In 2011, my wife and I traveled across the country to LA for my family's annual Thanksgiving get together. There are my parents, two sisters, and their husbands, with two nephews, twin nieces, and the baby niece all under 6 years old. We spent four days with them. Fun! and tiring… Kudos to my sisters who raise their kids all year.
For the rest of our trip, my wife and I got to enjoy a slower pace. There’s nothing more relaxing than a late breakfast catching up with old friends… and no kids. We definitely will cherish these moments before we start our own family.
Unfortunately for my prodigious girth, my two favorite things to try in the world are ice cream and chocolate. Enjoy the list, but I compiled it for ME!!
Being a university town, Bologna has a lot of great (affordable) cafes. It's also the gastronomic capital of Italy, so the odds are in your favor that you'll eat well. At Caffe Zamboni, you can indulge in a rich European-style hot chocolate or partake in the aperitivi hour. This is a great way to save money and enjoy an Italian evening tradition of drinks and unlimited tapas-style dishes. Without breaking the bank, you'll come away more than satisfied.
Walking into the Mercat de la Boqueria is similar to walking into an artist's color palette. Full of local grown fruits, vegetables, chocolates, and signature take-away dishes, this was hands down the most vibrant market I have ever been to! These fresh fruit smoothies are one of the first things your eye catches when walking into the market. These are not your typical smoothies, as you will find blends of exotic fruits. Grab one on your way out for just 1 euro... It is certainly a tourist attraction but is without a doubt, worth working your way through the crowds of La Rambla and getting a few tastes. Whether a tourist or a local, it is a place where all come to get the freshest produce, snack, or quick treat.
I was in Moab Utah, hiking Arches National Park in July. The desert landscape was foreign to me; the heat was not. After a particularly grueling 4 hour hike, I recall letting my mind wander to desserts as I trudged along through the sand and rock. A radio advertisement featuring the local town's Chevron gas station and their homemade pies sparked the thought, which then became my motivation to finish this hike in a timely fashion. Back in the car and returning towards town, I made it a point to find this gas station and see how true their radio claim would be. Low and behold, there it was: my favorite homemade pie of all pies - the chocolate cream. My eyes widen with delight and I bought the small sampler pie for $3.99. It was delicious. It was the perfect treat to end a long, scorching day in the desert. If I ever visit Moab again, I will certainly seek out this homemade southern...
One reads about meals fit for kings, but during a stay at Kitchen-at-Camont I had a hand in preparing one. We shared the results of our labor among students, teacher, visitor and friend. We got out the good silver and set the table in the glow of the fireplace.
We started with oysters. Not just any oysters, but Vert de Marennes from north of Bordeaux. They were a taste of the sea, gloriously briny and fresh and bright. We made a mignonnette sauce — finely minced shallots and red wine vinegar.
Next we passed the terrine de foie gras. We bought two ducks at the market, butchered them and cooked the livers mi cuit (slowly at a low temperature) in terrines, then covered them with duck fat and let rest a few days. Melting, smooth, creamy goodness. I happily took seconds .
Our main course was civet de canard, which we’d prepared a day or so before. We’d boiled and flamed a red wine, then...
Near the Silliman University on Silliman Avenue, this quaint coffee shop with its variety of customers has a delectable French toast coated with chocolate syrup and whipped cream with banana and mango toppings. It made for a good brunch meal, portioned just enough for me with 4 pieces of French toast. For 80 pesos, around less than 3 US dollars, it worth it.
Ravenna, Italy, is perhaps best known for the beautiful mosaics that decorate the town, but an unexpected find my husband and I made in Ravenna was delicious Italian custard. We found the best selection of custards at the mind-blowing Forno Pasticceria San Rocco bakery (http://www.fornosanrocco.it/). From fresh fruit-topped strawberry custards to silky smooth, rich chocolate ones, the pasticceria's custards were a feast for both the eyes and the mouth.
If you find yourself with a sweet tooth in Ravenna, a stop at the Forno Pasticceria San Rocco is a must!
True to its name, the Elvis ice cream cake at Parm (a modern take on a red-sauce Italian joint) includes raspberry ice cream, banana ice cream, and peanut butter ice cream. Throw in layers of chocolate, frosting, and a slice of bacon, and the King would be proud. So would Carvel.
On a trip to Italy last year, my husband and I indulged in our fair share of gelato, but in the beautiful town of Ravenna, we discovered an equally-delicious alternative: Italian custard. The best custard we came across was at Ravenna's Forno Pasticceria San Rocco bakery (http://www.fornosanrocco.it/).
The pasticceria's Italian custards were as much a feast for the eyes as for the taste buds, with such bright colors and tempting flavor combinations that it was hard to choose which one to try. As a lover of chocolate and mint, I found that option too tempting to pass up and I wasn't disappointed - it was as light, rich, and delicious as it looked.
When in Ravenna, a trip to the Forno Pasticceria San Rocco is a must if you find yourself craving something sweet - a treat for all your senses!
Everything at Ottolenghi is tiny and tasty with typical English charm. Apparently it's the home of "legendary flourless chocolate tea-cakes" as well as a variety of other little snacks. It's primarily take-away but there is one small table at the back that seats a maximum of 10. It's pricy but so cute.
One of the absolute joys of the amazing Barcelona is the Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, usually referred to as La Boqueria (http://www.boqueria.info/index.php). The market is a veritable feast for the senses, a crowded, bustling place with vendors selling every type of food imaginable: fruit and vegetables, cured and fresh meats, breads and cheeses, seafood, fruit juices. One of the best things you'll find at La Boqueria, though, is a huge array of sweets like this delicious chocolate and peanut butter fudge.
Conveniently located just off the famed La Rambla in downtown Barcelona, La Boqueria offers something for everyone, whether you're a foodie in search of the best local foods or a photographer looking for an interesting place to spend an afternoon taking photos.
Buy lunch or a snack from one of the many vendors, grab a seat in the food court, and watch as vendors and...
One of the things I looked forward to on my trip to Italy last year was visiting as many gelaterias as I could. And so every evening after dinner, and a few afternoons after lunch, my husband and I made our way to the local gelateria to taste what they had to offer.
We came across our favorite gelateria - Los Andes (located at 43 Via Monsignor Fortin) - in the beautiful college town of Padua. A South American couple own Los Andes, and they've developed some of Italy's most unique gelato flavors to pay homage to their beloved homeland. Two of the most delicious are Tierra del Fuego and Mar del Plata in honor of Chile, both flavors with touches of dulce de leche in interesting combination with other strong flavors. But don't worry if you're a gelato purist: Los Andes also offers chocolate, vanilla, and all the other standard flavors, so there's something for everyone.
In addition to its...
Few things are more synonymous with Italy than rich, creamy gelato, and nowhere did I find better gelato than at Los Andes Gelateria in Padua, located at 43 Via Monsignor Fortin. A husband and wife couple from South America own Los Andes, and they've developed some unique gelato flavors as a way to pay homage to their beloved homeland - Tierra del Fuego and Mar del Plata to honor Chile, among others. The owners often include the delicious dulce de leche flavor in their special South American-themed gelatos, but they also offer a wide array of standard flavors like chocolate and vanilla for gelato purists.
In addition to its smooth-as-silk gelatos, Los Andes also offers fresh fruit shakes for those looking for a more healthy alternative. The fruit shakes - 20 plus to choose from - include interesting fruits like kiwi, apple, ginger, and pineapple, which can make for some delicious...
After living in Far North Queensland for some of the summer months we decided to drive up into the Daintree Rainforest and get as close to Cape Tribulation as we could, and hopefully spot the endangered cassowary bird. After crossing the Daintree River we were taking Cape Tribulation Road toward the Cape when we spotted a sign that read, "Daintree Ice Cream Company." So, of course, we stopped. We pulled onto a small dirt road that made its way through rows and rows of fruit trees and emerged in front of a wooden stand with a freezer and a cash register. We ordered a cup of the sampler, which gave us a taste of four different ice creams made from fruits in season: mango, wattleseed (tasted like coffee), black sapote (tasted like chocolate pudding), and soursop (similar to lemon sorbet). They were so different from anything we had tasted before, and...
If you're in the northwest area of D.C., and looking for good food with fresh ingredients, or for some unhealthy beignets that are simply excellent, then check out Founding Farmers. I started out eating on the healthy side, with an egg white omelet and hash browns made from shredded leeks. Then I saw beignets, with caramel, chocolate, and raspberry sauces. I'm so weak.
One of the best things about Barcelona is its many delicious cafes, offering strong Spanish coffee and rich, flaky pastries. I've found the best cafes to be concentrated in the city's enchanting Gothic Quarter, or "Barri Gotic." As in a lot of other European cities, you can linger over a cup of coffee, chocolate croissant, and the morning paper for as long as you'd like without risk of being bothered to give up your table. When you're in Barcelona make sure to enjoy a leisurely breakfast followed by a stroll through the charming Gothic Quarter, where you'll find everything from entertaining street performers to fun little shops to the obvious highlight, beautiful Gothic architecture.
I was roaming the streets of Selcuk, Turkey, when I came across a pastry shop. My sweet tooth is infamous, so I stepped inside and decided to try a few of the many bite-sized treats that were on display behind a glass case. Since I speak very little Turkish, I would simply point at something that looked good and say "lutfen" (please). The baklava and chocolates were wonderful.
When I had eaten all I could hold, I pulled out my money to pay. The shop owner ignored my money and asked in broken English, "Where you from?" "United States," I answered. A big smile came over his face. "Obama!" he shouted. "America good!" This was in November of 2008, and Obama had just been elected president a week before. The shop owner was obviously a big fan.
"How much do I pay?" I asked. "For you, no pay," he replied. I offered to pay again, but he insisted. "No pay. When you go home, you tell all your...
You can't visit Granada without seeing the Alhambra and you can't leaveSpain without first having some churros con chocolate! This fried snack is delicious dipped in a whole cup of decadent chocolate--which is fine, because I'm pretty sure calories don't even count when you're traveling...
Boulder was my home for 17 years, and so it's tough for me to think of it as a tourist attraction. There are of course many wonderful things to see: the Flatirons, Chautauqua, and the Pearl Street Mall, which was just a run-down street when I was a kid. But there is, in the summer, a delightful attraction that the run-of-the-mill tourist may not know about unless someone tells them or shows them the way.
It's the Farmer's Market, and what a scene! A huge truck loaded with organic peaches had a line 40 people long at 7:00 in the morning. I stayed the weekend with my friend Deb. Her neighbor bought a crate of peaches, because, as she said, "I stood in line far too long to buy a little bag of them". They were juicy, fuzzy, and delectable.
The park just south of the Pearl Street Mall, on 13th and Canyon, features the Dushanbe Tea House that is a treat in and of itself, open year round. But...
We knew we couldn't leave Spain without first indulging in some churros con chocolate and we found that they make a perfect post-Alhambra snack. Here, everyone races for the first bites.
I took a train from Madrid to Toledo, Spain. I have several photos to share with you from the trip, and will do so soon; but for now, I want to introduce you to Maria and Lucia of Mamagula.
I was traversing the steep, narrow brick roads, heading toward Santo Domingo el Antiguo, when I saw this wonderful little shop and just had to stop, because I knew my wife would love something from there. I struck up a conversation with the forever-smiling Maria, the owner, and Lucia, a lovely young lady that works there. They were so kind (and extremely patient with me while I butchered the Spanish language), and graciously allowed me to capture a few photos.
There was a steady stream of customers walking through the door, and it was clear that these ladies had a great reputation in this town. They seemed to know everyone, and the greetings always included a kiss and a smile. From cheese to...
While my friend John Look went hunting for that elusive delicacy, rat soup, found in a small Mayan village near San Cristobal, I found the perfect edible rats right in town. At the only bakery on the Ecclesiastic Andador, 20 de Noviembre, you can find "Ratones". Dense chocolate cake akin to a brownie baked in oval molds, with almond ears, tiny cinnamon candy nostrils, and a toothpick for a tail, these rats are drowned in spicy cinnamon chocolate and squeek when you bite into them.
My son had his own room with a big-boy bed in the rental house on Cape Cod. On the wall was a painting of an ice cream shop called Sundae School. Our 4-year-old atheist didn't get the pun, but he thought the old-fashioned ice cream truck was cool. We soon discovered that this Sundae School was an actual place. We walked there in the dark, listening for the crickets we don't hear in California, beneath stars we don't see in the suburbs, imaginary friends safely strapped in the stroller. We arrive and find the truck, a player piano plunking "Blue Suede Shoes," pennants hung from the ceiling representing the schools of scoopers, paper hats for the kids, Shark Bite ice cream (black raspberry with white chocolate chunks) and a cherry—a real, fresh cherry on top.
Wandering through Venice, it seemed like every other store was a bakery with the most delicious-looking cakes, cookies, and pastries filling its windows. These pastries were particularly good - I don't remember what they were called, but they were essentially large chocolate cupcakes piled high with a light-as-air cream frosting and a dusting of chocolate. Absolutely fabulous!
There's nothing better than strolling along Venice's amazing canals or sitting on a bench taking in the dazzling Grand Canal while nibbling on a delicious Venetian treat.
This ice cream shop is located in the Old Town of San Jose del Cabo, right across the street from the church. In addition to ice cream, they have homemade popsicles made from fresh ingredients and served on a wooden dowel.
The flavors are tremendous (watermelon, mango, coconut, coconut cream, chocolate, chocolate cafe, etc.), and this photo only shows half the case! The perfect way to cap a dinner or an afternoon of wandering.
Alterra is a must for a quick coffee or lazy afternoon in Milwaukee. With locations throughout the city, including a beautiful lakefront view, it is impossible to not want to get comfortable in the rustic atmosphere and lose track of time.
Their coffee is amazing every time, with beautiful coffee art in every cup! Plus their pastries and sandwiches are addicting...I cant resist their chocolate croissants!
This is just about as exotic as some parts of Wisconsin get! But it is still the best custard around!
Kopps will be packed every night with their delicious burgers, onion rings and of course their grilled cheese (this is Wisconsin we are talking about)!
But the real reason to go to Kopp's is for the custard! The classic vanilla and chocolate are available every day, but its the flavors of the day that I can't resist! (Grasshopper Fudge: mint custard with chocolate truffle pieces...it makes my mouth water just thinking about it!)