Friday, May 17, 2013

Leaving! And great gatsby party update

L. was so excited about the Great Gatsby movie that is showing in theaters now (apparently, she has been waiting for the movie for the past 1.5 years) that she and ZA decided to hold a 1920's dinner party. Yay!

As always, they were very gracious hosts, and it was quite an eventful night. We saw blood, we had some broken glass and we broke her clock by the end of the night, but it was so fun!

I had a hangover that lasted two days till Monday. Sigh. Please refer to my "turning 30 post" here if you want  to hear me lament about what happens when you get old.

I blame it on Luyi's over-generous pouring of champagne bottles and bullying us to finish our glasses. And us drinking whisky and bloody mary's on the side. 

Anyway, pictures from the party!

 I know, we don't have our shoes on, but try to picture us all in heels!

 I need to give a special mention to the yummy crab tomato pasta that Luyi made. So good, and the dried pasta tasted like fresh pasta. Yum!

ZA was the other instigator about making all of us drunk, as you can tell. 

Haven't been doing anything much exciting, because I am leaving for Europe tonight! Yayayayayaa!!!

It's been a while since I could whip out my winter coat, so I am uber excited. And my boots. Although, I could only bring one pair because I have decided I am not checking in any luggage, given the lack of efficiency in European airports in general. 

My bags waiting for me to go home now to retrieve them and head to the airport!
Obviously I did my due dilligence, and researched on all the good restaurants (I could prolly publish as a book, it's quite thick), with maps of the restaurants as well. I am quite proud of myself. Being the Singaporean, I have also tried all means to secure reservations everywhere I am going. 

Anyway I am off. Nicole shall hold the fort for the next two weeks. Yay!


Friday, May 3, 2013

John's travel blog through Italy and France 2013

April 28th 2013
Al Castello - Genova, Italy

Prosciutto cotto con rucula pizza (7.5/10)The pizza was good and the toppings consisted of my most popular choices. Simple, tasty and very satisfying. The dough was nice and soft and went very well with the next dish.
Ravioli frutti de mare (6.8/10)
First off fruitti de mare is one of my favorite pasta dishes, it literally means “fruit of the sea” and is a pasta dish that comes with a mix of seafood such as clams, mussels, squid, shrimp, and sometimes fish.This dish came with ravioli pasta but the pasta wasn’t as fresh as I was hoping. Each piece was small first of all, which is ok but made each piece less tender and so I wasn’t super impressed. The sauce was good though, it was basically a lightly oiled base with flavor from the seafood. Great for scooping up with the pizza dough. The seafood was good too. Overall not bad, but not blowing me away.

Breakfast, April 30th, 2013

Complimentary Breakfast 8.5/10

Idea Hotel San Biagio, GenovaThe breakfast that came with my hotel stay was pretty impressive. It had a great spread of pastries, meats, bacon, eggs, cheese, toast, yogurt, fresh fruit, fresh juices, and of course coffee. I had a nice bowl of blueberry yogurt with granola and honey added to it. Also I grabbed some salami, mortadella, prociutto crudo, swiss cheese, bacon, and scrambled eggs. The eggs were a bit runny but were still good with the bacon and cheese combination. I took a croissant, rotella with jelly, and half a skinned pear. OJ and a cappucinno made it a perfect breakfast. 

This coffee machine was awesome, you press a button for what you want and immediately it came out. Less than 15 seconds and you have what you want. I got a cappucinno and here is the machine pouring an additional espresso I took for the road.

I know this is a food blog but I figured I’d put this picture of a dog I saw on the subway in Genoa in here as well since I took it for Saralin cause I knew she would like it. (10/10) Turns out she did!

Mid-day Dessert, April 30th, 2013

Grom, Genova

Gelato Cone, 8.8/10I really like my mid-day sweets and so I stopped into a Grom Gelateria in Genova and ordered a cone with pistachio, espresso, and sea salted caramel. Very good gelato, smooth rich and creamy.

April 30th, 2013

Harbor Seafood Shop

Fried Calamari (7/10) and Chopped Octopus (7.5/10)

Not much to say here, I was disappointed because the lady tossed too much salt and olive oil on both. But I love seafood so this was nice to have, but they didn’t need to drown the octopus in olive oil.

Mid-day Drinks April 30, 2013

Castello Albertis, GenovaLimoncello (8/10) and espresso (8/10)

What’s not to like about these two drinks at the top of a hill overlooking the ports of Genoa at Albert’s Castle. A relaxing place for me and Akos to catch up.

April 30th, 2013

Pizza in Milano (not sure of the restaurant name)
Prosciutto cotto con mozzarella di bufala e pomodorini (9/10)
This pizza was very different than any pizza I’ve had in Italy, mainly because instead of the thin style it actually was very thick but nice and soft. Awesome toppings and great flavor. No complaints on my end here. We also had meatballs that were good too (8/10).

Cheesecake with Nutella (5/10)
So our waiter was a nice guy who had been traveling through the states previously because he played in a band. He seemed very happy to see us because he could remember all the good days he had traveling. But he wasn’t very good at suggesting desserts. He initially suggested the cheesecake with nutella and I said that thats not very Italian and I wanted something more authentic. So I told him I wanted a cannoli. He told me they were out and insisted that the cheesecake would be very good. I said fine if you don’t have a cannoli then whatever sure give me the damn cheesecake, oh and some limoncello too. The cheesecake nevertheless, was exactly what I expected, boring. So i didn’t finish it but I did finish my limoncello (8/10).

May 1st 2013
Early Dinner

Eataly, Milano

Tagliatelle al ragu di carne di cavallo (8/10)

Morrachinno (9/10)
Espresso, with steamed milk, chocolate syrup on the cup, and sprinkled chocolate powder on top.

We then went walking around Milan and saw some sights that were pretty cool.
 Galleria de Victorio Emmanuelle

 Milano Duomo
Diesel Store (for Ariana, sorry I didn't buy you any jeans, but you didn't pay pal me so we're even)

We stopped in for a Cannoli at a local Passticerria (9/10)

These cookies looked cool and the crostatas looked tasty.

I really should have gotten one of these, they were mini gelato sandwiches, looked so freakin good!

PARIS (May 2-5)
May 1st, 2013 Arrived in Paris at 11:30pm via RyanAir after repackaging our luggage six times to get it to fit since they only allow for one small carry on per person and I had my rolling luggage and backpack.

Interactive Map!
So these were the places that I wanted to see and keep track of what I would be doing.
View Paris France in a larger map

Keira was sweet enough to send her expert opinion my way and so I figure I'll post these for reference sake because there is no way I'll be able to go to all of these places, however next time I just may.
Keira's Suggestions:
1. L'Astrance (2 Michelin stars) - this was really good, and I recommend lunch and choosing the Spring menu but be prepared for a 4-hour lunch. Must reserve in advance. 2. L'Ardoise - reasonably priced, 3 course fixed set (35 Euros), near Concorde. A lot of my friends liked this. 3. Les Papilles - home cooked traditional French fare, 4 courses for 33 Euros, owner buys seasonal ingredients everyday and decides what to cook, you dont get a choice. 4. Le Chateaubriand - one of the most hyped-up restaurants in Paris now, recently ranked top in Paris and 9th in the world by San Pellegrino, fairly reasonable at 50 Euros for 5 courses, they dont take reservations for second seating at 10pm, so people generally queue from 9.20pm (experimental fare) 5. L'Atelier Joel Robuchon (2 Michelin stars) - I know they have this in Singapore, but I really like the Paris one. 6. Angelina- Also check out Angeline for supposedly best hot choc in Paris. 7. Frenchie - Very good, but may be difficult to get a reservation. 8. Royal Madeleine - In the Madeleine area, their veal stew and beef bourignon is good. 9. Experimental Cocktail Bar - Cool place to get a drink, nice cocktails. 10. La Conserverie and Curio Parlour - Nice bars, wide range of cocktails 11. Briezh Cafe - In the Marais Area, excellent crepes from Brittany and cider. 12. Las du Falaffel - Marais Area also, supposedly best falafels in Paris, be prepared for long queue. 13. Go check out this square called "place du marche st honore" - lots of restaurants there can take your pick, look for little georgette, which serves many little dishes 14. Try also the Berthillion ice cream in Paris, one of the best. 15. The one I have tried and loved is Le Chateaubriand. Also, a parisian recommended this trendy restaurant (cheap and good fare) called Hotel du Nord

Ok and now onto the stuff I did!
May 2nd, 2013. Wandered around quite a bit.

Stood in the middle of many intersections and yes that is the Eiffel Tower in the background.

Went into a local Pastisserie for a quick bite.
Walked around Jardin di Luxemberg. 


Made a movie in the Park.

Saw Notre Dame.

Had a super thick hot chocolate at Angelina's.

Very thick and rich (8.9/10).

Awesome with fresh whipped cream (9/10).

Saw the Eiffel Tower.

Thursday May 2nd 2013
Dinner, Creperie de Josselin
Had 100cL (1L) of Pichet (hard apple cider), 8/10.

Savory Crepe. Couple (bacon, cheese, spinach). I asked for honey on top and that made it all the more better (9/10).

Extreme close up.

Flambele, rum and glaces vanilla.

Same without flames (8/10)

Crepe with apple and vanilla ice cream (8.7/10).

After we ate these amazing crepes, we met up with some of Akos' friends at a pub and had a beer. Then when they left we went out to a bar in the northside but it was lame so we went home.

Friday May 3rd, 2013
Breakfast/Lunch, Cafe Richard
Croque monsieur e madame. (8/10)

un espresso (9/10)

Ordered a Crossant with apricot filling and espresso from Brioche Doree on Champs Elyse (8/10)