JOBEN

This is the last post from Cluj for this year and it obviously involves food. The fact that this was the last place reviewed by us is intentional as I wanted to eat here last year as well but it was too full to be able to get a table. This year, we managed to get one and we excitedly waited for our Joben food. I want to start off by saying that this is the last reviewed place because it was our least favourite restaurant in Cluj and I honestly think that it is a bit overrated. Or maybe we were expecting too much of it, either way, it did not meet our expectations, especially since all our foodie experiences here were simply amazing. It is, however, extraordinarily decorated and it deserves a visit just for that, and if you are ok with eating ok-ish food.

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It is clear right from the entrance that someone very talented and passionate about steampunk decorated this place with all sorts of very specific paraphernalia. This actually helps a lot when you have to wait for your food for more than an hour, because you have all these amazing little gizmos to look at, and I have to say that we did not get bored one bit. The staff is also very friendly, but the place is a bit understaffed as it only had two waitresses for the entire restaurant area. Both of them were very nice and they struggled to satisfy every single one of the customers, but at some point, they messed up my lemonade simply because the place was full of people and mix-ups are bound to happen.

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On to the food… At first glance, even from last year, I knew there were quite a lot of things I wanted to try and after much pondering I settled for the White Chicks – even the names of the dishes are really funny – which are essentially crispy chicken strips, served with french fries and apple jam. D opted for ribs, naturally, but we both decided to start our lunch with a plate of Spicy Fried Pickles as that got both of our attention early on in the menu. The appetisers were extremely interesting and good which basically made us really anxious for out main dishes.My chicken was very good, but there was absolutely nothing special about it, maybe except for the fact that I had to dip it in jam. The fries were homemade, so that was a big plus but I did feel the need for a more spicy and tasty dip for them. D‘s ribs were ok, and you can see from the photos that there was nothing special about them whatsoever. They were plain oven cooked ribs with no special seasoning or anything. His potato chips were very good though, but again, they seriously needed some sort of dip. We did not want to wait to get dessert as that would’ve meant another hour of waiting as we did not order it from the get-go, so no sweet photos here.

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To be honest, aside from the interior design and the fact that they had a Pokestop, there was nothing special about the place, nothing that will make us come back next year. It was even worst as they did not seem to have any air conditioning, which during the summer makes eating there nearly impossible. I did hear that their coffee is great, but neither of us had any as we were both on our way back for another nap. The check came at about 30E which is ok, but we did leave there feeling very disappointed of the place. Maybe had there not been so many people the food would’ve been better, but that is no excuse as most of the places we ate at during the long weekend we spent in Cluj were full and the food was amazing.

L.

LIVADA

As you’ve probably noticed, our life at Untold festival revolved around sleeping, eating and enjoying great music. Even though it seems that our only goal in Cluj was to try as many restaurants as possible, I promise that we did other stuff as well, like going to the actual festival. The bummer about pregnancy, especially in the first four months is that between the eating, dancing and sleeping, I did not have any energy left to actually take some fashion photos. So far, the two fashion posts are the only ones you’ll see of us while in Cluj. But fear not, the Untold posts will soon end and trust me when I say that we have not reviewed one restaurant that is not worth visiting while in Cluj.

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The place we are going to talk about today is Livada. This place is just so great no matter if we are referring to the food, the design or the service. Some of the dishes in their new menu are signed by Chef Patrizia Paglieri, you know her from the Romanian Master Chef. That’s not to say that the dishes that are not signed by her are not delicious, on the contrary, actually everything on the menu is amazing and this is one of those places in Cluj where everyone can find something to eat on the menu. No matter if you are a traditional food lover or fan of the more modern cuisine, thanks to this new and exciting collaboration, Livada now has it all for everyone to enjoy.

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All of us eating lunch there had a sort of combo of dishes, therefore you get to see quite the diversity. I had the carrot soup with a hint of ginger and the homemade french fries with garlic and pickled cucumbers. Hey, I’m pregnant and like never before I am craving potatoes in any shape and size. And, I am a sucker for homemade french fries as I am always too lazy to actually make them myself and they are a rarity in Bucharest. Moving along from the french fries and let’s talk a bit about the carrot soup. The secret to the carrot soup is to actually feel the carrot taste skilfully combined with another ingredient. This is definitely what’s going on with this one, the ginger perfectly compliments the carrots. I really see no point in talking about the perfection of the fries as the photo says it all. D had the Gulash which is a traditional Hungarian dish that judging by the fact that he ate in exactly 5 minutes, I’d say was very, very good. Our friends that joined us for lunch had the cheeseburger which according to them was very good. Like I said, you can find everything your heart desires at Livada.

For dessert, D and I shared the traditional dumplings, and what I loved about them was the fact that they came in bite sized pieces which made it really easy and enjoyable to eat. Our friends ordered the signature Tiramisu which turned out to be delicious but way too big for only one person. We all had different types of lemonades, and I am mentioning them because they are really worth a try. Not surprisingly, the check for me and D came at about 35 E, so this one is at the normal price range for a great restaurant in Cluj. Service wise, this was good, but not amazing, we were however thankful that we did not have to wait for an hour for our food. This is a place we’ll definitely have to revisit next time when we are in the area!

L.

ZAMA

This is the one restaurant I was talking about in an earlier post. The one that almost dethroned BARACCA for me. The only thing that really mattered and made a difference between the two is the quality of service, otherwise, for the kid in me ZAMA would’ve been the best place to eat in Cluj. Unfortunately, the service was so slow and at some point we honestly thought that the lady waiting on us did not understand what we were saying. This was the actual deal breaker for us.

Let me tell you a little something about myself and that way you will probably understand better why this traditional restaurant could’ve been more to my taste than the much classier BARACCA. My grandparents on my mother’s side grew up in this area and therefore my entire childhood I’ve been fed everything that you can currently find on the menu at ZAMA and much more. I really wanted to give this place a try mainly because I miss the flavours of my childhood – grandma is a great cook but she is old and I can’t order food like I were in a restaurant – and I could hardly believe someone else could cook quite as good as her. I was skeptical going in, but by the end I was so in love with this place that managed to take me back to my childhood that not even the slow service could’ve annoy me anymore.

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When I say slow service, I mean it took us almost 3 hours to eat lunch, with about one hour of waiting for the first course, which, if you are a festival goer, you know that lunch is actually breakfast and basically you are starving by the time you reach any restaurant. I am well aware that traditional Transylvanian food is why the term ‘slow-cooking’ was invented, but this was on a whole different level. However, all that changed when the food actually came and therefore, if by that time I wasn’t sure that I was going to write about this place, that all changed the second I took my first sip of soup – this was definitely, food wise, my favourite restaurant!

The food… I ordered the lettuce soup which is a soup that you will not find anywhere else and I do admit that at first I was skeptical but when I tasted it, I was surprised to see that it tasted exactly like my grandmother’s. D chose the wild mushroom soup that was also done in true Transylvanian fashion. Again, for both soups, the quality of the ingredients is extremely important and, like I said before, from the first sip we knew this place was really special and needed a good, great actually, review on our blog. Since there were four of us that got annoyed by the long waiting time, the upside was that we got to see and taste double the amount of dishes that if it was just the two of us.

As a main course, our table hosted two types of traditionally made polenta, and I have to say that both of them were actually the best either of us ever tasted. Good polenta is not hard to make at all, but in order to get great polenta specialities, it has to be made in a certain slow cooked way – my grandfather used to take about two hours to achieve polenta perfection. To get a clue about how easy it is to make good polenta, it takes both me and my mother 5 minuted max, but we could never compare it with my grandfather’s. If you’re ever at ZAMA, try both specialities! Also on our table, we had the smoked pig leg with traditional cooked beans that, again was amazing and I had the one thing that I was craving for days, ever since I got to Cluj – the spinach puree with fried eggs! This is actually my favourite food ever since I was a little girl and while you might think that this combo is quite easy to make, well, it isn’t. The spinach has to be done a certain way in order to satisfy my tastebuds otherwise I can’t eat it – I’ve tried it in a lot of places. Needless to say that this one tasted amazing!

Dessert was yet again a roam through my childhood! We ordered boiled cottage cheese dumplings, bird’s milk – a better version of ile flottante, that you can find on the menu under the name of somloi galuska, and a traditional cheesecake that doesn’t taste like a normal cheesecake and that really needs to be tried out at least once. To be honest, as with all the other dishes, the desserts were amazing! Right to the point where my whole childhood meal was completed! I am telling you, the wait was well worth it as the food was one of the best I have ever tasted and everyone at the table loved it. This is not just a place to satisfy one’s childhood memories, this is a place that satisfies all those food lovers out there!

The check for me and D was about 30 E, so this is really a very cheap place if you consider that we both ate three courses each, plus drinks. ZAMA is really a must visit restaurant if you truly want to experience traditional Transylvanian cooking, but I am warning you, you will wait quite a lot for your food, but it will be well worth it!

L. 

Daytime Festival Feeling…Part II

This was the second time we roamed the streets of Cluj to have a full photoshoot because, as stated in an earlier post, because of security reasons, we weren’t allowed with our camera at the festival thus having to take our fashion shoots on the streets. That was not necessarily a bad thing as this city has a lot of amazing places to offer, like this wall over here. The downside to wanting to actually go to the festival and being pregnant resulted in the fact that most days I was too tired to take photos – we just went out to eat and because we did the eating part sitting down, most of the posts will be of food.

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For this photoshoot we both opted for a casual beige/greige/kaki combo as this fitted our mood and energy levels best on the third day of the festival – tired af! Yes, these photos were taken on the third day because on the second day, all I wanted to do was eat and sleep and get ready for the night as that second night was the fullest for us of them all. We both knew the old centre of Cluj very well, but actually walking there and searching for places to take photos really opened our eyes to details that we have not noticed until now – like the said wall. This blogging activity really has a lot of perks!

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On me:

Dress – Dubai; Sandals – Bata; Bag – Mango; Bling – Tomorrowland (ring and bracelet), Pandora and Swarovski; Sunglasses – Dior; Watch – Tissot

Back to the outfits… I really hate having anything against my belly these days so mostly I am sporting dresses hoping that the weather will stay on the hot side as much time as possible. This dress is from Dubai from one of their markets and is really one of the most comfortable dresses I own, not to mention the fact that it really is the perfect shape and length for this period where my legs haven’t gotten fat enough to make me want to cover them, but my belly grew enough to need loose things to cover it. I paired the dress with my yellow fringed platform sandals from Bata and this is yet another item aside from the dress that will not benefit from a link in today’s post simply because I couldn’t find anything similar online. The bag – that I will link – is from Mango and I chose it because it matched both the colour theme and the fringe detail found on the sandals. Bling wise I kept is neutral with rings from Tomorrowland, Pandora and Swarovski, while not forgetting my Dior sunglasses on this sunny day.

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On D:

Shorts – Scotch and Soda; T-shirt – Mango; Shoes – Paez; Bag – New Yorker; Bling – Constantin Nautics; Sunglasses – Ray-Ban; Watch – Tissot

D also wore colours similar to the ones I chose – naturally! – which made me a very happy girl. He opted for his camo shorts from Schotch and Soda and paired them with a plain beige t-shirt from Mango. Yes, he did not wear any fringe detail but I promise that at some point I will make him wear something very fringe-y! To finish his look he chose his new Paez espadrilles – we both bought a few pairs from the fashion corner at the festival – that perfectly complimented his outfit. The bag that matched the turquoise wall so perfectly is from New Yorker and he bought it ages ago and is just perfect for carrying all the camera necessities while we are on vacation.  

He managed to wear a pair of sunglasses – Ray-Ban –  even though he usually doesn’t bother while we are taking photos as they tend to get in the way of him taking pics. He also kept it simple where accessories are concerned only wearing his Constantin Nautics bracelet aside from the Untold bracelets. We both wore our Tissot watches that as stated earlier got changed in the evening for the more festival appropriate G-Shock watches.

L.

 

BARACCA

This is by far my favourite restaurant in Cluj, if not Romania, or so I thought until another one, that you’ll read about soon, came quite close to dethroning this one. Good thing these guys at Baracca have a really well trained personnel as that is what really made the difference in the end and kept this one as my personal favourite. What can I say, I’ve loved this place since we first ate here last year and I vowed to never pass through Cluj without enjoying at least one meal here. The problem with this area of the country is that there are so many great places to eat that I only manage to eat here one time every year and that really bugs me. I think that no matter how short or long our stay here is, we always find new and exciting places we want to try.

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The main difference between the restaurants here as opposed to the ones in Bucharest is not the mastery of the chef, on the contrary, I think that chefs in Bucharest are a bit more competitive and therefore more creative, the main difference, and trust me it is big, are the ingredients and more specifically their quality. You can always taste the difference mainly in salads and vegetable based dishes as those are the ones you can’t spice to cover a fad taste, nor can you cook them long enough to loose their natural taste. Thankfully, most of the time I choose vegetable based dishes and trust me, you can tell the difference.

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Back to the subject at hand, Baracca, this place never seizes to amaze us. They did change the menu a bit from last year, but it’s all for the best and now you can easily find more options in the appetisers area as well as the veggie area. This obviously made me very, very happy, but they still kept the lovely carrot cake and a few other dishes unchanged. We ate there on the first day of the festival, at lunch, right after we gout our bracelets and took a few photos (that you’ll see later on), therefore we were starving which is always a good thing as we ordered an appetiser to share, a main dish each and a dessert each and we left there having enough food photos to write a review.

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As an appetiser we chose to share the goat cheese mousse which was more than enough for both of us, especially since we had plans for another two courses. This appetiser was one of the best goat cheese appetiser I had ever tasted, the combo of cheese and lemon jelly was amazing. As main courses I chose the pumpkin seed soup while D chose the duck breast. I had the duck breast last year and I have to say that I envied D with every bite he took, but fear not, next year I will have the duck breast (I can’t eat meat medium cooked and in my opinion, some meats, duck included, taste like shit if it is well done). The meat came with a sweet potato puree that was absolutely amazing. My soup was a big surprise as I was expecting the classic pumpkin soup but in fact it was actually made out of pumpkin seeds and tasted great, to say the least. For dessert I chose the carrot cake that I had my mind set on since last year and I have to say that I am amazed by it every time, while D chose the Mascarpone cream which he gave a maximum score!

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Like I said in the beginning, the one thing that set this place apart and kept in in my personal favourite top list is the well trained and friendly staff, the fact that the food came quite quickly despite the fact that it was almost full and last but not least, the great quality of the food – but that is something normal in Cluj-Napoca. The check came at around 40 E which is more that decent considering the fact that we left satisfied and full. As you’ve noticed, I did not say anything about the interior design, simply because yes, it is great, but there are so many other reasons worth mentioning to give this place a try! I know for sure that we will always eat at Baracca every time we will be in town!

L.

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Daytime Festival Feeling…

Naturally, whenever you are attending a festival you should have at least two outfits per day mainly because during the day it tends to be unbearably hot in Romania, while during the night it does tend to be a little chilly, especially in Cluj-Napoca. These were our daytime outfits for the first day of the festival. Unfortunately, we couldn’t have a photoshoot on the festival grounds because D wasn’t allowed in with his big camera, but fear not, next year we’ll also take with us a smaller camera. We did however manage to take a few photos inside with a smaller photo lens especially for our overall UNTOLD post, but it just wouldn’t have worked for a fashion photoshoot.

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Luckily for us, Cluj does have a very beautiful Botanical Garden and we were able to quietly take some snaps there, where it was chillier that in any other part of the city. I have to say that even though I have been to Cluj numerous times during the summer, it seemed like it was never as hot as this year so the lovely lush shade of the trees was very welcome for our photoshoot. If you’re ever in Cluj, make sure you get to visit the Botanical Garden as it is quite worth it.

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Back to the outfits… Since it was so hot outside and I really wanted to have a full classic festival look, I opted for denim shorts and a white flow-y long blouse, both from Mango alongside my denim UGG summer boots. Looking at the photos now, I realised that being quite pregnant has brought on some body changes and shorts do not look as good on me as they used to last year. No, I did not go up a size, these are shorts that I’ve worn last year as well, the only difference is that the entire shape of my body has changed a bit, not necessarily grown larger (well, except for my tummy and boobs). Anyway, I’ll just have to embrace it and work with my new ‘pregnant-booty’ – as that’s how we’ll call it until January!

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On me:

Blouse – Mango; Shorts – Mango; Boots – UGG; Bag – Michael Kors; Sunglasses – Dior; Bling – Tomorrowland (bracelet and ring), Pandora and Swarovski; Watch – Tissot

The colour scheme is quite simple and close to my heart: white and blue, therefore opting for my navy blue Michael Kors bag was a no-brainer, especially since it fits everything I need for the festival and it isn’t too big to carry around all day and all night long. My Dior sunglasses couldn’t miss the opportunity to accompany me to the best festival of the summer and naturally, I accessories the entire look with lots of rings – Pandora, Tomorrowland and Swarovski. Since this was a festival weekend I just had to wear my leather bracelet from Tomorrowland.

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On D:

T-shirt – Mango; Shorts – Pull and Bear; Shoes – Pull and Bear; Bling – Constantin Nautics; Watch – Tissot

D also played along and chose his denim shorts from Pull and Bear that fit him just the same as they did last year, but I am hoping that soon he’ll also need new clothes just like me, though that is more about wishful thinking rather that reality, just so that I wouldn’t feel as the only fatty of the house. He also wore his Mango palm T-shirt and denim espadrilles from Pull and Bear. We both wore out Tissot T-race watches, though I have to confess that we did change them for our G-shock ones in the evening just to be sure we will not break them or anything. He opted, as usual lately, for his Constantin Nautics bracelet and nothing else – must be because of the heat.

All in all we are quite happy with how the photos turned out even though they weren’t taken on the actual location of the festival, but as you live, you learn and next year we will be prepared with a camera to actually have some post-pregnancy photoshoots on location!

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L.

 

POLO

So here we were, on the first night in Cluj, at around 8 o’clock in the evening (told you it take about a day to travel across country), both of us starving and me craving eggs. The problem about craving eggs in the evening is that most restaurants do not serve breakfast past 12 o’clock. This is how we ended up having dinner/breakfast – in my case, at POLO. True, the fact that it was near our hotel was a big plus, because even though we spent most of the day sitting down, I did not have the energy to actually travel a lot for food. To be honest, the moment I lay down on the bed I seriously considered going to bed on an empty stomach.

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Back to this wonderful place that was able to provide a frittata at 8 in the evening. The first thing I loved about it, and, to be honest, about most of the restaurants in Cluj, was the way it was decorated. This one is a Polo themed restaurant and it followed that theme to the letter. Needless to say that is something I love about any place. We were lucky enough that everyone was having their dinner on the terrace so we were able to take as many photos of the interior as we wished without annoying anyone.

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On to the food… I ordered a frittata and D ordered the beef steak with home-made potato chips and pepper sauce. My frittata was just perfect having everything I love in it: goat cheese, onion, bell peppers and tomatoes. It was cooked just right, as most cooks tend to make it too dry for my taste, and, just like any frittata, it came in a hot pan which means that I literally burned my taste buds because I couldn’t wait to eat. D‘s steak was good and the combo of potatoes and pepper sauce meant that the plate was left without a gram of food in it. Both our plates were left as if someone had cleaned them in the dishwasher. That’s how hungry we were from the road.We couldn’t leave without tasting the desserts, and as we couldn’t decide, we ordered all three types of dessert. They were amazing, and I have no idea which one was best, so if you do decide to give this place a try, make sure you go with at least two other people so that each can get a different desert.

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We loved the fact that the staff was very friendly and they actually aided us in our photoshoot of the place. The check was about 30 E, tip included, which is normal for great restaurants in Cluj, but quite low for an equivalent restaurant in Bucharest or at the seaside. Surely, have there not been so many amazing places to eat in Cluj, we would have definitely come back during our short stay there, but we will surely come back here next year.

L.

#UNTOLD online recap…

We’re back from our favourite festival of the summer, Untold, and we are so glad that we got to be a part of it this year as well. First of all, I was a bit scared of the possibility of going to a festival while four months pregnant (almost five), but in the end I decided that whenever I felt like I needed to rest we would just go. Fortunately, our little bundle of joy seemed to be in sync with our musical preferences and behaved wonderfully. Obviously, my schedule was something like : EAT, SLEEP, EAT (again), SLEEP (again), DANCE, REPEAT. All in all we didn’t miss one main event and all I can say right now is that this festival managed to surprise us in a very pleasant way yet again (I mean the way it is organised) – but more on that in the longer  post that will soon be up! These are photos and videos that we posted while there on our Facebook page and our Instagram accounts (L and D).

BEFORE – The road to UNTOLD

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Yes, we left a day earlier just incase I wasn’t feeling way because even though there are only 320 km from Bucharest to Cluj-Napoca, it does take almost an entire day to get there (yup, no highways!).

DAY 1

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This was actually the first day of the festival with more details and photos soon to come! Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike smashed the house just like last year!

DAY 2

This was the day I was most excited about as this was the first evening a main event was someone I haven’t seen yet. Needless to say that HARDWELL killed it!

DAY 3

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This was the day of the King – ARMIN VAN BUUREN! No more words needed!

DAY 4

 

Done a bit of shopping during the day from the amazing Fashion corner and then we got ready (read: ate and slept) for the closing night of this amazing festival! This was also the night when I decided that AFROJACK was my favourite of the four days! Martin Garrix did not disappoint either.

This was all our online activity during the festival – yes, I know, not much, but I did sleep most of the time there as the little one seemed to be needing a lot of sleep. More photos and details soon!

L.

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