il Ballo del Doge

palazzo Pisani Moretta

A lot has been written about il Ballo del Doge in Venice. It is put on by costume designer Antonia Sauter and was celebrated for the 18th time this year.

Pisani Moretta, the palace in which the event is taking place, is gorgeous and the costumes, worn by the guests and mostly created in Mrs. Sauter’s Atelier in Venice, are the best and most beautiful anywhere to be seen during Carnevale – no doubt!

The artists are also of high caliber and the performances well worth watching.

Now then, why am I not in complete awe like so many of my fellow reviewers?!

Maybe, because of the incredible high expectations, created by labels such as Vanity Fair’s “the most exclusive ball  in the world”. And indeed, my expectations were high, justifiably I think, for the price of 600 Euros for a few hours of a post-dinner event.

I decided to skip the dinner, which would have added another 600 Euros to the bill, and also the half hour VIP event prior, which came for the price of another 300 Euros. I am not sure, what could happen that would make 30 minutes worth 300 Euros – that is 10 Euros a minute – so I can’t comment if it would have been money well spent.

Either way, arriving at quarter past midnight – the post-dinner part was supposed to start at 11pm – we still found ourselves in the setting of the dinner debris as part of the stage for the post-dinner performance.

While not being able to comment on the quality of the food, seeing the labels of the wines, which were served, I can safely say that I don’t regret not having spent 600 Euros on the dinner though.

The performers were of really good quality, but the moderator, while definitely cute and dazzling, could have benefitted from a little more practice.

The other point of confusion for me was the arrangement of the performances. While good – I have to repeat myself again – I wasn’t sure, why people dressed to the nines want to stand around for 1.5 hours and watch 5 back to back performances covering opera, magic and burlesque.

Entertainment is a crucial part of any event, but to make the guests mere onlookers seemed to underutilize the tremendous effort people put into their appearances, clearly meant to be looked at, not just for only watching others.

Downstairs, where the actual party was supposed to happen, a very mediocre DJ was playing outdated music. And no, relabeling it retro or classic, wouldn’t do the trick here…

And this assessment is not just based on my opinion. The dance floor, while packed, wasn’t throbbing with happy dancers, but because there was no other place to stand. To be fair, the clothes require about 5 times more space per person than anyone usually would, and the lack of room is a natural side effect.

The animation dancers were ok, but the almost naked male unicorn on stilts with fur over the crucial parts got a little stale after crossing the dance floor for the 3rd time – some people did seem to enjoy the petting though…

Other challenges in my opinion were that certain drinks ran out at 1pm, the bathrooms were in pretty rough shape and had no attendants, and that the party was declared over by 3.15 instead of the advertised 4am.

All in all, it was a worthwhile experience though and the price is justified for what was on display. With some tweaking, good could also have been great – after 18 years smaller glitches should have been ironed out by now. Or maybe the attention to detail is getting lost after the initial excitement. Either way, while definitely an impressive show, I am not sure, if it is best in the world. I am glad, I went, but I don’t think I need to go back next year.

However, for amazingly stunning costumes, Antonia Sauter Atelier will definitely be my first choice! And please remember, this is just my assessment, I am incredible picky and even though, in my opinion not everything was perfect, il Ballo del Doge is worth a visit, at least once, to have seen it – I am glad I did!

back in Hong Kong

Conrad Hotel, Hong Kong

Thank you (and at the same time sorry) to my beautiful readers for sticking with me and for my absence recently! It’s not that I didn’t travel, or didn’t go out, but I had an unforgivable low, which I promise is over now!

Scusi, dear all – more to be coming soon on the beautiful things going on in this beautiful world:

As of now, I am in Hong Kong, back at the Conrad Hotel, which is part of Pacific Place, connected to the ShangriLa and JW Marriott, creating a fabulous starting point to experiencing this amazing city!

The advantage of staying here is that, if you book the executive level rooms, not only do you get your breakfast included, but also a 2-hour champagne (or whatever catches your fancy) after hour cocktail experience, including fresh sushi, nibbles and delectable desserts. All of it for free – or included in the price of the hotel, which I guess made you pay for it already… However, it still is really nice!

Plus, a gorgeous view of the harbor and the skyline of Kowloon!

Now, if you don’t know what do with your fall, book a ticket to Hong Kong and enjoy this most wonderful of cities at its best!

tweet with me

CariyaB on Twitter

I finally followed the suggestion of my technically more advanced friends and opened my account on Twitter – I know, but better late than never!

Come tweet with me and exchange thoughts and ideas on the go: – you can find me under CariyaB.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

best Italian in SoBo

Vetro in the Oberoi

There are a couple places that serve Italian food in Mumbai, some are good, but few are great – Vetro definitely is!

A jewel of a place right on Marine Drive in the Oberoi hotel one should not miss:

The interior does its name justice: Vetro means glass in Italian and the style is very contemporary. Next to the dining room, the restaurant also sports a tasting area for wine with quite knowledgeable sommeliers guiding you through a nice selection of wines from all over the world with a little taste of cheese to go along with it.

But the highlight very clearly is the food: real authentic Italian fare, beautifully presented and created with a lot of attention to detail and an experienced hand.

Eating our way through the menu written in Italian – with English translations, no worries – we didn’t have a dish that didn’t please.

I really fell in love with Vetro again. I’ve been there before and somehow had forgotten about this gem of a restaurant, a mistake I shall not make again – I can’t wait to go back very soon!

Elle happy hour at the Harbour Bar

Harbour Bar at the Taj

Yesterday we hosted our very own Elle sponsored happy hour at the Harbour Bar at the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai – very glamorous!

Elle magazine’s group publisher bestowed the honor on us to invite our friends to be hosted at the reopened and newly renovated Harbour Bar at the luxurious hotel in South Bombay.

We celebrated accordingly and I think everybody had a great time. If you like, check out the pictures in the next Elle magazine India!

a gem in Paris

hotel Daniel in Paris

This hotel is a beautiful hidden gem right in the middle of Paris! On Rue Frédéric Bastiat, just off bustling Champs Elysées, it is very conveniently located and a true oasis in Parisian luxury. The hotel is a little jewelry box with great attention to detail in its decor and lovely caring and friendly staff!

the restaurant in the Hotel Daniel in Paris

The restaurant is also a true delight and simply everything about this place is fantastic – maybe not the price, but it is expected not to be cheap to deliver such pleasures. Don’t miss out on this beautiful place the next time you are in Paris!

travel coming up

Having taken some time  off after my India TV appearance, I will be back with new information on my upcoming trips to the US, Italy, Switzerland and France.

Next week, it is off to Lake Geneva in Wisconsin, then to Venice, Italy, after that Geneva in Switzerland (I like the parallelism of the two lakes Geneva) and then last, but not least Paris, France!

I will report on hotels, restaurants, stores, shops and general travel excitement to keep you posted on the worthy spots you may want to visit yourself.

In the meantime, have a wonderful rest of the week and I am looking forward to sharing more of my adventures with you all soon!

my TV appearance on

My first India TV appearance went quite well and I got some nice feedback – a big “thank you!” to everyone, who took the time to watch!

For those of you, who communicated interest, but didn’t have a chance to catch the show on TV, here two links to what you missed:

Let me know what you think and thank you for watching!

Zee Marathi

Chef Nilesh and I

Last Friday I was invited to cook on chef Nilesh’s cooking show for the Indian TV station Zee Marathi.

I prepared fire roasted bell pepper rotinis and a vegetarian onion soup. It was a lot of fun and I am curious to watch the show – there wasn’t a lot of reshooting or editing…!

The show will be on TV on Wednesday, May 19th at 1.30 pm and 5.30 pm on Zee Marathi – I guess only my Indian friends will be able to see it. I am not sure if it can be seen outside of India.

If you have a chance to watch it, let me know what you think!

Happy Birthday, Indigo!

happy birthday

Just a quick note to praise a very, very good restaurant in Mumbai: Indigo in Colaba, South Bombay. A hit with Mumbaikers as well as foreigners for the last 11 years, Indigo is celebrating their 11th birthday this Sunday.

Happy Birthday, Indigo!

If you would like to join the celebrations, there will be a special 11th birthday brunch on Sunday, April 4, 2010 from 12pm onward.

For further information on Indigo, their menu, location and to make reservations, check out their website at

Valhalla menu

fine dining experience

We are getting ready for April 6th and 7th at Valhalla and here is the menu to whet your appetite ahead of time – I am looking forward to seeing you there!!!

sparkling wine with

1. hot gruyere thyme gougeres


2. romaine lettuce with heart of palm, pomegranate & champagne vinaigrette

Sauvignon Blanc with

3A. grilled shrimp


3B. char-grilled vegetables

with hot and cold dipping sauces


4. pea cappuccino

Pinot Noir with:

5A. stuffed basil pesto chicken filet


5B. stuffed fire roasted bell pepper

on lemon butter rice


6. cannelloni with spicy tomato sauce

Shiraz with

7A. lamb in red wine


7B. mushroom medley stew

on creamed mashed potatoes


8. blue cheese mousse

9A. panna cotta with caramel and chocolate sauce


9B. melon & dragon fruit sorbet

Valhalla 9-course dinner with wine pairing

Valhalla Restaurant and Bar

We are on for round #2:

Please join us for another 9-course dinner with wine pairing – and this time we are also including our carnivore friends and offer next to the vegetarian options one fish and two meat courses.

The events will take place on Tuesday, April 6 and Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at Valhalla Restaurant and Bar in Sounth Bombay. We start at 8.30 pm.

For reservations, please call Abby at +91-96 19 19 52 37

Le Zie 2000

Le Zie 2000

Back in New York – yeah!!!

One of the first places we hit first when coming back was Le Zie 2000 – a rather strange name for a lovely little place on 7th Avenue between 20 and 21st Street. The food is Venetian inspired Italian. Not michelin star quality, but solid good food at a very reasonable price.

Definitely try the truffle mac & cheese and their hand made pici. The mixed appetizers are also delightful – if you are vegetarian, they cater to that as well – and if you are in the market for fish and meat, the selection of the little mini plates offers a wide variety of culinary delicacies!

It’s worth a visit – try it out!

New York in February

New York at night

Back to New York for a while – I am very excited! Tomorrow evening we will go to London and then back to New York for two weeks.
I can’t wait to catch up on all the new restaurant that opened, to visit my old favorites and to indulge in all the delicacies I miss so much. I am thinking fresh, crusty bread; real mac&cheese, maybe with some truffle; a nice veggie duck Thai dinner, etc., etc.
I will report on all my new discoveries and keep you posted on old favorites. More soon from cold and wintery New York!