America’s Best Coffee Shops #nationalcoffeeday

Let’s be honest with ourselves. Many of us cannot start our day without the wonderful warm cup of coffee in the morning, so it’s not like we really need a “national holiday” reminding us to celebrate our favorite caffeinated beverage. But, hey, any excuse to make a trip to a coffee shop, or what I call my third home, right? (Note: my second home is at my coworking space, where I work.)

Today is National Coffee Day! And, instead of sharing drink specials at the popular coffee chains, I wanted to share our suggestions for where to go for your espresso needs around the United States. Oh, and yes, I always google “best coffee” when I visit cities for business or pleasure trips because like I said before, there is no better way to start the day then with a GOOD GREAT cup of coffee. Enjoy!

Victrola Cafe and Roastery, Seattle, WA
I remember walking into this magical place when I visited Seattle for a #FoodieChats event, and it did not disappoint. From the characters who drink their coffee hear to the music playing the background to the delicious cup put before me, Victrola is my go-to place when I visit Seattle. All three Victrola locations focus on single-origin coffee, but offer blends as well. Founded in 2000, Victrola hosts free cuppings, or coffee tastings, open to the public every Wednesday at 11 a.m.

Either/Or, Portland, OR
Either/Or is an intelligent coffee shop, located in the city of coffee. Start with any of the signature drink offering, as they change frequently. Try the beverage flight, which includes a shot of espresso, a cappuccino or macchiato and a tiny food pairing. Their spicy Tanglewood chai is fantastic, and coffee sodas are an ideal caffeinated spritzer on warm days.

Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters, San Francisco, CA
Wrecking Ball is now offering their award-winning coffee in a full-service shop, after operating as a pop-up for several years. The originators of the term “third-wave coffee,” the shop does not disappoint, offering precise and technologically advanced pour-overs and espresso drinks.

The ELK, New York, NY
Located in West Village, the ELK is a destination for a fine cortado and a single-origin pour-over. Enjoy the wall of well-curated artisanal products or get some work done in the bright, cheery space.

Dinosaur Coffee, Los Angeles, CA
An expansive, gorgeously laid out coffee bar with plenty of space for laptop warriors, this shop offers the best of LA: quality Four Barrel espresso, friendly baristas and an airy room perfect for conversation (or mobile work).

Communal Coffee, San Diego, CA
Communal brews the acclaimed Sightglass Coffee with the beautiful monochromatic background. It is a nice place to sip coffee in “America’s Finest City.”

Sawada, Chicago, IL
There’s more to Sawada than just a “military latte,” a posh coffee drink that’s looks like camouflage. It’s roasty from espresso, slightly bitter from the green tea and warmed with gentle notes of white chocolate. Sawada also offers straightforward espresso drinks and iced coffee. Grab a seat at the ping pong table or on a counter seat.

Copper Door Coffee, Denver, CO
Copper Door is the first female-only-owned roasting company in Denver offering beans to-go and some of the best & most creative drinks in town.

Crema Cafe, Cambridge, MA
Located at Harvard Square, Crema stays busy year-round churning out espresso beverages, tea lattes and plenty of iced beverages when it is hot outside.

Colada Shop, Washington, D.C.
Colada Shop offers unusual coffee drinks like its Cafe Cubano (a shot of coffee, sweetened with whipped sugar) or Cafe Bon Bon (espresso and sweetened condensed milk). Don’t stop there! Grab some delicious Cuban food while you enjoy this colorful space in Washington, D.C.

La Colombe, Philadelphia, PA
Of course, there are a number of La Colombe cafes around the US and hundreds more brewing their beans. While I have only been to their Rittenhouse Square coffee shop, I have heard amazing things about the charms of the massive flagship in Fishtown. There’s good food and so much space (no WiFi, though), so not a place to work remotely. Next trip to Philly will definitely include this coffee shop with my girlfriends.

Dogwood Coffee Co., Minneapolis, MN
Dogwood Coffee Co. is a coffee shop focused on roasting quality over quantity. It takes great pride in finding the right farmers to buy beans from, learning about and crafting its roasting process and sharing its delicious cups coffee with everyone. Dogwood offers coffees and espressos by the cup, or whole bags of beans to-go, so you can enjoy the roasts in the comfort of your own home.

Caffé Medici, Austin, TX
This longtime Austin coffee shop has five branches around town, including the Congress walk-up window with sidewalk cafe. I stop here every time that I am in Austin because it has a warm and homey vibe, and the elegant downtown space boasts a massive espresso bar. Like Seattle and Portland, there are a lot of amazing coffee shops in Austin, but this place always feels like home.

📷: Frank Gruber

PublicUs, Las Vegas, NV
PublicUs features coffee selections and pastries. Thanks, Frank Gruber of Tech.co, for introducing us to this delicious cup of coffee. What a great gift to bring to Spark.Me! While you are PublicUs, try their farm-to-table sandwiches & pastries. Also, consider trying the Green Panda matcha latte.

The Wired Goat Cafe, Columbia, SC
Highly recommended by Spa Travel Gal Ava Roxanne Stritt, the Wired Goat Cafe has a funky interior with vintage furniture and local art. Their freshly baked bread and lattes are always a hit and their staff is extremely friendly.

What do you think? Is this list missing any coffee shop that you love?

Please comment below and share where!

Provost, Y’all! Chamberlain POPS UP at Addison Oktoberfest

One of the most authentic parts of Addison Oktoberfest is the amazing Chamberlain’s Brauhaus, which allows guests to enjoy the same type of VIP seating one might have in the brewery tents at the famed Munich festival. Richard Chamberlain has created a DELECTABLE menu – buy your tickets for the limited seating TODAY!Chamberlain’s Brauhaus is really an exceptional bargain – for only $55, guests get complimentary admission to the event, three-course meal paired with pairing, reserved seating with a view of the dance floor, a commemorative Paulaner stein, PLUS a $25 promotional gift card to either Chamberlain’s restaurant!

Starters
* Locally-made Pretzel with Reisling Honey Mustard Sauce
* House Made Bavarian Ham, Leek, Potato and Vegetable Soup

Entrées (Guests will receive both)
* Paulaner Hefeweizen Beer Braised Pork with Horseradish Mustard and Roasted Onion Potatoes
* Bratwurst, Grobe and Weisswurst Sausages and Local Kobe Bacon-Braised Red Cabbage

Dessert
Warm Bavarian Cherry Strudel with Port Wine Cherry Compote

Seatings are limited and are available the following times:
* Thursday, September 14 – 7 p.m.
* Friday, September 15 – 6:30 & 8:30 p.m.
* Saturday, September 16 – 5:00 & 7:30 p.m.

Make your reservations for Chamberlain’s Brauhaus here: www.chamberlainssteakhouse.com/ticketsAddison Oktoberfest information and other packages are available at AddisonOktoberfest.com.

Cannot wait for Oktoberfest to come mid-September?! Then, we have the recipe for you from Richard Chamberlain. This comfort food will get you ready and sustain you throughout the fall season. 🙂

Chamberlain’s Brauhaus Roasted Onion Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
12 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/2 cup butter, soft
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Instructions
1. In a large skillet over medium-low heat, sauté the onions in 3 tablespoons of olive oil, stirring occasionally, for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.
2. Transfer to a blender and process until blended; set aside.
3. Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once at a rapid boil, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes, or until tender enough to pierce with a fork. Drain the potatoes well.
4. Place potatoes in a mixer and add in the roasted garlic cloves, butter, sour cream, cheese, heavy cream, salt, pepper and onion mix. Beat potatoes until light and fluffy. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm.

The Summer Menu at Jasper’s Gourmet Backyard Cuisine Will Make You Want Summer to Stay

There truly is something for everyone at Jasper’s!  Jasper’s is known for their gourmet backyard cuisine and their use of the finest quality seasonal ingredients.  They feature gourmet twists on popular dishes and enhance them with fresh and premium ingredients.  To make things even better they have added some really wonderful new summer menu items.  Think fresh heirloom tomatoes and Texas peaches used in the most unexpected and delicious ways.

 

My husband and I recently visited Jasper’s at their Shops of Legacy location which is a trendy and happening area of Plano.  I love the restaurant’s interior – it’s contemporary with pops of wood which makes it feel elegant and upscale but warm and cozy at the same time.   The restaurant did not disappoint.  We had an amazing dinner from the creative appetizers to the delicious desserts.

 

To start off, I picked one of the summer appetizers Smoked Texas Peach Bruschetta.  The description sounded intriguing and it was.  It’s made with goat cheese with a honey and balsamic drizzle topped with peaches!  It has that delicious mix of tangy, sweet, and salty which I absolutely love.

My husband picked the Pulled Pork Empanadas (because he loves empanadas) which is a standard menu item at Jasper’s.  He’s now a huge fan.  The empanadas are made with a delicious chimichurri sauce and cotija cheese and the pastry is baked to perfection.  I have to say it’s now a favorite of mine too.

Next up we tried the restaurant’s very popular and award winning Caesar Salad.  It truly is one of the best I’ve ever had.  It was very fresh and light (not like a lot of Caesars which are “over” dressed) with grated Grana Padano and crispy focaccia croutons.  I’ll order it again when I go back for sure.

 

For my entrée I picked one of their summer offerings, the Shiner Bock Honey BBQ Rotisserie Chicken over apple wood smoked bacon and cheddar grits (yes you heard me bacon and cheese grits).  This dish has everything going for it – Shiner, Honey, BBQ, and Grits so it was a big win-win for me.

My husband tried the award winning  Slow Smoked Baby Back ribs with Creamy Baked Potato Salad and Ancho BBQ.   The ribs made Bon Appetit Magazine’s top 3 choices for America’s Best Ribs.  They loved them and so did my husband (he’s still talking about them).  They were fall off the bone tender and are served with a delightfully surprising rendition of potato salad and topped with fried onions – delicious!  For sides we chose the asparagus prepared with gremolata butter and the crispy, smoky brussell sprouts.  Both were delicious as well.

Now let’s talk about desserts.  Oh my gosh do they have desserts.  I’m not sure how we had room but let’s say we managed.    Our very helpful waiter, William, suggested we have the trio which included the Bundt cake which actually melts in your mouth like butter (highly recommend), the Strawberry Tart (it has the cobbler crust that you dream of), and the Cherry Limeade (think key lime pie with a cherry on top)!  Triple Yum is all I can say!

Jasper’s has backyard fresh roots and they seem to be committed to delivering it.  Everything is made from scratch here and is thoughtfully prepared.  I believe it  puts them in a class above a lot of other restaurants.   Jasper’s also has a great wine selection and their cocktails were perfect (I did not have to explain my signature cocktail more than once) and the service was excellent.  Everything was perfectly timed and more than lived up to our expectations.  We will be back.  And you should definitely go before summer is over to try their new summer menu.  It’s available for both lunch and dinner!

 

Jasper’s has several locations at Plano, Richardson, and The Woodlands in Houston.  For their menu and more information go to:

Jasper’s Plano Home

Jasper’s Richardson Home

http://jasperswoodlands.com

Don’t Miss Dallas’ Newest Addition – District 30 Craft Bar and Kitchen!

There’s a new hip restaurant in Dallas called District 30 Craft Bar and Kitchen and it’s officially open and ready to delight you with their unique cuisine.  This new “gastropub” features American, Italian, and combines Tex Mex with comfort food in the most surprising ways.  There is something for everyone here – from standard fare such as burgers, crab cakes, pizza, and salads to unique and creative recipes.

My husband and I recently went for a dinner preview and we had a wonderful experience from start to finish.  The staff was friendly and welcoming and the atmosphere of the restaurant is warm and inviting with wood paneling and décor and big comfy booths.  This will be the place to go this fall to watch the big games because they have lots of TV’s throughout the restaurant.

Everything we were served was delicious and thoughtfully prepared.  For appetizers our favorites included the unique ahi tuna mini crisps that are served with wasabi spiced avocado and pickled  ginger (my husband’s favorite), tasty tempura asparagus sticks, and the stuffed Portobello mushroom caps filled with garlic, spinach, and cream cheese (my favorite).

Next up we were absolutely delighted to sample the restaurant’s incredible Chicken and Jalapeno Dumplings.  This is where Tex Mex meets comfort food at District 30.  The dish features pan roasted chicken breast with jalapeno dumplings cooked in a creamy cilantro sauce.  My husband and I agreed that this was one of our new favorite dishes and we will absolutely be going back just for this fabulous creation.

For the main course we sampled District 30’s signature dish which is the braised beef short ribs.  The short ribs are slow cooked in a red wine sauce over mashed Yukon gold potatoes with green beans.  The ribs were incredibly tender and the wine sauce is rich and to die for and the pairing with mashed potatoes is perfect.  The spring lamb lollipops are pan seared with a cashew and mini pesto crust and are interesting and favorable.  They are served with roasted fingerling potatoes and vegetables.  Also of note were the grilled mahi mahi served with a pineapple pico de gallo and the seared scallops with sautéed spinach, Portobello mushrooms with a really yummy roasted corn and vanilla bean cream sauce.

We followed up with desserts which included a great chocolate nut brownie and a different twist on bread pudding – don’t miss this dessert when you go!  It’s made with orange juice and is much denser than a lot of bread pudding.  And yes I finished the whole thing and part of my husband’s.

 

If craft beer is your thing they have a great selection and they also have some pretty creative cocktails with names like Ginger and Mary Ann – love it!

 

Here’s a little background:  District 30’s kitchen is directed by the gifted Chef Mike Smith who has worked as sous chef at The Green Room and in the kitchens of Arcodoro/Pomodoro, Restaurant 2900. and The Common Table to name a few.  He also created the healthy menu at Utopia Food and Fitness.  There’s a lot of talent in the kitchen at District 30 and you will reap the benefits when you go.

 

District 30 has a perfect location – right on the corner of Oak Lawn and Hall Street.  It has a great patio with a view of what’s happening in this popular area.  And did I mention that the menu is reasonably priced?  Final Conclusion?  This is a great happy hour spot which just happens to have some really wonderful food.  You can’t go wrong here and I’m betting that this place will be a hit.

 

If you want more information before you go here it is:

https://www.district30dallas.com/ or go to Facebook: www.facebook.com/district30dallas/

 

 

Peace, Love, and Free Frozen Yogurt February 6th!

Yogurtland (3)

Free Yogurt for Froyo Lovers Everywhere!

Yogurtland “Raises a Spoon” to the First-Ever International Frozen Yogurt Day Celebration

February 6, 2017 from 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Yes, you heard me – FREE YOGURT!  Celebrate International Frozen Yogurt Day on February 6, 2017 from 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm at Yogurtland!  The self-serve frozen yogurt pioneer, Yogurtland will offer guests around the world Free Frozen Yogurt and Toppings!  That’s right – at all locations!

 Each guest will also receive a Limited-Edition Hershey’s® Collectible Spoon for joining Yogurtland in its tasty mission to celebrate peace, love and frozen yogurt.  To help sweeten a delicious day, Yogurtland will feature a new Peanut Butter Cup frozen yogurt flavor made with Reese’s® and Hershey’s® ingredients, and the popular Chocolate Milkshake made with Hershey® flavor, also made with real, creamy California Milk.  These two chocolatey flavors will continue to be served at Yogurtland locations throughout the month of February.

Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to taste the new flavors and some old favorites!  

International Frozen Yogurt Day is sponsored by Yogurtland and The Hershey Company.

Find a location go tohttps://www.yogurt-land.com/locations  For more information visit http://www.yogurt-land.com    #YogurtlandIFYD   

Yogurtland Story

The Yogurtland Difference

Yogurtland today leads the industry with the best-tasting handcrafted flavors made from real ingredients. Separating Yogurtland from competitors is the company’s team of flavorologists who develop the proprietary recipes for the brand’s more than 100 different and customized flavors. Whether traditional or exotic, each flavor uses real ingredients sourced from their original locations. By controlling the entire frozen yogurt making process, Yogurtland has raised the standards for flavors and quality to new heights and much to the delight of millions of fans.

Naturally occurring calcium makes Yogurtland yogurt a healthful, refreshing treat. Fruit flavors are also fortified with Vitamin C. All of Yogurtland’s flavors meet the National Yogurt Association Criteria for “live and active culture frozen yogurt” and are produced in a kosher-certified facility. Yogurtland features non- and low-fat yogurt flavors as well as non-dairy and no sugar added choices.

Presently there are 320 locations across the U.S., Australia, Dubai, Singapore, Thailand and Venezuela

7 Amazing Things To Eat In Brussels

Brussels has a bamboozling mix of restaurants, food markets and fine dining haunts that are dotted around this amazing city. With so many choices, I asked locals like my friend Pierre Pevée, whom I meet through European Creative Hubs Network and Jean-Alexis Spitz, a fellow blogger from Spark.Me, and found some favorite things that are worthy of eating while you are in Brussels, Belgium.

#1. Belgian Frites from Maison Antoine. I had heard a lot about Belgium fries, but are they really different from French fries? YES! Belgium frites are made with Bintje potatoes that are double fried. This makes them  crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Why we love Maison Antoine is that they offer many sauces to dip your fries in AND the pubs around this friterie allow the fries to be eaten on their premises.

#2. Stoverij from Le Clan des BelgesAt first glance, you may mistake this hearty beef casserole for French staple boeuf bourguignon, but it’s beer, rather than wine, that the Belgians use—giving it an earthier taste. Stoverij usually comes with frites for dipping.

#3. Belgian Chocolate from Pierre MarcoliniPierre Marcolini costs a little more than other chocolaterie because he buys unprocessed cocoa beans directly from the local producers and transforms it into chocolate in his own workshop. This chocolate is worth every bite!

#4. Sirop de Liège from Chez Franz. A sweet, sticky brown jelly made from evaporated fruit juices—dates, apples, and pears are stock ingredients—Sirop de Liège trumps even European’s favorite Nutella when it comes to spreads. Smear it on a baguette for breakfast, or pair it with cheeses at lunch. Chez Franz has an amazing brunch menu, so we highly recommend that you try Sirop de Liège here.

#5. Belgian Waffles + Speculoos from Maison Dandoy
Did you know that there are two types of waffles available in Belgium? Brussels waffles are made from batter leavened with beaten eggs. It is served with powdered sugar, and Liège waffles are made from yeast-leavened dough with pearl sugar. How best to eat a waffle in Belgium is hotly contested. Locals swear waffles should be topping-free. I, however, enjoyed mine with fruit and ice cream. Belgium has an (unofficial) national cookie. These flat, spiced shortbreads are so beloved you can even get speculoos-flavored spread (what America’s call “cookie butter”)—as well as ice cream or gelato. Originally baked to celebrate St. Nicholas Day (December 6), you’ll now find them year-round, and Maison Dandoy offers the best.

#6. Paling in’t Groen from Belga Queen. Luckily, “eel in green sauce” is more appetizing than it sounds. Chunks of white, meaty eel (which has the consistency of chicken, only with a slight gamey taste) are stewed in a thick, herby sauce of sorrel and chervil—hence its bright green color. Belga Queen is a former bank, and it is the perfect backdrop while you enjoy eating this delicious green dish.

#7. Stoemp from Royal Brasserie. A staple of Brussels cuisine, stoemp blends mashed potatoes and vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, carrots, onion and kale. YUMMY! It’s usually served either as a side dish or as main dish with sausage or another type of meat or seafood.

Have we missed any dish from Brussels that everyone should try? Please comment below!

Top 10 Restaurants in Ljubljana

Ljubljana-RestaurantsLjubljana has a vibrant culinary scene. There are kitchens that turn out the very best dishes which left us drooling on the tablecloth and others that deliver special, sincere service. Ljubljana has hand-picked the best foods around Europe and adopted them as their own. Here are our top 10 favorite places to eat.

1. Druga Violinadruga-violina-krompirdruga-violina-strukeljDruga Violina uses locally grown produce from a nearby farm, only serves traditional Slovene dishes and located in the city’s old town, but there’s a twist in the tale with the “second violin.” It’s actually a project for people with special needs, who complete tasks on a farmland near Ljubljana and also work as servers in the restaurant. Try their daily specials (meat, chicken and vegetarian) – our kids and adults LOVED them. Also, try pražen krompir. In 2002, this Slovenian love for this dish resulted in the creation of the world’s first Society for the Recognition of a Sautéed Potatoes as a Main Dish and organized a World Sautéed Potato Festival, held each year in a different Slovenian town, so it is fitting that when you visit Slovenia, that you enjoy this dish. 🙂 Lastly, you must order their Ljubljanski štrukelj , which was the perfect “coda” to our musical culinary concerto!

2. Gostilna Delagostilna-delaGostilna Dela has a special focus given to creating employment opportunities for local youth that would be otherwise excluded from the working world. A variety of daily menus are on offer (meat, fish and vegetarian), and you won’t find a restaurant more in tune with the desires of its customers. Trying the homemade štruklji, and thank us later.

3. Gostilna Na Gradu
Gostilna-na-graduLocated on the grounds of the Ljubljana castle, this friendly restaurant is posh without feeling pretentious. Much of the menu is determined entirely by the local ingredients available form the nearby food market. Try their sampler appetizer plate with some pâtés and their daily specials, which they pick up that day in the market.

4. Gostilnica XXIgostilnica-xxiGostilna Rimska XXI is perfect when you want to try traditional Slovenian cuisine in an attractive setting. The chefs use local ingredients. Try žlikrofi or Istrian fuži.

5. Restavracija JBJB-ravioliChef Janez Bratovż is famously known for his ravioli with pistachio, foie gras, goat cheese and covered in a cream sauce. Try the polenta or bear meat appearing from time to time.

6. Güjžina
gujzinaGüjžina offers traditional cuisine from the region of Prekmurje, which is situated in the far northeastern corner of the country and influenced by neighboring Hungary, Austria and Croatia. Try the award-winning bograč and the gibanica, considered the best in the city.

7. Pri Škofupri-skofuRun by women, Pri Škofu serves some of the best prepared local dishes and salads in Ljubljana, with an ever-changing menu. Try their ginger soup and traditional cherry and cheese dumpling.

8. Restaurant Asgostilna-asGostilna As has an eclectic international menu with delicious salads and pastas, but the prosciutto stands out. The atmosphere in the restaurant and its rooftop terrace make it a super cool place to enjoy an appetizer and light meal in the evening.

9. ŠpajzaspajzaOld Town’s Špajza offers less common meats on their menu, such as rabbit, lamb and even kid goat in its homely decorated establishment.Try the žrebičkov z jurčki, if you want to feel like Andrew Zimmern.

10. TaBarTaBarTaBar offers a huge variety of Slovenian food. With the small portions (remembers that they are tapas), it is a great way to sample the best of local delicacies. Try their prosciutto, which is considered a Slovenian specialty, oxtail, sea bass and sausage.

For those wanting a culinary experience beyond simply eating in a restaurant, consider joining Ljubljananjam Food Walks, created and led by born and raised local Iva Gruden. There are also cooking classes on traditional Slovenian food, like Cook Eat Slovenia. On Fridays between March and October, there is Odprta kuhna market, which has become a staple for many Ljubljana people and foreigners alike.

10 Things to Do in Naples, Italy

NaplesBuon Giorno, Naples, Italy! The legend tells that the origin of Naples is due to the mermaid Parthenope who killed herself in the Gulf of Naples because Ulysses refused her love. Maybe that’s why Naples is characterized by the cohabitation of opposites: good and evil, joy and sadness, beauty and decay. Personally I can’t get enough of this city – you can’t explain the love a girl has for the Mediterranean coast! We all know that we must eat pizza here, but did you also think about these 10 things?

1. Eat Pizza Perfection
Naples is the home of pizza. They take it so seriously that in 2004, the ministry for agriculture issued regulations outlining how a real Neapolitan pizza, Pizza Verace Napoletana, should be made. Look for the sign outside pizzerie to sample one of the three authentic types: pizza napoletana marinara (San Marzano tomatoes from Vesuvius’ slopes, garlic, oregano and olive oil), pizza napoletana margherita (mozzarella) and pizza napoletana margherita DOC (buffalo mozzarella). Try Sorbillo for truly excellent dough and the finest topping ingredients. We discovered Pizza Fritta con il Segreto (fried calzone).FriedPizza2. Visit Pompeii & Mount Vesuvius
For history lovers, no trip to Naples would be complete without a trip to Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius. The archaeological sites have remained firmly embedded in most people’s memories since history class at school.

3. Drink up the Coffee Culture
Any coffee aficionado with even a passing knowledge of Italy’s food culture will know that Naples is famous for coffee, too. Neapolitan coffee is short and very, very strong. I mean, it would be sinful not to sip cappuccino while hanging out with girlfriends or people watching. 😉Cappuccino4. Walk on the Lungomore
The long seafront stroll from Santa Lucia to Mergellina is a classic weekend promenade.

5. Grab a Gelato
Neapolitans are passionate about ice cream, so you can expect the best. When it comes to flavors, most gelaterie offer a bewildering array, broken down into crema (creamy) and frutta (fruit) varieties. Our favorite gelaterie in town is Casa Infante Artigiani Del Gelato. Gelato here achieves the perfect balance between creamy and light, with the best Amalfi lemon in town. Ask for “fontana di cioccolato” for a delicious treat at the end of your gelato. 😉 Thanks, April, for the tip!Gelato6. Stroll through Naples Royalty
Three stops are critical for any visitor interested in the history of the Napeolitan royalty: Castel Nuovo was built in 1279 by Charles of Angiono, and today houses Naples’ museo civico, with Neopolitan artworks spanning the 15th-20th century – don’t miss the views from the fortress towers. The numerous apartments at Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace) today house a collection of paintings, frescoes, tapestries, chandeliers and furniture from the 17th to the 19th centuries. Designed by Luigi Vanvitelli, Villa Comunale was inaugurated in 1781 as the garedini reali (royal park). There is a magnificent bandstand, built in 1887, and the small-is-beautiful Stazione Zoologica.

7. Wander Aimlessly Along Spaccanapoli
The best way to enjoy the historic center of Naples is to wander without a plan. The storico antico is at once ancient and modern – the street plan is older than the hills and the buildings have contained shops and apartments for centuries. But unlike some kind of preserved museum piece, the old center is very much alive. It’s a densely populated area and the locals don’t slow down for tourists.

8. Shop Until You Drop
Naples is one of the cheaper cities of Italy. Stroll the streets of Naples, as in all the port cities, you’ll see improvised markets and choreographic negotiations. Pay attention! They want to cheat you. Welcome in the full neapolitan tradition, you just received a pacco (pack or to trick someone). Therefore, I recommend visiting little shops that specialize in Italian leather goods and culinary delights. The aroma as you enter the shops is mesmerizing. I may have come home with some of these souvenirs. 😉ItalianShops9. Grab a Granita
While you are walking around town, grab a granita di limone, a rough-cut sorbet found at stalls around Naples. An even rougher sorbet is la grattata, with ice scraped on demand off a large chunk and doused with flavored syrup or lemon juice.

10. Sail to Capri or Around the Coast of NaplesSailing

Scottsdale’s Best Brunch: T. Cook’s

T Cooks BrunchYou’ve always dreamed of being a master chef, whipping up spontaneous recipes with just the enticing ingredients laid out before you. Unfortunately, not all of us have such skills. Leave the hard work to these masterful chefs at T. Cook’s for their delicious Sunday Harvest Brunch.

At the heart of the Resort, T. Cook’s culinary philosophy of magnifying the purity of fresh, seasonal ingredients is a celebration of its treasured legacy. Chef Paul McCabe’s culinary style can be summed up in three words – crafted, thoughtful and bold – which are all precisely in line with the Mediterranean principles of fresh, seasonal, local and ingredient-driven cooking.

If you prefer dinner over brunch, then T. Cook’s offers #PM31 on Wednesday evenings. Table 31, one of the most cherished tables at T.Cook’s at Royal Palms Resort and Spa, leads adventurous, food-savvy diners through tailored, improvisational cuisine drawing upon premium, handmade ingredients in a concept deemed PM31. Every diner enjoys original and customized 10 to 12 course menus that reflect McCabe’s Mediterranean principles of seasonal, local ingredients and artful presentations.

Dallas’ Best Gluten-Free Restaurant: True Food Kitchen

TrueFoodKitchenI must begin with a caveat: True Food Kitchen‘s menu is not 100% gluten-free. Gluten-free living can get awfully lonely, but not at the newest True Food Kitchen in Dallas — where Dr. Andrew Weil is (virtually) right by your side, instilling his anti-inflammatory diet into a Fox Restaurant Concept menu.

You will recognize the restaurant’s minimalist yet bright aesthetic and its “healthful” menu concepts. The True Food Kitchen menu specifically designates items that are vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free. The menu includes salads, pizzas, sandwiches and entrees, plus “natural refreshments” like “kale-aid” or cucumber lemonade. Among my favorite dishes: Spaghetti Squash Casserole (pictured below), fresh mozzarella and organic tomatoes & zucchini and the so-comforting-you-forget-it’s-good-for-you grass-fed Steak Street Tacos with avocado, Cotija cheese, tomatillo salsa, sour cream and Anasazi bean.True Food Kitchen_Spaghetti Squash Casserole One of the most unique items on the menu is the “Inside Out” Quinoa Burger. The quinoa forms the bun stuffed with hummus, tzatziki, tomato, cucumber, red onion, avocado & feta. This is not a burger you bite down lightly. You need both hands to aid you as you sink your teeth in their gluten-free burger.
True-Food-Kitchen-Quinoa The restaurant, which is in the center of The Plaza at Preston Center, also has its good looks to rely on. Warm woods, clean lines and bright colors make it a nice place to linger for a while. Another place to get cozy is on the patio. I imagine this to be a popular spot to kick back on cool fall and winter evenings.
True Food Kitchen Dallas Patio

True Food Kitchen
8383 Preston Center Plaza Drive, Suite 100
Dallas, Texas