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Showing posts from August, 2013

Da Baffetto - yet another famous Roman pizza

My senior director is from Rome. So when I got there, I thought of emailing him to get recommendations, and received the fastest response to an email ever :) Within less than 5 minutes I had multiple recommendations from him in my inbox. How lovely and sweet of him! One of the places he suggested going was to a famous pizzeria in the centre of Rome (near Piazza Navona) called Da Baffetto (basically "at the mustached man's place"). We thought we had to do it considering how obsessed we are with pizza!

A few pictures of Florence

Rosa Rossa - Venice / Venezia - awesome food! So good we went twice!

The hotel we stayed at in Venice, a little Boutique place called Locanda Orseolo (will post at some point) had a list of recommended restaurants which I saved to my trusty offline Tripadvisor app and we decided upon Rosa Rossa (red rose) when we saw it was near a recommended bar (Cafe Brasilia) on a side of Venice (to the West of our hotel - North West of San Marco) we hadn't visited yet. So off we went and booked a table early at the restaurant (around 6 for 7.30) as reviews said it got busy. Then we went off to have an aperitivo at Cafe Brasilia (post to come) and then wandered leisurely over to eat. We were given the choice of inside or outside and inside was a bit dark so we decided on outside in the alley behind the restaurant to take advantage of the long summer evening (something I kind of miss in Singapore where the sun rises and sets at pretty much the same time every day all year round ie 7am to 7pm). 
We liked it so much the first day that we went back the next night! …

Graffiti, Paintings, Street Art and Signs in Italy

I got a bit obsessed with graffiti and random signs in Italy and here is my collection of interesting shots 

Pizzeria del Secolo - good sliced pizza near Rome's Termini train station

Another day, another pizza slice.... ok slices.... of course! This one is close to Termini station in Rome, just a few streets to the East of the station at 62 Via Palestro. It had decent reviews on TripAdvisor so I popped in to grab some slices to take with me on the train. Reviews had mentioned that they had potato pizza and whilst I had a yummy one at Pizzarium, but the potato pizza there was with chunks of cooked potato and mozzarella (also really good) and this one I heard was the other type so the thin slices which go crunchy so I had to go! 
I wandered in and had a look at all the different types of pizza. As you can see, they make them huge and long with rounded ends and they slice it up whichever size you want and weigh it to determine the price. From what I can tell, all pizzas were 12 EUR a kilo so quite a bit cheaper than Pizzarium.

This one here seems to have from the left cheese with sundried tomatoes and salad leaves, middle is salmon I think and on the right it is raw…

La Montecarlo - pizza and pasta in Rome / Roma - 2 visits :) (one for pasta, one for pizza)

When I lived in Rome, as a student, I was taken to La Montecarlo in the centre of Rome by some Roman friends of a friend. Ever since then, for the rest of my six months there, I went all the time, with visitors and with friends and loved it. It is loud, it is crazy, the waiters may growl at you (literally in my case) or insult your manhood with just a look (in G's case) :) But it is fun and vibrant and the food is good. G and I go there every time we visit Rome, one time ever three times in one trip! You might find better food elsewhere, but for us it is really a part of our Roman experience and the pasta is great as well as the pizza. Ignore all the trip advisor comments, but it is true you will get a brusque service! Don't ask them to change ingredients, and don't start ordering if you haven't decided what you want, you won't like the consequences ;-)

This trip we didn't make it three visits but we did do two :) We went once for pizza and once for pasta, bot…

I Gatti del Torre Argentina / the Cats of Torre Argentina - Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary

You may know Largo Torre Argentina in Rome, but do you know there are 250 cats there? Yup, 250 cats live in between the ruins of 4 different temples, cared for by volunteers at a charity - The Cats of Torre Argentina. They take in strays / dropped off cats (don't just leave your cat though as there are video cameras to avoid that), castrate and vaccinate them and try to find them a home. If they don't get adopted, they get to live their lives out in the Largo Torre Argentina, looked after for by the charity. The charity runs on donations and on the proceeds from the goods they have created by local artists, like signs to "Beware - Cats" etc. Very cute things and for a very good cause.

We watched from up high first. I was fascinated by this interaction between a black cat and a black and white cat:

I think we know who the boss it! The black one had the white and black one running away :)

Singapore - Home Cooking - Pasta inspired by one of our meals in Rome - Vegan pasta with cherry tomatoes and gorgeous courgettes then courgette pasta

We had a lovely dinner at Osteria da Fortunata near Campo de' Fiori in Rome. I spotted a pasta combo I loved the idea of, courgettes, tomatoes and ricotta and they did a version for me without the cheese and I was in heaven. So when we got home, we brought various items with us from our shopping trips in Italy, including courgettes that G picked up from the market the morning of the day we left, when they were still prickly so obviously picked that day or maybe the day before, and 3 different types of tomatoes. So the day we got home, we landed quite late in the afternoon so we made pasta when we got home from our pasta collection (we brought loads!). We didn't have fresh pasta (though we did buy double O flour - but no inclination to make any pasta ;-) ) so we picked the farfalle (butterflies) to cook with our lovely fresh roman courgettes (zuccine romane) and our cherry tomatoes (pomodorini / pachino). And the next day we went for courgette pasta. 

Here are the tomatoes and…

Ostaria da Fortunata near Campo dei Fiori in Rome for homemade pasta

OK so the collage is cheating slightly as the ice creams weren't from Ostaria da Fortunata but rather Gelateria del Teatro which I will also write up.

We saw that the pasta was home made as well as the desserts so we wandered on in after checking the reviews online (well, offline, the Tripadvisor offline application which we used all the time as it has all the different restaurants for the city and maps and attractions etc - just be careful if you see a glut of super positive recent reviews in English, they usually mention the name of the owners or waiters we find, and we tend to think those are fake.)  This place had quite a few positive and not obviously faked reviews. The restaurant is just around the corner near Campo de' Fiori, if you are facing North then top left corner. 

Pizzeria da Remo - probably one of the best pizzas ever

Pizza can be found everywhere in Rome. Everywhere! But they are not all created equal. We met up with friends from the time I lived in Rome (9 years ago now) and went to one of their local pizzerias, in Testaccio which is the working neighbourhood of Rome. Well known for food. So we jumped on bus 23 from where we were staying in Prati and it stopped on Via Marmorata and we walked down to Santa Maria Liberatrice square to hit up Pizzeria da Remo. If you look it up, you will see it is considered one of the best pizzas in Rome. We didn't want to get our expectations too high, as to avoid disappointment, but we did see a huge queue when we got there. Luckily our friend knows the guys working there as it is his local, so we got a table for 7 after not too long a wait. 
Da Remo serves the really typical Roman pizza, which means super thin, crisp base with often some burnt bits on the sides (take them off) but not try so still has some chew / softness to it but you can easily cut a slic…

A few pictures from Rome to start with - 1st day of wandering

Pizzarium - amazing pizza by the slice in Rome

The last couples of times we have been in Rome we have been meaning to head over to the famous pizza slice place called Pizzarium and run by the famous chef Gabriele Bonci. It is known to be very good at the basic / classics but also to have many creative options too. And craft beers and organic drinks. Bonci apparently uses a 200 year old starter he brought back from Sicily to make his pizza dough, so we had to go!

On the Monday of our trip we made it over there, we had thought of going on Sunday but I googled Pizzarium opening hours and it said shut on Sundays. Turns out it isn't true, they do open on Sundays, just only at 1300, not at 1100 like the other days of the week.

I was quite lucky as it turns out it is their vegan month this August where all pizzas except the margherita and the potato pizza are vegan so perfect for me! Less so for G as he loves his meat, we will have to come back some other time for him to try the meat and fish ones. I assume it is vegan month as the …

Singapore - Thien Kee - traditional Haianese steamboat in Golden Mile

What to do on a Wednesday night? Middle of the work week, hump day, needs to be celebrated! We had been chatting on our Whatsapp group (SG Makan Group) for a while about meeting up and we settled on steamboat as what we fancied eating. We chatted for a while, considered various options and settled on a very traditional option which is Thien Kee, a Haianese steamboat in the basement of Golden Mile Tower. So off we went and booked a table for 12 at 7.30pm.

We got there and you are just wandering through the basement in Golden Mile and suddenly it opens up into a huge restaurant! Total surprise, very unexpected. We had two tables reserved down the back, ready with the chicken broth:

A shot of the corridor where the restaurant in, we were on the right side but there was also a section on the left.

The menu has the standard steamboat set plus various other optional items. This is part of the set, liver I think, cut meat and sea cucumber plus fish balls.

We decided to order a round of chic…

First few pictures of Venice / Venezia

Singapore - I caught dengue fever - what that involved....

I will write up my experience with dengue so you know what to look out for / expect. On Tuesday a couple of weeks ago I went home from work just after lunch as I felt rotten. I felt a flu coming on so thought I would get some sleep and work the rest of the day from home. I developed a fever and took ibuprofen for it (though I later found out I shouldn't have as with dengue you need to avoid ibuprofen and aspirin - take paracetamol). I started feeling hot and cold and having chills and aches all over. You know when you can't get comfortable as your joints all ache. Yeah, that. Sleeping was hard, both falling asleep and staying asleep and unfortunately you can expect that to last as I am still struggling.

Singapore - Being in hospital won't stop my food posts :)

I will get around to posting my dengue experience but it is all a little too fresh at this point and I am too tired to do so, so I will focus on the more important things like the food options in hospital :) The hospital I stayed in was great, I will post about that soon, but one of my favourite parts had to be the food selection moment every day at the Mount Elizabeth Novena hospital. 
Every morning, they would drop off a piece of paper with my options for the the three meals for the day, with between 4 and 6 options per meal!

As you can see, plenty of choices to pick from, always something you will want / eat. The next pictures will be my menus (once I started taking the pictures! first day was a bit fuzzy) and the pictures of the food. Not what you expect from hospital food I must say. And I love how the different Singaporean races are represented in the menu.

As you know by now, my stomach can't handle dairy well, so I often selected the vegetarian option and  they knew I did…