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Beaches and Mussels (no, this is not a typo!)

17 Sep

Miami is an extremely popular tourist destination for brazilians! It combines our favorites–malls, beaches and good eats! It is also a short 7/8 hour flight away (from Sao Paulo) and the weather is always agreeable (perhaps too hot at times, but hey, the sun is shining!)

While in Miami, I am always bugging friends who have lived there before for tips on where to eat, where to go, what to do. Fellow Daisychainer, Steph, will certainly be able to add to our Miami tips dossier here at the blog, but meanwhile, I will continue our discussion with my latest input on the city!

As you know, I took some time off in July and went to Guanajuato, Mexico (read this entry here)! During this trip, I also visited Miami.

My favorite day in Miami started off enjoying Key Biscayne! The beach at Key Biscayne is an oasis of tranquility and beauty–close to my definition of paradise. Before you reach the sand, you walk through a big patch of grass with some grilling stations here and there for barbecuing (another brazilian favorite). The sand is white and the beach is filled with palm trees. The water is an incredible shade of blue and almost too warm to refresh you on warmer days (also a plus for those who, like me, are not very keen on cold water).

Path to the beach

After a long day at the beach, nothing better than going back to downtown Miami and enjoying a couple of drinks and appetizers at Novecento. Luckily, I went on a day where the Miami Heat was playing the Boston Celtics and the bar area was filled with people cheering on for their team, creating an even better atmosphere. I ordered some steamed mussels in a white wine reduction which I highly recommend!

I almost managed to eat all of those mussels!

Stay tuned for more insider tips on this popular destination!



Meatballs Anyone?

31 Aug

Looking for a good place to eat in New York this weekend?

Here goes a tip from my days in the Big Apple–>The Meatball Shop!

Sunday night and my boyfriend starts browsing through Timeout New York’s cheap eats. Sounds promising, right? As the word ‘meatball’ catches his attention, I cringe.

This is what I pictured…tempting to some, not so much to others…

I unwillingly make my way down from the Upper East Side to Stanton Street picturing a grimy joint with greasy meatball subs. As we get to the place, the hostess informs us it will take 45 minutes or more to get us seated which, in this case, was a pleasant surprise as I was not expecting a coveted place. As I walk in, I am immediately drawn by the welcoming atmosphere, the funky decoration and the upbeat tunes.

Great atmosphere!

We decide to ditch the wait and sit at the bar area, where a cheerful waitress explains us the menu. After deciding on our combination of meatballs, sauces and sides (there are so many possibilities, we took about 20 minutes!) we sit back and enjoy our drinks.  Shortly after, my vegetarian meatball arrives with my side of the chef’s greens topped with a spicy meat sauce—beyond delicious. We finish off our meal with an exquisite green apple sorbet. We learn they make everything in loco, from the meatballs to the ice-cream, adding to the place’s uniqueness.

Some of the dishes served at The Meatball Shop

It turned out to be a great experience that I recommend to friends looking for New York tips! So if you’re looking for a cheap eat in a trendy new York spot, this should be on your list!

Going for seconds when out of town friends visit!


Weekend Tips! Impressionism Exhibit in São Paulo!

17 Aug

If the names Degas, Renoir, Monet and Van Gogh ring a bell and maybe even bring a smile to your face, do not miss out on a great opportunity to see some of their finest work here in São Paulo!

One of Degas’ beautiful ballerinas!

Several iconic paintings from the Impressionist movement are housed at Paris’ Museum D’Orsay and the museum was kind enough to lend part of their collection to the Centro Cultural do Banco do Brasil. The exhibition will go until October 7, so there is still plenty of time to visit!

Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil–beautiful buiding housing exhibit

Word of advice: be prepared for possibly having to endure some lines. Impressionism is a very popular movement and a lot of people’s favorite! The exhibition opened its doors on August 4 and in two days about 10,000 people came by.

Lines in the opening weekend

Name of exhibit: Impressionismo: Paris e a Modernidade – Obras-Primas do Museu d’Orsay
Where: Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil
Address: Rua Álvares Penteado, 112, Centro
When: August 4 to October 7
Hours: From Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 10pm
Fee: Free (!!)
Contact: (11) 3113-3651 or 3113-3652

Com va això?

23 Jul

When a friend asked me if I wanted to come to a bar called Gràcia in São Paulo this past weekend, I immediately said “Yes!” While at college in the U.S., I studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain. It was an amazing experience, but more on that later…

Image courtesy of

Gràcia is decorated with mosaic tiles à la Gaudi, a big subway map of Barcelona, and several flags and posters of Catalunya. The atmosphere is fun, with yellowish dim lights on the inside and plenty of seating outside–a great bar for warmer days.

Image courtesy of

We went upstairs and got ourselves a table, as I browsed through the menu my mouth watered with the thought of all the amazing foods I experienced in Spain. We ordered some “patata bravas”, the famous diced fried potatoes with spicy creamy sauce as an appetizer and a couple of not-so-spanish ‘caipirinhas’ and ‘mojitos’. To me, the sauce is what makes a good “patata brava” and I like it when it’s more on the spicy side, which–although still very good–was not the case at this bar.

Enjoying our tapas!

After eating and chatting upstairs, we headed to the downstairs bar for a refill of our drinks and notice how packed the place was now that it was later into the night. With our drinks in hand, we relaxed in the outside area and enjoyed the warm weather. Most of the people in the bar were in their 20s and 30s, some still wearing suits from long workdays, some celebrating birthdays and there was even a table with girls having a bachelorette party!

Whatever reason takes you there, you will definitely have a good time! I was happy with all the memories being there conjured, so stay tuned for a post on Barcelona soon!


Gràcia Bar

Rua Corpes 87, Pinheiros

São Paulo, SP

5pm vs. All-Nighters

19 Jul

Before moving to New York, I lived in Washington D.C. for about 3 to 4 months for an internship (it was actually my second time living in D.C. for the summer). D.C.’s work culture is largely influenced by the government’s schedule, and while it is perfectly normal to hear people shuffling around their desks at 4:59pm ready to go home, the same behavior would be frowned upon in New York.

D.C.’s 9-5 schedule has created an amazing happy hour culture, especially in the summer. You get invited to happy hours at work, you get invited to happy hours by the people you met at yesterday’s happy hour, you read about the best happy hours on the Washington Post and so on—the buzz is endless. In New York, however, the few happy hours I attended were later in the evening and did not carry as much buzz as they did in D.C.

Happy hour around Adams Morgan in D.C.

Before entering the New York corporate world, I was sure all-nighters were going to be something I only experienced when reminiscing about my college days. Little did I know that all-nighters and late nights were not a far-fetched reality of working people in New York City. The city moves at a fast pace and everybody seems to be in a frantic race to get somewhere and working hard and long hours seems to be the ticket there. Once you are caught up in this rhythm, leaving your desk at 5pm does not feel right.

My coworker’s picture of the sun rising at work…

Thankfully for New Yorkers, the city is still alive and sizzling later in the night when D.C. has already gone to bed–so there’s plenty of time to enjoy! Happy Hours usually happen in doubles, 4-8pm and a second round of Happy Hour from 11-1. New Yorkers work hard and play harder. You might not have met them at yesterday’s happy hour, but in the city that never sleeps, there is always someone, somewhere, who’s up for a drink.

Stay tuned for D.C. tips–my friend Rebecca will soon post on our “Visiting Voices,” and Mandy will give us a taste of outdoors summer fun talking about peach picking!


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