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

Dallas’ Best Place to Release Your Inner Cowboy: 3 Stacks

3 StacksYou’ve corralled the horses, herded the cattle and mended the barbed wire. Now it’s time to heed the dinner bell and mosey up to 3 Stacks, which has been smoking meat to please the BBQ lovin’ cowboy and cowgirl appetites.Bacon Jalapeno PopperLocated up the Dallas North Tollway in Frisco, this atmospheric “saloon” features black angus brisket, baby back ribs, beef short ribs, pulled pork, smoked turkey breast and their house-made smoked sausage.“The Rib Whisperer” Trace Arnold brings his expertise, tips and tricks on smoking meat and making some AMAZING sausage. Rib WhispererSpecially blended rubs created by Arnold are applied to the brisket, ribs, turkey and chicken. Ladle on sides of Potato Salad, Baked Beans, Mac-n-Cheese and Kale Salad. Slake your thirst with Saint Arnold’s Root Beer on tap, tea or lemonade made fresh-to-order. 3 Stacks keeps cowpokes and their families happy. 😉Cowpoke ApprovedAs the Dixie Chicks sang, “Cowboy, take me away…to 3 Stacks!” Well maybe not necessarily, but any good man who knows good BBQ would know you should eat there, too! 😉

3 Stacks Smoke and Tap Room
4226 Preston Rd
(Right behind Hooters)
Frisco, TX

Dallas’ Best Shellfish: Spoon Bar and Kitchen

Like oysters? Prawns? Lobster? Then, Spoon Bar & Kitchen is just the place for you. Chef John Tesar knows how to make a “rockin” restaurant with amazing shellfish dishes. With classic rock music playing in the background, I wanted to savor every bite and grab for another and another one when I recently dined there for a media lunch.

For starters, my table enjoyed a king crab leg (flown in from one of Tesar’s friends on the East Coast) accompanied by a rich and oceanic fish sauce, which was amazing. Brick and Basil fried Prawn with basil pesto was superb, too. SpoonStarters Next, we thoroughly enjoy a mid-course of the Seafood “Ramen,” with five different kinds of fish and pork belly melting in your mouth. The ramen is made in-house and cooked perfectly. I highly recommend that you order this dish, which is nicely priced during lunch.
IMG_3050 My main course was LOBSTER Agnolotti, lobster butter & lobster knuckles, which is informally called the lobster on lobster on lobster. WOW! From the fresh lobster meat to the creamy lobster butter and the lobster ravioli, the whole dish just melts in your mouth like candy. The portion is perfect, and you will sit back on the plush blue booth and savor this precious moment. Yes, it is that good!
IMG_3053 Finally, after this rich meal, what better way then to end it off with some Yuzu and Lemon dessert to freshen your palate?! It should be noted that menu is constantly evolving, so what is on the menu today, may not be there tomorrow.
SpoonDesserts

John Tesar and the Spoon staff will be offering a Sunday Brunch beginning on Mother’s Day, May 12, 2013 from 11AM to 2:30PM. They will also be offering lunch beginning May 14, 2012 from 11AM to 2:30PM Tuesday through Friday. I highly recommend you making reservations at the number below.

Spoon Bar & Kitchen
8220 Westchester Rive
Dallas, TX 75225
214.368.8220