How I Spent Four Days In Rhodes, Greece in Summer 2021

Dan and I made our triumphant return to Europe in 2021, heading to Rhodes, Milos, and Athens, Greece. After a significant delay at Newark, we FINALLY made it to Rhodes – six hours later than expected (and missing our flight to Athens….). This article shares my experience in 2021 and offers some recommendations and tips for visiting Rhodes, Greece!

Final approach into Rhodes, Greece.

RHODES, GREECE

Rhodes, Greece is a large Greek island located very close to the Turkish coast.  Rhodes is one of Greece’s largest islands and one of the furthest from Athens. Unlike the “blue and white” Greek islands that most Americans think of when they think Greek (i.e. the Cyclades), Rhodes has a lot of Ottoman influence, very rich history with influences from many cultures, much related to the Knights Period, medieval things, and very little “blue and white” architecture. Today, while absolutely gorgeous in certain parts, Rhodes is super touristy, receiving big box tours from Europe, as well as its fair share of cruise ships. You’ll find stunning old walls and flowers in the Old Town, as well as weird toy and candy shops and tourist trinket stores targeted to cruisers. In my opinion, Rhodes Town was best early or late, when most of the cruisers and day trippers leave the island.

Very touristy Rhodes, Greece. You can see a weird toy/candy store in the background.

Contrast this Old Town Wall and flowers with the touristy square.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Ten Pubs That Guinness Lovers Cannot Miss In Dublin, Ireland!

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day – my favorite holiday – I am rounding up 12 of my favorite places to have a Guinness in its home, Dublin, Ireland! Full disclosure, I am not from Dublin or even Ireland. That being said, I have been several times and I consider myself a Guinness connoisseur. Do be sure to visit some of these pubs if you are lucky enough to find yourself in Dublin!

A Guinness at Gravity Bar at the Guinness Storehouse. A must-do in Dublin.  See my “Bonus” pub below!

1.   John Kavanaugh The Gravediggers. 1 Prospect Square, Glasnevin, Dublin.

Go for: Paying homage to Bourdain, lunch, a great pint in a really old school setting, before or after a visit to Glasnevin Cemetery and/or the Botanical Gardens.

John Kavanaugh’s is a family-run pub located next to Dublin’s Glasnevin Cemetery. Kavanaugh’s is about a 45 minute walk outside of central Dublin, and it was made famous by an appearance on Bourdain’s The Layover. Kavanaugh’s has two sides with separate entrances – one a bit more modern with a kitchen and the other just a really old school bar serving only drinks. Check out both sides if you have time. We enjoyed lunch and then a Guinness on the other side.

A perfect pint!

Potato soup and Guinness.

Kavanaugh’s coddle, just as Bourdain ate!

Continue reading

5 Years Later, Another Thanksgiving Cicchetti Tour in Venice, Italy!

Five years ago, Dan and I spent Thanksgiving in Venice, Italy with my mom, my friend and her mom, and Dan’s aunt. This year, we returned to Venice for Thanksgiving and decided to repeat one of our favorite activities, a Cicchetti progressive dinner tour! Cicchetti are small, elaborate bites, similar to Spanish tapas, that Venetians like to eat throughout the day, often served with an adult beverage. Cicchetti bars, or small restaurants serving Cicchetti and drinks, can be found throughout Venice and if you aren’t familiar with the concept, a Cicchetti tour is a great way to dive in! We loved, loved, loved our tour 5 years ago but unfortunately the tour guides no longer live in Venice. I found another online that provided a similar experience.

Venice – exactly 5 years ago!

Our Cicchetti tour started by meeting just next to the Rialto Bridge in front of the Chiesa di San Giacomo di Rialto. After some photos and mulled wine, we met our guide and got started our our tour!  Despite Covid persisting, most places were open and hopping with locals.

Mulled wine overlooking Venice.

FIRST STOP: DESSERT AT PANIFICIO MAURO EL FORNER DE CANTON.

Our first stop on this Cicchetti tour was Panificio Mauro el Forner de Canton for dessert. We stopped here first because it closed shortly after our visit! This bakery has been around for nearly 80 years and goes back four generations. Panificio Mauro el Forner de Canton was packed with locals on our visit, so much so that we had to wait outside for space. According to our guide, Panificio Mauro el Forner de Canton is famous for its tiramisu, and that is exactly what we tried. Actually, we tried tiramisu and another baked good. Both were excellent and this was a great way to start our tour.

Some of the dessert offerings at Panificio Mauro el Forner de Canton.

Continue reading