The Fox is Black

  • The Fox Is Black City Guide to Madrid

    Last week I visited Madrid, Spain’s capital, for the first time, extremely excited to see what wonders the city held. Over my week of visiting I was able to track down some really cool spots, great places to eat and shop in particular. Yet in all honesty, I wasn’t smitten with the city! It felt like it lacked a unique POV, it felt very generically “big European city” which, you know, isn’t a bad thing. Maybe it was also the fact that I was visiting in winter? I have a feeling that if I visited in late spring or early summer my opinion of the city might be different.

    I also should say that I wasn’t a huge fan of either El Prado or Reina Sofia. Both places were incredibly packed, El Prado more-so, and the signage and flow of both museums were both confusing and frustrating. It was great to see Guernica, and I loved seeing all the Goya’s, but man, it felt like it was so much work to see anything!

    Still, there are lots of great places to explore in the city. I had a number of incredible meals and was able to find some really next level places to shop. Here are my recommendations of places to visit “El Corazón de España.” And as I always do, this is my Google Maps of locations I bookmarked before and during the trip, in case you’re interested!

    ARAIA, restaurant in Madrid

    ARAIA →

    The first place I ate the when I arrived in Madrid set the tone for a series of amazing meals over the trip. ARAIA is a conceptual restaurant with a menu finding inspiration from a mythical, Mediterranean island called Araia, and those people’s culture. Don’t let the fanciful story mislead you. The service was impeccable and very friendly, my partner and I (plus our two dogs!) felt welcome as soon as we walked through the door. The vibes were spot on, plenty of mood and texture, great lighting throughout, and a soundtrack for the night that started out with The Roots. And of course, the food, which I felt was one of the best meals I had during the trip. The star dish in my mind being their take on a cassoulet, which really hit the spot on a cold, winter evening.

    Mediterranean Restaurant

    Formaje, boutique cheese shop in Madrid

    Formaje →

    One of the most beautiful cheese shops in the world. Formaje represents a quesariá that combines old world pragmatism with timeless interior design. The selection of cheeses is overwhelming though the friendly staff makes it easy to find your perfect queso for snacking.

    Quesariá / Cheese

    Sportivo, the best clothes shopping in Madrid


    There is one place I visited during my trip that I really wish existed in Barcelona, and that is SPORTIVO. A pair of clothing stores in located in the Conde Duque area, they carry, in my opinion, the best brands out there. Think A Kind of Guise, Dries Van Noten, BEAMS PLUS, Lady White Co. and so much more, amazing items for everyone. I loved that the store was packed with clothing, and you felt like you could dig around to find uncovered gems. I snagged this beautiful BEAMS PLUS cardigan and I’m obsessed with it!

    Clothing Store —

    GOTA, a small and quaint wine bar in Madrid

    GOTA ->

    One of the very first spots on my list was GOTA, the quaint little wine bar which I wrote about last year. There’s so much to enjoy about the space, with it’s custom built bar area, a record player and mixer embedded within. The seating is limited but cozy, and the wine selection offered me a number of things I hadn’t heard of.

    Natural Wine

    WOW Concept Store Serrano - Maadrid, Spain

    WOW Concept →

    The other most amazing place to go shopping is WOW Concept. There are two stores in Madrid, though I was only able to visit the Serrano location, which you can se above. Think Dover Street Market kind of vibes, lots to choose from, floors and floors of interesting products to peruse. Funny enough, I didn’t have this on my map initially, I luckily walked past it. Be sure to take the time to experience every floor, well worth it.


    Llama Inn, Peruvian restaurant in Madrid, Spain

    Llama Inn ->

    So the other amazing meal I had was at Llama Inn, a contemporary Peruvian restaurant that is neighbors with GOTA. All the food was incredibly inventive, like a quinoa dish with banana, the cocktails were so tasty, and everything was incredibly fresh. I have to say the service here was also exquisite, so major props to Madrid on that.


    ACID Bakehouse, bakery and cafe in Madrid

    ACID Bakehouse ->

    I think the most eclectic and interesting spot I went for coffee had to be ACID, a chain of trendy (in a good way!) coffee shops. I stopped by their Bakehouse location which is, obviously, where they make all their baked goods. The coffees are extremely well prepared, and the aforementioned baked goods are top notch. I loved their grilled cheese sandwich with house-made kimchi. In fact, I liked it so much I brought a bottle home with me!

    Coffee Shop and

    Veja, the madrid shoe outpost designed by Plantea Estudio

    Veja →

    There were few stores that really wow’ed me but I have to hand it to Veja, who has created a flagship store unlike any other. Instead of adding onto the space, the space was stripped back to to show the age and craft that went into it. Again, this is another space by Plantea Estudio, who are basically the kings of fantastic interiors in Madrid.


  • W. David Marx is an author who has lived in Tokyo for the last 20 years. Recently, he shared what I thought was a rather interesting way to approach visiting Tokyo for the first time, creating a guide that takes a unique perspective. “This three-day guide provides a way to experience very old Edo period spots, mid-20th century establishments, and early 21st century cutting-edge culture.” Ultimately, he’s planned a guide for 72 hours in Tokyo, and I have to say, I would absolutely follow what he’s laid out here. Obviously cities grow and morph over time, and I find it interesting to plan your trip around these different phases of a cities evolution. Also, big shout out to illustrator Yuki Oebo, who created thee super charming art that accompanies the guide.

    72 Hours in Tokyo, Illustration by Yuki Uebo
  • A quick one hour car ride from San Sebastián and you’re in Bilbao, home to the Frank Gehry designed Guggenheim museum. Opened in 1997, the museum features contemporary art from around the world, as well as featuring the work of prominent Basque artists from the area. As you approach the museum, I walked up via the Nervión River side, it looks rather massive. The undulating shapes and forms are quite remarkable, and how the light hits the structure from so many unique angles. Living in Los Angeles, I’ve seen Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall dozens of times, and yet the Guggenheim does feel like it’s own unique creature.

    The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain
    The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain
    The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain
  • Newly opened in June, Hotel Corazón is already at the top of my list of places to stay in Mallorca. Located 45 minutes north of Palma, the luxury hotel sits between the sea and the mountains, giving gorgeous views at every corner. And then there are the rooms, with the thick plaster walls, arched ceilings, and well-appointed furniture that makes each feel like it’s own unique retreat.

    They also offer a farm-to-table dining experience with fresh produce grown on-site and sourced from local growers and suppliers. The hotel has 50 garden beds filled with vegetables, fruits, and herbs grown using local, regenerative farming techniques, and meals are served on the outdoor terrace with mountain views. The head chef, Grace Berrow, creates simple, Mediterranean-inspired dishes that highlight the natural beauty and flavor of the ingredients. I mean, what more can you ask for?

    Hotel Corazón, a luxury retreat in Mallorca
    Hotel Corazón, a luxury retreat in Mallorca
    Hotel Corazón, a luxury retreat in Mallorca
    Hotel Corazón, a luxury retreat in Mallorca
  • While I was visiting Cadaqués a few weeks ago I made a stop by the home of Salvador Dalí, located in Portlligat. He first moved in around 1930, when it was a small fisherman’s shack right near the beach. Over the next forty years though, he began to purchase the surrounding properties, eventually building himself quite an idyllic compound where he could paint and and hold exquisite parties.

    It was interesting to look around the space he and his wife Gala had created together. I didn’t quite know what to expect as his work is quite surreal. In reality though, I found the space quite interesting and beautiful in a sort of hodge-podge kind of way. They had many fascinating belongings, and ultimately, created a very idyllic getaway to live their lives along the peaceful seaside. I hope you enjoy this little tour of things I found interesting in their space.

  • Cadaqués, Spain — The Fox Is Black

    Traveling around and getting to know Spain has been a priority for Kyle and I. Slowly but surely, we’ve begun to visit the different towns along the Costa Brava, north and south of our home in Barcelona. Recently, we had a short stay in Cadaqués, which is a couple hours north, easily accessible by high-speed train followed by a curvy, mountainous cab ride. Cadaqués is well-known for being the home of surrealist painter Dalí and his wife Gala (more on that in an upcoming post) though the gorgeous, rocky beaches, white painted buildings, and painterly sunsets are the biggest draws for us.

    It’s a very small town filled with friendly locals, most of which know each other, as we as MANY tourists visiting from France. Getting around town is easy, you get to know the streets rather quickly, though the hills can be a workout no matter what your level of physical activity 🥵 With all the tourism, it was a challenge to find places that were unique, offering food, drinks, or shopping that delighted us. That said, if you’re looking to make a journey, here are the places I would recommend you add to your to-do list.


    One of the best surprises was Pepa, a small clothing store that was big on carrying exciting brands. Think Loewe and Jacquemus, as well as sunglasses, swimsuits and bags that would complete any vacation look. I visited the store twice and had to fight every urge not to buy something.

    The lie-size, rattan moped that sits outside of Pepa


    We spotted Raviyu and (it’s charming terrace) as we drove into Cadaqués. Thankfully, it wasn’t only good looks. The wood fired pizzas were delicious, with crusts that were bubbled and lightly charred, and topped with fresh meats and veggies. To top it off, the service was friendly and the atmosphere was lively.

    Raviyu, pizzeria and brassa, in Cadaqués, Spain

    Salvador Dalí’s House

    I mean, it would be really silly to go Cadaqués and not stop by the home of Dalí, who’s home was as odd an eclectic as you might imagine. I’ll share a bit more later in an upcoming post, suffice to say, it’s well worth your time. Be sure to snag tickets in advance, the house is small, and so are the groups you take to tour the space.

    The exterior terrace area near the pool at Dali's house in Cadaqués, Spain

    Bar Llevant

    Directly across from Dali’s house is a small café called Bar Llevant, where we ended up stopping by a couple of times for food or a drink. The fare is simple, you can never go wrong with sandwiches and cava, and what really sold the place for me was the incredible warmth of the owners. Pro tip, grab your food and sit on the terrace upstairs. It’s delightful, and you can have a pause from the tourists.

    Kyle Fitzpatrick sitting on the upstairs terrace of Bar Llevant in Cadaqués, Spain

    Brown Sugar

    There wasn’t a lot of time to visit many bars during our stay, though in my searching, Brown Sugar seemed the most exciting of the bunch. As you walk in the bar is lined with dozens of piña, perfect for making fresh piña coladas, which were delicious. The bar is tucked away in a leafy corner of the city that feels spiritually miles away from the city, and the feeling I got from the staff was “friendly hippies,” which I found charming.


    As we explored the city we happened by Batalla, which caught my eye thanks to the use of a bold, condensed, sans typeface for their logo. The restaurant has a beautiful spot on the harbor, and a delicious menu that felt like something you would find in Paris. Lots of interesting takes on Catalan cuisine, probably my favorite meal of the trip.

    Batalla in Cadaqués, Spain


    Every night, basically everyone in town came out to Joia for their gelato fix. EVERYONE. The place was packed every night we were there, and with good reason. Their menu has 34 different flavors, both dairy and non-dairy options, and it’s all handmade in Cadaqués.

    Joia, a gelato shop in Cadaqués, Spain


    Sadly, we didn’t have a chance to make it to Narita though it’s hit on our list for next time. Japanese meets Mediterranean in this new-ish spot in the center of Cadaqués. The real draw for me is their selection of natural and orange wines, which based on what I saw on their Insta, is top notch.