family collage

Sunday, December 21, 2008

ITALY EATS (What We Grubbed in Rome, Switzerland, Turin, and France)

Almost everyone knows that I could be the most stingiest person in the country. In tagalog, the term would be "kuripot".

The only person who could match it would be my husband. Ha ha ha!

If you check out my phone I still proudly carry a Nokia 1680 (provided by the office). No way will I get an Iphone or an Ipad  unless I win it from our company Christmas party. 

Sometimes people ask me if I am a masochist and love depriving myself. 

My answer? "Even if I don't have the high tech gadgets or expensive clothes and accessories, I never for once felt that I deprived myself of anything valuable. I would rather spend on experiences with my FAMILY. If I am going to fork out a significant amount of money, it would either be for bonding sessions with my TEAM YAP, trips, or FOOD" Not necessarily in that order....

And that is why when my brother invited me and my sister to tag along with them to Italy, I immediately said yes! Knowing my brother who is such a foodie, it would surely be a gastronomic tutti adventure!!!

Come to think of it, I hesitated a bit because I wanted to attend the EAT BULAGA Christmas party where I might win an Iphone or an Ipad. But that silliness was forgotten when a dream came true for me after seeing the wondrous beauty of Italy and savored its delicious food.

Now no Iphone or Ipad could match that.

Unless you're a goat and you could eat scrap metal... but you would not be able to read my blog post now, would you?


We flew via United Arab Emirates and I have to say that among the airlines that I have tried already (JAL, Northwest, PAL), I loved their food the best. They gave the best tasting grub for an airline meal and with servings that I was not able to finish.

Here's my first snack of ham sandwich with potato salad, fresh fruits, and custard.

(By the way, like my US Eats post, there will be no tourist shots here, just the food that we ate in the trip!)

For our inflight dinner, I had biryani rice, lamb stew, fresh fruits, bread rolls, chips, and panna cotta!

I know what you're thinking... the camera adds 10lbs...

I agree with you... VERY much agree with you...

When we arrived in Rome (Yahoo!), Kristine (the sister of my sister in law Karen) served us some ham, morcon, and rice.

Yup! It will be a while before we get to eat some Filipino food so we will stock up on these comfort grubs right now. 

By the way, Kristine Salle was a consul in the Philippine Embassy in Italy during that time and she graciously let us crash her home. She speaks fluent Italian and took us around. Thanks Kristine! She's in London now....

Hmmmmm... i wonder...? Tee hee!

After doing our rounds of the Churches and sites (my fave was the PIAZZA DELLA REPUBLICA).... Kuya Jay treated us to some wine and cheese at CUL DE SAC!

Celebrating Rocio's birthday with some wine and cheese! Ha ha ha! So fitting don't you think?

(L-R) My ate Jojit, sisters Kristine and Karen, my brother Kuya Jay, daughter Rocio, and MEH!

Some wine and cheese!

 After CUL DE SAC, Kuya Jay treated us to LA MONTE CARLO PIZZERIA for our first taste of authentic pizza and pasta! This time, it's a real HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROCIO! Ha ha ha!

I never thought that Italians had such big appetites! One plate of the crunchy and gooey pie was supposed to be for one person only! In Italy, they do not really slice their pizzas as the locals would rather get the pizza and fold it like an empanada before taking a huge bite!

It was my first time to try truly authentic pasta bolognese! The difference here (I don't know if it was just in this restaurant) was that the noodles were a bit thicker than the usual spaghetti diameter. The sauce was also loaded with fresh tomatoes and herbs. Nothing sweet here... Just the real taste of juicy tomatoes and hearty ground meat! YUM!

The Monte Carlo pizza, as you could see, has a variety of fillings... The wonderful pie was packed with artichokes, peppers, and that whole egg in the middle!!! 

The egg was a nice touch as it added the extra gooey factor that is perfect with the crunchy crust!

On our way to Nice, France, we made one of several stops at AUTOGRILL... This is their famous stopover where they serve great coffee, pizza, pasta, and even steak!

At Monaco, I had for meself a Monte Carlo sandwich!!!

We also had some piping hot churros and champagne at the Monte Carlo fair!

The next morning still at Nice France, Kristine, Ate Jit, and I had some wonderful chocolate croissants, fresh juice, and cappucinos.

The weather may be snippy cold but we warmed ourselves up by biting heartily onto the chocolate croissants!!! They were heavenly!!

As for the coffee, I don't understand why Europeans have it in small servings. I hope someday they serve in big cups/bowls that I see in Friends!

Look! Up in the sky! It's a french fry!

Sorry, I can't come up with other "french" jokes. If you have something much better (I know you will), please share!

In Geneva, Switzerland, we had escargot, steak tartare, nicoise salad, and their famous Cheese Fondue at RESTAURANT LES ARMURES!

It was a wonderful dinner along with Kristine's friend :) 

Of course, there's always FUN with FONdue... Tee hee!!!

Sorry! That joke is as old as me!

You can't deny it.... the big pot of bubbling cheese with liquor is already a party in itself! The aroma was very heavenly too!

No rice for me tonight! I'm stuffing my sorry tummy with chunks of this bread dipped in nummy, gooey, sticky, cheese!!!!

This has got to be the best Salad nicoise I ever had!!!

Although, it was my first time to have it since I would usually order Caesar's salad in restaurants, but still, this sets the bar at the top notch! Loved the combination of the creamy egg yolks with the tangy vinagraitte!!! YUM!

In Geneva, we also had lunch at their famous CAFE DE PARIS where they serve this steak in butter.. yup! STEAK SOAKING IN HERBED BUTTER.... (saliva dripping).

The restaurant does not usually accept walk in's as they were strictly via reservations only. However, we were in luck because we were in early (11:00am) that they gave us a table. Yey! The food gods were smiling at us!

Along with the steak, they had all you can eat bread and this simple salad. Don't underestimate the salad old man, IT WAS SO GOOD!! It only had greens and vinaigrette but it was soooo delicious that I had two plates of it!!!

By the way, for the duration of the trip, I have learned to appreciate wine. I don't drink any sort of alcohol and even a mere glass of Cali gets me a bit tipsy already (Weird I know!). But here I was able to take in goblets of it since it really paired well with the food!

Plus, Kuya Jay did not let us order Coke zero but that was besides the point.

... and the piece de resistance.... the specialty of CAFE DE PARIS!!

The yellow cream where the steak rests is the herbed butter. They serve the steak on a small burner so that while you eat it, the butter melts and gets into the beef... wow!

No gravy here... Just the royal beauty of melted butter.... AWESOME!

For this trip I saw many breath taking sites (Colosseo, Sistine chapel, audience with the Pope, etc) but this slab of meat has got to be the highlight...

Yes it is at par with the Colosseo... judge me and see if I care. I am going to chew on the tender steak dripping with butter....

What's better than your steak swimming in herbed butter? Having your cruchy french fries soak in all the butter goodness.... 

I can't stop thinking about this meal... I think I even remembered it while  I was giving birth to Andrei.

I am kidding. Andrei was already born at this time. 

Maybe if I give birth to my 3rd child, I'll name him/her CAFE DE PARIS or STEAK with HERBED butter so that this momentous event will be forever etched in my life!!!

Naah it's not too much :)

When we were in Turin we stayed at this Bed and Breakfast house which was big but scary. For some reason the rooms, though spacious and majestic, reminded me of what they had  Dracula movies because it was somehow old. 

Still we had an enjoyable stay especially with Flora, the owner, who fussed over us at breakfast. She was so surprised that Filipinos eat a heavy first meal of the day (since we asked for eggs and all the bread she could find). She said usually they would only have bread and jam for dessert... That's it.

Lady, what a sorry life you live in...

Back at home in Rome, we celebrated Christmas morning with this simple but delicious spread:

Stuffed Chicken..
Morcon with lots of Gravy...
Penne with Pesto sauce...
Asian Salad...
Red wine..

The life...

My plate! My wonderful plate!!!

Don't let that glass fool you. My brother still insisted on wine and ZERO coke zero. 

Even during Christmas.

Woe is me.... 

It's a good thing I was seated beside my lovely niece Rocio! She certainly cheered up my Christmas morning!

I just realized while writing this down that the thought of no Coke zero got me all sad and depressed. It did not enter my mind that I was not with my better half and the mini masters. Ha ha ha ha!

Talk about priorities.

We visited Karen's relatives at STIMIGLIANO... if you've seen CINEMA PARADISO, the place was very much like it! They served us an appetizer of lasagna... (appetizer??)

For the main course, it was turkey and buttered potatoes... Oh wow! Happy Christmas to all!!! I finished the whole plate! That bird was gooo-ood!!!

After seeing the Spanish steps, Colosseo, the arc of constantine, and the Fontana di trevi, we finally had a taste of authentic gelato!

Ha ha ha! Rocio was so cute here!

It was like eating an ice cold creamy cake!!! 

We also had coffee at CHIOSTRO DEL BRAMANTE...

 After several days of eating italian food, we were really hungry for something Asian... so we went to the nearby Chinese resto and enjoyed the Asian carbs with msg!! Heavenly!

On another day, we visited a lot of museums and churches, we then had a small snack at the GUSTO NO. 28 BAR

I had some coffee with my Salmon with cream cheese sandwich! Don't worry, the bread was not severely toasted! It was just black and exciting! Tasted like a rich whole wheat bread. :)

Come night time, we went to the GUSTO WINE BAR for something hard... they had an eat all you can buffet of appetizers which comes with your choice drinks...

My brother ordered me a Kir Royal... My new best friend. It did not get me dizzy as I expected it to be...

Italians celebrate Christmas with family, while New Year's with Friends... It was New Year's eve and Kristine made an exception to give us a great and authentic celebration!

In Italy, they serve this spongelike cake for New Year's eve and round food to bring good luck all year round. The cake was really fluffy and tasty. It worked really well with the champagne!

Who would have thought this combination will go great together?

It was my Mati's birthday on January 2 and to celebrate, I whipped up the Gambas pasta which I loved so much at our meal in CUCINA VICTORIA (see that HERE !!)

I was getting very homesick and missed my boys. It's a good thing I was with my family! They definitely cheered me up!

Plus, the spicy shrimp pasta helped banish all the boo boo feelings away...

At Florence, Italy, we had champagne and hors d'euvres at the RIVOIRE  We were treated again by Kuya Jay he he he (or by Kristine?? Hmmmm)


Hic... this trip made me an alcoholic.... 

We also had coffee and chocolate eclairs at the Robert Cavalli cafe!

Yup! Only true foodies would enjoy the pastries and not the clothes for sale by Robert Cavalli....

or was it accessories? Sorry I'm clueless!

It was the day before our flight and Kristine treated us to some BISTECCA!!!

For our appetizers, Kristine ordered some pancetta with mozzarella and salsa!

... and then came the BISTECCA...

Oh it was HU-UGE!!!

I wonder how much my husband is willing to pay me just to say those words... Kidding! Ha ha ha ha!

They don't have gravy in Italy... they just smother the meat in olive oil and lemon. It was different from what I was used to but still... it made me appreciate the true taste of the meat.

... and that piece of meat was EXTRA good!

Burp! I finished my share in no time.... Now I suddenly feel like a savage or a viking... GIMME MORE WINE! 


Now this concludes my food diary in the wonderful place called Italy....  I totally fell in love with the place that I did not want to go anywhere else...

I will never forget the breath taking sights, the sacred museums, and the glorious relics. 

It made me really feel that I was not worthy to be in the presence of something so "immortal", or as Calvin would say "STUPENDOUS!".

... and if I felt like THAT with the sights, museums, and relics, imagine how blown away I was with the food.

Words will not be able to describe the whole holy cannelloni experience....




P.s.... Just in case you were wondering where my husband, aka chinese stalker, was... well he may not be in all of the pictures, because he was doing a great job stalking me still....

Except that his choice of clothing did not make him picture friendly... He he he he!



If you liked this, check out our other WHAT WE GRUBBED series:

USA (click HERE !!!)
SINGAPORE ( click HERE !!!)

More posts to come!!!

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