22 July 2014

The quest for the best!

What is travel without the food. To me the number one thing that I look forward to when travelling is the food. Last trip to Italy was a huge food galore to us. The boys were looking forward to some homemade fresh pasta, fresh cheeses and the best quality of olive oil. One of the twins had ravioli most of his meals and the other went on a gnocchi rampage throughout the vacation. Captain, a coffee lover, was rating his every coffee as either 'a poetry', 'easily forgettable' or 'pass me the pasta' (coffee that was almost like water). I on the other hand went on a quest to look for the best saute clams or mussels throughout the trip! I am salivating just thinking about all of them! If any of you are not sure what I am talking about, take a scroll below and you will see.  Mind you the presentation of the food might not be of Michelin starred but the quality and the taste of the food was divine! 

The dish above was the first I tried on the trip.  It was in a beach side restaurant in Ostia, Rome called Salus. It was good, one of the best I've tasted throughout the trip and  what better when you can enjoy it with a view like below. What spoiled my whole experience was that I was freezing! The ocean breeze was a bit too chilly and we were not equipped with proper clothing. Talk about bad planning...

View from our table in Salus, Ostia

This one above was from lunch at a restaurant called Tre Abruzzi in Fiuggi. The balcony table we had was gorgeous and breezy, not too cold, not too warm and the food was good too. The mussels were great but I would prefer it with slightly thinner sauce. This dish didn't come close to the top of my tried list because of that and because the grumpy 'old timer' waiter that just put me off. He was grumpy even after the generous tip we gave him!  I guess some people are happy being grumpy..

This one above was from a restaurant in Sant' Agata called Villa Caprile. Despite the great setting of the restaurant and fabulous view, this dish failed to shine. A little too dry and the portion was horribly small for a hungry tourist like me ;) Besides that, overall the restaurant was good. The chef came up with a little medley of appetizers, on the house for us and the owner was friendly too! 

This little restaurant above in Massa Lubrense called Nastro D' Oro had a gorgeous view of Capri Island. It was raining earlier in the evening we had dinner there and sunset view on the slightly cloudy day was breathtaking.  The dish of saute mussels was good too, so good that I told Captain that I didn't mind coming back again for another portion the next day! Service was excellent and our waiter Francesco was charming and not grumpy at all!

Capri Island in the distance

An elegant setting at rooftop restaurant  of Hotel Forum in Rome. The mussels from the 30 euro per person buffet failed to impressed me :(

So, which dish of sautee mussels/clams topped the list? From the most humble little restaurant in the deep mountain of Lazio to the elegant Hotel Forum in the middle of Rome, the best dish had to be from one quiet restaurant at the foot of Vesuvius called La Roccia Al Vesuvio.  We stopped there by chance, as we thought it would be a great idea to have lunch and fuel ourselves before we tracked up the volcano. The dish of mix mussels and clam was heavenly! So good that I forgot to take a picture of it. Yes, I went digging in immediately! The portion was right, the gravy was enough and was mopped with the crunchy bread by the boys in minutes! When the bill arrived we were shocked! 4 dishes of pasta, my sautee clams and a salad dish with mozzarella di bufala plus drinks came up to slightly more than 40 Euro when we spent on average per meal around 80 Euro elsewhere. On top of that the service was fantastic, even the kitchen staff came out to see if we were fine. What else could we ask to top that? 

La Roccia Al Vesuvio

Now, a month after the vacation, I am craving for some sautee mussels. I am planning to re-create the dish sometimes next week and if you are interested to try it out, come back soon as I will share the recipe here on the blog! Until then, have a great week and enjoy the summer!

post signature

:: Link Up ::
Snow in Tromso
To The Days Like These
Unlocking Kiki

18 July 2014

Trend - Fool on Full Skirt

I might not be a super lady-like person that look great in dresses, poised, with hair immaculately done but once in a blue moon, I like to feel like one. By that it means I would put on extra layer of mascara and lipstick, blow dry my hair and dig deep into my closet looking for that pair of skirt or dress I have forgotten about and try to make the best out of it. Lately, I found myself looking more at the full skirt trend. I even pull a few pairs from the rack while browsing the mall and into the dressing room to try them on but often I found myself feeling like a fool if not looking like a fool in most of them. I guess some girls are made for skirt and some like me, would look uneasy, overdressed and stumpy in these beautiful trend. Maybe I am just a fool that just don't know the rule to this full skirt trend. Maybe I have yet to find a pair that fits me. May be... So, is there a rule to looking good in full skirt? How would you wear them?  What about the length? Is there a rule to that too? Please share :)

post signature

:: Link Up ::
More Pieces Of Me
On The Daily Express

Thoughts and prayers to families and friends of all 298 passengers and crew members on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur that was shot down in east Ukraine last night. 

16 July 2014

The 'Glamourous' Capri Island

The view of the iconic 3 rocks of Faraglioni from Capri Island

Capri Island, the little island on the coast of Italy or known to the world as the playground of the rich and famous. The island made popular by the likes of Jackie O, Sophia Loren and Clark Gable has made its way to the list of the must visit place in the world by many. Was I intrigued? Not really but as Captain always say, "Once in a lifetime, why not?"

There are a few ways to get to Capri but they all involved boats.  You can either chose to ride the ferry/hydrofoil with all the 'mortals' or hire a private little boat with your own skipper and travel at your own pace. We were attracted to the idea of travelling at our own pace but at almost 400 Euro, we decided to go with the crowd on the hydrofoil. It was kind of fun basking in the sun on the deck with the sea breeze grazing our faces the whole 20 minutes of the journey from Sorrento and I was thinking what difference could the 400 Euro have given us? 

 Arriving at the main port of Capri, Marina Grande

Since we were spending only a day in Capri, we decided to take a guide with private transport with us. Our guide, Salvatore, was one funny guy and he made sure we get to see all the 'must see' in our short time in Capri. If you don't want a guide, it is also easy to explore Capri by public transport or the other way called 'on foot' if you are up to climbing the 400+ steps up the hill and down again to the other side of Capri. Had the day not been so hot (the hottest days of June in years according to the locals) I would have taken on that challenge!

The highlight of our day was the trip into the famous Grotta Azzura or Blue Grotto, the sea cave with a small 'crack' as the entrance. The sun reflectes on the surface of the super blue water creating a blue reflection that illuminates the whole cave. The entrance was so tiny that it could only allow one small boat that fits 4 at a time of which upon entering all four must lie low to avoid knocking the roof of the entrance. Sounds like an adventure, right? Bear in mind that the grotto might be close on certain days depending on the condition of the sea.

At the entrance of Grotta Azzurra.  Notice the little row boats? 

 The view of the entrance from inside the cave. Stunning!

Piazza Umberto.  Best visited after sunset if you want to brush shoulders with the celebrities and the locals

We took a break for lunch and boy, wasn't lunch an event in Capri. The restaurants in Piazza Umberto served elegant lunch by waiters that dressed in white jackets with price starting from nothing below 20 Euro for starter and wine list that could put some hotels to shame. You could also try some of the set lunch served at some restaurants outside of Piazza Umberto at a smaller price. For me the highlight of my F&B in Capri would be the granita or the ice-blended lemonade made from the lemons from this area of Italy. The lemons were so sweet, added sugar barely needed. The lemons, according to Captain can be eaten just like that, like you would an apple!

It was nice strolling by these little walks with boutiques on the left and right..

Scents of Capri.. make great gift or souvenir

The succulent lemons, famous in the Gulf of Naples. They were huge! As big as the young coconut some were! They made fabulous granitas or ice blended lemonades.

The cold, refreshing granita or ice blended lemonade

After a day of going around Capri and seeing a lot from the beautiful houses of the famous, the gorgeously dressed immaculate girls to the hilarious chatter among the boat-men of Grotta Azzura, I could see the charm that Capri possess. I could also understand the lack of privacy the locals must be feeling with tourists, thousands of them flocking their backyards throughout the year, to the point that life starts after the sun down to them as that's when the tourist would go away with the last ferry out. Honestly I can say that there are better, more beautiful and less crowded or expensive islands in Italy and thanks to the stars, songs and films, Capri has turned to be yet another 'Disney World' for the tourists, leaving the glamour a thing of the past.

post signature

:: Linking up with ::
A Compas Rose
Unlocking Kiki