Boston

After our friends wedding in Kennebunkport we had a couple days to spare before we went back home to Sicily.  We decided to head down to Boston since our flight would be leaving from there and Jess has never been.  I have been to Boston over a dozen times because I had a pretty regular schedule of work trips to Boston a few years back.  I love Boston.  A lot of historical things to see, big food and bar variety, and  great sports presence (even I got the Red Sox bug from my visits… and Im a “put baseball on to go to sleep” kind of person).  Overall just a great energy.  I was excited to show Jess the town.

With our limited time we jumped on the Boston tour “hop on hop off” bus, which was surprisingly great.  Im not the type of person that would normally do the touristy thing, but with the bus we were able to see everything that we needed to see really easily.  The tour guides were very informative and most of them had great Boston accents…  “If you look to your right you will see Haa vaard.”

We stayed in Cambridge, which was a fun change up for me.  We were able to walk to MIT and Harvard … One thing that was really weird at MIT at night was that there were HUGE rats running around by the trash cans outside.  I guess people are too preoccupied with algorithms at the school to take care of their little situation there.

Probably a bad lead up to the food discussion, but Im going to go with it.  ha.  We had the old standby Legal Sea Foods.   Jess had to try the chowder and I had the mussels both were on point.

Chow-da @ Legal Seafood

During our tour of the Beacon Hill area we hit up a pizza place that I used to come to almost every visit….  The Upper Crust.  Great little pizza place if your in the area.

Upper Crust special slice of the day… Money

So far living in Sicily we have found that the food that we miss the most is by far Mexican food.  So don’t judge us, but we had to get Mexican food in Boston of all places!  We are desperate people!  I found a place just outside of Cambridge that had some good reviews called Cantina La Mexicana.

We ordered up the Margaritas, guacamole, and a couple of standard Mexican entrees.

 

Jess got the enchiladas combo… she enjoyed!
Carne Asada burrito… no Adalbertos or Loma Bonita… but it got the job done.

El Margaritas did flow.  It was a great Mexican fix… not up to the California standard, but hey .. beggars can’t be choosers.

 

Off center pic by a kid in front of Fenway

 

Overall the trip back to the States was a great trip.  It felt good to be back in the States for a little bit.  It was definitely nicer on the roads without a 4 foot Italian riding my back bumper.  Im lucky that I didn’t get a traffic violation of some sort with my new Sicilian driving skills. (Red lights are optional)

Now back to Sicilia and this…

The Italians are moving us in… look out.

 

Kennebunkport

Back to the States!  We were looking forward to this trip for over a year now.   Our good friends Matt and Laura got married in Kennebunkport and it was an amazing time and place.  Congrats to the bride and groom!

This is the first time that we’ve been to Maine and it reminded me a lot of Northern Michigan.  Huge difference in the scenery that we have been accustomed to the last couple months in the Mediterranean.  We loved the small town feel of Kennebunkport.

Onto the Food!  and of course what comes to mind with Maine?  Lobstahh!  (New England accent)

First stop to meet up with the soon to be bride and groom at Arundel Wharf.  As soon as we arrived on location the lobster rolls came rolling out.

 

 

The Clam Shack was good, but not great.  I think it got a bit over hyped with being on the Travel Channel and everything.

We really enjoyed our stay at the Nonantum resort.  They had a huge breakfast spread in the mornings and with us being on semi Italian time we were the early birds.  We didnt realize that we missed the items involved in an American breakfast… all the eggs made to order, American bacon, pancakes, french toast, and amazing Maine blueberry muffins.  The rehearsal dinner and reception dinner were also way above par.

We maxed out on our lobster in Kennebunkport… and it was great!  I actually got to a point near the end where I just couldn’t get another lobster item… honestly I thought that could never happen.

Onto Boston for a couple days before we go back home to Sicilia.

 

 

Arriverderci Huntington Beach

Jessica’s parents put together a great get together in Huntington Beach this weekend.  They had the Italian theme in full effect with Italian beers, antipasti, a giant Italian sub, and the pizza oven warmed and ready to go for our pizza creations.

Dave & Will getting perfection in the pizza oven
Giant Italian Submarine!
Good picture with family

 

Will took this artsy pic of “BenAnna”

 

Random dance by Jess with her Mom… Watch Out for those toothpicks!

 

Mo Diesel and Deborah

There are more pictures on the flickr page that you can get to from this sites homepage.

The creative juices were flowing (The Italian beers helped!) as everyone tried all types of pizzas.  Needless to say there were no leftovers in the pizza category and I think we went through at least a dozen pizzas.  I tried a pizza that I have made before ( I call it the billy goat pizza), but it wasn’t too successful because the potatoes weren’t able to cook through because I didn’t account for the super high temps that are reachable with the wood fire pizza oven.   With the high temps the pizzas are ready to pull out in 5 minutes… which is awesome except for sliced potatoes.  The pizza is potataoes, leeks, bacon, goat cheese, and mozzarella.  I got the recipe from Pioneer Woman I think, but I dont see the recipe on her site, so I will have to write it up and take pictures next time I make it.  Its good stuff.

It was great to see everyone.  We had a great time.  I wanted to thank Jessica’s parents for hosting … and thanks to everyone for coming to send us off in style.

So Long Sandy Eggo

As the days are counting down things are getting crazier.  All the preparing and work we did ahead of time doesn’t seem to be helping.  I have been in serious salesman mode and Im proud to say a successful salesman.  I was able to sell Jess’s jeep, my truck, and sadly my boat.   Its nice to know I have the salesman ability to fall back on if this computer stuff doesn’t work out.. ha.   Craigslist works like a champ.

Currently our Honda Fit (Our version of an Red Italian Ferrari) is somewhere on the Atlantic Ocean making its way over to Italy… with any luck it will make it over there.

In our final days we tried to see everybody and eat at all of our favorite places…. Lots of Mexican food!  Adalbertos is one of our recent favorites in Point Loma

Looks can be deceiving

 

Hot mess of tastiness

And I know that some people reading this may get mad that Im not mentioning an old friend.. Loma Bonita  .. CHIMICHANGA!  Chimi Challenge (someone needs to send me a pic of the chimi)

love the random purple roof

Sorry got sidetracked with the Mexican food.. I will have to have a dedicated post at some point.

We had a few going away events with our friends and had a lot of fun, but it was bittersweet because in the back of my mind was the reality of leaving everyone.  Below are a few photos from a night at South Beach Bar & Grill:

Jess & Renada @ South Beach with friends
Practicing Italian hand gestures with Vince and Mike @ South Beach
Hockey guys thought it was good idea to offer me the "lineup"... WAY too late.. Not Happening

Let me know if some of you have some other pics.  I will have a post about South Beach when Im thinking about the fish tacos and oysters.

This is one of the views that Im going to miss the most in San Diego:

time for surf

This is the view when I would be walking down to go surf at the cliffs that I will miss.  Hopefully I can find some places like this in Sicily.

Unhappy Movers in San Diego

Today is the day the movers crated up all of our wrapped up items for shipment across the pond.  The standard has been pretty impressive to me in terms of how well they pack everything and then also place it all into giant crates for protection.  Im not too worried about items being too busted up thanks to all this, but that protection doesn’t really do anything if it falls off the boat and floats to the bottom of the Atlantic.  Luckily we remembered to take a lot of pictures of our items before pack up.

Anyways everything was going great and we crated up 3 big crates quickly before lunch.  Subway again…. these guys are boring.  I offered to pick up anything and even mentioned a few winners ( South Beach fish tacos, Pizza Port, Poma’s).

Next we were onto our storage unit….  and this is where everyone got grumpy.  I kept telling these guys we have a storage unit with basically half of our old house in it… But they were flying high and dreaming of East County Steel Reserve fun right after moving this beach bum is done. .. That is until I opened the storage unit door.  Whooopsssss.  Literally records screeching to a halt when they saw all the stuff stacked high.

Here is a peek at what they saw:

Long story short we ended up barely making into the trucks max of 6 crates…  the East Countuky boys bet me they would have us in 4 crates easy.  I hope we have a big place in Sicily!

Some pics of  a confused Biscuit when he saw our empty place

And you might be wondering (probably not) … Nick .. if you moved everything out of your place how are you going to live in your place the next couple weeks?  Enter the magic that is air mattress.   We are essentially camping in our place until fly time 6/16/11.  I caught the lovely Jessica pulling out the air mattress from its secret lair of our closet:

Packing up San Diego

Its finally sinking in…

Today was the day of the movers…. months of lead up to this day.  All in all it went really well.  Amazing how efficient these guys were at packing everything up nicely.  Our place wreaks of tape and permanent marker.

Like I was saying it is finally sinking in that we are moving somewhere… not really sinking in that we are moving to Italy.  Im not sure that will ever sink in exactly.

I was talking to Jess about moving and this would be my #9 just since Ive been to San Diego (All the spots were fun in their own way…except Mission Valley.. sorry you MV fans).  I wonder what it takes to be certified as a Gypsy?  I did move 10+ times before moving to San Diego as well all within a 10 mile radius in Michigan.  If that helps my resume for the Gypsy committee reading this.

Sorry nothing about food with this post… although I did buy the movers Subway.  If your interested in what their orders were.. just ask in a comment below.

Keeping Austin Weird

Went on trip to Austin for a long weekend for a bachelor party of a good friend… and in keeping with the rules of a bachelor party thats all I can say about that … and there will not be any pictures involved here… other than food!

We had a lot of great food this entire weekend.  From epic BBQ to savvy sushi we covered all the bases.  I mean if your going to soak up all that alcohol you might as well do it with good taste in mind right?  Unfortunately I do not have a whole lot of pictures due to the rules, but here is a list of some of the restaurants and links to their webpages:

  • Uchiko – Very cool sushi place.  Who would have thought fresh and creative sushi in Texas!!  Outside of town a bit, but I recommend.
  • Unknown Food Trailer –  I will have to find out the name of the trailer and update.  Food Trailers are huge in Austin.  They are everywhere and they are not what you think of when you think trailer.  We were brought to this one by a friend that has lived in Austin for the past 5+ years and it had a very eclectic menu of Asian/Indian food that was very tasty.
  • Salt Lick –  This is the second time that I have been here and I was looking forward to this trip for months.  Bottom line: If you go to Austin this is a must.  You are going to drive a bit and you may wait in line if you go at a prime time, but you will stop whining when you have unlimited brisket and sausage coming your way.  By the way this place is BYOB… which we took full advantage of since we took a limo out there.

I did take some pictures at the Salt Lick.  We snuck behind the rope guarding the open pit and started chatting a bit with the main guy manning the grill.  We asked how to get our BBQ up to snuff and he explained about the wood that is used and the temperature.  He said we needed to go even lower and slower!  He mentioned lower than our 250 degrees guess.  Also of note is that these open pits are not allowed in restaurants, but because Salt Lick had these babies way before the rule they were grandfathered in.  Below are some of the pics I snapped:

Even after eating for the past 2 hours… I became hungry again
Magic happening…. So close you can taste it

 

Family Style is the best $19.95 you will ever spend.

 

The bachelor party was a great success.  We all had a great time and enjoyed the best of Austin including a day on Lake Travis via a kick ass pontoon boat.

By the way you can buy many of the BBQ items on the Salt Lick website including the prepared meat.  I ordered some for Jessica’s Dad  and it turned out great..  My top choices would be Thurmans Pride Brisket, Hill Country Sausage, and Bobby’s Beef Ribs.  Im curious what are your favorites are? if you have been.

 

Pure Michigan

We flew to Michigan to see my family before our departure to Italy in June.  It was funny when we started planning this trip a few months ago because I wanted to make sure that the  snowy weather was done.  We figured the first week of May was safe… and we were right, but barely.  This past winter was terrible with snow and it snowed a couple weeks before our trip.

Immediately off  the plane to eating the following:

Has to be the Square deep dish! Dont even mess around with the round.

It was great seeing everyone in Michigan.  Unfortunately as I went through pictures I noticed that almost every picture was either food or animals.

Jessica having a pleasant conversation with Apollo:

Yes Apollo.. you could use a breath mint

Harley looking for treats

Beggin Strip?

We made a trip to Lafayette Coney Island.  The more I travel the more I realize coney islands are only in Michigan for some reason.  Im sure there are websites dedicated to this mystery.  Literally you cannot go a block without seeing a coney island restaurant in the Detroit area… if you do… it would be a good idea to open a coney island there because it will be popular.  If you mention the words “coney island” in California you get a ” I haven’t heard of that island” response… unless its another Michigander at which point they will offer you a stiff drink because they feel your pain.  Anyways below is one of the main reasons for this popularity.

A Coney with everything

 

Like I said before all the photos were food and animals.  I couldn’t believe it at the end of the trip.  Jess did take one pic of me at the end of dinner on Sunday.  Im a proud papa in the pic because everyone enjoyed the pasta side dish that I made (Cacio e Pepe) .  I will have to put this recipe in a post because its money.

 

After Sunday Dinner

 

Anyways we were happy that this trip went so well.  We were able to spend some quality time with everybody and get all caught up.  We were sad to board the plane and get back to the reality of our big move looming.