Category Archives: Travel with Bonita

Italy Part 2: When In Rome

Hotel

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.

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Where to eat

Guida ballerino!

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.

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Ginger

Ginger serves super healthy foods and everything is made fresh with organic ingredients. Definitely try the meat plate. So. Freaking. Good.

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Ladurée

Who doesn’t love macarons?

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L’ Archetto

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.

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What to do

Trevi Fountain

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.

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Spanish Steps

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.

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Vatican Museum

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!

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Okay, so you’re not supposed to take pics of the Sistine Chapel but I just had to sneak a photo. 🙂
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My absolute favorite photo that I took in Italy. This is the exit staircase in the Vatican.

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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.

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Miscellaneous pics of Rome

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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.

Italy: Part 1 – Milan

For someone who loves to travel and travels often, I had the biggest fear of flying overseas. There was just something about flying over water for an extended period of time that scared the shit out of me.  A couple months ago, I decided to suck it up and bought tickets to Italy with my best friend. It was an eight hour flight, non-stop, on Emirates Airlines. The seats were bigger, there was more leg room, and the food was pretty good. There was a bigger and better selection of entertainment, compared to domestic flights, to keep me busy. It was not as bad as I imagined it to be and totally got over my fear. Hello, world!

My friend and I only had four days in Italy, but we made the most of our time there. The food was incredible and the Italians were so sweet to us. Everyone spoke English, so it was easy to navigate around. There were so many well dressed men and women! I mean – it makes sense – Milan is the fashion capital.

Climbing the steps of the Duomo di Milano was probably one of the highlights of Milan. We enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine at a restaurant on the top floor of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II overlooking the Duomo. The Galleria is one of the oldest malls in the world. And, of course we had to try real Italian pasta and gelato.

Nobu is a well known Japanese restaurant with locations all around the U.S. and the world. My friend and I thought we’d be bougie and take it up a notch by eating at the Nobu in Milan. It’s located within the Emporio Armani Store. We chose the prix fixe menu; the sea bass sashimi was my favorite.

Before leaving to Rome, we had to try authentic Milanese food. I found this small mom and pop restaurant down an alley near the Expo. My friend ordered Milanese risotto with saffron and I ordered the grilled sea bass. The risotto was such a comfort food dish. The sea bass was so light and refreshing. It was such a simple recipe – just olive oil, lemon and herbs.

 

Stay tuned for Italy: Part 2 – Rome!

Vlog Snippet – Maryland

I’ve been traveling so much this past year! As soon as I got home from one trip, I was packing for another. I’m always on the go, but I love it! A few months ago, I went to Maryland to visit my best friend. Here’s a snippet of my time there. I’ll have the full vlog up soon, promise!

A weekend in the Windy City – Chicago, Illinois

Back in November, I met up with my cousin in Chicago to celebrate her 30th birthday. We had such a wonderful time – just the two of us!

First stop was the John Hancock Observatory, which is also known as 360 Chicago Observatory. If you’re ballsy enough, try TILT. You get a downward facing view 1,000 feet over the Magnificent Mile and Chicago’s skyline. It wasn’t something my cousin and I were up for, but the view from every side was beautiful. From what I heard, there’s also a view from the bathroom that we missed out on! I think we were getting tipsy at the bar and just forgot about it. But it’s alright. It’s an excuse to go back to Chicago. 🙂

We went to Skydeck at the Willis Tower. Skydeck has glass boxes that stick out 4 feet from the building for more scary but amazing views of the city from 1,353 feet up high. I won’t lie, I was terrified. We were on the 103rd floor!

We met up with my friend and walked down the Magnificent Mile. There are so many places to eat and shop there. We walked over the Chicago River, saw the famous Chicago Theater, checked out The Bean at Millennium Park, and had a cocktail at the Chicago Athletic Association. It sounds like a gym, but it’s a hotel with a restaurant/bar and a gorgeous view of Lake Michigan.

One of the highlights of our trip was going to see The Weeknd at the United Center. The concert was LIT. Literally. He had fire going on and everything.

If  you want a real dining experience you must try Alinea Restaurant. You have to book reservations on their site and they only book two months ahead. We checked the website every day before our trip and we got lucky! We got the last reservation for that night. There is a set menu and it is pricey, but it was worth every dollar spent. I would say the best part for me was dessert. The apple taffy helium balloon was so fun to eat. My cousin and I had a ball sounding like chipmunks. But that wasn’t all for dessert – a chef came out and painted our table with edible art! (I’m only posting one picture because I don’t want to ruin the experience for anyone. Every dish was beautifully plated.)

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In every city that I visit, I like to go to at least one museum. On this trip, we went to the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

We stopped by Downtown Dogs and I tried a Double Downtown Dog. It’s two hot dogs on a bun with mustard, relish, tomatoes, onions, pickles, hot peppers and celery salt. For someone who doesn’t really like or eat hot dogs, I did enjoy it. It was definitely different and something I’ve never had before. I mean, I had to try it. I was IN Chicago.

Getting popcorn from Garrett is a MUST. If there is a long line, just wait in it. I think we waited 20 minutes, but it was worth it. Get a few bags of the Garrett Mix to eat right away and to bring home – you won’t regret it.

Clearwater Beach, Florida

My family is a very family-oriented family despite the fact that everyone is spread apart across the country. We are all grown adults with our own lives and own families, but we do try to set aside time for these family gatherings. For our 2nd Annual Cousin Trip, we took it down Tampa, Florida.

We drove out to Clearwater Beach and rented kayaks from Sail Honeymoon. Sailboats and stand up paddle boards are also available for rent. We kayaked out to Caladesi Island which is just 15 minutes away. It was 80 degrees, the sun was out, and the water was nice and cool. Caladesi Island was the perfect place to hang out for a whole day. I wish we had planned this trip better and brought a picnic. We saw a few dolphins swim by while we were on the sand, and my cousins were lucky enough to have had an encounter with a manatee while paddling back to shore. It swam under their kayak and poked it’s snout out of the water.

On our way home we stopped by the famous Frenchy’s for a bite to eat. I’ve eaten at this restaurant a few times and my favorite dish is always the Greek Style Octopus. I also got the Jerk Grouper with Coconut Rice. The flavor of the coconut was not overpowering and accompanied my fish so well. The Frenchy’s Garlic Crab Fries and Maryland Style Jumbo Lump Crap Cakes were also delicious.

 

Newport, Rhode Island

My best friend and I are always looking for random adventures to go on, so we decided to take a day trip to Newport, Rhode Island. As soon as we got in to Newport we were starving for breakfast but as soon as we got to Benjamin’s Raw Bar, we just missed the breakfast menu by a couple of minutes. We ordered oysters, crab cakes and fried fish. After lunch, we decided to check out Thames Street which is the popular street in Newport with a bunch of restaurants and shops.

While souvenir shopping, we found the scooter rental shop, Scooter World. Of course we rented the two-seater scooter and rode around the area. We rode to the see the lighthouse, to the beach, and to see the mansions. We didn’t get to stop by any of the museums, so we’ll have to check those out on the next trip.

We continued our adventure at Newport Vineyards in Middletown, RI. My friend and I did the wine tasting which was obviously so fun. You also get a free wine glass with the tasting. My favorite wines are the Great White (which won awards), the Vidal Blanc, and the Bellevue Blush.

After frolicking in between the rows of grapes, we worked up an appetite and ate dinner at the vineyard at Brix Restaurant. We ordered the Mussels Sofrito Sauvignon, Caribbean Jerk Skewers, and the Portuguese Seafood Stew. I’m not really a fan of mussels, but I ate a few just to say I did try it. My friend enjoyed them though. My favorite were the skewers, which were actually spicy. The stew was more of like a paella, but it was still very delicious and flavorful. For dessert we had a toffee cheesecake which was amazing.

Labor Day Weekend – Boston, MA

I’ve lived around Boston basically all my life and some times I forget how much there is to do and see here in Boston for a visitor, so I’m going to do more posts on Boston.

I hit up my friend on Sunday night for a good time out in the city. Without a doubt, Cure Nightclub is the hotspot every Sunday night, but even better on a Sunday night before a Monday holiday like Presidents’ Day, Patriots Day, Labor Day, and Columbus Day. You can compare Cure on Sundays to LIV on Sundays in Miami. It’s THE spot to be at. The music is EDM and hip-hop if you’re wondering. Your best bet is to get there early because the line to get in will be wrapped around the block. You can try get on the guestlist, buy a table, or know some people who know some people at the door. Another club/lounge I enjoy is Tunnel, which we also stopped in at that night, is located inside the W Hotel.

On Labor Day, I went kayaking with my cousins on the Charles River. After a night of drinking, kayaking can be a little rough. I think I had a combination of a hangover and seasickness, but I toughed it out and enjoyed the lovely company of my cousins, the 88 degree weather, and the cool river water the best I could. You can rent kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards at Charles River Canoe & Kayak. They have four locations in the Boston area; I went to the one in Allston/Brighton.

We worked up an appetite paddling so we grabbed Japanese hot pot at ShabuZen in Allston. The Chinese Spicy Mongolian broth definitely hit the spot. It wasn’t actually that spicy and it reminded me of my mom’s chicken soup. It was very warming and cured my hangover. Lychee Saketini, anyone?