It’s not too late for ice-cream yet…

I know I should have shared this with you at least few weeks ago but like they say, better later than never.
I am not a big ice-cream lover, in fact I may be the first person you have heard of that doesn’t really like them… Yes, it is possible. So if I actually happen to like an ice-cream that means they must be quite incredible.

sorbetsFew weeks ago I read an interview with a wife of Poland’s notable patisserie chef. They operate their own ice-cream factory for mass production and some local pastry cafés across Poland for more homemade products.

In the interview she told a story of one of their customers who came back to their shop to ‘complain’ that during a dinner she gave to her French guests they found a pip in their lemon sorbets. And how proud she was when the French people surprisingly asked if they make ice-creams with real lemons in Poland.
This little anecdote convinced me completely and I finally made it to this ice-cream heaven, Lodziarnia Grycan, with my sister Marta and our lovely cousin Ola.
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The place itself is nothing special, just a typical, slightly boring, slightly modern, kind of lost-somewhere-in-mid-90s type café but their ice-creams are, indeed, the best you can get in this part of the world. Creamy, rich, not too sweet – they still make ice-cream with real ingredients in Poland and they are so good that even I could eat them almost every day.
I was also very surprised with their sorbets, too. I never thought I would like any to be honest but the strawberry one I had at ‘Grycan’ was simply perfect!

For locations in Poland check here.

Italy and ice-creams – is there a anything in this world which works better? Every real Italian will take you to their favourite pasticceria to buy you few scoops of gelato after a good lunch. Or when trying to impress a girl on their first date. Or without any particular reason really…

Even I managed to find a place that overcame my little ice-cream phobia there.
Gelateria Buosi (via Veratti, 12) in Varese, again a family business, makes their products in hundreds of flavours according to ancient receipts and keeps the highest standards of quality where each ingredient is carefully sourced. And the results are, of course, quite incredible, enough to keep me coming back each time I am in the ‘wider’ neighbourhood. As no other ice-cream tastes the same after you tried Buosi!

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Those who like chocolate will like Pasticceria Buosi as well and their wonderful chocolate creations, among which my favourite drink – buosino, a combination of coffee, milk and chocolate. I mentioned it one of my older posts about breakfast places.

So hurry up, book your trip and enjoy before you can.

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Checking coffee in Warsaw

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Thanks to my sister, Marta, I have recently been introduced to a new trend of making coffee. Since I lived in Italy I always thought that the only way of enjoying your coffee was having it dark roasted and really, really strong. The most fashionable espressos are still, fortunately, very strong but are made with lightly roasted beans to bring the real coffee flavour and its natural acidity.
I am completely converted to this new method; almost believe it’s worth buying a ticket to Warsaw to try some of those extra strong and extra flavoursome coffees. Below few suggestions to you where to start if you want to check yourself:

  1. Filtry (Niemcewicza 3) – Marta’s favourite café. Little, cute, off the beaten track and a perfect place to start your weekend. They are so crazy about their coffee that they run a regular blog to inform its clients (and fans) where their blends come from and who roasted them.
  2. SAM (Lipowa 7a) – and this is currently my favourite place in Warsaw. Cool but not pretentious, with great food and probably the best bread in Poland (available to take away as well). It’s quite close to the University Library (a building worth checking as well) in a nice, fashionably run down street in Powiśle. I love the eclectic mixture of people they attract – students, hipster mums with their even more hipster babies, businessmen looking for a bite for lunch, few lost tourists, few celebrities and all those who know what’s going in Warsaw nowadays. It’s probably as close to my ideal café at the moment as it gets – my criteria change often though…
  3. Kubek w kubek (Grażyny 16) – my latest discovery. The street where it’s located reminds me a bit of Krakow (not the historical centre, rather those quirky streets somewhere off Karmelicka) but it’s not the main reason why I go there. Date where the coffee was roasted is marked on the board at the board along with its flavour – for me it tastes of coffee rather than citrus, chocolate and nuts though. Great lunches at great prices, nice cakes (including gluten-free options) and completely relaxing atmosphere.
  4.  MiTo (Waryńskiego 28) – some say it’s best coffee in Warsaw at the moment. The place itself is bit cold and modern for my taste (with some seriously disturbing modern art) but their coffee is definitely worth trying.
  5. Relaks (Puławska 48) – maybe not the most friendly place on earth, not my sort of atmosphere but their espressos have probably the purest taste of coffee I have ever experienced! So despite being slightly afraid of their baristas (I have a feeling they will tell me off one day for using sugar with their perfect coffees) I will be coming back and I advise you the same. Plus they are steps away from my favourite burger places – more details here.
  6. Kafka (Oboźna 3) – reminds me of my first trips to Warsaw where I didn’t know that much of the city. It lost its charm a bit now but their coffees are still perfect and their deckchairs the most comfortable in the whole city!

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Together with Marta with are working very hard to check other places in Warsaw so watch this space in the future.

Photo credits: Kuba Bożanowski / Foter / CC BY

Secrets of summer Warsaw

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I have been thinking recently what makes it so special for me in Poland, so relaxed, worry free, easy-going… Is it my childhood memories, nostology for places I can’t see that often any more or simply the fact I am always surrounded by friends and family when I am there? A bit of all these probably but I found another reason for my good mood in Poland in an interview with a Dutch musician living in Warsaw. As many others he came to Poland for few weeks only but somehow it’s 2nd year now and he is not leaving. Why? He says it’s this Polish honesty and ignorance of ‘political correctness’, people tell you what they feel about you (and everyone else) and you know that if they like you it’s genuine. Otherwise they would tell you.
So if you are bored of everyday correctness (I am not saying it’s not useful, it’s just everyone needs some time off) and want something new and exciting come to spend few days in Warsaw this summer.

I know it’s probably not your first choice, Warsaw doesn’t seem to be the most glamorous place on earth and it’s not your typical summer destination but trust me it’s the best time to (re)discover it. It’s a place constantly changing, trying to define its new identity and re-connect with its past and pre-war glory. Warsaw is like one of those people who are not naturally beautiful and because of that they have to work harder to be attractive.

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I came a long way from ignoring it, complaining about its urban chaos to actually falling in love with it. I can’t stop wondering how much this city changes and how lucky it is with all those young people who want to change it.
If you want to come and experience it all yourself (just be careful not to stay forever!) below few places you should check:

1. I have a new favourite café in Poland – SAM (ul. Lipowa 7). A great place to mix with the young and beautiful, eat the ‘trendiest’ food and try the best Polish bread (available to take away as well).
2. Need some time off? Go to Park Ujazdowski – one of the nicest parks in Warsaw. If you are lucky (and quick) and may even spend an afternoon relaxing in one of the hammocks hung in front of the Ujazdów Castle. One of my favourite Warsaw restaurants, Qchania Artstyczna, is located on the other side of the castle if you need some nibbles while your are resting too..
3. Many people in Poland, especially students, start their days with a ‘drożdżówka’. I know that probably none of you there can’t really pronounce it but trust me it’s better than it sounds. Drożdżówka is a type of yeast bun with seasonal fruits inside and lots of sweet crumbles on top. In summer we eat them with wild blueberries (they even have their name – jagodzianki) or strawberries, in other seasons you can find cherry, apple or even cheese versions. I have recently discovered a place in Warsaw which, in my opinion, makes the best drożdżówki on the planet – La Vanille (Krucza 16/22). Buy their blueberry version, order your favourite coffee and enjoy a truly Polish breakfast in the centre of Warsaw.
4. Still thinking that Italians make the best coffee in the world? Guys from MiTo (ul. Ludwika Waryńskiego 28) will stand for any challenge to prove that Polish espresso has nothing to compare to. Relaks (Puławska 48) has a similar orthodox approach to coffee (apparently it should taste of coffee only and not roasting) so if you are ready for an extreme experience you should definitely check it out! And if you get hungry on the way you can pop by to the nearby Warburger (corner of Dąbrowskiego and Puławska streets) for one of the best burgers in the city (read more about burger obsession in Warsaw here). Those who are looking for an original suveniur from Poland shouldn’t miss ReSet, a shop selling items by young Polish artists and designers, located just next door to Relaks.

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6. Have you heard that Poland is the biggest producer of strawberries in the whole world? I bet you didn’t but fruits, especially berries apparently like Polish climate of very warm days and cooler nights so if you are a fan of everything organic and natural you should have a tour of Warsaw street markets.  BioBazar (Żelazna 51/53), Hala Mirowska (Plac Mirowski 1), Koszyki (Koszykowa 63), Bazar na Polnej (Polna 13) are just a few I and Marta like to wonder around while looking for the best vegetables, flowers, pot plants, mushroom or meats. Additionally almost everywhere in Polish cities you can see small stalls, or just vans selling best produce directly from the farms, just look for them closer to residential districts. You will want to buy everything! Plus no one can beat the prices.
7. Wola is at the moment my favourite part of Warsaw and each time I go there I like it even more. Hugely impacted by war (parts of it were turned into ghetto and it was  then almost completely destroyed during the Uprising in 1944) it’s now rising again as a new business centre but not forgetting its tragic heritage. Stroll around quieter streets of Mirów, Muranów or Nowolipki to get a glimpse of real pre-war Warsaw. And if you want to learn a bit more about the history of Warsaw uprising then definitely visit the Museum of Warsaw Uprising (ul. Grzybowska 79), it’s not only one of the best museums in the city but also a great place to learn something more about less know facts from the Polish recent past.

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See you in Warsaw then and enjoy your holidays!

Photo credits – guidolo / Foter / CC BY-NDJarosław Pocztarski / Foter / CC BYpaval hadzinski / Foter / CC BY-NC-NDtrilli bagus / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Our top 5 steak places in Europe

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It’s December, Christmas is coming and I decided to spend this time eating my favourite food. Steaks are quite high on my list so if I could I would choose one of these places for dinner today or actually every day this week.

1. L’Entracôte (Paris) – my absolute number one when it comes to steaks. Le Relais de Venise, widely known as L’Entrecôte,wasfounded by Paul Gineste de Saurs in Paris. It has now expanded internationally but it is still manage by the family. The formula is quite simple: lettuce-and-walnut salad as a starter; steak-frites with a secret butter as the main course, served in two turns. They don’t accept bookings so if you don’t arrive early enough be prepared to queue even up to an hour to get your table. All worth it though! My favourite location is L’Entrecôte Saint-Germain in Paris’s 6th arrondissement. Check who made it to number 2 here

Burger mania in Warsaw


Burgers bars became the places to be in Warsaw. Their owners decided to adapt this symbol of fast food into slow organic cooking. With self-made bread, organic cheese and best quality Polish beef burgers took over Warsaw culinary scene.

Together with Marta we checked two places for you – they are so popular that it may take even up to an hour of queuing during the busiest time to order your favourite burger. Apart from classical versions with cheese or bacon you can choose ones with eggs, salmon or even venison.

Burger Bar (Olkuska 2) located between a kebab stand and scrap yard is run by a young guy who escaped from corporate life to open one of the most popular places in Warsaw at the moment. Local culinary gurus, students, young professionals from nearby offices, celebrities they all love his burgers and wait patiently for their turn in long queues.

Warburger (corner of Puławska and Dąbrowskiego streets) is our latest discovery. Tiny, cosy, a little bit posh, a little bit hipster – it has everything what young Varsovians like most. Plus will keep you healthy after eating all those burgers by offering free apples for dessert.

We haven’t checked all the places yet but people who know what they are talking about definitely recommend these:
Bagno Food and Wine (Bagno 2)
Barn Burger (Złota 9)
Local Bistro (Krakowskie Przedmieście 64)

And for the most expensive and poshest burger in Warsaw (if not in the whole Europe!) try our new favourite steak place – Butchery and Wine (Żurawia 22). We will write more about it and our other discoveries in Warsaw soon.