Monday, August 25, 2014

Where to Eat in Lausanne: The Great Escape

The first time we walked into the Great Escape some five years ago, we knew that we had found our homesick haven. Beers galore, neon signs, a wide wooden bar and sticky floors – it takes us back to our collegiate years in the best of all possible ways. This is Lausanne’s sports bar par excellence, and in walking past its threshold, you’ll think you’ve stepped into middle-America.

But even if America isn’t your thing, you’re going to love this place.

Aside from the great ambiance and fantastic summer terrace, it’s actually the food that keeps us coming back to the Great Escape. Our husbands swear by the burgers, but our Great Escape guilty pleasure is battered and deep fried – chicken nuggets! Served with thick-cut homemade potato slices and ketchup and mayonnaise for dipping, these suckers have taunted us in many a late night craving through the years. The Great Escape always has great seasonal salad options as well, in case our description has failed to bring you over to the deep-fried dark side.

This place is a perennial favorite in Lausanne. It might even be the city’s most popular bar. And among enthusiasts, we are no exception. Give us a beer, a basket of chicken nuggets, a group of friends and a spot on the steps leading from Riponne to the cathedral and we’ll pretty much call it the perfect Friday night.

The Great Escape was also featured in our series on the best terraces of Lausanne.

The Great Escape
Rue Madeleine 18, 1003 Lausanne
021 312 31 94

Monday, August 18, 2014

Where to Shop in Lausanne: Viva Frida Concept Store

Just as we all need to re-evaluate and refresh our own looks every so often, it's great to see one of our very favorite Lausanne boutiques do the same. Viva Frida! has relaunched this summer to become Viva Frida Concept Store, bringing forth some new designers never before seen in Lausanne.

The free spirited Frida Kahlo remains the inspiration of Barbara's boutique--and her classically popular Viva Frida Vintage line will continue to be sold (yes!), but alongside the retro and floral print dresses comes the sleek and sophisticated Nordic lines that claim the right as a 'staple' in your closet. 

Barbara believes in finding young and independent artists and designers who represent and embody the strong, fashion-forward, and individual woman; one who cares for detail and exclusivity, but also feels that quality should come with affordability. Her boutique is filled with beautiful objects, all hand-selected by Barbara herself; each necklace, shirt, vase, or purse has a narrative--a story of how and why she picked it, and how it fits in the greater story that is Viva Frida.

We'll be checking in often, as Barbara continues to look for young and emerging artists and designers to introduce to Lausanne--how lucky for us!

Check out her new store, in the same location:

Rue St. Beuve 1 (angle Marterey) / 1005 Lausanne
Tuesday-Friday from 12h to 19h / Saturday from 12h to 17h

Visit her website to have a look at the collections:
Or follow on Facebook:

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Where to travel from Lausanne: Last minute trip to Amsterdam!

August. It's a slow month here in Lausanne where most of the city shuts down and seeks refuge on a beach somewhere. But August is also a month where certain European cities are just starting to come alive with festivals, art exhibitions, and amazing dining experiences. If you have an itch to get away, why not book a last minute trip to one of our favorite cities? We asked our dear friend & sister-in-law Brooke, who has been living in Amsterdam for the past six years, for some recommendations. We can't wait to try them out!

Last minute trip to Amsterdam this month- 

Keywords-- festivals, gluten free, photography, de Pijp... 
I've lived in Amsterdam for six years now - the city of cycling maniacs, abundant museums, festivals, parks, romantic canals and long summer nights is at its best in August I think. Unfortunately the weather is unpredictable so be sure to bring an umbrella. My favorite neighborhood is de Pijp which is also where I live. For the most part my recommendations for your weekend are centered around de Pijp with an occasional pop over to another part of town. is the best way to go for booking a place to stay. This way you also get a peak into a real Dutch living space. Be prepared for narrow stairs and cozy balconies.
Friday-Settle into your apartment and then take a stroll around de Pijp and head to the charming gluten free friendly Cotton Cake , a cafe near the bustling Albert Cuypmarkt. You may even catch the end of the market clean up (around 16.00). For a lovely dinner I recommend De Waaghals, an incredible vegetarian restaurant. It's good to make a reservation as this place is very popular. It's SO GOOD and I'm not even vegetarian. As the evening begins, grab a blanket (or rent chairs on the website) and see an open air film at Pluk de Nacht, "seize the night" (6-16 August). The festival terrain is located north along the Ij river near the central station. A short film and then the feature film (always in English or with English subtitles and often about artsy off beat topics) start around 21.00. I would get there before 20.00 though or it will fill up. It's free. You can buy drinks and snacks at a few foods trucks. If you still have energy, on your way home stop at Cafe Brecht for a drink as you enter back into de Pijp. The cafe is designed in an old Berlin atmosphere and is a funky place. It's open till 1.00.
Saturday-For a simple breakfast and yummy coffee go to Two For Joy at Frederiksplein (open at 8.00). Their cappuccinos will make you drool. Now that you're enjoying a caffeine high have a look at Huis Marseille (open at 11.00, €8 entry), a small contemporary photography museum housed in a gorgeous old canal house along the Keizersgracht. Once you've had your fill of photography take the free ferry near the central station to the NDSM werf which is a part of Amsterdam North and the old shipyards where Europes' largest flea market is held one weekend a month. All the info can be found at, 23&24 August, open 9.00-16.30 and the entry is €4.50. Grab lunch at the Noorderlicht cafe, a hippy artsy place with great food overlooking the Ij. Take the ferry back to town and after a cat nap (you'll need it), go to de Parade theatre festival just south of de Pijp in Martin Luther King Park (, 8-24 August, €3.50 entry, €2-€10 for a ticket to a show). The atmosphere is incredible, you can eat at one of the many hipster food trucks, enjoy outdoor music, and Amsterdam's beautiful people. Make sure to buy a ticket to one of the theatre or music shows. Some are in English and many don't use language at all.

Sunday-Enjoy breakfast at de Bakkerswinkel's south location which opens at 10.00. You can enjoy delicious scones with clotted cream and jam, egg breakfasts are available as well. The Rijksmuseum just opened after a decade long renovation so a visit is in order I think. It's open till 17.00, tickets are €15. Make sure to sit in the open garden surrounding the museum and take a walk along the Museumplein where you can also see the modern art museum, Van Gogh museum, and concert building. If you have time for lunch before you go to the airport visit Trust, located along the Albert Cuypmarkt street which will on Sunday be empty of stalls. Trust has organic delicious food and you can "pay as you feel", no prices are listed anywhere. It's a relaxed creative slightly off-beat atmosphere. I recommend the open faced sandwich with old cheese and truffle mayonnaise. I dream about that sandwich sometimes! And with that final note you can head to the airport a happy clam! August is my favorite month in Amsterdam but every month has a different selection of fantastic things to do and see. Come back often. 

Have you been to Amsterdam? Is there anything you would add to the list for a weekend getaway?

Photography by Dotty Christensen

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Where to Eat in Lausanne: Elsalad

Our lives can be a bit hectic at times with our studies, our jobs, raising children, working out, maintaining relationships (the list goes on) that something usually needs to be sacrificed to get those things done. For us, it's usually our meals--finding something fast, especially when we are on the go...and let's face it, fast food isn't usually the most healthy of food. When we heard about Elsalad, one of the new food trucks in Riponne, we were intrigued by the idea of fresh and fast.

Not only is their menu healthy, but it's simple and delicious (hallelujah!). Three salads (currently Mexican steak, Great American Cobb, and Hummus Rainbow) which change every few weeks and seasonally (and that can be prepared as wraps as well) three types of sirops (all surprisingly refreshing and not sweet--which we really enjoyed), and a few desserts (the banana bread and zucchini chocolate chip cookie were phenomenal) prepared by Elsa herself. 


Seb, originally from America, and Elsa, who comes from Germany, are a charming duo. They are kind, welcoming, and genuinely care for their craft. Elsalad believes in sourcing all of their ingredients from local farmers (think 'farm-to-table food truck), and all salads and wraps are made to order--guaranteeing a fresh and flavorful dish in minutes. They also strongly believe in keeping their menu items fun and creative by using grains, nuts, seeds, and super foods like hemp, chia, and quinoa. You can get the salad to go, or stay awhile and dine on their picnic table terrace just in front of the truck.

So next time you're in the mood for something fun, fresh, flavorful, and fast--head on over to Riponne and stop by the Elsalad food truck--Seb and Elsa will be waiting for you with a salad and a smile.

Where to find them:
Elsalad is located in Place de la Riponne near the Riponne metro stop
Open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11am-8pm.

Check out their website or follow them on Facebook

Thursday, July 31, 2014

1er Août in Lausanne

What are you up to for the long weekend? Lausanne is kicking off the celebration early with festivities starting at 2pm today! Head on over to the Flon to check out the 'People in the City' festival! And we hear our friend Pedro will be DJing (such a man of many talents!). Have fun and bonne fête!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Where to hang out in Lausanne: La Grenette

Settled in a couch reminiscent of one that resides in my grandmother's house, surrounded by multicolored sun umbrellas and flower gardens that welcome a friendly picker (at just 50 centimes per stem), it's kind of hard to believe we are still in Lausanne. I mean, when did it get this trendy?
From those who brought us Zooburger, La Grenette is a small oasis in the midst of Riponne's concrete plaza, which opened it's proverbial doors earlier this summer. The furniture is thrifted, the idea fresh; mismatched tables and chairs add to the informally cute charm. The menu consists of simple crêpes, in-house Soulberry sirops, and various beer, wine, and cocktail choices.
One of the best parts? La Grenette is literally a place for everyone. Looking around there are students with headphones studying their textbooks, friends chatting over apero, couples splitting a crepe, and families with young children taking advantage of the provided slide, tricycles (and bike track!), as well as an children's outdoor library. Parents should also take advantage of La Halte Jeux de la Grenette, an outdoor venue for families that hosts arts and craft activities and who also offer up to a half-day of free childcare (sponsored by the city of Lausanne)...seriously? Hellooooo child-free shopping!

You can read more about La Grenette and its history, or find out about events they host on their website:

Or follow them on Facebook:

One thing to note: La Grenette is an outdoor seasonal terrace which is open from June until October.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Photo of the Week: Giacomini Refuge in Anzeindaz

What a weekend! We are back from two beautiful days of hiking and an overnight stay at Refuge Giacomini, the most idyllic little mountain hotel in Anzeindaz, Vaud. More details to come, but for now we wanted to share a glimpse - mountain pastures and soaring peaks...

Refuge Giacomini
024 498 22 95

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Where to eat in Paris: Our favorites

If you follow this blog closely, you might have noticed that this has been something of a special year for the Lausanne Guide. Half of our duo (Sarah) spent the spring in Paris working on a master’s degree, which left the other half (Tanya) to manage the site all on her lonesome. Needless to say, both of us are pretty exhausted…

But with that being said, we are so glad to be together again and brainstorming about fun projects to bring you this fall. But first things first – you can’t spend 5 months in Paris without having a few favorite spots to recommend to your friends, can you?!? Here are our top picks:

Pomze – if you only have one night out in Paris, this is your place. We’ve been coming here through the years and as much as we love testing new restaurants, nothing has yet de-throned Pomze as our favorite dinner in the city of lights. Why? Because every dish is a conversation. Never have we seen such unusual ingredient pairings – the surprise and delight of each combination means that basically we spend our entire dinner talking about our dinner, sharing bites and marveling over the creativity of it all. This is foodie paradise! The restaurant gets its name from the French word for “apples,” props to all you geniuses who already figured that one out. ;)

The chef incorporates apples into each dish in some subtle and innovative way; non-apple lovers fear not! While the flavor may serve as a red tread, giving the cuisine its creative structure, the tastes are never overwhelming. This gorgeous dining experience is also the most affordable we’ve had: three courses for 35 euros. We’ve practically eaten our way through Paris this spring, and we can attest that this is the best value we have found anywhere.

Things to note: 1) Pomze features live piano music most weekend nights. 2) Be sure to request a table by the window. 3) The restaurant’s apple theme is tied to the Normandy region of France, and so Pomze features accordingly a large list of ciders. For 14 euros, you can add a cider pairing to your dinner, which includes a glass perfectly selected to accompany the dishes that you pick. How fun is that? 4) While there is no dress code, Pomze feels classy, so we like to take it up a notch… 5) One negative observation: sometimes the dining room is not fully set, meaning half of the tables are left without plates, silver and glasses. Sadly, it gives the impression that Pomze's true glory days are behind it. But, we can assure you that what comes out of the kitchen sends a completely different message!

109 Boulevard Haussmann
75008 Paris
+33 1 42 65 65 83

Bistroy les Papilles – This is a great traditional Parisian bistro serving hearty and satisfying French cooking. The space is snug and the ambiance convivial and warm. We love this spot for their delightful service and vast wine selection. Wine lovers will enjoy the process of picking their bottle from off the wall; less confident diners can always rely on the knowledgeable wait staff for a recommendation. The menu changes each night and there is only one option available – four courses of whatever the chef has imagined for 35 euros. But don’t worry – it’s all delicious!

Things to note: 1) The food is RICH. Show up hungry. Eat slow. 2) The location is near the Pantheon – romantic after dinner stroll, check! 3) Dining at Bistroy Papilles is a laid back affair, so come dressed casually (perhaps with a belt to let out about half-way through dinner)

Bistroy les Papilles
30 Rue Gay-Lussac
75005 Paris
+33 1 43 25 20 79

A few others that are worth mentioning:
Want to eat well and not spend a fortune? Le Potager de Père Thierry (This is essentially a Parisian, French-food dive - we recommend the oeuf à la coque with foie gras...)

Art Deco chic + no-frills, delicious French food? Poulette (Take a look at the site, and you'll see instantly why we love dining here!)

Stylish afternoon coffee and French concept fashion and deco store? Merci (This is near the lovely but understated upper Marais neighborhood)

We’re sure that there are trendier places out there, but our list is primarily curated with the idea of delicious food in mind first and foremost. Restaurants with great ambiance that didn’t blow us away with their cooking didn’t make the cut. All of these spots are places that we returned to multiple times and look forward to visiting again and again in the future. Hope we’ve given you a few useful addresses for your next trip to the French capital!

We’re curious; do you have any Parisian addresses that we should try this fall?!? Please, please let us know via email or in the comments below. Merci mille fois!

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