happy Saturday everyone! Hope you have lovely things planned for the weekend. I have one of my best friends visiting from Hong Kong. We have a lot of fun things planned, including a lot of shopping (alas only for her, not me).

As mentioned previously, I am saving up furiously for my end-of-year Asian trip but please indulge me while I show you items that are high on my wish list this week:   

This blazer:
While some of my other Zara items are of questionable quality, the jackets I have have held up amazingly well. This wool/faux-leather option is so chic. I would wear it as I would wear my leather jacket - with skinnies, pencil skirts, shifts, mini skirts etc. The blazer is not online yet but you can sign up on the product page to receive notifications when it is available for purchase.

These pants:

Yeahhhh these J Crew Minnies have been talked to death on other blogs but I genuinely like them. I have a pair of the cotton twill Minnies in Navy and have worn them at least twice a week since purchasing them a month ago. They are very flattering and this season's wool pair will be a great way to embrace the oxblood (awful word by the way) trend, I am thisclose to ordering these while the 25% promo is on till the end of today. 

These boots:

I am usually not a fan of suede since I don't have the patience to care for them properly. I like these Target boots because they are faux-suede and have a 3" heel - perfect for walking the grimy streets of New York plus I won't be too upset if I wreck them prematurely. For the rest of today, Target is offering a $15 gift card with every $75 purchase. These boots are so cheap, I actually have to chuck these chelsea boots in 2 colours to my cart to get to the threshold ;)

Are any of these on your wish list too? Let me know and have a great rest of the weekend!

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Despite its small size, San Sebastian is home to the majority of Spain's many Michelin Stars. I like food as much as I like fashion and I could not pass on the opportunity for a meal at one of the world's best while I was there.

I only had time to dine at one three-starred restaurant which made choosing the right one quite the challenge. Trawling through numerous threads on Chowhound and considering it would be a lunch seating, I ultimately decided on Akelaŕe

Akelaŕe is situated atop a hill, with large windows in the dining room that provide sweeping views of the Bay of Biscay far below. I am glad I requested a table by the window.

There were two menus to choose from: Aranori and Bekarki, to which I went with the former, just because there were a few cow-based items I do not consume in the latter.

The meal started with an appetizer called "Sea Garden". I was served from left to right, an Oyster Leaf, "Mussel" with ""Shell", Sea Urchin's Sponge, Beach Pebbles (of shallot and corn) and Seaweed Coral tempura over Prawn's "Sand". Ironically, nothing in this dish was seafood apart from the tiny bits of dried prawn in the "sand". Very clever!

The first course of the meal were prawns which was cooked table-side in a pot with lava rocks and wine spirit.  
Pre-plating. I am waiting (im)patiently for the prawns to cook. 
And voila - the final dish served with green bean cream and ground prawn shells. It was a great way to start the meal.
The next dish was called Mollusks in Fisherman's Net. The mollusks are the off-white pieces you can see through the net. It was described in the menu as having a full sea flavour. That was no lie and as such it was my least favourite dish. Having said that, the net was fish-free and made of rice flour - it was as tasty as it was pretty.
Next on the menu was Pasta Carpaccio, Piquillo and Iberic with Parmesan Shrooms. A dish made entirely of vegetables and pasta, this was nothing short of outstanding. Can you also spot the truffles? 
By now you may have realised that I was dining on my own. Not a stranger to solo restaurant visits, I was happily and thoughtfully consuming each mouthful and I was actually pretty "in-it" that I didn't even care to take out the book I brought with me. It was at this juncture that the two gentlemen sitting at the table adjacent to mine kindly invited me to join them for the rest of the meal. It was a lovely gesture and there was no way I could refuse. 

So the next dish was brought to my new table - hake which was breaded in monkfish skin served over mussels, rice and piparras (basque peppers). Frankly I don't quite remember how this dish tasted, being too fascinated by my new dining companions (one of whom was celebrating his birthday!). I ate it all though so it must have been good?
The fifth dish was a red mullet fillet served with three different flavoured "fusilli" - soy sauce, parsley and ajo blanco (garlic soup). I was paying attention again and I liked how nicely the fish went with the vastly different "fusilli" - my favourite being the one in soy.
Next, I was served a grilled lamb loin served with plum sauce (light brown) and a red wine reduction (dark brown) and red wine sediments (dark brown bits on the plum sauce). The light green bit on the top left hand corner was green tea powder - which I hardly touched, choosing to devour the lamb with the plum/wine sauce instead.
Finally it was dessert time. The first course being xaxu - a traditional cake with almond and yolk originally made famous by a local pastry chef.  It came with the most incredible foaming coconut ice mousse. I thanked the powers that be there were TWO pieces of this mousse as they were heavenly!
The last thing on the menu was this dish called A Different Apple Tart. Edible apple paper covered puff pastry layers with apple and praline cream. I should be thankful that it was only at this time that I started to feel a bit full. I really enjoyed this dessert but it was definitely overshadowed by the coconut-xaxu business above.
Bonus: the birthday boy at my table was dining off the Bekarki menu and was served this as his second dessert: what looked like a freshly-picked strawberry was in fact reconstructed with strawberry cream, ice cream and basil seeds. I had a taste and instantly wished I could eat the entire thing. I also wish I had a bigger purse as the plate it was served on was so pretty I wanted to take it home!
So there you have it,  my phenomenal meal at Akelaŕe.  I am glad this was my first meal at San Sebastian as it started the holiday off on such a high note. Everything about the experience was perfect, from the innovative dishes to the accidental dining companions to the impeccable service. I can not WAIT to return.   
Jetlagged but happy - Anthropologie Stamp Art Dress and belt, Kenneth Cole wedges, DKNY bag.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday Favourite

Topshop released it's new collaboration with J.W. Anderson today. After the crraazzzyyyy shopping I did in Europe, I only have a budget for one item in this release:
Bat Hand Knit Sweater

While the collection is frankly non-cohesive and comprises a random mishmash of beach items to kitschy animal prints, there are a few standouts. I particularly like the long pleated skirt and (ghastly name aside) the french maid dress. Will you be picking up anything from this collection?

Hope you have a fabulous weekend. I am off to Philadelphia tomorrow, first for a dance performance and then to spend the rest of the weekend with Sonia. Can't wait!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Back to reality

Hello everyone!

My holiday ended in the blink of an eye but boy, was it FABULOUS!

I am however royally knackered! The excessive indulging coupled with not a lot of sleep (fear of missing out on any part of the holiday perhaps?) meant I came home with a throat so sore it felt sandpapered. Oh and I also have a dance performance in Philadelphia coming up this weekend. 

Please allow me a few days to recover. 

In the meantime, I shall leave you with some initial observations...:

  • Basque weddings are INCREDIBLE. My darling friend, TTL and her husband, X's wedding festivities lasted over 15 hours and I probably danced for half of that. 
  • San Sebastian is so beautiful and Donostians are some of the loveliest people I have ever met.
  • I ate my weight in macarons, chocolates, icecream, cheese and croissants in Paris; and promptly walked it all off.
  • I can't stand the incessant smoking everywhere in the City of Light. Is this why the French are so slim?
  • The Jardins (Luxembourg and Tuileries) put the New York City parks to shame. 
  • European men are delightfully charming ;)

...and a few of my favourite Instagram photos from the trip. Forgive me if you have already seen these already:

I look forward to posting details of the trip soon. Till then ta ta for now! 

P.s. this is my 100th post!