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30 July 2016

Ristorante Livello 1 in Rome, Italy


Italian restaurants often give you visual access to the kitchen through a window from the dining area. It breaks the barrier that confines the kitchen staff and the diners to two separate spheres. It breathes more friendliness to the atmosphere and direct connection between guests and chefs. Upon entry to Ristorante Livello 1, the first thing that you will notice is the complete visibility of the kitchen from the dining area. With a minimally designed glass wall, you can witness all the movements that go on in the kitchen and if you position yourself right next to the glass wall, you can even learn a thing or two about cooking. It's a unique kind of view that you can't get everywhere.

26 July 2016

Fruit Ice


The sun was succeeding in boiling me while I was walking around the premises of EXPO last summer. When I finally found a shaded area devoid of crowds with casually placed chairs and tables on the side of a pavilion, I almost made a lunge towards it. I had about a quarter of an hour to relax my tired feet and to gain back some energy. When I finally gained enough consciousness to look around, there were smiling faces looking at me and they were speaking in an odd language to me. When they understood that I was clueless about what they were saying, they switched to English. They wanted to know if I was a journalist, pointing towards the colossal ID that was hanging around my neck. It said Media. I told them that I was a food - travel writer and I also create recipes and I was there to visit a couple of pavilions that were hosting a group of us to get to know their cuisines. That got the excitement going. They wanted me to know more about the food in their country. Indonesia.

24 July 2016

Vallesinella Hotel in Madonna di Campiglio (Trentino), Italy


Four pairs of well-worn dusty hiking boots, backpacks with the essentials and the grandest enthusiasm to explore the Dolomite mountains were all packed in our car along with the other luggage we had been lugging around for our 2-week holiday. Our 15-day summer trip was coming to a conclusion and we decided that a week in the Dolomites would have to be the grand finale before we headed back to Rome. The Alto Adige (or Südtirol in German and South Tyrol in English) side of the Dolomite mountains has always been our summer destination for so many years but for this year, we took a different turn in the Italian alps and headed to a part that we never set our boots on. Our destination was the town of Madonna di Campiglio in the Trentino side of the Dolomites.

22 July 2016

Colli di Poianis Winery in Prepotto (Friuli-Venezia Giulia), Italy


In Italy, landscapes can mesmerize anyone passing through the boot-shaped country from north until the southern tip. Different regions have different charming sceneries. Driving through the less trodden roads of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, you are rewarded with a  scenic view of the countryside and as you reach the DOC Colli Orientali del Friuli area , it becomes more picturesque. It is like going through a travel picture you happen to see in a travel guide. Being an important wine area, the view is a patchwork of different shades of green draped softly on hills. Straight rows of vines and manicured grass on soft hills with a light gray road curving its way in the middle of the patchworks. While the sky remains bright blue, I can't convey in stronger words how beautiful the view is. At a certain point, almost close to the border of Slovenia, I had to ask my husband to stop the car on the side of the road and enjoy the panorama 360 degrees around us. That is Colli Orientali del Friuli.

21 July 2016

Bruschetta with Sautèed Baby Squid


Baby squid is not often present in the fishmongers' display of seafood. When I chance upon them, I always get some to sautè. Sometimes, I serve it with steamed rice when I cook it the Filipino way (adobong pusit) or sometimes with a vegetable side dish or even better, as topping of the bruschetta. Whatever way I go for, it is always a great dish, an accomplishment to the taste buds What I am sharing with you here is a very simple way to enjoy the baby squid - sautèeing them in extra virgin olive oil then tossing them with tomatoes, olives and capers. The flavors point towards the Italian palate and I can assure you, every bite is a challenge not to eat more and more.

20 July 2016

Seafood Risotto


One of the things that makes summers great is that I am more driven to cook more seafood dishes than ever. It just seems so natural with the beach just five minutes away from the house and the heat asks for white wine that pairs perfectly with seafood. They don't need so much time to cook plus it's possible to put different kinds in one pot. There's nothing wrong with mixing the clams, mussels, shrimp, langoustines, fish, squid, and so much more in one cooking. In fact, the more varieties there are, then the better the flavors are.

18 July 2016

Ristorante Red Fish: Lido di Ostia (Rome), Italy


Rome is the eternal city with ancient history and culture painted on every road you walk on and every stone that you see. It's traversing through one of the greatest civilizations that ever existed. But experiencing the city can also be extended outside the confines of the city walls where clear waters ripple and fine sand can make any Roman holiday more special. Head to one of the beach towns where modern Romans go to on beautiful sunny days. Lido di Ostia is in the district of Rome on the Tyrrhenian Sea where you can find nice beaches and good seafood. 

15 July 2016

Sweet Potato Leaves Salad (Talbos ng Camote Salad)


For a kid with a distant relationship with vegetables, I always made an exception with talbos ng camote or sweet potato leaves (also called camote tops). That salad plate you see above gives me such fond memories of my childhood that by just looking at it, I get so nostalgic. How fun it had been for me gathering the leaves myself in our neighbor's big garden while searching for ladybugs to play with. Sometimes, I would also be handed a piece of sugarcane to munch on before crossing the road back home. It was a  playground and a candy shop in the middle of nature. Maybe that was the main reason why I loved this salad in the first place - because I used to gather the salad myself and it was my first independence of "food shopping" that my mom entrusted me with.

12 July 2016

Adoral Boutique Hotel in Rabac, Croatia


The beach calls when summer hits the calendar. It's that moment when we finish all the necessary things, call it quits for a few days, pack up and go. Well, realistically, it's not really that fast and easy because endless hours of browsing and planning our itinerary was the main part of the "behind the scenes" plus looking for the right hotels - which is another long process. You see, I like them perfectly clean, beautiful, small and have characteristics that stand out. 

10 July 2016

Ristorante Mildas in Giustino (Pinzolo-Madonna di Campiglio), Italy

  
With fifty years of solid culinary backbone, Ristorante Mildas of Mirko Pizzini and family has become a gourmet icon in the area of Madonna di Campiglio. Initially situated in Pinzolo, then to its neighboring town Madonna di Campiglio and finally, to the edge of Pinzolo, in a small village called Giustino, Mildas found a beautiful location in a monastery that dates back from 1300. The restaurant has three dining areas, with the old crypt functioning as the main hall. It is a room with four circular columns and Gothic ceiling. The wooden tables are lined against the walls where seating arrangements can mean sharing of tables (which is a common practice in the mountains anyway).

07 July 2016

Ristorante Osteria del Tempo Perso in Ravenna, Italy


When I think of Ravenna, I think of the eight amazing monuments inscribed in UNESCO's World Heritage List. The monuments are a selection of early Christian baptistries, basilicas and mausoleums that are scattered about in the ancient city. With a good map from the tourist office and comfortable shoes, going around the city and seeing them for yourself is an incredible experience. But what the city offers does not end there because Ravenna also has a number of good restaurants. So after a day of historical and cultural discovery, book a table at one of the city's best, Osteria del Tempo Perso, and discover another side of Ravenna.

Pork Schnitzel with Apple and Potato Salad


Schnitzel is Austria's pan fried thinly pounded slice of breaded meat. The original meat used is veal and it is called wiener schnitzel. It may not seem so exciting but you will love it immediately after one bite because it is so tender and tasty. Kids love it and it is very easy to make so it is a great idea for weeknight dinners. You can tenderize the meat and coat it with the breadcrumbs ahead if you want to save time then just fry it when it's time for dinner. 

06 July 2016

One-Pot Potatoes and Sausage with Rosemary


I just need four main ingredients, one pot and about 40 minutes to make this breakfast for dinner meal. It's a very easy recipe and everyone loves it. No buts from the kids, not even from the adults. It's not really the healthiest dinner that can land on your table but once in a while, it's good to take that plunge into the delicious world of simple food. I do use the chicken sausages instead of pork for leaner meat and extra virgin olive oil for sautèing so those should make things a bit better.

05 July 2016

JB Restaurant in Ljubljana, Slovenia


My stop in Ljubljana had been short but enough for me to gather some great first impressions. I didn't expect it to be so charming and so busy on a weekday. The old town was a lovely walk where outdoor cafès, restaurants and shops housed in colorful Baroque and Vienna Secession style buildings line up the squares. Being just a short transit from Bled to Rabac, Croatia by car, I only had the time to see the Ljubljana Castle overlooking the city and through the city center before my family and I settled into another Slovene highlight at the JB Restaurant of Chef Janez Bratovž.

02 July 2016

Vila Podvin Restaurant in Radovljica, Slovenia (Near Bled)


Slovenia, such a small country yet so extensive in natural beauty. Starting with its lakes, towns, mountains, caves, vineyards then traversing on to another corner which is an equally enticing aspect of this amazing country - gastronomy. I am a beginner with Slovene cuisine and after a little bit of research, I found out that it has Alpine, Pannonian, and Mediterranean influences and because of its position that is bordered by Italy, Croatia, Austria, and Hungary, the flavors that it has adopted can take you to a colorful aromatic trip to a beautiful cuisine.