01 September 2014

... and the sun will rise to a better day

Hello there, dearest friends!  First and foremost I would like to thank all of you who have sent me those comforting messages through the blog and email following my last post. I was so touched and appreciate all of them. You made me feel that I was not alone in my cocoon and that it was not a crime to feel vulnerable, that it was just me being human and not because I was weak. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

I tried channeling my frustration somewhere else and turn it into something positive. I spent time with the boys, talked to them about their college plans which proved to be a good motivational move as they were all inspired and started making plans for a better school year ahead. I also put myself in a self imposed fitness challenge of 90 days starting a few weeks back. I figured, it has been a while since I last took my fitness seriously. So I started a tailor made program to give myself a kick start. It was not easy to get back on track but it was worth it. 

In between looking for potential colleges for the boys, doing research for my fitness challenge and working out, I basically had less time to dwell in stuff that was consuming me. Some things are not for me to change, it is way beyond my control, "Way above our pay grade" as Captain put it. In short, I feel a lot better today.. despite the hot weather that is still going strong.

Thank you again for being there.. sending all of you a big hug and will be back soon!

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07 August 2014

Depressing Summer

43 degrees in the shade

Dear treasured readers,

I apologize first and foremost for not being active on my blog and on yours lately. In fact I haven't been active in any social network for weeks if not months now. It is like I am going through a phase or a spell and I can only hope it will go away soon.

You see, summer in Dubai was never a good thing for me and it still is not after all these years. Instead of looking forward to summer, the thought of having to go through it for 5 to 6 months just drag me down.  This summer is no difference than the last but this year it seems to have more reasons to make my spirits sank. The news like of the downing of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, Taiwan's GE222 and Algeria's AH5017, the crisis in Gaza and Iraq, the landslide in India and  the Ebola outbreak in Africa, just to mention a few, simply add heaviness to this gloomy summer of mine. I can only hope and pray that all the crisis and suffering the world is facing will go away or get better as the days will get better for me.. in time. 

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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!

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