All posts tagged: brunch

A Look Back at 2015

Tortilla espanola, salmorejo, crab and avocado salad from a cooking class in Sevilla with my parents. My 2015 was full of tasty travels. A scroll through my iPhone photos made me a little bit dizzy, so I’ve distilled a few snapshots here to reflect on the past year–where I’ve been (mostly Northern Italy) and what I’ve been eating (pizza, of course). Oh, Gennaro’s pizza, how I miss you. The crust, so perfectly chewy. You would think you couldn’t possibly eat the whole thing in one sitting, and then next thing you know, it’s disappeared. There were a few times when I went three times in a week…  a slippery slope for sure. School lunch doesn’t get much better than this, folks. I have to say, I didn’t have much of a liking for radicchio (among other things) before my year in Bra, but now I sure do. Some of my colleagues developed a habit of dipping the fresh bread into the daily yogurt–I thought that was a bit strange, and just twirled my pasta to my …

Revisiting Vermont

I can’t prove this scientifically, but I think the sky is bluer in Vermont. It’s been almost a year and a half since I said goodbye to Middlebury College and the Green Mountain State. After three years of nerding out on Latin American politics, embracing as much of the outdoors-y-ness within me as there was to embrace, and surviving two especially long, tough winters (hey, I’m from California), I was ready to head out into the world to go DO stuff. (Interestingly enough, not even a month later, I decided to enroll in a Master’s program.) I’ve been on the go almost nonstop since that moment, living out of two suitcases (that I sometimes affectionately refer to as “Big Red,” depending on how many floors of stairs I have to carry them up) in San Francisco, Northern Italy, and New York. Honestly, I haven’t really stopped to think about life back at Middlebury very often. Until I returned for Homecoming a few weekends ago. There was no big Homecoming Ball, no big alumni to-do. It was more …

Mad for MAD

Prime people watching in Retiro park. Apparently it is illegal for people to go shirtless in the city, but I didn’t see any arrests out in the lake. Ah, España. You and your tapas and late bedtimes. Last weekend I popped into Madrid for a few days to catch up with a friend from school and unexpectedly also indulge in some solid brunch. Let me tell you, the neighborhood to be is Malasaña. Street art, coffee, more coffee and boutiques tucked in here and there. If you can deal with expats of the Instagramming and gossiping variety, a few places I would recommend for a java jolt in this hood are: Toma Café. Major props for the witty postcards, the cold brew and the ’90s pop playlist they had goin’ on. Federal. Aussie inspired. Flat whites and vegan smoothies galore. Beware people at the communal table stealing your avocado toast (true story). La Bicicleta. A real coffee shop, like the laptop/work kind of place. A wonderful mixture of couches and segregated seating for people who want to type …

Too Little Time in Too Cool a City: A-Dam

Sooo…when can I move in? Last weekend I fed the travel bug again and took advantage of the super cheap flights that can get you pretty much anywhere around Europe as long as you don’t mind feeling like a cow before slaughter and only packing in a carry on. Maybe I’ll make a ranking one day of all these airlines that I have experienced over here. Anyways, Transavia wasn’t that bad. They were all wearing shamrock green and it was amusing to listen to Dutch. After a solid couple hour delay on the runway because of a thunderstorm, we arrived late into Amsterdam and a little bit all over the place to our Airbnb in the Jordaan neighborhood. I will take a brief time out here and say that Lene, our host, was far and away the kindest and cutest of them all. She reminded me of a feather who happened to be wearing Nike shoes. A couple days before our trip, she took the time to send a list of 27 (27!) things to do, …

What a Weekend

Gotta love your yogurt with an “h.” And someone telling you that fat is “what you need.” This weekend, I embraced the spring sunshine. I broke out the shorts, went for a 3 hour walk, read outside, sipped cocktails outside… Unfortunately the sunshine didn’t embrace me. Well, maybe it did… too much. I have an itchy sunburn. I admit, I was ambitious. But it was worth it. On Friday afternoon, we wrapped up class around 3, so after a sweaty bike ride back to Bra, it was time for some delicious drinks on my friend Vibe’s balcony. Living on the ground floor, I lack the luxury of a balcony, but she has more than enough space for some raspberry G&Ts, good tunes and friends. The theme of balconies continued throughout the evening, as we headed over to another student’s apartment for an aperitivo and to see the sunset. Note: this place was about 2 minutes walking from Chez Kati, but about 5 stories up. Wow. Saturday was a day for spring cleaning, prepping a new batch of kombucha …

So Close but Yet So Far: Torino

The scene of the crime from the power-people-watching seat: the dining room at the gorgeously renovated Del Cambio. A twenty-ninth birthday needed celebrating. What to do, what to do? Go to Turin for the weekend. An hour away on the train is totally reasonable, but the problem is that the last one back to Bra is at 8:30. So to avoid pulling a Cinderella in the pumpkin missing her shoe kind of move, we booked an Airbnb for a couple nights. And went to a Michelin star restaurant. In the days leading up to the meal, we pondered the tasting menus online, one of us gasped at the wine list (I don’t know enough “yet” to be at that stage) and we fretted over our outfit selection. On the big night, we savored an array of beautifully plated and delicate dishes (fish! gnocchi made from breadcrumbs! marscapone and sea urchin! steak tartare!), rosé, the most pleasantly non-oaky Chardonnay I have ever tasted, little trays of beet chips, homemade chocolates and so much more. I will say that this is one …

Sunday Funday

Activating my Vitamin D stores with my dear friend Urmila. Not pictured: Brazilian music and the chefs debating the optimal hammock hanging height. Today has been quite the day. First of all, the thermometer hit 10 degrees! (Celsius, obviously.) That meant the North Face jacket could stay in the closet as I walked down to the Gastronomic Society, a Middlebury-esque social house of sorts where currently only 2 individuals live, but are both very interested in hosting food-related events. Last week I went to a taco/cerveza night and today I went for brunch. We arrived quite early (still not sure where the Italian threshold for lateness is) and decided to move our table outside while we enjoyed our fruit salad and cappuccinos because, perche no? After a little bit/a lot a bit of sunshine and some conversation about our plans for the rest of the day, I set out for an adventure on foot. A little selfie never hurt anybody. I walked for about 3 hours along muddy roads and driveways, under bridges and along vineyards to a town …

A Weekend in Torino

The two main themes of my Torino adventures: food and tea. Anyone surprised? It feels a bit silly to put a post about Torino (1 hour away on the train) under the Travel section, but I actually felt like I was gone from Bra for about 2 weeks even though it wasn’t even 48 hours. I know I’m not good with numbers, but take not bringing warm enough sweaters + walking about 9 miles per day (thanks Fitbit) and that adds up to perceived travel hours quickly. First of all, major shoutout to my classmate Giulia who acted as an absolutely lovely hostess/tour guide/knower of all places hip/resident Italian speaker. Anyhoo, Torino. As you may or may not (if you have been living under a rock maybe) know, the Winter Olympics were there in 2006. It was the first capital of Italy in 1861 and the home of the ruling Savoy family. Impressed by my historical knowledge? Ok, maybe not. Moving on. One of the many reasons we wanted to escape from the little hamlet of Bra for a …