Best of 2012

2013 is almost here so I'd like to share with you mi top ten favorite posts from 2012:
(in case you missed them, the link to the post is under the photo)

1) Caribbean Cruise:
We had a blast cruising the Caribbean for the second time on NCL's Epic; we visited Saint Thomas, Saint Martin and Nassau, had lots of food and enjoyed great shows.

2. How to piss off a Mexican
I wrote this post as a humorous example of some annoying stereotypes about Mexicans

3. Dubai:
I loved Dubai, it was a great trip, best part of it was being able to dine inside the wonderful Burj Al Arab.

4. Eataly, Turin:
For the foodie in me, any trip to Eataly is like going to Disneyland so I enjoyed going back to Eataly Turin and having their delicious tuna.

5. Tuna recipe
As I just wrote, I love tuna, and I enjoy cooking it at home as well, this has to be one of my favorite recipes.

6. Eataly, Rome
Our weekend in Rome was even more special after we discovered Eataly Rome had just opened, and we had a delicious Roman tripe to make it even better

7. Piazza Navona, Rome
Rome is one of my favorite cities in the world and Piazza Navona is one of my favorite spots in the Eternal City

8. Club Med Ixtapa, Mexico
we had a relaxing (and weight-gaining) holiday in Club Med Ixtapa, best service and food ever!

9. Statue-hunting in Düsseldorf:
It was a great challenge to find the 9 Poeggeler statues while visiting Düsseldorf

10. Hangar Bicocca:
Although I live in the area, I had never been to Hangar Bicocca, a very nice exposition space in North Milan

Bonus -  Sunflower fields forever
Beautiful landscapes, great weather, fantastic food, I just love Le Marche!


Easy starter

Hello again and sorry for my lack of posts again, been busy buying Xmas presents :)
Anyhow, before I go on holidays (1 day to go!) I wanted to share this super-easy recipe that reminds me of summer. It can serve as a starter for your Christmas Eve dinner and it's really the easiest of all.

Baked Prawns
(serves 2)
6 big fresh prawns
minced parsley
2 garlic cloves
white pepper
olive oil

1. Put the prawns in an oven tray (lined with baking paper). Heat the oven to 200°C (392°F)
2. Chop the garlic cloves and mix with the minced parsley adding salt and pepper to taste
3. Sprikle the prawns with plenty of olive oil and then the mix of garlic and parsley
4. Bake in the oven for 10/15 minutes
5. Serve. If you wish, you can pour the remains of the sauce (oil, garlic and parsley left in the baking paper) and use it as a sauce once you've peeled the prawns.
Enjoy with a glass of chilled white wine, still or sparkling.


Salmon pasta

I still remember one of my first meals in Italy, Farfalle al Salmone. I had them in the pizzeria next door to the students residence I was staying at, and although it was no Michelin-star restaurant, I instantly fell in love with this dish. It was also one of the first things I learned to cook so it's a favorite.


My wishlist

So, Christmas is officially around the corner! I love the atmosphere everywhere these days, everyone looking for presents for friends and loved ones (perhaps a bit warmer weather wouldn't hurt), lights, music, etc. Since I love speding time thinking of the best presents for my friends and loved ones (I started planning since last month!) I'm sharing my wishlist so in case you're looking for ideas on what to buy for Xmas for your traveler, foodie or fashion lover friends this might help!


Hobby Show fair 2012, Milan

As I was telling you in a previous post, me and my friend visited the Hobby Fair in Milan (new fair in Rho) a couple of weeks ago.
The Hobby fair is an event for those interested in creative work and handcrafts. It is a meeting point for those who sell everything you need to make...well, everything from necklaces to bags, Christmas ornaments, cakes, cookies, etc. And it's been going on since 2003, growing every year in terms of visitors and operators. It takes place twice a year in Rome and Milan.
I didn't know what to expect but truth is that I had lots of fun and found lots of ideas and material for cakes, cookies and mist importantly, I discovered a new passion for DIY neckalces!
Here are some pics so you can check it out:


Noodles in Milan!

Since my Erasmus period in Copenhagen, I had been longing for one of my favorite student meals: the China Box. You know, the box filled with greasy noodles and chicken or pork you get from the take away places that you can eat on the go or just stop in one of the many nice spots Copenhagen has for people watching.
Well, since we are in Italy and we all know how much Italians value the time to seat down in a table with a tablecloth to have a decent meal, I had given up the idea of having a Pad Thai on the go... Until now.



A couple of weeks ago, I went with a friend to the Hobby fair, I'll explain in another post what exactly is that, but I just couldn't wait to write what we saw there!

Do you remember California Bakery (one of my favorite places in Milan)? Well, it was a pleasant surprise to find out that they had a stand in this Hobby fair we attended, but it was an even better surprise to discover they were having a cheesecake class there! So, for you all, here's the photo recipe:


Instagram shots

I had turned my Instagram profile private since they decided to make Instagram available from computers. I liked the idea of my Instagram shots being available only to those who also shared their shots on the app. I, however, changed my mind and went public again so if you want you can add me (my profile name is simarik3)!
'Til then, here are some of the shots I like the most:
Delicious dinner with ciauscolo from Le Marche and Südtirol Pinot Noir

Milan's duomo, always beautiful

Mexican beach

I miss Summer!

Street artist in Milan

the Eternal City

new book!

Watching Italy-Denmark at San Siro stadium

Oysters by the Rhein at Düsseldorf

The nice room at Radisson Düsseldorf

Carrie's house in NYC

my beautiful but painful boots
Candy skull for mexican day of the dead

Mexican cocktail - vuelve a la vida


Garda Lake

Sorry again for my lousy posting of the past weeks, I'm finally back!

Anyhow, as you might recall, some weeks ago we were in the Garda Lake area and we decided to visit Sirmione, the beautiful old town in the tip of the small peninsula on the southern part of the lake, famous because of its beauty, its fortress and its thermal springs.

On our way to Sirmione we stopped by Ca' dei Frati, a winery that produces local wines like Lugana (white) and Benaco Bresciano (red). These wines have a good price/quality ratio so it's a good stop on your way to Sirmione.

 We didn't stay for long in Sirmione - you have to leave the car very far away from the historic centre and the parking meters are not cheap - but it was enough to make us want to come back, perhaps for a weekend in the spa :)
Have a look at our photos and judge yourselves!
the fortress

melacholic Garda lake


Sitcom nut

Sorry I haven't been posting lately but I promise I'll be back with more interesting contents soon.
In the meantime, let me share with you one of my passions, sitcoms. It all started in my teenage years with Beverly Hills 90210 and then Dawson's Creek and Friends, as a way of learning English by watching the original versions with subtitles and it worked!
So here are my favorite 2012/2013 sitcoms:
Returning shows:
- How I met your mother - this one has filled the void left by Friends, the story of how this guy met his wife and all his adventures with his group of friends in NYC are among my favorites. Not to mention that I love Neil Patrick Harris.
- The Big Bang Theory - the nerdy physicists and the hot neighbor have been my favorite since the begining. How can you not love Sheldon?!
- Modern Family - love the way this sitcom is made, and I love Phil Dunphy!
- 2 broke girls - they're so politically incorrect!
- Whitney - it's kinda funny but I'm not sure if I'll be watching the full second season
- Up all night - I love Christina Applegate
- Gossip Girl - OK; I must confess I watch this one, but I only watch it because of the amazing clothes.
- NCIS - an all-time favorite
- Criminal Minds - although they have sometimes sickening plots, I love the show and how they have never spoiled it by getting the main characters romantically involved.
New shows:
- Go On - I love Matthew Perry and although this show is supposed to be sad, it's funny in a nice way.
- Partners - I confess I mostly watch this one because of Brandon Routh (Superman) :)
- Elementary - Being a Sherlock Holmes fan, I cannot help but love this one, Sherlock Holmes in modern times in NYC, and Watson is a girl (Lucy Liu)!
- Last Resort - So far I like this sitcom about the crew of the submarine stuck in an island but I don't know if I'll be watching for long without knowing what happened, I was not a Lost fan!


Books, books, books

I was at home sick last week so I had some time to catch up with my reading (OK, and sitcoms). Here are a few titles that made my sickness period less boring:
Where we belong - Emily Giffin
Ever since I read 'Baby Proof' I loved her writing so of course I had to read her last book. It's an easy to read story about a complex theme like adoption.

The Drowning - Camilla Läckberg
I'm a nut for Swedish thrillers (blame the Millennium trilogy for that). This is the 6th book of the Fjallbacka series and although I liked the stories better in the past books, this one ends with a good cliffhanger, unfortunately the English version of the new one, The Lighthouse, will be out only in 2013.

Shantaram - Gregory D. Roberts
I've asked my friends for book suggestions, asking them to think very well before suggesting a werewolves or S&M trilogy, really depressing or sci-fi novels since I hate all these genres so after I got Shantaram from 2 different people then I decided to give it a shot. It is a true story about a guy who escapes to India and his life in the slums. I'm in the middle of it right now and I still can't tell if I love it or if I hate it because it is too descriptive. I love descriptions, especially in travel books and novels about places but in this case it can be too much, let's see how the rest turns out.

Food Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots - Nicole S. Young
I've discovered a new passion, photographing food, so I thought I should at least find out how to do it properly. It's not a cheap hobby but at least I get to eat my models after the shooting!


Palazzo Arzaga, Garda Lake

When you visit a hotel which is a member of the "Leading Hotels of the World", you have very high expectations... Well, in this case, our high expectations were not met, it's not that we were treated badly or the hotel was horrible, au contraire, but that's the problem with such high expectations, most of the times they disappoint you, even if there's nothing to actually strongly complain about. See, this hotel is nice from the outside: it's near the Garda lake, it has a great golf course, it was an ancient villa which was refurbished, etc. But from the inside you start to wonder why it is a "leading hotel of the world": there is a very nice Clarins spa, but you have to pay to use it and the sauna (this is a 5-star hotel, why don't you offer the sauna use to your guests?!); there should be wi-fi but nobody gives you any info about it, the breakfast is good, but not 5-star good; the staff is nice, but a bit snobby; rooms are nice and clean but there's nothing out-of-this-world about them. Don't get me wrong, the hotel is very nice and the common areas are great, but if you are not a golfer and you come here in autumn/winter, you might get a bit bored.