Dining in Venice: Bacari


Ca’ d’Oro/Alla Vedova. Calle del Pistor, Cannaregio 3912. One of the most famous bàcari in Venice, this one’s both away from the city’s crowds and on the cheap (€1) end of things, ideal if you’re on a budget. Don’t miss the polpette,meatballs made of pork.

La Cantina. Calle San Felice, 3689. A stone’s throw from Alla Vedova, La Cantina features inventive dishes, using fresh ingredients like beef tongue or fresh ricotta. A local favorite.

This isn’t just a popular area for tourists… it has some othe best bàcari in town!

All’Arco. Calle Arco, San Polo 436. Another one of Venice’s most-loved spots, All’Arco, near the Ponte Rialto, is packed at lunchtime with shoppers from the local fish market. Everything from calamari to liver to shrimp is on offer, and if it’s available, don’t miss the hot sandwich of boiled beef sausage and mustard.

Do Mori. Sestiere San Polo 429, Calle dei Do Mori. Myth has it that Casanova frequented this bàcaro, also near the Rialto Bridge. Even if he didn’t, it’s still thought to be the oldest in Venice, dating back to 1462. Ask for the “francobollo”(postage stamp)—a tiny sandwich with various fillings, it’s the house specialty.

Cicchetti at one of the bacari in Venice

Do Spad

Do Spade. Calle delle Do Spade, 19 S. Polo 860. Another bàcaro dating back to the 15th century, Do Spade has lots of seafood on offer, as well as a variety of vegetable and cheese Cantinone–già Schiavi. Ponte San Trovaso, Dorsoduro 992. This family-runbàcaro, located across from a gondola workshop,oasts raw fismeats, more than 30 wines available by the glass, and much more. Crowded with Venetians in the evening!


Do Spade. Calle delle Do Spade, 19 S. Polo 860. Another bàcaro dating back to the 15th century, Do Spade has lots of seafood on offer, as well as a variety of vegetable and cheese spreads.

Cantinone–già Schiavi. Ponte San Trovaso, Dorsoduro 992. This family-runbàcaro, located across from a gondola workshop, boasts raw fish, meats, more than 30 wines available by the glass, and much more. Crowded with Venetians in the evening!

Al Ponte. Calle Larga Giacinto Gallina. One of the cheapest bàcari—and, therefore, places to eat—in all of Venice, Al Ponte has pasta and fish plates and a welcoming atmosphere.

Banco Giro. Campo San Giacometto, San Polo 122. A Grand Canal view, a variety of cheeses, fish, and wine, and a lively atmosphere. What’s not to like?


— Courtesy, Walks of Italy

Classic Sunday Dinner

In my mind Sunday dinner equals family, gathered around a table, for a hearty meal. Perfect Sunday DinnerIdeally, the meal should be eaten at a leisurely pace, with the table cleared between courses, a tablecloth, and linen napkins.

In my mind nobody does hearty, leisurely, cuisine quite like the French.

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Casual French Cuisine

My go-to Sunday dinner:

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Exploring Utah: Capitol Reef National Park

imageimageIf you live in Utah you can, and should, explore the multitude of national parks, recreation areas, and monuments within just a few hour’s drive of Salt Lake City … and my favorite is Capitol Reef.

Located just three and a half scenic hours southeast of Salt Lake City with hotels, developed RV facilities, and first-come-first-served national park campsites Capitol Reef is the perfect weekend getaway March – May and October – November. Avoid the summer months where you’ll bake in the dessert heat and hike nose-to-tail with European tourists in their black knee socks and trekking poles.

Instead, pick an April Friday, reserve a hotel room in Torrey on Friday night, head out of town at 3:00, make good time, and enter the park just in time for a beautiful sunset hike. Then, grab a patio table for pizza, live music, a fabulous canyon sunset, and a beer at the Rim Rock Inn.

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Although the in-park campgrounds are some of the best around, they fill up quick and don’t accept reservations. Fortunately, just ten minutes outside the park is the tourist (in a quaint way) town of Torrey and the Red Sands Hotel where for $100-$150 per night you can have two queens, wifi, pool and jacuzzi, and a view of the red rocks while you enjoy the included breakfast (coffee, waffles, eggs, and cereal). Or, you can do it up right at the less conveniently located but more charming Lodge at Red River in Teasdale for $150 – $250 per night.

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Wherever you rest your head will be secondary to the easy and accessible hikes, scenic drives, board-walk petroglyph trails, canyon arches, and the Pioneer Register where pioneers from 1884 to 1962 recorded their passage through the Capitol Gorge.

Head out of town after a delicious brunch at Cafe Diablo, flip your radio to The Splendid Table and enjoy transmission while you can. Arrive home in time for two loads of  laundry and a quick prep for the week ahead.

It’s a vacation without the stress of planning.

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Shallot Carbanara

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Okay, I know, this is not technically a carbonara. Technically, a carbonara should contain pepper, egg, pancetta and a hint of cheese. But, “technically”, in order to get it right you need a perfect pancetta and a homemade noodle – and on a given Tuesday night I have neither. Fortunately pretty good and a willingness to ignore the purists can result in a damn fine dinner.

Ingredients:

Splash of white wine
1/4 stick butter
1 pound sliced portabella mushrooms
1 diced shallot
4 oz. cream cheese, cubed
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 pound cubed pancetta
1 cup milk
1 box angel haired pasta
Parsley
Salt and pepper

30 minutes, serves four

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Brown the pancetta in a medium sized skillet on high heat (or use your Le Creusette if you scored an awesome Christmas pot from the hubbs in 2009) and set aside on a folded paper towel. Deglaze the pan with a splash of white wine and turn down the heat.

Sautee the butter, shallots, and mushrooms over low heat while boiling the noodles. Melt cubed cream cheese and parmesan while slowly mixing in milk (carefully adding heat so as not to curdle).

Crack an egg into the cream sauce then spoon in the noodles (do not rinse) and mix to coat noodles. Add pancetta, salt, and pepper to taste, and heat through.

Serve in shallow bowls and sprinkle with fresh parsley.

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Boozey Brunches

Once upon a time there was a lazy Sunday in May, seventy-eight degrees, a carrot-infused  bloody mary, a roasted beet and honey salad, lavender scones, and three perfect hours with my childhood best friend.

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Then there was a closet shelf of just the perfect size to become a shrine to Chanel … the perfect pumps with the baby soft lambskin soles in nearly perfect condition.

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And there were bacon jam samples at the deli where I stopped to pick up frommage D’affinois.

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My family was healthy.

My heart was full.

And for that day, life was better than I even dare to hope for.

Desktop Organization

It had never once occurred to me to “organize” my desktop.

Sure, I purge every now and again, search, find, and lose – but never have I really organized this space that I use every day, all day long.  I just hadn’t put much thought into it.  Until I came across Iheartplanners, a blog dedicated to all sorts of organizational tips and tricks – and this post about desktop organization graphics.

Her blog got me all sorts of excited about how to maximize my own desktop space and viola, twenty minutes of Power Point later my desktop is as gorgeous as that desk calendar I’m still searching for.  Have you found an adorable, affordable, date neutral option?

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Feel free to use any of my desktop graphics, or make your own using the “Format Background” tool in Power Point.

Desktop Graphic, Purple:

Desktop Graphic - Purple

Desktop Graphic, Green:

Desktop Graphic - GreenDesktop Graphic, Gray:

Desktop Graphic - Gray

Other organization blogs I like include:

Dear Gentlemen, it’s too bad about this whole feminism thing

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I stumbled upon a sad little blog the other day full of angry little trolls huffing and puffing that white men had become the marginalized minority, discriminated against, marginalized, and silenced. Between the venomous lines of hate, I read quite loudly the longing these men shared to return to the “good old days” of masculine power and white privilege.

I couldn’t help but want to scream, “You chose this! You gave your power away; you squandered it with violence, war, greed, and tyranny.”

The problem is, gentlemen, that the men who came before you destroyed the status quo you loved so much; they proved that you are not to be trusted with power.

For centuries, we gave you a pretty good deal: at home your woman provided three hots and a cot (made up with linens hand-washed, starched, and embroidered with dainty flowers as symbols of our devotion) and the great privilege that comes with assumed male superiority, and all you had to do was foot the bill and not behave like neanderthals.  But, too many of your brothers and fathers took advantage of these Sevres handcuffs. You left bellies empty, black-eyed wives,  and wounded young bread winners on the battlefield of pointless wars, and so we got fed up.

We warned you with small actions like Abigail Adams’ letter where she urged our newly formed Congress:

“I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.”

But, you gentleman refused to listen. You refused to concede your complete rule over female education, bodies, finances, suffrage, and sexuality and so we warned you again, louder, refusing to be quieted until full rights of citizenship were granted.

But, still, you refused to recognize our inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. You attempted to block our access to effective birth control, to reduce our income through unfair wages, and to pass insulting laws and laughable sentencing guidelines against sexual predators and domestic abusers. And so again, we expressed our displeasure, burned our bras, marched in the streets, and reminded you to keep the promises of our founding fathers. Instead, you patted us on the head and gave us Cosmopolitan Magazine and Roe vs. Wade, but you didn’t listen.

That’s okay. We don’t need you to listen. Because quietly, behind your backs, we decided to take matters into our own hands. We started to make things happen, one college degree, one Tupperware party, and one pink-collar promotion at a time.

We became doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, and politicians – in spite of your tush pinching, bra snapping, subtle discrimination of low expectations.

We earned spots in your armed forces, even though sexual violence against our female troops was routinely used to humiliate, degrade, and marginalize those who tried.

We bought trucks, guns, groceries, houses, and tickets to NFL games – and you listened to our dollars, even when our words were silenced.

We shaved our legs, or not, on our own wims, and many of you started a little manscaping of your own.

And then one day, after ignoring our requests for millenia you looked around and realized that the laws of physics you’d enjoyed so much, had changed. White men no longer controlled the conversation simply by nature of less inky melatonin and the existence of your dangling participles. You’ve now arrived at the day where you have no choice but to listen to the women who surround you.

You report to us, appeal to us for leniency when you run stop signs, and pay $29 per month simply hoping one of us will decide not to swipe left on your selfies.

Oops! Sucks to be a late adopter then find out the price went up, doesn’t it?

Into Everyone’s Life A Little Motivation Will Fall

Six hours

I have six hours until I need to be on a flight to the UK, followed by three days “on”, a day to fly home, two days of laundry, groceries, and prep then four days in Chicago, five days in Rome, and one week home. Then it’s on to one week in New York, a long weekend in Louisville, a few days of baseball practice, birthday parties, and laundry, a week in Dusseldorf, a week at home … two weeks in Eastern Europe. Then, finally, I’ll get a nice long six week break before I start it all up again.

I’ll earn this year’s Gold Medallion status in just one quarter of work travel.  But, today, I just can’t seem to must two f*cks to give. 

I love my job. I love to travel. I love to pack, and head out on a great adventure.  But sometimes, I love to sit on my bed, with a nice glass of Pinot, and watch Keeping Up With Kardashians.  And, until July – there will be no time for such luxury.

So, right now, instead of going to get the mani-pedi I desperately need, or packing up my still empty suitcase, or tackling the laundry mountain that is threatening to swallow me whole, I am wallowing. I’m still in last night’s T-shirt, snuggled under the covers, too pre-emptively tired to even reach across the bed for the remote control, and Pinteresting packing ideas (as if that will magically fill my suitcase with clothes).

For those who’ve never experienced it, pre-emptive exhaustion is the practice of being exhausted not by what you’ve done, but by what you’re preparing to do. I haven’t yet flown for 15 hours straight, haggled to get a trunk full of sample merchandise through customs, and then been charming and “on” for four days of double-face-kisses and global sales dominance, before washing, rinsing, and repeating in another city, another W hotel. But, I know it’s coming, and right now, just the thought of it is more than I can handle – exacerbated by the fact that following her performance review, the world’s worst assistant quit, with no notice, and an inbox full of To Do’s.

Damn, I wish the liquor store opened before 11:30, it’s the perfect Pinot-and-Kardashians kind of morning.

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One Day in Rome

The thing which never happens, has happened! On my upcoming trip to Italy I will have 24 full, unscheduled hours – all to myself.

No colleagues to entertain

No meetings to attend

No children to attend to

Just me, my map, and an ungodly amount of Frascati

I’ve visited Rome before, years ago, and after two weeks in Venice, Sienna, Cinque Terre, Bologna, and Florence I found it a sore disappointment: dirty, crowded, and overrun with tourists too lazy to do more than visit the big ten greatest hits.

But, Rome is the Eternal City for a reason. With a history that spans nearly 3,000 years Rome is one of the oldest continuously occupied cities in Europe. Rome is commonly considered the birthplace of western civilization and was the capital city for the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire.

So, yeah, I get that it is important … but so is Detroit; I don’t exactly want to visit every Christmas.

In fact, I’ve always kind of considered Rome the Italian city that tourists visit when they don’t really take their time to research the beauty that is Italy (hence the endless brigade of tourists marching nose-to-tail behind a flag wielding tour guide).

As for my interests, want amazing ruins, visit Turino, want breathtaking chapels – Venice, and don’t forget the art, culture, and food that is Florence!

However, I recognize that I’m sorta … well … wrong.  In 2011, Rome was the 18th-most-visited city in the world, 3rd most visited in the European Union, and the most popular tourist attraction in Italy (which is exactly the type of description that would keep me away). But, people love Rome. People eat, pray, and love their way to Rome and back year after year.

Rome is ruination and reinvention, thriving, bustling, sleepy, and special.  There is no denying that moment when you walk around a corner and come face to face with iconic ROME – the Trevi fountain, the Vatican, Hadrian’s Arch, or any of a thousand other spectacular glimpses into the astounding history of this eternal city.

So, I am putting on my rose colored glasses (they fit quite nicely after a catastrophically shitty trip to Bali, strep throat in Istanbul, and a July heat wave in Shanghai) and prepping for the next great adventure.

My itinerary for one day in Rome:

1. Skip the Caesar Shuffle and the Vatican, I’ve been there and done that. Instead I’ll start the day with a leisurely stroll and cappuccino in Trastevere.

2. Then, I’ll continue across the Tiber to the Parthenon, a visit to the daily markets of the Campo De’ Fiori, and a stroll through the Piazza Navona .

3. After a full day of wandering, I’ll end the afternoon with the Dolce Vita stroll (as coined by travel guru Rick Steves) starting with a glass of wine and snacks at the Piazza del Popolo then a saunter down the Via del Corso and up Via Condotti to the Spanish Steps to surround myself with smooching lovers and that feeling of being painfully alone … for just long enough to make a Skype call home to my family as they settle in to their day.

And, hopefully, this time Rome will leave me aching to return, understanding what those nose-to-tail tour group tourists have been raving about for years.

A Moron, a Jackass, and Sarah Palin Walk Into a Bar

Last week I found myself knee-deep in stupid wrapped around a premise of profound. I’m sure you’ve been there too, that moment when you’re talking with someone and a piece of verbal garbage so profoundly ridiculous comes out of their mouth it leaves you scrambling for the conversational escape hatch …

“Command, I’m going to need an immediate evacuation from this social exchange, I just realized I’m speaking with a mouth-breather.”

Fortunately, my particularly awkward social exchange took place via email so I opted for the only appropriate response in that situation: delete and move on, no reply necessary.

Typically, I consider it rude to argue with the idiotic, the ignorant, or the just plain crazy. They have enough to deal with. But then, when a teleprompter broke down at the much ridiculed Iowa Freedom Summit Sarah Palin unleashed a torrent of such verbal nonsense it left me contemplating the various schools of “stupid” one might belong to.

So, geek that I am, I create a Venn Diagram to make deciphering dumb a little easier.

Idiot Venn Diagram
By sharing this critical thoughtless taxonomy it is my hopes that you will be able to avoid that awkward moment of horror when you find yourself waist deep in dope without a shovel.

  • Dumb: Do not argue with these people it takes all of their processing power to string together a sentence and breathe at the same time. You won’t get anywhere and it’s a bit like wrestling with a toddler.
    • Appropriate Response When Encountering a Debating Dummy: Nod your head, thank them for sharing their opinion, then give them a lollipop and a smile – it’s cute of them to try.
  • Stupid: Stupid is the most evil of the idiot school in that stupid can often hide itself behind mean, snide, or cruel. In reality, cruel, mean, and snide are often just a camouflage for stupid, these people don’t have the intellectual horsepower or maturity to come up with a clever retort so they respond by going with an irrational hyperbolic retort. You can argue with this person, but they’ll leave red faced and huffing like an angry little Rumpelstiltskin. Stupids don’t respond well to having their delusional ego dinged.
    • Appropriate Response When Encountering Stupid: “I can see that you’ve got a lot of emotional capital invested in your opinion, thankfully most of us don’t share your perspective.
  • Ignorant: We all have a little ignorant in us. I’ve chosen to sit out the whole Capital Gains Tax debate. Due to the ubiquitous nature of partial ignorance this is the most potentially redeemable school of Idiot. With patience, Hooked on Phonics, and a heavy dose of NPR reprogramming this person might move on to live a full and productive life.
    • Appropriate Response to Ignorance: “When I read (xxx official, peer-reviewed, research and policy statements that an educated person would respect) it was stated quite clearly that (xxx issue to which said Ignoramus is not privy, most likely man-caused global warming) your opinion has fallen out of favor. Let me Google that for you.

You can thank me later, or share your own moments of intellectual horror.