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Positano, Rome, Florence Food Guide{Enjoying dinner at Positano’s Da Vincenzo}

Ah Italy. There’s no place like it. Brian and I had such a wonderful time on our honeymoon (you can view our little home video here) that I can’t even begin to describe it (in fact I even wrote the rest of this post first, hoping that I would know what to say when I came back to the top, and I still don’t). So for lack of more eloquent writing on my part, I’ll just say that for a girl very much in love and happy to be newly married, who was also feeling equally hungry and deprived from dieting for a wedding, Italy, the land of romance and carbs was truly the perfect setting. And since it’d be incredibly selfish of me not to share our restaurant recommendations, here they are split between Positano, Rome and Florence. 

Positano Food Guide | fortune goodies{Truffle pasta at Al Palazzo}

Capricci 
Located right near the beach, Capricci is your best bet for takeout, or take-away as they like to call it. Their margherita pizza is delicious and a steal at 6 euros. Their sandwich options are equally fantastic and there are so many to choose from that you’re sure to find something that speaks to you. For to-go orders, order upstairs where you can also sign onto their free wi-fi for your instagramming needs. Special Note: Do not dine in. While take-away is both affordable and delicious, the sit-down meal isn’t worth it. We made the mistake of eating there one night and wish we’d tried one of the other beachfront restaurants instead. 

Da Vincenzo
This was the best meal we had in Positano, and that’s saying something, because it was an impressively tight race. From where we were staying, it was quite the trek up many steep steps, but it was worth it. It has this great modern-traditional family-run vibe. We started with the mussels and caprese salad. Both were perfect. Followed by a delicious onion and beef ragu pasta for me and a great garlicky tomato spaghetti dish for Brian. I have no complaints, only praise. 

Al Palazzo
The most romantic ambiance award goes to Al Palazzo. String lights and a canopy of greenery cover the outdoor restaurant. Highlights were the octopus salad appetizer and pasta in cream sauce with huge shavings of truffle. So great and wonderfully smelly.

Case e Bottega
Only open for breakfast and lunch, this place is a must visit. My only regret is that we didn’t go a second or third time. When you’re looking for a break from pizza and pasta, this is the place to go. You’ll marvel at the freshness and beauty of each of their juices, salads and sandwiches. I loved my meal so much that I even recreated the salad I had. You can read all about it here.  

Dessert
What about dessert you ask? We had gelato every day and night and you really can’t go wrong anywhere you go. But if you must know, Buca di Bacco offers the biggest selection of flavors, and the lemon sorbetto at the outdoor cafe at Covo Dei Saraceni (the hotel where we stayed – you can’t beat the location and I highly recommend it) is a must. If you’re looking for dessert that isn’t frozen, the 1-euro mini cannolis at Collina Bakery are the best cannolis I’ve ever had. 

Skip Ristorante Covo Dei Sareceni – It was both the most expensive and least enjoyable meal we had. It’s very possible we just ordered the wrong things, but neither one of us liked our entrees and I barely touched mine. 

Rome Food Guide{Sandwich and salad at Pane e Vino}

We were in Rome for less than 24 hours, so my restaurant recommendations are limited. In fact, I only have one to share: Pane e Vino right near the Colosseum. Since you’ll be in that area anyway, make sure you stop by for a sandwich and salad or two. The unassuming hole-in-the-wall restaurant is run with such love and care, and the ingredients were at the height of freshness. There’s a nice local beer and wine selection too. More than likely, Fabio, the friendly owner will be there to greet you and talk you through your options. Tell him we say hi and look for our names signed on the big wall of signatures. 

We were in dire need of a laundromat that night, so we actually had McDonald’s for our other meal. When in Rome, am I right? To be fair, I do think McDonald’s can be quite the cultural experience in foreign countries. I always make a point of visiting one when I travel because it’s always so interesting to see what special menu items they have. There were quite a few to choose from in Italy, but that night, we went with the caprese sandwich (burger with mozzarella, tomato and basil – really good) and the traditional Big Mac. Later that night, we stopped in a McCafe for some dessert (their McCafes put our sorry American ones to shame), and um, believe it or not, we had the best gelato of the whole trip at a McDonald’s establishment. Since I’m very confident in my food self-esteem, I have no problem owning up to this fact. Don’t knock it till you try it, people. 

Florence Food Guide{Pizza at Fuoco Matto}

In the matchup of Positano vs. Florence, it’s impossible to pick a winner. Positano has an almost out-of-this-world natural beauty, whereas Florence is steeped in rich romantic Renaissance history. Both food decks are similarly stacked as well. We enjoyed far too many great meals to share them all, but the standouts were:

Panini Toscani
You can’t not go to Panini Toscani for a sandwich. It wouldn’t be right. Not only is it less than 30 steps from the Duomo, but the food and experience are out of control. At 5 euros a sandwich, you’d expect them to rush tourists in and out as quickly as possible, but no, not for them. The owners and staff there care so much about their customers and product, that each person that squeezes through their small doorway is required to taste each of the three cheese and meat options before they can pick their combination. Not only do you get a taste, but you also get stories behind each ingredient. I was fascinated by the whole thing. I’d pay 5 euros just for the tasting, but you do get a big sandwich, on the best focaccia bread, out of it too. Brian pointed out how incredibly inefficient it was for them to go through the trouble of conducting these tastings, especially with a long line out the door, but these guys just really love what they do. I don’t know how they do it, but they’re doing something right. Honorable mention: Il Bufalo Trippone – another great panini establishment.

Fuoco Matto
Less than a year old, Fuoco Matto has enjoyed a meteoric rise to the top of Florence’s food scene, and we can see why. A self-described pizza and grill eatery, the restaurant was full of cool tourists and cool locals alike. Based on the very trendy ambience and the very low prices on the menu (10 euros for a plate of pasta), we were convinced the plates were going to be smaller tapas-sized servings. Under that assumption, we ordered several dishes, only to discover that they were actually full-sized servings. We were pleasantly surprised and uncomfortably full. Be sure to call ahead and make a reservation if you’re planning a visit. 

Tijuana
From the name, you can probably guess that this is a mexican-dining establishment. My friend Jillian recommended it to us when I told her we could use a break from all the Italian food. Normally, I wouldn’t consider a mexican restaurant so far from the home country, but I was craving chips and queso, so we gave it a shot. You guys, it was one of the best mexican meals I’ve ever had. Definitely worth going to if you could use a similar break from pasta. Order one of their frozen drinks if you’re ever there. I enjoyed the virgin pina colada of my dreams. 

That’ll do it from me. I hope you found this helpful, because I certainly enjoyed reliving each meal. 

And because I love it so much, here’s one more shameless plug for you to watch our honeymoon home video if you haven’t already (lots of food shots in there). And even if you have, there’s no shame in watching it again. I’ve rewatched it many times myself, and each time, I think about how much I could really use some beach time right now. Well, as it so happens, Brian and I head to Naples (Florida, not Italy) tonight for a fun weekend with friends. I love it when things work out so perfectly like that. 

Wishing you a great weekend yourself. Ciao!

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Lauriol Plaza | DC's Best Mexican Food

Hello, hello. I hope your week is off to a great start, I know mine is because I’m still digesting last night’s great dinner at Lauriol Plaza, one of my very favorite DC restaurants, the subject of today’s post, and the latest addition to my District of Calories restaurant recommendations.

As Brian gets ready to move to Atlanta (yep, Atlanta will eventually be our new home, but Brian is getting a head start), we’re making a point of dining at our favorite DC restaurants with our favorite DC people and Lauriol was at the very top of the list.

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New York RestaurantsWhen at its best, New York City is just about the greatest place to be, on that we can all agree. It can also very easily be hell on earth (think the Penn Station area), but let’s not hold that against it. People love the city for different reasons, for some it’s the arts and culture, others revere the shopping, but for me, it’s always been about the food. One of my very favorite things in this whole wide world is sitting down to a great meal with even greater friends, and New York offered a lot of that this past week. When I remembered, I snapped a few pictures and now have a few more New York restaurant recommendations to share on top of the ones from last year (found here). I take my food guides very seriously, so should you ever be in New York, do check some of these places out. I back them wholeheartedly. 

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Back from our last trip of the season (we were in Sarasota celebrating Brian’s cousin Emma’s bat mitzvah. I have no words for how amazing it was.), and I’m finally ready to share that Seattle-Victoria-Vancouver vacation home video that I’d been promising. 

We had the time of our lives and hope our home movie inspires you to check out each of the three cities yourself. Here’s a quick run-through of what we did, what we ate, and how we went from city to city.

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Seattle Food GuideBrian and I ate so well on our trip (deliciously, not healthily) that we had to push back our engagement-photo session originally scheduled for this weekend by a week to try and reverse some of the damage. Desperate times, desperate measures. The face chub is likely irreparable, but it’s worth a shot. 

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t stop to snap a few pictures along the way, so please follow along as I take a look back at some of the meal and travel highlights in our first stop of Seattle. There’s more to come in a little home video that I’m working on, but these pictures and suggestions should tide us over for now. Let’s go!

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Mussels in Brussels - Food Guide

Yep. Another European food guide. I promise this one on Brussels will be quick and the last (if you haven’t already, check out my Berlin and Prague guides too). 

I’d been to Brussels once before and really didn’t like it. This time, I left with a much better impression of the place and I owe it all to the improved dining choices. Since not everyone will get a second chance at visiting, follow my few recommendations and you’re sure to have a great time. 

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