Roaming: Prague

November 18, 2012 § 13 Comments

A day in beautiful Praha!

I’ve always been desperate to visit the Czech Republic’s capital city. So much so that I was starting to worry my expectations would not be met. But low and behold, Prague was so beautiful, so fanciful and so breathtaking… it really did not disappoint! I spent several days wandering the winding streets of Old Town, hiking up to the hilltop Prague Castle and eating street food like never before! Here’s just a glimpse of what I loved…

  • Frank Gehry’s Dancing House – the singular ultra modern prototype
  • Strolling along the Vitava River – a city with a river running through it means there must be beautiful bridges to cross
  • The National Museum – and the start of historic Wenceslas Square
  • Church of Our Lady Before Tyn – a landmark in Old Town Square
  • Begging for hope in Jewish Town – one of my favourite areas in Prague
  • Me having my first klobasa sausage, a slice of bread and that oh so special sauce – i think it was mustard!
  • Doughy and delicious trdelnik – wrapped around a giant rolling pin and baked over open coals, coated with sugar! So good.
  • A view from Prague Castle overlooking the city of a thousand spires – and the best illuminated buildings in Europe.

Custard Tarts and Tiles too…

November 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

You haven’t been to Lisbon if you haven’t been to Belém… and more specifically… to the bakery and café, Antiga Confeiteira de Belém. The most sacred of pastries (invented before the 18th century by the Catholic Monks of the Jéronimos Monastery) and let’s face it… the best pastry you’ll every eat, the Portuguese Custard Tart (Pastel de Nata) is known to draw three long line-ups: one for sit-in, one for take-away and the third, a much more frenzied and disorganized variety, where patrons nudge their way to the coffee bar and down an espresso and in two or three bites, a warm, just-out-of-the oven tart, sprinkled with cinnamon.

Trust me… there is nothing more delectable.

And while you’re there, look around you… the interior is covered in 18th century, hand painted wall tiles. Inside and out, the tile art is seen all over Portugal. So another ‘must-visit’ if you’re interested in this beautiful art form is the D’orey & Cardoso antique tile store. Here you’ll find a treasure trove of history and art – and proprietors that are more than happy to share it with you. I’ve chosen a few of my favourite patterns from their website. But the best part…they ship to anywhere in the world!

Instagram: Eastern Europe

October 29, 2012 § 4 Comments

A few Instagram shots from my recent trip to Europe. 5 countries in 9 days! What a whirlwind of airports, trains, architecture, music, language and food! Amsterdam, Prague, Budapest, Vienna and Munich.

Not bad for a last minute trip, don’t you think?

Wanting: iittala Wine Glasses

August 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

Did you know wine glasses have “parts”? Indulge me as I describe one of my favourite sets from the Finnish company, Iittala. This is the Essence, designed by Alfredo Håberli.

Starting from the bottom…

Foot: Its thickness makes this ‘part’ look solid and disk-like. Most wine glasses taper upwards from the outer ring to the base of the stem. But I love how this one is the same thickness throughout.

Stem: With a slight taper, the stem rises up to meet the bowl. Notice that all the stems are the same height in this series. They look beautiful together on your dinner table!

Bowl: I love the soft but squarish bottom of the bowl. Modern but still refined and soft.

There you have it. Now I need a drink… white or red? Who’s joining me?

Gelato On The Brain

August 8, 2012 § 4 Comments

What’s more summery than gelato?

Duh…nothing!

After visiting Artegelato & Cafe (my new favourite hangout) and thoroughly enjoying the sugar free Pistachio (yes, I said sugar free),… I seem to have ‘Gelato Brain’. Nothing but gelato on the brain! Where nothing I eat even comes close to the yumminess and tastiness of that pistachio goodness.

So… I’ve decided to forego dinner in the summer and have gelato every night. Who’s with me?

Wanting: Custard Tarts

August 1, 2012 § 2 Comments

These are the famed Pasteis de Belém (otherwise known as Portuguese Custard Tarts, Pasteis de Nata or most appropriate… delicious-tarts-to-die-for-and-I’m-not-even-kidding)!

Just out of the oven, they are warm and creamy on the inside with just a hint of vanilla. Light, crispy and delicate on the outside. The Portuguese once conquered the oceans with their huge naval ships… now they’re sending out deadly pastries! Conquering the world, one custard tart at a time.

Damn… I want one now.

More on these lovelies to come in a later post. Stay tuned…. :)

Wanting: Tea Towels & Cake Rolls

July 18, 2012 § 2 Comments

I love tea towels. Yes. I do.

I think my admiration started when I was a kid, helping my mom bake a cake roll (the kind with the  jam filling). She’d use her best tea towel to lay the cake slab and then roll it up tight once the slab was covered with the filling. I thought it was rather magical.

Enormous Champion has several delightful patterns like this one, among other items. All their products are environmentally friendly.

Click here and you can watch ‘the magic happen’ as one of my favourite TV Chefs, Ricardo, makes a cake roll too – though I think his tea towel isn’t as pretty. ;)

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