Thursday, May 6, 2010

Festival of the Italian Cuisine in Yerevan

Great news for lovers of everything Italian. Hey, I know you are reading me ;) allora, tieni duro!

Embassy of Italy in Armenia and Ermenegildo Zegna Group organize a Festival of Italian Cuisine in Yerevan. It will take place on May 10-16, during which, the delicious Italian food will be available for a special promotional price in 11 restaurants of Yerevan.
the poster was spotted near 'Mama mia' pizzeria on Sayat Nova str.
Here are the locations and the Italian region whose cuisine will be represented there:
  • "Cucina" Marriott-Armenia (Amiryan 1) - Cuisine of Piemonte (Milano). I've heard only good reviews about their cuisine and waited for an occasion to visit. Will try to do it this time!
  • "Rossini" Golden Tulip Hotel (Abovian 14) - Cuisine of Campania (Napoli). Must be a nice place, I may go. btw, Napoli is the hometown of pizza ;)
  • "Raffaello" Congress Hotel (Italia 1) - Cuisine of Lazio (Rome). I've been here once and it's nice, may go again too. 
  • "L'Atelier" (Mashtots 37) - Cuisine of Emilia-Romagna (Bologna). I have no idea what/where this is :)
  • "Le Bouchon" (Abovian 26) - Cuisine of Sicilia. I haven't been here either, but heard pretty good reviews, will possibly go this time.
  • "Mezzo" (Isahakyan 28) - Cuisine of Lombardia (Milano). This location is on my "to visit" list. Seems a nice occasion, will definitely go.
  • "Noyan Tapan" (Amiryan 12) - Cuisine of Abruzzo (L'Aquila). hm, i didn't know they serve food there (I thought it's a brandy store)
  • "Ai Leoni" (Tumanian 40) - Cuisine of Veneto (Venezia). This is probably the best Italian restaurant in Yerevan. Seems to me, i won't miss the opportunity to visit it for the festival. And can't wait to have my favorite spritz (only in Veneto) again! 
  • "Ankyun" (Vardanants 4) - Cuisine of Toscana (Florence). I love this place, will probably go.
  • "Rembrandt" (Abovian 14/6) - Cuisine of Veneto (fish). I have heard that this is a pretty expensive place (especially the sea food), not seems to be "my place". 
  • "Mama mia" (Alek Manukian 7/2) - Cuisine of Puglia (Bari). beh... i'd just say i'm not dreaming of eating there at all :D but i wonder what Puglia is famous for...
Wait, WHERE is Liguria?? I wanna try the genuine genovese focaccia! :( and if there would be a restaurant representing Friuli-Venezia Giulia (Trieste), i'd definitely have an Illy espresso there ;)

I guess i'll be having my dinners in these (marked with pink) fancy restaurants for the whole week :)) I really hope the special promotional prices will be affordable, as announced. 

By the way, a sample of Italian gastronomic products and touristic brochures of the Regions involved will be available in the restaurants. It's unmissable!

Couple of years ago I was involved in all the activities connected with Italy in Armenia. I was frequent in the Embassy, participating in all of their events and was in a very good relations with the staff. It seems to me that it's time to reestablish the ties :) especially when my italiamania (Italian bzik) is totally having a comeback.

P.S. Haykush, amic, mi sei mancata tanto tanto! E per il tuo compleanno, farò un brindisi per te, con un vino Italiano!

P.P.S. Bagi, un brindisi speciale sarà fatto anche per te !

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Introducing Foursquare in Yerevan

Geolocation is the Trend for 2010. I already enjoy Google Latitude and occasionally post buzzes from my cellphone (even if it's an old-style non-touchscreen and without GPS) but my new "crash" is Foursquare!

I wasn't using it for a long time since i didn't know it would be possible with my cellphone. I wish I had an iPhone, Android phone like Nexus One or Blackberry to use the full functionality of Foursquare, but for now i'm doing good with the mobile version for all other "less-trendy" (or less-smart) devices.
So what's Foursquare?

foursquare is a cross between a friend-finder, a social city-guide and a game that rewards you for doing interesting things.
In my words - foursquare is a game you play with your friends, it's about discovering new interesting places in the city and competing for becoming a "mayor" of a certain venue, for reward points given for check-ins and attractive "badges".

Below you can find the basic "ideas" of foursquare:

4sq user checks-in when goes to some venue that is on the map (4sq uses Google Maps), if the venue is not listed, user can add it and check-in there.
When you tell foursquare where you are, that's called "checking-in". You can check-in from parks, bars, museums, restaurants... really anywhere. When you check-in we'll let your friends know where they can find you and award you points and badges based on your adventurousness.
If you've been to a place more than anyone else we'll crown you the "The Mayor" of that place. We see lots of bars and cafes now offering "Mayor Specials" - a free coffee or appetizer or maybe a special discount to the mayors of their venues.
Badges are little rewards you earn for doing checking-into interesting places. For example, staying out late on a school night or frequenting too many karaoke bars. 
Example of badges unlocked by a user
Most foursquare checkins will earn you points. You can earn points for your first checkin at a certain place or by adding a new place to our listings. We display a list of the users who have racked up the most points on the "leaderboard". The idea is that the more you experience, the more places you visit, etc. the higher your score for that week. The leaderboard resets every Sunday at midnight.
Every foursquare user has the ability to create both "Tips" and "To-Dos" for places. Tips are generally things you'd recommend to other ("Go to PDT and try the bacon-infused Old Fashioned") while To-Dos are more "notes to self" ("Remember to come back and try the pesto noodles"). 

Foursquare in Yerevan
As for what i know, there are so far 4 of us who actively use 4sq in Yerevan. It's me, Yervand A., Harut M., Matthew A. Many others are registered with few check-ins, and probably will start using it soon :)

Some statistics on Yerevan active users

Number of check-ins:
  • Yervand - 69
  • Harut - 52
  • Matthew - 44
  • Arpik - 33

Most friends:
  • Arpik - 17
  • Yervand - 12
  • Harut - 10
  • Matthew - 6

Most mayorships:
  • Yervand - 8
  • Arpik - 5
  • Matthew - 4 
  • Harut - 1
I'm now excited to unlock as many badges as possible and become a mayor of at least 10 venues (to earn a certain badge). It's not always obvious how the badges are earned. In fact there are many city-specific badges i will never earn unless i go travel in the US. I found this interesting list of foursquare badges and their "unlocking" methods.

There have been lots of buzz around Foursquare in all popular blogs on Social Media and not only.

P.S. I'm thinking of doing a small presentation of foursquare on the upcoming BarCamp Yerevan ;) And I'm sure the number of active users from Yerevan will increase by then.