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23 February 2017

Ristorante Alfredo alla Scrofa in Rome, Italy: The Birthplace of Fettuccine Alfredo


We are in the year 1907 at Via della Scrofa 104 in Rome when Alfredo Di Lelio created the most celebrated Italian dish that bridged its history to America. Pregnant with his child, Alfredo fulfilled his wife Ines' wish of having something to eat that would give her and her unborn child energy, flavor, and heat. With such a simple recipe that requires only three ingredients of exceptional quality, fresh butter, Parmigiano Reggiano and fresh pasta with a particular thinness that cooks under 30 seconds, Alfredo unwittingly created a dish in his kitchen that later became a part of the Italian gastronomic history.  The miracle happens when a mantecatore or mixer amalgamates the pasta with the sauce with his masterful mixing movements. The Fettuccine Alfredo created waves among the American elite from the time it was discovered by two Hollywood stars for almost a century later.

15 February 2017

Arnaldo Caprai Winery in Montefalco (Umbria), Italy


If you love Italian red wine, then you must have heard or tried Sagrantino di Montefalco and if you liked it, then you must know about its leading top quality producer, Arnaldo Caprai. Arnaldo Caprai does not only have the prominence in the quality of its Sagrantino wine but it also has the notability in its role in reviving this autochthonous grape variety in Montefalco, Umbria. The Sagrantino grape has been cultivated in the region for more than four hundred years, then it  went through a period of diminished activity until Marco Caprai, son of Arnaldo Caprai, focused his interest in the disappearing grape and reestablished it in Montefalco in the late 1980s.  In 1992, the Sagrantino was awarded with the top appellation in Italian wines, the DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) which denotes controlled production methods and guaranteed quality of the wine.

14 February 2017

20-Minute Orange Pepper Fish Fillet


In winter, the only fruit I can think of is oranges. It's a part of my daily diet starting first thing in the morning with the spremuta or the freshly-squeezed orange juice. At times, an orange salad is a refreshing treat after having a seafood meal. Simply drizzling some extra virgin olive oil and sprinkling some salt on it is perfectly delicious and so simple too! And try to think how healthy that is too. You can also add some olives, chives, fennel, or even smoked salmon - whatever it is that you put together, the oranges will always be that one great ingredient to use in the winter plates.

08 February 2017

MaMa-Ya Ramen in Rome, Italy


A bowl of steaming hot ramen in Rome? The picture that a friend posted in Facebook got me. It got my full attention alright and I made sure that my schedule was clear the following night so I myself can slurp (well, you do slurp the ramen right?) my own steaming hot bowl of ramen. It has been a long time since I've last had my ramen fix in Asia and I was more than excited when I heard that there was a new ramen bar in Rome, and a good one too. Mama-Ya Ramen just opened a few months ago and looking at the reviews of the diners and reading about the people behind the place, I was convinced that it would be a good place to strike for a bowl of ramen bowl on a cold, rainy evening.

03 February 2017

Pascucci al Porticciolo Restaurant in Fiumicino (Rome), Italy


The sea is my biggest supplier, where I had to get everything. Chef Gianfranco Pascucci has a vast source of ingredients right in front of him, where fishes of different kinds are taken to the dock by the local fishermen of Fiumicino as soon as they come in from fishing. He doesn't limit his ingredients to the usual sea bass or turbot, because he feels impelled to take out the immense supply that the sea can provide us, more the unknown than the ones we are used to. There is the desire to generate awareness and through his kitchen, his dishes can create stories from the sea, the fishermen then to us.

28 January 2017

Cannoli Nachos


When I was asked to make a recipe for Cannoli Nachos for She Knows, I was torn. My husband is Sicilian and cannoli are considered as part of their culture very seriously. Of course that means that they have to remain as they are, like how they had been enjoyed for the past centuries. Deconstructing and reinterpreting them into nachos is something unheard of and instantly made him nervous. I told him that the ingredients and flavors will remain the same, just the presentation would change. I shooed him out of the kitchen and I started to work.

24 January 2017

The Sicilian Oranges of Azienda Agricola Santi Rindone in Rome, Italy


After a visit to the capital a couple of years ago and trying out the spremuta or freshly-squeezed orange juice in a bar, Giacomo Rindone was dismayed at the quality of the oranges used. Being accustomed to oranges with superior standard, he decided to take his oranges to Rome himself. He bought a van, gave it a brand, acquired an itinerant vendor license, loaded the van and parted for the capital. Now on his second year in Rome, the demand for his oranges picked up in volumes. The van was not enough so he needed to get a stall at the Mercato Irnerio in Via Aurelia.

Per informazioni in italiano, vai su questo link.

23 January 2017

Il Maritozzo Rosso in Rome, Italy


As any Roman would say, you can't possibly not love the maritozzo! Maritozzo is a cream-filled sweet bread bun that's typical in Rome. It's an icon of the Roman gastronomy and if it has been around for centuries, then it will remain in the city for centuries and centuries more. But Edoardo Fraioli has other ideas. Perchè limitarsi a mangiarlo solo dolce? (Why limit yourself in eating it just sweet?) In starting something a bit different without taking away the concept of the traditional sweet bread, he grabbed the salt instead and ditched the sugar and cream.

20 January 2017

I Sofà Bar Restaurant and Roof Terrace in Rome, Italy


The chairs are comfortable alright. As the name states, I Sofà Bar Restaurant and Roof Terrace (the sofas), you imagine a room full of comfortable cushioned seats with back and arms. Along with good food, wine and company, now that can be the right place for a pleasant dining experience on where to enjoy what the Eternal City has to offer. The restaurant is located on the ground floor of centrally-located Hotel Indigo Rome - St. George, a five-star boutique hotel in a quiet road parallel to Lungotevere (boulevard along the Tiber River). In summer, the rooftop seating is open for dining al fresco with a panoramic view of the city.

17 January 2017

Leftover Turkey Pinwheel Sandwiches


When we cook a whole turkey (or chicken), we always end up having leftovers and the big question that we deal with is how do we recreate dishes with them. Of course if you are in the US, this always happens to you like every other American home after Thanksgiving. We are way off the holiday now but this recipe is very useful to keep because it's simple and very easy to make. It works perfectly as an appetizer or snack for the kids.

12 January 2017

Cantina Todini in Todi (Umbria), Italy


As we veered off the main road, another path in the countryside led us to the entrance of Cantina Todini (Todini Winery) on the left side. The place is tranquil with a picturesque front area. External garden chairs and tables are scattered in an orderly fashion and they overlook a vast landscape of Umbria. There are patches of land,  luscious trees and rows of vineyards like soldiers. It took my breath away.

06 January 2017

Paccheri with Artichokes, Shrimp and Pancetta


I love artichokes. So much. I never had them until seventeen years ago when I moved to Italy and I still remember the first time I tried them after  my mother-in-law cooked and laid them on the table. She sautèed them in garlic, lemon and white wine and I thought they were the most delicious vegetable I have ever had. Until now. It was such a delicious opening to a big world of genuine Italian cuisine, and I realized how different the interpretation is outside the country. My only knowledge of pasta before can be counted with the fingers of one hand. Instead, Italian cuisine can be from traditional to innovative with one some important characteristics to keep in mind. Simple, healthy and using quality ingredients.

Ottoburg Restaurant in Innsbruck, Austria


Ottoburg Restaurant is a 360-degree Austrian experience, from outside the building until you walk through the rooms and sit down to eat. Being housed in one of the city's oldest buildings, all the guidebooks would most likely lead you there. It is indeed a destination to get to know Innsbruck inside and out. The building is as beautiful as it has always been in its 900 years of history. It stands proudly at the beginning of the Old Town at Herzog-Friedrich-Strasse, where the street opens up to more historical buildings built around the 14th-century, including the famous Golden Roof of Innsbruck. 

01 January 2017

Sitzwohl Restaurant in Innsbruck, Austria


When you are planning a trip to Innsbruck and you are looking for a place to eat, it's imperative to go to Sitzwohl Restaurant because it is one of the best and one of the most popular restaurants in the city. Recently attaining 2 toques and 15 points at the Gault Millau's 2016 edition, Irmgard Sitzwohl and Elisabeth Geisler, the two outstanding female chefs who run the kitchen take the diners for a delicious gastronomic spin by putting together local delicacies with Mediterranean characteristics. Being robust and rich, Austrian cuisine is reinvented in their kitchen with simplicity and delicate touches of aromas and flavors.

23 December 2016

Lemon Sorbet and Blueberry Prosecco Float


With all the recipes for mixed drinks around, you just scratch your head and hope to find that perfect one that is easy to prepare with simple ingredients and most importantly, will please everyone. There are some drinks that make us think how it will definitely be the winning drink to serve but when we read the ingredient part, we back out. The usual plight? Where in the world can we get that bottle of ingredient? Don't fret, there are still some simple solutions with components that you can easily find at home and at the shop. With this delicious Lemon Sorbet and Blueberry Prosecco Float, you will just need a bottle of prosecco (Italian sparkling wine) to give the alcoholic kick. If you can't find the prosecco, replace it with other kinds of sparkling wines. Add some lemon sorbet, frozen blueberries and simple syrup that you can make yourself at home. 

22 December 2016

Madeleine, Salon de Gastronomie in Rome, Italy


At five o'clock in the afternoon on the 15th of December, Madeleine was all lighted up, classical music streaming out from a couple of antique gramophones, and a buffet table of madeleines, macarons, meringues, cakes, variations of tea and spiced hot chocolate were laid out beautifully for their first guests. Pastry Chef Mattia Mezzina was hovering around checking the last minute desserts that he just created specially for the event. The staff was busy serving tea, hot chocolate and pastries. The ambience was relaxed with a festive spirit lingering in the air. There's an important reason to be jubilant about. 

21 December 2016

Bonverre: Panettone Baked in Glass Jars (Vasocottura)


In Italy, you know when Christmas is coming when the food shop window displays are brightened up with colorfully wrapped big boxes  in uniform sizes. Inside these boxes are the panettone. Panettone is a traditional Italian Christmas sweet bread that contains candied fruits and raisins, shaped like a dome and weighs a kilo. Opening a box of panettone and sharing it with the whole family is an ancient tradition that started in Milan and continues to be enjoyed all over the country every Christmas.

19 December 2016

How to Make Kimchi by Chef Daniel Kim


Kimchi is a Korean dish made of fermented vegetables and a variety of seasonings. It gives mixed reviews on most tables but on every Korean's, it is an important part of a meal. Being used to strong flavors, I myself like kimchi but up to a certain amount as the spiciness can tear me up. I love its explosive taste and how it goes so well with other Korean dishes. But kimchi is not just about its flavor because it is also one of the healthiest dishes in Korea. Being fermented, it is rich in probiotics, the good bacteria that's beneficial to our digestive system and kimchi has a specific kind which is lactobacillus kimchii. Additionally, it is also a rich source of dietary fibers, vitamins A, B, C and other minerals.

Galbi Restaurant in Rome, Italy: Discovering Kimchi and Other Korean Food


When it is about two thousand years old, has three hundred versions, and is considered as one of the healthiest dishes that exists, then I think kimchi should gain a rightful spot among the list of food that we should take note of eating. Kimchi is a Korean dish made of fermented vegetables and a variety of seasonings. Being fermented, it is rich in probiotics, the good bacteria that aids our digestive system extensively and specifically in kimchi, you can find lactobacillus kimchii.  It is also rich in dietery fibers, vitamins A, B and C and other minerals. It may have a certain strength is spiciness (have a glass of water at hand) and aroma but if you are into food that your body will benefit from, then kimchi is something to include in your regular diet.

15 December 2016

Le Asiatique Fusion Bar and Restaurant in Rome, Italy


We all take souvenirs back home with us to remember our travels. Most people would buy something small and display it on a shelf, something useful, or something edible to recreate that wonderful bite we discovered. I am the foodie stasher who would fill up my suitcase to the maximum weight to relive the moments of the delectable food that sealed my trip to excellence. To Michelle Sermoneta and Stefano Calò, taking home souvenirs from their frequent trips to Asia meant seeking to live through the distinctive Asian hospitality in their own turf. With this, Le Asiatique came to life and they created a magnificent six-room restaurant in the heart of Rome with the typical hospitality of Asia.

12 December 2016

Festival Franciacorta 2016 in Rome, Italy


It's interesting to know that Franciacorta's effervescent wines had already been in one of the world's earliest publications about winemaking in 1570, about a hundred years ahead of the acclaimed Dom Perignon's perception about the wine techniques. Gerolamo Conforti, a doctor from Brescia (Italy) published Libellus de Vino Mordaci (Dissertation of Sparkling Wine) which spoke about the technique of natural fermentation of wine in bottles and its effect on human bodies. He described the effervescent wines as biting or bubbly and they were much more lively during the colder months as compared to the warmer ones.

10 December 2016

Giro d'Italia Enogastronomic Event 2016 in Rieti, Italy


Fog was covering Rome the morning of 26 November. I arrived at the meeting point in the large parking lot with the red bus quite visible in the gray morning. About twenty of us started arriving one after the other excitedly getting our seats in the bus for the one and half hour drive to Rieti where more than 500 wine labels are waiting to be tasted. We were headed to the fourth edition of Giro d'Italia Evento Enogastronomico (Tour of Italy Enogastronomic Event). I had been occupying a lot of my free time in wine tasting lately as I am about to embark on a new adventure geared in full swing towards the world of wines. Soon, I am starting the first of three AIS Sommelier Courses.

08 December 2016

Taste of Excellence 2016 in Rome, Italy


The Taste of Excellence's fourth edition was as important and well-attended as ever. With 40 food and wine producers, 60 celebrated Italian chefs, and 3 culinary schools, this much-awaited enogastronomic event took place in SET, Via Tirso, Rome from 26 to 28 November 2016. The program was crammed with schedules of guidebook presentations, cooking shows and interactive talk shows with the chefs and culinary experts while the walk around tastings were available for everyone the whole three days.

01 December 2016

Osteria dell'Orologio in Fiumicino (Rome), Italy


Fiumicino is not just a town in Rome where your airplane lands and departs to enter and leave Italy at the Leonardo da Vinci International Airport. Just a few kilometers from the main flying hub is the town proper where the main road overlooks the canal that comes from the Tiber River then leads to the Tyrrhenian Sea and on a sunny warm day, eating al fresco at Osteria dell'Orologio is a pleasant experience. Right beside the restaurant is the town's historic building with the imposing orologio or clock from 1822 that was designed by the famous Italian architect Giuseppe Valadier. Valadier's most famous clocks are the Oltramontano Clock and Italian Clock on the facade of the St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican.

25 November 2016

Shrimp and Asparagus Stir-Fry in Oyster Sauce


When people see that my husband and I have different cultures, the question that usually arises is what we eat at home. My answer is always the same. Ninety percent Italian and the rest of the time, we have Asian dishes, mostly Filipino. The whole family loves Italian food. Give them pizza and pasta everyday and no one will complain and give them rice and their favorite Asian dishes to go with it and you won't hear any complaints either. Shrimp and asparagus are two of my favorite ingredients to put together whether I am cooking Italian or Asian dishes. I think their individual flavors are so distinctive and when I put them together in one dish, the merging of tastes makes bond even more delectable. 

16 November 2016

Osteria Fernanda in Rome, Italy


Through the glass wall, the white walls, tall shelves of wine all the way to the ceiling, and emphasis on wood, Osteria Fernanda's minimalist contemporary design beckons you to come in and take part in their phenomenal rendition of gastronomy. I like places where the sun rays are allowed to stream inside and where the brightness accentuates the food that I am eating. With simplicity around the restaurant, the dishes that arrive on the table instead speak of originality and creativity. Osteria Fernanda's muted ambiance gives the food the importance that they need because nothing can distract the senses from the protagonists.

11 November 2016

Discover Durello 2016 in Rome: Lessini Durello DOC Spumante


In the high valleys of the Lessini Mountains, between Vicenza and Verona lies the vineyards of the durella grapes. The land is the ideal environment for the vines to grow for the volcanic minerality of the soil, ventilation and suitable day and night temperatures. Durella is an autochthonous grape variety that comes from ancient times and is described as acidulous with thick skin and rich in tannin. It's perceived as a perfect variety for making spumanti or sparkling wines.

09 November 2016

Chocolate Strawberry Cups


When strawberries and chocolates meet, there's never a doubt that something great comes out. Always. The love for the one of the best sweet combinations doesn't have any limit to ages because adults and kids (even dogs try stealing too) can't ever say no to this sweet blend. This recipe can be your make-ahead dessert or snack that is quite easy to prepare. Make them small so they're easy to pop and let the complete flavors of the strawberry cream and chocolate cups melt in your mouth. Are you ready?

04 November 2016

Taho: Soft Tofu, Sugar Syrup and Tapioca


Taho is soft tofu mixed with sago pearls and syrup slightly flavored with vanilla served in a glass.  Oh, and it's our breakfast. 

That was how I explained what this taho is to my husband after I came back to our room early in the morning on our first morning in the Philippines. Poor guy almost died of a heart attack after I sprung out of the bed with surprising speed and ran out the bedroom without giving any explanation. He knows that nothing, even shaking of the bed or dousing of cold water can make me stir out of my morning sleep.  He diligently takes me my coffee to bed every morning to help me clear up the morning cobwebs in my head.  He couldn't believe that there's something more powerful than coffee that can make me jump up like that and it doesn't even contain caffeine.   

31 October 2016

Filipino Torta (Omelet with Potatoes and Ground Meat)


Back in my childhood days, torta (Omelet with Potatoes and Ground Meat) did not have a reserved space in my plate. Whenever I see that torta is being prepared in the kitchen, I usually try to convince my mom to give me other things to eat. Of course she almost never did because we had a rule at home that whatever is on the table has to be eaten. I just learned to drown it with banana ketchup and eat more rice than usual. You see, in the Philippines, a normal meal is composed of meat or fish, vegetable side dish, rice and condiments that can go with the food. In the case of the torta, ketchup is the most popular one, especially the one made with bananas.