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London {Where to eat}

Cocktails in London  // Acquashard

Best fish and chips in London // The Golden Hind

We recently spent a few days in London.  The focus of the trip was Noah's audition for the Berklee College of Music, but in-between marathon practice sessions we ate. Craving ethnic food and wanting to revisit old college haunts of mine we didn't venture far into the new hipster areas to the east, but instead stayed mostly in central London and close to our rented apartment in Earls Court. We ate in places that have now become empires but were once a single small spot and also in well known and beloved local institutions.


Hamburgers in Rome {Ciao Checca}

Hamburgers in Rome // Ciao Checca

Hamburgers in Rome // Ciao Checca

So this spot is not strictly a burger joint like so many other places I visit. In fact it is just the opposite. Housed in what used to be the very fancy tile shop Bisazza where they fortunately left the snazzy black and white mosaic floor, Ciao Checca has transformed the former decor shop space. It is now bright and airy with sleek white marble, a warm wooden communal table and pops of kelly green.


Cocktails in Rome {Bar San Calisto}

Bar San Calisto // Rome // Trastevere

Bar San Calisto // Rome // Trastevere

Now I love a fancy cocktail in a swanky bar.  Top shelf booze and artisan bitters well mixed by passionate experts and then poured with flourish into beautiful glasses, that's my idea of a very good thing. Add a comfy place to lounge and good snacks and I am in my happy place. That said, sometimes a cold beer in a slightly dingy spot is just right. 


Breakfast in Rome {Urbana 47}

Breakfast in Rome

Breakfast in Rome

Mondays are hard enough.  Add a gray, wet, winters day and it is hard to resist getting back under the duvet and binging the day away watching Danish political dramas.


Eating in Tuscany {Osteria La Saletta + Certaldo }

Spas in Tuscany

Certaldo Tuscany

On this day dedicated for romance I will share with you a recent romantic getaway to Tuscany. We had been given a Smart Box gift for a night at a spa by the very generous colleagues in my husbands office.  So, despite the dismal weather forecast, we headed north towards San Gimingano in Tuscany for some relaxation and the hope of some Tuscan sun.


Eating in Tuscany {San Gimignano + Trattoria Chiribiri}

San Gimignano // Tuscany

It was a dark and stormy night.  No really. It was the kind of storm that closed school in Rome four days later, washed out huge parts of the medieval walls of Volterra and the rising water threatened to spill over the banks of the both the Arno and the Tevere.  We were spending the weekend in the Tuscan countryside near San Gimignano and were on the hunt for dinner.

We had called a couple of places using Judy Witts Francini's super helpful app Chianti Food and Wine before setting out and found everything closed. Undeterred we got in the car and drove through the dark drizzle and figured we would surely find something open. 


Lunch in an Olive Grove {Agritourismo da Lallo}

Day trips near Rome

Day trips near Rome

A few weekends ago the New York Times ran a delightfully illustrated piece by American Academy in Rome fellow Nicholas Blechman.  The charming illustrations told a sinister story about olive oil in Italy not being the real thing.  Now I am a very fortunate girl. Not only do I live in Italy, it is easy to find fresh olive oil from the source. I have generous friends and  a nearby farmers market. Another thing I love to do is visit nearby agritourismi and buy supplies straight from the source.  

On a recent weekend the teenager had to be dropped off at the airport at first light.  I resisted the urge to spend the sunny day on the couch or watching a matinee and was rewarded with an incredible Sunday sunrise and a full free day ahead of me. We headed first to Termi di Papi, a favorite hot springs near Viterbo and just over an hour away from Rome. We arrived just as the doors opened and had the entire olympic pool filled with steaming sulfery water almost to ourselves. As the pool got more crowded we got more hungry so we scrolled through our contact list for the number of a place that our friend Jeff had recommended and that we hadn't been to in years, Agriturismo da Lallo.


Drinking Wine in Rome {Eyes of Rome Aperitivo Wine Tour}

The beginning of the year is the time to clean things up. I am back on my yoga mat and eschewing delicious pastries and bourbon cocktails. I am also tackling chores like that messy corner in the kitchen, cleaning up my iPhoto files and making sure all my work is backed up somewhere. When I get into the project zone I work, zombie-like, for hours. Not getting up to stretch out the kinks and usually only realizing that I am starving at about 4:30 in the afternoon. A time of day in Rome when it feels like everything is closed, my cupboards are bare and I am too addled to do more than eat a bowl of cereal before I start cooking dinner. 

Last week I had the perfect break from my late afternoon, all day project drudgery induced hunger. I had been invited on an Aperitivo Wine Tour in Campo di Fiori led by native Roman, Francesco Grasso.