My trip in Instagram/iPhone

I think I’ve been converted. I used to own a Blackberry but switched to an iPhone when I lost my Bold. And I’m loving it.

One of the biggest surprises about the iPhone was its camera. I used it during my trip when my camera battery conked out or when I left my memory card in my laptop (stupid, I know). It’s pretty good, no, considering it’s a phone camera? And one of the photos that convinced me that it was a good camera was this:

From the garden at the Carmelite monastery in Lisieux, France (where St. Therese’s remains lay): the Million Flower (that’s what I was told it was called), uh, flower. It was one of those days (yes, it happened more than once) when I left my memory card in my computer. But the flowers in the garden were so pretty, I had to take photos. And these flowers and this photo are my favorite of the lot. I was really surprised how the iPhone camera captured the detail: the veins on the leaves, the teeny-tiny blossoms and the even tinier specks on the bigger flowers. The photo’s so good, it doesn’t look like it was taken from real life.

And here’s another photo of other flowers in the same garden. I love the contrast of the bright yellow against the deep fuchsia:

And although I know some real artists and photography enthusiasts scoff at the app Instagram, I think it’s a lot of fun. It’s real easy to use and is a great help for those of us who want to tinker with the look and feel of our photos but don’t have the time/money/skill/patience to take photos on film or edit digital ones themselves.

And here are some of my favorite Instagram photos from my trip:

The macaron display case at the la Grande Épicerie. I had to take this stolen shot with my iPhone because photos aren’t allowed inside the store.

And the same is true with this shot:

Another stolen shot of another pastry case, this time, Ladurée at Rue Royale.

I didn’t just take prohibited photos of sugary things, of course. I also took photos of the touristy stuff from my iPhone, including one of my favorite photos from my trip:

And proof that throwing a coin into it works:

I threw a 5-peso coin into the Trevi Fountain the first time I was in Rome. And ta-da! I got to go back. But I forgot to throw another one in this time around. Oooops.

Obviously I had fun with my iPhone and tinkering with Instagram during my trip. Instagram, I think, is great way to sort of have a different version a memory of a moment or place , to give a photo a feel that an un-Instagrammed photo can’t capture.

And besides, when the photos are as yummy-looking as this one, don’t you want as many versions of it as possible?

PS: You can follow me on Instagram: tightsarntpants.

PPS: You can see more of the photos from my trip by clicking on the link to my Flickr account, which could be found on the right sidebar.

Camedda 1970

I’m taking a short break from my Paris posts with a quick one about a wonderful restaurant (food, again, I know!) we stumbled upon in Rome.

My mom and I took a quick trip to Rome last week, as she wanted to take the chance we were in Europe to see the Vatican. As luck would have it, our flight en route was delayed by about an hour, so it was 2pm by the time we got ourselves settled into our hotel. Needless to say, we were famished.

Luckily, there were a few restaurants to choose from in the area where we were staying. Even luckier, we struck gold with the first restaurant we came across.

We chose to eat at Camedda 1970, because of the yummy-looking food the customers seated outside were eating and of the display case of meats, breads and cheeses that we could peek at from the door. Technically a bakery, dry goods store and wine bar, it was manned by two very charming old men (they were soooo cute, but I was to shy to ask for a photo). One spoke very little English, while the other, none at all. But with the help of a customer who translated, the tried-and-tested Filipino trick of turo-turo (i.e. pointing) and the super helpful grandpas, we were able to order food.

Their display case featured huge, round, white mounds of mozzarella di bufala, which they also proudly advertised outside the shop. The customers outside were also eating a salad that had it, so I figured, it must be good. And so my pointing and my attempts at Italian (one word: mozzarella) got me this:

Salad from CameddaYes, that’s TWO “knots” of mozzarella you see.

Correction. I know two Italian words. Tonno = tuna. So we also got this:

Salad from Camedda

So where did all my pathetic attempts at Italian get us?

To my favorite meal in Rome.

I don’t know if it was just because we were famished, but everything was brilliant. The tuna salad was extremely simple: pasta, olive oil, tomatoes, mozzarella, olives, tuna and herbs (parsley and basil, I think) but that’s the genius of it. All the flavors worked so well together. It was refreshing and light, not usually words you would associate with a pasta salad, or pasta, period.

And what of the salad of greens and mozzarella di bufala? I was initially wary because it was literally just that: cheese and leaves. And a little olive oil. Not very promising, right? But I underestimated the powers of really good, authentic mozarella cheese. The milky and creamy cheese was the perfect complement for the slightly bitter greens and olive oil, proof again to the claim that cheese does make everything better.

And when it’s mozzarella that fresh (as in it was soaking in bowls at the display counter), and velvety and gooey, how can it not? I’ve never had anything like it before, all firm, stringy, and perfect and white… this is the stuff cheese dreams are made of.

We were so lucky the we found Camedda two minutes from where we were staying. Although, not lucky enough to have it around the corner back home.

Camedda 1970: 46 Via Fornaci, Rome (it’s less than a five minute walk from St. Peter’s Square. If you’re facing the cathedral, it would be on your left side).