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27 January 2010
WanderFood Wednesday: a few of my favorite things, part three
handmade with love

first dinner, with fresh veggies from the garden
our first Le Marche dinner, with fresh veggies from the garden
 

This is the third installment in a four-part series of my favorite Italian food porn from our recent trip. The first two parts are linked below.

Part three: handmade with love
We did a lot of self-catering during our time in Le Marche. This was easy to do, given the well-appointed in-room kitchens at La Tavola Marche, not to mention the abundance of fresh produce in the garden out back. We also managed to pick up some fun local ingredients at nearby festivals and markets. And we took a half-day cooking class with Chef Jason, which was truly a wonderful way to learn how to prepare simple, delicious cucina povera.

Here are some of the dishes we learned to make in our cooking class:

pumpkin ravioli
pumpkin ravioli

sardine & sage antipasto
sardine & sage antipasto

grilled polenta, a big slice of heaven
grilled polenta, a big slice of heaven

lasagna made from scratch
lasagna made from scratch
(another guest actually made this, but it was too beautiful NOT to photograph!)


One of the best things about cooking in Italy is the freshness of local ingredients. Not sure how well it comes through in these photographs, but the handmade pasta is actually an orange-y color because the eggs are bursting with Omega-3s and come from happy chickens. The pale sad yellow yolks sold in grocery stores around here just can't compare.


now *that's* what I call a happy ending!
now *that's* what I call a happy ending!
quite possibly the best seafood risotto ever, and other local goodies


Coming up next week: Part four: small-town restaurants!

Hop on over to Wanderlust & Lipstick's WanderFood Wednesday for more mouth-watering pics.


RELATED LINKS:
* A few of my favorite things, part one: big-city restaurants
* A few of my favorite things, part two: festival snacky-treats
* browse all Le Marche pics
* cooking class blog post: These guys can even make fish guts fun!
* browse all market photos


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Posted by sonia at 12:00 AM | Link | 0 comments


22 January 2010
Photo Friday: the real Singapore, hold the caning

burning incense on Temple Street
burning incense on Temple Street


Singapore was the first stop on our 2008 monthlong jaunt through Southeast Asia. It's a fascinating place, an amalgam of cultures and customs that sprawls across the densely-packed island city-state, in the shadow of gigantic gleaming skyscrapers that house corporate headquarters of multinational outfits. We found wandering through Singapore's ethnic neighborhoods to be a great antidote to its no-gum-chewing, intimidatingly squeaky-clean reputation.

There's nowhere the melting pot is more obvious than in its houses of worship. On one street alone (the aptly-named Temple Street) there are mosques, Hindu temples, Buddhist temples, and Christian churches all within a block or two of each other. Here's a small sampling of some of our faves from throughout the city:


Ron Jeremy visits Sri Veeramakaliamman
Ron Jeremy visits Sri Veeramakaliamman

ornate gopuram of Sri Veeramakaliamman
ornate gopuram of Sri Veeramakaliamman

Buddha luck
Buddha luck

Kwan Im Tong Hood Che temple
Kwan Im Tong Hood Che temple

Masjid Sultan
Masjid Sultan


Don't forget to visit DeliciousBaby's Photo Friday for more fabulous travel pics!

RELATED LINKS:
* Singapore blog entries
* all Singapore pics
* DeliciousBaby's Photo Friday


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Posted by sonia at 12:00 AM | Link | 2 comments


20 January 2010
WanderFood Wednesday: a few of my favorite things, part two
festival snacky-treats

local pecorino aged in hay
local pecorino aged in hay


As promised, here's the second in a four-part series of my favorite Italian food porn from our recent trip.

Part two: open-air snacks at fabulous festivals
There's no doubt that festivals are *the* place to get the best treats, regardless of where you are in the world. We were fortunate to visit Italy during the fall, which is prime festival season. Two of our favorite fests were fairly close to our home base at La Tavola Marche: the San Sisto Mushroom Festival, and the Apecchio Truffle Festival. They afforded us not only a plethora of tasty snacks, but also a window into small-town life.

get down, get funghi
get down, get funghi

and don't forget the salumi!
and don't forget the salumi!

polenta with ragu and vino della casa
fries, polenta with ragu, and vino della casa

tartufi!
tartufi!

piadine con tartufi
piadine con salsa di tartufi


Missed part one last week?
Coming up next week: Part three: handmade with love!

Hop on over to Wanderlust & Lipstick's WanderFood Wednesday for more mouth-watering pics.


RELATED LINKS:
* A few of my favorite things, part one: big-city restaurants
* San Sisto mushroom festival: story | pics
* Apecchio truffle festival: story | pics
* browse all Le Marche pics
* other blog entries in the "festival" category


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Posted by sonia at 12:00 AM | Link | 2 comments


15 January 2010
Photo Friday: dem bones, dem bones
spelunking in ATM cave

dem bones, dem bones, deep inside the cave
dem bones, dem bones, deep inside the cave

Sometimes my best adventures have the fewest photos, because I'm so busy *doing* that I forget to play travel photog. This was definitely the case during a daylong trip to Actun Tunichil Muknal cave, outside San Ignacio, Belize. (At the tail end of my 10-week Central American junket in 2007.) The tour consisted of a hike through the jungle, a swim upriver to the mouth of the cave, and then spelunking -- I love that word! -- through the cave itself. The highlight of the cave tour is the pottery and human remains found deep inside, evidence of Mayan spiritual ceremonies from days of yore. Creepy goodness!

entrance to ATM cave
entrance to ATM cave

Mayan pottery inside the cave
Mayan pottery inside the cave

calcite-encrusted skeleton of The Crystal Maiden
calcite-encrusted skeleton of The Crystal Maiden

Don't forget to visit DeliciousBaby's Photo Friday for more fabulous travel pics!


RELATED LINKS:
* original ATM blog post: Spelunk, Part 2!
* all Belize stories
* all Belize pics
* DeliciousBaby's Photo Friday


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Posted by sonia at 12:00 AM | Link | 0 comments
13 January 2010
WanderFood Wednesday: a few of my favorite things, part one
big-city restaurants

pappa al pomodoro, Florence 
pappa al pomodoro, Florence

As a contribution to WanderFood Wednesday, and in preparation for an upcoming exhibit of "food porn" photos, I'm creating a four-part series of my favorite foodie pics from our recent trip to Italy.


Part one: iconic meals in big-city restaurants
We noshed at many wonderful ristoranti, osterie, enoteche, and assorted charming spots during our monthlong gastronomic tour through Italy. Finding affordable food in the major cities was sometimes a challenge, but we ate quite well in both Florence and Venice, as well as nearby cities Murano and Treviso.

patate arroste, Dante, Florence 
patate arroste, Dante, Florence

lardo! il Santino, Florence 
lardo! il Santino, Florence

spaghetti al nero di seppia, Trattoria alla Madonna, Venice 
spaghetti al nero di seppia, Trattoria alla Madonna, Venice

penne al salmone, Trattoria Busa alla Torre, Murano 
penne al salmone, Trattoria Busa alla Torre, Murano

spritz and penne rosate, Piola, Treviso 
spritz and penne rosate, Piola, Treviso

Most of these dishes came from some of our favorite restaurants, which are highly recommended if you find yourself in any of these cities (or suburbs).


RECOMMENDED:
Ristorante Trattoria Dante
Piazza Nazario Sauro, 12/R
50124 Firenze
+39 055.219219

il Santino Gastronomia
Via di Santo Spirito, 60-red
50125 Firenze
+39 055.2302820

Trattoria alla Madonna
Calle della Madonna San Polo 594
30124 Venezia (VE)
+39 041.5223824

Trattoria Busa alla Torre da Lele
Campo San Stefano No 3
Murano (VE)
+39 041.739662

Piola
Via Carlo Alberto, 11/a
31100 Treviso (VE)
+39 0422.540287


Coming up next week: Part two: festival snax!

Hop on over to Wanderlust & Lipstick's WanderFood Wednesday for more mouth-watering pics.


RELATED LINKS:
* browse all Florence pics
* browse all Venice pics
* browse all Murano pics
* browse all Treviso pics

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Posted by sonia at 12:00 AM | Link | 3 comments
11 January 2010
Screw the resolutions, let's have more FUN in 2010!

Does anyone else feel completely inundated with New Year's Resolution lists and self-improvement advice? (Oh good, I thought it was just me.) I'm not a fan of resolutions, and I actually tend to do my year-in-review work around my birthday. But this brilliant little 5-minute video by @boxofcrayons really grabbed my attention. It's clearly a few years old, but was recently re-surfaced by the very wise Chris Brogan, and I felt compelled to pass it along. Take a peek:



My favorite principle is number 6... Use Your Wisdom: Start getting rid of the crap.

"Knowledge is a process of piling up facts;
wisdom lies in their simplification."
-- Rev Dr Martin Luther King, civil rights leader

Which one spoke to you the loudest?


RELATED LINKS:
* Eight Principles
* Chris Brogan's blog


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Posted by sonia at 12:00 AM | Link | 1 comment
08 January 2010
Photo Friday: Tuscan daytrip
nestling into Anghiari

"Uno dei borghi piĆ¹ belli d'Italia"
"Uno dei borghi più belli d'Italia"

There's a good reason Anghiari has been labeled "one of the most beautiful villages in Italy." This picturesque hilltown, another convenient daytrip from La Tavola Marche, is absolutely stunning from all angles.

I know you're not supposed to use the term "nestled" in travel writing, but this truly is the best way to describe the town. Anghiari is nestled into the Tuscan hillside like an adorable baby animal you just want to slip in your pocket and take home with you. (Sorry, Matador!) See for yourself...

Palazzo Pretorio
Palazzo Pretorio

picturesque Italian street #3,523,986
picturesque Italian street #3,523,986

Tuscan olive goodness
Tuscan olive goodness

my kingdom for a tripod!
my kingdom for a tripod!

We also found an amazing vineria called Per Bacco, just off one of the main squares. Stunning local dishes, amazing wine list, and friendly service that was superlative even by Italian standards. (And that's saying something!) We finished off the meal with cantucci dipped in vinsanto that was simply to die for. If you're in the neighborhood, you must check this place out!

bringoli al sugo finto at Per Bacco
bringoli al sugo finto at Per Bacco

cantucci e vinsanto
cantucci e vinsanto

Don't forget to visit DeliciousBaby's Photo Friday for more fabulous travel pics!


RECOMMENDED:
Vineria PerBacco
Galleria girolamo magi
52031 - Anghiari (AR)
+39 0575 788893

RELATED LINKS:
* browse all Anghiari pics
* Matador's 5 MORE Words We Never Want to See in Travel Writing
Again
* DeliciousBaby's Photo Friday

 

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Posted by sonia at 12:00 AM | Link | 0 comments