Wednesday, June 8, 2011

New Blog-tastic Creations

For this of you who have been patiently waiting for more from Moving & Eating...might I suggest my newest blog: Think-Make-Think I hope you enjoy it!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Last Hurrah

Here I sit in Las Vegas, pondering the big gamble I'm about to make. Now before you start getting worried about my thin wallet and slot machine addiction, just know that I'm referring to life changes, not going all in on number 17. Last Friday I accepted a fundraising job in San Francisco and I start a week from today. So I've taken to pondering (otherwise known as obsessive second-guessing) the large gamble that I'm about to make: namely, that choosing stability, routine and responsibility and giving up my wandering ways is what I need right now. But it's really too late for rumination; I've already got everything riding on this bet.

Partly to celebrate and partly to get all of my yah-yahs out before next week, Elly and I have embarked on another grand adventure: a week long tour of the West. We met in San Luis Obispo for a whirlwind round of visits with some friends then popped down to Orange County on the way to Las Vegas. Today we're off to Bishop, high up in the Sierras, then down to the American River in the heart of gold country, perhaps a stop in Sonoma and then back to San Francisco just in time to complete my transformation back into a young professional. In typical style, we hatched this plan on Saturday morning over coffee, writing all the possible destinations on little sheets of paper and rearranging them until the puzzle pieces formed a sufficiently ambitious and adventurous picture.

So here I sit in Las Vegas, in the midst of the adventure I'll need to keep me sated during the daily nine to five I've signed up for, hoping it will scratch my wandering itch long enough for me to settle into the new routine.

More photos, disasters and food coming soon!

Location:Las Vegas

Monday, August 9, 2010

"Staying & Eating" Doesn't Quite Have the Same Ring....

One of my former boyfriends had a painting in his living room of a cockroach and the words "MOVING, KEEPING STRONG." I think about that canvas all the time, especially since I took off last July to do a long spell of traveling.  Somehow, those words perfectly capture the sentiment that drove me on this crazy trek around the globe in the first place.  Somewhere in my DNA is a drive to go every time my sanity is threatened...a primal nomadic instinct...a strong proclivity for the "flight" side of "fight or flight" ear that's carefully attuned to the call of my wild self's need for escape.  Sadly, this is a characteristic that puts me solidly in the company of gypsies, vagabonds and aging hipsters with a fear of commitment, none of which are particularly romantic figures.  

When I'm not in one of my moving phases, I feel a very feminine pull to put down some roots, make a cozy home, cultivate community and stay put.  But then the wind changes direction and all those roots get pulled clean up and I'm off again.  Like clockwork, this happens every couple of years.  It is a call that I cannot deny and I never see it coming until it's there and all I know is that I need to leave, NOW.  So that's what I did for the last year, by far my longest moving phase to date.  And now I'm back in California, looking for a job in San Francisco, dreaming of my own apartment and garden, salivating over the perfect couch and my own little kitchen.  I'm having an existential crisis about this blog.  Not that there aren't lots of great food adventures to be had in northern California, but "Staying & Eating" isn't quite as glamorous.  And so, the eternal question: to blog or not to blog.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Oh My Gosh, It's Summer in Ohio

Here are a few of my favorite things about Ohio in the summertime:

lightning bugs
warm rain
heat lightning
water skiing
sweet corn
seasonal ice cream stands
coney dogs
I came to Ohio last week to visit the family in Canton and got immersed in the soupy air and the Mid-West hospitality; welcome to the land where soda is 'pop,' a visit lasts as long as a pot of coffee and the mall is town square.  It was wonderful to sit around the table with my peeps and hear the same stories I've been hearing since I can remember, fall back into my native accent and be surrounded by the familiar laughs of my aunts, uncles and cousins.  If I had to pick two things that have always defined my family, it would be these:
  1. We have legendary stories
  2. We are Italian-American

And I was able to re-visit two of my favorite restaurants from my childhood.  The first is my all-time favorite ice cream parlor, Milk n' Honey.  I can remember walking in as a child and being amazed at the long shelves of chocolates and candy and the seemingly endless list of ice cream flavors.  Everything here is hand made, from the daily soups and sandwiches to the sweets and treats.  I ordered the club sandwich and a grasshopper sundae (homemade mint-chocolate-chip ice cream, hot fudge and whipped cream), both nostalgic favorites.  My mom and I sat in the back room, where hung on up on the wall is half of a red MGB; according to family lore, this exact car belonged to my father when he was in college...he sold it to a young man who completely totaled only half of the car, precisely the half not hanging on the wall.  I'm not sure that this story has ever been confirmed, but it's these kind of tales that make me feel connected to my hometown by a vast network of tiny threads.

The second restaurant was Papa Bear's.  Again, I have been coming here for as long as I can remember.  My mother was a waitress here.  Every family celebration that I can remember has taken place at this restaurant.  I can't tell you how many time my cousins and I have posed for photos with the taxidermied bear in the lobby. As far as my taste buds are concerned, this is the ideal when it comes to spaghetti with meat sauce.  I have eaten here for so long, I can't even tell you if it's good; all I can tell you is that I like it.  My mom and I ordered our favorites: crispy pepperoni bread with marinara sauce, wedding soup with meatballs and chicken, a side of angel hair with hot Italian sausage.  This will probably always be my comfort food.  I was a little disappointed to see that they were renovating; since I can remember there has always been the same 1980's floral wallpaper with miniature nude sculptures recessed in little wall-cubbies, the same black lacquered chairs with mauve cushions, the same casino-style carpeting.  I just hope they always keep the bear.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Moving & Eating....Literally

I arrived in NYC last week and would love to report that I'm being a fabulous international playgirl....hitting all the hippest summer spots, eating exotic street food everyday, uncovering the fabulous underbelly of the city and bringing it to you in this blog as a witty gift.  But I'm tired and there's work to be done, so I've done none of that.  What I have been doing is helping my sister and Jess move into their lovely new apartment in Brooklyn and sending off tons of job applications.  And I've been able to fit in a little bit of cheap and fabulous food here and there.

I never thought I'd say this, but the day we went to IKEA was fabulous.  Not because IKEA is so special, but because it is in Red Hook.  This little neighborhood is right across from Governors Island in Brooklyn and formerly was an industrial and pretty underdeveloped place.  These days it's pretty hopping.  One of the highlights for me was the Red Hook Community Farm.  It sits on 2.5 acre concrete lot in the middle of an industrial/residential neighborhood.  They just put about a foot of dirt right on top of the concrete and started farming.  It really doesn't look like much, but they have a CSA program for the neighborhood, weekly farmers' markets and youth education programs.  They make quite a bit impact on their community with only two and a half acres of fenced concrete.

Another great part about the neighborhood is the fabulous street food by the ballpark.  Every kind of Central and South American food you could want awaits you here: elote, papusas, sopas, was a dream come true after having (mostly happily) eaten bread and cheese for almost three months.

Some other quick food highlights include:

The great street food at the Brooklyn Flea.  Manchego fritters and kim chee hot dogs are a wonderful breakfast.

BLT Burger in the West Village.  Any time you can have Maker's Mark in your chocolate milk shake is a good one.

Jacques Torres wicked frozen hot chocolate.  I have one every day that I'm in NYC without fail.  Don't ask how it's possible to have something cold and hot at the same time.  Just drink'll become obsessed.

The street hustlers on Kate's block who were trying to sell me a watermelon every time I walked out their front door.  I don't know how they wound up with a truckload of fruit, but clearly they weren't very successful at getting rid of it all.  A real shame.

I'm off to Ohio this afternoon for a quick visit and then back to California...sigh.

Monday, July 12, 2010


If ever there were a tourist destination designed for Elly and me, it is Versailles. First, it's in Paris. Second, the entire thing is dipped in gold. Third, no matter how ridiculously we dress, we still blend in. We took our pilgrimage to the last home of Marie Antoinette very seriously, decking ourselves out in all the lace, bows, gaudy jewelry and hairspray we could muster. A nice fellow in the gift shop remarked, " guys look like you...belong here..." How very observant, my little French friend...

We were feeling a little soggy after the hour and a half train ride from the city to the palace and then the hour and a half wait in line to enter the palace (and we'd even bought our tickets ahead of time!), but we really perked up when we saw those shiny golden gates and the huge gardens spreading out as far as you could see.

I know you can't see it, but on that building, at the entrance of the palace is the inscription "Tout la gloire de la France," or "All the glory of France."

Of course we were interested in the extravagant last queen of France, Madame Marie-Antoinette. We toured her private chambers (lavish and amazing), looked at portraits of her and the last royal family and bought some of her personal recipe perfume from the gift shop. Don't misinterpret my zeal for this ridiculous monarch...I am all about power for the people, the republic and revolution. But I think we can all agree, that woman had some fabulously lavish style and it deserves some props. Devotion to beauty is worthy of admiration. That said, I probably would have voted to chopped off her head too.

Some fun facts about Versailles:
  1. There are 800 hectares of gardens. That's over 3 square miles of perfectly manicured vegetation.
  2. The Grand Canal runs from the back of the palace through the length of the garden and was used for yacht parties for the kings and their courts.
  3. The city of Versailles and the palace grounds are bigger than the entire island of Manhattan.
  4. The palace itself has 700 rooms, 2000 windows and 1250 fireplaces and can house 5000 people.
  5. Marie-Antoinette was wearing purple shoes when she was executed.

My absolute favorite part of the tour was the hamlet at the Petit Trianon. Versailles is so big that there is a train you can take to the outlying buildings on the grounds. There of course is the huge palace, but there are also two "country houses:" the Grand Trianon (residence of Queen Marie-Therese) and the Petit Trianon (residence of Marie-Antoinette). This last queen had a real flair for the theatrical and so she decided to build her own little rustic village (le Hameau) just off her country villa. The story is that she was tired of all the fluff and formality of being queen so she built a place where she could pretend to be a milkmaid. It has little canals, tiny backyard gardens, sheep, chickens, miniature bridges and cottages. It feels like Disneyland's version of the French countryside and I LOVED it. It was so cute, I could hardly contain myself from skipping around.

After all that walking and ooohing and aaaahing at the palace, we came back into Paris for dinner and decided to spend my last night in France at the Eiffel Tower. We sat right at the base, watching the elevators go up and down, the people wandering around, the vendors selling their miniature Eiffel Towers. Much to my delight, the tower lit up at midnight like a psychedelic Christmas tree and I did a little dance in honor of France. The next morning I shipped out for the States; it was a perfectly fitting way to end my French adventure.

Guest Blog!!!!

Just wanted to put in a quick note that yours truly has been asked to guest blog for the fantastic site (which has great deals on cheap tickets). I wrote a brief article about a driving tour of the Big Island. Check it out! There are lots of good articles about fantastic things to see and do all over this big, wide world.