Steps away from the Duomo (Florence, Italy)

IMG_0133Do your heart a favour, travel.  I have loved every place that I have ever travelled to.  I have even re-visited some of these places.  When you think about it, your heart can easily fall in love with each place you travel to.  My heart will always belong to my hometown of Vancouver, but I know I left a bit of my heart in the Tuscan hills of Italy.

We spent a grand total of two and a half days in Florence.  Not very much, I know, but we had a tight schedule since we were booked to go to a cooking school in Poppi afterwards.  We added a few days to the start of our trip to try and pack in as much of Tuscany as possible.  I was fortunate enough to find a VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner – part of the HomeAway family – similar concept to AirBnB) only minutes away from the Duomo.  We were so close that we even walked past our apartment during our walking tour of Florence.

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Wanderlust: Italy

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Never stop exploring.  Sometimes, you need to take a step back and do something new to realize what you’re missing.  I was lucky enough to take a trip to Tuscany recently. With high temperatures reaching 35 degrees, I found myself in a picturesque country, surrounded by beautiful architecture, delicious food and wonderful people.

Temperatures in Tuscany start going up as of late May, with peak temperatures in July and August.  Our trip extended just shy of two weeks and I felt like we could have been there longer. I am going to compile full posts on each location to be able to fully showcase each town or city – but with such amazing culture, food, and architecture… how can I not share at least a bit of a sneak peak with you all now?

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Recipe: Simply Summer Ceviche

Nothing screams summer (food wise) more to me than a fresh ceviche.  If you don’t know what ceviche is, it’s a light refreshing dish of fish (or seafood) marinated in citrus juice and is perfect for summer months.  It’s light and bright tasting.  An added bonus is that it requires absolutely no heat to cook, so no worrying about ovens or stove tops.  All you need is your fridge!Simple Summer Ceviche

On another bonus, it’s actually really easy to prepare.  However, if you’re making this at home, there are definitely a few things to keep in mind.  Be sure to always use the freshest fish possible. Also, it’s all about the ‘marinating process’ – which is a bit like pickling when you think about it.

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Eats: The Ramen Butcher

Given the growing popularity of Ramen in the Lower Mainland, it’s no surprise that there is yet another one to bring their version of authentic Japanese noodles to Vancouver.  The Ramen Butcher is located on the edge of Chinatown on East Georgia.  This little ramen shop boasts a nice little menu. Open for lunch and dinner, their small menu is geared towards letting their star dish, tonkotsu ramen, be, well a star!

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The menu features seven times of ramen (moslty being named by colour), and four variations of gyoza.  Note that their menu is currently expanding.  They also offer kaedama – which is an extra serving of noodles only.  That means if you still have broth left and you’re still hungry, load up on another serving of noodles for free! Continue reading

Travel Eats: Bourbon House in New Orleans

After consuming copious amounts of fried crayfish, chargrilled oysters, fried chicken and gumbo, it was a relief to walk into Bourbon House in New Orleans.  Located on the corner of Bourbon and Iberville St. and (or a block off of Canal Street), Bourbon House is a seafood / oyster bar.  Bourbon House flaunts a delicious seasonal menu.  What does that mean for potential diners?  If it’s not in season, you won’t find it on the menu.

It is a fairly large restaurants with floor to ceiling windows that overlook both Bourbon Street and Iberville Street.  Dishes are authentically ‘New Orleans’ featuring classic creole-esque flavours.  Being called Bourbon House also means that it flaunts an impressive Bourbon menu with over 100 American Whiskeys on the list as well as a classic “Bourbon Milk Punch” – which let me tell you is worth ordering (multiple if you have room). Continue reading