Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Amsterdam Scenes on the Spiegelgracht

I took these pictures of Amsterdam somewhere in the south of the centrum on the Spiegelgracht and then passing through the grachtgordel (the canal belt) last February.

Telephoning while biking. This is a special bike with a cart in front where you can put groceries or your children for example.

Andijve stamppot is a typically Dutch winter dish. Quite heavy but very filling especially during the cold winter months.

Locals transport their children on bikes. Telephoning while biking is very normal here. You should see those biking with an umbrella in one hand under the pouring rain and harsh winds.

Ah, life in the city of Amsterdam =)

Visit Period: February 2014
Destination: Amsterdam Centrum (North Holland), Amsterdam

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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Gourmet Lunch at Savini’s in Milan: Artichokes with Ricotta and Risotto with Asparagus and Truffles

The second thing we did when we arrived in Milan after checking in to our hotel and checking out the Piazza Duomo, the Duomo Cathedral and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele is LUNCH.

We were starving and we wanted to have the best seat in town. So we decided to stay at the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele and find the chicest place to have lunch and people watch. We stumbled upon Savini.

Savini is located in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele.

Gourmet Lunch at Savini’s
Website: Savini 1867 Milano

I really have no idea about Savini’s except that it’s outdoor terrace looks elegant. It did not take Blondine and I long enough to make a decision to settle at a corner table offered to us by the head waiter who is as cheeky and savvy as ever, in a positive way though. He can’t help to behave that way because he is Italian, hehe. He did blush a bit when we pressed him with questions. The man for sure loved his job, entertaining guests and keeping the rest of the wait staff on their toes.

We started with some drinks. In Italy, if you want to order sparkling wine, it is better to choose Prosecco over Champagne. It's just proper manners, we are in Italy and not in France =)

The head waiter initially thought we were Germans (Dutch is slightly similar to Deutsch and many foreigners mistake Dutch for Deutsch/German) and when we told him we are from Holland, he quickly said something about Wesley Sneijder, a popular Dutch football player who used to play for AC Milan. I know, men and football.

Blondine and I ordered our lunch, a shared antipasti and separate mains. While waiting, the bread rolls with the usual Italian condiments of olive oil, balsamico vinegar, salt and pepper arrived.

The bread rolls under the napkins were still warm.

Blondine settled for a cola.

Moi with my prosecco.

We dipped the bread rolls and toasts in very thick extra virgin olive oil the waiter specially brought to us, only to be taken back inside the restaurant after pouring us each a generous portion. The olive oil was so good and it must have been very expensive since the waiter did not leave it at the table. There was another olive oil on the table but it did not match this one. The balsamico from Modena was equally gorgeous.

Our antipasti to share just came right in time.

Artichokes stewed in marjoram and filled with Ricotta cheese and sliced tuna 'Bottarga'. Ah, this was heaven. If only we could lick the plate clean, but we are ladies so we must behave and will behave.

After the antipasti from heaven our mains arrived smelling so good. Risotto with Taleggio cheese, asparagus and Black Truffles. Truffles give that really sexy gastronomic smell.

I am not very fond of risotto but knowing that Milan is famous for its delicious risottos we dived in and ordered the best described risotto dish on the menu. We were not disappointed! This is so far the best risotto I have ever had.

This was just soooo darn good.... and those black truffles...

Just tonight I visited Savini’s website and it looks like this 150 years old restaurant has been visited by famous artists, famous people and celebrities. Interesting huh? But we were not there to spot famous people dining at the restaurant but to spot normal people walking past by the restaurant =)

Not the cheapest restaurant in the galleria but if you fancy some elegant ambiance, you’d love it here. And the food was very good as well! 4.3 stars out of 5.

Travel Period: April 2014
Destination: Milan (Lombardy), Italy

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Milan, Italy: Breakfast alla Milanese at Caffe Milano

Italians don’t usually eat large breakfasts. They usually have a cup of coffee (cappuccino) and a brioche, most of the times standing at the bar before going to work. Milan has many traditional multi-purpose eatery, which could be a pasticceria, bar, café and restaurant serving cafeteria style ready-to-eat dishes. What is notable of these places are its interior in polished wood (walls and ceilings) and the beautiful chandeliers.

So when Blondine and I were in Milan we did not take the buffet breakfast at the hotel. We went local alla Milanese.

Caffe Milano

Breakfast at Caffe Milano

This is one of our breakfasts in Milan at Caffe Milano located at Corso Dante (the street going to Castello Sforzesco). Blondine ordered a type of sweet brioche while I had a little focaccia style bread with melted cheese on top to go with our cappuccinos.

The most surprising part was the price of the cappuccino as they were going 5 euros each. Milk seems to be more expensive than coffee at this café.

Since I am not a big breakfast person, this is the perfect breakfast for me.


Yummy Italian sweet pastries.

Caffe Milano
Caffe Milano

The locals just have coffee at the bar, they are quick and cheap... and more social.

This is my breakfast, cappuccino and foccacia-style bread with melted cheese.

Caffe Milano Breakfast

Blondine with her cappuccino and brioche while the locals prefer to drink (and eat a quick brioche) at the bar.

Blondine was craving for tiramisu but never had the opportunity to order a piece during the entire trip.


Caffe Milano Eat

Travel Period: April 2014
Destination: Milan (Lombardy), Italy

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Friday, April 25, 2014

Coffee at Gucci Milan

Let's just say that the coffee at Gucci is quite good, afterall we are in Italy. Anywhere in Italy cofffee is good. Well, let me correct that, it is excellent.

The Gucci Cafe is located outside the Gucci shop in the breath-taking Gallerie Vittorio Emanuele.

The cafe is outside of the store in the shopping gallery.

The bill came with a Gucci leather cover.

As always, double espresso for moi and cappuccino for Blondine.

Travel Period: April 2014
Destination: Milan (Lombardy), Italy

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Postcards from Milan, Italy

Did you know that the Lombardy region in Italy is the richest in the country?

Milan is the capital of Lombardy and has been for years, together with neighbouring Veneto region seeking independence from Italy, or rather Rome (which could be bankrupt now), but I have to admit that it sounds ridiculous to see the northern part of Italy separating from the rest of the country.

Anyway, a few postcards for you...

The magnificent Milan Duomo.

Blondine and moi in front of the Duomo.

Inside the Duomo. This part of the church is off limits to tourists.

Moi on top of the Duomo. The roof terrace is a must visit!

The view of Piazza Duomo on top of the cathedral.

Gelato is a must have when in Italy. I always order a pistachio and lemon.

The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele.

Italian Salami Degustazione - another must for me when in Italy.

Far ahead is Milano business centre, where Italy's money is earned.

More Milan stories soon! Ciao!

Travel Period: April 2014
Destination: Milan (Lombardy), Italy

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