Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Latest obssesion: Lurisia's La Vera Gazzosa Limone, artisanal soda from the Amalfi coast

I've been trying to find this soda in the supermarket. No luck. It seems as if it's only available at certain cafes and fornos (bakeries).

For what I can tell there is a Slow Food connection, the soda was created in 2008 and the lemons comes from the beautiful Amalfi coast.

This drink is delicious. It's very refreshing and light. It reminds me of a less syrupy Sprite.

If anyone has info on this drink, please share. Grazie.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Help. I'm a little confused by the recent regional elections in Italy.

Of course I cannot vote but as a resident I'm still interested in the politics here.

I see that the Lega Nord beat the PDL (Berlusconi's party) in the Veneto region. This confuses me. I thought they were part of the same coalition. So why were they running against each other?

PDL won in Lazio and Piemonte. These two areas were the battleground regions and the race was very close. Berlusconi's approval ratings were dropping and there was all this infighting within the PDL. They must be happy and relieved they won.

I haven't heard much about Casini this election. Which party, if any, did he back?

Berlusconi appeared to be on the ropes but as usual he's like Teflon. After his term as PM is up he wants to be the President. He's going to be around forever it seems.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

What happens when you lose a job you love?

The article in today's New York Times Sunday Magazine by former House & Garden editor-in-chief Dominique Browning was very interesting. It gave me a lot to think about.

Some of the comments about the article were not sympathetic at all. People said things like, "Oh poor Dominique, having to sell one of her two homes."

Is she more fortunate than others who have lost their jobs? Of course. She doesn't deny it. One of my biggest issues with American culture is the idea that material goods equal happiness. The negative comments missed the whole point of the article. Yeah she had a nice house, so what? When you love what you do, do it well and have been working non-stop for 35 years, it must be hard to just stop.

Ms. Browning is not yet retirement age. Her kids are out of the house. In a society that worship youth, especially when it comes to women, what does she do now? How will she define herself?

No one is saying losing a job is like losing a loved one. However, there's a reason it's acknowledged as one of the most stressful things someone can go through. Not only for the financial reasons like, how will you pay rent, but also the emotional upheaval.

A few years ago the production company I worked 24/7 for shut down suddenly two weeks before Christmas. It along with other things going on (or not going on) in my life sent me into a spiral I wasn't sure I would recover from.

I put my birthday trip to Italy (I had never been before) on hold since I was unemployed and had no savings to speak off. I felt traveling would be irresponsible.

That Christmas was the first one we spent in St. Martin. My parents had moved back in October. My family was very worried about me and urged me to take the trip, just on a smaller scale.

My brother Fed-exed me a check as an early birthday present. Instead of three cities in two weeks, I picked one city and one week. I went to Rome.

While the way the company shut down was still horrible, it forced me to really look at my life.

Many people are in Ms. Browning's situation. For the Boomer generation, it's particular tough to reinvent yourself at an age that used be your peak earning years.

I'm part of Generation X but work in a very unstable business. People are getting let go left and right and their job skills don't easily translate to other fields. What is a former Development executive going to do? Working in publishing would make the most sense but those jobs are disappearing as well.

This unemployment cycle is different from the past. Many of the jobs that have been lost are gone for good. They are not coming back. We are moving more and more away from making products to just consuming them.

I don't know what this means for the future. I don't think it's a good thing.

HERE is the article. Have you ever lost a job? How did you deal with it?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Flashback Friday - A little food porn from "Under The Tuscan Sun"

I just got back from the Farmer's Market. Mamma mia. The place was packed.

I still can't get over the excellent quality and the prices of vegetables and fruit here. So reasonable.

Strawberries are just starting to hit the market.

I'm going to make chicken broth this weekend and try a new recipe or two.

What are you cooking this weekend?

Below is a little clip from the movie "Under The Tuscan Sun."

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I love André Leon Talley

I stopped watching ANTM because Ty Ty got on my nerves. Also, let's get really, most of the winners do not become a mid-level model, much less a top one.

I read the Italian version is one of the most realistic. I believe it. The contestants on that version look like they could actually have a modeling career.

When I heard ALT was going to be the show, I was so excited. I saw clips of the first episode and can't wait for the show to air here. The panel discussions for this cycle are going to be hilarious. I noticed Noted Fashion Photographer Nigel Barker was giving André the side-eye.

One of my friends gave me ALT's autobiography as a gift. It was very interesting to read about his upbringing. I wish he had opened up a little more, but I can understand why he was a little guarded.

In the book he mentioned how he was shunned by the Jack and Jill set (he was too dark and too poor). I wonder if he runs into those people on his trips back home.

I know some people like to dismiss him and fashion as being silly. I love that he has passion for what he does. He's a very smart man and I have much respect for someone who is curious about the world.

ALT was raised by his grandmother who worked as a maid. This was back in the day in North Carolina. She did not have an easy life. However, she inspired his appreciation for beauty, had style, manners and dignity.

ALT also talks about Diana Vreeland, who was the other major influence in his life.

Yes he's a little larger than life but so what? He's a big, tall, gay, black man with a Masters in French from Brown, who grew up in the Jim Crow south. Of course he's going to stand out. Why not do it wearing a fabulous cape?

This CLIP from a recap on, cracked me up. Perhaps one day I will own a home with a sal-on. ha

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Amazing recipe from David Lebovitz: Roast Chicken with Caramlized Shallots

Ciao bloggisti:

I made this last night and had to post about it. This dish is going to be added to my "go to dishes". It's so easy, yet flavorful.

Most of the ingredients I had on hand. Next time I make it, I wonder if I should add some Herbs de Provence. I don't know really what to do with said herbs.

HERE is the link to the recipe. Enjoy.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Open Baladin...the best burgers in Rome?

That is up for debate. I have heard several friends rave about the burgers, while one thought they were just okay.

I thought my burger (medium) was excellent. But I'm not an expert on burgers.

However, I am a potato chip aficionado. The home made chips are the bomb.

There are over 100 artisan beers on the menu. They sell soda but no wine or cocktails. The crowd gets younger later in the evening. I met two friends for dinner and the crowd was mostly locals coming in after work. As we were leaving a huge table of university students showed up and the music was getting louder.

This is the former Crudo space. It's located near Campo dei Fiori on a quiet side street.

Open Baladin
Via degli Speechi, 6

Friday, March 19, 2010

Flashback Friday - Stevie Wonder - "As"

Hands down, one of my favorite songs.

I almost done with my rewrite. I have to say while I'm feeling very pessimistic about love and romance, my script says the opposite.

Between the lyrics and Stevie's delivery I understand why this song from the '70s is so loved.

God I hope before I leave this earth I feel this way about someone and he feels the same about me. It's not looking good for this ragazza. If I wasn't so busy worrying about being able to pay my bills I'd be depressed.

Have a great weekend.

As around the sun the earth knows she's revolving
And the rosebuds know to bloom in early May
Just as hate knows love's the cure
You can rest your mind assure
That I'll be loving you always
As now can't reveal the mystery of tomorrow
But in passing will grow older every day
Just as all is born is new
Do know what I say is true
That I'll be loving you always

Until the rainbow burns the stars out in the sky---ALWAYS
Until the ocean covers every mountain high---ALWAYS
Until the dolphin flies and parrots live at sea---ALWAYS
Until we dream of life and life becomes a dream

Did you know that true love asks for nothing
Her acceptance is the way we pay
Did you know that life has given love a guarantee
To last through forever and another day
Just as time knew to move on since the beginning
And the seasons know exactly when to change
Just as kindness knows no shame
Know through all your joy and pain
That I'll be loving you always
As today I know I'm living but tomorrow
Could make me the past but that I mustn't fear
For I'll know deep in my mind
The love of me I've left behind Cause I'll be loving you always

Until the day is night and night becomes the day---ALWAYS
Until the trees and seas just up and fly away---ALWAYS
Until the day that 8x8x8 is 4---ALWAYS
Until the day that is the day that are no more
Did you know that you're loved by somebody?
Until the day the earth starts turning right to left---ALWAYS
Until the earth just for the sun denies itself
I'll be loving you forever
Until dear Mother Nature says her work is through---ALWAYS
Until the day that you are me and I am you---AL~~~~~~WA~~
Until the rainbow burns the stars out in the sky~~~~~AA~~~~

We all know sometimes lifes hates and troubles
Can make you wish you were born in another time and space
But you can bet you life times that and twice its double
That God knew exactly where he wanted you to be placed
so make sure when you say you're in it but not of it
You're not helping to make this earth a place sometimes called Hell
Change your words into truths and then change that truth into love
And maybe our children's grandchildren
And their great-great grandchildren will tell
I'll be loving you

Until the rainbow burns the stars out in the sky--Loving you
Until the ocean covers every mountain high--Loving you
Until the dolphin flies and parrots live at sea--Loving you
Until we dream of life and life becomes a dream--Be loving you
Until the day is night and night becomes the day--Loving you
Until the trees and seas up, up and fly away--Loving you
Until the day that 8x8x8x8 is 4--Loving you
Until the day that is the day that are no more--Loving you
Until the day the earth starts turning right to left--Be loving you
Until the earth just for the sun denies itself--Loving you
Until dear Mother Nature says her work is through--Loving you
Until the day that you are me and I am you--
Now ain't that loving you
Until the rainbow burns the stars out in the sky
Ain't that loving you

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fact can be stranger than fiction...the John Edwards/Rielle Hunter drama

As a former campaign staffer I have a very hard time wrapping my head around this craziness.

A friend is a writer on the American daytime soap "All My Children" and if she pitched a story line like this, she probably would be laughed out of the room.

What the heck is going on? Could you imagine if Edwards ended up being the presidential nominee? Did he really think the Republicans would not find out that one, he had/was having an affair and two, he had a CHILD with his mistress? You cannot make this stuff up.

Even back in the day this would have been a scandal, even though the press stayed out of the personal lives of politicians. Hello we are not France, heh.

To me this is different than the Tiger Woods scandal. I don't care what happens between a couple if no one has broken the law. It's none of our business. He's an athlete not a politician, priest or minister. For Edwards to campaign while all this was going on, was outrageous.

As for Ms. Hunter, she needs a new publicist. She sounds straight up bananas in her GQ interview. She's complaining about the GQ photos. Seeing how she's a videographer why would she be confused that lying on a bed with no pants would seem "sexy, racy, etc." Mistresses be trippin!

I never bought into the "Saint Elizabeth Edwards" narrative but still, it's very tacky and just wrong for Hunter talk smack about a person who was married to her lover and has terminal cancer. It's not like when she met Edwards she didn't know he was married. She clearly didn't care.

What happened to civility in our society? Why can't people be discreet? Now we have some random woman yapping to the press that she slept with Sandra Bullock's husband. Is selling your soul for money really worth it?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

An ode to one of the greatest inventions ever...Coca-Cola.

Governor Patterson of New York proposed a 18 percent "obesity tax" on non-diet soft drinks.

Is obesity a problem? Yes. Do many children drink too much soda? Yes. Is the state facing a major budget deficit? Yes.

However, while the tax will raise money, I don't think it will address the obesity problem. If they are going to tax soda, tax the diet ones too. After all, nobody knows the long terms effects of drinking those chemicals.

I love Coke. I try to limit my intake to one or two glasses a month. In Italy, Coke is still made with sugar. In America HFCS replaced sugar back in the early 80s. And yes I can tell the difference.

Last year New York Magazine asked several chefs what they thought about the tax. Prune Chef/owner Gabrielle Hamilton's words about Coca-Cola were so dead on. There are very few things I love more than a nice ice-filled glass of Coke. Preach on Ms. Hamilton. Preach on.

I question the idea of legislating or taxing the “symptom” and not addressing the root problem. A well-timed ice-cold Coca-Cola is one of life’s greatest taste and sensory experiences: the way it makes your eyes sting and tear up, and the back of your throat gets that chalky moment as good or better even than some of the highest tannins in a big red wine, and then the full sugar and caffeine rush that completely cures what ails you. I’m not saying every day and I’m not saying three a day. I mean one perfectly placed Coke in your week.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Amore and a rainbow - Ponte Milvio, Rome

Last week I went to meet a friend near Ponte Milvio and finally remembered to bring my camera.

Couples buy locks (there were three guys selling locks on the bridge) write their names, the date and then throw the key into the river. Amore.

After the success of my friend's movie "Ho Voglia Di Te" so many people started doing this, one of the lampposts started to collapsed. Now there are several reinforced steel columns for the locks.

The original bridge was built in 206 BC. In AD 312 Constantine defeated his bitter rival Maxentius.

Later as I waited for the bus, I noticed the rainbow. Bellissima.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Flashback Friday - Young MC - "Bust A Move"

This song is everywhere lately. I heard it in UP IN THE AIR and on GLEE. Loved it back in the day. Sick bass line.

Why am I just realizing now that Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers was the bassist?

Have a great weekend.

Click HERE for the video.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Monday, March 08, 2010

It's almost 5 a.m. and I'm tired

I want to stay up to see best director and best picture but I'm fading fast.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Flashback Friday - 1989 Oscar opening featuring Snow White and Rob Lowe

Oh man!!

What was the late Alan Carr smoking when he created this opening? It was ripped to shreds and Mr. Lowe is lucky this went down pre-Twitter/Facebook etc.

I like the tribute to Old School Hollywood. The rest? I have no words.

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Fashion week

A vicious reminder that my ass is broke.