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Chocolate Chip Cookies {Gillian's List of Links}

Chocolate chip cookies are the ultimate taste of home. The ingredients are usually findable no matter how remote the place I have lived.  They have marked heartbreak and homesickness and celebration. I have used the recipe from the back of the Toll House chocolate chip package. (I still use one that I cut from a bag that was carried over oceans to the Sahel more than 20 years ago.) and the persnickety and delicious New York Times recipe using butter from France, chocolate from Tuscany and organic flour from Lazio.  Pretty much all chocolate chip cookies are good chocolate chip cookies.   

In Rome you can find chocolate chip cookies at a bar just off the Piazza Santa Maria de Trastevere and if you are really desperate at one of the many many Subway sandwich shops.  I think that homemade chocolate chip cookies are best.  Most groceries stores in Rome have brown sugar or you can use molasses from the health food store.  Chop up a bar of 70% chocolate in place of uniform chips and make sure you have a baking tray that fits in your oven and you have everything you need.


Christmas in Rome {Almost Wordless Wednesday}

Merry Christmas from Rome to all of you. Thank you so much for reading and following along with my adventures.


Hamburgers in Rome {L'Hamburgheria di Eataly}

I love nothing more than going to a matinee on a weekend afternoon. I have the feeling that I am getting away with something when I emerge from the dark theater, slightly disoriented into a bright sunny afternoon. Finding something to watch in English in Rome at any time of day can present a challenge. The Cinema Barberini has been screening films in English pretty reliably recently. Sometimes there is even a show at 11:30am, my idea of heaven. I still miss the days when we would visit Johannesburg or Cape Town and I would start my day with a very decadent 9:30 am matinee. 

My joy at finding a reliable matinee within walking distance of my house presents another Rome only problem. When to eat. The rules for when you eat in Rome are pretty strict.  Breakfast is a cappuccino and cornetto to at the bar until about 11:00 am. Lunch is usually a sit-down affair and you are unlikely to find much open before 1:00 and dinner is at 8:00. 9:00 in the summertime  There are a few exceptions and tricks to these rules, but not many. So, where to eat after a matinee that finished about 3:00 or 4:00. You have missed lunch and it's too early for dinner. A brand new spot run by Eataly to the rescue. Eataly has just opened a Hamburgheria right at the Barberini metro stop.


Cocktails in Rome {JK Place Roma}

JK Place Roma // Cocktails in Rome

JK Place Roma // Cocktails in Rome

I love a good cocktail with a gaggle of girlfriends. Florence blogger Tiana Kai's recent visit to Rome provided a perfect excuse to check out one of Rome's newest and chicest openings.

Located in a small piazza not far from the via del Corso you have to find the discreetly marked door and ring the buzzer to be granted entrance to this very elegant space. 


Where to Buy Books in Rome

Open Door Bookshop // Rome // Trastevere

I have always been a bookworm. I have, ok Mark has, carted many cubic feet of books across oceans to multiple continents. The first thing I do when I move into a new house is fill the bookshelves. It is the only way to make a new place feel like home. There are stacks of books beside my bed, in the kitchen, on my desk, on the hall table. Pretty much any flat surface has a stack of books. There is somehow always space for a new stack. These are my favorite places to buy books in Rome.


Sushi in Rome {Temakinho}

Temakinho // Sushi in Rome

Temakinho // Sushi in Rome

In what seems like a lifetime ago I ate at what at the time was a very hip restaurant called Sushi Samba in the Gramercy neighborhood of Manhattan. I remember a long walk from my pals East Village apartment. I remember a very chic, very long, marble table that ran the length of the restaurant. I don't remember anything that we ate.

Fast forward to to present day. Last month and less than a 5 minute walk from my house, a bright cheerful Brazilian sushi spot, called Temakinho opened.


Christmas Gift Guide {Gillian's List of Links}

Christmas in Rome

My circle of talented friends is always expanding and continues to create beautiful books.  Here is my 2013 list just in time for your holiday shopping.


Artisan Workshops of Tuscany {Florence + Pistoia + Foiana della Chiana + Cortona}

On my recent trip to Tuscany for the Play Your Tuscany project we visited dozens of artisans workshops. Some are easily accessible and welcome visitors (and shoppers) and some are are hidden away behind locked doors.

I was fascinated by the hands that create intricate jewelry, sturdy tables, finely crafted leather shoes and musical instruments. I was also taken by the tools used to create these objects. 


Hamburgers and Martinis in Rome {Rosso}

This week there will be a lot of Thanksgiving feasting.  Next week there will be a lot of leftovers and then there will be at least a few days of meals consisting mostly of roasted vegetables.  After that, I am sure I will be craving a rare juicy burger and an ice cold gin martini.


Best Hamburger in Florence {Lungarno 23)

Best Hamburger in Florence

Best Hamburger in Florence

As regular visitors to my blog no doubt know, I eat a lot of hamburgers in Rome. I am always on the lookout for a new delicious one to try.

I was recently invited to Tuscany as a participant in the Play Your Tuscany initiative (you can read all about the fun we had via the above link and very soon here) We saw beautiful and interesting things, stayed in hip and comfortable places and ate (a lot) of really good food. Now most of what we ate was pretty traditional Tuscan fare, pici pasta and rich hearty ragus made from beef or duck, lots of potato flan and roast pork stuffed with herbs. On the last night in Florence our hosts treated us to a burger and fries at the buzzy Lungarno 23 on the Oltrarno side of the river. 


Breakfast in Venice

Breakfast in Venice

Breakfast in Venice

Venice can be exasperating. It's crowded, it's confusing, you get lost, did I say crowded? Would you like to see the quiet side of Venice? I have a secret to share with you.


Best Wine Bars in Venice

Best Wine Bars in Venice

Best Wine Bars in Venice

On a recent trip to Venice there was a slight chill in the air, so I skipped extravagant cocktails outside in Piazza San Marco and with the help of some very knowledgeable friends, I explored the Venetian custom of ombre e cichetti in some of the best wine bars in Venice.  The story, that dates back to Casanova's time, goes that wine merchants once sold their wine in the Piazza San Marco and kept the barrels in the shade - ombre of the bell tower. 

Let's go on a Venetian Giro d'ombra to the best bàcari, informal bars/cafes, for a few glasses of wine and plates of small snacks.


Roman Holiday in the Off Season {Contests and Giveaways}

Four of my favorite groups of people in Rome have teamed up and have two separate and really fabulous giveaways. 


Thanksgiving in Rome - UPDATED 2017

How to celebrate Thanksgiving in Rome

How to celebrate Thanksgiving in Rome

Life as an expat can be like a traveling circus trying to maintain and create traditions in countries that are not your own. I have lived overseas for almost 20 years now and Thanksgiving is my family's most beloved celebration. I could take or leave Christmas, Easter is nice, but usually comes with volatile weather, Halloween is way less fun with a teenager than it was with a toddler. In Niamey Niger, on the edge of the Sahara desert, I cooked turkeys that were imported from Paris for bewildered French friends. In Harare Zimbabwe I taught Belgians how to make a killer pumpkin pie. Now here in Rome, my butcher knows the measurements of my oven and we host the feast on the Saturday after the traditional Thursday so that my international gypsy mix of American, Italian, South African, Bruneian and UK friends can all attend.

Thanksgiving in Rome requires some advance planning. First of all is Thanksgiving Day. It is almost always a work/school day, making the traditional bacchanalian mid-day feast hard to pull off. Our solution to this is to hold the celebration on Saturday instead. There are several restaurants that are serving traditional buffets for dinner on Thursday, November 24 23.


Mysterious Rome

Halloween in Rome

This past summer during a long and lazy beachside lunch in Positano with friends we had a conversation about what is/was on our list of a perfect partner. 

Humor, intelligence, kindness, blah blah blah. Then the important stuff started to come up at the table full of teenagers. There was talk of specific kinds of shoes and the necessity of liking heavy metal music. My favorite requirement was an appreciation for Rome's slightly ghoulish treasures. 


Pizza in Rome {Sforno}

Normally when we have pizza it's a Sunday night and Mark goes across the street to alle Carette and brings home a few takeout boxes of margherita and diavola that we eat while catching up with John Stewart's The Daily Show.


Food and Ghost Tour in Venice with Monica Cesarato

Food and Ghost Tour in Venice with Monica Cesarato
Enoteca da Roberto Aziende Agricole

Food and Ghost Tour in Venice with Monica Cesarato

This past summer when I went to Venice on my art filled trip I left the rest of my family behind.  The entire time I was there I wished that they were there with me. I saw so many things that I knew they would love as much as I did.  The 55th Venice Biennale ends on the 24th of November. In spite of work and college application deadlines and a nationwide transportation strike, we hopped a fast train and headed north for a few days.


Wine Tasting in Rome {Rimessa Roscioli}

Wine Tasting in Rome  {Rimessa Roscioli}

I love a celebration. I love it even more if someone else does all the planning and organizing. A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be in on a fun surprise for a dear friend that included very little planning and organizing on my part and lots of wine and good food. 

Tucked into a side street around the corner from the well known Roscioli deli (a source for cheddar cheese in Rome) and restaurant is the Rimessa Roscioli. A hidden space of walls full of books and wine bottles and plenty of tables and chairs for a festive and informative wine tasting.


Shopping in Rome {Closet}

The other day I had a errand to run in the swanky neighborhood.  I love going over there and wandering into the Coppede, with it's fantastical architecture and some surprisingly intact street art.

I had planned a stop at Natalizi, where all I will say is that they have a glazed, cream filled doughnut that rivals a Krispy Kreme, or maybe a visit to La Taqueria for an authentic steak taco.  What I definitely did not have planned was shopping for designer clothes.


Eating in Rome {Ristorante Babette}

Where to eat in Rome

Where to eat in Rome

This is a year of transitions. 

Good friends have moved to far away lands and embarked on exciting new projects. The Teenager is filling out college applications and adding to his senior year resume. We are preparing to go from a tight-knit unit of three to just two. 


A Place Like Home {Homebaked-Rome}

Are you craving a healthy salad, or wrap or even a PB&J?  Or how does a slice of warm from the oven apple pie sound? Homebaked, a brand new spot in Rome has all of these things.  and more.


Wide Open Spaces {Rosti-Rome}

Looking for a place with great food and lots of space for kids to run?  I found it for you. It's Rosti in the Pigneto neighborhood.


Best Pizza in Positano {Covo dei Saraceni}

Best Pizza in Positano

Best Pizza in Positano

Once on a visit to Positano, I tweeted asking where the best pizza in Positano was and a very helpful local blogger answered back the Brasserie underneath the Hotel Covo Dei Saraceno.


Nashville, Tennessee {Where to Eat}

Tennessee is kind of a funny state. With it's long and skinny shape, it is really kind of three different states than one unified place. From my hometown in eastern Tennessee, Washington DC is almost closer than Memphis.  When I was growing up we would visit the Smoky Mountains or the Isle of Palms in South Carolina or go all the south to Florida. We never went west. Which means we never went to Nashville, the state capitol. Which is less than two hours away.  Nashville is a hot spot for all kinds of reasons right now, one of my favorite TV shows is set there and it is a very important place for the music and publishing industry. This past summer on the big college tour trip to America, we scheduled a few days in Music City. This is what we ate and drank. 


Venice {Where to Shop}

Where to Shop in Venice

Even though my trip to Venice was all about the art,  I did manage to squeeze in a teensy tiny bit of shopping.  


Beer in Rome {L'Antica Birreria Peroni}

We had a lot of visitors this summer. A great thing about having visitors is that they notice different things than I do.  I have probably walked past great places a thousand times with a blind eye.  One of our summer visitors noticed just one of these places as we were taking a short cut from the Monti neighborhood to the Fontana di Trevi.  This visiting beer lover literally stopped in his tracks and asked "what is this place?" 

This place was the L'Antica Birreria Peroni,  located just around the corner from Piazza Venezia.  Originally a horse stable and once a place of religious miracles, this spot has been serving cold beer and hearty food since 1906.