Italian Love Affair

Hello friends,

Italy

Enough said.

I could stop here and I think many of you would be like me, imagining rolling hills, vineyards, Mountains and Turquoise waters. Today, as you can tell, my thoughts are taking me on a different route. A refreshingly more “upbeat” post I’m sure. This is my reflection of a huge three week portion of our summer – our trip to Switzerland, France and Italy. We spent most of our time in Italy, so this is where I’ll focus!

I’m a self-proclaimed foodie. This is my Mecca.

The word “Italy” alone has sparked a million magical daydreams for my tastebuds of what it would be like to visit. This euphoric world is home to almost every single one of my favorite foods. Wine, Pasta, Gelato, Risotto and oh my GOD – the cheese! Two of my favorite and most versatile cheeses attribute their heritage to Eataly Italy– Mozzarella and Fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano (never settle for the canned stuff).

Cheese please.

It was glorious.

Italy floored me. It was a passionate affair that swept me up in waves of foodie glory and overwhelming views. My fiancé and I joked that we would take pictures of the most beautiful views we’ve ever seen – and then turn around and see a better one. At first I hiked so I could eat what I wanted. I ended up hiking because I fell in love with Italy’s natural surroundings.

Italy helped me create a simple mathematical equation to my happiness..

Great food/wine + Art + Hiking = 🙂

Add hang outs with family, friends & of course a furkid (or 5) and I’m over the moon happy. Simplicity can be marvelous.

The Trip

We starting out in Zurich Switzerland, and drove to Northern Italy- Bormio to be exact. The natural beauty of the Mountains, combined with glacier lakes and abundant farmland were, to put it bluntly – Amazeballs.

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My partner wanted to bike Italy. Nope, not the type that Jax Teller rides. This is the old fashioned two peddled kind. He’s a Sexy Spandex Superstar, what can I say.

Told you
Told you – Triple S strikes again

We ate, hiked, biked and train hopped our way down Italy, and a portion of France. This post could be ten thousand pages long as I ramble about all the amazing encounters. For time sake, however I’ll edit myself.

If you ever get chance to live, or even visit any part of Italy, you’ll understand. I don’t believe there’s any other place like it in the world. Take advantage of the local markets and farms (Stay away from the few Big box stores – you won’t be sorry!), interact with the friendly people, and absorb their importance of family. Take in the culture, the ART, the Architecture, the HISTORY, the Mountains, the Ocean, the food that just surrounds you as soon as you enter the Country.

Eataly, Bike Italy, Hike Italy, do whatever you like when you’re there – If you’re able to – Just go! Although, I will not be held accountable to your loved ones if you choose not to come back.

As a visual person, I’ll tell our story through photos. (Disclaimer – if you don’t like pictures of beautiful views, food or potentially men in Spandex – stop here).

Driving from Zurich Switzerland to Bormio, Italy
Driving from Zurich Switzerland to Bormio, Italy
Mother Nature, you've outdone yourself!
Mother Nature, you’ve outdone yourself! Swiss/Italian border
Saint Laurent du Pont, France for Tour de France/In-law family time!
Saint Laurent du Pont, France for Tour de France/In-law family time!

Hang outs on the party-o with my in-laws!

French Riviera!
Nice, French Riviera!
Cinque Terre, Italy. One of the most beautiful places in the world. (Vernazza pictured here)
Cinque Terre, Italy. One of the most beautiful places in the world in my humble opinion. (Vernazza pictured here)
If you're there, Hike the trails! - Cinque Terre - Italy
If you’re there, Hike the trails! – Cinque Terre – Italy
The views are worth the effort
The views are worth the effort
Cinque Terre, Italy
Cinque Terre, Italy
Trained it to Rome, which was our home base for 6 days
Train’d it to Rome, which was our home base for 6 days
Homemade pasta, great wine and a fabulous lakeside patio - Lake Albano, Italy
Homemade pasta, great wine and a fabulous lakeside patio – Lake Albano, Italy

My “Italian” advice, if you’re ever in the neighborhood.

– Eat like the locals, ask them for recommendations

– Walk around. Buses, Trains and Planes are great. Although, sometimes it’s better to walk the lay of the land.  I always think of these as adventures. A bonus, you’ll walk off all the amazing food you will eat.

– Don’t go to Rome in July. Lesson learned. HOLY HOT!

– Do not EVER diet in Italy or France, It’s cruel and intolerable punishment.

–  Learn the History pertaining to wherever you are. It means much more when you learn about who’s been where you have, and what has gone down. Respect. Italy, Switzerland and France have some pretty crazy history lessons.

– Bring patience to Rome. If you’re going to go down the path of touristy destinations (Especially Rome), visit in early morning and late evening. The exception to this is the Sistine Chapel and the Trevi Fountain – it always be nutso busy whether it’s 4 am or 4 pm!

– Talk to people, you never know who you’re going to meet. This will be my segway to post # 2 – Eataly coming at ya soon.

– Eat Gelato at La Romana in Rome. It’s Gelato I would literally leave my dignity at the door and beg for.

– Lastly, ENJOY. Do not have an agenda for every single day.

Don’t rush. Take a lesson from the Italians – plus it’ll go by all too quickly as it is.

Cheers,

Dailyspro

Biking Boston

Heeyyy friends,

My Mr. surprised me with a trip to Boston for my birthday. What a TIME we had. I’ll try to express what I loved the most about this beautiful city, but it’s difficult when you loved everything. I’ll try and recap.

The architecture…

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The landscape…

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The ease of getting around…………

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The character, charm and personality owned by the city & people of Boston.

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I can’t forget my personal fave – the food!

Some of my personal faves are:

Lunch: Orinco or Shay’s – If you go to Shay’s try the Mulled Apple Cider with Port!

Dinner: Any Pasta from Toscana’s or Pizza from Reginas

Dessert: Wait in that line for a Mike’s Cannoli, you won’t regret it. Freshly baked cookies from Cookie Monstah are worth sourcing out the food truck for. The peanut butter chocolate chip are A-mazing.

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The fine art museum….

So many paintings done by the greats (Degas, Monet & Renoir) in one room! You’ll feel more inspired just from walking through.

The Mario Testino exhibit on right now is spectacular!

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I think you should all go and experience the city, the sights, the historic beauty. As long as the weather cooperates, try walking or biking. There’s no better way to experience and see a city! Check out Urban Adventours for bike rentals in the North End – They were fantastic and great pricing as well. You’ll need to work off that Cannoli anyway !

Cheers,

AJS

Holy Cannoli at Mike’s Pastry Shop

Heyyyy friends,

I went to Boston for the first time, and completely fell in love with the city. One of my foodie goals while on this trip was to sample the best cannoli a lady can find. Boy, did I ever score big at Mike’s Pastry Shop. My google savy research told me that the two shops to sample were both in the North End. The critics had a long running argument over Modern Pastry vs Mike’s Pastry Shop. After seeing all the little blue and white boxes EVERYWHERE, I decided to see what all the hype was about.

It didn’t matter if we were in East Boston, Harvard Square, or North End – Mike’s was quickly branding Boston. We sat down at a local Pizza joint on Sunday night (Stay tuned for my review on Regina’s) and noticed they had a Mike’s box in hand. We were chatting and asked where we can find this foodie haven and were told “Turn left, Turn left and look for 7,000 people” (Please read with a Boston accent). My Mr. and I looked at each other and said, it’s 9 pm on Sunday evening, that can’t be right.
After a left, and another left we turned a corner and saw the back of the line. Sure, 7,000 people was a bit of a strech. There were however a good 60-80 people in line or waiting for a table.

I should have started by saying I’m not a Cannoli expert, as much as I’d like to be.
I was so excited upon seeing my first cannoli at Quincy Market that I admit, I was suckered. Much to my disappointment, the shell was stale and the ricotta did NOT have the creamy texture that I attribute to this Italian staple. I promised myself I’d wait for the real thing.

Well I asked, and the foodie gods delivered. The first thing you see when you walk into Mike’s are 15 different types of Cannoli printed along the top of the serving wall. I saw my choice instantly – Amaretto Cannoli – NOM.

My Mr. had a tougher choice, not one for lines, he did stick it through. Surprisingly we got through the line in under 20 mins. It might have gone so fast because my head was on a swivel examining the goods. Lobster Claws, trifle & cheescake oh my! This was before I looked in front of me and saw the Cannoli choices. The smell of the shop is almost better then the sights – The freshly baked goods aroma was interlaced with the smell of chocolate, vanilla bean and strawberries.

CHECK “Authentic Italian Cannoli” off my foodie to do list. The chefs had dipped the bottom in rich and decadent milk chocolate. If a Cannoli can be sexy, my ameretto cannoli was sexy as hell. The filling was creamy, smooth and flavorful, no lumpy ricotta here! The ameretto was perfectly balanced, without being overpowering. I tried my Mr’s Chocolate Chip flavor, and it was again – perfection.
It’s both a sin and my salvation that we found this gem on our last night in Boston. My fat pants, in all of their elastic waistband glory would have been out and about every single day had we found it earlier. No doubt about it, this Canadian gal loved every minute of it. I can’t wait to visit Boston again, as Mike’s definitely warrants more then one visit. I’ll be doing an extra few WOD this week, but it was most def worth it.

Cheers!
AJS