rome | tips on eating healthy

from-the-market-mycreative

Italy, the land of gelato and carbs. However, because I now live in the country, I don’t necessarily feel the need to indulge in the carb fest that I might have previously ensued on when visiting Rome.  So when I was there a few weeks back I was on the hunt for some slightly more balanced meals. Not that I am saying you shouldn’t eat pasta galore when you visit the eternal city! No, by all means indulge! But if you get to day three of the carbo-loading and want some lighter suggestions here you go!

I don’t know if it was because I was just because I was looking but I feel like the city is definitely expanding on its choice of lighter and healthier eating places. I didn’t get to try them all but there is always next time.

Markets and Grocers

First and foremost visit the markets. Fresh and cheap produce and an insight into how Italians actually eat. Pick up a few bits to snack on through the day rather than getting ‘hangry’ and eating a whole pizza. Warning though: don’t touch the produce. Ask or point to what you want.

Ciao Ceccho

This is a slow food restaurant; a concept I hadn’t heard applied to a restaurant but I thought was intriguing. All of the dishes are Italian. focussed on regional dishes with quality dishes. I had ravioli with a wild greens stuffing and a gorgonzola sauce. Now that might sound less than healthy but I think the difference here was the serving size was actually just right. A smallish dish but satisfying. Tim had a traditional chickpea dish which had a broth and was very tasty and incredibly filling.

aTrestaurant

A healthy ‘fast food’ type place with a few seats and a range of smoothies, salads, soups, quiches, sandwiches etc.  We just had a light bite and it was pretty tasty if a little bit pricier than a take away pizza slice. Great to stock up before the train although the vegetarian sandwich options were a bit limited.

jewish-quarter-rome-mycreative

Of course eating all the healthy food means I did get to have a calorific but delicious traditional Roman Jewish treat for breakfast one morning! Head to the Jewish quarter, find the place with the queue (I don’t even know the name but it is on Vicolo della Serpe, oppose the Kosher Bistro Caffe which did some lovely falafel and salads) and ask for the ricotta and cherry pastry. We headed there early in the morning and avoided the queue.

travel | our first trip to ljubljana

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Two weekends back we took our first trip to Ljubljana (proudly sponsored by the letter J as our friend says). Tim was running his first race which was the reason we headed up there but now I wonder why we haven’t gone before.

It is a quick and pleasant hour and a half by bus from Trieste and it is an absolutely lovely town. Here is what we did:

  • ate
  • wandered around the lovely streets
  • crossed over lots of bridges
  • ate some more
  • drank hot chocolate
  • walked up a very steep hill to a castle
  • ran a race (Tim not me)
  • wondered around an antiques/second hand market
  • spent a lovely 30 minutes in a Letterpress Shop
  • bought a letterpress print
  • bought some pumpkin seed oil
  • drank more hot chocolate
  • ate

So as you can tell it was pretty good few days in Ljubljana.

If you find yourself heading to Ljubljana I can definitely suggest:

EAT

>>> Repete

Probably the best meal I have had out in ages. I really appreciate it when vegetarian dishes aren’t an after thought and are really thought through. For a starter we had a cheese selection with some buckwheat bread (so yummy) and I had my first taste of pumpkin oil which had been stirred into a cottage cheese. I then had a traditional dish which is pastry with cheese and herbs on a bed of carrot mash with beetroot and side salad with vinegar made by the restaurant owner’s father-in-law. Although there wasn’t much space left for dessert I had a brownie with pear which was perfectly moist and a nice twist.

>>> Güjžina

A strangely laid out restaurant which is in 2 spaces next to each other. The food is traditional Slovenian fare but there were several vegetarian options. I had the gnocchi with mushroom sauce which is heavier than the Italian counterpart but still delicious. I also had a generous serving of more pumpkin oil with bread and returned here the next day to buy some homemade pumpkin seed oil from the restaurant which also sells a selection of other products. I need to return to Ljubljana for no other reason than to try their pumpkin seed oil gelato!

>>> Cacao

You would think I get enough gelato living in Italy but I always like to have some more. I just tried one flavour. I’m afraid I can’t remember what it was as it was a long name, but it had three sorts of flavours swirled together and it was really good.

SHOP

>>> Mestri trg (street)

The old town is full of lovely little streets with a wide array of shops but this street had a great selection including a shop which sold salt products and a couple design stores.

>>> Antiques Market

Apparently every Sunday from 8am to 2pm a nice small market with a selection of vintage and second hand. I am not sure of the prices because I was very reserved and didn’t buy anything but I would definitely head back here to do a bit of shopping.

>>> Tiporenesansa

A lovely letterprint shop in the old town. I’ll tell you more about it soon.

SEE

The old town is the perfect kind of place to wander about without having to actually go anywhere. Quaint streets and public art pieces, street markets, foodie places and plenty of places for hot chocolate or a drink means that you don’t have to go to a specific museum to find something interesting. That said a walk up to the castle would be suggested, I didn’t go inside.

As you can tell by the title this is definitely a town I plan to head back to.

dubrovnik | a few spots

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In case you are packing your bags for Croatia this summer I thought I would share some spots that we enjoyed.

Staying

We stayed in a beautiful Airbnb which I could have happily lived in. The owners met us at the parking garage down the road and pointed out things along the way. The house used to belong to the lady’s grandparents who used to be bakers, which made the house even more charming to me. It is just above the old town and has an impressive view of one of the towers as well as a cute garden filled with lemon trees, orange trees and rose bushes. Just take a moment to image how amazing it smelled. There were lovely details around and lots of care had been taken in putting the house together. Unsurprising as the couple had only moved out of the apartment 10 days before to be in the countryside!

There are two double bedrooms but I would suggest that it is better for a family or group of non-couple friends as the room are only divided by a (frosted) glass door.

Eating

On our previous visit Tim and I had been disappointed by only ever seeming to have the option of grilled vegetables which were more like vegetables swimming in oil.

On this occasion we visited the vegetarian restaurant in town called Nishta. It is a pretty small restaurant with an ‘eclectic’ interior but the food was excellent. I tried a bit of everyone’s meal and there was a great variety of options. I went for a Thai noodle curry (not something you can find in Trieste) and we shared some puddings. The rice pudding was not to my taste but there was a traditional fig thing which was amazing.

Perhaps a rather eccentric choice being in Croatia, we went to a Bosnian restaurant called Taj Mahal which seemed to be Moroccan in decor than Indian. The food, however, was very good. Tim and I got a sort of smorgasbord of options with a spinach and cheese pie, mushrooms with a traditional cheese and (yes) grilled vegetables. I also got some extra cheese to have with the most amazing bread. Seriously, worth the visit just for that. Our friends had a traditional sausage dish called cevapcici which they thoroughly enjoyed.

Drinking

I’ve mentioned it before but the Wine Bar Razonoda is definitely worth a visit too. It only serves Croatian wines and the sommelier provided us with information about the wines we tried. They also had a small bar menu with local cheeses, olives, breads, etc which were very good.

Have you been to Dubrovnik? Any suggestions? Or are you planning on heading there soon?

eat | verona suggestions

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A lot of our weekend in Verona involved eating. The Saturday was wet and rainy. We managed to wander around for a bit, see Juliet’s balcony, eat a late lunch from a take-away (a panzarotti which is like a delicious pillow), and a dash around the Christmas market while drinking gluhwein under an archway.

We finally decided to head to an enoteca recommended in our guidebook. If you are a fan of those kind of musty second hand book shops that have their goods all over the floor you will love this place. Enoteca Oreste dal Zovo had a selection wines and other drinks – we had two glasses each for a reasonable amount as well as some snacks. The wine was second fiddle to the amazing interior though which had painted ceiling and an amazing arrangement of drawings and paintings. I have no idea if it is the best but well worth a visit.

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On Sunday morning we had a late breakfast (more like lunch) at the Retro Bar near the Duomo (as in across the street). This is an awesome option if you are vegetarian/vegan or gluten-intolerant as they had a wide selection, as well as coffee with almond milk as an option. Their food was really good, their decor fun, service friendly and they had chalkboard placemats! Plus I had a cappuccino with Nutella! Life changing I tell you.

We also had dinner at Milio a S. Anastasia Restaurant. It had a lovely atmosphere with super comfortable chairs, good wine and a decent selection for us veggies.

Have you been to Verona? Hit me up with some of your suggestions for our next visit.

pizza loving

pizza pilgrim food van pizza franca manco pizzaI have been having a lot of pizza of late.  This poster seemed appropriate.  I do love pizza. I wouldn’t say I am a connoisseur but don’t tell me Pizza Hut or Dominos are good.

I generally prefer the Roman style crust (think and flakey) but the Neapolitan (slightly more doughy and chewy) seems to be rising in popularity.

I’ve tried a few new places recently:

Pizza Pilgrim. I tried this at a Google event and was incredibly impressed by the street van which made a pizza in about 2 minutes with a super hot oven. I was then happy to find when wondering around Soho shortly after that they have just opened a restaurant on Dean Street.  I went with Freya a couple weeks ago and wasn’t disappointed.  This is good Neapolitan pizza! Plus I love how the menu has instructions on eating pizza Italian style – hands and folding required.

Franco Manca. This has been on my to try list for ages and with a day off the other day Tim and I headed down. We each had a very generous sized pizza at a very reasonable price. I can’t remember exactly what mine was but it had a lot of cheese which was delicious. If you are in Brixton I would definitely suggest you try it out, although I might try one of their other locations before I head off.

Home Slice. I headed to this new Covent Garden pizzeria on the recommendation of Jo. It is a great option for meeting a small group of friends as they do giant pizzas for £20 with a half and half option. Or head out for a lunch date and just have a slice.  There is a board with the pizza options for the day with a good selection of vegetarian options. Definitely There is nothing else on the menu (no dessert even) and the drinks are beer or prosecco on top (and I assume some juices maybe?).

Piccolo Forno. If you try to go to Pizza Pilgrim and the queue is just to long head around the corner to this less trendy option. The pizzas are well sized, tasty and reasonably priced. The service is friendly and you are likely to get a seat!

Also recommended:

If you find yourself in Wimbledon I highly recommend Al Forno which serves massive pizzas (you really only need to order a small! Do not go for the medium unless you plan on sharing! Perhaps not the best pizza in the world but the atmosphere is always interesting.

I visited Pizza East a while ago and really enjoyed it but it was a bit on the pricier side. Worth a visit if you find yourself in the vicinity of one.

weekend

vintage-cat-mycreative It was a busy one.

There was a giant pizza, two brunches, three gelatos and an ice-cream (have I told you I am on the 5:2 diet, no? more on that later).  The cat was from the most amazing vintage warehouse on Maltby Street which is massive, full of beautiful stuff I can’t afford, and a makeshift dance studio filled with vintage chairs and drapes like some gorgeous looking bordello!

You should try: Home Slice (thanks Jo for the recommendation) and La Gelateria (after trying their tartufo with chocolate and hazelbut at Maltby Street on Saturday I went and found their store in Covent Garden on Sunday and had their bitter chocolate and caramelised balsamic vinegar – delicious I tell you).

I also went to the Junkaholique jumble sale and found my wedding ring! I had decided I wasn’t going to get a wedding band because I love my engagement ring so much and figured I should be so greedy but this vintage piece matches my engagement ring as though they were made for each other and fits my finger perfectly. It was meant to be!  I was in a bit of a funk when I woke up but that lifted my spirits right away.  Just sad that I have to wait 10 months until I can wear it!  Now just hoping the dress finding mission is so easy.

Also after a lovely lady in Germany asked if I would be running an Eat and Snap walk-shop while she was here on holiday I thought why not and have organised another date for Sunday 4 August.  It seems to be a popular day as five people have already booked on!  If you are interested in coming you can now see details on the dedicated page and buy a spot over at the shop.

Sunday evening was all about working on Post Production stuff.  We looked at future dates (announcing another one soon), started planning our first newsletter (been a bit slow on that one, woops), thought of a new idea for a Post Production video and worked on some blog post ideas.

All caught up?  Cool, what did you get up to?