Dining at NY's Eataly: Le Verdure

I flew out to New York at the end of May to celebrate my five-year college reunion --and of course eat. I was determined to make a pilgrimage to Eataly and I accomplished it towards the end of my visit. Three dear friends from college and I met outside the warehouse-style building and wandered inside the Italophile's dream.  The layout of Eataly is open and seamless so "restaurants" and shops flow from one to the next- everything is exposed and there are no real walls. This makes for an interesting dining experience as shoppers and tourists are constantly walking by your table. After much deliberation, we settled on the restaurant Le VerdureDespite the unconventional layout, we had a wonderful dinner sharing different vegetarian foods from the Piemonte region, with a little twist here and there. Eataly may not have existed when I was living in New York, but it is a great addition to the city.

"gnocchi" alla romana

Le Verure is located at 200 5th Avenue in New York City (inside Eataly)
Il Pesce & Le Verdure @ Eataly on Urbanspoon


Il Gelato in Rome

Back in 1999, Rome was the first European city that stole my heart.  Paris may have since replaced it, by I'll always have a special place for the Eternal City. Rome has its fair share of the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to gelaterias.  One of my favorite gelato places is the humbly-named Il Gelato, located just off Via di Monte D'Oro.  I first tried their gelato on a humid, late summer afternoon in 2012.  Just after we arrived in the pristine shop, a huge downpour deluged the cobbled streets of Rome. It couldn't have been better timing for my family and me. We took cover while sampling and purchasing many of the store's flavors. Because no one came into the shop during the storm, the friendly girl working there helpfully suggested her favorite flavors including celery. I sampled it and enjoyed the refreshing and crisp taste it left on my tongue.  Other unique flavors that day included habanero, ginger, and many cheese-infused flavors.  We also had a chance to have some of Il Gelato's delicious fresh-squeezed juice.  It may be a silly tourist attraction, but every time I'm in Rome, I throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain.  I've been pretty fortunate to have returned to Rome each time and I hope my next visit will include a return to Il Gelato as well.

Il Gelato is located at Largo Monte D'Oro 28 in Rome.


Eating in Les Baux de Provence

I'm not the biggest fan of heavy French dishes, which is why I love Provencal cuisine.  The food is lighter and more reminiscent of Italy and the Mediterranean.  On our first day in Provence this past March, we had lunch on the terrace of a hotel in Les Baux.  The restaurant of La Reine Jeanne was unassuming but the cuisine was impressive.  It was here that I indulged in the best aioli of my life, served simply with vegetables.  The requisite rosé made the rounds and we enjoyed fresh local food and drink under the warm Provencal sun.  

Hostellerie de la Reine Jeanne is located at the beginning of the town in les Baux de Provence.