Hohensalzburg Castle

Hohensalzburg Fortress

First built in 1077, Hohensalzburg Castle sits at the top of Festungsberg mountain.

Before my trip, a few people asked how I’d decided on Austria and Slovakia. And each time I wanted to say, “I mean, have you seen that castle?” Europe has its fair share of castles, fortresses, palaces, etc., but Hohensalzburg Castle in Salzburg is truly a sight to behold.

I happened to go up to the fortress around sunset, lingering with a handful of others to soak up the views. (One of my favorite slides is #12 of Salzburg’s verdant countryside.) This also involved riding my only funicular of the trip, which offers its own kind of thrill. Click into the picture slideshow below to see the rest!

Spicy Ginger Tofu – Umi Sake House

Spicy Ginger Tofu - Umi Sake House

Umi Sake House’s Spicy Ginger Tofu – A hot, hearty dish for those craving a lighter protein.

A year or two ago, after becoming suddenly engrossed in an episode of Marja and Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Kimchi Chronicles, I got way more into tofu. It turns out most Asian restaurants go impressively far beyond the vegetarian-bistro-norm with tofu seasonings, textures, and accompanying vegetables.

My favorite example of this is the Spicy Ginger Tofu (pictured above) from Umi Sake House in Seattle’s Belltown. (It’s also available at Umi’s sister restaurant in Capitol Hill, Momiji.) I can’t overstate the satisfaction of slurping up a fragrant combination of fried-but-pillowy tofu, spicy ginger-chili sauce, and sauteed vegetables.

Luckily, I don’t have to choose between this dish and Little Uncle’s noodle-less pad Thai–they’re each spicy and exciting in their own unique way.

After making these small, delicious discoveries I can’t help but wonder what else is out there. Dearest reader(s), what’s your absolute favorite, mouth-watering, can’t-believe-this-is-tofu tofu dish? :)

Alexa Chung on English beauty

Alexa Chung out on the town

Are London nightclubs really like this? They look so merry!

In an ongoing effort to punch up my wardrobe, I’ve recently found myself browsing through a ton of fashion blogs. My favorites? Always the Brits! Which can be problematic when you remember that international shipping rates exist.

In a recent Into the Gloss interview, Alexa Chung called out what I might love most about English beauty–its naturalness:

The culture in England is such that it’s really not cool to look like you’ve tried so hard. If someone’s gone to the spa to get their nails done, you’re like, ‘Oh rate yourself!’ which is saying, like, ‘Ooh you’re fancy!’ It’s seen as very self-indulgent. Though, in America, if you’re pampering yourself and getting the blowout and the rest of it, you’re seen as doing really well and it’s celebrated. In England, it’s the opposite—it’s very embarrassing to seem like you’re lording it up over people. It’s just not about being ‘done.’ We’re into being clean, just not looking like you’ve made too much of an effort.

Here, here. Also, this explains all the better Kate and Hugh’s steady bronzing as the 90s have receded.