Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bool BBQ

Speaking of Tacos and their 2nd cousin of sorts, Brazilian Pastels...I encountered a dream of a fusion style food truck/van while recently visiting a great friend in the Venice Beach area of Los Angeles. It was first Friday and we perused the wondrous selection of different food selections along the Abbot Kinney strip after dark. Bool BBQ was the first place we tried and we kept coming back to it! Imagine a mix of all things you love about Brazilian Pastels and Korean BBQ and then you have it....it was incredibly tasty, very reasonably priced and satisfyingly tangy! I wish I they were a nationwide chain. So make a trip to L.A. on the first Friday of any month and don't forgot to stop by...you will be so glad you did! You can see their tacos pictured here and get the idea! Photo courtesy of the Bool BBQ website

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Yo Amo Los Tacos!

I just love the street food in Mexico City. The spa was closed so I wandered the streets to seek out my favorite street food stand near the artisan market close to Paseo de la Reforma. They serve the most amazing 6 pesos (50 cents ) chile relleno tacos and really the only chile relleno tacos I have ever seen. Amazing hand made corn tortillas, a little bit of rice, a queso=filled relleno pepper topped with a spicy red salsa...lunch for a $1 and always fresh! Once the stand is out of these healthy and hearty masterpieces, no more are made so I always try to get there before noon. I then strolled by Esmerelda church and witnessed the beautiful pre-Christmas service with a flashing Christmas tree next to the preacher. I bought a little statue of San Judas de Tadeo which is supposed to bring me a better work life and more money; who doesn't need or want that?
Tonight I will be venturing out to the rotisserie chicken taco stand for a $1.50 meal before my early bedtime. On the way back to the hotel I stopped by the Christmas fesitval in Alameda Park and enjoy a Tlacoyo...which is a blue corn tortilla topped with your choice of beans, cheese, onions, cilantro, nopalitos ( cactus ) and zucchini flowers....what a traditional treat!...Photos of these places coming soon once I return! Hasta la vista.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Taverna Capranica Roma

Strolling through the streets of Rome this past weekend. I took an alternate route than usual and skipped walking by the beautiful Pantheon...instead I walked along a street in front of it and was happy to stumble upon:
Although the service was slower than we all desired ( I was with most of the flight crew and with an early pickup in the morning, we all wanted to get back to the hotel fairly early ...), the food more than made up for the wait. Most of us ordered pizza and were delighted to be served incredible oval shaped concoctions that were easily 12" long and 6" wide! Yet we all managed to eat one a piece! The wine selection is extensive and there is no 'house wine' since they are in fact an enoteca. A tad pricier but your head won't hurt in the morning. Off the beaten path, non-touristy and right up my alley! At least the new alley I was walking on that evening.
The perfect evening ended with gelato at Giolitti, but more on that place later!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Cornetto Perfetto!

Even though I grew up eating various croissants from the ones in the bakery I worked in: Boulangerie ( the first official French bakery in Seattle ), to real French croissants in Paris ( where I lived in 1985 )....I have to say that I absolutely adore the delicate orangeflower icing and lightly buttery flavor of the semi-flaky and semi-chewy Italian 'Cornetto Simplice'. There is nothing better than to start a day with one of those and the most amazing cappuccino, that can basically be found anywhere in Rome. So there I said it, I might like Italian style croissants better than French ones; at least for now!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

La Vineria and Zena- Milano

La Vineria is a quaint wine and olive oil shop offering 1 euro glasses and 3 euro bottles of wine that can be consumed while using the wine barrels as tables. A place where comingling with the locals is expected and welcomed.
I met 3 local milanese who 'adopted' me for the evening and dragged me ( oh poor me ) to a wonderful dinner of exquisite ravioli and coniglio ( rabbit ) with a large consumption of vino rosso at Zena also a place I would highly recommend.

Did I forget to mention that I had already had a yummy ravioli dinner Trattoria alla Vecchia Maniera (via Alzaia Naviglio Grande, 62) and was heading back to the hotel for the night when I stumbled into this fine establishment and new friends.

This small wine boutique and bar is quintessential of the Naviglio area: convivial, local and typically Italian, a locale where many unique wine bars and restaurants fill the area. Most tourists and even people I travel with who have been to Milan countless times, don't make it to this area.
This is, what I consider to be, one of the best neighborhoods of Milan.

There are numerous pasty shops and small artsy boutiques that you pass as you walk to this area or you can ride a tram that dates from 1928 right to the canals. Called the Venice of Milan, Naviglio Grande never ceases to please.

via Casale 4 Milano

Ripa di Porta Ticinese, 37 Milano

Wordstyle Custom Names and Letters

Wordstyle on Etsy by Duane Georges
I am so proud of my husband and his new shop on ETSY...you can custom order any 3 dimensional word, name or letter and have it handmade by him in practically any font and color. This is an incredible gift idea for the holidays for a one of a kind item for you and your home, family or friends ( or their babies! and children ). He will take your request and create a unique work of art for you. Letters start at around $10 each! Just look at the one he made for me, I love it!
also visit his work site for signage, lighting and sculpture at

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Spice of Life Blog

My good college friend who now lives in Stuttgart, Germany, has also started a fabulous travel blog called Spice of Life.
Please check it out and check him out too...he is an incredibly intelligent and stylish individual with flawless taste in all he does.
His recommendations are better than any boutique travel book out there.

For more fabulous haunts, I'll be traveling to Milan this weekend and I'll be back with some more surprising delights from a city that people often pass over...I love the 'happy hour' scene in Milan and the shopping cannot be beat. The canal area ( zona naviglia ) although the place to hang out in the warmer months, has a unique charm in the colder months and many great restaurants to indulge in. Check back next week and find out what I discovered.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Il Baffetto

This pizzeria named after a moustache near Piazza Navona in Rome will definitely serve you a delicious pizza that will leave its remains on your upper lip! You will be licking your chops and hoping for more. This is a real dive and a touristy spot but nonetheless the pizza is flawless, thin crusted and induced with flavor that will satisfy the pickiest pizza connaisseur. I definitely suggest the 'Il Baffetto' pizza which basically has everything on it. Get there by 630pm so as to not wait in line. This is a great place alone or with friends for a quick bite and they are not shy to get the tables turned over to make a buck. Still worth a try through all the fuss.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

La Piogga a Roma ( Rain in Rome )

I love the rain and got caught in it or up in it while walking the cobblestoned streets of Rome this past weekend. In between two cappuccinos and a great glass of Barbera d'Asti, I got to splash through the puddles, slip on the shiny pavement, savoring the crisp air and feeling of autumn that is my favorite season in Europe. The fall is much past the tourist traps and ripe with visions of average daily life. This is the time that you witness what it is to be truly European, as families huddle in warm ristorantes consuming their favorite meals, artisans work diligantly in their shops creating pre holiday wares, stylish couples stroll the streets together under umbrellas, cafe windows steam up with customers sipping espresso and indulging in prosecco, the buildings reflect their mood onto the puddles positioned precariously close the narrow sidewalk you are manoeuvring as you make your way to meet a friend or have a meal. The rain gives me a feeling of sweet melancholy bordering on the mood of hibernating with a good book or favorite beverage.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Caffeine CURE

So we are finally back from our "vacation" in the South of France....although there were many good moments, our visit was overshadowed by our daughters 4 day stay in a Hospital in Bagnols sur Ceze. Instead of focusing on the negative you have to admire this photo of the coffee service offered to us in the ER ( Urgences ) at the Centre Hospitalier Louis Pasteur. After my daughter had an IV in her vein one of the nurses ( or the waiter? ) asked me "Vous voulez du cafe?". I had to nervously laugh at this incredible adherence to typical French tradition of graciousness. No matter where you go in France, you are always offered something...and when you are invited to someone's home for dinner or a party, bringing a gift is expected. The town of Bagnols sur Ceze is a great small town with lots of pedestrian streets and I got to look down upon the town and the moon shining above it while I lived in the hospital with my daughter as the "accompagnant". Although my worries were sometimes personally overwhelming and my daughters pain was too real for words, I had to smirk when I opened my meal to find a fabulous warm quiche lorraine, salade frisee, baguette, camembert and red wine!!! as I dined next to my daughter who was imbedded with tubes and catheters. Not your average hospital fare but not your average relaxing vacation either. And as I sit here still jetlagged from the experience, I'll make myself another cup of coffee and CURE myself of fatigue once again.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Vacances en Provence

I'm off to Provence in a few days for my first vacation in years and a 3 day celebration for my upcoming birthday. Many of my family and friends will be joining me from all over the globe. Friday is Moroccan night, Saturday is a Tahitian Fenua and Sunday is a Country Western BBQ....We'll be dancing and eating or way through the eventful weekend. I lived in Tahiti for a while and part of me is still there. At the end of this post are some recipes of some of the authentic dishes we will be having at the Saturday Party. My friend we are staying with in Provence has ordered the entire pig to roast now let's get ready for a toast! Enjoy the info and if you can make it to French Polynesia....do it! By the way I won't be posting to my blog until I return the first part of October. See you then. Click on the links for more info about what we'll be eating for my birthday party.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bella Rustica Market Giveaway

Check out the giveaway on http://bellarustica.blogspot.com/ Kim is giving away a beautiful, handmade burlap pillow with a map of Italy on it. Gorgeous!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

St Germain Liqueur

One of my new favorite things...St Germain liqueur. I am buying a bottle on my next trip to Paris. I tasted this lovely elderflower liqueur mixed with Champagne and lemon juice at the Viceroy Hotel Bar in Palm Springs this past weekend. Love at first sip! Kind of like a Margarita but not as sour and a touch of flowery flavor. Hard to describe, just give me another round!
By the way, I highly recommend a drink at the swanky bar of the Viceroy in Palm Springs. Diego, the GM of the hotel, runs a beautiful place.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Pasticceria La Cova a Milano!!!

One of my favorite things about Milan is the way they do "happy hour" and the absolute best place to get it is at Pasticceria La Cova on Via Monte Napoleone.

The magnificent quality, ambiance and incredible selection of complimentary appetizers more than make up for the haughtiness in the air; attitudes stem from the Gucci and Prada clad clientele in this famous bar/cafe/pastry shop and the anti-photo policy of the management.

I keep going back again and again for the fresh 'foccacia', 'pizzette', mozzarella balls, chunks of 'salumi' and monster size 'capri' among many other delectables to enjoy with the best 'Spritz' in Milano. Io amo Italia!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I won!

I am now the proud winner of a beautiful sign by Mammabellarte! She creates these wonderful, whimsical custom signs that I wish I could hang in my future Tuscan Villa. I love the artful simplicity. Visit her blog for more on her creations.

Thanks Rita!!!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Bistro Incroyablement Bon!

Wow, another great Paris layover with some excellent bistro fare. Le Baribal near Metro Pasteur was a hit with all four of us. I got the suggestion from another traveling francophile recently who raved about the Escalope de Veau au Roquefort. She was more than right. The rich and slight crustly Roquefort cream sauce smothered the succulent veal escalope accompanied by thin green beans and pommes de terre. All washed down with red table wine, we were all soaking up the extra sauce with the crusty french baguette slices. I was so glad to be able to share this wonderful meal with 3 others since I'll start to fly to Rome again starting next month...Cabonara here I come. Stay tuned!
Je vous embrasse.

Monday, August 24, 2009


I'm dreaming of Roma. The romantic Rome of winding cobblestone streets, bright stucco walls, thin crust pizza with burnt edges bursting with flavor, incredible uomini decked out in three piece suits even when it's 90 degrees, pasta cabonara that tastes like an entire wedge of parmesan melted inside of it, inexpensive fine red wine & my favorite aperitif...un 'Spritz' ( Campari, Prosecco and soda with an orange twist! )
mamma mia vorrei andarci stasera!!!!

To express the romantic essence of Rome, I am sharing my collection of Marian art around Rome. When strolling the streets you find them mostly on the corner of buildings.. Many depict the image of Mary by herself, others of her with baby Jesus.

A little history on Marian art:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


J'adore le champagne! I love champagne...
And I'm a stickler for making sure when I ask for champagne, I am not being served sparkling wine. There is a difference. I also love all the different type of glasses this fabulous beverage is served in...that aside.
As you know, champagne is only made in France and since I'll be spending my birthday in France this year, I've already asked my friends to order me a case from a local producer to be chilled and ready for consumption upon my arrival. I can't wait! Fresh baguettes, beurre au fleur de sel, jambon de bayonne
( more on all that later! ). This article is a fun description of what I am talking about:
There are many sparkling wines produced worldwide, yet most legal structures reserve the term champagne exclusively for sparkling wines from the Champagne region, made in accordance with Comité Interprofessionel du Vin de Champagne regulations. In the European Union and many other countries, the name champagne is legally protected by the Treaty of Madrid (1891) designating only the sparkling wine produced in the eponymous region and adhering to the standards defined for it as an Appellation d'origine contrôlée; the right was reaffirmed in the Treaty of Versailles after World War I. This legal protection has been accepted by numerous other countries worldwide.
Assez!!! Let's toast to health, love and wealth !

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

...and the winner of the Italian photo giveaway is.....Patsy DesChenes of Decorus Vita!!!!
Visit her blog at http://thedecoratedlife.blogspot.com/


Thanks for participating. You can see a photo of my beautiful daughter choosing the winner this morning.

This has been a week of training on airplanes and not flying on them. I'm on call this upcoming weekend and the sky's the limit. I could go anywhere. Stay tuned for details on my next adventure!


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Paris news and Photo giveaway!

Back from Paris again and a wonderful meal at one of my favorite restaurants in the Bastille area, Chez Paul, on rue de Charonne.
We started some 'coupes de champagne' and a delightful 'salade frisee aux lardons avec un oeuf poche' and some 'escargots', followed by some amazing 'steak au poivre et gratin dauphinois' all washed down with, of course, 'du vin rouge'.
I'll be posting some more distant images of my Paris experience soon!
I'll be posting links to my favorites places in Paris under 'Paris favoris' to the right. As a self-proclaimed foodie, I must share the great meals I have with others so they can also enjoy the non-touristy places that I frequent. Enjoy!

Your comments to this post will enter you into my Photo Giveaway...PLEASE NOTE:
I'll randomly select a winner that will announced next week! Stay tuned...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Bientot! Coming Soon!

look for this on August 11-12th

Fine Art Photo Print Giveaway!!

Comment on my future blog entry that will be posted the middle of next week and
I'll randomly pick a name out of the group to win a Free Fine Art Photo Print!

Bonne Chance! Good luck!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Rue du Faubourg Montmartre

I'm back from one of my weekly trips to Paris...a few of the girls joined me at one of my favorite restaurants in Paris, Le Bouillon Chartier on rue du Faubourg Montmartre. There are many streets in Paris with the names starting with 'Faubourg'...they led to former 'suburbs' surrounding the old walls of Paris. This one leads to Montmartre and to the hilly area, home to the Sacre Coeur church and Place du Tertre.

Faubourg is an ancient French term approximating "suburb" ( now banlieue ). The earliest form of Forsbourg, derived from Latin foris, 'out of', and Vulgar Latin ( originally Germanic) burgum, 'town or 'fortress'. Traditionally, this name was given to an agglomeration forming around a throughway leading outwards from a city gate, and usually took the name of the same thoroughfare within the city.

Many Parisian streets have retained their ancient denomination in spite of city growth; today it is still possible to discern pre-1860 delimitations in Paris by marking the point where a thoroughfare's name changes from rue to rue du faubourg. For instance, the rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis used to be located outside of the city wall and was an extension of the rue Saint-Denis within the walls. The rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré and rue du Faubourg de Montmartre came about in a similar manner.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Handstamped Custom Jewelry by Simag

I would like to share the talents of Sima Gilady of Simag Jewelry on Etsy.
She does wonderful custom, hand-stamped jewelry for all occasions. She is a wonderful pleasure to work with and a bright soul making light-hearted, affordable art that you can wear. Visit her site on etsy ( link to the right ) to enjoy her offerings and order yourself or someone special a custom made product.
Sima is offering free shipping to anyone who mentions 'symphorose' when ordering from her!
visit her shop at http://www.simag.etsy.com active link on top right under 'kindred spirits'

Friday, July 31, 2009

Bella Rustica Market - bring Italian style to your home!

I'd like to share with you the great talents of my good friend Kim Kelly and her shop Bella Rustica Market

She personally designs and locally fabricates her entire line of unique and Italian influenced home products including some incredible burlap pillows like the one you see here. Peruse her site to see the wonderful variety of nostalgic European style items for you home.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Ah! the twinkling lights of Paris!

I'm back from Paris again; my almost weekly visit to the former 'Lutèce'. 
I hope to take some more images of train stations in the next few weeks....but this time I was lucky enough to capture the beauty of Paris' most famous icon, the Eiffel Tower, while it was twinkling at me! 
For many yearsnow, starting on the hour every hour, once the sun completely sets, the sky is lit up with little stars from the sparkling tower. A perfect backdrop to toast to life with a glass of bubbly!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Welcome to my new blog!

Along with my etsy site and my flickr photostream, I thought it would be great to create this blog to capture my weekly travels abroad .

I am lucky enough to be able to travel the world for work and bring my camera along to document the experience. Stay tuned for new photos from my upcoming visits to Paris.

Visit me also on these sites listed above on the right