Do As the Napoletanos Do

Just last month, UNESCO gave traditional Napoletana Pizza-making cultural heritage status. The traditional Neapolitan pizzas are strictly Marinara and, of course, the Margherita. I visited Naples for the first time for the New Year, and oooo baby, I had a blast eating some pizza.

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Gotta have a small art piece of a pizzaiulo (pizza-maker). Found in Sorbillo.

I tried out two well-known pizzerias: Sorbillo and Starita – both family owned, and both delicious.

Literally down the street from my Airbnb was Sorbillo, which sits on the corner of Via Atri and the very busy, Via dei Tribunali. The closest metro stops are Dante and Museo. Our Airbnb host suggested going early. Anything beyond 2pm and you’ll be waiting a lengthy time. (Side note: Most restaurants do close in the middle of the day and re-open during the evening. You may want to try to wait in line before Sorbillo re-opens in the evening to get a spot without waiting)

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Me and my travelling partner went just after opening (12pm) and got seated without a wait time. Woo-hoo! Seriously, during the evening wait time is probably 1-2 hours. There is also a separate line if you’re ordering for take-away, however, that too can be quite long.

I ordered the Margherita Bufala D.O.P. and it was absolute heaven. The pizza was quite large and although I told myself I’d only eat half, I ended up eating all of it. No Regrets! Honestly, I don’t why I told myself that haha. The crust was absolutely delicious and it had a great sauce-to-cheese ratio.

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Margherita Bufala D.O.P.

My friend and I also ate at Starita, near the Materdei metro stop. Lines are a lot shorter than Sorbillo, but waiting is still required. We waited for about 40 minutes. Pizzas were smaller but equally delicious. I have to say…… I think I liked Starita a tiny bit more than Sorbillo. While Sorbillo’s pizzas were larger, the marinara would soak through the crust (a common situation, I know), but there wasn’t so much of that for the Starita pizzas.

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I had fantastic Margherita pizzas in both locations and both were filling. If you happen to travel to Naples, do make the time and effort to visit these places. Beware of the wait times though! Both places get crazy busy and you may have to shove your way past a crowd to put your name down. Worth it!

 

 

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The picture file of my Margherita was corrupted, unfortunately. So here’s a picture of my beer instead! 😅😅

Also if you happen to live in the NYC area, or if you are planning a trip there, a Starita off-shoot (Don Antonio), and Sorbillo have locations there. Buon Appetito!

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Actual footage of me running to the nearest pizzeria

Enchanted: Forest of Light

Stay on the path and follow the light. If you happen to be in Southern California from now until January 7, you can experience Enchanted: Forest of Light at the Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge.

During my visit last month (sorry for the late post), the gardens were completely transformed into an ethereal Avatar-like world. It was beautiful. As you walk through you can buy drinks and food (although for the $30 ticket, I wish there was at least one drink token included).

Me and a friend walked through lanterns, lasers, and orbs oh my! There were also paths that lit up as you walk on them, which children seemed to enjoy. I would know, because I was one of them as I gleefully ran through a particular spiralled light path. #NoRegrets.

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Overall, it was really beautiful, and if you happen to be in the area, it’s worth a visit.

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Also worth the visit? An ice cream sandwich shop located nearby. Yum.

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From the Baked Bear: Funfetti Cookie with Chocolate Chip ice cream. Mmmm

Museum of Ice Cream L.A.

Come with me, And you’ll be In a world of Pure imagination Take a look And you’ll see Into your imagination

 

Art meets ice cream in the popular pop-up Museum of Ice Cream in Los Angeles. What began in New York has quickly spread to L.A., San Francisco, and now Miami. While the L.A. location has since sold out, I was very fortunate to buy tickets when MOIC extended its stay in Southern California. According to employees, every location is different, but what remains the same throughout is the sprinkle pool. Release your inner child!

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In true Willy Wonka-esque fashion, visitors can smell the banana wall paper, they are given ice cream, candy, and of course, there are many photo opportunities. Artists also contributed installations that were displayed including: Baker’s Son, Abel Bentin, and the co-founder herself: Maryellis Bunn.

Before you even enter the museum, those who were early could wait in a garden that had hula hoops, giant Jenga, and cornhole. Its as if Maryellis wants you to become a child again before you experience the MOIC. It totally worked. I indulged and used the hula hoops, and continued to do so when children started showing up. I swear, if it’s not already, hula hooping is going to be the next work out trend.

As my friends and I entered the museum, we were given Dove chocolates and entered a beautiful shimmery room. Thus our adventure began:

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Installation by Baker’s Son
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Art by Abel Bentin

 

Overall, it was so much fun. There was a foosball table at the end of the exhibit a well as a gift shop that sold ice cream for dogs! Our furry friends are not forgotten. MIAMI FOLKS: Tickets are on sale NOW. Before they sell out, purchase here. Definitely a family friendly event as I saw many children looking incredibly happy in the sprinkle pool. So far, MOIC is only in Miami until the end of January 2018, but who knows, maybe it will be extended as it was in L.A.

England’s Jurassic Coast

Over the summer, me and a friend drove through the Jurassic Coast in Dorset. We made pit stops at New Forest National Park, Lulworth Cove, Old Harry Rocks (yup, that’s the actual name), and Corfe Castle.

The Jurassic Coast itself is 95 miles long, stretching from Exmouth in East Devon to Studland Bay in Dorset (where you can also find Old Harry).

With road snacks in hand and music playing, our first stop was New Forest, where wild horses roam and where the rain made everything much more lush and vibrant.

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After we were thoroughly soaked from our walk in the rain, we drove onward to our Air BnB stay in Lulworth Cove. It was a cute hut built from scratch by our host, Roy, with a detached bathroom. Totally cute and located near trails.

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The infamous Durdle Door

 

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Durdle Door from above

After a few days in Lulworth Cove, my friend and I drove back home to Brighton. But wait there’s more! On our way home we decided to stop by Corfe Castle, and finally, Studland to hike up Old Harry Rocks.

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The ruins of Corfe Castle. Construction began under William the Conqueror in 1086 and by 1106, the castle was one of the best-fortified in England.

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Studland Bay and Old Harry Rocks:

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Overall, it was a fantastic trip. Definitely nice to have a friend to drive me around though so it was incredibly convenient as well, as opposed to when I travel solo. I absolutely loved walking through Corfe Castle, where you can literally touch England’s medieval past. There were trails surrounding the castle that have fantastic views of the countryside. Luckily, it was such a lovely day when we drove through.

If you happen to be a WWII history buff, Studland Bay also has pill boxes still intact from the war. If you have the time and are itching for a road trip, definitely consider driving through Dorset and the Jurassic Coast. Loved it!

*P.S. Beware of windburn when you walk through the trails at Durdle Door and Old Harry Rocks. LOL

 

Harry Potter Goes to Hollywood

A favourite summer activity among Angelenos are the outdoor concerts held at the Hollywood Bowl. World travellers who find themselves in Los Angeles should definitely make an effort to attend a concert there as this is one of the few venues that allows outside food and drinks! Huzzah!

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Packed House at the Hollywood Bowl
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Hollywood sign

During my visit home, as luck would have it, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was playing at the Bowl with musical accompaniment by the L.A. Philharmonic, who performed the ENTIRE score from the film while it played. So the magical music that played during the movie was actually coming from a live orchestra. I loved it!

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EXPECTO PATRONUUUM!
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Close-up of the LA Philharmonic

It was a packed night so the body heat made it a bit warm on an already hot day so be sure to pack some cold drinks if you’re there on a summer night. Next time I think I might treat myself to a boxed seat closer to the stage. Check out the Hollywood Bowl’s calendar of events here. Upcoming concerts include Mama Mia and Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Scum & Villainy Cantina

Time to rock out with your blasters out at this Star Wars pop-up bar, located just across the street from Beetle House on Hollywood Boulevard in L.A. While Beetle House played mod and emo music to complement the goth vibes, Scum & Villainy Cantina is full of jukebox jives and, yes, they played the infamous Mos Eisley cantina song.

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Reservations are required where you present your ticket at the entrance. You can purchase a $50 ticket which includes two drink tokens and Star Wars swag (a pint glass and patch), or a $25 ticket which includes only the swag. T-shirts are also sold for an additional $15.  

I had a great time and you really do feel transported to a cantina on Tatooine. There are small bites and drinks, but I’m a little disappointed that there were only three signature cocktails. I’m actually totally bummed at the lack of creativity that I decided to come up with an imaginary list of my own that should be used:

  • Tatooine Sunrise
  • Rogue Jyn Fizz
  • Tauntaun Collins
  • Mandalorian Mule
  • Darth & Stormy
  • Sith on the Beach

But alas, I only had three cocktails to choose from. I opted for the Wretched Blue Milk which was a tropical rum-based drink and quite delicious. I spotted an older Han and Leia lounging at a booth (super cute!), and the ladies restrooms had graffiti like “It’s a Trap”, “Han Shot First”, and the symbol of the Rebel Alliance.

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In a perfect world, Han and Leia got to grow old together 😦

So if you’re a Star Wars fan and happen to be in Los Angeles, make a reservation and visit the Cantina! Cosplay is encouraged, of course!

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Beetle House L.A.

The gothic and eccentric world of Tim Burton comes to life through food and drinks at Beetle House L.A., a pop-up located in Hollywood. Beetle House comes to L.A. after the highly successful NYC location where it was born in June 2016.

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While the L.A. pop-up is full of artwork and characters inspired by Tim Burton conceptions and films, Beetle House creator, Zach Neil wanted to create a home for the “freaks, weirdos and grown up goth kids of the city.” The Beetle House slogan, in fact, is “It’s Halloween all year long.”

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That is indeed the vibe you get once you’re inside the bar. Artwork covers the walls, Tim Burton characters walk around for pictures, and carnival-like performers make their way around the bar. I saw a woman hammer a nail into her nose. Whhhhaaaa?!?!

The entrance to the restaurant is the open-mouthed sandworm from Beetlejuice. Totally cool! While I didn’t get to eat there, I did sample the drink menu. Expensive (obviously because it’s L.A.) but delicious. No reservations are required for the bar, but if you wanted to eat at the restaurant, reservations well in advance are a must. Having said that, if you are early enough, it doesn’t hurt to try asking the hostess if there’s any availability as last-minute cancellations occur. The menu itself is prix fixe with three different levels to choose from so be prepared to drop some cash for a full meal.

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It had a fun vibe especially if you are into Tim Burton movies. The music is also strategically chosen. There was music from The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Cure, and even the tequila song à la Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. So if you happen to be walking among the stars on Hollywood Boulevard, it’s definitely worth a visit.

“The idea was simple, create a space where people who love Halloween, horror films, Gothic, dark and moody music can gather for a meal and drinks. Sports bars are great if you are into sports, but what about the rest of us? Imagine a place with the same enthusiasm as a big time sports bar but instead everyone is celebrating, films, music and art. That is the type of place I want to create.” – Zach Neil

Taco Tuesday: The Ice Cream Edition

The ice cream taco is not a new fad or concept. Case? Choco Tacos from the Klondike company. I’m unsure of the availability of choco tacos elsewhere in the world, but they’re pretty common in every ice cream truck in Southern California, as well as in major grocery stores.

Another growing fad is rolled ice cream, which I believe is a Thai invention. What is new, however, is the combination of two delicious inventions to create ice cream tacos on crack, a process that Sweet Cup in Garden Grove, California has perfected.

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Initially part of “Taco Tuesday” marketing, Sweet Cup only dished out rolled ice cream tacos on Tuesday, but due to high demand and lines going out the small shop, Sweet Cup has now decided to serve these sweet tacos everyday! A victory for us all!

There are 11 signature rolled ice cream taco creations ranging from Rainbow Road (fruity pebble ice cream with cotton candy whipped cream), to Vietnamese Coffee (coffee ice cream with sea salt cream) and S’mores Galore. It was so difficult to choose. Be prepared to wait, as there are only four “cold plates” in which staff can only make one order at a time.

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I ordered for myself and of course, I had to buy some for my niece (3 years) and nephew (6 years). My three orders were the Honey Avocado, Strawberry Shortcake, and Cookies & Cream.

I had to wait about 30 minutes but it was well worth it. I predict that more and more ice cream shops will do the same as Sweet Cup, which will really help with the crowds seeking ice cream tacos on hot summer days. Yum!

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The 24K: Coconut charcoal ice cream with whipped cream, coconut flakes, chocolate drizzle, and 24k gold flakes. #Extra