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Travel Guide

Stockholm: island hopping in a fairy tale city.

We fell in love with Stockholm while island hopping and were totally charmed by this archipelago of more than 24,000 islands and islets.  All the islands are connected by trains, ferries and bridges.  The city is beautiful in the summer and gleams in the winter.  Stockholm is easily our favorite place in Europe and here are the spots that we always try to go back to during every visit!

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TO EAT

Hermans  – Fjällgatan 23B, 116 28 Stockholm  We are usually fans of neither buffet nor vegetarian restaurants.  Hermans convinced us that it’s possible for a vegetarian buffet to be exceptionally tasty and delicious!  The restaurant is located on a hill next to the river overlooking the city.  This spot is not to be missed!

Tradition – Tulegatan 10, 113 53 Stockholm  This restaurant has two locations — we went to the beautiful branch on Gamla Stan.  To get a taste of traditional Swedish cuisine, this place is a must!  Go wild with elderberry akvavit (a Scandinavian spirit), smoked heart of reindeer, and Swedish meatballs.  Everything is delicious!

Soldaten Svejk – Östgötagatan 35, 116 25 Stockholm  Our Swedish friends took us to this Czech restaurant during our first trip to Stockholm and we’ve made it a mandatory destination every time we come back to the city.  The must-haves include beer cheese, schnitzel, gulasch, and potato pancakes served with pork and loganberry jam.  And needless to say, get a couple pints of refreshing Czech beers!

Shibumi – 114 25, Kungstensgatan 2, 114 25 Stockholm  This Michelin guide restaurant completely lives up to every expectation. It’s best to share every little thing from the menu.  As with fancy Japanese restaurants, not only is the food at Shibumi delicious, the presentation is also out of this world beautiful.  All the sushi dishes are creative and tasty!

Nook – Åsögatan 176, 116 32 Stockholm  Treat yourself to a three-course menu of heavenly food at Nook!  Two choices of menus cost 350-400SKK (around $42-$50) and features Nordic flavors infused with Asian twists.  Everything is delightful and luscious!

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TO DRINK

19 Glas – Stora Nygatan 19, 111 27 Stockholm  Wonderful wine bar with large selection of wines from all over the world.  Don’t hesitate to ask the bartender (who might also be the owner!) for recommendations!

Mälarpaviljongen – Norr Mälarstrand 64, 112 35 Stockholm  In the summer, the Stockholm waterfront comes alive with opportunities to eat and drink outside while enjoying the 20 hours of daylight. This stylish bar is on a barge and far from any tourist activity.

Cafe af Chapman – Flaggmansvägen 8, 111 49 Stockholm  af Chapman, a ship from the 19th century, is now a hostel and also home to a great bar.  Coming from New York City, we thought a party on af Chapman would requires mingling with all sorts of fancy people in boat shoes.  However, the ambiance was chill, friendly, and perfect for catching up with friends.  And the boat is beautiful!

Pharmarium – Stortorget 7, 111 29 Stockholm  Great bar with delicious drinks.

Mosebacketerrassen – Mosebacke torg 3, 116 46 Stockholm  We came to this bar when it was already starting to get cold at night in Stockholm but could see how wonderful it would be to sit outside at Mosebacketerrassen in the warm summer months to have a beer while enjoying the view of Stockholm.

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TO SEE

Vasa Museum – Galärvarvsvägen 14, 115 21 Stockholm  A maritime museum located on the island of Djurgården, the Vasa is quite impressive not only because it’s the home of a 17th century 64-gun warship but also because of its beautiful architecture.  The museum was built around the ship, which was salvaged 300 years after it sank, and features a stunning copper roof.  

Fotografiska – Stadsgårdshamnen 22, 116 45 Stockholm  An amazing photography museum with rotating exhibitions!  When we were there, the wonderful portraits by Martin Schoeller were on view, which was an awesome treat.  The Fotografiska also has one of the  most beautiful museum cafés we’ve ever seen.  

Monteliusvägen  This quarter mile walking path is a hidden spot overlooking lake Mälaren.   It offers the most beautiful view of Stockholm, especially during sunset!

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It rained for three days out of the four days of our trip in Lisbon but the rain could not take the sunshine out of this city because it is full of colors!  I have never seen so many beautiful tiles in my life — tiles on the outside of buildings, tiles on the inside, tiles on the floor, tiles on the ceiling, tiles everywhere.  Azulejos, the traditional Portuguese hand-painted tiles, were such a dream.  Needless to say, I am completely obsessed!  The Museu Nacionl do Azulejo, a museum dedicated to tiles, helped us trace the history of azulejos back to the 15th century to present.  At some point around the beginning of the 20th century, azulejos went out of style, which makes me so sad for the obvious reason that if they hadn’t, the whole city would be covered in tiles.  Myke seems to think that this scenario would be rather seizure-inducing but I wholeheartedly disagree.   I can’t even begin to imagine how beautiful it would be if every house surface in Lisbon was covered by its own unique geometric colorful tile design.

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Lisbon: an azulejos heaven

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Travel Guide

Weekends in Paris.

While enjoying living in Brussels, we also love it that we are less than two hours from Paris by train and can make a weekend trip there any time we want.  We had both been to Paris before so our recent trips to this beautiful city are simply filled with walks around different neighborhoods as well as tasty food and drinks.  The most typical advice is to just get lost in the streets of Paris; but in case you want to plan your day around meals like we do, below are our most favorite spots to eat and drink!

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TO EAT

Marché des Enfants Rouges  This is the oldest covered market in Paris.  It isn’t huge but lovely with delicious choices for lunch.  Sit outside when the weather is nice to enjoy and glass of wine and Lebanese food!

Café Charlot  This typical Parisian café is right opposite from Marché des Enfants Rouges with terrace sitting and traditional French dishes.  Last time, I had a delicious lunch there with lemony skate wing, haricots verts and rice.  They also have an amazing sorbet selection.  Everything is fresh and tasty — try it all!  

Au Comptoir de l’Arc  This restaurant is just steps away from the iconic L’Arc de Triomphe.  It is very reasonably priced and serves up great food!  We recommend to get dinner here then head over to the river for Bateau Mouche, a cruise on the Seine at night to see all of Paris lit up.  (This might seem like the most touristy thing to do but totally worth it!)

La Grande Cremerie  This beautiful place is right in the heart of Paris!  You will spend around 35-50 euros per person including drinks.  Ask for a wine recommendation of your price range to taste one of their 400 different wines and champagnes.  Everything can be shared and enjoyed with friends.   We highly recommend a delicious plate of pasta negra and fresh burrata!

Kunitoraya  There are many Japanese restaurants in the same area but not all are good (sadly, we know this from first-hand experiences).  But we can guarantee that both the Kunitoraya establishments on rue Villedo are amazing!  The beautifully light-filled Udon Bistro Kunitoraya at 1 rue Villedo is perfect for a quick lunch.  The recently renovated (from an early 1900s bistro) Restaurant Kunitoraya at 5 rue Villedo offers a similar menu as the sister eatery but also a fancier degustation dinner.  Try any type of hot udon on a cold winter day or a rice dish on a summer day.  Well… I (Phuong) am a fan of soup any day of the year but for those who don’t, there are choices!

L’Épi Dupin  This restaurant features seasonal products in choices of fixed price menus ranging between 39-52 euros not including drinks.  The owners pride themselves for only using responsible local products with the least carbon footprints.  Their food is not only delicious but beautiful.  If you feel like splurging, the culinary adventure here is definitely worth it!

Le Loup  This stunning restaurant is so beautiful and worth every penny.  Make sure to reserve the table as it gets packed around dinner time.  Come at 8pm and enjoy as much time as you want here as the friendly staff would never rush you out!  The restaurant is known for their roasted chicken and suckling pig (which are scrumptious and delightful!).  But we’ve been to Le Loup with vegetarian friends who also had a good time there!

Hero  Stunning restaurant with tasty Korean fried chicken and other Korean-inspires fares.

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TO RELAX / SNACK

Exploring Paris by foot is the best but also wears you out.  3pm always calls for a coffee while people watching — these spots are perfect for both!

Kodama  This tiny tea shop offers creative tea blends that are not your regular earl grey or green teas.  Try a tea you’ve never had before with one of their delicious pastries!

Costume Café  If coffee is your thing rather than tea, take a break from sightseeing to hang out here!  The designy latte / delicious cake combination is always a good idea!

Sésame  Cute café that serves nice simple lunches and breakfasts.  We’ve only been there in the afternoon for a cake and coffee.  Stop by if you are already in Canal St. Martin!

Boot Café  Not an afternoon caffeine fan?  Have a natural juice at this tiny cafe!

0/Gustave by Yemanja  We stumbled upon this beautiful new café during our last trip and have been dying to go back!  Have a coffee or tea; OR better yet, try something in their beer selection!  It’s never too early to have a drink with an afternoon snack.

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TO DRINK

L’Ours  Legit cocktail bar with great drinks!

Le Comptoir Général  Popular spot for drinks among Parisians!  It’s several bars inside one bar.  You’d be surprised to find such a huge place in the middle of Paris.

Lavomatic  Speakeasy bar hidden behind a laundromat.  Enjoy your adult beverage on a swing!

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Sunset + smog in Saigon.

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