Where to Eat in Italy

The entrance to the restaurant at Il Falconiere.

People often ask me where to eat in Italy. This isn’t as easy of a question to answer as you might think. While Italy is one of the world’s great culinary destinations, I’ve had a lot of disappointing and frankly forgettable meals there. Italian Michelin star restaurants, in particular, have left me wanting. It’s possible to stumble upon an incredible meal, but more often than not you find yourself famished so you stop at a little trattoria. The proscuitto and melon is good and the setting, like sitting at a cafe on the Piazza del Campo in Sienna, makes the food taste better than it actually is. Continue reading “Where to Eat in Italy”

South America with Baby

Justin and Wylie at the Vines Resort at sunset.

I had a baby in September and as you might expect, Wylie had a passport appointment within a few days of being born. My husband and I didn’t want to do an international trip too early, though, so we cured our wanderlust with a few West Coast road trips during the fall and planned a trip to South America for right after Christmas. Wylie would be just under four months old, a sweet spot we’d been hearing for traveling with baby, and we wanted to take advantage of it. The holidays were a whirlwind and I had a cold by the time our trip rolled around. Continue reading “South America with Baby”

A Video Guide to the Marais

The Marais is my favorite neighborhood in Paris. It includes the 3rd and 4th arrondissements and offers 16th century architecture, Israeli street food and wonderful shopping. The Marais is also one of the rare parts of Paris that is lively on Sundays but know if you go that day you will encounter large crowds. I recommend visiting midweek when shops are open, but it’s a bit more quiet. Here is a video guide to the area. Continue reading “A Video Guide to the Marais”

What You Need to Know Before Visiting the Alhambra

Last spring, my husband and I spent two weeks traveling through France and Portugal. Justin had to return to San Diego for work, but we were so close to southern Spain, I decided to stay another week by myself. I have always wanted to visit the Alhambra and the Generalife, the complex of palaces used by the Kings of Granada as summer residences. The site’s Moorish architecture, sumptuous gardens and hilltop location backed by the Sierra Nevada mountains appeared to me in photos like a sort of Shangri-La. Continue reading “What You Need to Know Before Visiting the Alhambra”

My Paris Guide Part 1: Restaurants, Sights and Shopping

On the Seine.
On the Seine.

Paris may be the most beautiful city in the world, but it is not the movie set many of us have come to expect. It is a big city with gritty areas, and diverse cultures and cuisines, but this is precisely what makes it special. In addition to enjoying crêpes on the street and steak frites in a picture perfect French bistro you can also find Israeli street food, Asian-French fusion and globally influenced small plates from up-and-coming Parisian chefs.

It’s true that the pace is slower here than say New York or London. Shops still close on Sundays and don’t even think about trying to purchase meat at mid-day (butchers close for a two hour lunch break). While anybody who visits the city should see the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and the Musée D’Orsay, these sites are just the tip of the iceburg when it comes to what Paris has to offer culturally and architecturally. There’s nothing like coming to Paris and feeling more like a local than a tourist and hopefully this guide will help you do that. Continue reading “My Paris Guide Part 1: Restaurants, Sights and Shopping”

Good Morning Paris

Pastries and daily specials on a chalkboard greet you at Claus.
Pastries and daily specials on a chalkboard greet you at Claus.

Since arriving in Paris, I’ve discovered many things are trending, bagels, Mexican food, speakeasy style cocktail bars and best of all breakfast. Sure, Paris is the cradle of breakfast pastries, however, boulangeries stick to what they do best– baguettes, croissants and pain au chocolate, never heartier fare and they almost never have a place to sit down. Thankfully, there’s been a recent rash of spots opening up where you can get locally roasted coffee (another trend) served alongside breakfast sandwiches and granola with honey and fromage blanc. Continue reading “Good Morning Paris”

LA By Subway

Would it surprise you to learn Los Angeles actually has a clean and efficient subway system? On many of our trips to LA these days, my husband and I  ditch the car and take the train to LA instead. By making downtown our base, we’re able to take the subway everywhere we want to go. The result is a hassle free and traffic free trip. I swear, there were moments I can trick myself into believing I’m in the Big Apple. Continue reading “LA By Subway”

Now That’s Italian


Luce by streetlight.
Luce by streetlight.

Luce on Portland’s East Burnside Street has been thrust into the spotlight after being named one of Bon Appetit’s best new restaurants in the country and I’m happy to say it lives up to the hype. There’s no doubt the recent attention has rocked the small space– waits can be up to two hours and the restaurant seems understaffed, but the experience transports you to a market in Italy and it’s charming. Exquisitely prepared dishes like farfalle with squash blossoms and simple grilled hanger steak are what Italian food should be– flavorful thanks to excellent ingredients but not heavy. Don’t miss the delicious, crisp homemade focaccia bread to start and the “choose your own” antipasti platter. This restaurant is not fancy—think paper napkins and wine in glass tumblers. Unless you get there before 6– expect a massive wait, but luckily the restaurant has a wine bar next door.

2138 & 2140 E. Burnside

Portland, OR 97214




Vegan Yes, Granola No

Outside new Portland vegan eatery Canteen.

I must admit, I did a bit of a double take when I saw this industrial-chic new storefront on the corner of SE Stark and 28th. Long a coffee shop, the small spot had a new flat black paint job and slick block lettering. The appearance alone was enough to peak my interest but when I found out newly opened Canteen served fresh juice and gourmet vegan I was even more excited. This food cart turned brick and mortar is exactly what Portland’s lunch scene needs– delicious, healthy food served in a crisp-mod setting. The simple, clean, white interior with bistro tables and wooden counter tops just makes you want to sit and eat. The food which includes smoothies, juices, bowls and salads is awesome. Don’t miss the Portland bowl– quinoa, kale, maple tempeh and hazelnuts and the Verde juice (pure health in a glass). Canteen also serves beer and wine and is open into the evening.

2816 SE Stark St.

Portland, OR 97214