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Food Culture in Italy/Paris

23 Oct

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(In Paris, outside the Louvre)

Obviously, as a self-proclaimed foodie, I was looking forward to trying all sorts of dishes during our honeymoon in Italy and Paris.  After months of dieting, I was ready to let loose and let my food-obsessed flag fly high.  And to be honest with you, in Italy especially, it seemed like everyone we met wanted to talk about food, eat food or make food.  What a wonderful country!

Our itinerary included: Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre, Rome and Paris.  We spent the most time in Florence, and we were in Europe for a total of two weeks.  Each city had some high notes and low notes in terms of food, and we loved being tourists in every city.

 

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(In Venice… the canals here are breathtaking)

Since 10 out of our 14 days were spent in Italy, I felt like we really got to participate in Italian love of food.  There is a whole romance about it. Everywhere you go — at any time of day — Italians were smoking (everyone smokes there!), sharing a glass of wine, and eating something delicious. Beautiful cafes and wine bars lined every block — none of them chain restaurants — and even the humblest of cafes still had amazing food. I could seriously relate to those food sensibilities; my Italian-Hungarian family very much shares those ideas. Food should be lingered over, savored, never rushed and always delicious.

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(from a small cafe in Florence)

Everything was delicious there, almost decadent.  Everything was also portion controlled (Chris and I joked that we couldn’t find a decent cup of coffee anywhere — the cappacinos, although delicious, were miniscule).  No super-sized fries. It seemed like almost every restaurant had extreme pride in their food (the only exception we found was in Rome; however, although we couldn’t find a good restaurant there — except for this random amazing Indian restaurant — that doesn’t mean that there aren’t good restaurants, we just could not find any!).

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(Croque madame sandwich in a Parisian cafe/bar)

There is a real celebration of local cuisine and fresh ingredients. We had the best pesto in Cinque Terre smothering a bed of freshly-made gnocchi and an amazing carpaccio in Venice surpassing anything I’ve ever had before.  There was this life-changing burrata in Florence (check out La Giostra if you’re headed to Florence any time soon!) served with honey and nuts and jams. We found pear and pecorino raviolis in multiple restaurants in Italy and fell in love with the salty-sweetness.  We had amazingly flaky croissants in Paris, and delicious crepes at 10pm in our quirky Marais neighborhood. 

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(pulled burrata — best 40 euros ever spent)

I reconsidered the obvious, but rarely utilized in the US, pairing of salad with almost everything in Paris (quiche, egg dishes, sandwiches).  I thought about how sometimes we rush through dinner, even eating it while multi-tasking (I am especially guilty of multi-tasking while eating lunch at the obvious). I thought about how gelato should be present at every meal (only slightly kidding). 

(deliciously fresh pasta with simple ingredients at a small restaurant on a square in Florence)

My goals: to savor food more every day, living in the food moment. To consider lighter sides with heavier entrees. To continue to eat locally and in season. To get back to Europe as soon as possible. To spend longer with loved ones over dinner.

My elopement, picnic and honeymoon were literally the three most magical weeks of my life. I hope to continue to travel and be romantic with my husband for all the years to come.

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Our Wedding

26 Sep

The last three weeks have been hands-down the best weeks of my life.

Chris and I eloped to New York City. We had a private ceremony in Central Park. Everything was magical that day — from my hair and makeup being done, to our bouquet arriving and being more beautiful than anything I could have asked for (including our florist attaching the crown from my grandmother’s veil to the bouquet), to Chris’s face as we saw eachother for the first time, to taking a cab to Central Park and giggling in the back like excited kids on Christmas morning, to Chris’s beautiful vows by the water, to everyone on the streets shouting their congratulations like all of New York was celebrating with us, to a wonderful dinner in Columbus Circle (which we found out as we were leaving is owned by Marc Murphy) overlooking the city with free appetizers and desserts, to flowers and chocolate cake left by our hotel in our room — seriously, a magical day. The best part was getting married to the love of my life.

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And guess who wasn’t worried about my weight or feeling fat that day? This girl. I felt beautiful — if not a little bit constrained by my corset dress. And who totally owned that burger in a wedding dress? Oh yeah, I did — not feeling like a fat girl at all! Just a lady celebrating her romantic Central Park elopement with her man. With grease and cheese and fries 😉

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Totally blissfully happy.

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Just a few pictures — more to come! And we followed our elopement with a picnic with our loved ones and a wonderful two week foodgasm touring Italy and Paris… aka a honeymoon.

More to come with food porn and details about each place we visited — as well as thoughts on food cultures in other countries and ideas for fall meals!

Hiking… How strange!

29 May

If you had told me a year ago that I would choose to go hiking as my birthday weekend getaway, I would have told you that you are crazy. Birthday getaways tend to be city and food oriented, more about luxury than health. A reason to celebrate.

Lately, our trips have been about health and exercise. How weirdly exciting! This month, we went to stay at Harper’s Ferry for the night, and decided to hike a new trail the next day. The trail is 4.7 miles (that doesn’t count the mile or so to get to our parked car!), pretty much vertically inclined, and super rocky. We were literally climbing over boulders. It was crazy.

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The view was pretty though. It sure was hot! Over 90 degrees… And nearly fainting taught me a little something about needing to hydrate properly.

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Part of the trail was the same trail we hiked a month ago on our day trip out that way. Even though it was much hotter this weekend, we were able to do this more difficult, longer trail with less stops and feeling better. It’s good to feel more fit and to see the results of the gym! And it’s good to feel grateful and appreciate of my body– a body that couldn’t even consider hiking or any sort of exercise as a gift a year ago.

I hope everyone else had a great memorial day weekend! I was glad of some moments to reflect on those who have served or are currently serving, especially my family members.

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(here is a gratuitous picture of us from the weekend… Basically I’m trying to show off my hat!)