Tag Archives: Featured

Seattle, WA

I recently got to spend four days exploring Seattle with my friends Rob and Christina.

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@newdarlings

CAPITOL HILL

Their first evening in town we spent roaming Capitol Hill.

I had spent an afternoon with friends in Capitol Hill the month before and enjoyed grabbing a Rwanda pour over at Victrola and lunch at Little Uncle  (get the khao soi curry noodles and pork bun).

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This time around we stumbled into a cute boutique fox + the feather, and then looked through books at The Elliot Bay Book Company: the space even includes an Oddfellows coffee shop tucked into the back.

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Right next door, we sat down at Oddfellows Cafe & Bar for dinner. The summer weather was absolutely perfect to dine outside.

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I highly suggest my order of the Roasted Free-Range Chicken with a Porch Swing house cocktail.

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The setting was perfect for catching up and talking about the similar life stages we found ourselves. It was a great evening and we definitely came back to relive it all again a couple nights later.

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If you are looking for dessert nearby, there’s a Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream around the corner, but we decided to walk over to Tavern Law for great drinks and great hospitality. We were also recommended to Canon and Foreign National in the area.

If you are looking for happy hour drinks in Capitol Hill, a couple weeks prior I had met my friend Stephanie at Poquitos for pineapple mint drinks.

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Another popular spot for dinner and brunch in Capitol Hill is Talulah’s which we went to the following night.

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DOWNTOWN

The next day our meeting spot was at Pike Place in Downtown Seattle. It may be touristy, but I love the fish and flower market in there.

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We took a ten minute walk to visit a friend’s boutique Moorea Seal. The space was bright with well-curated jewelry, candles and clothes.

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@mooreaseal

And on the way I found brunch at Biscuit Bitch. Great food and the hospitality was warm.

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Heading out of Downtown, I’d recommend sunset at Kerry Park in Queen Anne where there’s a view of the Space Needle and Mount Rainier.

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PIONEER SQUARE

We met up the next morning at Elm for some espresso tonics before walking over to a popular boutique and bar E. Smith Mercantile.

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Afterward we headed to the bright and photogenic The London Plane for brunch.

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BALLARD/FREMONT
I’ve gotten to spend a lot of time in Ballard and Fremont. A favorite spot has been the Slate Coffee Roasters location in Ballard which I first discovered about a month ago with Michelle.

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I’ve been picking up recommendations and trying spots, such as Morsel.
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And recently with Rob and Christina we spent their last day here. We started off walking the main streets of Ballard Ave and Market St. We found a cute plant shop The Palm Room and went to Prism which was on their list.

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We then went to the neighboring Fremont area. We happened to  stumble upon the Fremont Troll on our walk to Gasworks Park for a view of the city.

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We grabbed a coffee at Milstead & Co (also check out Miir nearby) before saying our goodbyes after a week of dear memories. It was a lot of fun to grab food and drinks and shots of the city for our blogs (find theirs at www.newdarlings.com).

 

 

 

Florence, ITALY

Florence was the last Italian city I visited on my six months living in Italy. By this time I was proficient at the train system, so I took a day trip from my apartment in Ferrara to explore the city on my own.

I knew nothing really of the city; this provided a great opportunity for a stumble upon, like the Ponte Vecchio,but I mostly wish I had done some research and knew what I was after.

I did have a short list I suppose, and on it was Ditta Artigianale. Absolutely one of the best coffee shops I encountered in Italy. They even served cold brew -the first I could find in my six months in Italy as cold coffee isn’t a concept that exists in this country – and as my coffee of choice, I was beyond excited.

Next on my list was to see David di Michelangelo at the Galleria dell’Accademia. I walked through Piazza della Signoria, which happens to have a duplicate of the statue if you would want to save time in line and money.

However, the museums in Italy are well worth the money, especially in Florence. Make sure to do your research on getting tickets to the David because if you are short on time like me on a day trip, you don’t want to spend hours in line or buy over priced tickets to skip the line.

  

After the museum, I grabbed a panini at a stand outside, and then some gelato, but here’s where I had wished I had done some research. Florence is known for not only it’s art, but it’s food, and trying to stumble upon a good spot in an Italian tourist city is a big mistake.

When traveling in Italy, make sure to research where to eat: there are way too many overpriced terrible tourist trap restaurants, and I’ve heard that disappointment from way too many people. There’s amazing food in Italy, if you know where to go.


I roamed the Mercato Centrale Firenze – the popular outdoor Italian goods market that I’d recommend for the experience and souvenirs – and then made my way to Uffizi Gallery. This museum is in my top two for Italy (with the Vatican Museum: see Rome, Italy post), so I’d say it’s a must if you are in Florence.


  

Phoenix AZ – Giant Coffee

You don’t have to live in Phoenix long to hear about Giant as a favorite coffee shop among locals. Maybe that is no surprise since this spot is owned by the owners of one of the most popular breakfast spots in Downtown Phoenix: Mat’s Big Breakfast. 

 
   

   

They use Four Barrel coffee beans and Straus milk to create their specialty drink: the Honey Vanilla Latte. I paid a visit recently with my friends Rob and Christina of newdarlings.com on a cloudy day, in which I ordered one in hot. Even Christina as a non-coffee drinker felt converted.

 
  

Parking can be found around back.

I always avoid coming in the afternoon when school lets out and all the children flood the shop: there isn’t a place to sit and there isn’t a quiet shop vibe to study or work or talk. 

  

My favorite time to come is during the spring and fall months when the front glass doors are kept open. 

 

  
 

Venice, ITALY

I recently visited Venice one last time on a cloudy morning in November. As my custom, the train station steps were our meeting spot. My train had arrived 30 minutes before Emma, so I spent the time photographing and absorbing my last day’s views of my favorite sight in Venice. 

  

  

Specialty coffee shops in Italy are called Torrefazione. Me and my friends  have a favorite in Venice called Torrefazione Cannaregio, but you can find it on Maps under the name Torrefazione Marchi. It’s right off the main road from the train station, so within a couple minutes we were starting off our day our favorite way: with coffee. 

  

  

Of all the times I’ve visited Venice, there’s always been someone to navigate the maze of a city that it is. I’d felt too confused and intimidated  by such a place to navigate even before learning that the city’s layout was designed to confuse intruding armies. 

While making plans with Emma the night before, I learned that Emma felt the same way and wanted me to do the navigating for our day. So while having wifi, I downloaded the Venice map to my Offline Maps app. Finding public wifi is rare in Italy, so if you do not have an unlocked phone or a phone with service, you will want to be on top of planning ahead while you have access to wifi. 

The app is amazing and I highly recommend it. Not only did I feel self-competent in Venice, but even during day trips I later took by myself in Italian cities I didn’t know. 

 

 

I never felt so adept as successfully navigating us through the tiny alleys to San Marcos Square. 

The clouds had put the city in a beautiful light for our morning and set the perfect mood for our shoot in San Marcos Square. 

  

  

We continued making our way south to our lunch spot. Since we had to cross the Grand Canal, and Emma had never been on a gondola, I took her to a spot where I had found $3 gondola rides to cross the Grand Canal. From San Marcos Square, you just have to follow the water West for about 5-10 minutes to find the gondola docks for crossing the Grand Canal. 

  

  

As we started to explore a part of Venice new to us, the clouds cleared. The winters in Italy are characterized by dark cold days and the summers are miserably humid, so I’d suggest visiting in October or at the latest, November. 

  

We found Oke Pizzeria after a short walk. This spot is a gluten-free restaurant right on the water. It’s difficult to find an Italian restaurant that is gluten-free, as I learned a few weeks previously with Emma as we spent a couple hours just looking for a good spot in Ferrara. This time we did some research the night before while making plans. 

 

Honestly, it’s difficult to find good food, gluten-free or not, in Venice as there are a lot of tourist traps, so I would highly recommend Oke Pizzeria for good Italian food. I got a seafood pasta because seafood and pasta are both so fresh in Italy. Emma had the gluten-free lasagna and gluten-free tiramisu, off the surprisingly long gluten free menu, both of which are a rare find even at a gluten-free restaurant in Italy, so she and I both loved this place. 

  

After lunch we headed towards the Rialto Bridge to meet our close Italian friend Marta. We decided to save a few dollars and skip the gondola ride by crossing the Grand Canal over the Ponte dell’Accademia bridge.

 

We found our way to the Rialto Bridge and Marta. The Rialto Bridge was under construction during this time, as other iconic Italian spots in Rome. I had seen these a couple years before so I wasn’t too upset, but if you are planning a trip to Italy, do some research to be sure that what you want to see will not be under construction, as it would be very disappointing to have been visiting Italy for the first time.

  

  

Emma and I now roamed around Venice with Marta, making a stop at Majer for pastries. There are a few of these around Venice so you will be sure to stumble on one. I suggest their Chocolate Orange Cannoli.

  
  

I loved seeing Venice through Marta’s eyes since she is a local and being shown her favorite hidden piazzas and canals in the city caused me to feel closer to her. 
   

 

We made our way to the train station to pick up our friend Rachel on the way to the Jewish  Ghetto for dinner at GAM GAM (another easy find from the train station). 
  

We grabbed seats along the water and ordered the fried artichoke, Mussaka Gam Gam (eggplant layered and baked with ground beef in a tomato house sauce) and the shwarma. Everything was really delicious, and unlike most restaurants in Venice, there wasn’t a cover charge. 
   

 

It was a perfect last day in Venice. I hope to have shared something helpful to enjoy on your someday visit to Venice.

Rome, ITALY

Rome is one of my favorite cities in Italy. I did one of my first solo trips here a month ago. I was nervous about understanding public transportation in a foreign country, but it was super easy. Upon arrival at the train station, I followed the signs downstairs to the metro, bought a pass at a newsstand on the way, and found the Colloseum within 15 minutes of arriving in Rome.

There’s a metro map on the station wall. It’s helpful to take a picture of it to keep on your phone. The name of the train is always the last station in the direction that it goes.

Traveling alone has never appealed to me, but this day roaming around Rome and seeing all my favorite spots was amazing. I didn’t have to compromise on where to go, or to think about engaging in conversation. I just left my headphones to music in and navigated myself around using the Offline Maps app. While on wifi the day before my trip, I downloaded the Rome map to the app. Finding public wifi or wifi that works is not something to depend on. If anything, you will waste a lot of time and end up frustrated. The best spot for wifi that I’ve found while traveling is Starbucks, but they don’t exist in Italy.

From the Colloseum, it’s an easy to walk to all the main iconic Roman sites which I did my first day. Right around the corner from the Colloseum is the Roma Capitale. I recommend the view of the Roma Capitale from Piazza Venezia.

By walking past the Roma Capitale and behind, you can get to the Jewish Ghetto.

Otherwise, there’s a metro stop for Circo Massimo that’s a beatiful walk along the Circo Massimo park and river to the Jewish Ghetto.

I love finding the Jewish Ghettos in Italian cities. Rome’s is one of my favorites. There’s a Bar del Cappuccino that I love for their iced cappuccinos that this adorable Italian grandpa makes behind the bar.

Largo di Torre Argentina is the location of the ruins of Pompey’s Theater where Julius Caesar was killed. The south street that borders this square are a couple great places for a good, cheap, quick lunch. Panepiù for baguette sandwiches of which I recommend the tuna, tomato and tapenade. Next to it is Pizzeria Florida where my friends recommend the pumpkin bacon pizza.

There was some cute shopping in the Jewish Ghetto in Piazza Benedetto Cairoli, like this boutique BE C.

From the Jewish Ghetto I found my way to an Italian restaurant I had been recommended to: Spaghetteria L’Archetto Pizzeria. Like most touristy Italian cities, it’s hard to find a good authentic Italian place, but this one is definitely that. The outside seating is literally in an alley with the waiters dodging oncoming cars to deliver food.

After my late lunch, on my way to the metro station at the Spanish steps, I made sure to pass by the Trevi Fountain that was just around the corner. Like a lot of Roman monuments this trip, it was under renovation, so if you are planning a trip to Italy, do some research to make sure you are coming at the right time.

The next day, I spent my morning at the Vatican Museum. I took a not so touristy road through a local neighborhood and passed through this park.

The Vatican Museum is one of my top favorite museums so I made it a priority to fit it into my short trip. I love that the ceilings and walls are covered in gold and marble statues and  Michelangelo originals.



That evening I met my friend Jen, who’s more of local having lived in Rome a couple years, and she showed me her favorite spot in Rome. She took me to Villa Borghese Gardens.


    

We walked through the park to a lookout that Jen said was her favorite spot to watch the sunset: Terrazza del Pincio. It overlooks the city and Piazza del Popolo.

We walked down into the Piazza and then stumbled on a great Italian restaurant. Again, it’s difficult to find a good authentic Italian restaurant in the touristy cities, so this would be another restaurant I’d recommend: da trani. Get the spaghetti alla carbonara. Even my friend said it was the best carbonara she had had since moving to Italy.

The next day, I had plans to meet some Italian friends at the Spanish Steps.

I arrived early so I could get caffeinated at one of the more famous coffee shops in Rome: Antico Caffé Greco. Such shops in Italy usually show in price. The cappuccinos here are €10. There’s a charge for taking a seat, so if you are on a budget, you can stand at the bar, like an Italian usually would. It’s not common to get something for free in Italy, even if you make a mistake on your order, so I was extra surprised and appreciative to receive my cappuccino for free.

A lot of Rome can be seen by walking, so my friends gave me a tour of the city all by foot. We started at the lookout point, this time by early morning light.

We stopped at a local favorite spot called Ginger, and grabbed pineapple ginger juice to go.

Walking the city of Rome to all the main sites is intensive, but it can be done. We walked through the Pantheon piazza and on to the famous Campo de’Fiori.

  

Here at Campo de’Fiori we stopped to eat. It’s uncommon to find burgers in Italy, and even more so a good one, but my friends knew a spot with great burgers, so if you are in Rome and craving a burger, go to Aristocampo. I believe they actually have locations in other Italian cities as well.


Next we walked through the french piazza Piazza Farnese and on to finish our evening in the city at the Colosseum and Piazza della Madonna dei Monti in a more hipster district of the city.


Koblenz, Germany

 I recently went to Germany for my first time to visit my new friend Michal, who I had met the month before.

I had gotten in to Koblenz late the night before and was now waking up in Michal’s home to coffee in bed, windows open, and the warm sunlight and brisk cool breeze on my skin. 

  

Michal had work every morning of my visit. So the first morning, as we rode our bikes to her work, she took me the scenic route to bike the river and Deutsches Eck (German Corner). 

After dropping her off at work, I rode around and happened upon the Altstadt (downtown). I saw an old couple drinking coffee at this shop, so I stopped for a cappuccino too. 

  

I returned back to Michal and we rode around the bridge at sunset. The architecture and weather and all was so beautiful and was a great first impression of Germany.

  

 

The next morning I found my way from Michal’s house to the hotel coffee shop that she recommended. I sat outside in the warmth of the morning light, but it was difficult finding a good cappuccino in town. 
  
 

Afterward I spent the morning discovering the Altstadt. Loved biking around finding palazzos of German architecture and secret gartens (gardens).
   

 

 

When Michal was off work, she took me to one of her favorite local roasters Kaffeerösterei Nero and we grabbed cappuccinos to go. 
   

 

We spent the afternoon walking through the Altstadt, stopping in and out of shops, and finally ending at the Schlossgarten (castle garden) at sunset.
   

  

  

 

I asked a few Germans for their coffee shop recommendations and from that got Wartesälchen and Kaffeejunge so I went on a coffee crawl the next morning. 
   

I loved Wartesälchen for its space, friendly staff, great wifi and location. Like really loved the location: on an island in the intersection overlooking this basilica.

  

But Kaffeejunge came highly recommended for a reason. The cappuccino was the best I found in town. The seating was limited, but I liked that. There were a couple spots at the bar, four at the window, and four outside right on the busy road. I definitely sat outside for an hour of car and people watching. 

  

 

I was also told a very German thing to try was Schnitzdl. So I found a spot that served it with potatoes. It reminded me of chicken fried steak by the crispy outside and meat inside, so comfort food and basically as delicious as I had been told. 

 

The next morning, before Michal went to work, we biked along the Rhein to Kaffejunge so I could introduce her. We had had a late start to the morning, and then spent a couple hours people watching and talking over cappuccinos, so it was pretty much the perfect start to a day.
   

When Michal was done with work and I with biking around the city, I met her at her studio for a shoot. Michal is well known for her moon paintings and weavings, and seeing her studio alone was an excitement for my trip, but getting to collaborate and shoot her at her studio was a favorite moment for sure. 

  

  

  

 

We then met up with Robby for a sunset bike ride along the Rhein. We crossed over to the other shore to a beach. 
  

While on the beach, I photographed Robby, to him saying, “I’ve never had someone take so many pictures of me before.” And somehow that shortly turned into some history on his life, which I was grateful for. He shared how he was from East Germany and that his parents had lived behind the wall in communism and the details of what that meant for daily life. It hit me in that moment that this wasn’t textbook history, but real life, and even just a couple years short of being Robby’s life. 
   

Travel is all about the people you meet and the experiences you have with them in the short time your life paths have crossed. That night after the sun had set on the beach, we biked over and along the Rhein, and the lights from the home windows on the dark waters while we rode through the night breeze was beautiful. 

 

The next day being Saturday, Michal, her friends, and parents were off work and we all got to spend the day together. It was such a beautiful day and beautiful experience getting to know those in Michal’s daily life and learn their culture. 

  

  

After hiking through the woods and along the Rhein, Robby introduced us to his favorite coffee shop Café am Kapuzinerplatz where there were plenty of ice coffees (affogatos) and tiramisus at our table. 

To end the day, we took a boat back across the Rhein (which was apparently a first for everyone and not just myself) to Michal’s house where her mother made a traditional German dinner: veal with potatoes and a homemade garlic basil butter, and the German fizziest water ever. 

  

  

 

Germany was not only beatiful in architecture and land, but also in the hospitable and genuine and friendly kind culture. I loved my experience here and am so glad it happened and for those I met.

Bassano del Grappa, ITALY

Last week I took a day trip to meet Emma in a city we had visited with friends two years before: Bassano del Grappa. 

Since I would not have phone service, we made plans the night before while we had wifi. We decided to meet at the train station: her train arriving at 9:05 am and mine at 9:20 am. A helpful iPhone app that I’ve used to look up train schedules is Infotreni.

We weren’t sure we would remember how to get into the center, but once we were there, it all came back to us. If you walk straight from the train station for two minutes, there is an entrance into the wall. Once inside the wall, go right. The first thing you will see is this coffee shop where we stopped for coffee.

  

Caffetteria Toffano is the first place you will see right when you walk inside the walls. Which was perfect as we had planned to find a place for coffee. It was a nice spot with good coffee. 


 

We walked through the various piazzas and soon learned that a lot of places were closed for Monday. So if you ever plan to visit a smaller town of Italy, keep in mind things will be closed Monday’s, in the afternoon, and for August vacation.

 

 

We took advantage of just walking the city and revisiting some of our favorite spots from our last visit. 

  

  

One of my favorite spots is this walkway of manicured trees overlooking a green valley. Bassano del Grappa is a small town that’s easy to discover.

  

  

I believe off of Via Vittorelli is this cute pane (bread) shop. Delicious for pastries, and they even had some senza glutine (gluten free) options for Emma which isn’t common for Italy. 

  

 

In Piazza Garibaldi we found this restaurant Danieli and decided to try it for lunch. We sat outside on the patio, which is typical for Italians. Last time we had visited on a Saturday and this piazza was covered with the outdoor Italian market.

 

   

  

Since the kitchen wasn’t yet open, we started with coffee.

  

About thirty minutes later we placed our food order. I ordered the gnocchi with mushroom. We spent a couple hours here hanging out and catching up and living the slow paced Italian lifestyle. It’s nice to not force too much into your days when you visit Italy, or to think too much of a time schedule, because then you will have a more Italian experience.
  

  

Padova ITALY

I recently visited my friend Marta in her hometown of Padova.  It was so good to reconnect roaming around the city after a couple years apart.

  

She met me at the train station and we walked toward the Centro di Padova and through Piazza Garibaldi.

 
We both felt quite out of it, so she took me to one of her favorite coffee shops Pasticceria Nova. It was down an alley off the Centro di Padova. I love that in Italy there are so many hidden food and coffee spots to be stumbled upon in the winding alleys thought out the city. Per usual, I got a cappuccino, and per Italian usual, she got a caffè (espresso).
   
  

Afterward we walked into the next piazza Piazza dei Signori in the Centro di Padova and got gelato at Grom. It’s a chain in Italy, so if you see one in a city you visit, definitely go. 

  

 

  

The usual this trip is the salted caramel gelato, but their affogatos are great as well. I have yet to find anything in America that’s as good as an Italian affogato, so take advantage of grabbing a few on your next trip to Italy. 

 

From the Centro di Padova, we walked over a couple streets and Marta showed me another favorite spot of hers in Padova: the Jewish Ghetto. There were a few fabric shops to peruse. 
   
  

Then walking out of that alley we found ourselves on the main shopping road. We tend to go to H&M or Pull and Bear, but this time we went to a new shop for me Stradivarius. Me and Marta love hippy (or as we tend to say “gypsy”) items, so we impulse bought such items: I some sunglasses and her a headband. 

 

She then took me to my favorite park Prato della Valle. It’s a circular park surrounded by a mote and white statues, and of course Italian cathedrals and buildings. 

  

  

 

 

The next day, while Marta had a family event that came up, I had some time to find my way into the center again. I came into the piazza we walked through the day before on the way to the Jewish Ghetto, but this time a huge market pop up. And it covered all the piazzas in the center.

  

I was really hit by the Italian culture. This experience didn’t feel so normal as most of my trip has, and I’m not even sure why. Maybe it was the huge crowds of Italians, or the Vespas riding by, or just walking upon this Italian market in a piazza surrounded by Italian architecture. It all felt so good though. 

  

 
Between the piazzas of outdoor markets, there was a large building filled with meat and cheese and pasta markets.

  

I found my way to one of the other piazzas, this one filled with the fashion, purses and jewelry markets. Surrounding the whole piazza were coffeeshops and people sitting outside having their morning caffè, so I joined in the tradition and grabbed a cappuccino at BREDA.
   
 

By noon I met up with Marta to head to Venice. On the way to the train station, we realized we were running too late for the train and had an hour to spare until the next one. So we stopped for coffee at this shop I thought was cute and wanted to try: Balentes Cafe. 

  
  

We met the owner Maurizio. He spoke English and had lived in LA for 7 years, so it was really nice to meet and chat with him.

   

Montebelluna ITALY – Gelati Roberto, Centro Coffee Crawl

Made a return visit to Montebelluna to see Emma a couple days after she arrived back. 

 

I’d like to side track on some culture. I love living the Italian train culture. It’s so foreign to my usual car form of transportation back home. This was my third train ride alone. I had assumed I’d have a lot of chances to ride with others and learn, but that hasn’t been the case, ands it’s funny how we learn the best by being forced into just doing it and surprising ourselves at what we can figure out in a foreign country. 

  
She brought some Rose Park Roasters coffee so we had a pour over coffee party. It’s been a month since I’ve been away from home and the coffee making world, so it felt like a piece of home to pour with Emma. Plus, I love Rose Park Roasters so it was exciting that she brought it.

  

 

We made plans with Tyler that night to be introduced to their new favorite gelato spot Gelati Roberto.

  

They both recommended the menta (mint) gelato. It was amazing and I’m still thinking about it.

 

  
The next day I did a coffee crawl around the Montebelluna Centro. The first spot was obviously Caffè Cavour. I ordered my usual cappuccino and pastry in more Italian breakfast style. 

  

 

Afterward I walked around to find a new coffee spot to try. While walking around I stumbled on this boutique Le Scarpe di Aliss where these yellow leather heels were on sale, so I made an impulse buy.
   

 

The second coffee shop I stopped at was one I’d never been to: Bar Alla Loggia. It was under an archway off a main piazza. I loved the vibes: from the outdoor piazza vibes to the loud Italian community how everyone knew everyone, and the cute old man who went on and on in Italian thinking I understood him and how I wish I did, and the shakerato I ordered.
   

At this point it was lunch time and with two coffees in, I was definitely ready for food. I returned to my comfort spot Caffè Cavour to try their lunch menu. I got the spaghetti with tonno (tuna) and pomodoro (tomato).

  

I walked back in to the piazza for the third spot Bernardi, a cute french bakery and coffee shop. I spent the time editing photos, being stared at by Italians, and face timing my coffee crawling friend Michelle from back home. 

  

  

 

Montebelluna ITALY – Pizzeria alla Stella, Gelateria Ducale, Caffè Cavour, Caffè Corona

I recently made a trip to revisit the town I used to live in in Italy for my friend Sharon’s birthday. The first place we went was her favorite coffee shop, that I had never tried, Degustazione. 

It was the best smelling coffee shop ever. All coffee shops smell like coffee, but here is was overwhelming, in the best way possible. Sharon got a cappuccino, and as much as a cappuccino is my usual, I had had two cappuccinos already that day so I went for a shakerato. I tend to get cold brew back home when I’m not wanting more milk, but in Italy it’s not really common to drink cold coffee, so my option and go to is the shakerato, which much like an iced americano, is: espresso shaken with ice, water and sometimes sugar. This spot made the best one I’ve had. 

 

After coffee, we met up with some of her friends for pizza at Stella’s. It was Sharon’s birthday, but I had had such good memories and pizzas here that it felt like my birthday haha. 

 

I had always wanted to try the french fry pizza, and now two years later and being so hungry, I got it, with sausage and ricotta. A couple points of culture: water at restaurants isn’t free and it’s expected you eat the whole pizza, but the crust is so thin is more doable than it seems.

  

Much like I left Montebelluna, it was still typical to go to gelato, and we went to Ducale afterwards, which also used to be one of my favorite spots. There is nothing like Italian gelato in America, so it felt too good to be back at Ducale.

 

My old favorite was Zuppa Inglese which has pieces of cake, but I went with Amareno (cherry) in a “cono” (cone).

 

Since I was just in town for a few days, I didn’t grab groceries and tried to just catch up on all the old favorites. Like the local kebab shop just a couple doors down from where I was staying. 

I used to love grabbing one and eatting it on the 20 minute walk home though town. One night, I told the guy I wanted a lot of “olio piccante” (spicy oil) and cried all the way home as I ate it, while my roommate laughed at me. So there were sentimental reasons for returning here, much like the other spots on this post.
  

After kebabs, Sharon asked where I wanted to go that day. She was hoping I’d say Caffe Cavour, and she knew me too well because Caffe Cavour was my favorite spot in Montebelluna and I couldn’t wait to return.
  

 

I had made friends with Ada, who owns the coffee shop, back when I used to come every morning for three months for a cappuccino. I was nervous she wouldn’t remember me after a couple years, but when I had the chance to approach her, she lit up with a mutual excitement, and I was too glad to catch up with with this Italian friend.

  

 

Their cappuccinos and pastries are so good. This was the place where I got my first cappucino in Italy, but it was the best. I couldn’t find better at any of the other spots I tried in town. I had been craving this pastry for two years, and today I was lucky enough to get there just in time for the last one. It felt so good, and so crazy, to finally be back.

  
  

The next day me and Sharon met with our friends Jake and Tyler for lunch. We walked into town to our friend Francesco’s spot Caffe Corona. 

 
   
  

It was a lot of fun and laughs to be together with these friends again in Montebelluna. It felt so surreal and so nice to reminisce.

  

I got the same as Tyler: a grilled vegetable and fontina piadine with a red mayo. Piadine is like a crepe: made of piadina, a bread closest to a tortilla,  and stuffed with savory items. 

 

On one of my last days, I walked to the center of town for another visit at Caffe Cavour. As I left, I walked toward the piazza I used to walk through everyday by my old apartment. There a few old Italian men invited me to sit with them for a caffe as they sat at Caffe Centrale. It was a lot of fun to make new friends with these Italians, and so far one of my favorite moments in Italy this trip.