Dolder Grand

If you noticed I’ve been kind of absent lately, you might wonder what I’ve been up to. Truthfully I downloaded candy crush for iPhone a few weeks ago and I have kind of abandoned my Kindle and blogging in lieu of zapping those little candies every chance I get. *Hangs head in shame*

I do go out of the house still though… a couple weeks ago Kay’s brother invited his parents and us to the Dolder Grand in Zürich for a pretty fancy brunch. Dolder is a five star hotel and wellness spa and it is $$$. I had never eaten there so far…

Like most family events, this also required going to church together first, much to the “joy” of Kay’s father. After sitting in the unheated church for an hour (brrr!), it was time for brunch! And oh what a brunch it was…

I started off with duck on hummus, wasabi cream filled cones, and an assortment of meats and savory items.

We all decided to try the oysters since it was a buffet and they were just sitting there, but I’m still not sure how I feel about uncooked oysters. It’s just so much “ocean” going on in your mouth. Kay had one and I knew he would hate it…

That wasabi paste in there was so creamy and delicious, but I wish I didn’t fill up on all that relatively ordinary meat. There was a wall of desserts to be had!


Without wasting any time, I decided that I already needed to start my dessert course before I lost any more stomach room.

I took basically all these desserts in the pictures above and below and started eating while my inlaws laughed that I was diving into dessert already. Girl’s got priorities!

You can see here how much Kay looks like his father. We make a nice looking family. 🙂

After dessert it was time to head back for some sushi, but man I was getting so stuffed already. I did not come to this brunch as prepared as I should have.

Even the bathrooms in Dolder are fancy….

Well, at 92CHF ($96) per person for the buffet (and I’m not sure coffee was included) I don’t think Kay and I will be coming back soon. It was a very good brunch, but it was very, very expensive for a buffet. Usually our brunches are more in the 20-40CHF range depending on what we order. My favourite is making waffles or pancakes at home on the weekend. 😉

How much does a good brunch in your area cost?

Baby Shower Treats

Last weekend some friends and I planned a “surprise” baby shower for a friend in Zürich having her first baby. Baby showers are not common in Switzerland, but we couldn’t help wanting to shower her with gifts and good food and games. It was a lovely day, so I wanted to share a few images of our party decorations and FOOD.

I made Russian teacakes, snickerdoodles and frosted sugar cookies with Easter M&Ms and the flower painted ones. For the flowers I followed this tutorial my friend shared. They were a bit tricky because my piping bag didn’t have small enough nozzles, so I had to dump all my frosting in a ziplocked baggy and cut a much smaller hole to use.

I also made my first diaper cake for the shower! After seeing one at work, I thought it would be a great centerpiece for the party so I set to work making it. I’m thinking of making a tutorial later on to show how I made mine with a cost breakdown.

My friend also has the cutest, most feminine coffee table! In love.

The lady hosting the party at her house got decorations online and they really added to the party feel at the flat.

As you can see, there was a ton of food for our tea party theme and we all stuffed ourselves silly!

Even though lots of desserts were bought and brought from lots of people, they all worked with the baby theme.

One friend put together a Johnson and Johnson basket full of goodies.

Funnily enough, my friend couldn’t figure out where to get the helium balloon filled so she just hung it up on the wall. Gotta do what works! 🙂

Also, doesn’t bubbly just make any party picture look even more divine? 😉

I tried to be healthy and eat salad and fritatas before I gorged myself on cookies and the green tea ice cream below. I was SO full when I left!

What kind of goodies do you make or take to baby showers?

Neubau Progress: Bathroom

After we signed for the flat we had to get down to business. Building was on a schedule and we needed to decide all of our customizations asap. Obviously the whole bathtub/shower switcheroo didn’t really work out like we wanted it to, but we could still change a few things in the bathrooms. We started out with drawings of the bathroom plans:

The guest bath above and the master bath below.

The architecture firm gave us a load of bathroom options online, but really we needed to head to Sanitas Troesch to “bemuster” or pick out all our customizations.

Since we couldn’t have a fancy bath, we went with the standard D-Code tub, but for the shower we upgraded the evil sliding doors to a solid glass wall on one side and a glass door on the other side. The thought was “Less moving parts, less mold”…

I was surprised again that we had to specify that we wanted a shower bar in the bathtub so that we could put the shower head high enough to shower. Um yeah, you didn’t let us swap the shower and the bathtub, but I still feel it is important to be able to actually shower in my damn master bath. Crazies.

If you’ll notice below lots of the pictures it says “kostenneutral”. This became a very common word in my German vocabulary because it means “cost neutral” and it meant those choices were included in the base price of the flat. Anything else had a price… and as we found out with the electric, everything would have a parts cost + labor + general contractor fee + builder’s tax + VAT tax on all that. Guh. But anyway, we were still going to make some changes!

It was a little scary though, because in Sanitas Troesch they gave us a million options and decisions to make and it was really easy to say “Let’s add this” here or there, not knowing what it would add up to. Some of the original picks were also no longer available because they were discontinued, so sadly sometimes we had to choose options that cost more that we didn’t even like as much (like our towel hooks, argh!)

It was nice seeing the fixtures in real life though. Kay really liked one of the more modern looking faucets that was cost neutral, but it had a very strange hinge attachment that I could foresee dirt/mold/soap scum collecting in and being a pain to clean. Everything I saw for the bathroom fixtures was being judged on my “cleanablity” scale. I do not want mold in our new flat! I convinced Kay that I didn’t want to be jamming q-tips up into the faucet handle to clean it, so we were going with the “boring” standard faucets. I think he’ll get over it.

Some bits were confusing too… Swiss have this thing about built-in soap dishes, cups, etc… that I find a bit strange, but they are in literally every house here. The sales man just sort of asked us what we wanted and where, but I kept wanting to know, “How much does that extra soap dish cost??” It was a bit stressful.

Toilets and sinks were an easy decision. We picked the prettier (rounder) cost neutral toilet. Not paying $2250 for that boxy toilet up there. And while I’m not necessarily in love with our double sink style, I also didn’t want to pay thousands to upgrade that either.

Our “chosen sink” came with a pretty naff cabinet underneath. Check that out? What is that space for?? Gathering dust? I wasn’t having that. Knowing me, I’d squish tissue boxes and bath supplies in there and it would totally ruin the clean, tidy look I’m hoping we’ll have in the bathroom. Not to mention, it would be a bitch to clean around those sinks. No, no this was not the cabinet for us.

Since we were picking everything out in as much detail as we wished, we were able to look through Sanita’s catalogue and I decided I wanted to go for a more traditional type of cabinet, while Kay was sad not to have more modern ones. The big drawers above seemed like they would be a pain to organize and I really wanted more drawers and some traditional hinge cabinets, so we came up with the option below. I just wanted everything to be practical!

But after we signed for everything, Sanitas came back and told us the cabinets above would be impossible with our double sink because the drawers would run into the faucets in the middle. We could change it slightly and put drawers in the middle and cabinets on the outside or all flat cabinets, but it ruined my idea of splitting up drawers between Kay and myself, so we said “screw it” and went with the original giant drawer below:

And honestly, I can’t really remember if it is the one above or if it will really have two drawers… the decision came after the bathroom contract and it’s been so long since we decided everything that I’m afraid when we check the finished flat, we’ll have forgotten what we even chose if we don’t have the proper documentation for it. I’m only left with the plans that still include the cabinet and drawer combo above. (Things like this keep me up at night…)

For the half bath, we were surprised to learn that it didn’t come with an under sink cabinet at all. That just wouldn’t do. I mean, I plan on putting toilet paper and crap for guests under there. And tampons. You know, IMPORTANT stuff.

We went with a simple two door cabinet because they don’t make the gianormous drawer cabinets in this width. I am happy.

I am even happy with our giant drawer. I was unsure how I felt about it when we first decided everything, but now I think it will be nice an streamlined and hopefully not too hard to organize…

Along with the master bath and guest bath we were surprised to learn this was when we had to pick out our basement cellar sink for the wash room. A small dinky sink came with the flat price, but we upgraded it a tad (at least I think we did…!) bigger sink. Kay convinced me that we don’t need a crazy laundry sink with ridges for scrubbing, because let’s be honest… how often do I hand wash things?

After a few rounds, all the bathrooms were sorted and we were on to bigger, bolder decisions.

Want to catch up?