Edinburgh, Scotland via anti-t-kom
Only six months ago…
Edinburgh, Scotland via anti-t-kom
Only six months ago…
Prague, Czech Republic via mibreit
Two and a half years since I was in this storybook city. Seems like just yesterday.
One of the most interesting sights I have ever seen was planes landing at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California.
My friends Brian and Michelle took me for a drive through Malibu and up Topanga Canyon when I was visiting them a few years ago. Brian surprised us gals with a thoughtful little picnic, a telescope, and some cozy jackets he brought for Michelle and I. As we ate and the sky grew dark, I was more interested in the lights hovering in the distance than the ones twinkling in space.
Stretched out in front of me was rocky canyonland, the Pacific Ocean beyond that, and the glittering grid of the metropolis of LA in-between. Suspended above this sight was a line of eight to ten planes patiently waiting to land at the airport. Reminding me of fireflies on a muggy summer night (though in this case it was the ever so slightly less idylic smog instead of precipitation), I sat back and reflected on this place… with these lovely people (the best hosts a gal can ask for, really)… and this time. Four years later and it is still a vivid and wonderful memory.
I came across this picture someone else posted today and realized it’s been almost two years since I’ve been here. I love it that so many of us have been to the same place and have these shared experiences through distance and time. We are a family of [wo]man spanning more than just this lifetime.
Kristin Hauser/Rome, Italy
The statue of Laocoön and his Sons.
Dutch artist Berndnaut Smilde won’t give up the secret of how he creates clouds inside rooms, but one thing is certain, his Cumulus Nimbus series is utterly enchanting and completely awesome.
[via Design You Trust]
I have only been to Philadelphia two times…that count. That is to say, two trips which have been more than your standard to-and-from the airport perfunctories.
The first time was in December 2010 and the second a year later – just about 10 days ago as a matter of fact. The first trip was basically not much more than a handshake. “Hi Philly, how ya doin’?” Also, the bitter cold of 2010, with it’s heavy gunmetal-gray sky, in addition to my moody and perpetually hung-over traveling companion, sort of set the tone for a less than stellar trip. So to be fair, it’s not entirely Philadelphia’s fault that the first trip was sort of “blah.”
I had also made the rookie mistake of going for cheese steaks to a place I saw on TV. While the line wasn’t too terrible at Pat’s King of Steaks, the sandwich was. The bland meat wasn’t even hot enough to melt the cheese, dude! How on earth can they call themselves professionals?! Termini Bakery had some pretty decent dolces but the most memorable aspect was the combination of Old World displays, tin ceiling, and the fact that they had an old accordion player and guitarist camped out just inside the front door playing traditional music. Entertainment in a bakery? I love it!
The highlight of the trip was definitely DiBruno Brothers cheese importers. Cheese just so happens to be my second favorite food group after pastry.
A long case filled with perhaps a hundred types of cheeses, attended by an extremely knowledgeable staff of white-aproned mustachioed cheese mongers greeted me as I walked through the deliciously pungent doorway. After a few little samples, I attempted to keep my purchases to a minimum and decided on a few things ranging from creamy to crumbly.
The second trip was more of an opportunity to become better acquainted with the City of Brotherly Love. And speaking of love, I was privileged to have the company of my good friend, Kristin. We approached the city in high spirits and almost immediately set out in search of something delicious.
Our preliminary dining research was confirmed by a positive comment from the concierge and so we were off to Palace at the Ben for Indian food. We enjoyed a variety of different things (which I’m sure secretly made the waiter laugh when I tried to pronounce them upon ordering). The naan was wonderfully chewy and the yellow creamy savory vegetable dish was excellent. It was hard to pace myself and leave some for Kristin, actually. The chai was not too thick and not too sweet, and did wonders to warm me up on this cold East Coast evening. But if there is one worthy reason to get cold again…
From there it was off to Capogiro for (I am not exaggerating) the best gelato I have had since Italy! My favorite flavor in Italy was always the fior di latte – milk. It’s so perfect in its simplicity and stands as the essential compliment to just about any other flavor. The generous gelaterista let us have so many samples; I’m not sure we could have made a wrong choice here. However, on this night, I paired the fior di latte with dark chocolate; a classic combo which was totally divine. Kristin got an equally delicious flavor, pomegranate, which I must say was oh so tart and mouthwateringly juicy.
Before heading off to the airport the next morning, we swung by Federal Donuts. While all their donuts are made fresh each day, the Lavender Vanilla donuts are always served fresh and HOT for your immediate consumption. How often does that happen?! Where someone takes a donut fresh out of the fryer and rolls it in sugar just for you!?! Not often enough, my friend! The cakey interior with a delicately crisp exterior may or may not have caused me a shiver of delight – that’s all I’m sayin’. High marks for their apple walnut donut, too. On the downside, I advise against the grapefruit brown sugar and spicy chocolate peanut combinations. While these are flavors that could potentially be pulled off, that wasn’t the case here.
As far as sights to be seen - The Liberty Bell, the softly glowing remains of George Washington’s house, and Independence Hall were all glorious and stirred deep within me some innate sense of patriotism. Kristin and I stayed in Penn’s Landing, which is the Historic District, and I don’t think I would stay anywhere else if I had the choice. Being in Philadelphia and not staying near these gorgeous relics of American history would be like going to an Italian restaurant and ordering the hamburger. I guess you could, but why would you really?
Philadelphia. The landmarks, the food…it really is all there like they say it is. I’m sure there’s got to be more, and I look forward to my next visit so that I can further explore.
Calabria and Sicily (by europeanspaceagency)
There are a few things synonymous with Colorado in the wintertime - things you can count on with absolute certainty.
#1. Your skin will relinquish all it’s moisture and become so dry that you will have to slather yourself from head to toe with emollients three times a day just to keep your fingertips from cracking. It will be so dry that 75% of light switches you touch will administer a shock all the way up to your shoulder.
#2. There will be a day when you can go outside on your lunch break without a jacket, only to return five hours later to brush six inches of snow off your car.
#3. The mountains will be gorgeous and the little clusters of towns they contain will have a new life. Small talk in the office will abruptly change from hiking and camping to skiing and snowboarding
It has been 10 years since I have strapped skis on my feet and hurled myself down a mountain. Truthfully, I was a little afraid that I would have lost my touch - especially after finding out the hard way this summer that yes, you can forget how to ride a bike. Although, on the plus side, the basics of first-aid are something that come right to the forefront of one’s mind when needed!
After a mild amount of sweating and cursing, I clicked into my skis and awkwardly made my way over to the chair lift. Nervous adrenaline coursed through my veins as I rode up to the top. Following a wobbly dismount and a few tentative cuts and snowplows (and more influential - the group of toddlers that whizzed by me in a blur), I summoned up all my courage and just went for it.
Yes, yes, YES!!! To my utter amazement, I did not forget how to ski!!! Smiling down the wide open slopes in the bright sunshine, I barely concealed a giggle. Okay…I didn’t conceal anything. Ah! Far too much time has passed since the exquisite joy of downhill skiing!
Of course, skiing does nothing if not work up an appetite, right? I had been up to Breckenridge once before, about five years ago, and after a day of skiing was anxious to see if my favorite places remained intact.
GIAMPETRO’S PASTA AND PIZZERIA is a nice, small, mom n’ pop place with an attentive staff and comforting Italian specialties. Coming in from the cold to a nice warm bowl of toothsome polenta - with that creamy/saltiness that comes from just the right amount of Italian cheeses! - was completely satisfying. The main course, an eggplant Parmesan sub, had really good sauce (not too thick or sweet, thank goddess) and loads of melty gooey mozzarella. Finally ~ the cannoli! The shell was light and crispy. The filling was smooth as silk, speckled with vanilla bean, and surprisingly yet delightfully lemony. All this plus reasonable prices - especially for a mountain town, no less. Delizioso! http://www.giampietropizza.com/
LA FRANCAISE is an authentic boulangerie and patisserie. Walking in to the small cafe, with their Maurice Chevalier music playing and white-aproned chefs painting batter onto the disk-like crepe griddle, is instantly warming in more ways than one. The case was filled with a large selection of all buttery and flaky things your heart could desire ~ croissants, danish, eclairs, pain au chocolat! Brioche and beignets. Shiny fruit tarts and petite glossy cakes. Crispy pillows of meringues! While the layered moussy desserts are a sight to behold, I think their skill at La Francaise lies more so in the baked pastries. I got a piece they simply referred to as “the triangle.” It was an obtuse triangle of flaky laminated dough with a thin filling of almond paste, gorgeously ruptured crust of meringue on top, and darkly toasted almonds. It wholly satisfied my craving and was the perfect breakfast when paired with a big cup of vanilla bean tea.
While I adore Colorado year-round, despite it’s making me hydrationally-challenged and the sudden white-outs, it’s no secret that the little mountain towns fulfill their purpose in the winter months with experiences such as these.
For more on my Breckenridge trip, please see the Destination Article on the Ocean Summit Travel website. Thanks!
Reggio Calabria; Italy
A friend of mine, Michelle Fabio, has a wonderful blog that I highly suggest you follow (http://bleedingespresso.com) and is a regular contributor on one of my favorite podcasts, Eye On Italy.
Originally a paesana from Pennsylvania, her blog always provides genuinely sincere and heartwarming glimpses into her life. Michelle has moved to her ancestral village of Badalato, Italy - where she positively thrives. The pictures and posts she shares always leave me feeling bright and inspired.
The link above refers you to a guest blog she did for Goodlife Zen. It’s a particularly good piece on listening to what your soul is telling you… where it is directing you… realizing your dreams and the deep satisfaction of fulfilling them. It also brings me back to times ages ago when a vivid and vocal Italian family was expected to dutifully collect at Nonna’s on Sunday to eat, laugh, yell, cry, reminisce, and eat some more. “Never underestimate the power and influence of a nonna.” MF
Note: You don’t have to be Italian to enjoy Michelle’s post… but it sure helps!