Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Milan 2012: Day 8 & 9

It was a rainy Sunday, cold and wet. It was my turn to get conjunctivitis so we both woke up very late, went to the supermarket, ate lunch and--true to our slothful nature, slept again. At 4 pm, we walked 15 minutes to the Navigli area for the flea market which is held every last Sunday of the month and immediately wished we had gone there earlier. Both sides of the canal were lined with stalls but some of them were packing up, maybe because of the rain. I didn't bring my camera and Yi's phone didn't have much battery left and I wish I can show you the jewellery, the leather handbags (some branded, some no name), the plates and ceramics.





The next day, a Monday, I went downtown to the Etihad Airways office to change the date of my flight. I had called last week and they said the change can be made through the phone but I thought it would be better if I went in person. However, when I got to the office, the lady said they are strictly an office and all dealings regarding tickets have to be made through their call center.

This is the street around the corner from our apartment on a chilly morning.

One of the big wooden doors on the street was open and what I saw surprised me. Behind the door was a cobbled courtyard with 2-storey residential buildings covered in vines. I asked the lady who was sweeping the courtyard if I could take some photos and she waved me in. Who would have imagined that behind the streets and buildings are rustic country-like residences? It sort of reminded me of the longtangs in Shanghai which are also hidden behind busy streets.

It was a rather chilly day but I was in a nice area (where the Salewa store is) so I walked around a bit. Just love the cobbled streets although one day we saw a lady, an American tourist I think, sitting on the sidewalk in pain; she had sprained her ankle. Cobblestone streets are not slippery but the uneven surface can cause serious sprains and falls.





Lunch for me was two panzerotti at Luini's. Look at the crowd waiting outside. Cioccolat Italiani is always packed too. 

2.70 euros for the salami picante panzerotti and 1.60 euros for the sweet one with peach filling but I had to eat them sitting on a sidewalk.

On the way back, I passed by the Duomo. There is a modern museum (The Twentieth Century Museum) to the left of the Duomo if you are looking out from the Duomo. The museum was designed by the  talented Milanese architect Italo Rota (who Yi met on a previous trip) and I planned to visit it but never did.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Milan 2012: Home-Cooked Meals

Take a guess. How much did I pay for all that? Salami, parma ham, fresh pork belly, a thick piece of steak, sausage, 4 different cheeses, veggies, pasta, anchovies, milk, soy sauce, pistachios, potato chips, 1/2 kg tippo 00 flour (only 50 euro cents), a snack and a pack of dish towels for 48.38 euros, and it lasted us a couple of meals!

Yi wanted home-cooked meals, and since she was not well and it was chilly out, I made soupy mien tiao with chard (has the flavor of beets), button mushrooms and pork belly slices. I've found that Italian pork is superior to any I've eaten. Maybe because of the breed or the freshness, there's no porky smell AT ALL. As usual, we had buffalo mozza too. Maybe because we were away from home, or that it was cold out, anything that reminded us of home was delicious?

The white tub of cheese is soft and stringy. I think it's called squacquerone (btw, do pronounce ro-ne and po-ne, not rone or pone).

Sauteed tomatoes and white button mushrooms, another yum.

This piece of steak (costata con osso) weighed 750 gm, cost 9.96 euros and only needed to be pan-fried with olive oil and then salted and peppered.

It was very flavorful, tender and juicy, but there was so much, we couldn't finish it.

Buffalo mozza,Parma ham, roma tomatoes, anchovies and pear.

On another day, Yi wanted to try carpaccio, raw slices of sweet tender beef.

The meaty pork ribs made a good soup with celery, mushrooms, carrots and tomatoes. I added home-made flour 'gnocchi'. Btw, do you pronounce "brus-chet-ta" like I did? It should be "brew-sket-ta". "Ch" is pronounced "k", not "che". Therefore, gnocchi is "nyo kee", not "nyo chee".


Most of the carpaccio went into a Chinese-style stir-fried pasta that left us literally mewing. What was missing was fresh chilies and lime...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Milan 2012: Day 7

We were supposed to go to Lake Como or Lake Garda for the weekend but the weather forecast was rain and low temperatures and since Yi had no class, we went shopping. Halfway to the city center, it started to drizzle so we took a tram down to the Duomo, walked around a bit, had lunch, then walked the classy Via Spiga and Brera areas. It was a busy day with many families and their pets out for a walk. It always shocks and disgusts me how dogs in Europe can poo everywhere openly. While waiting for the tram, I watched in disbelief as a lady stopped to let her dog poo in the middle of the walkway and then walked away after the dog was done. A whole pile of hot dog poo in the middle of the walkway waiting to be stepped on. Everywhere in Milan there's flattened dog poo, just as there was in Paris and all the German cities I visited 2 years ago. I've not seen any in London or Holland. Spain was surprisingly dog-poo clean or maybe I was too busy looking up at Gaudi's buildings. In Milan, there's tons of dog poo under the shrubs, more evident since it was fall and the branches were bare. Hong Kong is the most dog poo patrol conscious city I've been (and Tokyo too) because people bring plastic bags and scoops; there's no way people will throw dog poo into the shrubs. Now, according to my friend Yo, dog owners in Hong Kong are required to bring a bottle of water too to wash away every trace of poo. Seriously, what's spit in China compared to dog poo in Europe. I just don't get why European dog owners groom and dress their dogs elegantly but have no guilt or shame leaving their pets' poo in the public.

15 minutes from our apartment is a market where you can find fruits, flowers, meat, olive oil, noodles, cheeses, seafood and even beautiful ceramic plates and cake stands. I had intended to shop for foodstuff the day before we leave Milan but it turned out that markets and shops are closed on Sundays. 

Bastardone (really?!) are cactus fruits (just like dragon fruits are too) from Mexico, but bastardones are sweeter and have a nice flavor.

A lady told us that those aren't apples or pear--I've forgotten the name--and that they need to be cooked.



Veal ribs for 4.50 euros, so cheap!





We stumbled upon Peck, a fine foods departmental store that reminded us of Fortnum & Mason in London, only Peck was even better in terms of range and maybe even quality!




At this point I was told that photos were not allowed...

Laduree is across the road in front of Peck, and we couldn't resist a couple of the macarons. Again, the rose-flavored ones were best.

This is another famous confectionery store but I've forgotten the name.

And another one. All the stores were not decorated for Christmas yet.

I think this was a pair of Dolce & Gabbana, over 2,000 euros a pair.


Luigi panzerotti doesn't have an eat-in area so everybody eats on sidewalks.

I have forgotten the name of this restaurant but I passed by it one day and saw people eating a thick beans soup and wanted to eat that but on Saturdays, they don't serve a la carte and instead serve a set lunch for 9 euros so I had the roasted chicken with tortellini and chard.

Yi had the roast beef. It was good but I think some gravy would make it better.

In another cafe, we rested our legs and charged our phone and iPad by buying 1 euro expressos/macchiato that were so thick we couldn't drink them.

We usually buy the piccolo size (small) to keep our hands warm. Medio is medium and grande is large. Chinese roasted chestnuts taste better because they are steamed and then roasted, while Italian roasted chestnuts are roasted all through and taste hard and dry but the roasted flavor is stronger.

A very nice color-blocked dress, but it was too expensive.

E had told us about dinner plans to a very authentic Italian restaurant that only the locals know about but by early evening Yi was beginning to feel the full force of a bad hay fever so we had to cancel. We also cancelled an invitation to Just Cavali, supposedly THE place to go for dining and clubbing. Shopping is tiring, and shopping in winter for clothes is tiresome because there are so many layers of clothes to remove. Plus it was raining most of the time; would've been nice to have a man carry bags for us. I found an interior decor shop called Alessi and bought some really nice trays and stuff. Prices were very affordable and I think the same thing in Asia would cost 10 times more.

 Dinner was frozen soup, 5 packets for 13.90 euros. Tasted okay too.

Somehow we managed to get home despite Yi's hay fever, my aching feet and the rain. On top of her hay fever, Yi was showing signs of conjunctivitis. We both climbed into bed early, thankful for a warm and  comfortable apartment.

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