Amusement parks = hot dog heaven
I have a lot of my mother in me. If you don’t like the food and prices at amusement park-style concession stands, then for Pete’s sake, don’t plan your day so that you have to eat there.
But my husband is an in-law and apparently one who did not get the memo. No matter how carefully you plan your food intake, he ends up standing at a counter reading the menu board. My scrapbooks are riddled with photos of this man chowing down at the Cincinnati Zoo, the circus, Cedar Point, Kings Island, Holiday World … you get the drift.
Oh, he’s polite. He always asks if I want something, too. Occasionally I’ll say yes to an ice cream sandwich or an ice-cold Pepsi. But most of the time, he eats alone.
And most of the time, he eats hot dogs.
Read More »
Densely Populated Florence Italy
Visiting friends who live just outside of Florence taught me that the area has a thriving agritourism industry that would be perfect for a return visit with my family. Similar to bed and breakfasts, what you find are converted rustic farm houses that have rooms or small apartments with complete kitchens and often pools. This style can be a nice and casual alternative to staying at the Westin Excelsior Florence for example.
We were already staying with our friends but what we learned is that at these farmhouses, you will often also have a small restaurant that is open to everyone, not just guests, if you call for a reservation. Our friends took us to Poggio agli Ulivi with its beautiful setting in the Mugello Valley of Italy, for a wonderful dinner in the resort’s restaurant. Read More »
Best Monte Cristo sandwich in the country
Decades ago, I walked into the restaurant at The Ahwahnee in Yosemite National Park with my parents and didn’t have time to get comfortable before they were saying, “Kids, put the menus down. We’re leaving.”
It was just too pricey for a family of four living on a civil servant’s salary.
But that slight humiliation as a young teen-ager stuck with me into adulthood, where my definition of success became “can order a meal at The Ahwahnee without incurring credit card debt or a second mortgage on the house.” This month, I crossed that item off my bucket list when I sat down in that grand old restaurant, and ordered the most delicious (and pricey) Monte Cristo of my life.
Read More »
Besides seeing the beautiful countryside and the incredible art, one of my favorite reasons to visit Italy is to see dear friends. We have friends who live about thirty minutes outside of Florence, in a small town that is an Italian version of a bedroom community. Barberino Di Mugello reminds me of the slightly rural unincorporated towns you would find spread across the hills east of San Diego or north of Napa.
A big benefit to discovering a town like Mugello, as the locals call it, is that you have its close proximity to a major city, Florence, without the density and high cost. It is very relaxing and quiet, with the focus being not on tourists but on everyday Italian life. And a huge bonus is that the Tuscan region of Italy is famous for having festivals celebrating specific products from the area. There are always something new to try and discover.
While we were visiting we had dinner at a typical Tuscan restaurant for the area called Ristorante La Cavallina, and besides homemade pasta we saw on their menu pappadelle pasta noodles with cinghiale (wild boar) sauce. Springtime brings Sagra del Cinghiale or Wild Boar Festivals to these small towns so we were excited to try wild boar whenever we saw it on the menu. Read More »