Sunday, May 26, 2013

Vapiano (e va lontano ;-D)

Few months back, if not one year ago, a friend of mine and I went for a dinner out. She likes good food and she had earlier discovered this food chain, Vapiano.
I took a pizza then and I was very confused at the whole system, but they were cooking fresh pasta on the spot and you could customize a lot the dish you were ordering. The pizza was alright, but I think the pasta is what is really intriguing there.

Vapiano is a German chain that extends on several continents. I think that the concept is brilliant: it is basically a fast food, with slow food, where quality and care has an high value.
I was very fascinated by the concept, since it is almost like a self service where one can observe its own food being prepared in front of his own eyes.
However, the kind of food is definitely of a more sophisticated restaurant.
Then, I managed to introduce the concept to Mattias and we managed to explore the pasta options twice.

Last occasion, we had the opportunity to taste three kind of pastas:
Conchiglie with a spring sauce based on sparris, Pasta Royale, for Mattias

Fusilli with ragu' for Isabella

Fusilli with tomato and mozzarella, for me, with a lovely pinch of chili
Pasta Royale was one of the specials of the season. It was delicate and tasty and I really enjoyed it (pity I didn't take it!). Me and Isabella instead enjoyed two classics which were both worthy to be eaten with a big appetite.
Of course, one portion and a little bit more of pasta is quite much and we were indeed all full and satisfied after our meal. Still, it is a little bit pricy but possibly, considering the quality of the ingredients and the comparison with other "pasta restaurants" this is way better.

If one is aiming at casual dinners and lunches in a very cosy atmosphere and with excellent food this is the right place to go. Pity there is not yet anything in Lund and one has to go to Malmö to have such a nice experience. The menu is rich and I would gladly expand my knowledge of it!

Hope this successful concept will bring similar experiments on the way! We really need this :) (especially in Sweden ;-D)
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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Voice of the Gods, by Trudi Canavan

Voice of the Gods (Age of the Five, #3)Voice of the Gods by Trudi Canavan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After a very slow start up set by the two previous books of the trilogy, this is the final chapter that finally resolve all the knots.
The book is impossible to leave, especially when the final notes of the story are being played.
The characters acquire more and more interesting faces, remaining though consistent with their personality. They grow so much on you that it is hard to think they will cease to exist once the book is over.
I must confess that I would have expected some more details on the epilogue: there are some question marks that remain unsolved (for me) and I would have expected a complete explanation on everything, after being thrown into a complex world without any background.
The way Trudi Canavan writes is always very catchy and trying to keep up the interest of the reader. There are not enormous descriptions of very unimportant details, but enough to paint the surroundings of the scene where the action will take place. It is a story rotating around characters and their actions/thoughts, not around the setting.
I hope that there will be some prequel or sequel that will complete the picture provided by the Age of Five trilogy and will give life, once again, to the great character that Auraya is.

View all my reviews

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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Paolo's Restaurang, Elite Hotel Ideon

I have always struggled to get a decent lunch when working: the options until few months ago were scarce and the quality was not up to my standard.
Luckily, Ideon Gateway appeared on the horizon and with it three new restaurants bloomed. Two are located at the skyscraper, while another one is in another building of the Ideon area.

One of the two restaurants at the Gateway is an italian restaurant, Paolo's.
This has been a big relief for me: finally, I can eat a proper pasta for lunch without having to go downtown or to bring food with me (or to go home).

The environment is cosy, but not especially elegant, a lot of italian products are on display but the main focus is of course the lunch menu.
Lasagne are on the menu every day, but I have not tried them so far (ok, I have tasted them), but the main focus swifts between three choices of pizza and three of pasta sauces.
The lasagne
I have tried different pizza and I have been always very satisfied by my choice. the pizza is crunch, tasty and the only problem I can see with it is that the slices are too small (both for the prize and for my stomach). It is not the size of a regular pizza, but it costs as a pizza costs almost as in some other restaurant in Lund (Italian one, of course).

The pastas have been instead filling the belly pretty well. However, the quality has been a bit inconsistent. From, not very tasty to superbe, with the average issue of being too liquid and not well blended with the pasta itself. That depends also, in my opinion, by the choice of pasta time. You can't do a carbonara with rigatoni! Or better, you can do it, but if you are doing the "cream-based" version you can't have a juicy sauce!
The best pasta sauce, despite my critics above, was the carbonara with salsiccia. Possibly, that depended a lot on the fact that the salsiccia was amazing!

Anyway, I am grateful that such an alternative exists, it has saved my lunches and it has become a very recurrent location for eating with my colleagues or Mattias!
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Friday, May 3, 2013

Welcome to a 2-years old birthday party!

Since, clearly, I didn't have enough on the hands to play with, I decided to complicate my life experimenting for the first time with scrapbooking by doing Isabella's two years old birthday party invitations.
This was a stroke of genius because it made us send the invitations even later than we thought (but at the end, it didn't really matter because everyone could come to the party!)

First of all, I collected a good bunch of new and old material I had at home and then, based on some sort of concept I had in mind, I tried to play around with the tools and the little skills I have.
Decorated paper and heart shaped punch
Satin ribbon and adhesive lace

Butterflies from Karen-Marie Klip
Flower decorations, adhesive pads for attaching them and small adhesive stones
Paper Pad. 
The main problem was that the ribbon was not in colors that matched neither the paper nor the other decorations, but maybe it turned out a bit as a constrast with everything else. I am not sure.
Maybe the layout was very simple, but afterall, it was my first attempt and it had to be reasonably easy. There were already a lot of elements.
I cut the paper with some pattern scissor and glued it to the cards. Over that I applied two flowers, one of each color, with the stone as pistil and the butterflies.
Finally, I placed the ribbon over the composition, hoping for the best.
Inside, I did something that is almost my trademark (I used it for the thanking cards for our wedding): some pink hearts spread a bit everywhere...

Little pink hearts
And finally, this was the result of one of the cards (I did 10 completely different cards...!)

The only thing that became very strange was the invitation text. I delegated the task to Mattias and the text turned out to be a PhD thesis .... :)
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