All Roads Lead to Rome

 

 


Food & Drink

La Montecarlo for Pizza ala Romana

Vicolo Savelli 11a-12-13

lamontecarlo.it

These guys treated us like family every night of the week during our stay in Rome. It was down the street from our fantastic apartment and their house wine was just the right flavor and price.

la Motecarlo pizzaria rome italy

Cantina & Cucina Hosteria Pizzaria

Via Del Governo Vecchio 87

cantinaecuccina.it

cucina rome pizza italy sample plate rome

We had drinks here one day and then dinner the night before. Meatballs the size of my head. Gluten free pasta options for Jake. Beautiful ingredients prepared simply beautiful and tasty.

cucina rome italy food

Il Piccolo

Via Del Governo Vecchio 74-75

Great wine bar with seats outside on the street facing all the action. If there isn’t a table available go inside and check out the frescos on the ceiling while you wait. Most tourists only stay for one drink. But the locals that come there hang out for quite a while and are worth the watch.

 

Scampo

Piazza Campo de Fiori 28/29

welcomescampo@gmail.com

Best grilled octopus appetizer in Rome. Located in one corner of the popular Campo de Fiori, they are cooking up a mean lasagna and offer some fantastic olives with your starter cocktail.



scampo rome italy campo de fiori food travel

Norcineria Voila

Piazza Campo de’ Fiori 43

norcineriaviola.it

Ask for Benedict, his family has been running this cured pig house for four generations. Try the prosciutto jerky and grab and slice of borchetta too. This is an authentic Italian cured pork store. He ships internationally too.

voila pig cured meat italy rome campo de fiori melissa behring

Maccheroni

Piazza delle Coppelle 44

ristorantemaccheroni.com

Carbonara is the quintessential Roman pasta dish for me. This place makes it beautifully. Sit inside, and watch the chef-quarium where the chefs are preparing all the dishes for the house fresh and quick on the spot. Giant pots of pasta with steam wafting to the rafters, the walls are lined with beautiful wine selections and the staff is buzzing with an industrial do it yourself vibe. Casual and relaxed environment.

carbonara rome italy pasta eat more food travel

Piazza & Other Great Locations to People Watch

Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona Rome Italy Travel

Called the heart of old Rome, features beautiful fountains and sculptures by Bernini and both ends along with one of the city’s many prized stolen from Egypt obelisk. The surrounding buildings are great examples Baroque Roman architecture.

 

Campo de fiori rome italy travel

Campo de Fiori

Campo de Fiori is worth a look, during the day it is a busy touristy market. But fresh pomegranate juice for 4euro is worth a wander in. This piazza once was the site of public executions. The most famous being the man featured as the statue in the center, looming over all the people. He is philosopher, Giordano Bruno. He was burned alive for heresy and placed on the forbidden book list from the Vatican.

Piazza de Spagna and The Spanish Steps

Scene and be seen here in this location romanticized by Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in the popular Roman Holiday film. Grab a gelato, have a seat to watch everyone tourists and locals alike checking each other out.

Recommended special events and sights: 

Vatican City, the Museum and the Sistine Chapel

Sistine Chapel Vatican City Rome Italy Melissa Behring

Happy hour cocktails, appetizers and music in the garden at the Musei Vatticani

www.museivaticani.va

Sistine Chapel is also a part of this experience once you’ve walked through the Vatican Museum. This is the only way to go to the Vatican. There are limited seats available for this experience and reserved entry times. Plus in the evening, the lighting inside the museum is spectacular. Sculptures and paintings come to life in the night.

Sistine Chapel Vatican City Rome Italy

The oldest museum in the world, Musei Capitolini atop Palatine Hill.

This museum houses the “Lupa Capitolina” which is a bronze sculpture of Romulus and Remus sucking the teat of the Mother Wolf. They were the founders of Rome. The story of the brothers is pretty dramatic, just like Rome.

They also have the Medusa by Bernini, the Venus Peducia, Mars the God of War, the Fawn and so many other famous sculptures, your head will spin for days.

Medusa Capitoline Museum Rome Italy
The Colosseum and the Roman Forum are right around the corner from here.

Roman Forum Travel Rome Italy

Personally I found the Roman Forum more inspirational, but the Colosseum seems to appeal more to men. Purchase a self guided ticket from the booth by the Forum it also includes the Colosseum. Walk through the Forum on the way down Palatine Hill to the Colosseum. (They will also put you in a different entry line.)

It’s all right next to each other. One giant Roman ruin after another.  Also, the white marble building is Altere della Patria, “The Monument to the Fatherland”.

Melissa Behring Roman Forum Travel Italy

 

A walk through the Borghese Gardens in the morning if you have the time. I wish I would have taken a coffee with me although there are plenty of carts and a cafe in the garden.

 

Lastly, be certain to thow a coin in the Trevi fountain to ensure your return to Rome.
Trevi Fountain Travel Rome Italy

 

 


When Friends Move To Austin

A couple months back, two of my dearest friends relocated from Detroit to Austin.

Nathan Montgomery Jen Montgomery Detroit Austin Music Travel Relocation

Along the way, I’ve been sending them tips for weekending fun in the Austin area and I’ve collected them here for you.

Guero’s
1412 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704
They have free music in their garden under the live oak tree on Thursdays and weekends. At home, I specialize cooking a runny “Charro-style” pinto bean. The recipe I wrote was inspired by that restaurant. (It also happens to be something I served at the Nate & Jen Learn to Say Howdy Ya’ll party I hosted for their going away.) I really like their enchiladas & margaritas. Guero’s is absolutely not the best place for Mexican food in Austin. But I love the vibe of the patio & the first inside room… so I cut their food some slack. Plus they always have fun friendly servers.

The Oasis on Lake Travis
6550 Comanche Trail, Austin, TX 78732
One of the first times I ever went to Austin with Jake, he took me there on a date. It’s one of the only places I’ve found where you can enjoy some food and the waterfront of beautiful Lake Travis. (If I lived in Austin, I’d miss the Great Lakes here in Michigan.) I believe they also have music, cover bands like 7 Million Jigawatts used to be.

My idea of one sweet Sunday in Downtown Austin’s SoCo neighborhood. ❤️🎶😀

Jo’s Coffee
1300 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

Joe’s is my favorite coffee shop in the entire world. The Sunday Morning Jo’s Coffee Brunch Band on South Congress is totally worth getting motivated in the morning and going to listen. After you have a coffee, tea or Lone Star beer there, walk South, away from the river to get some brunch.

South Congress Cafe
1600 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704
Plan on waiting (unless there are open seats at their tiny bar). If you have calories to burn, eat the carrot cake French toast. If not, there’s loads of other good Southwestern style options there.

Amy’s Ice Creams, they have multiple locations.
(my favorite is 1301 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704)
I always have Mexican Vanilla and/or the Mexican Chocolate. It’s my favorite sweet treat there and one of the best flavors around.

Oh yeah, everyone must drink a Topo Chico for me at any restaurant on any night.

Then, I took a trip to Roma, so I focused on all things that are Italian in Austin…

Spaghetti warehouse- wait we’ve never been there! So, sorry not that one. 😂👎

Whole Foods Market on Lamar and 6th. In their take out section, they have great ethnic sections, including Italian favorites. I think they still have ice skating on the roof, but it’s been years since I’ve been in that place. (I had owned the stock at one point in my portfolio. I did sell it at a profit, but I believe in this company and their mission still today.)

Vespaio
1610 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704 and their Enoteca next door offer rustic Italian. They have a great dinner and offer a nice weekend brunch too. Actually, good authentic inspired Italian food. Enjoyed it and the sister restaurant next door several times.

Botticelli’s
1321 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704
Once, I had the best most amazing ravioli’s in there. To die for. They have a garden behind the restaurant, so don’t let the tiny interior fool you.They also have live music sometimes on the weekend.

Here’s an Austin related activity you can do from the couch while you’re vegging out 😀.

Watch anyone of the following films with some of Texas’ favorite stars & locations:
✔️Dallas Buyers Club (Mathew Mconahey’s Mom lives in Jake’s Mom’s Dell Webb community 😂)
✔️Chef (Shot in a food truck in & around Austin. One scene is shot in one of my favorite restaurants, Trulucks)
✔️Bernie (Morbidly funny shot around Austin & Georgetown)
✔️Urban Cowboy (just in case you need lessons on how to fit in also shot in Austin)
✔️Dazed & Confused (just in case you miss your stoner friends from high school or home – also starring Matthew Mconahey)
✔️Whip it (Because when you want to make a movie about Roller Derby girls, you should shoot in Austin & Detroit. Makes sense to me.)

Then Hurricane Harvey came to town, so I needed to think of fun things for a rainy weekend in Austin. What’s there to do?

Well, I suppose you could go shopping at The Domain
11410 Century Oaks Terrace, Austin, TX 78758. It’s a fancy name for a place to shop for things you might or might not need. Referred to on Google as a “sprawling upscale outdoor mall”. (Doesn’t sound that fun to me, especially in the rain 😂.)

The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema (They also have multiple locations & I don’t have a favorite for this one.) Watch a film, have a snack, dinner and a beer/soda. On Sept 6, they had a “Garlic Festival”. When David Bowie died they had a music video party commemorating his lifes work. If you wanted to get scared, go there and see Stephen King’s IT.

The bad thing about Harvey, the weather was so bad they couldn’t even leave their apartment. So, I suppose when it’s winter, they will check out the inside stuff.

I’ll have more installments as Nate & Jen aclimate to the temperature, lifestyle and location in Austin, Texas.

OMG THAI FOOD OBSESSION

I have a major addiction to Thai food, well many styles of Asian cuisine to be honest. No, it’s not just cause I saw Anthony Bordain eat some really great stall food during one of his episodes of Parts Unknown. It definitely has something to do with working on cruise ships all over the world though. People who have a chance to eat in the crew mess on board a ship never look at or taste food in quite the same way. Not to mention the days when you get shore leave and are able to eat something truly local and unique.

Travel Thailand
Travel Thailand with advice from Lonely Planet

 

I’m missing the days we sat on the beach in Pattaya, Thailand with Jon & Kat while it downpoured on the umbrellas over our heads. There was steam coming off our giant glasses of icy cold Chang beer.

Chang Beer of Thailand

We just kept ordering more food from the locals passing by. There were sweet rice balls with fresh mango slices. Lemongrass steamed prawns that some random guy was just carrying in a basket down the walkway between the vendors, guests, chairs and the beach. How he delicately balanced the baskets on the pole across his shoulders, smiling with that typical mischevous look in his eye. (If I were my Mother, I would have worried about food poisoning.)

Lemongrass Thailand Travel Buy a Taste
Wonder what that unique fresh flavor is in Thai cooking? It’s Lemongrass & you can order it from Amazon here.

 

Oh my, what fabulous memories of the swealtering heat and the cooling effect spicy food has on your insides. For me, contrary to popular belief, that’s how hot food works. On a 99% humidity and a 99 degree day, all you need is a spicy Tom Yum or a nice Red Coconut Curry and rice. Awe, yeah.

Key Thai Cooking Ingredients Shipped Directly Fresh from Amazon
Wonder how you can make these tastey Thai recipes at home? Key Thai Cooking Ingredients Shipped Directly Fresh from Amazon.

None of my homoginized descriptions of Thai food are in the Pok Pok book. He’s put way more originality, research and ingenuity into Ricker’s offering to the home cook.

Koh Samui Thailand
You can see the humidity hanging in the air
Koh Samui Thailand

After hanging around on ships with various friends from Thailand, I felt lucky to spend a few days amid their beautiful vistas, lounging on beaches and taking in the funky, fun, and in some ways outragous activities that make up their daily lives. While I was surfing on the web the other day for Thai inspired cookbooks, one really caught my eye, Pok Pok by Andy Ricker @pawkhrua on twitter. Not only does he own several restaurants in both NYC and Portland that are supposed to be stellar, he also wrote a book about Thai food. (I’m putting the Portland Pok Pok locations on my list for a soon to be planned USA West Coast Adventure.)

Pok Pok on Amazon by Andy Ricker
Get a copy o Pok Pok by Andy Ricker on Amazon

Now that I have this beautiful hard cover book in hand, I can’t wait to try some of these recipes out. If Pok Pok & Ricker are out of reach for me, I have a fall back plan from the folks at Lucky Peach.

101 easy Asian recipes
Lucky Peach and their sense of humor are also offering this homage to all Eastern influenced foodies out there, 101 Easy Asian recipes.