Roman Around – Day Two

Nobody tours like hubby and I tour. Now that we’re on our own we don’t have anyone to slow us down and that’s not a good thing. We need to be slowed down because we just walk to a site, see it, and then say “Ok, I’ve seen it now, what’s next”. We don’t go in, explore or get to know information about it.

In any case we walked many kilometres today and saw many things. Half the things I took photos of, I don’t know anything about. Or maybe I read a bit about it while we were at the site but I didn’t retain the information. It’s all on the internet if I want to know right?

So this is the uneducated version of someone’s trip to Rome.

IMG_7314We started the day with an espresso thanks to the machine in our apartment then hit the ground running fairly early, looking for a supermarket to get some goodies.
Everytime we go to a new country I’m so excited to see the supermarkets to see what foods they have, and how they differ to what I’m used to.

They had lots of pastries and lots of things I love. I didn’t take photos. I thought it was a little dearer than what I’m used to but we are in a tourist area so that probably has something to do with it too.

I tried to make a plan but it just doesn’t work with us. We walked and soon enough, we were back at the colosseum.
The crowds, as I had read, were just horrendous. I’m not even talking about the crowds to get in, just the crowds in general!!!

There were people trying to sell us water, hats, or just begging for money. They are EVERYWHERE! There are people trying to sell you “beat the queue” tickets. If you don’t like crowds or are even mildly agoraphobic, this is not the place for you.

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We walked past the Roman Forum and again, crowds, people and peddlers everywhere.

We found ourselves at this church. I didn’t get the name but the guy outside said “no charge” to enter and when he had enough people, he would give us a free tour.

Hubby and I looked inside and decided we’ve had our tour and didn’t wait for his guidance.
Not to say we made the right decision, just stating what we did.

More pictures as we walked along.

If you know what it all is, that’s great, I’m not going to trust my memory in fear of writing something that’s incorrect.

Oh and these guys were causing quite a stir!!! (above)They look pretty good don’t they!
If you think about it for half a second you can see how they’re doing it, but it still looks pretty impressive. Kids must love it!!! Be prepared to give a donation if you take a photo.

One of my favourite sites is Altare della Patria. The Altare della Patria (“Altar of the Fatherland”), also known as the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II (“National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II”) or Il Vittoriano, is a monument built in honor of Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy, located in Rome, Italy. It occupies a site between the Piazza Venezia and the Capitoline Hill.

I don’t know why I like this building, I just do.

A few more pics before we stopped for lunch…


Those ‘invisible’ men were pretty freaky. As you can see in that middle pic, the guy on my left held hands with me. The one on my right was saying “oh you are so beautiful I want to kiss you” then made kissing sounds. It was a bit gross. Again, you need to leave a donation if you want a picture of or with these guys.
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We needed a snack so we got some pizza. This was just so delicious!!!

I didn’t photograph mine but took a quick pic of the display inside.
It was just a pop up type store. No seating inside, just go in, get pizza, go out and enjoy!

When we did eventually stop for lunch, we probably walked into the wrong kind of place. What we did eat was so damn good but it was small and a bit expensive.
From my limited experience here, I think the street food is so much better, more authentic and cheaper.


However again, what we did eat was just delectable!!!

We decided to see if we could find the Vatican… I think we might have been going in the wrong direction (my mistake) but we saw things and I snapped pics along the way.


In the end I had to use my Italian to ask a security guy if he could point us in the direction of the Vatican and he was so nice and showed us the way…


Again, horrendously busy here. If you want to go inside, you’d be much better off pre-purchasing your tickets.

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We got some gelato…. sooo good!! Hubby was jealous because he thought mine was bigger than his but this is an argument we have often.
Mine isn’t bigger, he just wants more than his share.

Oh and I had seen this Roma cap in a few tourist stores for about 5 Euro. I went to one place and asked how much and he said 10 Euro!! I laughed and said “no way, I’ve seen it for 5”
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He then came back with “8 Euro for you” I started walking away and said, “No thank you” and even as I was away from him he was calling out “miss, miss, 7 Euro?”

And not even 100 metres down the road I found it for 5 Euro.

The exact same one.

Don’t know if you can tell how tired I am in that pic but I was nearing the end and knew we had a long way back still.

Snapped some more pics…


OH, and we’d seen movie trucks earlier in the day. When we were going through a certain area, we noticed some commotion and some girls asked us to wait as they were filming a scene.
I took a pic but couldn’t work out what was going on.

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Hubby and I bought a bottle of Lambrusco to enjoy this afternoon. Just want to have a little relaxing time before heading out for dinner. It was just delicious!  Every wine I’ve had here so far has been so good!

We had a long late siesta and didn’t leave our room to get something to eat until after 9.30pm. I was surprised to see a lot of places were closing or about to close! We walked past the supermarket about 10.10pm and found that to be closed too.

In the end we went past a sort of cafe that also sold goods and bought a variety of yummy foods to take away.

We walked more than thirty kilometres today so even though our bed here is as hard as a rock it wasn’t long before we were fast, fast asleep!

Buona notte!

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Our Place

Today on the Dining Diaries…

Lunch turns into dinner…
Exceptional food is served over an exceptional time and
We are dazzled by the beauty of an Adelaide hills backdrop

Diners today we were at “Our Place” in Willunga. I really want to start off by saying “wow” but I should start at the very beginning….

I can’t say it’s an easy place to get to. It was a forty minute drive from Westfield Marion.
Even once we saw the place looming in my Google Maps, I still couldn’t work out which building it was until I saw a faded sign that said “Our Place” and screeched “turn here, turn here!!!” to hubby. It was very hard to spot as it’s just a modest “house” from the road and if I hadn’t seen the sign, I wouldn’t have known that was it.

We parked the car and instantly were struck by the beauty of the surrounding landscape.


The photos don’t do it justice. There were a few “hearts” etched into the grass which I thought was a nice romantic gesture on someone’s part but we never found out the story behind that.

We walked into the building and here’s were modesty stopped.
We went from oooing and ahhing over the landscape to oooing and ahhing over the interior.
There were just too many things to look at.

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The photo above is part of a balcony area which was quaint and had a lot of charm in its own way.

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This was our table and as you can see, we had views of the surrounding landscape (above) and views of that serene indoor pond (below)

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So the way that this place works is that you don’t order food – You pay a set price and they bring food of their pleasing to you. They start of with a few “antipasto” type items and gradually evolve to dinner and dessert. We were told to arrive at 12 midday for drinks and that food would start to be served around 12.30.

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We were getting quite anxious for food by the time the first tray started coming around.

I’m not really sure what this was but it was made from chick pea and it was pretty tasty but had a texture I wasn’t familiar with.

I must admit, we kind of looked at each other at this point and said “is this sizing an indication of the portion sizes to come?” but we kept being reassured that there was plenty of food to come.

fullsizerender12The next tray they brought round had pizza on it. Good, authentic style Italian pizza!! That means it had a good spongy dough with a little crunch to the crust and little toppings but a good amount of good quality tomatoes.

It was just divine!! The server allowed us to take a couple of pieces then walked away. We must have been in starvation mode because we kept looking at other tables and other diners and wondering if they’d been given more than us. The server did come back and asked if we wanted more. Not two seconds past before we were all standing and grabbing another two pieces from the tray.
She then stated that it was really only supposed to be one piece for each person… whoops. My question was, well then why did she come back to the table?? We can’t help it if we’re hungry and the food is gooooooood!!

At 1.05pm, our host Andy Clappis took the microphone and addressed us. I felt like we were at a wedding reception without a bride and groom! He told us a little history of “Our Place” and told us about the food that was to come. One thing that shone through was his passion! The love of family and food was a constant theme during our afternoon.
In fact Andy was so passionate that at one point, he actually stopped and asked a naughty table whose occupants were talking to stop talking so they could hear him explain to them about the food.

So we’ve had the talk now, please bring us more food!!!
img_7658The next thing they brought out was the most delectable bread I’ve had in a very long time.

It was fresh out of the oven. Deliciously warm and that crust was crunchy!! There was olive oil on the table or butter if you preferred.

When the server brought ours we asked, “Can we have a knife to cut it?” and she replied “No, just break some off with your hands” and so that’s what we did…
With the bread they brought a Baccala spread (Dried and salted Cod) It was soooo good but clearly not enough as it didn’t last longer than a few seconds on my table.
I was happy with the bread and olive oil though so I didn’t mind!

fullsizerender9The next dish was veal.

I’ve not had it like this before so it was something new to me.

The veal itself was sliced thinly and very tender.

The mayonnaise was tuna based and very thick.

Most people on our table liked it but I can’t say that I was one of them.

Of course, that just comes down to personal preference. I can see that it had been made well.

Because we didn’t know what was still coming, and because the serves had been teeny tiny, we were really wondering if we were going to be leaving hungry and this seemed to be a constant topic at my table.
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The next tray had bocconcini with fennel on it.

This plate was to serve seven people and I took the photo before anyone had taken any of it.

So while everything on this plate was divine, we didn’t really all get to try some.

I didn’t get any bocconcini and some people missed out on the fennel.

I think we all got a wedge of tomato….

The next tray was Squid!
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Again, there was nothing wrong with the food.

in fact it was pretty delicious but this plate was for the seven of us.

I’m not big on squid so I gave mine to hubby who greedily ate it.

If we had known what was coming, we might not have been so frantic for food but so far, what we’d seen was small serves and quite long wait times between trays.

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After the squid Andy got on the microphone again and addressed the room.

They had discovered that about five people in the room were celebrating birthdays so they got them up to “carve” the Turkey we’d be eating later.

It was these kind of things that made the afternoon special and I have to applaud Andy for that because apart from having to pay for your meal, you’d think you were at some family event.

So after a little while, they brought out this amazing Mushroom Risotto. I mean it was just to die for! I could smell it before it even arrived at the table and it was just sooooo good.  The rice was cooked perfectly and there was such a gorgeous creamy consistency throughout.

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The server must have seen how gluttonous we were though because she came back a few minutes later and asked if we wanted another dish of it to share. “Yes please” was the resounding answer.
Unfortunately another table was asked if they wanted another dish of the risotto but when the server when to get it,  there were no more left for them…. So that’s not really good planning is it?

The gnocchi came out next and this was another portion disappointment.

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We actually had to measure these out and everybody on my table got three each.
Three
One, Two, Three…. all gone.
What was there was really nice. That sauce was definitely the best thing about it.

By now we’re starting to get tired and to be honest, a little fed up. I kind of think they would have done better to have served a few dishes all at once so we could have filled our plates and at least feel like we’d eaten something. We just felt like we’d been picking at bits and pieces all day and I never expected to still be waiting for a main at 4pm.

The turkey and vegetables did seem to take a very long time to come.

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Turkey was fine and I couldn’t complain about the size of it. In fact Andy himself came around a bit later and was filling people’s platters up a little more so that was nice.

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The vegetables were delicious and drizzled in that gorgeous olive oil. We got two plates of vegetables for our table which was nice.

A few people had to leave so the server gave them some of the dessert (cannoli) to take with them.
At 4.30pm there were only two of us at my table and we were simply waiting for the dessert. It had been a long afternoon!!!
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We were told if we wanted coffee we had to go get it from the bar so off I went to stand in that queue to order us some coffees….

A short black is still the best way to finish of any meal in my opinion!! Even better without sugar. Just let the natural coffee taste do what it’s supposed to do.

And still we waited for the Cannoli…. When I saw them coming out, instead of being on individual trays being brought out to different tables, they were just on one very large tray and one guy was taking that around to everyone.
fullsizerenderNeedless to say, it was going to take ages!!!

So I got up and got some for our table.

They were amazing.

The crust was light and crunchy and the centre was a creamy custard with a lemon tang.
I just wish I was in the mood to enjoy it more.
By this point I was just stuffing it in my mouth so I could say I’d had it and we could get on out of there!

I think if we had known this was going to be an event that covered over five hours, I may have been more up for it but by the end I just wanted to go.
I couldn’t fault anything I’d had and the hosts couldn’t have been nicer!! You just have to realise that if you come to “Our Place” it’s not just a meal, it’s an event or an experience.

I would definitely recommend going because the food itself is a marvel and it’s made with so much love and passion that really comes through. You just have to be the type of person that knows how to relax away the afternoon.
Sadly I think our culture had moved away from this.

Have you been to Our Place?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!!

Till next we chow…

Yelp – Food Porn Tour

img_6945Diners today I was very lucky to be included in a Yelp Event. The Yelp Adelaide FoodPorn Tour!

It was my first Yelp event and I was bursting out of my skin with excitement! All I knew is that we would be meeting at Nola’s. I didn’t know how many people were invited or where the dining destinations were. It was all to be revealed on the day!

So with a great deal of enthusiasm and perhaps a little nervousness I went down to Nola’s and met a whole bunch of lovely people.
As one of the others said, we are bunch of people from all walks of life with one thing that binds us all – We love food!

Before we started food tasting, we were given a basic cell phone photography tutorial. It was pretty good and I picked up a tip or two!

I tell you it was the hardest thing, watching the food being photographed by my fellow foodies and not being able to tuck into any of it right away! It was almost torture to be able to smell it! It looked and smelt sooooo good!
Nola’s had prepared a few tasting plates for us. I wasn’t sure what they all were but everything I had was pretty tasty and as with most of the places we visited today, I’m eager to go back and enjoy different items off the menu at my own leisure.

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The baked oyster was probably the most memorable thing for me. I don’t normally eat oysters and if I do they’re “Kilpatrick” style.
This oyster was called a “New Orleans Baked Oyster straight outa Comte”. It had Pecorino, romano and other cheeses, herbs and spices and it was really delicious! It had a wonderful texture and by that I mean, I couldn’t taste or feel the slimy oyster going down my throat…. It was something I hadn’t tasted before and I really enjoyed it.
Below are a few more pictures of the food we sampled at Nolas

The bottom right was one of the desserts we sampled – Banana Foster: Sweet waffle with whiskey cream, caramelised banana, parfait and toffee. The best thing about this dish was the whiskey cream soaked waffle! I could have had a whole plate of that to myself! As we were sharing with about twenty others I had to show some restraint…
Thank you Nola’s, I look forward to coming back!

yelp8Next place on the Food Porn Tour was Culshaws Restaurant
This was a very different place than Nola’s! Immediately we knew we’d walked into an elegant place! The staff were ready to serve and gave us a brief explanation saying their main focus is to showcase South Australian produce and they even serve their version of the iconic South Australian Pie Floater! We were lucky to get a taste of that today!

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This was really a lovely dish but you had to make sure you had the elements all together. The beef was wonderfully thick and flavourful. If it wasn’t paired with the pea puree it may have been a little dry but coupled together it was a fantastic match.
I did try the pea puree on it’s own and didn’t enjoy it as much as it had a very strong lemon taste but together with the pie it worked a treat! It wasn’t what I was expecting and was a very refined version of our pie floater!

Our third stop was SOI.38. If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time you’ll know that I don’t normally have Asian foods. Not really for any reason, it’s just not the first thing I think of when I want to have something to eat – So going to SOI.38 today was a treat!
I love the wooden floors and the black and yellow decor gave it a funky feel. I was really excited to see what we were going to eat here.

 

I was right to be excited!!! I almost couldn’t wait till my fellow tour members finished photographing the food to be able to dig in!! It looked and smelt so good.
The first three dishes we were given to sample were Pork Short Ribs with garlic, pepper, chili and spring onion – It was crispy, flavourful and hot!!
The second was Street Style Mota Sriracha Chicken Drumettes. They also had lots of flavour and were hot!!! Good dishes to clear the sinuses!
The third dish was Flat rice rolls with chicken. I heard a few people say that they thought the flat rice was too thick but I actually liked this and it was a nice breather from the hot food I had just eaten. Pictures below

We were brought out more dishes to share – Green chicken curry and Crispy curried rice ball salad.


I loved the coconut taste in the curry. Both of these were again, full of flavour and also hot!
Out of all the places we visited today, this is the one place I’m most eager to go back to.
There were a few more dishes that came out that looked sooooo good but unfortunately we were already late for our fourth stop so we didn’t really get to try them. SOI.38, I will be back!!

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Fourth Stop was Hide N Seek Thai Bar.

This place has only been around for about twelve weeks. I loved the feel of this place as we walked in. It had a kind of Industrial but also warm homely feel.

We had the upstairs part so I took a photo that hopefully will give you an idea of what it feels like in there.

At Hide n Seek we were given a sample platter that had four dishes on there.
Green Papaya salad, Mince Chicken Salad, Crispy chicken wings and Sticky rice.

I Loooove anything with rice in it so I was eager to try the Sticky Rice. I put my spoon in there and noticed it was almost rock hard! My spoon was able to stand upright in the bowl! At first I thought, “Oh no, this isn’t going to be good” but I was really pleasantly surprised and this dish ended up being my favourite of the four. The other dishes were not to my personal preference but they were done well and I would not discourage anyone from coming here to try them! We all have different tastes after all.
The photo below shows the four different dishes we sampled.

The staff here were really friendly and were enthusiastic to tell us about their new business and answer any questions we may have had for them. I really hope this business does well and takes off as I think it will be a great little place in Adelaide.

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yelp18Last stop on the Yelp Food Porn Tour was The Propoganda Club. This place was soooo elegant and plush!

As you turn into it from the street there is a staircase leading down and a glorious chandelier to light your way!

There are a few different areas downstairs. We were put in an area where you would probably sit and have drinks. It was all soooo rich! I felt like I was on the set of an American Soap Opera.
The lighting was dim, the music was smooth and even the people in there looked like they were older and richer. Not to say that they were, but that’s what it feels like when you’re in there. You feel very special!

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The staff were VERY quick to say that although it’s got a glamorous feel, they are friendly and down to earth and they really were!

They told us that their menu is designed for sharing plates.

They brought the food out and unfortunately I wasn’t able to sample any of it but I did take a couple of pictures and it looked sooooo good!!! The desserts especially looked really really good.

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What I DID have was an espresso martini! It was the first time I’ve ever had one though I’ve seen them about before and always wondered what they tasted like.

Being an Australian with Italian background, I’m used to a strong espresso taste and have often taken an espresso without sugar before.

To me, this tasted like a cold espresso. It was soooo delicious!! I could have had a couple in quick succession but probably better I didn’t because although I couldn’t taste the alcohol, I felt it’s influence not too long after!!

I’d love to come back to The Propaganda Club and this time try some of the food. I just really loved that atmosphere and loved how the staff made you feel pampered and special.

If you have read this entry up until this point I have to thank you!! Although it was longer than I normally post I did want to write a little bit about each place we visited and share a few photos that I took along the way.

I really want to thank Yelp Adelaide for having this opportunity to experience foods and places that I normally wouldn’t.

If you end up visiting any of these places or you have in the past, I’d love to hear about your experience!

Till next we chow…