Monthly Archives: May 2016

Gelato Festival in Naples


Whoo! Today was a fun day attending the Gelato Festival in Naples with our friends the Wilkins’ Family. It is a touring festival, travelling both around Italy and Europe for 5 months, and visiting 9 different cities… including Naples! For four adults to try all the 14 flavors at the festival (8 flavors that are competing, plus 6 other unique and original flavors) was €23. Kids twelve and under were free to try as much as their parents would allow. Got to love that kids are free for most things in Italy.

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Once you pay you get a ticket like this called “The Gelato Card” to visit three specialty food trucks created for the festival to house all the different flavors featured this year.

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Apparently if you are hardcore, you can fill out this card and turn it in to vote for the best Italian and foreign ice cream makers for this years festival. We just wanted to eat gelato so we weren’t focused on the judging.

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We walked around and stood in quick lines to try a sample of the flavors. Now the scoops were small and cute in there baby sized cones… which may seem disappointing… but let me tell you they were the perfect size for the kids and adults alike when you consider how many flavors you could try.

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Our friend Beth’s goal was to try something crazy… and crazy we found! One of the gelato options was a spumoni style serving of tomato, mozzerella and basil flavored gelato… yes they actually tasted just like you’d think those flavors would taste… but in the unnatural consistency of cold gelato. I’ll let their faces tell the tale of how it tasted.

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Nope. Nope. Nope.

Our favorite flavor by far was the original Buontalenti- a cream based specialty flavor which “in the late 1500s, the Medici family commissioned famous artist and architect Bernardo Buontalenti to prepare a beautiful feast for the visiting King of Spain. Using his culinary skills to present an elaborate and visually pleasing display, Buontalenti presented the King of Spain with a creamy frozen dessert that we now call gelato. Buontalenti is considered the inventor of gelato.”

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It tasted heavenly with just the perfect amount of sweet creamy-ness. We got gelato-ed out… but #ohbrian was determined to at least try all the flavors which led to this binge at the end.

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Probably equally as fun as trying all the gelato was the discovery of this amazing little park just a stone throw away from the festival. The kids ran around and climbed to their hearts content burning off all the gelato calories. We agreed that this was the nicest park we’ve seen in Italy. Believe it or not parks are hard to come by… especially parks that are relatively clean and aren’t runned down.

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On the way back to the parking garage (another €12 to park… making this only a €25 day of fun #daveramseyapproved) we hit a stand where the kids could try to kick a goal to win a soccer ball… well these people were supper generous and essentially just handed all the bambinos a ball for any kind of kick. Ha!

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What a fantastic day to enjoy the festival! It is still going on tomorrow May 22nd from 12-10pm if you haven’t had the chance to enjoy.

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Breakfast Dating

Dating your spouse gets a little more complicated when you add kids to your household.

You may or may not know that Brian and I are partial to Breakfast Dates… it’s our favorite meal to pay for. It’s been our sneaky way of fitting in dates without breaking the bank on restaurant tabs and babysitting fees. You see Brian gets every other Friday off, its just the way his work schedule works, and on those Friday’s off the big kids are in school and for the last three years or so we’ve only had a baby (or a “little” as we affectionately call them) at home during that time. We can totally take one little with us on a breakfast date and have a great time.

Breakfast dates are more forgiving for lots of reasons…

  • The food is delicious and satisfying first thing in the morning.
  • You can be more casually dressed for breakfast dates… because you did just get out of bed.
  • Everyone’s on their best behavior. Adults and kids alike. No one has the stress of the day on them yet and everyone is just happy to be getting served.
  • Other guests at restaurants are more forgiving of little’s because its early, everyone is getting their coffee fixes and belly’s filled… who doesn’t want to smile at a cute baby enjoying a pancake? #getsomecutebaby No child is going to break the romantic atmosphere for anyone.
  • The foods are easier for little’s to enjoy along side you, so you aren’t as likely to fight them to eat their food. I don’t know any kid who can’t find something delicious to eat on a breakfast menu… plus if they can bring you a side of fruit and hot chocolate or juice with a lid and a straw… forget about it!
  • Kids or no kids… you can order all the food you want, leave full and still only pay about half the price of an actual dinner date with the same amount of people. #truestory #daveramseyapproved

Suffice to say… Breakfast Dates are the bomb!

[Especially in San Diego: Snooze, The Mission, Richard Walker Pancake House, Hash House, Great Maple, Trails Eatery, Crushed, The Cottage, Brockton Villa, El Cajon Bistro and Janet’s Montana Cafe are some of our favorites!!! Man we miss breakfasts in San Diego. If you are in San Diego go to anyone of these places for us stat.]

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Flash forward to living abroad in Italy.

It’s been over three months since our last breakfast date.

Worse still… breakfast places are not exactly a thing here.

If we are being honest… breakfast is barely a thing here.

A croissant and an espresso just aren’t going to cut it… especially for Brian who’s go to breakfast item is the Country Fried Steak and Eggs with a side of Biscuits and Gravy. I’m more partial to the sweets with French Toast topping my faves followed by a good Eggs Bene.  Oy. What are we to do?!

In passing I shared this sorrow with a girlfriend here in Italy and she said she had just been to a breakfast place not too far away.

What?!

Doth my ears deceive me? 

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Midnight Cafe (Aversa)… we are headed your way!

As soon as I told Brian he was a skeptic. A “cafe” is not his idea of a hearty breakfast and he has low tolerance for anything frou-frou when it comes to foods… well what do you want from me Brian, we live in Italy now thanks to you (I swing back and forth on this issue but really he’s the reason we’re here… I will concede that that door does swing both ways… so any fun we enjoy while living here is also his fault).

But I assured him their specialty was pancakes. Pancakes?! Pancakes aren’t going to fill me up. I had to finish explaining that they had a savory/salty pancake menu and a sweet pancake menu. Either way we had to try it… it was breakfast-like in Italy.

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Now let me tell you all something about going just about anywhere in Italy… it is unpredictable and flat out stressful with a side of scary. Siri does not take into account the size of our minivan and the size of the roads when she decides to take us along a route. There are many times we are turning through tiny streets that seem to get narrower and narrower into the heart of a city and my biggest fear would be getting wedged between two buildings.

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So after a lot of scary turns to a location that was allegedly only 15 minutes away from our house,  we simply parked at the next slightly open town center that we found because I couldn’t take the stress of the tiny roads with zippy Italian drivers anymore. Did I mention I was the one driving? You also have to tip sketchy looking car attendants to do this so they’ll look out for your car.

We were still a mile away from our destination. “We’ll just walk,” Brian said, “this was your idea… so whatever, don’t look at me.” I told him to smack me the next time I suggested just heading into town for anything like it is no biggie. #thestruggleisreal

The only plus side to walking was getting to walk behind this stinky cutie who was making googly eyes at me the whole time we attempted to navigate walking directions from Siri.

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We turned the twelth corner and we could see the light! Midnight Cafe was in our reach. When we finally reached our destination we were greeted by this amusing sign: Pancake & Food. I guess that is why we are here. Ha!

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This too caught me eye as we entered.

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I love when Italians know you are American… probably walking in and saying “Hi” instead or “Ciao” was our giveaway. #rookies But they told us to sit wherever and brought us a menu. I forgot to get a picture of the Savory/Salty Pancake Menu but here was the Sweet Pancake Menu.

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We asked for his recommendations and he suggested the Cheddar, Bacon, Crunchy Onion Savory Pancake with Midnight Sauce for Brian (a very American recommendation) and the special of the day the Red Velvet and Cream Cheese Whip with Chocolate Chips for me. Sounded great! We asked for little pancakes for Lolo to enjoy, our new favorite drink “Ace” (pronounced Ache) which is a carrot, orange, lemon maybe pineapple mix of amazing-ness and a cappuccino.

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The sweet pancakes came out first. And yum-o. Just look!

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The Nutella Baby Pancakes for Lolo were a hit and my Red Velvet Pancake was amazing. I was worried it would be too sweet, and I am a sweets kind of girl, but no it was perfection. [Like receiving gum from Jill Goodacre in an atm vestibule #friends]

Then Brian’s savory pancake came out. Another ooooo moment. It smelled goood… and that that I knew it had onions on it.

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He was satisfied with this double decker pancake tower of bacon, cheese and onion. That is saying something if you know how Brian eats.

So the moral of this story is that Breakfasts Dates might look a little different in Italy, but we can get er’ done… maybe with a more open mind of what breakfast can look like, a few more turns and a lot of walking… but hey maybe that is the tale of how Italians keep their bella figura. We will continue hunting for Breakfast Date opportunities in Italy to keep the fun alive.

#thebreakfastclub

#breakfastdatesftw

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Got a breakfast date recommendation in Naples? We’d love to add it to our list. Here is the details for Midnight Cafe if you’d like to play!

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