Phi Beach and Spinnaker, Porto Cervo, Sardegna

Saturday night, out and about, we were told to head to Phi Beach for the sunset… and what a scene it was! There’s a lounge/bar area, a restaurant, and a nightclub, all outdoors, and all facing the setting sun.

The sunset was totally worth the rushing to get ready and get there in time…

Then, dinner. I went for the seafood plate, which had some grilled calamari, grilled prawns and grilled langoustine.

Giuliana went for the lobster pasta, Sara got the grilled tuna and we shared a (pretty funny looking) plate of roast vegetables.

And Alicia got the tuna tartare, which was small but substantial.

Apart from the ten minutes when the electricity went out and we all dined by candlelight (chic but worrying, as we hadn’t received our food yet and wanted to make sure it would get cooked!), it was a lovely night with delicious Sardinian seafood in a lowkey setting.

Beach Bar, Grande Pevero Beach, Sardegna

The next day was beach day… we headed down to Grande Pevero to sit out on the loungers. At lunchtime, we went to the only cafe on the beach, which looked like a little shack… so we were pretty happy with the food selection there!I went for the mixed seafood pasta… with mussels, clams, calamari rings and prawns. It looks simple on that paper plate, but let me tell you, the tomato sauce had so much depth to it… it was really delicious, especially on perfectly al dente spaghetti. The seafood it self was fine.  Alicia had the same, hold the clams, and Sara went for just mussels.  And some proscuitto, melon and mozzarella for Giuliana.  The rest of us had the tomatoes and mozzarella on the side.. . All in all, nothing exciting (except for that subtle, deep-tasting tomato sauce, yum!) but perfect for a beach lunch!Then went back to the beach for the loveliest dip in the water… As it was shallow, there was no threat of an after-meal cramp!

Zafferano’s, Colonna Pevero Hotel, Porto Cervo

A girl’s weekend in Sardinia! It was the first time I’d ever been, and I loved the rugged landscape of the Sardinian coast, along with the sparkling, Caribbean-clear water!

Our hotel was really nice, with six different pools sprinkled around the property. We spent the first afternoon sitting out and enjoying the sun…

… and sat more, wanting to take advantage of every hour of daylight…

We had booked dinner at the hotel that first night, at their gourmet restaurant, Zafferano. And my, was the food gourmet! We all had pastas as a main course – my loringhitas (these skinny, braided tubes) were served with burst cherry tomatoes and crab meat.

But Sara’s was even more impressive… ravioli served with mussels and a seafood puree… I just tasted one ravioli and a mussel, but it was pretty good… not as tasty as my pasta, if much better presented!

But the best part of the meal was actually the dessert. It’s rare for me to prefer dessert, but this one was exceptional! We ordered the peach tarte tatin, and were expecting a small tarte… which showed up with a lot of other bits and pieces!

The tarte is the domed-structure at the top of the picture, with pieces of fresh peach topped in the shortcake crust. This on its own would have been delicious, but alongside this, there was the lavender cream to the left of it, perfectly creamy and with little hints of lavender taste…  the macaron next to this cream was unimpressive, and probably the least-impressive bit of this dessert… but looked nice. In the middle of the picture is what looks like a bit of gel… it’s actually a square of a lemony paste, mixed in with pieces of thyme. Again, what a delicious combination. So. Good. And finally, white vanilla ice cream (the real stuff) topping the biscuit at the bottom, tasting like those cigarette cookies that you sometimes get served with your coffee.

What a dish, it was seriously impressive! The rest of the meal was good, but nothing stunning… whereas this dish really stood out!

Bakewell Tart Shop, Bakewell, Peak District

On our way out of the Peak District, we decided to pick up some lunch to have in the car… and stopped by the town of Bakewell, best known for its famous Bakewell tarts! And stopped in the Bakewell Tart Shop to pick some things up!

Here I am with the famous tarts… as soon as I saw them, I remembered that I had, in fact, tasted them before, and that they really weren’t my thing!

But no worries, we went for the savoury tarts instead! We shared a broccoli and Stilton cheese mini tart (that tasted like pure cream!)

Oh yeah…

and a pork pie.  This thing was a “mini” pork pie, but check out how big it was… with lots of cooked pork inside. Good, but so. Much. Pork.

Food Glorious Food, Peak District

The next morning, we went for a drive in the Peak District… and were very pleasantly surprised, the area is beautiful! And more specifically, with its big lakes, rivers and pine trees, we didn’t feel like we were in the UK but like we were somewhere else, like Pacific Northwest of North America! It didn’t hurt that they were fishing trout in the lake below…

After a while, we pulled over to the side for a quick pit stop… and found the premier biker hangout! Because there are many windy roads and beautiful scenery, the Peak District has tons of motorcycle riders coming through.. and they all stopped at the same rest stop as us! Andre got a bacon egg and cheese sandwich, and I got a cappuccino… I tasted his sandwich… while the cheddar cheese hadn’t melted completely (and really, that’s the best part of the sandwich!), it was otherwise pretty good!

Meet Froggie, by the way, our 2000 Lotus! He looks a bit like a little… well, frog!

The Water’s Edge Bar & Kitchen, Newark on Trent, Nottinghamshire

Saturday, we headed up to Nottinghamshire to buy an old car that Andre had bought – the weather was nice enough that we decided to stick around for a night and check out the Peak District the next day. But first, famished after our long trek up there, we headed to lunch with our new car… to Newark on Trent.

For you non-Americans, Newark, New Jersey is a large, industrial town and not very picturesque – people usually picture it with a layer of smog above. So we were a tiny bit sceptical when the guy we got the car from encouraged us to check out Newark… but we were pleasantly surprised! The town was quite charming, with a waterfront area that we soon found a restaurant on…

With a typical pub-food menu, we went for pretty different things… Andre went for the bacon cheeseburger and fries, while I went for the jerk chicken (apparently marinated for 24 hours) served with sweet potato fries and coconut rice.

Mine was really good, it came with two chicken legs, so I shared with Andre… but the marinade was really flavourful and the chicken itself was really tender… so I was happy! The sweet potato fries were fine too, but the coconut rice… was basically cooked rice, with some coconut milk sitting on the sides (not even mixed in). It was pretty uninspiring.

Andre’s burger was fine, but nothing special. He spent more time picking all the vegetables out of the Greek salad that I had ordered 🙂

The waterfront… as it was a nice day, everyone was out and about, either sitting at the pub or strolling down the banks of the Trent River.

Then off we went towards our B&B in Chesterfield, of course with the roof down…

Chesterfield is best known for its market days and for the crooked spire on Queen Mary’s Church… check it out, it dates from 1362!

Le Bilbouquet, New York

In New York very quickly for a few meetings, the weather was lovely, so it was a pleasure to walk around. Rockefeller Center has continued its tradition of exhibiting art in the summers, and has a ballerina by Jeff Koons.

I met my friend Craig for lunch at Le Bilbouquet, as I had never been, and we sat there watching people stroll by…

I went with his suggestion of the Cajun chicken and loved it! It came as two pretty robust chicken breasts (for once, properly, not over, cooked) in a dry-rub Cajun sauce. The accompanying fries and salad were perfect, and I even had a few spears of grilled asparagus… but the chicken was the definite winner of the lunch! I’ll definitely be back here for another serving soon.