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This Thanksgiving I went to Sicily.  It was my first trip to the main island and I stayed at the incredible Monaci delle Terre Nere.

On my last day, I had this for lunch.

IMG_4779When you have a dish with so few ingredients, they better be of the freshest and highest quality ingredients.  There are no sauces or foam to mask bad food.

While this dish was simple, the flavors were not.  The pasta was cooked perfectly al dente and the tomatoes had that killer combo of acidity and sweetness that you cannot find in out of season tomatoes at a mega supermarket.

We eat with our eyes as well.  I really appreciated the presentation.  It’s Stylish Simplicity.

When I was growing up in the States, rosé had a reputation for being a second rate wine.  I don’t know why that is.

However, in St. Martin (the half French, half Dutch island) I noticed it everywhere, restaurants (including upscale ones), beach bars, house parties, etc.

Once my parents moved back to the island, my siblings and I started to spend more time there.   My sister, Daniella, LOVES rosé and would insist on stopping by a wine shop to stock up for our stay.

Now, thanks to Daniella, I am a big fan of getting my rosé on the minute the warm weather arrives.

Certain words and images come to mind when I drink rosé: summer, family, friends, good food, beaches, the Caribbean, outdoor seating in my favorite piazza, France, Sicily, parties, pink.

Some rosés at the fantastic wine shop, Comptoir France, in Rome,

Some rosés at a fantastic wine shop, Comptoir France, in Rome.

Here’s a write up about rosé from The Kitchn.

Buon weekend a tutti!

Okay, the recipe below is simple but what makes it stylish?  To me, its simplicity!

The summer heat has finally arrived and the last thing I want to do is to be in the kitchen making complicated things.

When I’m at the market and see the huge Amalfi lemons, I must make this lemonade and add a sprig of mint.

Italian-Lemon-GrovesPhoto: Exsus

Homemade Lemonade

1 ¾ white sugar
8 cups water
1 ½ cup lemon juice (about 10 lemons)

In a small saucepan combine sugar with 1 cup of the water. Bring to a boil until the sugar dissolves. Allow to cool to room temperature then refrigerate until chilled.

Put the lemons in hot water for 10 minutes then roll to loosen up the juice.

Remove seeds from lemons (leave in as much or as little pulp as you like). Squeeze the lemons in a pitcher, added the chilled sugar syrup and then 7 cups cold water.

Enjoy!

It took me forever to get to Salina.

I took a car (at 5:00 a.m.) to the airport to fly to Palermo, a taxi from the Palermo airport to the central train station, the train from Palermo to Milazzo, a ferry from Milazzo to Lipari, a ferry from Lipari to Salina.

Once I arrived, I understood why so many of my Italian friends schlep from Rome, Milan, etc. to visit the Aeolian islands.  Stunning.

Salina is surprisingly green for a volcanic island, tiny (population 2,000), and there was a constant breeze.  The food was delicious and folks knew how to make a very good cocktail.

It was my first trip to any island in Italy.  That’s bananas.  I’m an island person.  I was born on the island of Manhattan and my parents are from St. Martin.

I cannot wait to return.

psfilicudi

psgranitasalina1psf&bchurchpschurch

 

It’s Ferragosto, one of the major Italian holidays.

The city has pretty much cleared out except for tourists and people who work with tourists.

One tradition I fully support is the Ferragosto lunch.  This year my friend Erica and I decided to Treat. Our. Selves. and have a proper lunch at one of our neighborhood places Pierluigi.

Unfortunately, it was so outrageously hot, we sat inside.

We also sat next to rapper/singer Frank Ocean, which was definitely one of my more random celebrity sightings.

It is NOT a holiday in the States.  I had to work today and have a conference call tonight (the L.A. time difference can be a killer sometimes).

That said, meeting a good friend for a delicious lunch is a wonderful thing.

Buon Ferragosto a tutti!

My friend, Erica, has written a more in-depth post on Huffington Post about Rome based apps.  I’m writing about my top three.

I receive a lot of e-mails asking me where to eat in Rome.  I love to cook and have my favorite restaurants, but I’m by no means an expert.  Instead, I suggest people buy apps by Gillian McGuire, Katie Parla and Elizabeth Minchilli.  I’ve asked them why they decided to create their apps (which is a lot of work).  Thanks for responding, ladies!

Why buy an app?  For one, they are updated frequently.  Some guidebooks become outdated the moment they are published.  Also, these apps are written by people who really know this city.  They live here.  They see the vendors they write about, know the chef/cooks at the restaurants, and capture the city in a way that someone on short term assignment cannot do.

I think they are an invaluable resource.  There are a lot of restaurants, gelato places, coffee shops, etc. here and yes, it is possible to have a bad meal in Rome. With these apps, the chances of that happening are greatly reduced.

EAT ROME by Elizabeth Helman Minchilli.  When Elizabeth was twelve her family moved to Rome.  She returned for good while studying in Florence for her dissertation.  Elizabeth has written books on design and has been writing about food, design, and travel for various publications for twenty years.  One of my favorite features of her app is the comment section. It’s great to read everyone’s experiences at various restaurants.   Elizabeth does respond to feedback which helps keep the app up to date.

“I’m a big believer in embracing all of the technical innovations that are happening in publishing. While I’ve always been happy to write for magazines, newspapers and book publishers (and continue to do so) I love the possibility that blogs and apps present. They give me not only much more control over the content, but allow exciting and extremely helpful direct contact with my readers.”

ROME FOR FOODIES by Katie Parla.   Katie grew up in the Garden State (aka New Jersey).  She started working in restaurants from a young age and moved to Rome in 2003 after graduating from college. Since her move, Katie has earned a sommelier certificate (FISAR) and an MA in the Cultura Gastronomica Italiana (Universita’ degli Studi di Roma “Tor Vergata”). Katie has has written several guide books and writes about food and travel for a number of publications. The Katie’s Picks section is great.  She has a very specific POV when it comes to food and doesn’t hold back her opinions.

“I decided to develop and app for a few reasons. I wanted to experiment with new media, find a new way to connect with readers, and monetize blog content. I had the app re-developed in order to introduce concepts of branding and improve user interface.”

ROME FOR EXPATS by Gillian McGuire.  Gillian has lived in Rome for seven years.  Prior to her move, she and her family lived in several African countries.  Her expats friends call her “The Source” for a reason.   I’ve included an expat app because there are people who travel to Rome and rent apartments and/or stay for an extended period.  If you need to know where to find an English speaking dentist, or a hairdresser, cilantro, or maybe you’re dying for a bagel, or looking for a personal trainer (to help burn off that bagel), this is the app for you.

“First, I love an assignment, so I found I was often asked the question “where can I find… x?

And second, in my seven years of living in Rome I had compiled quite a list. I partnered with the Sutro Media team and created Rome for Expats as an easy to access resource of all of that information”
Buon eating!
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