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Where to Eat in Milan: Unico Milano

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The view from the terrace at Unico

Here’s the thing about dining at restaurants with Michelin stars… you don’t fill up from what you order.  You get full by eating all the interim courses that come in between. Chef Fabio Baldassarre’s Unico Milano is no exception. Located on the at 20th floor of the WJC Tower, Unico comes with sweeping views overlooking an industrial suburb of the city.

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Unico Milano’s Dinner Menu

Unico’s tasting menus run 90 Euros for four course or 120 Euros for six courses. Tasting menus are for the whole table. If you prefer, ordering a la carte is also an option.  We went for the four courses, which felt more like 8 after the amuse bouche, pre-dessert and palate cleansing snacks in between.

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 This tortellini was delicious and creamy

The meal started with venison carpaccio served with blueberries, tassel hyacinths, sour cream and shock of cold foie gras ice cream. It was interesting but venison isn’t my protein of choice. I was delighted by the bonus course that wasn’t fully described to me but was served in an egg with a light sprinkling of caviar.

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Left: venison carpaccio Right: veal cheek casserole

The second course was the standout for me: house made fresh chick pea tortellini pasta served with red prawn, buffalo mozzarella mousse and black truffle. If ordering a la carte, I would have ordered this dish for my entree for Euro 28 and skipped the veal entirely.

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One of the courses between courses, featuring caviar in a delicate egg mousse

I was underwhelmed by the veal cheek casserole made with celeriac cream and artichokes. It wasn’t appealing visually and the texture was off-putting. Service as top notch and sweeping as one would expect at a Michelin starred restaurant, and there is an excellent wine list. But the atmosphere is cold and non-romantic.

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Hazelnut Sablè for dessert

For dessert, we were served hazelnut sablè, with dark chocolate cream and mango ice cream, It was not overly sweet and delicious although a bit cold for a winter’s night.

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The dining room at Unico Milano

In a city filled with charming views and great food, I don’t think Unico Milano is worth the 20 minute taxi ride from the city center. It’s better suited for business meals on expense accounts for foodies already in the Portello Area.

Unico Milano

Address: Viale Achille Papa 30

20149 Milano, Italy

Pnone:+39 02 392 148 47

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Because Eataly: a Photo Essay of a Foodie Heaven in Milan

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 Looking down at the produce at Eataly Milan Smeraldo

I recently spent a few days in Milan, Italy. One of the highlights of my trip to the Italian fashion capital was stumbling upon a huge and gleaming Eataly.

Artichokes at Eataly Milan 

The gourmet grocery store and community concept was created by Italian entrepreneur Oscar Farinetti and is backed by some of my foodie heroes–  Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich and Lidia Matticchio Bastianich.

Scenes from the produce aisle at Eataly

Part of Eataly’s manifesto is “providing the best possible products at a reasonable price point.” While I did not comparison shop for produce while in Italy, I can say that produce at Eataly is crazy beautiful.

 Smile in the produce aisle

I am a big fan of Eataly NY  and Eataly Milan Smeraldo’s huge 3 story space was even more impressive than the NYC Eataly.

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 Salumi, spec, and other assorted meats

I’m not sure what Los Angeles and Seattle are both still devoid of an Eataly…

 Up in the salumi case at Eataly

In addition to the gorgeous food, Eataly offers classes so you can learn more about food you love, too (assuming you speak Italian).

 The insalata aisle at Eataly

There is fresh pasta section, gorgeous steak cases, a fabulous wine edit and loads of beautiful meat and salumi.

 The salumi guy

Batali’s rock and roll taste is not far from my own, and the music section of Eataly has a nice edit of cds and books.

 Left: The music edit at Eataly reflects Batali’s Seattle roots

Batali’s Seattle roots are evident in the books section, with titles about local musicians Duff McKagen of Guns N’ Roses and Kurt Cobain.

A stylish shopper at Eataly

There is even a performance space and schedule of live music which shows how serious Eataly is about their community. If you’re in the area and haven’t had the Eataly experience, it’s well worth popping in for a browse or a meal right on premises.

 Eataly Milan Smaraldo Exterior

Eataly Milano Smeraldo
LUN – DOM: dalle 10.00 alle 24.00
Piazza XXV Aprile, 10 – 20121 Milano
eatalysmeraldo@eataly.it
+39 02 49497301

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Glamping with Wilderness Safaris at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp, Namibia

Desert glamping in Namibia at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

My recent trip to Namibia was the first time I traveled with Wilderness Safaris and I was truly impressed with everything about Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp. It’s brand new, having opened in August 2014.

Twilight outside tent #2 at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

Impressive, elevated tents at Hoanib

Namibia doesn’t allow permanent camps, instead they grant land concessions for a number of years. So everything about Hoanib will be able to disappear without a trace to help conserve Namibia’s natural environment.

Visiting the Roaring Dunes was one of the highlights of my stay at Hoanib

While the tents may be temporary, the camp is still amazingly stylish and comfortable. The guest tents have a genius design. They are built on platforms elevated over the sand, which helps keep their interiors at a comfortable temperature both day and night.

The Hoanib Staff waits to greet you with cool towels and fresh lemonade

Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp is run with Wilderness Safari’s ethos and commitment to the 4Cs – Commerce, Conservation, Community and Culture. The staff is committed to contributing meaningfully to the wildlife and the people of Africa. The staff is great and this attitude makes you feel really good about spending money here.

Bella, the resident cat at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

General Manager Clement Lawrence and his team are all warm, personable, and take very good care of you. The service style is laid-back and unobtrusive. This is perfect for the modern luxury travelers who don’t want to feel like a Colonial with a staff fawning over you all the time.

The pool is perfect for cooling off on hot days in the Namib desert

Emms, our guide and tracker was incredible. He was friendly and warm and just plain fun to hang out with and have a chat. Fatima keeps things the ship running tight back at camp. There are only 10 tents, so the camp feels intimate.

Looking from the pool into the dining pavilion

Located in the private the Hoanib River Valley in the Private Palmwag Concession, the property is remote and way off the grid. It’s luxurious for sure, but you’re glamping.

The living room in the

There is no wifi, phone service, or television. With your days filled with game drives and wildlife walking through the camp serving as “Namibian television.” I did not miss being connected. That being said, we did pack our own satellite phone for emergencies. 

Left: The main tent looks gorgeous against the desert landscape Right: Zulu baskets

Clement let me know I could send an email from the office if it was necessary.

Table in the dining tent facing the gorgeous rocky landscape

Left: the communal living room Right: The fresh lemonade was my personal favorite beverage

You’re not exactly roughing it here. The bathrooms were spacious, chic and had plenty of hot water heated by the solar panels that surround the camp.

I loved the modern safari chic vibe of Hoanib’s communal living room

Your days are filled with Game Drives and wildlife viewing (the elephants were my personal favorite), and adventures like visiting the Roaring Dunes along the Skeleton Coast.

A club sandwich & chips for lunch

Hoanib is one of Wilderness Safaris Classic Camps, which is their second tier of luxury. It felt plenty luxurious to both me and my husband.

Left: A view of the lunch buffet Right: a pastry at lunch

This means there are fewer selections for entrees at lunch and dinner than you’d find at one of the Premier Camps,  but we felt well fed and still had plenty of options and never went hungry.

Pops of cornflower blue looked fantastic against the desert backdrop

Your days are filled with Game Drives and wildlife viewing (the elephants were my personal favorite), and adventures like visiting the Roaring Dunes and seal colony along the Skeleton Coast.

Left: Local handicrafts on display at camp Right: I loved these these cool bar stools

A rare rainy morning before a game drive

On a rare rainy morning in December, it was chilly when we left for our morning game drive. Emms, our guide, made sure we had blankets and ponchos to keep us warm and toasty.

Sundowners were my favorite daily ritual

Emms also delivered us to a great spot for sundowners every evening, and it became my favorite daily ritual.

Not a bad place for a sundowner

Namibia’s dramatic skies are as spectacular as it’s landscape

Nambia’s rugged and dramatic landscape is matched by it’s crazy beautiful skies. The clouds are ever-changing.

The moon was still visible in the morning

Clear skies mean star spotting and a visible moon

Moon framed in by the ties of a tent at Hoanib

My stay at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp was so memorable and impressive, I’m now very curious about visiting more of Wilderness Safaris properties. Perhaps I’ll go see the gorillas in the Congo next.

Safari chic bathroom selfie, Namibia

Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

Skeleton Coast, Namibia

Rates start at $484 USD – low season (11 January 2015  to 14 June 2015, 01 November 2015 to 19 December 2015)

From $720 – high season (15 June 2015  to 31 October 2015, 20 December 2015 to 10 January 2016)

Booking Inquiries:

Wilderness Safaris

Johannesburg

+27 ­11 ­807 ­1800
Mon-Fri 08:00 – 17:00 GMT+2

Cape Town

+27 ­21 ­702 ­7500
Mon-Fri 08:00 – 17:00 GMT+2

enquiry@wilderness.co.za

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Sundowners at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp, Namibia

 

Enjoying the sunset with a gin & tonic in the Hoanib River Valley

Interaction with wildlife and stunning scenery are two given highlights of any safari. But the safari tradition of having a sundowner is one of my favorite moments of any given day on safari.

During my trip last month to Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp in Namibia my guide, Emms, parked up on a ridge above the Hoanib River Valley and set up a table of cocktails and local snacks like nuts, chips, and biltong (dried game meat). Then he poured us a round of gin & tonics and we watched the sunset.

Check out this time lapse video I made on my iPhone:

Sunset in mirror in the Hoanib River Valley (look at those clouds!)

I don’t know why, but gin & tonic just tastes better when you’re on safari.

Gordon’s gin bottles lined up to meet their sundowner destiny

Added excuse to enjoy a sundowner– the quinine in tonic water helps keep mosquitos away (not that there were any in the Hoanib River valley). You’d also have to drink a lot of tonic water… but hey… you just go with it!

Land Cruiser at sunset in the Hoanib River Valley

Sunset as seen through the Land Cruiser seats

One day I was back at camp to watch the sunset. You can have an enjoyable sundowner experience there too.

Sunset at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

The colors at camp change and get vivid at sunset. You can enjoy the view and kick back  and enjoy your sundowner near the camp fire.

Enjoying a sundowner back at camp

Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

Hoanib River | Kaokoveld,

Skeleton Coast Park, Namibia

+27 ­11 ­807 ­1800

+27 ­21 ­702 ­7500

enquiry@wilderness.co.za

 

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Sunset Time Lapse in the Seychelles at Maia Luxury Resort

Obligatory feet-in-the-sand selfie

I recently spent a few days at Maia Luxury Resort. Located on a private peninsula on the west coast of Mahé island in the Seychelles, Maia Luxury Resort is surrounded by natural beauty including a private beach and the Indian Ocean.

Maia’s location is most gorgeous during the golden hour before sunset. The light is warm and the clouds take on pastel hues.

I made this time lapse using the TimeLapse app on my iPhone 6 using the sunrise & sunset preset:

Clouds at Sunset at Maia Luxury Resort, Mahé island, Seychelles Time Lapse

I still prefer using this app over the native time lapse feature on the iPhone 6 camera because it offers presets for situations like clouds, traffic, and sunrise/sunset and will shoot and speed up accordingly.

The private beach at Maia Luxury Resort

This gives me one less thing to think about so I could focus on dipping my toes in the warm waves of the Indian Ocean.

A friendly snail  I met in villa 208 at Maia Luxury resort

One tip for shooting sunset time lapse videos… don’t stop shooting as soon as the sun disappears. Let the camera run for a few minutes. Usually this is when you get the most vivid hues, and you can always trim the video if the afterglow is less than gorgeous.

Sunset stroll at Maia Luxury Resort, Seychelles

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