I am not sure what was the exact trigger that made me book a flight to Copenhagen (and soon Stockholm) a few days ago, but for sure, it was a good one. My original plan was to travel to Iceland. I found a good priced ticket but what I didn’t realize was the high cost of living and traveling there. The only way to enjoy Iceland is by driving around and I didn’t have the right partner for that, so I decided to ‘stay’ in the Scandinavian area and look for locations that would be easier to navigate. Since my mom wanted to visit Scandinavia for a while now, I have decided to take her both to Copenhagen and Stockholm, preferred during Summer time or before the weather will get too cold. At least for her.
I must admit that some people warned us that Copenhagen can be…well…quite boring or slow paced, especially for someone like me who is coming from New York. Indeed, Copenhagen is slow paced and very relaxed. It seems as though the Danes never get upset, but the city (especially during Summer time) is far from being boring. On the contrary; since the warm weather and the long day-light hours, the city is quite vibrant and alive.
Even though Copenhagen is considered one of Europe quieter capitals, the city is growing and becoming adventurous. A new wave of designers, architects and chefs has helped fuel Copenhagen’s revival. The New Nordic might be considered the cuisine of the moment, mostly thanks to Noma restaurant and the design scene is very much a source of inspiration and imitation around the world.
From the moment you arrive to the city to the time you leave, you will eat, shop, bike and sleep in style. Guaranteed.
Here is the first post in a series of some of my recommendations of places I have visited (some of them are not yet in travel books). The first post in the series is about the Food:
People fly to Copenhagen just to eat at Noma, which is considered one of the the best restaurant in the world , if not THE BEST. It is also the only place in the city to have two Michelin stars. So no doubt here it will be quite a challenge to have a reservation. Noma has pioneered what is called the ‘New Nordic Cuisine’ movement, promoting traditional styles of cooking while using fresh ingredients grown in Scandinavia. It was just a matter of time for similar restaurants to pop and succeed.
One of them is Höst
This restaurant is very much similar to Noma’s design, with the unpolished and bare concrete walls and floors, the raw wooden furniture, the wooden bars on the ceiling and the massive black industrial lights hanging from the ceiling. The color scheme is very Nordic; black and white, greys and raw wood. (Höst has already won three international design awards, including the award for the World’s Best-Designed Restaurant at the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards).
The restaurant offers a fixed three-course menu that can be combined with a standard wine menu or pair with the upgraded selection of wines. There is also a small à la carte menu to choose from.
One thing is for sure though; You’d better have friends at Höst who can get you a table or you should book a table way in advance.
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday: 17.30 – 24.00, Nørre Farimagsgade 41, 1364 Kbh.K firstname.lastname@example.org
Geist is one of those restaurants that you need to know where they are located, otherwise you might not be able to find them. Tucked in an inner courtyard, in what seems to be a residential/office building in Kongens Nytorv, I found Geist only because I was curious to find out what was in this courtyard. When I got in it was a bit before noon and the the crew was in the beginning of getting the restaurant ready for lunch. Geist has two areas provide distinct scenes. The less formal food bar features tall stools around the bar, whereas the dining room is more classic with tall columns and round tables. The menu is mostly based on meat and seafood and presents a 30-dish a la carte menu. Also here, better make reservations especially for dinner time.
Opening Hours: Every day: lunch 12.00 – 15.00, dinner 18.00 – 01.00, Kongens Nytorv 8, Geist
This might be one of the most popular, hype and trendy location for a suitable brunch in Copenhagen. Located in a tiny but stylish street in Frederiksberg, Granola offers great coffee, homemade cakes and breakfast made by fresh organic ingredients. When we got in, it seemed everyone was having a milkshake or a smoothie on the table and even though I am a coffee junkie, a friendly recommendation got me to have a fruity milkshake. My mom ordered a chocolate creme (they make it with nutella) and after tasting those, I understood why everyone had one.
The place has the touch of an American diner, both in some of the food and the interior (maybe that’s why it got its popularity from) although coming from NY, I would have preferred a Danish design.
Granola has become a popular place among the local crowd but also attracts tourists who get recommendations from (probably the) locals. For dinner, better make reservations in advance.
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday: 7:00- 24:00, Weekend open at 9:00, Sunday closed at 16:00. Vaernedamsvej 5, Frederiksberg, Granola
This cute place got to be my neighborhood’s morning cafe, where I stayed in Frederiksberg area in Copenhagen. I first saw it during my morning run along Gammel street. I liked the outdoor communal table, where locals parked their bikes and started to settled for their morning coffee. The interior is simple but stylish. One of the walls has an industrial look thanks to the metal boards and the hanging green lamps that serve as decoration. The wooden chairs with the big pillows add to a homey and cosy atmosphere, a feeling you get the moment you enter the cafe. Maybe because the owner is standing behind the counter, her daughter is helping to set up the tables and the owner’s mom is having her morning coffee there as well. Or maybe it is because of the delicate and colorful coffee mugs, the home made granola or the freshly baked banana bread.
All of the above make Cafe Ipsen & Co a great start for the day.
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday: 8:00-18:00, Weekend: 9:00- 17:00, Gammel Kongevej 108, Frederiksberg. Ipsen & Co.
Torvehallerne Gourmet Market: Just a walking distance from Höst restaurant, coming out from Frederiksberg metro station, is a must visit market for anyone interested in the Danish gourmet food for a reasonable price. We actually found this market by chance when I was rushing to photograph Höst. When we came out of the Frederiksberg metro station, we saw lots of Danes dining outdoors, hanging out with friends, sitting around communal tables, benches or crowding around the Kava bar, holding a glass of wine. The market is a well lit glass with almost 80 enclosed aisles with various goods and foods; from fresh breads, French fromagerie, meat, fish, flowers, and sweets.
It is a very happening location especially during Summer time and it is a great alternative in case you didn’t make any dinner reservations for one of the fancy restaurants in town.
Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday: 10:00- 19:00, Friday open till 20:00. Weekend: 10:00- 17:00. Frederiksborggade 21, Frederiksberg metro station. Torvehallerne
I think that most photographers, beside seeing their images in print and in Travel magazines, might feel very proud and accomplished when they see their own picture in the contributors’ page.
At least this is how I feel when I see my picture and my name. Especially when it has to do with World Top magazine such as Travel + Leisure.
In this coming July issue, I will have my Feasts of Tel Aviv food story published, but also a short interview with me about it. Needless to say it feels almost unreal and for me it is a dream comes true. If you can’t grab a copy at the nearest newsstand, here is the interview… right after this…
Restaurant you’ll go to again and again: I spend a lot of time in Tel Aviv, and lately, I find myself constantly returning to Cafe Nachmani. I love its artistic interior and atmospher – It makes me feel as I am back in New York.
You can’t call yourself a Tel Aviv foodie until…You’ve elbowed your way through the long lines at Abu Hassan, a hummus place in Jaffa.
Favorite Photo subject: Laundry. I’ve traveled to Naples, Italy and Menton, in the South of France just to shoot hanging laundry for my ongoing photography project ‘Intimacy Under the Wires’
Food you couldn’t live without: Dark Chocolate. I’d eat it at every meal.
Best dish while on assignment: Ricotta gnocchi on a bed of chard, mostly because chef Haim Cohen of Yaffo Tel Aviv cooked it for me himself.
“…From pickled mussels to sardines with shushka peppers to glazed pork belly, charred eggplant and much, much more…Tel Aviv may look like South Beach on the eastern Mediterranean, but the food is ‘influence-rich, ingredient-agnostic, and genre-busting’ …I am very honored to introduce my recent shoot for Travel + Leisure, July Issue: Welcome to The Feasts of Tel Aviv.
A few months ago I was contacted by the Photo Editor of Travel+Leisure, asking me if I was interested in shooting the Food Scene in Tel Aviv for an upcoming Summer issue. Of course I said Yes. Even though I am not a foodie, I LOVE photographing food and style some table scenes. My Food assignment started with an item about HaCarmel Market in April issue and continued with an exciting list of some of the busiest restaurants in Tel Aviv, run by some of the Top Chefs in the Israeli Culinary arena.
Restaurants such as Yaffo Tel Aviv by chef Haim Cohen, HaSalon and Port Said, run by chef Eyal Shani, Alma Lounge Bar, to chef Yonatan Roshfeld. In addition I had to photograph Gil Hovav, a well known food writer, TV host, book publisher and producer. I photographed Gil in HaCarmel Market and it was fun watching how he interacts with his fans and how people in the street stop him to acknowledge him.
If you wonder if I ate some of the food, the answer is No. Not really. I was so busy making sure I have the appropriate light or the appropriate lighting equipment and even making sure the chefs themselves feel comfortable and at ease, that I really could not sit down and relax at the end of the shoot. But nevertheless, the experience was AMAZING and I enjoyed every minute of it. At Yaffo Tel Aviv I peeped into the kitchen and saw how they make their own pasta. I also got some tips from chef Haim Cohen in case I visit Georgia. In HaSalon restaurant I ended up having a long conversation with Eyal Shani (even though I was quite nervous to photograph him) and in Port Said I had to be very fast and specific if I wanted to get that specific frame by my ‘hand models’ (I had only 30 minutes).
Every shooting assignment is a learning experience and teaches me something new. Beside the fact I get to know Tel Aviv MOSTLY from the shooting assignments I get, this Food Scene shoot taught me how to communicate with Top Master chefs (who have their reputation and ego) so I can get from them the shots and frames I want. It also taught me to plan my shoots ahead of time but also be open for changes on the set, and above all, it introduced me with some of the best food in Tel Aviv, I was not yet familiar with.
Here is the final result, the cooked dish. You can read more here, The Feasts of Tel Aviv.
But wait, there is more….
Apparently, the Photo Editor was so happy with the shoot, that she chose one of the Port Said Table Scene as an opener for the July section. I LOVE how this shot came out.
Don’t you just want to jump into the frame and eat what’s in it?
Since I first came across the NHOW Hotel in Berlin, designed by Karim Rashid, I keep looking for more hotels and projects he designs. I was lucky enough to meet Karim a few times in person; Twice in New York, (both in his old and new studios) and once in Tel Aviv, where he is currently designing a new hotel, planned to be opened in October. While I am hoping and planning to shoot the next hotel in Tel Aviv, I had the opportunity to stay it one of the first hotels he designed. The Semiramis Hotel located in one of the most affluent and leafy suburb in Athens, called Kifissia. I wish I had more time to stay in Kifissia and at Semiramis but I was on my way to Milos for a shoot. It is such a magical area that one of my close friends described it: ‘If I ever want to disappear for a little bit, I can easily go to Kifissia’.
I arrived at the hotel on a Sunday afternoon after a long flight from New York in which I didn’t really have the chance to sleep. Regardless, I was anxious to walk around the colorful hotel and discover some of Karim’s signature designs and style.
When the description of the hotel goes like this..“Semiramis is what happens when you give a hot designer total control”…I need to see it in my own eyes and cameras
So let’s start with the Pool:
As a long time swimmer, I do tend to check out the swimming pools first when I check in to hotels. Even though the Semiramis pool is not a lap one, it was quite hard to ignore it. The pool is shaped in a fluid curved shape, typical to Karim Rashid’s style and colored in shades of turquoise and neon green. To complement Karim chose white sun-beds with pinkish color umbrellas, dotted with white. To be honest, I couldn’t stop taking pictures of this pool. I tried to cover every angle. A mosaic dark blue fountain adds a decadent touch and border between the pool area and the area around the hotel.
Only by seeing the colors of the Sun terraces (Lime Green) I knew I arrived at one of Karim’s playgrounds. The facade is totally different to the Greek typical style, and this is what I actually love about Karim’s style. His designs are ALWAYS extraordinary. To enter the lobby I had to walk through a glowing pink glass cube and to be warmly welcomed by one of the staff, offering me a glass of sparkling water.
The YES Lobby:
As Semiramis is part of the YES! Hotels group, the Artwork ‘YES’ by Tim Noble and Sue Webster is definitely a great visual welcoming sign. The affirmative “YE$” sign presents the familiar dollar symbol in a bright display of shimmering lights flickering on and off before the viewer. I enjoyed watching this sign when I got back to Semiramis after an evening stroll in Kifissia. On a bright Pink wall the Artwork ‘VBGDW’ by Vanessa Beecroft is also a welcoming gesture. ‘VBGDW’ is a photo of Vanessa Beecroft’s wedding party in Portofino in September 2000. (Rumors say she is divorced now). The dark blue Wavelength Sofas designed by Karim, gave me a feeling as being under waves in the ocean.
The Bar and Dining Area:
I just LOVE this bar and dining area. I felt as I was walking in one of the wings of a contemporary modern museum. And no wonder. Dakis Joannou, the hardworking owner of Yes! Hotels, is one of the foremost collectors of contemporary European art in Greece, and therefore is surrounding himself with objects that inspire him, from Art, Design and Architecture. I could spot two Artworks by Spencer Tunick, (The ‘New Vienna’ and ‘Krystl’) and the ‘Shutup’ Artwork by Michael Bevilacqua right above the seating area. On a Pink color carpet, Karim furnished the dining area with his signature Swing Chairs in addition to a lively lighting concept, especially commissioned from Focus Lighting in New York, under the direction of principal designer Paul Gregory. I love the Orange colored glass wall, which made a perfect dividing wall between the Bar and the Dining area. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really dine at Semiramis restaurant, as it was closed due to a private event. Well, it is a reason for me to go back…
Semiramis has three types of rooms; Standard rooms, 20 meters squared rooms overlooking the park of Kefalari. Queen bed and above bed- lighted murals offers a pop of color to the all-white feeling of tranquility of the room. The Superior rooms, 25 meters squared are overlooking either to the park or the great pool. (I was lucky enough to overlook the beautiful pool) and then there are The Pool Bungalows, 25 square meters, built as separate units alongside the pool and each bungalow has a King size bed and a private small garden. I have stayed in one of the Superiors rooms overlooking the pool. I loved having a great afternoon light reflecting and glittering on my lime green terrace and watching the sunset over the hills around Kifissia. The hotel has its own sense of humor, which reflects well in the design; The rooms, for instance, don’t have numbers, but every floor has a color and each room has an icon. To find my room, I had to spot the icon across the hallway. Instead of the typical boring ‘Do Not Disturb’ signs, hanging on the door knobs, Karim decided to place electronic message boards at every room entrance, which guests can personalize from their in-room keyboards.
I’m really looking forward to see the next hotel designed by Karim Rashid, Sir Benjamin Hotel, coming soon in Tel Aviv.
Like every year, around April or May, the travel magazine, Travel +Leisure is publishing an annual book about the World’s Greatest Hotels. I was thrilled to participate in last year’s 2013 edition and shoot the Efendi Hotel in Acre, Israel. This year, for the 2014 edition, I was asked to shoot one of my favorite and colorful hotels in Tel Aviv, Alma Boutique Hotel. I was very happy to discover that one of the images made it
To see more images and a previous post about Alma Hotel, please click here.
In case you don’t have a chance to get the World’s Greatest Hotels’ book, here is the text about Alma;
‘To see what really makes Tel Aviv tick, head to the White City UNESCO World Heritage site, where design and architecture take center stage. Smack in the middle of it all, the Alma Hotel & Lounge has become the discerning traveler’s hotel of choice. Siblings Adi and Irit Strauss have created a patchwork of bohemian luxury in 15 airy rooms inspired by the 1920′s, each with bijou stained-glass windows and handwoven carpets. Yonatan Roshfeld, the chef behind nearby tapas hot spot Ahad Ha’am, lures Israeli socialites and Russian businessmen to the hotel’s namesake restaurant with Moroccan small plates (beets-topped raw beef kibbeh in sheep’s milk; lamb encrusted with red pepper, roasted garlic, thyme and sage). The artful menu perfectly complements the decor, which is lifted straight out of Paris’s Marais district; a smattering of jewel-toned chairs, checkered floors, and edgy contemporary artwork”
When people ask me what I do for a living and I answer: ‘Travel Photographer’ their first reaction is usually ‘Oh, so I guess you get to travel a lot and be in all these fancy hotels, right?’
Well, I DO travel a lot (after all, this is the only way for me to do my work) but being a travel photographer doesn’t necessarily mean I sunbath along the poolside in an exotic island while I am on assignment or stay in those super luxury hotels I get to shoot. Being a Travel Photographer also means following the client’s brief, carrying some heavy equipments (mostly all day on your back) spending a lot of time in front of the computer editing pictures (unless you have an assistant who does it for you) and marketing yourself among magazines, photo editors and potential clients because nobody else will do this for you.
Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE my job! I get to explore a lot of buzzy and brill places, meet very interesting and diverse people from different ranges, see some marvelous interiors and eat delicious and exquisite cuisine. Yes, Just like one of my recent assignment in Paris.
On March I got one of the most enjoyable shooting assignment; To shoot a Patisseries Guide to Paris based on a popular blog in Israel called Paris Chez Sharon. I couldn’t ask for a better assignment which combined two of my favorite things; Patisseries and Paris. When my friends heard I was about to go to Paris to shoot some of the top Patisseries chefs and boutiques, they happily volunteered to be my assistants on board. I must admit, it was a dream assignment but it was also an intense one; Sharon, the blogger behind the book, made sure to schedule all the shoots in advance and it was managed as a well controlled military operation; I shot 32 (!) patisseries in 4 days, running around from one location to another, whereas in each location the Patisserie chef himself was welcoming us with something sweet to taste. As much as I care about my figure (especially on assignments) I couldn’t say No to a famous Patisserie chef or Chocolatier who hands me his best Patisserie in front of my face.
And Yes, I did try MOST of the desserts; after all, not everyday do I get to work with such a delicious client, right?
So here are few images that reflect my love to Patisseries and Paris.
Stay tuned for more delicious images soon… meanwhile, make sure to check the previous of the book here.
I am very honored and excited to have my debut image of Porto featured as the travel story opener in Elle Decor US, May Issue.
Beside Travel Magazines that inspire me, Elle Decor is an inspiration for everything that has to do with design. Quite often I get myself a copy of the magazine and dive into the homes and lives of others. Therefore, I was quite excited when the Photo Editor of Elle Decor has contacted me two months ago, asking me to share some images I took of Porto.
I visited Porto last February and spent a long weekend in that old mysterious and gothic city. I was quite lucky to experience so much in such a little time and get a sense of that city, which left me, of course, with the desire and curiosity to visit it again and experience it even more. (Hopefully during the Summer Season).
If my A Long Weekend in Porto post doesn’t convince you to book a flight or a vacation in this city, maybe the fact that Porto has just been selected as the Best European City for 2014, will do the trick.
When I am not traveling on assignment, I often choose my travel destination from a picture I see of a place or an object. A picture that fuels my curiosity. It happened to me for Buenos Aires, where I traveled for a picture of a great Street Art mural. It happened to me for Hoi An Vietnam, where I traveled for a picture of the Full Moon in Tet Festival. It happened to me in Naples, where I traveled especially to shoot hanging laundry. And it happened to me in Menton in the French Riviera, for a picture of laundry hanging outside a yellow colored house. (Thanks Millie Brown for your blog).
I am always in search of interesting areas and locations to shoot laundry as part of my on going personal photography project Intimacy under the Wires and when I saw that picture of laundry in the French Riviera, I knew it had to be my next destination.
So here I am. After an intense shoot in Paris, both for the Patisserie Guide to Paris and the food shoot of Rue du Nil, I have decided to take a train down south and search for French Laundry in Nice, Menton, Villefranch Sur Mer and Cap Ferrat.
Tel Aviv is becoming quite a HOT destination recently, not only because of the weather, but mostly for the things it has to offer; Culture, Beach life, Night life and the Food. Oh yes…The Food.
Travel+Leisure April Issue is always a food related one. This April issue I was assigned to shoot the ‘Street Smart’ segment for ‘On the Radar’ and I found myself looking for a variety of interesting characters in HaCarmel Market in Tel Aviv. I must admit; I haven’t spent so much time in HaCarmel Market before, mostly because it is always busy and crowded. But for this assignment, I walked around the alleys in different hours of the day, spoke to Patrons, followed customers, photographed dogs, tried out some Humus places, Beer Bars and got myself familiar and comfortable with that special rhythm of the market.
I highly recommend to get yourself familiar with these locals picks…and if you are a foodie, stick around, because there is so much more to come.
My recent visit to Central Portugal was hectic and full of great surprises. Not only did I get to see the beautiful landscape of the region, drink some really good local wine and meet some incredible interesting people. I also got the chance to stay in these people’s hotels and hear their inspiring stories.
One of them is Paulo Romao, the owner of the beautiful hotel Casas do Coro, who seems to be a natural with anything that has to do with fine cuisine, great wine and the art of hosting. He is also a full time businessman and a family man who travels everyday from the hotel and back home to be with his family.
Casas do Coro is located in the Historical Village of Marialva; a hilltop Medieval village with a Medieval Castle from the 16th/17th centuries which used to be a strong military base. When we got to Marialva it was already late. I couldn’t see what was around us but by the bumpy drive uphill I had a feeling we are on our way to a quite high and rural location.
I was right!
When I woke up the next morning and went for my morning run, I was breath-taken by the beautiful views of the valley, the cobble stone roads, the stone-village houses surrounded by light pink almond trees and the simple yet friendly local people. I felt as for a second I was transported to a different time in life.
A different era.
Casas do Coro is definitely a good reason to stay in Marialva Village. Built in the year of 2000, the resort is actually a handful of restored homes that make up to a charming and luxurious rural tourism unit down the hill of the Medieval Castle. Each house unit is quite spacious and very welcoming. It is like your ‘Home away from Home’ experience. It is fully equipped with king size beds, marble baths, linen sheets, comfy sofas in the living room, TV, sound system, free WiFi and a modern kitchen where guests can cook all kinds of meals.
During Summer times the guests can enjoy the terraced gardens that lend themselves to picnic areas under the shade of olive trees and heavy vines next to the pool and jacuzzi. By this coming December a new SPA will be ready for the guests’ services.
If you don’t feel like cooking, you can always enjoy the home made gourmet cooking at the Casao prepared and cooked by Carmen. But remember to ask for it in advance. The dishes are inspired by the traditional and regional Portuguese cuisine, using fresh and local grown ingredients. And let Paulo choose the wine for each dish. He is an expert. The wines he drinks are produced in the Douro Valley and Dao. I completely surrendered to Paulo’s choices and ended up drinking three different wines in one dinner. (It was a first for me).
But the highlight of Casas do Coro is the Eco Suite. Located on a resorted hillside overlooking the village, in the middle of nature, the Eco Suite can be a perfect setting for a romantic getaway, enjoying all the services offered by the hotel, and yet, being secluded.
The Eco Suite, which was designed by the well known winning interior designer Tomás Alía, consumes less energy than a conventional suite thanks to solar panels built on the outside of the suite. The solar panels heat the water and allows a 65% reduction of CO2 emissions. The materials used in both the constructions and the interiors are mostly natural, ecological and recycled and guaranteeing maximum comfort, calmness and well-being.
The Eco Suite is equipped with a king size bed with fresh white organic linen, private bathroom with a glass shower, bath in open space with a great view of the vertical garden of the suite, private deck surrounded by olive trees where the guests can enjoy the great Nature.
I only wish to see more of this Eco trend suite in more hotels throughout the World.
For booking the Eco Suite, please visit the link.