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A mini guide to Porto



At the beginning of July Rens and I made a five day trip to Portugal’s second biggest city, Porto. Five days wasn’t too long but it was sufficient. Just the right amount of time to check out the main tourist attractions, enjoy the best port wine in the cellars of Villa Nova de Gaia and discover the best spot for pastéis de nata (which turned out to be our local bakery). We also found some really great places to have breakfast, dinner and everything in between which of course I don’t wanna keep from you. If you’re planning to go there, now or anytime soon, here’s my roundup of the best foodie addresses we encountered in Porto.

Bugo Art Burgers


Bugo Art Burgers was our first lunch stop in Porto. We both arrived hungry as a bear so when we discovered this burger joint just a ten minute stroll from our apartment, it seemed like the perfect place to satisfy our cravings. The concept at Bugo is simple: choose your burger, sauce & side dish and create your ideal personalised menu. I went for the free range beef burger topped with mango chutney and goat cheese, which was a sublime combo. It also looked like a little painting on a plate, which is probably what the ‘art’ part stands for.
RUA MIGUEL BOMBARDA 598 | http://bugo.com.pt

DeGema Hamburgueria

Another winner in the burger department was DeGema. A cute but classically decorated place serving over twenty different, super juicy burgers. You can either choose chips or oregano fries with garlic mayonnaise to accompany them. For drinks they have three types of homemade lemonade. The mango one was my favorite, perfect for a hot summer day!
PRAÇA CONDE DE AGROLONGO 116 | http://www.degema.pt

Mesa 325


A pioneer in Porto’s specialty coffee scene, Mesa 325 is a little gem hidden away from the busy center. Situated near a metro stop (24 de Augosto), it’s the perfect starting point for a day of exploring the city. Next to some top-notch coffee, the menu holds plenty of breakfast and lunch options including toasts, salads and my two favorite b’s: bagels & burgers. As we went for breakfast, we chose a menu of homemade granola with yogurt and red berries, croissants, cappuccinos and fresh orange juice for two. It was the best breakfast we had while in Porto and we only paid €7,50 each, which is like half of what you’d pay in Belgium. If I lived in Porto I’d definitely be a regular visitor!
AVENIDA DE CAMILO 325 | https://www.facebook.com/mesa325

Zenith 


At Zenith you get the full brunch experience, including fresh juices, scrumptious pancakes and colorful smoothie bowls. I really enjoyed their açai bowl with fruit and toasted almonds, while Rens indulged in the red berry pancakes with homemade ice-cream. No wonder people are queuing up from the moment the doors open. Make sure to be there early to avoid ending up on the waiting list as reservations aren’t possible.
PRAÇA DE CARLOS ALBERTO, 86 | https://www.facebook.com/zenithporto

Atelier

Atelier is a small coffee shop with a large range of hot drinks and homebaked goods. They serve the most delicious buttery toasts, fresh pastéis de nata and if you fancy an afternoon tea, they make their own scones too! As for the drinks, their chai latte tasted like fall in a cup – though that may or may not have had to do with the gloomy weather that day.
RUA DE CLEMENTE MENERES 20 | http://www.atelier-coffee.com

Bolíssimo


Situated in a small alleyway near the Palácio da Bolsa, you’ll find a little pink paradise called Bolissimo. Next to its adorable aesthetics, this little bakery is the place to be for delightful cheesecakes and other sweet titbits. For only €3 you get an espresso and a piece of cheesecake of your choice. Need I say more?
RUA COMÉRCIO DO PORTO 201-203 | http://www.bolissimo.pt

The Coffee Room


Not your typical coffee spot, The Coffee Room is literally a room on the first floor of a footwear store in the heart of Porto. Last year The Feeting Room introduced the concept as a way to create a corner for customers to take a break from shopping and enjoy a nice cup of specialty coffee. It turned into a beautifully styled space with large windows and a communal table in the center, allowing for a chat with the locals or fellow tourists.
LARGO DOS LÓIOS 89 | https://www.thefeetingroom.com

Gelato tips!


Gelataria Portuense

Focusing on the classics, Gelataria Portuense is an authentic gelato shop and long-time favorite amongst ice cream fanatics in Porto. Among other things, they serve some wonderfully creamy vanilla, chocolate and coffee flavors. Just a small walk from the beautiful Chapel of Souls, it’s a stop you can’t miss.
RUA DO BONJARDIM 136 | http://www.gelatariaportuense.pt

Santini

Another well-known ‘gelataria portuguesa’ is Santini with its iconic red and white retro-style interior. With flavors ranging from caramel and hazelnut to red velvet and pineapple-coconut, it’s a real tourist hotspot.
LARGO DOS LÓIOS 16-20 | http://www.santini.pt

Cremosi

My last gelato tip is Cremosi. Here they have more unconventional flavors on the menu like chocolate-mint(!), mojito and even Coca-Cola gelato. On top of that, they have plenty of pancake and waffle variations to choose from, in case you arrive on a colder day. You can find Cremosi’s shops near the charming Rua das Flores, at the Bom Sucesso Market and at Matosinhos beach.
PRACA DONA FILIPA DE LENCASTRE 25 | https://www.facebook.com/cremosi
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Whiskers on kittens


You know the feeling of stumbling upon a piece of clothing that looks like it should have your name written on it? Well an outfit doesn't get more 'me' than this one. A quirky print and a pop of red seem to always do the trick for me. Now that we're back to bare legs weather I'm so ready to wear all of the high-waisted shorts again and I couldn't be more excited about my most recent find...






I'd been looking for a perfect pair of red shorts when I fell in love with these sailor inspired ones by Mint&Berry. I cannot tell you how obsessed I am with this brand. It's like they totally get what I need this spring: floaty fabrics, feminine details & soft colors. This poppy red however felt like the perfect addition to a black & white print. I'm smitten with the cute kitty faces on this shirt!

It was such fun shooting these photos underneath all of the beautiful cherry trees near my old school. The world seems so much more beautiful when everything is in bloom, doesn't it? I wish we could just switch from spring to fall all the time and skip the other two seasons. But that's the thing about life I guess: it always comes with ups and downs...


OUTFIT DETAILS | Shirt: Even&Odd - Shorts: Mint&Berry - Bag: Pieces - Shoes: Anna Field (All via Zalando)
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5 favorite coffee spots in Ghent


One thing I love about living in Ghent? Cute coffee bars everywhere! Since I wrote about the Belgian barista culture for my thesis, I've come to really appreciate a well-made cup of coffee and the story that surrounds it. Ghent has a lot to offer when it comes to specialty coffee and each shop is unique. Some focusing purely on coffee, others combining the product with a different concept such as a bookstore, a grocery store or even a hair salon.


Though I enjoy discovering new concepts, I do appreciate the more traditional approach where coffee is the centerpiece. Besides a great cuppa what I look for when entering a coffee bar is a warm and homey feeling. Of course whether a setting speaks to you or not is completely up to personal preferences, but in any case your coffee needs will surely be met at these 5 spots...

Take Five


A recent addition to Ghent's coffee scene is Take Five. The bar opened its doors to the coffee loving public in October and has since become my go-to place to grab breakfast before going to work. The upstairs sitting area is wonderfully cozy with low tables, colorful sofas and large windows ideal for some people watching. The jazzy music adds to the relaxed atmosphere.
VOLDERSSTRAAT 10 | take-five-expressobar.be

Peaberry


In the shadows of the Sint-Baafs Cathedral you'll find the cutest little coffee shop named Peaberry. Barista Laurence serves the best cappuccinos and matcha lattes in town and is pretty much my role model when it comes to following your dreams. Last summer she told her job in marketing goodbye to pursue her passion for coffee. On occasion she hosts Special Sundays featuring the work of local artists such as painters or musicians in her shop. 
LIMBURGSTRAAT 24 | peaberrycoffeebar.be

Café Labath


Café Labath is a well established coffee house nearby the Korenlei. Beautifully decorated with red accents and large hanging plants, it's the perfect stop for a lazy Sunday breakfast accompanied by an expertly brewed espresso drink. Nothing beats their iced soy latte on a warm summer day!
OUDE HOUTLEI 1 | cafelabath.be

Fleur de Lee


Fleur de Lee is all about pampering. The project of sisters-in-law Jamie-Lee and Anne-Fleur, it's a coffee bar and hair salon all in one. On the first floor of a charming 17th century building Anne-Fleur gives people a new 'do, while downstairs barista Jamie-Lee makes some delicious coffee. Her creations always come beautifully served on a tree trunk plate accompanied by some treats. Nice to know: the pumpkin spice latte has permanently been added to the menu which as a true autumn soul I can't applaud enough.
KALANDEBERG 2 | fleurdelee.be

Or Coffee


Specialty coffee pioneers in Belgium, Or's Katrien & Tom started their own roastery in 2001. Seven years later they opened their first espresso bar in Ghent and since then added three other locations - one more in Ghent and two in Brussels - to their name. Or's relaxed interior with warm wooden tones and window seating makes it a great working spot as well as a place to catch up with friends over coffee and cake. Also yes, the latte frappé is as good as it looks!
WALPOORTSTRAAT 26 | orcoffee.be
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The chunky cardi


One of my favorite transitional pieces is the oversized knit cardigan. Not too warm but still cozy and easy to combine with a printed skater dress or a simple tee with jeans. I found the perfect cardi for me in this sweet baby blue version from Forever 21.


This little buddy joined me when we were shooting...




We took these photos in the Patershol area. With its cobblestone streets and small restaurants it is one of the most authentic and charming neighborhoods in Ghent. It's also a stone's throw away from the Castle of the Counts and several of my favorite brunch spots like Julie's House & Simon Says.

With spring slowly but surely arriving, I found it was time to pull out the flirty florals again. This skater dress is so comfy I could wear it all day everyday. I've also been loving this rattan bag by Mint&Berry - pretty much addicted to this label - and it combines so well with the rust tones in the dress.

What's your must-have piece of clothing for spring?


OUTFIT DETAILS
| Dress & cardigan: Forever 21 - Bag: Mint&Berry
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Chocolate chip madeleines


Drawing inspiration from our visit to Paris where we saw some beautiful patisserie and cakes, including the most amazing looking freshly baked madeleines, I tried a new variation to my classic recipe. Because let's face it, chocolate chips make everything just a little better. Madeleines are a fairly easy bake with simple ingredients. All you need is a scallop shell pan and you're ready to go.

Ingredients

  • 150g pastry flour
  • 100g sugar
  • 10g vanilla sugar
  • 5g baking powder
  • 10g cacao powder
  • 125g butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 100g chocolate chips

Preparing the batter:

  1. Beat the eggs and sugar until light and foamy.
  2. Add the flour, vanilla sugar, baking powder and cocoa powder and mix until smooth.
  3. Melt the butter and add it to the mixture.
  4. Add the chocolate chips & a tablespoon of honey.
  5. Leave the batter in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Baking the madeleines: 

  1. While the batter is refrigerating, butter and flour your madeleine pan.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  3. Fill each well in the pan with one tablespoon of batter.
  4. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 12-14 minutes until golden brown and a little puffed up in the middle.
  5. Allow the madeleines to cool on a wire rack.

This recipe will give you 18-20 madeleines depending on the pan you use. Personally I like them best when they're still a bit warm with some milk or a cup of tea. But you can save them for a day or two in an airtight box. Happy baking & be sure to let me know if you give them a try!

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A weekend in Paris


For our seven year anniversary Rens and I decided to escape to Paris for a short weekend. After all this time traveling together we'd never been to the City of Love so this felt like the perfect occasion to do so! I remember all my former trips to Paris being mostly wind and drizzle but this time we got lucky. Looking back now, I'll remember sitting on the steps of the Sacré Coeur eating eclairs on the most beautiful summer day... in February?!
 

On our first day we explored les 3e et 4e arrondissements including Centre Pompidou, the Notre-Dame and the Pont Neuf, then continued onto the Pont des Arts and the Louvre. Sadly the Pont des Arts doesn't look the way it used to without its characteristic love locks and is now simply a bridge leading to the Louvre Palace.  


The Notre-Dame was also smaller than I remembered - or maybe it was me who was smaller last time - but it's still a beautiful piece of architecture and a must-see if you're a Disney fan. It was quite striking how many cafes and restaurants in the area were called 'The Hunchback' or 'Esmeralda'. We ended up having dinner at Mersea, a French style fish & chips restaurant nearby our hotel. A lucky find which I definitely recommend!

 
The next day we had a lovely breakfast at Coquelicot (the French word for 'poppy'), a traditional French bakery in Montmartre. I find Montmartre to be one of the most charming neighborhoods in Paris with its many talented artists and stunning hilltop views. Before heading to the Sacré Coeur we stopped by one of the numerous l'Eclair de Génie shops. I'd been wanting to try one of their eclairs for so long and - though a tad expensive - they definitely didn't disappoint!  


Afterwards we went to see the Arc de Triomphe and, a nutella crêpe in hand, walked down the Champs Elysées to the Place de la Concorde. We completed our trip with a view of the city's most famous feature, la tour Eiffel, which was at its most beautiful when it was all lit up at night. It was the perfect ending to a perfect weekend.


Bisous bisous!
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The start of something new


Spring marks the beginning of new things and so I decided to start afresh with a new blog layout and name... Say goodbye to Fox & Fabric and hello to Toujours Maxime! After three years, I felt I'd kind of outgrown the name and look of my blog so I transformed it to a brand new spot. On Toujours Maxime I'll continue posting my favorite outfits, recipes, DIY ideas and hopefully many travel adventures!


For those of you who have been following along, here's a little life update. I've recently graduated in journalism and in anticipation of finding my dream job I'm working as a sales advisor at H&M in Ghent. I've been living here with my boyfriend Rens since mid October - has it really been that long? It's crazy how my life has changed in the past couple of months and now that everything's finally settled, I'm excited to get blogging again. Here's to new beginnings!
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