Category Archives: travel

The Italy Recovery Period

For every two weeks that a person is in Italy, he or she requires one week of recovery. It’s a little-known fact, but one should not engage in any mentally or physically challenging tasks immediately upon returning to one’s home country, including, but not limited to, food blogging. Following all that R&R, it’s important to slowly transition back into a schedule. After all, I had to fulfill many strenuous duties as a tourist in my two weeks in Italy:

– Checking out some famous buildings, statues and fountains


– Swimming in assorted seas and lakes (like Lake Albano, pictured here)


– Shuttling the kids around, and sometimes putting my super-sized sunglasses on their itty-bitty faces and deriving far too much amusement from it


– Eating food that other people cooked for me
That last one has really done me in. I haven’t cooked in–please withhold your shock–two weeks. My Italy vacation began with the promise of infinite food inspiration and ended with sheer gluttonous laziness. “Why cook when Italians can do it for you?” I have often wondered in a post-pizza-and-gelato daze. There are few moments more joyous than watching your waiter weave his way toward you with a pizza the size of a Monopoly board, contentment washing over your sun-weary skin and carb-starved stomach when you realize that whole pie is for you, solely and exclusively. And you didn’t have to make it.

But, folks, I’m back. And I’ll be cooking again pronto.

Safe ‘n’ Sound

I could tell you all about the 11 hour train ride I took from Raleigh to DC. Or the equally long flights from DC to London to Munich (cumulatively). Or how it’s been 60 degrees and raining all day.

Yes, I could tell you about all of those travel tragedies, but those stories would detract from the pure bliss I’ve derived from the following: spending time with excellent and generous hosts in DC and Munich, evading Icelandic volcano eruption #2 (unlike #1), learning German from a three year-old, being picked up from the Munich airport in a Porsche convertible, eating two-hour-long dinners with my family, having a floor of the house to myself, and finding out that I can still have an iPhone while I’m here. You know, the little things in life.

I plan to cook again in the very near future, promise. Last time I was here, I introduced my hostess to southern North American cuisine, in a food movement I called “Southern Germany, Meet the Southern USA.” I’m looking forward to continuing that same movement, particularly now that I’ve confirmed the presence of sweet potatoes in this country.

Any suggestions for what southern/American foods I should cook for my family?

A Weekend in Atlanta

Just arrived home from my weekend jaunt in Atlanta. This was the view from our hotel room at the Marriott Marquis. Thank you, Priceline.

The gastronomic pinnacle of our weekend was at Babs, a teeny basement restaurant with a small patio and a rustic interior. The owner is this fantastically flamboyant middle-aged man who berated us mercilessly and helped us burn up most of the calories we’d consumed with his hilarious one-liners. He gave us sweet potato fries for making us wait five minutes past our 1 p.m. reservation. (Devoured too quickly for me to snap a photo.) I ordered a pomegranate lemonade punctuated with pieces of fruit. The ideal solution for a hot summer day.

Our meals were insanely generous, just like the owner himself. Sausage, potato wedges, cheesy scrambled eggs and fruit slices overwhelmed my plate. And the sweet potato waffles, oh my. Light, fluffy, but not intensely sweet. Perfect with the homemade peach honey jam. Everything was served with a side of snark.

Perhaps because we fed his ego, the owner fed us a free lemonade tart. We attacked it with an impressive fervor considering our meal portions. The tart truly tasted like the dessert embodiment of a glass of lemonade. Refreshingly tart and the sweetest ending we could’ve asked for.

If you’re ever in Atlanta, go to Babs. Seriously. But bring your Big Girl panties, because the owner will make fun of you and your waistline will grow to previously unknown proportions.

Being back in the South has renewed my adoration for Sunday brunch. Since seven hours is a long way to drive for a meal, I’m wondering: What do you think the best brunch restaurants in the Triangle are?