La Zanzara Restaurant Review: A Solid Spot Near The Vatican.

If you’ve ever planned a day at the Vatican, I’m sure you are very familiar with the mediocre food options in the area. Why the mediocre food? The Vatican is full of tourists, not locals returning for meals in the area, so, similar to Venice, there is not much incentive to produce excellent food. In other words, quantity over quality, and high prices to boot. I paid 5 euro for a Coke Light in 2008 … In any case, when for my family’s lunch break between visiting Vatican City and the Colosseum (yes, HUGE day, read about it here), I was determined to find a good, sit down restaurant for a break.

Yep, big day. Two hard hitters in 12 hours.

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Restaurant Review: TTK Fledglings, Cape Town, South Africa

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that Dan and I went to South Africa with our friends Pryor and Bryan in April 2022. We started on a safari and ended with a few lovely days in Cape Town. This was Dan and my second visit, and I really wanted to eat at one of Luke Dale Roberts’ restaurants, particularly South Africa’s (possibly) most famous restaurant, The Test Kitchen. We missed it our first trip to Cape Town, because we waited too late to make a reservation. Unfortunately, The Test Kitchen has permanently closed, but Roberts and his wife have opened up a new venture in Cape Town: TKK Fledglings. I made a reservation months in advance, LOL.

Here we are in Cape Town in 2022!

TKK Fledglings is a “learning kitchen,” where people without no specific knowledge of the hospitality industry train on site while working at the restaurant and earning a salary. Pretty cool idea. While I was a little concerned that TKK Fledglings, as a result, would not be at the level of service I desired, but my concerns were 100% unfounded. Our experience was amazing: the service was impeccable, the food fantastic, and the interior gorgeous. I think it was our favorite meal. The prices were reasonable, as well.

TTK Fledglings.

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Airport Lounge Review: Prime Vista Lounge, FCO Terminal 3 – E Gates

I’ve visited the Prima Vista Lounge (formerly the “Passenger Lounge”) in Rome FCO’s Terminal 3 at least four times, and three times in the last nine months, but I’ve never written a review on it.  So, here we are! In short, Prima Vista is a good lounge that has adapted well to Covid, but it’s FAAAAR from checkin. Don’t plan to spend too much time here for that reason alone (you’ll board by the time you arrive!). Entrance is free with Priority Pass, so there’s a plus!

Aeroporti di Roma! Always so exciting to land in Rome!

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Airport Lounge Review: Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, Newark International Terminal B

Dan and I flew to Dublin in February 2022 with Aer Lingus. We were not expecting lounge access due to the terminal assigned (Newark’s sparse Terminal B), but Dan just happened to see a sign for the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse when walking to our gate. The sign seemed to indicate that the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse was open and we could enter with our American Express Centurion Card. We decided to give it a shot. When we arrived at about 3:25, the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse looked totally closed, but we knocked and they opened the door, stating that they formally open in 5 minutes. So we waited the couple minutes and went inside!

Kind of a vague sign.

Upon further discussion with the staff, the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse only reopened a few days prior to our visit after being closed for nearly 2 years due to Covid. We also learned that the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is now operated by the Plaza Premium Group. We did not visit this lounge pre-Covid, so I cannot compared it to its pre-2020 state. We really enjoyed it this time though!

ENTRANCE TO THE VIRGIN ATLANTIC CLUBHOUSE

The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is located in Newark’s Terminal B. Terminal B is split into 3 areas, each with its own security, and the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is located in the B2 area, near Gates B51 – B57. After clearing security, all passengers walk down a pretty depressing hall toward the gates. Entrance to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is at the beginning of this hall via an elevator. Had there not been a sign, we would have totally missed it. We took the elevator to the second level and there it was, the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse! Its right next to the British Airways Lounge.

Entrance. Dan was very excited to locate this lounge!

Once the doors officially open at the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at 3:30, we checked in with our boarding pass and American Express Centurion card. While we both have the card, we used Dan’s and I got in as his guest. It was unclear how many guests are allowed per card. This lounge used to be on Priority Pass, but that is no longer the case. Dragon Pass appears to still work.

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Visiting the Vatican & Colosseum in One Crazy Day!

Rome has A LOT of sights to see. So many that you could stay for more than a week in Rome and not see everything. Seriously. This poses a problem for many tourists, who often only spend 1 or 2 days in Rome (which I think leads to the common and, frankly wrong, opinion that Rome is not a favorite Italian city). Of all the sites, two of the most popular are Vatican City and the Colosseum. Most information will advise that you should not visit these two sites on the same day due to time constraints, etc., and I agree. But sometimes you just don’t have the time to split them up, and that’s exactly the position I found myself in in November when I was in Rome for 3 days with 8 family members! Due to a strong desire to see both sights, I bit the bullet and planned a perfectly timed day visiting both Vatican City and the Colosseum in the same day! While I would not necessarily recommend this if you have plenty of time, it is doable, and here’s how!

IN BRIEF: 8 – 11:30, the Vatican Museums, 11:30 – 11:50, walk to St. Peter’s Basilica, 12:00 – 1:45 St. Peter’s Basilica interior OR a proper sit down lunch, 1:45 – 2:15 transfer to the Colosseum, 2:30 – 4:30, Colosseum!

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