Copenhagen City Guide

Copenhagen wasn’t on my list, but then again, what isn’t on my list? When I found $400 RT tickets from JFK, I knew I had to jump on the opportunity – even if only for a long weekend to spend my days in between coffee shops, museums and boutiques. Copenhagen isn’t for every traveler, but if it’s for you, boy are you lucky.

The city blew me away with the understated complexity of its dishes, the sleek design elements on every corner and the effortless fashion choices of its inhabitants. Windy cobblestone streets guide you to canals lined with blanket-strewn outdoor cafes, bikes leaning against pastel-colored homes and expansive gardens, where the scent of chocolate waffles fill the air.

As bikes whizzed by me and the outdoor flower markets bloomed with ranunculus – it was easy to understand why Denmark is consistently rated one of the top countries in the world.

Here is my take on four days in this delightful European city:

Day 1

Off the plane, and straight to Copenhagen Free Walking Tours to stretch your legs. The tour gave us a great overview of the different neighborhoods in Copenhagen and their distinct flavors. This city owes a lot to brew master, Carlsberg, whose name is plastered all over the city (As for the beer, I’m not that fond of it, but I’ll save that story for another time). After three hours, a little history, and a lot of walking, we were ready for a drink and dinner.

We stayed in Vesterbro, at the perfectly located Absalon Hotel. It was the perfect place for us – close to the train station, centrally located and in the hip meatpacking neighborhood,. They served an amazing and authentic continental breakfast in the morning that was the perfect fuel to start our day. It was so major having breakfast provided – now is a good time to tell you that Copenhagen is one expensive city and being able to save on breakfast and put that money toward other meals was very appreciated by the end of the trip.

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Threw on heels and lipstick, and headed out to Fiskebarre in the meatpacking neighborhood. This was our first exposure to the amazing gastronomy in Copenhagen. The drinks were frothy, and garnished with velvety sage, and the local Danish oysters came with a fork and knife due to their enormous size.

From here, we walked to our reservation at nearby Kul. The bartender at Kul was just named the best bartender in Copenhagen, and upon sitting at the bar and being served by him, it was easy to see why. Bert’s drink was shaken, stirred, garnished, and served in a Viking horn. Authentic? Check. When the cheese came out as our first course, instead of our last, the waitress rushed out champagne on the house and took care of our cheese board – this was our first glimpse into how kind the Danes are and their warm hospitality.

Day 2

We heard so much about the Danish brunch – we had to give it a try. At Mad & Kaffe, you take your pick of 3, 5 or 7 menu options – ranging from brown sugar brûléed blood oranges, to local blackberry yogurt (Danes have the best dairy products –  cheese and butter included) and homemade cinnamon rolls – their was something for everyone.

A short stroll brought us to MOSS, my new favorite store where I wished every item was in my closet. After stocking up, we walked to Toverhallene, a Danish food market with stalls including Smørrebrød, Danish open-faced sandwiches, to chocolatiers, and fresh fruits and veggies. A walk into Nørrebro brought us to shopping street, Jægersborggade, where we were ready for our next meal – gruel, ala Grød. Yes you read that right, gruel – something that only Copenhagen could make cool again. We opted for a risotto flavored dish, and it was one of our best meals on the trip.

From here, we ubered to Glyptotek museum, where we wandered through medieval busts and spent time relaxing in the palm tree adorned atrium.

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As if we hadn’t done enough on this day, we headed over to Paper Island, a food stall market where all the best flavors of Copenhagen collide. Our picks included a top-notch succulent duck burger from DuckIt!, a Moroccan flatbread garnished with mozzarella, herbs, grilled chicken and onions. This is the spot to be on any night, but especially on Friday nights when the beers are flowing and the Danes are out for the weekend.

Day 3

The day I had been waiting for – shopping day! Since the moment we arrived, I ogled at the Danes fashion. Minimalistic, yet made a statement, classy yet edgy, a silk blouse with Nike sneakers.

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We spent our day tackling design stores (Stilleben, HAY Market, and Illums Bolingus) and clothing boutiques (Acne Studios, MOSS, basically anything on Strøget). If only I had a bigger suitcase…We stopped for a gourmet hot dog at Hanegal wishing our budgets and waists could accommodate a few more.

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You can’t go to Denmark without marveling at the design: every restaurant, coffee shop and place to rest your head is an Instagram dream – pure hygge, which is a special Danish word for cosiness. We made a point of visiting the Denmark Design Museum, where we realized how much intention goes into creating the chair, and how there can be so many interpretations (shout out to Arne Jacobsen).

A short afternoon walk led us to Cristiana, the free neighborhood that is known for selling marijuana and having “no rules.” It felt a bit too like Disneyworld to us, and a bit forced, so we weren’t that impressed, but after talking to some friends we met, we learned that the neighborhood stretches much further than we realized, where you can see the hand-built houses and shops that truly amaze.

After dinner at Neighbourhood Pizza, we stumbled into 1656 cocktail bar, where my drink was served with a glittery froth. A glitter cocktail!! Not sure why this is the first time I’ve had this. The cocktails in Copenhagen were some of the best I’ve ever had: innovative, refreshing and picturesque.

Day 4

On our last day, we boarded a train and travelled 45 minutes north of the city to see the Louisiana Museum of Art and Sculpture Garden. Taking the train in Europe is one of my absolute favorite moments of any trip – it’s a time to see how people live outside the city limits, reflect on the memories made and the people encountered thus far, and what lies ahead. This train ride was particularly nice, as we sped by an ocean that separated us from Sweden.

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The museum itself was beautiful – nestled in an old home that mimicked the Dowargess’ in Downton Abbey, and covered in vines. The art was modern. Funky, fresh and thought-provoking. We enjoyed a lovely, albeit cold walk through the sculpture garden following the indoor exhibits.

To escape the cold and gray Danish day, we made our way into turquoise colored Mikkeler & Friends beer bar where we imbibed in sours made from local cherries, pear ciders and vietnamese coffee flavored stouts.

We made our way back to Vesterbro, and had one final dinner at Madklubben – a restaurant with Danish aesthetics,  and diverse menu.


If you ever stumble upon cheap roundtrip flights to Europe and think, is it worth it for a long weekend? 100% yes. The days were full but we got a wonderful sense of what Scandanavia has to offer. And after seeing all that it does, it’s easy to see why so many people love this city. Skâl!

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Cheers, Copenhagen! xc

Nashville City Guide

In life, we don’t take enough spontaneous trips. I’m not talking getting in your car, or in my case subway, and going to a new neighborhood and eating brunch; I’m talking buying a last minute ticket and flying somewhere. I’ve been guilty of this too, until last weekend when I surprised my mom and flew to meet her in Nashville, where she was putting on a conference.

EAT

Pinewood Social if WeWork were a restaurant it would be Pinewood Social. Coffee served alongside cocktails, a community table covered in MacBooks alongside booths filled with people eating sandwiches and salads. In the back find a swanky bowling alley, and in the summer you can find an airstream serving cocktails next to the swimming pool and bocci ball courts.

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Hattie B’s Famous Nashville Hot Chicken. We waited 45 minutes at 2pm for it. Hangry? Yes. Worth it? Yes.

Red Bicycle – Crepes and coffee. Next time, I would plan to start my morning here before heading to get a manicure/pedicure at the adorable nearby salon, Poppy & Monroe.

Fin & Pearl – Had a reservation here though I didn’t end up making it. Go here for an elevated seafood dinner.

Biscuit Love – Another one I didn’t make it to. Upon pulling up in our uber, we realized many other people had the same idea. It was raining so we opted not to wait, but the line supposedly moves quickly and the biscuits are apparently worth it.

Acme Feed & Seed – Come here for frozen moonshine lemonade, rooftop views and people watching. On the bottom level check out the on air radio station.

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DO

12 South – This seems to be the trendy spot in Nashville – home to Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James, curated graffiti on every corner and a celebrity jean favorite, imogene + willie. Ideal spot for brunching followed by shopping.

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Broadway – The touristy must-see spot in Nashville. A street where every shop is either a cowboy boot store or bar with live music. The musicians rotate every four hours, so at that time you can expect the masses to flock to the streets looking for a new place to order a PBR and do the two step. If you’re lucky enough you might see the Nashville Clogger – you are in for a treat. Though not a country fan, we went to the Country Music Hall of Fame (loved the Bob Dylan exhibition). Make sure to stop by the GooGoo Factory – home to the famous Nashville sweet treat.

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It was a great spontaneous weekend, and my lesson? Book the ticket.

French West Indies – St. Martin

I still remember learning how to spell “Caribbean.” It was a word I wrote out many times when I was younger, when teachers would ask “Where is your dream vacation?” The funny thing is, at the time I probably thought I would go on these vacations with my family. As it turns out, I have visited many Caribbean islands but always with friends. I have been lucky enough to visit Jamaica, Aruba, Puerto Rico, and this past winter, with my boyfriend’s family, Saint Martin.

Lucky for me, my boyfriend’s family knows I love to plan travel and gave me the reins to choose where we would visit in 2017. There are over 7,000 Caribbean Islands (what!?, thanks Google) and I immediately narrowed that down to where I was able to bask in the sun while enjoying a fresh croissant.

Saint Martin is part Dutch and part French. The choice of where to stay on the island was easy. The Dutch side has the cruise port, so much more touristy – think casinos, your typical American restaurants and strip clubs. The French side has incredible restaurants that rival France, local beaches and, well, French speaking people.

The days consisted of waking up early to the sound of tropical birds, …waking up Bert, making an espresso, then walking down to the local bakery to pick up fresh croissants and baguettes for his family. After devouring approximately 1.5 croissants and some baguette with beurre and jam, you could find me squinting with one eye open by the pool looking up what local beach we would go to.

Local Beaches

Orient Bay – The beach where our villa was located. Not only is clothing optional, but here you will find champagne bars, massage tents, and fresh coconuts.

Baie Rouge – If you can brave the current you can swim around to a smaller, even more private alcove where there is a natural sea arch. Grab a Carib at one of small beachside shacks.

Friar’s Bay – My favorite local beach.  Here you will find scattered lounge chairs, clear waters, and a Jamaican BBQ (be prepared to wait). A 10-minute scenic walk (more like a hike!) through the woods will bring you to a similar beach (Happy Bay) where yachts are anchored only a few feet off shore.

Grand Case – Crystal clear waters. Views of the mountains. Good shopping.

Only regret of the trip? Not taking the hour long ferry to St. Barts. Guess I’ll have to go back!

xC

Greenpoint || Neighborhood Guide

 

Brooklyn, you’ve got charm. It’s a different kind of charm. The kind of charm where the little old lady next to you gets a corn muffin and coffee and slides two dollars across the table and tips with coins. The kind of charm where you can cozy up all day inside a coffee shop. The kind of charm that makes you feel like you’re at home.

Below are a few spots that I’ve frequented since moving to Greenpoint at the end of August. The neighborhood is rapidly changing and new shops and cafes are popping up left and right.

Coffee

Champion Coffee – My favorite spot to grab a coffee, a beurre and jam baguette and people watch. Also the only place I’ve ever redeemed a punch card.

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Maman – You’ve heard me talk about this place before. Go here to escape and pretend you’re in the south of France. The decor, deconstructed avocado toast and french tunes make this a top spot for me. When I heard they were opening in Greenpoint, it was a big factor in my decision to move. I knew if Maman thought things were happening in GP, they were on to something big.

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Bakeri – If you’ve seen the movie or musical Waitress, Bakeri is pretty much the reality of it. Hard working women dressed in overalls dusted in flour create wonderful buttery pastries and coffee for their patrons.

Food

Peter Pan Donut – A no frills diner inspired donut shop that serves up the best fried dough you’ve had in your life. You can usually order a few donuts, coffee and a bagel sandwich (I’ve had experience) and expect the tab to be under $10.

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Glasserie – Situated in an industry chic space, Glasserie serves up innovative dishes that put Greenpoint on the map as a foodie destination.

Milk & Roses – Favorite place to grab a cocktail. Think candlelit room, bookshelf lined walls, and a pianist playing your favorite tunes.

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Hail Mary – 70’s inspired diner playing Biggie. Get their punch and be prepared for a fun night.

Five Leaves – You’ll know why there is a line for brunch. Wait it out. It’s worth it. Fluffy pancakes layered between bananas and strawberries, crispy thick-cut bacon, delicious coffee, great people watching, ….the list goes on. A Greenpoint staple.

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Those are my spots. Any other Greenpoint recommendations? Still on the hunt for the best place to get a cheese board and wine….at the moment my cozy apartment is the top contender.

xC

Lower East Side || Neighborhood Guide

I spent one year living in the Lower East Side. One year getting to know what’s housed between fire escapes on Ludlow, Rivington, Eldridge and Orchard. A year embracing the trash smells, but living in the heart of it all, and taking the good with the bad. One year walking up 68 steps to our fifth story walk-up. My year in my cozy, exposed brick, if-you-lean-your-head-out-the-window you’ll get a view of the Empire State Building apartment and I’m leaving and moving a stones throw across the East River.

To celebrate and thank LES, I am sharing with you my LES Neighborhood Guide.

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EAT

Spaghetti Incident — Under my old apartment, this cozy spot serves up inexpensive but hearty Italian dishes. The waitstaff carries out their duties with gusto, and in no time you will have a delicious bowl of housemade Bucatini in front of you. Pro tip: if you’re visiting late night, get their pasta to-go, served in a paper cone.

Pho Grand — Broth. When it comes down to it, this place’s broth has got it going on. Sure, there are other authentic spots in the same neighborhood, but there’s something about this broth and noodle combo that keeps bringing me back.IMG_0586.jpeg

Russ & Daughters — Enjoy a bagel just the way your grandma would want you to. Choose from a variety of smoked salmons, browse the selection of caviar, dried fruits and chocolate covered candies.

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La Margarita Pizza — Favorite by the slice spot in the city. Served Sicilian style, with the perfect ratio of doughy center to crunchy outer layer, this is a must for a quick lunch or late night bite.

il laboratorio del gelato — You’ve heard me rave before. If I was granted one wish it would be to eat dessert here everyday for the rest of my life. Flavors change daily and range from Turkish coffee, to basil, to cream cheese.

Goa Taco — What tacos should taste like. Served in the cutest apparatus, devour a crunchy taco that’s bursting with flavor.

DRINK

Jadis Wine Bar — French wine cave where you feel right at home. Enjoy the selection of wines and cheeses, and coffee table books and board games on their bookshelves.

Atta Boy — This spot serves up specialty cocktails, shaves their own ice, and requires a special eye and patience to make it in.

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Verlaine — $6 Lychee Martinis. Best in Manhattan. That is all.

DO

Sara Roosevelt Park — Take a walk down the park and prepare for sensory overload. Little old ladies doing Tai Chi here, 6 ft 5 basketball players keeping score there. A children’s soccer game, hidden gardens with turtle ponds, a running track, racquetball courts, etc. This park has it all.

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Sunshine Cinema — A quaint movie theatre that shows indie films and has the best snack bar selection of any theatre I’ve been to. Escape from the bustle of the city in here.

2nd Ave Park — A graffiti park exists across Houston. Installations come and go – there was once the famous heart wall, and now it’s home to pop artists facades such as Drake, Adele and RiRi.

Walk — Get lost and enter. The thing I will miss most is walking around this neighborhood. There is always more to see. Something new that catches my eye. Someone to stop and talk to.

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But let’s be honest, you know I’m excited to find my new spots in Brooklyn 😉

Corianna’s NYC Favorites

I’ve reached a pinnacle point in my relationship with the city. It’s about this time when I feel as if the city is truly mine, because I have found my favorite places. These spots are available to the entire city, yet they feel like my own due to the frequency that I enjoy them.

A few coveted favorites:

  1. Coffee || Maman

Not only is their font and branding off the chain (I mean, who doesn’t love a insulated serrated to-go mug) but the vibe in this small coffee shop in Little Italy is as cozy as it gets. Indulge in a flakey croissant or matcha cake while enjoying a cappuccino and flipping through a carefully curated selection of recipe books. The music and good eats put this at the top of my list out of all the coffee I’ve enjoyed in NYC.

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2. Pho || Pho Vietnam

I can’t say enough about this spot that I visit on a weekly basis. What do I love about it? Well, everything. Where can you fill up for under $10 in NYC? In fact, two large bowls of simmering broth and goodness will only set you back $14. It is spotless in here, which is a rarity for one dollar sign haunts. A bowl of pho gá comes with all white meat, and is piled high with vegetables. Service is A+.

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The cool chick that introduced me to Pho Vietnam. We both frequent it once a week, not a surprise to run into her! 

3. Bagel || Heaven’s Hot Bagel

Just a few steps down the road from Russ & Daughters (a favorite for bagels + lox) you will find Heaven’s Hot. This cash only spot has every kind of bagel you would want, and all the fixin’s. Go here for that bagel breakfast sandwich you’ve been craving, or just a good ole’ sesame bagel with scallion cream cheese.

4. Wine Bar || Jadis

Wines by the glass, cheese boards, and various appetizers make this wine bar a go-to. Tucked away just a few blocks from my apartment, I love Jadis for their great selection of wine, the cozy casual vibe and the bookshelves full of coffee table books.

5. Dessert || Veniero’s

If it’s a favorite of Larry David’s, it’s a favorite of mine. This East Village institution serves up hearty slices of original NY cheesecake and other Italian pastry delicacies. I love coming here to stock up on biscotti, or butter cookies, or just sit down and enjoy a coffee and a slice of cheese cake.

What are some of your favorite NYC spots?

XC

 

Corianna’s City Guide: A Perfect Day in Park Slope

I don’t remember the last time I’ve had a three day weekend that didn’t come attached to an itinerary. This past weekend was one of those unique times. I have the advantage of living in a city with many neighborhoods and boroughs, so it was really just a matter of choosing which one to explore for a staycation. The choice: Park Slope.

Park Slope is located in Brooklyn, and is a suburb of Manhattan. The neighborhood is nestled into neatly packed streets where brownstones line avenues, growing more ornate as they reach up the slope towards Prospect Park. Prospect Park is Brooklyn’s Central Park, though way more manageable in size. There are large fields where families play frisbee, dogs are off-leash and guitar chords echo under limestone bridges.

Corianna Goes XC’s Itinerary for a day in Park Slope: 

You can get to Park Slope by taking the B, Q, 2, 3, F, or G.

Make your way to Union Street and walk through a maze of high value brownstones.

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Head over to grab some fuel for the day and brunch at Rose Water . A prix-fixe brunch menu includes a house made beverage and delectable entree. Below are the bosc pear crepes filled with ricotta cheese. The homemade bread basket was an unexpected treat from the host, too!

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After brunch, it’s time for a Bloody Mary. Before leaving Rose Water, look across the street and marvel at the community grocery co-op then walk towards Union Hall, where you will be cozy in the dimly lit bar warmed by two fireplaces. Enjoy a game of bocce ball while listening to good tunes and sipping your drink.

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After a close game of bocce ball, it’s time to get some fresh air in Prospect Park. On Saturday’s there is a Farmer’s Market towards the entrance. I recommend fresh cheese from Cato Corner Farm.

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After a walk through the park, you will have a nice dose of suburban living before heading back to Manhattan, or whichever area you hail from. The best part? No waiting in an airport/train station/etc., cause that’s the beauty of a staycation – discovering your own city and its surroundings.