The Secret of El Hierro

Where: Valverde, El Hierro, Canary Islands

What: good, uncomplicated food in a colorful, chill environment

When Dustin and I moved to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, we were planning on staying there for two years and visiting all seven islands in the archipelago. We ended up staying only for 14 months and visiting only three islands: Gran Canaria (the one we lived in), Fuerteventura (to celebrate the first anniversary of our first wedding) and El Hierro (on our first “mini-moon” after our second wedding).

You might be thinking, “and what exactly is a mini-moon?” It’s what you do when you don’t have enough money for a proper honeymoon because you spent it all moving to another country. You also need a bunch of great friends who chip in and organize the trip for you, self-made map included. Thanks, guys, you know who you are!

El Hierro is the smallest of the Canary Islands. It has a population of about 10,000 people, impressive views, treacherous roads and volcanic activity that brought the island to the news just a few weeks after we were there.

It also has the cutest, most colorful bar-restaurant I have been to in a long time, El Secreto.

It’s like somebody dropped a color bomb in an antique shop.

I loved their mismatched furniture, their splashes of color here and there and, above all, the bar, made out of green doors:

They’re open from 8am to midnight, Monday to Friday, and 10am to midnight on the weekend, so you can get pretty much any meal you want there. Have some local cheeses or a typical dish like ropa vieja, and don’t leave without trying their delicious mousse au chocolat.

Happy travels!

Tangerine Juice

If you’re going to get all your 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day, you better start at breakfast. During winter, juicy oranges are always present at my parent’s house and every time we visit them, Dustin and I look forward to our daily glass of fresh squeezed orange juice in the morning. Among the things we found in our new kitchen in The Hague was a citrus press, so we soon ran to the store to buy a bag of oranges and… they were not that sweet.  So we started juicing tangerines instead and the result was delicious.

Tangerines don’t have as much vitamin C as other citrus fruits, but a glass of tangerine juice will still give you a healthy dose of it. Remember to drink citrus juices shortly after you make them, because vitamin C degrades in contact with air. If, like us, you’re not a huge fan of tart flavors, try this juice as an alternative if you cannot find sweet enough oranges. You’ll need 2-4 tangerines per person, depending on their size.

Cozy Cafés in The Hague: Appeltje Eitje

Where: Zeeheldenkwartier, The Hague (clic here for a map)

What: A cozy fun café that serves Italian coffee, cake, sandwiches and such

I am not a fan of crowds. I normally tend to avoid the downtown area of larger cities and The Hague is no exception. The Centrum area of The Hague is charming, don’t get me wrong, but if I am looking for a café where I can hang out with Dustin or with friends, I’m going to head to the quieter neighborhoods.
Dustin and I were exploring the lovely Zeeheldenkwartier in The Hague a couple of weeks ago and we found this lovely spot.

They serve Italian coffee, which is a must for us, and their cakes are pretty decadent, as they should be.

Check it out if you are into mix and match decorations with a healthy dose of kitsch, a relaxed atmosphere and eclectic music.

Agua: cocktails & sandwiches

Where: Corralejo, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands

What: Cocktails and sandwiches, relaxed atmosphere and chill music on the waterfront

It is that time of the year again: the days get shorter, the weather gets nastier and, like many people in Northern Europe, you might be starting to plan a short getaway to a warmer and sunnier location.

The Canary Islands are a favorite destination for a brief vacation during the winter months. If you decide to head to Fuerteventura, the largest of the seven Canary Islands, don’t miss this lovely cocktail bar in Corralejo.

You will find it at the Avenida Marítima, 7, right by the water. The views are amazing.

It is the perfect spot to savor a great cocktail and munch on some snacks before dinner, or you could just skip proper dinner altogether and enjoy one of their tasty sandwiches.

Dustin ordered gin up.

And I had a Piña Colada.

Do you know Corralejo? What other places would you recommend?