Tasteful Encounters in the City of Vienna

Traveling to Europe is a dream come true for many. There are various sights, sounds, culture and of course cuisines to try out. Most of us only read about these places in books and they always seem to appear so romantic especially Vienna, Austria. That is why, visiting and exploring this beautiful city for the first time requires a well thought of itinerary. Booking a hotel in Vienna that is well-suited for your desired activities there for instance can give you the best experience of the city.

 

For the cuisine enthusiasts like us, sampling out the best Viennese foods is a must. It is a fact that Vienna is famous for its delightful brew and mouthwatering pastries so this is the first order of the day.

 

sachertorte - marriot

Sachertorte

 

The Sachertorte, is Vienna’s famous chocolate cake and while we find it hard to pronounce, we never had any issues calling out its delectable taste. Hotel Sacher in Vienna serves the Original Sachertorte which is actually two layers of thick chocolate cake with a thin coating of apricot jam and topped with rich chocolate icing. Pair this up with their traditional “Wiener Melange” and it’s simply heavenly.

 

#Tafelspitz #horseradish #wienerwald #lunch #latergram

Tafelspitz

 

For lunch or dinner, you may try out Tafelspitz which is a dish of boiled beef in broth. The word tafelspitz refers to how the meat was cut-up. Then it is boiled in broth with spices and root vegetables. This is usually served with horseradish and minced apples.

 

XXXL wiener schnitzel

XXXL wiener schnitzel

 

Another notable favorite in Viennese cuisine is the Wiener Schnitzel. Any Schnitzel in Austria has to be made from veal, if its pork it is called a Wiener Schnitzel vom Schwien. Wiener Schnitzel is made from veal escalope, hammered to become thin, breaded and then fried. You’ll often get a plateful of this served with a slice of lemon and the traditional Erdäpfelsalat, a side dish akin to mashed potatoes.

 

You will never run out of traditional Viennese foods to try during your stay in Vienna. You will discover that they are heavily influenced by the surrounding countries over the years, such as Hungary, France and Italy. The best way to enjoy traditional Viennese cuisine is to explore the city’s abundant coffee shops, taverns and al fresco restaurants.

 

Sacher tent

Sacher Hotel, outside sitting

 

Image credits: Big thanks to my dear friend g_mirage2 on Flickr for the photos.

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Mooncake, the special food of Mid-Autumn Festival

The Chinese event which is always celebrated in the middle of the autumn season is called the Mid-Autumn Festival or famously known as the Mooncake Festival. It is considered as the second grandest affair after the Spring Festival in China. It falls on the 15th day of the 8th month based on the Chinese Lunar Calendar. Because it is the time of the year where the moon is at its brightest and roundest form, mooncake is serve as an offering and special food to eat outdoors during the celebration.

 

mooncake2

 

mooncake 3

 

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Mooncake nowadays comes in various flavors packed with red or black bean paste, or lotus seed paste, and often there is a round egg yolk in the center to represent the moon. It is presented as a gift to relatives and friends, before, during and even after the celebration itself to wish them a happy and long life. The round mooncake symbolizes harmony and unity among families and friends and traditionally eaten under the round moon. There are also customs of performing dragon and lion dances, burn incense and playing lanterns in most Chinatowns worldwide that enlivens the celebration while at the same time preserving the Chinese customs and heritage.

 

This year 2014, the Mid-Autumn Festival took place on September 8 and merrily observed in many Asian countries including the Chinatown in Binondo Manila, Philippines, Hongkong, China, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam.

 

mooncake1

 

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Grilled Yellow Fin Tuna

I love to see big fishes in the market, sometimes I am tempted to buy the real big ones, but on second thought, it will be just a waste of money because there are only four of us who are going to eat it  :).

Salt water fishes are more delectable to eat than fishes grown in freshwater . Weekends, especially Saturday is our market schedule.  I happen to see a perfect sized yellow fin tuna which I bought for our lunch.

 

 

Ingredients:

1 medium sized yellow fin tuna around 1.5 kilogram

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

salt and ground black pepper to taste

2 pcs. calamansi, juiced

Soysauce and calamansi sauce for dipping

 

Procedure:

Season the fresh yellow fin tuna with olive oil, salt and pepper and calamansi juice.

Wrap it in a foil.

Preheat the grill for medium heat. Place the foiled tuna on top of the grill, turn it once in awhile until the fish is cooked.

You may grill the tuna directly on the grill if you want it well done or just simply open the foil while it is still on top of the grill and turn the tuna inside the foil once in a while to preserve its juiciness.

Transfer to a serving platter, then make a calamansi and soysauce dip.

Serve immediately with rice.

 

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The Top Ten Kitchen Design Trends of 2014

Predicting design trends and seeing which ones actually take off with homeowners are two very different things, but with ¾ of 2014 almost gone, it’s safe to say that these have been the year’s top ten most popular kitchen trends:

kitchen design

Image credit: lwk-home.com

  1. Two-tone

Although clean and uniform colours and textures are still popular, there’s been an increase in the number of homeowners choosing two (or more) tone kitchens.

They create a more tactile and aesthetically interesting design and are particularly suited to older homes where owners want modern fittings that don’t compromise the traditional features of their building.

  1. Slim Countertops

Improved cabinet design has opened the door to some inventive restyling of their countertops and now incredibly slim stone, granite, quartz and stainless steel work surfaces have been incorporated into long-popular minimalist designs for an even more streamlined and refined look.

  1. Natural Materials

The rising popularity of two-tone kitchens has made it easier to blend synthetic and natural materials together to create a tactile yet functional, inviting space.

Items like wooden furniture and work surfaces have been combined with fittings like stainless steel splashbacks for sometime, but this look now extends beyond the fixtures to include the natural features of a kitchen space, including exposed brick walls and ceiling beams.

  1. Technology

This trend is perhaps one that’s set to run and run as manufacturers like Siemens, Neff and Mielecontinue to develop kitchen gadgets and appliances that work at the single touch of a button.

Technologically advanced ovens and sinks are practically staple fittings in a new kitchen now, but inventive designers and homeowners are taking things one step further with Smart Wiring that integrates home entertainment systems into the kitchen and which will soon connect smartphone Apps with their appliances for remote access control.

  1. Hideaways

Hideaways go hand in hand with technology. With simple push-touch controls, extractor fans, mini bars, sink units and extending work surfaces are all cleverly concealed within cabinets and islands to be revealed as and when they’re needed.

This design feature helps homeowners capitalise on all of the space they have available which is particularly useful in smaller properties.

  1. Handle-less

Handle-less kitchen units are another design feature that has been established for a few years and shows no sign of declining in popularity simply because they are so functional and aesthetically satisfying.

  1. Feature Lighting

Ambient, task and LED feature lights around cabinet bases and work surfaces continue to be popular, but oversized pendant lights that make a design statement in themselves have featured in many of the latest kitchen designs.

  1. Shabby Chic

The love-worn look of shabby chic kitchens helps to create a cosy, comfortable and inviting kitchen space and its one trend that’s unlikely to ever fall out of favour with homeowners, especially those who see the kitchen as the warm and comforting hub of their home.

  1. Industrial Chic

At first glance, industrial chic may seem at complete odds with the shabby kind, but the latest mixed material and two-tone design trends mean that homeowners can get the best of both worlds.

From copper and brass accessories and lighting that work well with almost any kitchen design, to the full-blown, heavyweight industrial-style cabinets, splashbacks and worktops made popular in loft apartments and warehouse conversions, industrial chic is a style that homeowners can add as little or as much as they like of.

  1. Personalisation

With modern kitchens being of such high quality, they’re really built to last and with longevity in mind, more design choices are being made available to those who want a really personal space for the long-term.

Décor elements are of course included in that umbrella of personalisation, but more importantly, adjustable counter heights, raised ovens and dishwashers, accessible storage and open shelves are making sure that kitchens last through the changing needs of a homeowner’s lifetime.

For further information on innovative kitchen designs, technologically advanced appliances and quality installations, contact the specialists at LWKKitchens.

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On Trend: Rustic Wood – The Restaurants That Have Nailed It

Rustic wood interior and furniture are becoming an increasingly popular choice in restaurants, cafes and bars. Rustic wood can have an array of effects within a restaurant. Some people rely on its worn appearance to create a traditional or pastoral atmosphere. Others use recycled rustic wood to reflect a dining environment that is both sustainable and organic. So if you are thinking about incorporating rustic wood into your restaurant or eatery,here are some great inspirations.

Vapiano Frankfurt, Hanauer Landstraße

Image via Stefan Funke on Flickr

Grill’d

The popular burger chain Grill’d are recognised for their good food and connection to good causes, but they are also renowned for their rustically inspired interiors. Some notable Grill’d restaurants, such as Eagle Street, Brisbane and Little Bourke Street, Melbourne, both designed by TU Projects have used rustic wood to reinforce their commitment to all things fresh and organic.In Grill’d eateries, rustic wood is used to panel wall surfaces and to frame the counter, chalkboard menus and table tops. Grill’d prides itself on using fresh, organic and high quality produce, and this philosophy is certainly reflected in their elegant use of rustic interior.

 

Vapiano

Vapiano, another popular restaurant chain, offers a range of fresh cuisine that is inspired by traditional Italian recipes. The restaurant brings the outdoors indoors by incorporating living olive trees and herb gardens into their restaurants. The traditional Italian inspiration and organic of their food is reflected in their rustic wooden table tops, bar surfaces, shelving and dining stools.EachVapiano restaurant is typified by its sweeping surfaces of rustic wood, that are further embellished with fresh potted herbs that either hang above or sit in the middle of the table.

 

Isa Restaurant

Isa restaurant located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, USA, designed by architect TaavoSomer, is regarded as one of the USA’s greatest rustic restaurants. The restaurant is almost entirely constructed of rustic wood surfaces, most of which were hand crafted by a team of woodworkers. The restaurant uses a range of aged wood, new wood, firewood, plywood and tree branches. The restaurant also incorporates a roof-top garden and drying herbs which are used in meals and to enhance the restaurant’s rustic appeal. The interior is considered as a delicate balance between rugged and refined.

 

Mercato Restaurant

Mercato is a coastal Italian restaurant located in Shanghai, China. The restaurant, designed by Neri&Hu, uses rustic style wooden panels for flooring, ceiling and the surface and sides of the bar. All of the wooden panels are recycled and are used in addition to exposed metal and glass surfaces in order to create an atmosphere that connects the organic,with elegant modernity.This mix of country and chic is also reflected in their menu, whereby family inspired meals are cooked by renowned chefs to achieve a simplistic yet sophisticated style.

If you want to create a dining atmosphere that is bucolic, organic or eco-friendly, you really can’t go past a little bit of rustic inspiration. So what do you think? What do you love so much about rustic wood interiors?

 

By Grace Patterson

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Halloween Party Food to Scare and Satisfy Your Guests

PPPHalloween Zombie Fingers

image credits: https://www.flickr.com/photos/29350288@N06/5155321323

 

Are you hosting a Halloween party at the end of October? Spice the event with some Halloween party food that will surely make your guests drool for more. Whether you plan to lay out a buffet table or just serve a few bites of snacks, these spooky foods and beverages are sure to satisfy your hungry costumed guests.

 

  • Halloween Hors d’oeuvres: Treat the live ghouls in your party with these scary but delicious cocktail pieces. Cut out pieces of meat and cheese into creepy shapes. Place the slices over crackers and embellish with dark green lettuce. Put black olives on top to complete the horrifying look.

 

  • Upside Down Witch Cupcakes: You can either download patterns or draw pairs of witch shoes out of black cardstock. Insert them into 2 1/4-inch length striped straws. Place a pair of straw with the witch shoes on your favorite frosted cupcakes. The kids will surely love munching on their cupcake with an upside down witch trapped in it.

 

  • Classic Caramel Apples: Caramel apples always complete Halloween party food. This time use a variety of dipping ingredients such as nuts, chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, and puffed rice. You can also use other dips available at home.

 

  • Scurrying Spiders: Place melted candy coating in a re-sealable plastic bag. Cut a small portion at a corner. Squeeze out the content to form spider legs on a baking sheet. Put in the fridge to chill. In another baking sheet, use the remaining melted candy coating to form small circles. Get the chilled legs and insert eight of them into individual circle. Place a 1-inch candy truffle over each circle to form the body. Add two pieces of small candies to serve as spider’s eyes. Chill until all the pieces become firm. Your guest will certainly squeal with delight upon seeing your scary sweet creations.

 

  • Gooey Peanut Butter Bloodshot Eyeballs: Combine 1/2-cup peanut butter with 1 cup sifted powdered sugar. Shape the mixture into 1-inch balls and line them up on a waxed paper to dry. Place a saucepan with melted 8 ounces of vanilla white candy coating over low heat. Stir until smooth and let cool. Dip each of the peanut butter balls into the melted candy coating. Let stand on a waxed paper until the coating becomes firm. Dip a small paintbrush into red food coloring and draw veins on the peanut butter balls. You can place a piece of black grape or draw a large black dot for the pupil. Regardless of the creepy look, the peanut butter eyeballs will look irresistibly fun to eat.

 

  • The Mummy with the Candies: Dress up any candy bowl or plastic bucket with several layers of gauze or paper tissue around. Place two large black balls for the eyes. All guests will be dipping their hands to get the peace offering of the friendly mummy in your Halloween party.

 

  • Taco for a Graveyard Shift: Layer the beans, lettuce, black olives, cheese, and diced tomatoes to mimic a dirty ground with weeds. Position the tortilla shells to look like disarrayed tombstones. Cut out the outline of spooky trees and a menacing cat using black cardstock. See how fast this taco dip disappears before your eyes when guests start digging in.

 

  • Decaying Cheese Balls: These green cheese balls may look moldy, but guests will be racing to taste the unique recipe you’ve pulled off to make them. You may or may not reveal that the mold is just a green herb coating with a special flavor on top of that creepy appearance.

 

  • Eyeball Fruity Punch: Put round slices of fruits and candies in eyeball molds. Freeze them then use as ice floats in your fruit punch bowl. Your guests will have the uncanny feeling of being watched every time they help themselves to another glass of the icy eyeball punch.

 

  • Swirly Snack Mix: Combine equal amounts of pretzels, peanuts, corn chips, and beans in a large bowl. The merry mix of sweet and salty bites will tempt each guest to keep coming back for more.

 

You can amp up the chill factor by decorating the party venue with spooky Halloween décor and scene setters. You can find a wide variety of invitations and Halloween decorations at PartiesOnline.

 

The best thing about all these Halloween party food ideas is that they are inexpensive and easy to prepare yet they succeed in boosting the macabre theme of the event. Try them in your own Halloween party. Your guests will surely love them that they’ll be insisting to be invited in your annual Halloween party.

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