Friday, 15 October 2010


The other day I had lunch at one of my favourite restaurants in London.
The Criterion is a few short steps from bustling Piccadilly Circus Tube and the nearby statue of Eros. But into what a different world do those steps lead honestly feels as if you've stumbled into a picture book.

Inside you'll find marble, mirrors and mosaics. The intricate and glittering ceiling is a little like being in church.
Here's my friend Katrina bathed in gold from the reflected light.

You'd never find it - not unless you knew it was there.
So do you have any secret places you'd like to share?


  1. if u ever find yourself in Ames Iowa, visit The Spice its a thai restaurant but its a blend of chic and cosy. I went there a lot when I was pregnant I called it a craving :) but it was not.

  2. Joanna, now you've got me wondering whether I WILL ever go go Ames, Iowa.....
    Can you tell me three lovely things about it (The Spice excluded!)?

  3. I guess I’m going to be the Italian referent of your blog – because I always think of something about my Italia!
    I have a nice story about a secret place.
    I was in Firenze with my uncle and aunt and tired of the long walk during the day we only wanted to find a good place to have dinner.

    There’s a wonderful restaurant all along the Arno, slightly enlightened.
    We found it by accident and the place is almost hidden, evocative, with wooden tables and candles all around. It’s small and cosy, waiters are friendly and food is excellent.
    I ate the best fiorentina of my life there and we also met an English family (dad, mom, son, sister) which also found the place “par hasard”.

    They laughed at my wisecrack because they wanted to eat good fish and I said that they were in the wrong city because you can only eat good fish in Napoli! Promoting? Always!
    Firenze is famous for its fiorentina and meat in general. We ate together and later spent wonderful days with them.
    Sadly, I can’t remember the name of this restaurant… it was four or five years ago.
    I must investigate my memory.

    I think that secret places are the best to explore, because the lead you to unexpected and interesting things.
    I can’t avoid to think of one my favourite novels of all time, “A room with a view” - and especially of chapter two “In Santa Croce with no Baedeker” where Miss Lucy Honeychurch thinks to be lost without her precious guide but on the way she meets The Emersons which make her realize new things about life and change her “inner view” forever.

  4. Two years ago, I was visiting a friend in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Santa Fe is a wondrous place. The city has a large population of talented artists and I can understand why. It's so easy to be inspired living in a place like Santa Fe with its incredible views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and skies a deep, crisp blue color that I've never seen anywhere else. My friend - she's a painter - took me to a cafe that was literally in the middle of nowhere. Inaccessible by car, the small adobe structure sat on the rim of a canyon and could only be reached by horseback or on foot. It had a patio with incredible views of the mountains which turned a rich, vibrant red at sunset. The menu had many Mexican-influenced dishes and the freshest tortillas I've ever had. The wine list was short and simple but accented the food in a very satisfying way.

    An interesting thing was that the cafe had no set hours or schedule. Hikers often discovered (after a long walk) that the place was closed for the day. My friend and I were lucky that evening. It was an evening that I will remember forever.