Saturday, September 19, 2009

buongiorno amico mio

Hello sunshines. I hope you've been enjoying your weekend! As I mentioned before I'm currently spending a busy one at home with none other than the best of friends, family, and boys :). In the mean time I'd like to continue the Plates from Around the World series. It will continue to run each Saturday morning until you all stop having incredible experiences with wonderful food in amazing places. Another example, you ask? Today, as the second guest post, I'd like to welcome a  fantastic girl of my own heart, K, from K's Good Eats.

Traveling to Europe has been one of my fondest memories of my life thus far. I knew my Italian adventure would be a little different the moment I boarded the plane. Typically flights to Europe use planes that are quite large. Usually the layout is two seats, an aisle, four seats, an aisle, and then two more seats. Additionally, each seat has personal media players that allow you pass the time watching any movie your heart desires, listen to world radio stations, or play Bejeweled until you go crazy. This particular trip however? Nothing like previous flights I had been on. Think domestic flight (three seats on each side with one aisle down the center) and a shared TV screen that played one episode of The Office. I was not impressed!
Upon landing in Italy, I knew the awful Trans-Atlantic flight was worth it. It may have been sleep deprivation but as soon as I saw the sprawling vineyards, this country was going to be my favorite place I’ve been to so far. In particular the city of Venice won my heart. I was lucky to have been there during Mardi Gras – woohoo, right?! Well, their Mardi Gras is a bit different than the Mardi Gras American’s know and love.
The food? Well, any reader of my blog knows that I don’t eat very much Italian food. Since I have been spoiled with the real deal, nothing can even come close to comparing. Fresh gelato, tiramisu, pasta, bread, oil, cheese, espresso, everything! Nothing was premade or from a packaged. Our hotel chefs proudly prepared every meal from scratch that day.
The whole act of dinner is completely different from what Americans are used to. The first night we were there, in our delirious state of mind, we ended up sitting at dinner for well over 3 hours. Course after course would be brought out. Being so new to this way of life, we hardly had room come dessert – we filled up on the first course which, after the usual bread and vegetables, was an amazingly rich risotto. My first experience with the rice dish is still vividly imprinted in my mind to this day.
Being a vegetarian in Italy was quite easy. The chefs would graciously prepare a special meal for me (which I dreaded only because I didn’t like being the center of attention – the one with the “special needs”). Besides our decadent multi-course dinners, lunch would often be street food. We would either find a little café and sit outside to people watch or grab a quick bite at the many stalls they had selling ‘fast food.’ Those ‘fast food’ meals were often my favorite – pressed Panini with fresh mozzarella, olive oil, tomatoes, and basil or a baked round of bread stuffed with seasonings and cheese.
At the end of the week, I came home one well fed girl. I plan on going back at some point in my life – I couldn’t get enough of Venice while I was there. I know everyone claims that Paris is the most romantic city in the world but I beg to differ.
Oh my gorgeous, thanks so much for sharing your story K!  Have you ever been to Italy? Or possibly just love real Italian food? Who doesn't... um, yum. If you'd like to participate in this Plates from Around the World series please email a description favorite place, and your favorite foodie memory from there, along with a few photos of the place/food itself or those that were taken nearby to Thanks in advance, and see you in a few days with a photo-recap of my less than worldly adventures in NYC ;) I have a camera now!

P.S. I am in the October issue of Fitness magazine! And it's out! Take a look at pages 20, 22 (two places), and 110. I'm so excited :)

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