Posts filed under ‘italy’

exploding polenta.

So the evening of our anniversary was…good. I came home and Alex had already mowed the yard and was cooking dinner in his apron that says “Alex” on the front. It was adorable.

Unfortunately we didn’t anticipate our recipe of beef ragu and creamy polenta to take almost three hours to make. whoospie. When it finally came time for me to prepare the instant polenta I failed to read the mention on the box that said, “Be careful, if the temperature of the polenta gets too hot (which it will since we’re asking you to BOIL IT) because it will turn into an erupting volcano of corn meal goo.”

Which is EXACTLY what happened. It was so very frightening. Huge, thick glops of molten polenta lava were spurting all over the place. At first I though, crap, this is going to be such a pain to clean (and it was), and then I started to fear for my skin. Because as it spattered onto my hand and elbow the skin immediately melted away. It was horrifying and I’m still waiting for my wounds to scab.

See that’s why you come to this blog…to hear about my wounds not scabbing yet.

Besides the food exploding everything else tasted good. Except the panzanella salad which we will not discuss…because it was a disaster and I wasted half a loaf of delicious ciabatta bread while making it.

BUT Alex found mini fruit tortes that were identical to our “wedding torte” at our wedding dinner. I have pictures that I will post tonight of them…but they were so delicious and so very perfect. He did well. AND I found a bottle of inexpensive Chianti from Montepulciano (a Tuscan town) that was sooo YUM.

Next year though…I think we’ll go out to eat. Because if this is any indication of what’s to come in our future anniversaries, well then I need to stay away from the kitchen.

April 27, 2009 at 2:58 pm 5 comments

Un Anno

Happy One Year Anniversary to us! We’re exchanging our gift of “paper” tonight and cooking dinner from our Florentine cookbook. Perhaps I’ll add onto this post sometime tomorrow with pics of our future fabulous meal. I hope…


April 24, 2009 at 3:25 pm 4 comments

Last year this time…

…we were here. on the Ponte Vecchio taking pictures of the sunset…pretty sure of it. Down to the minute I wouldn’t be surprised. Alec calls me a memory ninja and I totally agree!


And I once again long to go back and traipse about my favorite gelaterias, ristoranti, and monumenti. Today I was speaking with a man that works in my building whose son I went to high school with, he was telling me that his wife and him just went on a “small trip” to Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. Sounds like an amazingly huge vacation to me…but I’d go on a vacay like that any day.

I need to get my passport renewed with this new name I have so taking international trips can once again be possible…

April 23, 2009 at 6:47 pm 1 comment

travel itch.


It was almost exactly last year this time that Alex and I were jittery with excitement and anxious with anticipation for our upcoming 3 week long Italian adventure. It’s gotten me in a mood of nostalgia, I’ve been going back through online albums lately of our time there last year and how it was more perfect than I had planned. And holy crap did I plan. If you’re ever at our house ask me to see “The Binder.” In this binder I created tabbed sections and logged each and every detail of our trip. I had hotel and apartment details down to the renter’s middle name and favorite gelato flavor. I had restaurants in every neighborhood of every city that we were visiting that I was told by the Travel Channel and other bloggers that we should try. I even had key phrases I may have to utter at particular instances jotted down in there for the “just in case” scenarios. I’m getting organizing thrills and chills just thinking about this epic binder. BUT BASTA (enough)! This is about me wanting to travel…again and more.

Preferably it’d be to a European or Latin destination…but Alex and I are lending the American economy a hand during these “shoot me in the face” times and are traveling nationally. On May 1st we’ll be driving to Denver from Austin. DRIVING TO DENVER FROM AUSTIN. Since I’ve already complained to everyone I know in person about the road trip that hasn’t even begun I will complain to you all…again! Any good road trip suggestions? I really wasn’t prepared for these sort of adventures as a kid. If we went somewhere, chances are we flew there.

On the way back we’re stopping in Santa Fe, where we’ve already made arrangements to rent a cute little house that’s within walking distance of the city center. booyah.

I think I’ll be fine, I can do this. I’ll watch some birthing videos before hand and start practicing the breathing techniques. I’ll be fine.

April 17, 2009 at 9:51 pm 4 comments

cannolo pick-me-up


I had just one of those days today. I needed something. Something in the form of sugar…and maybe some retail therapy. I acquired both today on my lunch break!

First I stopped in Primo, because the sweet tooth needed to be taken care of first. I bought and then savored a cream-filled cannolo that was dipped in crushed pistachios on both ends. It was just what I needed. Although I couldn’t help but dream about the most perfect cannoli, the ones that Alex and I devoured during the first week of our honeymoon in Positano. I’d walk up to the counter and chirp, “due cannoli per favore!” 2 euros and 2 minutes later we’d be slumped over in utter freakin’ joy!

Then I waltzed over to TJ Maxx where a great deal is always to be had and purchased two totally adorable spring time shirts! Ahhh relief…

March 18, 2009 at 12:42 am Leave a comment

Oh Napoli

Alright… yes, Napoli. Naples was a lot of very different things; scary at first, robust, passionate, and YUMMY! After we survived our third trip on the Circumvesuviana we had arrived in Naples again. But this time it wasn’t just a stop while in transit…we were going to actually stay there for two days.

If you had asked me while in the States what part of the trip I was most excited about I would of course talk about the wedding first but I was really really excited to see and experience Naples. We’d heard that while it’s one of the most challenging cities in all of Europe to travel within that it’s also filled with so many rewarding features. Like…..HELLO, the birthplace of pizza (the margherita to be more exact), passionate, beautiful people, tons of history, and the beautiful Bay of Naples. However, once in Italy we were hearing people speak so terribly of Naples, “don’t wear any jewelry,” “my passport was stolen there,” “there is trash EVERYWHERE!” I started to become a little weary…as did Alex!

But c’mon don’t you have to have your wits about you in most larger cities in Italy? Aren’t there pickpocketers all over Europe? And to be fair…the city center has been clear of trash for probably a few months. However, unfortunately, the outskirts were still piled high with trash in a lot of places (as we saw from the train).

We were told by an information desk at the train station that we could use our Circumvesuviana tickets for the tram that would take us to a piazza close to the Hotel Vesuvio which is right on the bay. “Ok, great we thought”….until we got outside and were met with heat, hoards of people, crazy traffic, and dozens of trams (none with our destination displayed on them). So we just grabbed a cab. I noticed that the driver was really driving EXTRA slow…..trying to milk us for all we were worth. Then once we got off he swindled us for an extra 3 euro because he said he helped us with our bags. Um What? He was old and couldn’t lift any of it so Alex did all of that. And I hate when you have no small change, so when you hand them 30 euro because the meter says 26.84 euro you end up getting no change back. UGH.

But now we were at the hotel and it was divine on the inside. There were many many pictures of the royalty, celebrities, and politicians that have stayed there over the years! We cleaned ourselves up and headed out to Brandi. A pizzeria about half a mile from the hotel that claims to have the best Margherita in the city, they should though, they were the first pizzeria to ever make it in 1889 for Queen Margherita! We found it not too far after we set out and enjoyed ourselves at an outdoor table…..just watching the Neopolitans walk by. I even had my picture taken with the pizza maker :-) Now we ate more pizza in the South of Italy than we’ve ever eaten before, they were all great…..but this was even better! I can’t even describe why it was THE BEST, it just was! We really enjoyed the meal. Afterwards we walked back towards the hotel and meandered around Piazza di Plebiscito (my fav piazza in Naples) the church at the one end was just so grand and majestic!

We also realized that the pastries here in Naples appeared to be on par if not better than the ones in Positano and Sorrento. It really was like the city of sfogliatella and nutella. Both amazing things. While in Piazza Plebscito I enjoyed an enormous Bomba con Nutella. I ate the one in the back right :-) And after the lady heated it up in the microwave it was molten paradise!

That night we enjoyed Turkish food, the concierge told us about. The place was soo close to the hotel and it was ultra chic on the outside and inside. We had a little trouble with the menu. I do well with Italian menus in Italian restaurants because I know the majority of the dishes. However, when a menu is in Italian describing Turkish food (the other half was in Turkish) I have a few problems. The waitor was really nice and while he only spoke Italian we were able to figure most everything out. I think I enjoyed the food a little more than Alex did but we both walked out full and satisfied!

Stayed tuned for our last day in Naples and our three day trip to Roma!

May 24, 2008 at 8:52 pm 2 comments

Florence Part II (more events leading up to the wedding)

After Monday (the 21st) we had two more full days before the Big Day :-) These days were spent dodging rain showers and downpours, showing family and friends all over Florence, eating lots of gelato, window shopping, and shreaking with glee!

Some of the highlights include showing our parents and friends Piazzale Michelangelo (some of the best views of the city) and San Miniato. Neither Alex nor I had ever been to this amazing Florentine church before, and I could kick myself for it. It has topped the list of my favorite churches in all of Italy. The gardens and cemetery surrounding the church were all so beautiful to begin with….and then once you enter the dark yet peaceful cathedral (which is free btw) you can’t help but be awestruck. If I’m not mistaken the church was resurrected in 1081 A.D. and all other churches in Florence were modeled after it.

On Tuesday Alex and I met with our wedding planner, Helga Marcks to finish up the rest of our paperwork so we could legally get married in Italy and for it to be recognized everywhere else. We started at the American Consulate, then hightailed it to another office clear on the other side of town, and finally ended at Palazzo Vecchio where we were to be married just two days later. Helga was a dream, we fell in love with her, just so sweet and genuine. We’ll be sure to stay in touch with her for many years to come :-)

Soon after we had the second Bufa reunion since we left Florence in Fall 2004 with Alec (my “Best Woman”) and Rachel! To those not in the know let me explain the term “Bufa” real quick. Alex and his other 6 rommates lived on Via Bufalini……thus was born the “Bufa” name! We all met on Ponte Vecchio in a squealing fashion. I was so excited about it and overwhelmed that I even shed a few tears. For lunch we enjoyed ourselves at Il Rifrullo, which was recommended by Erin from the “Olive Notes.” The appetizer we shared was fantastic!

That night we enjoyed the meal of our lives. All families and guests met at Il Latini, a restaurant I’ve heard so much about ever since before my first trip to Italy, compliments of Rachel Ray and many others. We were able to find it thanks to mapquest and waited outside for maybe 15 minutes before being ushered inside. May I add that while we waited we were served HUGE wedges of pecorino cheese and great vino bianco (white wine). Right as we say down the food just started rolling out, hard and fast :-) It’s one of those places where you don’t even dare to open your mouth and refuse…..and menus?!?!? Who needs them??? First came huge “pornographic” (as my twin says) amounts of proscuitto. Then came pastas and soups. Alex and I both couldn’t stop talking about the penne con bolognese! It was like a dream! Then came the meat, I tried rabbit for the first time and couldn’t get over how moist and how much it was like….well….chicken! So many other things came before the delectable and lucious (mmmm lucious) desserts. There were so many alcoholic beverages crowding the tables, liquors, house wines, sweet wines, limoncello, you name it it was there. I don’t think anyone will forget the epic meal that was Il Latini, I highly HIGHLY recommend the place!

Wednesday was spent like many of the previous days. Sightseeing with friends and family. We revisited the Medici Chapel in San Lorenzo and oooed and awwed over some more works of MIchelangelo’s. We also made a visit to Mercato Centrale and did some shopping for our apartment. I just love walking around there and speaking with the shop keepers. It’s so fun and everything is so unbelievable fresh!

My good friend and old roommate Shauna and her friend A.J. arrived in Florence Wednesday afternoon as well. We met them in a piazza and bee lined it to Sad Gelato Man on Via Faenza. While there we took some unforgetable pictures and ate some unforgetable gelato. Then it was off to Art Bar to drink and eat fruity, smoothie like alcoholic beverages…..we spent our last night as single people perfectly!

May 14, 2008 at 1:43 am 3 comments

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