Archive for the ‘Vacation’ Category

Eating & Drinking in Italy: Our Anniversary in Florence

August 22, 2010

Adam & I celebrated our third wedding anniversary on August 5.  We were excited to have the opportunity to spend it in Italy this year, and knew for sure that we wanted to use the day as an excuse to break from the group.  Florence seemed like a good choice.  We’d been before, on our first trip to Italy 7 years ago, but it was the closest major city and one we were happy to return to.

Unfortunately, just as our train from Certaldo set off to Florence, it started raining.  Then it started pouring.  By the time we arrived, it was torrential.  We were both in shorts and t-shirts and had one little umbrella between us.  We had to go to the bathroom.  We were hungry.  It didn’t look good.


Eating & Drinking in Italy: The World’s Greatest Buffalo Mozzarella

August 21, 2010


“Wait… you mean buffalo mozzarella actually comes from buffaloes?”  It’s a question that has been posed to us many times during the planning, execution, and telling of our trip to Tenuta Vannulo.  I guess it makes sense that people would ask that.  Buffalo wings don’t actually come from buffaloes…

Our trip to Italy was an extremely generous undertaking on the part of the parents, so we were eager to do something to thank them and acknowledge their generosity.  Our initial thought was hiring a chef to come to the villa, but we soon realized that that was something they had already planned on.  Cari had remembered visiting Tenuta Vannulo, a buffalo mozzarella farm, as part of a tour group organized by her mom, so we decided that would be a unique and fun activity for the group. (more…)

Eating & Drinking in Italy: Our Very Own Big Night

August 20, 2010

One of the activities my uncle and mother had planned from the beginning was to have the owners of the second villa cook us dinner on the last night when all 13 of us were together.  Although some of us would have another few nights at the villa, three were leaving the very next day.

Roberto, one of the owners of our villa in Tuscany, prepared one of the most memorable meals we had during the entire trip.  It really was our very own Big Night.

The menu:


  • primi piatti: pasta with tomato sauce (prepared by our chef’s mother!)
  • secondi: florentine steak with roasted potatoes
  • cake (which we later learned was called mille foglie, but we called it a cannoli cake due to its flavour and texture)


Eating & Drinking in Italy: Cooking Class at the Villa

August 19, 2010


When you have 13 people travelling together, it’s sometimes hard to get everyone on the same page about activities. A cooking class, arranged by Adam’s sister and cousin, was a great way to get everyone involved in a fun evening of cooking which resulted in a fabulous meal.

We made a four course meal consisting of bruschetta, pesto pasta, balsamic chicken, and panna cotta. (more…)

Eating & Drinking in Italy: An Evening in San Gimignano

August 18, 2010

Our villa in Tuscany was located just 20 minutes from San Gimignano, a medieval walled city that is home to many restaurants, shops and a big attraction to tourists.  Thanks to Divina Cucina (and my mom for finding her website), we had already eaten our best meal of the trip in Chianti.  Who knew that later in the same day, she’d have just as good of a recommendation for dinner – one that was slightly off the beaten path and seemingly authentic?


Eating & Drinking in Italy: Fattoria Montagliari

August 17, 2010


In a region known for its wine, it would have been a shame to not visit a vineyard. Luckily Adam’s mom was on top of researching options for every town we visited, and this vineyard was on the top of her list for a lunch stop after the Chianti Market. It proved memorable for a number of reasons.

First, we were greeted by who we can only assume was the owner and tasted some chianti. Adam obviously tasted a good bit more than I did since I’m pregnant, but the man at the vineyard teased me about it. He offered to show me photos of his wife and beautiful children, all of whom are fine after 9 months of a wine sipping mother. Needless to say, viewpoints on alcohol consumption while pregnant are different in different parts of the world! Adam purchased a bottle of 2003 Chianti Classico to remember our experience (and so I could have some later!). (more…)

Eating & Drinking in Italy: Gelateria Wars (in Sorrento)

August 16, 2010

I think this kid would vote for Bougainvillea as the best!

Earlier this week, we blogged about Il Pozzo, a restaurant we had remembered from our last trip to Sorrento.  Another place that left us with fond memories was Bougainvillea (website), a gelateria with dozens of great flavours.  We visited Bougainvillea a number of times on our last trip and were eager to return.

Since our visit, my cousin Rachael and her boyfriend Adam discovered another place called Gelateria Davide (website).  Having tried both gelaterias, they claimed this place was the best in Sorrento.

We took this as a challenge to decide for ourselves which of the two gelaterias reigned supreme.


Eating & Drinking in Italy: Pizza Night

August 15, 2010

Margherita pizza in the wood oven

We were thrilled to discover that our first villa had a wood fired pizza oven on the property. The villa’s management offered up a chef to come in and prepare pizzas for our group to celebrate a few family birthdays.

Needless to say we ate a lot of pizza on this trip, and it was never disappointing. This pizza, however, was the best. pizza. ever. Starting with a simple focaccia and moving on to at least a dozen types of pizza, we ate well that night.


Eating & Drinking in Italy, Part 1: Il Pozzo in Sorrento

August 14, 2010

Life at No. 71 has returned from two weeks on the road!


Cari and I have spent the last two weeks enjoying the food and culture of Italy.  We started in the Campania region, near Sorrento, before making our way to Tuscany and an unbelievable villa near San Gimignano.  In a country known for its wine and food, it was a mouthwatering experience that we will talk about forever.  Since this blog usually centres around food, we thought we’d take you through our experiences with food – both at restaurants and back at the villa. To give the highlights their proper due, we’ll devote one post to each great experience.


Eating in New York

February 18, 2010

Cari and I have been to New York together before.  In 2005, we drove down, stayed in Secaucus, New Jersey, went to see Spamalot and Fiddler on the Roof, ate a lot, and came home.  This time we flew, stayed in midtown Manhattan, went to see Jonathan Richman, A Little Night Music and Maude Night at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, ate a lot, and came home.

Since this blog mostly has to do with eating, we thought we’d share our eating experiences.  There’s hundreds of restaurants in New York City.  These are the ones we found ourselves at.