My Time Capsule: March 2013


Review: Portabella Bistro

Last week I was invited for the food tasting session in Portabella Bistro, Fontana Hotel Bali. They have monthly Italian food by region promotion and for April, the theme is Campania. Chef Vittorio Negri, the executive chef is a Campani and he passionately explained to us about Campanian food. One of his mission is to educate people about the real Italian food. I really enjoyed listening to the story while chef Vitto doing the cooking demo, preparing the dishes.

Settled by the Greeks and then dominated by the Etruscans, Samnites and Romans, the southern region of Campania is more densely populated along the coast than inland, where hills and mountains make for harsher living. Near the busy capital city of Naples, Mount Vesuvius reigns impassive and foreboding, a daily reminder of the eruption when the nearby cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiae were covered in red-hot lava and a cloud of ashes. But the volcanic soil around Mount Vesuvius has also ensured Campania fertile land where some of Italy's tastiest produce is grown, ready to be shipped and enjoyed all over the world.

Best known around the world for its pizza and pasta, Campania's exuberant cuisine relies on sinkissed vegetables and herbs, salty capers, dried pasta and fresh farmhouse cheeses (chief among them water buffalo's Mozzarella).

pretty interior

wood oven for pizza

Chef Vittorio Negri

The Campani, as the people of Campania are called, are renowned for their fish and seafood specialities. All along Campania's glittering coastline, squid and cuttlefish are boiled and served in salads, stuffed and baked, or fried into crunchy rings, while mussels and clams are cooked with a whisper of wine and tossed with handmade pasta or added to seafood salads. Salt cod, fresh sardines, and anchovies too are staples.

Frittura Napoletana
We were served Frittura Napoletana (fried mix Neapolitan specialities) as a starter. Arancini which is filled with ragù (meat sauce) and mozzarella, it has crispy outer crumb and creamy melted inside. The fried broccoli is crunchy and sweet. Fried couscous is delicious with grainy soft texture. I could taste the intense cheese flavour from the ravioli ricotta. All those fried goodies are perfectly accompanied by the tangy and sweet flavour of Napoletana sauce (tomato based sauce).

Spaghetti Alle Vongole
Spaghetti Alle Vongole or spaghetti with clams. The pasta is cooked into perfect texture then mixed with pesto sauce. It actually tastes a bit bland for my taste buds. But the clams compensate for the lack of taste. The clams are very fresh and sweet that when I took a bite of it, I could almost smell the sea

Polipo Alla Santa Lucia
Polopo Alla Santa Lucia is a dish of octopus in cherry tomatoes capers and black olive. This is my favourite menu. The sliced octopus are tender and crunchy in the same time, also have sweet taste lingers on my taste buds. Cooked in cherry tomato sauce which is sweet and tangy. What a wonderful mingling of flavours !

O ' Rau Braciole E Melenzane
O ' Rau Braciole E Melenzane is zitoni pasta with Neapolitan ragù and served with thin sliced veal meat wrapped and eggplant. Honestly, it's the first time I heard about zitoni pasta which is a thick long tube pasta (up to 1 metre long). Unfortunately, the zitoni pasta that chef Vitto ordered from supplier hasn't arrived that day, so we have to settle with rigatoni pasta as replacement. The perfectly cooked al dente pasta have springy texture and goes well with the tomato based sauce. With soft eggplant cubes and topped with generous portion of grated Parmesan cheese. Delizioso !

O ' Babba
A delicious O ' Babba to end the delightful lunch, which is a rhum baba served with pastry cream and Italian cherry in syrup. The yeast cake is very soft and fluffy that it easily melts in your tongue. It has an intense taste of liquor (rhum) that complement the cake so well.

You can enjoy all these special menu from  1-30 April 2013 in Portabella Bisto, Fontana Hotel Bali. The price range are competitive compare to other Italian restaurants in Bali or I might even say it's more affordable than other hotel restaurants. I will definitely come back to taste their famous wood oven pizza

Portabella Bistro - Fontana Hotel Bali
Jl. Dewi Sri No. 68
Kuta - Bali, Indonesia 80361
T. +62 361 8947002
F. +62 361 8947123


Hokkaido: Sapporo Snow Festival

Japan, February 2013

"This is your captain speaking. According to the latest information, there's a heavy snowstorm happening in Tokyo now. We are expecting some turbulence during landing. Please fasten your seat belt..." And I can't remember the rest of his announcement as I was feeling nervous.

Then the plane started to shake uncontrollably in the middle of snowstorm. We were getting closer to the ground when a strong wind pushed and the plane tilted far to the left. I could feel the fear around me. Some thoughts were rushing into my mind while I closed my eyes. Are we going to crash? but I want to see the snow festival. Oh and I want to eat the famous ramen and fresh scallops before I die, please. Then the plane landed hard in Narita airport. Gosh ! I really hate air plane turbulence more than I hate cockroaches. But seriously, I don't understand how could I think about eating ramen and scallops during my live or die situation.


After 5 hours layover in Tokyo, I flied and finally landing safe and sound in Sapporo the biggest city in Hokkaido, the northernmost island in Japan. A lot of my friends asked me why I travel to Japan during winter when the weather is extremely cold? For the Sapporo Snow Festival that is ! Actually my trip to Sapporo was already fixed for my family Christmas holiday. We've bought the ticket and everything then my Dad got a stroke that we had to lose most of the expenses we've paid. As stubborn as he is, even though not 100% recovered yet, he insist to visit Sapporo before our visa expired. So there we were :)

Sapporo Snow Festival (Sapporo Yuki Matsuri) is one of most famous Japan's winter events. It's held every February for a week. Every year, about two million people come to Sapporo to see a large number of splendid snow statues and ice sculptures which line Odori Park, the grounds at Tsudome, and the main street in Susukino. The main site is located in 1.5 km long Odori park where huge famous ice sculptures are exhibited at. They are lit up daily until 10pm. Many concerts and events are held using the sculptures as their stage. How cool is that!

mochi making ice sculpture

large ice sculpture as a performing stage

snow slides for the kids

Odori Park

my sista n hubby with my fav ice sculpture

lit up ice sculpture

Besides beautiful ice sculptures, there are ample food stalls along the Odori park. You can sample from ramen, sushi, grilled seafood, curry, grilled corn, sweets, hot drinks to beer and a lot more. Definitely too many to choose from. In some occasions during admiring the ice sculptures, I smell something delicious then follow my nose to find the source and ignoring the amazing ice sculptures :p

one of the food stall

the food seller

To see smaller ice sculptures, I headed to Susukino site where they held the ice sculptures contest. More than 100 ice sculptures are exhibited along the Ekimae-dori (Station Avenue) between Minami 4 and Minami 6. There's also an ice bar where you can enjoy some hot alcoholic beverages.

ice bar

ice sculpture with fishes in it

Love Hotel

I stayed in Susukino area which is Sapporo's largest entertainment district and also one of the largest red districts in Japan. You can see sexy girls posters and love hotels in most part of that area. But fret not! It's actually safe to walk around even at night. I visited one of the city landmark, Sapporo Raumen Yokocho or ramen alley to sample the famous Hokkaido ramen. I'm not a ramen expert but it was obviously one of best ramen I've eaten. For more details, I will write another food porn post about Japanese food :)

the famous Ramen Alley

a sexy pepper shaker :p

delicious Kaisen Ramen (Seafood) to end the chilly day

If you ask me if it's worth to visit Sapporo during harsh winter weather? I'd say abso-fucking-lutely ! Sapporo Snow Festival is one event that you should put on your bucket list. I would do it again next time when I have the chance. But maybe I'll prepare some sleeping pills for the bumpy plane ride.

This is an amateur video of the view from plane before landing in Hokkaido. I was trying out the video mode on my new camera, still not sure how to adjust. If you see some blurry parts and lost focus, don't's not your eyes. That's just me being a dummy, hehehe :p

Tips: Make sure to wear a proper pair of winter shoes or at least slip resistant shoes since everywhere is covered in snow and very slippery. I've seen many victims fell down on the street and even a guy that has to be rushed to hospital


Germany: Neuschwanstein the Fairytale Castle

Germany, September 2011

Neuschwanstein castle
"That's a fairytale castle!" It was my first thought when I saw the picture of Neuschwanstein castle. When I was a kid, I loved reading fairy tales book. So I've always have a soft spot for castles. I've been to Disneyland in USA, Japan and Hong Kong. Little did I know that Neuschwanstein was the inspiration for Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty castle.

When I was planning my trip to some cities in Germany including Munich, I knew that I had to make time to visit this beautiful castle. It takes less than 2 hours from Munich to Neuschwanstein. So a day trip it was.

Iced Coffee before visiting the castle...bliss !

Neuschwanstein castle is a 19th-century Romanesque Revival palace on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany. The palace was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and as an homage to Richard Wagner. Seven weeks after the death of King Ludwig II in 1886, Neuschwanstein was opened to the public. The shy king had built the castle in order to withdraw from public life – now vast numbers of people came to view his private refuge.

a pretty restaurant

one of the souvenir shops

my new hat, something Bavarian :D


To get to Neuschwanstein castle from Hohenschwangau, you can do it either on foot, walking to the castle in about 30 minutes. Or by horse-drawn carriage which depart from Hotel Müller, it costs 6 euros for uphill and 3 euros for downhill journey. Or by bus, departure point: Schlosshotel Lisl. The bus goes via Bleckenaustraße to the "Jugend" lookout point (Marienbrücke) from where it is about a 10-minute walk on a steep downhill path to the entrance of the castle. This path is not suitable for the disabled! Return ticket costs 2.60 euros.

breathtaking scenery on the way to the castle

You can actually go inside the castle but it was closed during my visit. Yeah, my bad luck :(
Entrance tickets are available only at the ticket centre Hohenschwangau in the village of Hohenschwangau below the castle. So please, make sure to buy your ticket before you set off to the castle. Check their website if you need more information

Neuschwanstein Castle as seen from Marienbrücke
King Ludwig II said "I intend to rebuild the old castle ruins of Hohenschwangau by the Pollat Gorge in the genuine style of the old German Knightly fortresses........the spot is one of the most beautiful that one could ever find." 
And I couldn't more agree with you Lulu...errr.....I mean King Ludwig II. It's indeed one of most beautiful sceneries I've ever seen.

Is castle also you thing? Which one is the most beautiful castle that you've visited ?


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