Saturday, November 19, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

Milan, Italy: Day Three


It rained the entirety of our last day in Milan. While we had no place in particular to go – we successfully covered everything we wanted to see within the first day and a half – Mike and I still wanted to wander around the city and indulge in as much Italian food and wine as possible.

I should mention our last day in Milan also happened to be a Sunday. You may not think that is an important detail – just like we did not – but you would be sadly mistaken. Everything in Milan was closed on Sunday. Between the day of rest and the weather, the streets were empty, as were our stomachs. We walked all over the city, going down a rather extensive list of recommendations, only to find each door locked and gated. Even the grocery store was closed. Late in the afternoon, through the now pouring rain, we spotted the lights from what appeared to be a cute, young cafĂ©. However, we were sadly mistaken and, glaring down at the terrible food, wondered if it might have been better if we had just kept walking.

When we boarded the plane the following morning, I looked over at Mike and sincerely said, “I did not expect to leave Italy hungry.” He nodded in agreement. Little did we know what deliciousness awaited us in Barcelona.

Milan 11.6.2010

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Milan, Italy: Day Two


Our second day in Milan began with a trek to a highly recommended pastry shop. While the shop was not especially close to our hotel, Mike expertly navigated the winding roads and we arrived to beautiful windows filled with sweets and the smell of much-needed espresso. We ordered cornettos – glazed, flaky Italian croissants – and an espresso for Mike, a cappuccino for me. We leaned against the espresso bar and happily consumed our breakfast to fuel a full day of activity.

Milan 11.5.2010_Pasticceria Marchesi

Properly caffeinated, we set out to explore the streets of Milan on foot.

Milan 11.5.2010_Morning

Our travels took us to the Basilica of Sant' Ambrogio, a site with beautiful brickwork and architecture.

Milan 11.5.2010_Basilica of Sant' Ambrogio

Later in the day, we arrived in Parco Sempione, where the colors of fall were in full bloom against a dreary, gray sky.

Milan 11.5.2010_Parco Sempione

Later that afternoon, we wandered in to Chocolat – a beautiful gelato and espresso bar. The gelato was fascinating to see, piled up so high in their containers, it looked like fluffy pillows. After much contemplation, I decided on a combination of hazelnut and dark chocolate gelato. How I wish I could end every afternoon like this!

Milan 11.5.2010_Afternoon
That night, we traveled to the outskirts of the city to see an Inter Milan match, although I did not take my camera, as we were unsure how tight security would be at the gate. However, our worries were unfounded, though there were great pains taken to separate the home team crowd from that of the visiting team.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Redbook Feature: Rustic Fresh Fig Tart


Apologies for interrupting this week's Italian get-away, but I want to be sure you all skip over to Redbook Magazine's website to drool over this Rustic Fresh Fig Tart. Hearty, caramel-y, and - oh yeah! - I styled and photographed the recipe!

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Milan, Italy: Day One


It has been a year since Mike and I packed our bags for a European vacation – starting in Milan, Italy and concluding in Barcelona, Spain. My very first international trip! While we purchased very few souvenirs – two espresso cups, a scarf for Mike, and hot chocolate for me – I returned with thousands of photographs. It has taken me an entire year to edit all of the photos – not because I am alarmingly slow at editing, but because every time I started the process, I grew nostalgic for the ten days we spent together eating delicious food, drinking bottle upon bottle of wine, and exploring new cities. We left our worries and stresses in New York and for ten lovely days, could just enjoy each other and our surroundings. It was like falling in love all over again, although we never actually fell out of love. I put off the editing so long, Mike would tease me every time I started the process again. “Looking at photos of the trip should make you happy, not sad. Nothing bad happened!” But they are finally (finally!) edited and ready for sharing. I will begin this week by sharing the photos from Milan, organized chronologically by our actual days in the city, from morning to evening.

Once we landed and briefly settled into our hotel, we hit the pavement for food to cure our growling, empty stomachs. We found the cure at Paper Moon, where we found delicious breadsticks and pizzas. The homemade ricotta was phenomenal and I am still not able to replicate it’s cloud-like texture.

Milan 11.4.2010_Afternoon

After lunch, happily full, Mike led me through winding streets, filled with model-esque women and their men. Suddenly, Duomo di Milano loomed in front of me. After exploring the breathtaking exterior, we paid a minimal amount to climb to the roof and it was absolutely worth every Euro! The sun was just beginning to descend and bathed the city in the most beautiful light.

Milan 11.4.2010_Duomo

Later, we explored the Galleria and winding streets of Milan. In what would become a trend, the restaurant where we wanted to have dinner was closed. Instead, a bit weary from the travel, we found a grocery store near our hotel and picked up bread, prosciutto, cheeses, prosecco, and red wine. To this day, that simple dinner was still one of my favorites – mostly because Mike and I shared it together, recounting the day, ecstatic for the days ahead of us.

Milan 11.4.2010_Galleria Milan 11.4.2010_Evening

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Brooklyn Goodbye


My very closest girlfriend is moving today – not to another borough, not to the city’s suburbs, but to another country. Let me begin by saying I have very few close girlfriends in my life and, perhaps, as I have grown older, this has been a more conscious decision than not. I quickly tire of gossip and drama; for most of my life I have been looking ahead to the future, knowing I would someday leave for college, a job, a new city.

Brooklyn Goodbye 1

Maybe this is part of the reason she and I became such good friends, especially considering we initially despised each other. But when I moved to New York City after graduation, when I was feeling unbelievably lost and lonely, she was one of the only people I knew in the city. Afternoons of cupcake tasting, farmers market trips, running in Central Park, or conversations about food (always with wine) ensued. Her no-nonsense, tough love was exactly what I needed and against all odds of our personalities, we quickly became close friends. Without her support, I would not have found the willpower to stay in NYC, so you might imagine how indebted I feel to her now.

Brooklyn Goodbye 2

We spent last Saturday in Brooklyn, pretending most of the day that it was like any other weekend, enjoying a few drinks while catching-up on everyone’s increasingly busy lives. But all too quickly, we found ourselves huddled in a dirty subway station, where the L train splits between Manhattan and Brooklyn. A tear-filled goodbye ensued and I could suddenly no longer harbor any anger at her for leaving. I could only wish her the best of luck and sincerely hope she finds everything she is seeking.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Mulled Apple Cider

Mulled Apple Cider w/ Text

Autumn is in the air.  I think?  The weather in the Northeast cannot seem to make up its temperamental mind.  Last Saturday brought the first snow of the season.  I am not talking about a few beautiful, puffy white flakes, I mean the skies opened up and hurled miniature snowballs to the world below all day long.  I equipped our bed with warm flannel sheets and our neighbors cranked their dusty radiators. 

Yesterday, the sun was shining, blinding pedestrians attempting to walk in any direction.  The jacket I needed for warmth on my morning commute rendered me a sweaty mess within five minutes of stepping outside for lunch.

My cravings are equally confused – something hearty and comforting or something light and healthy?  Luckily, there is one beverage with the ability to put me in a fall mood any day of the year – mulled apple cider.  Apple cider can be consumed warm or chilled, conveniently versatile compared to other seasonal food and beverage options.  Add a healthy splash of bourbon and sip the fall, or whatever the season, days away.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Food52 Cookbook

Last week I returned home from work and while fumbling for my keys, I noticed a big, thick yellow envelope on my doormat.  It is not uncommon for packages to be waiting, but this one touted a large label from a publishing house – like the ones I am used to receiving at work, but never at home.  Without removing my jacket or boots, I tore into the envelope and carefully removed the long-awaited, physical copy of the Food52 Cookbook

My winning recipe happily begins on page 324.  I know this for certain, as each day since receiving the book, I have flipped open to this page, just to affirm the recipe, my blog, and my name have not disappeared into thin air.  What an amazing feeling it is to see your work in print!

The Food52 Cookbook is a bible written by an incredible collection of inspirational home cooks from around the country; I am humbled to be considered one of them.  I absolutely cannot wait to spend more time perusing the pages and urge you to do the same – either by securing your own copy of the book or exploring the Food52 website!

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