If a restaurant is named after a family member, you already know the food is going to be amazing. Definitely check out Mamma Angela’s if you’re ever in Maryland. I loved that almost every item on the menu is under $20! Everything we ordered off the menu was great, especially the fried polenta with truffle and mushrooms. And make sure you try their house-made limoncello.
At one of my family get togethers, I was sitting at the table talking to an aunt and we came up with this light and refreshing drink! Who doesn’t love watermelon or coconut juice? I poured a glass of coconut juice into a cup and my aunt had a bowl of watermelon in front of her. I took a couple chunks and dropped it in to my cup. My aunt suggested I add a few mint leaves. I added a few ice cubes on top, and the Coco-Melon drink was born! Just in time for those July 4th barbecues!
- 4 spoonfuls of watermelon
- 3 mint leaves (Rip them once. You want a little mint flavor… it isn’t a mojito)
- 1 can of coconut juice
- 1 shot of light rum or vodka (optional)
- Handful of ice cubes
Break up the watermelon in the glass, add the mint, and if you want, a shot of light rum or vodka. Fill the rest of the glass with ice cubes and pour the coconut juice over. Give it a couple of stirs and enjoy!
On one of my recent trips, I had a 19 hour layover in Amsterdam. Unfortunately, 19 hours is not long enough! I was able to explore a little bit of the city and was so happy to get introduced to stroopwafels.
Stroopwafels are basically the national cookie of the Netherlands. It is two thin waffle discs about the size of your palm, filled with a thin layer of caramel or honey. This chewy cookie is delicious as is, but I was told the proper way to eat it is with a cup of tea or coffee. First, you have to make sure your mug is no wider than the cookie. Pour your hot beverage in the mug, but make sure you leave some space at the top. You want to make sure the liquid does not touch the cookie. Then, set the cookie on top of the mug and let it warm up for a few minutes. When the cookie caves in, you’ll know it’s ready. The caramel or honey gets gooey and it’s so good! I bought a couple boxes to bring home and had it for breakfast with my tea every morning until I ran out. You can also have stroopwafels during tea time or as an after dinner dessert.
This week’s Playlist Worthy song is by my friend OTiKe. A few weeks ago he dropped the visuals for his single “For My Head”. Produced by DJ Coublon, the afro pop beats will surely put anyone in a cheery mood, especially when traveling. In the video, he courts a beautiful woman and shows her a great time. Check out the video below.
We stayed at the Hotel Bernini Bristol, a 5-star hotel (very affordable!) in a central location close to popular site-seeing spots like the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain. The view from our hotel window was spectacular. It looked out on to this center and fountain.
The hotel décor was so gorgeous we had to do an impromptu photoshoot right in the hotel lobby.
Where to eat
Guida ballerino! is a Michelin-star restaurant on the rooftop of Hotel Bernini. It’s one of the best restaurants I’ve ever eaten at. Definitely try the Squid Ink Tempura Scallops in coconut cream sauce and the lemon dessert with pastries.
Ginger serves super healthy foods and everything is made fresh with organic ingredients. Definitely try the meat plate. So. Freaking. Good.
Who doesn’t love macarons?
L’ Archetto is tucked away on a quiet street a few blocks away from the Trevi Fountain. I knew it was a legit Italian restaurant because nothing on the menu was in English. I ordered a seafood pasta and my friend ordered a pizza with prosciutto.
What to do
Legend says that if you have your back to the fountain and throw a coin over your left shoulder, you will return to Rome. Another legend says that if a couple drinks from the “fountain of lovers” (to the left of the Trevi Fountain) they will be faithful to each other forever.
Unfortunately it was closed for renovations, but it’s still gorgeous! It’s also close to a shopping area where I was able to stock up on authentic Italian pasta and truffle oil.
I suggest you buy the tickets ahead of time online so you aren’t waiting in the long ass line. Yes, it’s that long of a line!
Drink from the water fountain
Now, I would never drink from any water fountain back in the US. We saw a Roman drink from the fountain so we decided to try it ourselves. When in Rome, right? The water fountains all over Rome are safe to drink from and surprisingly very tasty. The water comes from the mountains outside of the city.
Miscellaneous pics of Rome
I had such a great time in Italy, but I was a little sad that I didn’t get to the see the Colosseum or the Pantheon. We were in Rome for such a short amount of time and couldn’t fit everything into our schedule. I did make my wish at the Trevi Fountain, so hopefully the legend is true and I’ll be able return to Rome some day.
See previous post Italy Part 1: Milan.
I look forward to the holidays for only one thing: food!
I have been making this Red Velvet Trifle cake for my holiday get-togethers for a few years now and it is always a hit. I got the recipe from this website and tweaked it a little bit. Follow the recipe, but just the cake part.
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 cup cake flour
- 1/2 lb (2 sticks) butter
- 2 oz red food coloring
- 2 tablespoons cocoa
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
You will also need:
- 1 large bag of shaved coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
- 2 containers of fresh cut strawberries (or one 1 lb. bag of frozen strawberries work fine, just thaw them the night before)
- 1 16 oz container of whipped cream
Preheat oven to 350º.
Prepare three 8″ round cake pans with non stick cooking spray and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl using a hand mixer, beat eggs, butter and sugar until creamy. Add cocoa and food coloring. Mix until well combined.
In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour and salt. Add to creamed mixture alternating with buttermilk. Blend in vanilla.
In a small bowl, combine soda and vinegar and add to batter. Pour into prepared pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until tests done. Allow cakes to cool completely.
Toast the shaved coconut in the oven on a baking sheet until it is light brown. It’s okay if not all the pieces are toasted. Let that cool completely.
Preparing the cake
Cut the cake into one inch squares and layer it in a trifle bowl starting with the cake, then the whipped cream, strawberries, and toasted coconut, and repeat. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
Side note: the supermarket ran out of red food coloring so I used green food coloring instead. It looks great with the red strawberries. I call it the “The Grinch Velvet Cake”.
If you decide to try out this recipe, let me know how your cake came out. Happy holidays!
We know the holiday season can be very hectic. Here are some ideas we came up to help make your shopping experience a little easier.
The cool design makes it light-weight and easy to throw in the luggage. It’s color coded so you’ll know which country uses which piece, according to their map.
Travelers are always taking pictures and staying connected. Portable battery charging devices are perfect for when their phone runs out of juice. This Braven BRV-BANK portable charger can withstand rugged conditions and is water-resistant. It even has a nifty built-in Bluetooth feature for if they misplaces the device.
It isn’t just any travel jacket. This jacket has a built-in inflatable neck pillow, an eye mask, built in gloves, and pockets for almost everything, including your iPad. There is also a hoodie version available.
The Raden suitcase comes with a built-in phone charger and luggage scale. The Bluetooth feature ensures that she will never lose her luggage with its app. Comes in an array of fun colors.
Stylish and efficient. It even has a shoe compartment underneath.
When they aren’t on the go, they’ll enjoy these travel-inspired recipes. Hardcover copy is always better, by the way.
To keep track of where they’ve been.
Super handy to avoid the overweight baggage fee.
World off, music on. Find Apple approved earbuds here.
Cocktail Kit choices: Old Fashioned, Gin & Tonic, Moscow Mule, Champagne Cocktail, Bloody Mary, and Hot Toddy.
This insulted mug is perfect for when she wants to sip her coffee or tea and reminisce about her last adventure, or take it with her on her next adventure. It comes in blue, red, off-white, and black.
Comfort at it’s best. This unique design keeps your head from falling forward.
The world’s lightest interchangeable lens camera. With its tiltable LCD screen, it’s perfect for selfies.
It’s so important to drink water and stay hydrated on flights. Give your traveler an extra boost of hydration on their skin.
These cubes come in a pack of 3 in different sizes and it’s water and stain resistant.
Travel Points/Airline Gift Cards
Last, but definitely not the least. Any traveler will definitely appreciate this gift. Some airline gift cards never expire, so make sure you read the fine print.
Okay, so maybe this is my Christmas wish list. 😉 Do you have any gift ideas you’d like to share? Comment below. Happy shopping!
Featured photo by Flickr Contributor Phil Roeder