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Featured Traveler: Katie Parla

World traveler and food expert Katie Parla is a one-woman Rome powerhouse. Want to know what to do in the famously beautiful, hectic, historic, delicious Italian capital? See what Katie’s doing, and do the same thing. Lucky for us, Katie has multiple channels for all of her expertise; her blog, ParlaFood.com, a book on walking in Rome, a new mobile app, as well as her latest venture into the Italian dining scene, The Rome Digest. How does she get it all done? Is there something in the carbonara?

You can follow Katie on Twitter, and get to know her better through her Highlights and Wanderlists here on AFAR.com, including Craft Beer in Rome.
Craft Beer
I am currently in my apartment in Rome tasting beers in preparation for a Lazio craft beer event I am co-hosting tonight for the newly founded The Rome Digest.

Though I would much prefer to be in a pub tasting beers in preparation for the event.

My next trip is tomorrow. I am going to Istanbul to do the final testing for the app “Katie Parla’s Istanbul.” If all goes well, it will be in the App Store by the end of the month!

Occupation(s): Travel writer, food and beverage educator, mobile app developer, author.

The obscure food words I retain are my most treasured travel souvenirs. The others—bottles of wine and liquor—don’t last very long.

Favorite hotel: The Four Seasons in NYC, the first really fancy hotel I ever stayed in and one which remains my benchmark for luxury.

Favorite restaurant: The impossible question with a constantly changing set of answers! Right now, The Sportsman in Kent (UK), Hedone in London, Mesob and Roscioli in Rome, Kantin in Istanbul.

If you’re in Rome around Easter, don’t miss coratella, a seasonal dish of local artichokes with heart, lungs and liver of spring lamb.

Preparation: guidebook, online research, or seat of your pants? I have written enough guidebooks to know they are mostly useless and certainly outdated by the time they hit the shelf. I mix light online research with a whole lot of winging it.

Getting out of the city center and visiting local pubs and markets is the best way/place to connect with locals.

What’s the one hometown place you miss most while traveling? The canal near my mom’s house, which is flanked by a soft , straight, long, and sparsely populated running path.

Where do you always take out-of-town friends? Roscioli for burrata and Rome’s best carbonara.

Favorite travel book: Eat, Pray, Love. Kidding! That book is terrible. My actual favorite is Naples ’44.

Best memory of a trip with kids—either from your own childhood or with your own kids: Definitely my high school trip to Italy when I was 16. Everything was new and stimulating. Our teacher got robbed twice. The whole experience was invigorating.

Most out-of-character travel experience? Something that you would never have done at home: In cities where solo women travelers get verbally harassed, I wear headphones. I hate that I have to do with it but it tempers the seething anger.

If I had a whole month to travel, I would go to France, Italy’s neighbor, but a place I rarely travel to.

If I had a whole year to travel, I would go to Eastern Anatolia, Iran, China, Southeast Asia, Japan, and Australia.

Favorite foreign word or phrase: li mortacci tua! (“I curse your best dead relatives”, in Roman dialect). Very useful.

Favorite foreign tradition: every feast for every holiday ever.

Travel has taught me to be patient.

Photo by Rick Poon