Monday, November 30, 2009

KL Pavilion: Ministry of Food

So it's over a week since we got back from our Malaysia trip. I have a ton of photos that are trapped in my camera. They're dying to get out but I'm too lazy to do anything about it. But I found some photos taken by my dear friend L.

This is a dinner we had together at MOF before going back to the Westin for our little party. The food was billed at fusion asian, if I remember correctly. We had this claypot rice dish that was very good. I was scraping off the crunchy bits at the bottom. The paku-pakis veggie dish was good too. We also had a porridge that was decent. Tea was served in these teeny cups and required pouring water over the tea leaves into another pot... it wasn't that practical for a bigger group but L knew what she was doing. I don't recall what else we had but we left satisfied.

For dessert we stopped at J&Co donuts nearby. Huge variety of donuts in different flavored icing covering and fillings. We had a selection to share. Stefo got hooked and wouldn't stop asking for them after that.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bormio Terme & Livigno

Saturday: we finally see the sun after a whole week of dreary clouds and fog. We were in Valtellina and decided to drive up to Bormio Terme to swim and soak a little in the hot springs. It was wonderful. No crowds (ski season hasn't really started yet what with the lack of snow this year), and most importantly, no crowds. :-0

Plus there was the autumn promotion going on where all fees were discounted 40%. We spent 3 leisurely hours swimming laps and relaxing in the warm outdoor and indoor pools. Bliss!

Then we decided to drive to Livigno to fill up the tank. Some pictures that I snapped through the window.

Livigno looks cold and snow-less.

It was the first time that I actually went into town, and not just the gas station. We stopped at this warm and rustic-looking bar for some tea and a snack.

Livigno has historically been exempted from the 20% VAT (Value Added Tax) because of its isolated location especially during the winter season. Thus the many shops selling luxury goods at duty-free prices all along the town's main street. Also I found out that alcohol is taxed based on alcohol content, which explained why we saw lots of people snapping up bottles of hard liquor.

We made it home in time for dinner celebrating S's sister's birthday. And that was our Saturday. Yay for weekends!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American peeps!

I am missing the holiday here. No turkey, no pumpkin pie, no green bean casserole. Instead, it's another day at work. I know I can make my own Thanksgiving here but I have as usual a host of excuses: we just got back, I'm too tired, I don't know where to find a whole turkey, I don't have a whole day to cook a proper turkey dinner... Well, it's too late now but next year I can aspire to cook a real Thanksgiving dinner, ok?

I hope you guys are enjoying the day with your friends and family. This year, I'm thankful for my family, good health, great friends. In addition this year, I have my new husband to be thankful for. He's always sweet and makes me laugh,
and he puts up with my silliness. I'm thankful. ;-)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Wedding 2.0

We're going home for Wedding: the Sequel. I'm excited to see friends and family, EAT, and soak in the warm weather. But duty calls, so we'll also be dedicating one evening to our Chinese wedding dinner.

We also have an entourage of 6 from Italy and 2 from California. The wedding planning I've done this round has consisted mostly of planning a very detailed week-long itinerary for our guests. There is an island getaway, 272 steps and a tree-top jungle adventure in the plans. I can't wait to show them my hometown.

I'll leave you with a shot of our sweetheart table from our wedding day in September. My bouquet is on the left and I loved it! ;-)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

White Truffle Lunch

Yesterday we had a lunch fit for a king. Our colleague and friend, A, had generously offered to share with us some white truffles found by his dad. His father lives in the countryside outside the town of Pavia, and with the help of his trained truffle-sniffing dogs, hunts down these prized gems during his free time.

It's white winter truffle season and prices can go easily for something like 2500 euros/kg. Wow, these fungi sure comes with a hefty price tag.

As soon as A opened the glass jar that held them, a strong fragrance or odor, depending who you ask, filled the air. Apparently the highly aromatic smell can even penetrate eggs stored next to them and change their taste.

Truthfully, it reminds me slightly of the smell of durian.

We had it shaved paper thin over a plates of fresh egg pasta. The taste was very delicate, compared to the aroma.

With a glass of good red wine, not bad for a workday lunch. Yum, we could get used to this. Thanks, A!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

La Serata Pugliese

We were out having aperitivo with friends one night when two girls in our group came up with the idea of cooking up a meal featuring authentic dishes from their hometown region of Puglia. What a great idea! We offered our home as a venue and that's how we found ourselves chowing down on the best Pugliese food in town one Sunday night.

Puglia is the region that's the heel of the boot. One of the pasta that's synonymous with this region is orrechiette, which literally means 'little ears'. Our friend P spent several hours that morning making these from scratch!

Our friend W cooked up a pot of 'brasciule' - meat rolls with a parmesan cheese and herb filling, simmered in a tomato sauce to-die-for. First we had the sauce with the oriechette. Yes, you can definitely taste the difference in taste and texture of handmade fresh pasta. Then we had the meat smothered in more sauce for the secondi. It was all soooo good.

Here I am with the two talented cooks. I'm hoping some of it can rub off me. ;-)

And if that wasn't enough, P outdid herself further with dessert. An amaretti bavarese with a hazelnut chocolate sauce. Oh, and did I mention we had wine? D brought over 3 bottles of good red wine to help wash everything down.

Wait, there was also that bottle of white wine which we opened while waiting for dinner to be ready. No wonder we were all happy, relaxed and definitely well fed that night.

Thanks P and V for cooking! Can we do this again soon? ;-)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Quart Formage Festival

It was the 14th of August, the day before Ferragosto, when we took a much-needed break from wedding planning. Unfortunately we were at work but the office was deathly quiet. It was the middle of the summer holiday season and everyone was on vacation. We left the office at 5.30pm and headed to the Aosta valley.
The Aosta valley is close to the French border and has many French influences. That's 'karr' for you not 'quart'. My ignorant self surely didn't know that.

It was the annual Quart Formage Festival and we were there for only one reason. Thanks to a tip-off from a fellow blogger, we had to get our hands on one of these cool wooden cheese boardswith a wine glass and cheese knife holder built in.

Success! Now we can wear this around the house while eating cheese. ;-) We purchased the contraption with 10 food tickets to be used at all the different local cheese stands.

We tried all kinds of cheeses that were local to the Aosta region: various fontina, ricotta, gorgonzola, and a bunch of other cheeses that I can't remember the names of.

They had fonduta, a local dish - basically potatoes in a fontina cheese sauce - that was delicious. And oh yes, we drank lots of wine too. Had to make use of the wine glass, right?

There was a good crowd of people at the festival, kids and dogs included.

Unfortunately, there was only so much cheese we could eat. Yes, it was good. And yes, there's nothing like fresh ricotta with honey drizzled over. But it didn't take long for me to feel cheesed-out. We ended up giving our remaining tickets to a friendly family that we had struck up a conversation with. And now we have two cute souvenirs already buried in the mess of one of our kitchen drawers.
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