Friday, August 28, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Thus when I spotted the all-too-familiar sight of the moving sushi belt in the Atrio shopping center in Villach, I was literally running towards it in joy!
But my state of euphoria was shortlived as I furrowed my brows in puzzlement of the objects sitting on the similarly colourful plates. Along came a big slab of watermelon, followed by two golden brown deep-fried balls of something draped in golden syrup, then some cold beansprouts, fried rice, fried duck meat slices served on somemore beansprouts and 1 lonely chocolate cube whizzed past with the ocassional few chunks of aged sushi in between.
I think, the proprietors of Sakae Sushi would be clutching their stomachs, rolling on the floor and guffawing out loud if they were to ever witness such a sight...
(1) Dissolve corn flour in water and set aside
(2) Fry garlic in heated oil
(3) Add pork cubes
(4) Add light soy sauce and oyster sauce to taste
(5) Add carrot strips and green peas
(6) Add corn flour paste
(7) Fry till pork cubes are cooked and serve immediately
(+) This is an easy and nutritious dish to serve with rice.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Almost everything in Austria is dubbed in the national language of German; from the Hollywood movies to even old Bruce Lee movies screening at 3am in the morning. So naturally, it was inevitable that Harry Potter and his gang of two had to converse in German language as well.
It took us a couple of days and many phone calls to the respective cinemas throughout the country before we found one cinema in Graz screening Harry Potter in the brillant language of English!
The journey there took us 3 hours and after collecting the movie tickets and tucking it into the safety of our pockets, we ventured to the city centre for a rewarding dinner.
The venue was a touristy Italian restaurant smacked right in the center of town. The antipasto was free which included a basket of bread with 3 options of spread - olive, tuna-paprika paste and olive oil. Personally, I'm still not quite accustomed to dipping bread in olive oil.
In addition to the bread antipasto, there was also a small portion of cold squid which I found to be quite unappetising. The squid tasted as if it was dead for many days and has since been soaked in the same sauce till it was served 5 minutes ago.
The main course proved to be more appealing, with the squid ink black pasta served with fresh seafood in just the right portion and another teller which resembles giant raviolis drapped with a light cream sauce.
Being the second largest city in Austria after Vienna, the city seems more alive in the evening and there was also a lined-up of programmes in Summer. For this particular evening, an outdoor theatre was setup with free seatings and a roll-cart selling snack and drinks of all sorts were there as well to satisfy the itching mouths.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
The island is only accessible by ferry and it was an interesting experience for me to be in a car, boarding the big ship. The journey took merely 30 minutes and soon, we were queuing up at the ticketing counter of the island's main entrance. No car is allowed on the island and has to be parked at the big car park before the main entrance.
In the lake, just next to a bridge leading to the island lies a very prominent Christian Cross. It is known as the "Schwedenkreuz" which literally translates to "Swedish Cross". And why is this cross found in the middle of nowhere? Well, as history has it, Mainau came under the rule of the Swedish following a defeat in the Thirty Years war. However, the occupation ended a few months later with the Swedish taking with them all valuables during the withdrawal from the island. And for some unknown reason, this cross was carried halfway but eventually left behind.
Once across the bridge, a giant smiley face greeted all tourists and began what is to be a neatly pedicured tour around the flower island.
A small plot of land is allocated to small animals; the likes of ponies and goats where children can interact with. And what was interesting for me were the goats...they are pretty smart to begin with. :)
Outside some small shops, I noticed candies for sale which were contained in semi-circular plastic domes with openings for the placement of scoops. And in almost all of the domes, wasps were clearly having an enjoyable time licking up the sugar. I wonder if anybody buys the candies after seeing such a sight?
By early afternoon, we ended the tour around the small island with a rewarding lunch at one of the touristy restaurants beside a small castle. Interestingly, the Swedish meatballs usually served at Ikea were also available here!
Cream Pumpkin Soup
Monday, August 17, 2009
We found a guesthouse with reasonably priced rooms at Pension Hohenrainer and decided to spurge the rest of the budget on a lavish dinner at Hotel Maximilian instead. Afterall, I'm a true blue-blooded Singaporean...what can be more important than food? :)
The dinner started with the usual fanfare of salad and the necessary thirst quencher - beer.
The highlight were the mains - Prawn Sphagetti with Safron & Sphagetti with Wild Mushrooms. The former was and is still the best pasta I have tasted! The sauce was rather unique with a tinge of sweetness amidst the aroma of seafood, quite unlike any others I have tasted thus far. The latter is less special but nevertheless good as well!
And naturally we ended the dinner as all other Austrians would - with dessert of apple strudel and vanilla ice-cream.