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

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.

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

Foodies Festival Brighton

There’s nothing like spending a Saturday afternoon eating and drinking to your heart’s content … which is exactly what I did (#CheatDay!). Luckily, the weather blessed us with clear skies to kick off the annual Foodies Festival, which will tour the rest of England, with one stop in Scotland (schedule below).

My friend and I arrived at Hove Lawns and were immediately greeted by music and a free sample of an Old Fashioned, however, she had to drive so fortunately for me, I got to drink hers as well. The abundance of food overwhelmed us in the best possible way and while we were deciding what to eat, we were handed another free shot/sample of sparkling coconut water and vodka. Yum! Then we noticed yet another vodka provider handing out free samples as well – KIN Toffee + Vodka, which was smooth and delicious! At this point we definitely needed food.

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Italian Mac & Cheese
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Vegan FroYo (Bubblegum with coconut flakes)

I ended up getting the Italian Mac & Cheese, which was slathered with basil pesto and had delicious pieces of mozzarella throughout. Oh. My. Gah. There were plenty of other vendors competing for attention providing everything from Mediterranean, Thai, Ramen, Chinese, Mexican, BBQ, cakes, artisan bread, and sooooo much more.

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Le Bun was a popular stop. There burgers looked like perfection.
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Just LOOK at the perfection of this burger! It’s what all other burgers places should aspire to be!

Also, you will not go thirsty. Various vendors provided gin, whiskey, rum and tequila. I had Honey’s Midford Cider and I also tried Ableforth’s Sloe Gin Mule and they did not disappoint. It was so nice to just soak up the sun and listen to live music with great food and great company. The Foodies Festival will be in Brighton only until Monday, May 1st, but if you happen to be traveling to the U.K. this summer, do check out if the Foodies Festival will come near you. This is an annual festival so if you miss it this year, do check it out the next! [FYI I purchased my ticket via Groupon UK. Two-for-one tickets at £17.50].

Pros: Lot’s of choices, vendors, and drinks to be had. You can even purchase a variety of foods to take with you (cakes, bread, olive oil, chili sauces, etc.) or drinks (wine, bottles of gin, whiskey, rum and tequila). The live music was also a nice touch.

Cons: There were vegetarian options available, but I wish there was more of a variety. Also, like any festival, the food was a bit pricier given we also paid for a ticket, but some say it was worth it.

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P.S. Lots of doggos were out in full force looking towards their owners with hopeful faces. “Please sir, can I have some more?”

Foodies Festival 2017 Schedule:

  1. Brighton [Hove Lawns]: 29 April – 1 May
  2. Bristol [Durdham Downs]: 12 May – 14 May
  3. Brentford [Syon Park]: 27 May – 29 May
  4. Newcastle [Exhibition Park]: 2 June – 4 June
  5. Birmingham [Canon Hills Park]: 23 June – 25 June
  6. Blackheath [Circus Field]: 7 July – 9 July
  7. Knutsford [Tatton Park]: 14 – 16 July
  8. Edinburgh [Inverleith Park]: 4 August – 6 August
  9. London [Alexandra Palace]: 26 August – 28 August
  10. Oxford [South Parks]: 1 September – 3 September