Amalfi Coast Foodie Travel Guide

Rome Foodie Travel Guide

Cinque Terre Foodie Travel Guide

Turin & Alba Foodie Travel Guide

Naples Foodie Travel Guide

Palermo, Sicily Foodie Travel Guide

Catania, Sicily Foodie Travel Guide

Lecce Foodie Travel Guide

Ortigia, Sicily Foodie Travel Guide

Ferrara Foodie Travel Guide

Modica, Sicily Foodie Travel Guide

Recent Blog Posts

Best Bars in Cork, Ireland

Cork is a great city to enjoy a pint or two. When in Cork, you’re best advised to not to order a Guinness. Corkonians are an independent bunch (thus the nickname “Rebel City”) and tend to reject anything from Dublin, including their famous stout. Instead, enjoy a pint of Beamish or Murphy’s. Both were founded…

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Easy Pickle Recipe

Super easy and delicious to make! Photo: Brent Petersen Back in the day when I had my hobby farm in Rhode Island I would spend days and days making pickles as the harvest came in. Sterilizing and processing jars in boiling water baths during the blazing hot weeks of summer was a sweaty and tiring…

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Reverse Culture Shock

You’ve heard of culture shock, the feeling of being upended and out of touch by the customs and traditions of an unfamiliar culture. Recently, I returned to the United States and felt major culture shock in reverse. We have made our new home in Portugal, but have only lived here a few months. Still, in…

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Amazing African food in Lisbon

Some of the best food in Lisbon has its origin in former Portuguese colonies. Cuisine of Mozambique, Roda Viva, Lisbon (photo: Brent Petersen) Mozambique Mozambique is a country in southeast Africa with a population of mostly Bantu-speaking people who have lived there for centuries. In 1498, explorer Vasco de Gama arrived in Mozambique. Within a…

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Portugal’s Nêspera fruit

The slightly sweet, slightly acidic fruit has been cultivated in China for 1,000 years. But, it’s also widely grown in Portugal. We were walking with my friend Lucia in Lisbon when I excitedly pointed out a Nêspera tree full of ripe fruit. “Do you like Nêspera?” she asked. “I do!” “You and my niece are…

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Coffee isn’t just coffee in Portugal

There’s a great scene from “Seinfeld” in which George beats himself up because he doesn’t realize that when his date asks him up to his apartment for “coffee” she’s really asking for something else. “Coffee isn’t coffee!” he screams. My girlfriend and I often parrot the phrase “Coffee isn’t coffee” in Portugal for a different…

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Ape, the three-wheeled trucks from Italy

The modest Italian lightweight trucks are popular all over Europe. Ape Origin Story After WWII, Italy was in ruins and Italian consumers couldn’t afford fancy personal automobiles. Instead, many bought the much less expensive Vespa scooters. But, a larger commercial vehicle was needed to transport goods. The Italian company Piaggio adapted their Vespa, making a…

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Praca de Bocage

Lined by cafes and shops (and the City Hall), Praca de Bocage is the most beautiful square in Setubal. Praca de Bocage origin story There’s been a Praca (public square) on this location in Setubal since at least the 15th century when it was known as Praça do Sapal. The nearby 13th century Igreja de…

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Anti-Fascist monument in Setubal, Portugal

The statue stands in a prominent spot in the city, but it wasn’t immediately met with acclaim. Monument origin story In 1974, The Carnation Revolution toppled the fascist Estado Novo regime in Portugal. Even though the revolution was spearheaded by the Portuguese military, a transition to democracy soon followed. This also marked the end of…

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Vegan Cheese in Austin

Plant based cheese has been elevated to a new level in Austin Rebel Cheese In Austin’s Mueller neighborhood sits a unique cheese shop and restaurant called Rebel Cheese. Rebel Cheese only opened in 2019, but they’ve made a big impact on the Austin vegan community with their 100% plant-based cheeses and meat-substitutes. Now, when you…

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Our best meal in Portugal, so far

An amazing experience of cooking, feasting, & laughing wasn’t in a restaurant or cafe. Not only a delicious meal, but a beautiful table (photo: Brent Petersen) Our friend in Setubal, Helenice, wanted to have us over for dinner. We’d been to her place once before, just for a glass of wine. This turned into an…

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Why you shouldn’t book the cheapest ticket

The cheapest ticket isn’t always the best choice. In fact, sometimes it will make your trip miserable. Remote Airports Maybe that ultra cheap fare is such a bargain because the airport you’re flying into is ultra inconvenient. Many cities have multiple airports to choose from. Paris, for example, has Charles de Gaulle, Orly, and Beauvais….

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Watts Towers

In the middle of the Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts is a stunning D.I.Y. structure with a connection to the Beatles most famous album. Watts Towers origin story Simon Rodia was an artist born in Serino, Italy. He emigrated to the United States, eventually settling in Watts in 1920. The next year, Simon began work…

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Lisbon’s hippest vegan restaurant

Hidden in Lisbon’s up and coming Mouraria neighborhood is a plant based restaurant with incredible food and a great vibe. Veg. Food in Lisbon Back in the early 2010’s vegetarian and vegan food weren’t much of thing in Lisbon. Fish and pork, pork and fish, with a side of fried chicken and a can of…

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Why We Eat Zeppole on Saint Joseph’s Day

Italian bakeries crank out millions of zeppole every Saint Joseph’s Day. Enjoying this delicious pastry is a tradition not only in Italy, but all over the world. Saint Joseph’s Day March 19th is Saint Joseph’s Day, aka the Feast of Saint Joseph. It’s also recognized as Father’s Day in many countries, including Italy. All the…

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Salsa party in Portugal

A quiet evening turns into a raucous party. We had only moved to Portugal a couple days earlier and were anxious to make friends. A Facebook group of expats in our new town of Setubal, Portugal were scheduled to meet at a cafe/wine bar on Praca Bocage (the main square in town), so we joined…

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Traboules of Lyon

These secret passageways have helped merchants move their goods and hide the resistance fighters who took on the Nazis in WWII. Traboules origin story Traboule housing a spiral staircase (photo: Brent Petersen) Lyon was originally settled in the first century BCE as a Roman town. By the 4th century CE, Lyon had been built up,…

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Selling Citrus on the Street

When citrus is in season, you see vendors selling the bounty of their fruit trees. A lady and her son set up their citrus stand in Setubal (photo: Brent Petersen) Winter is citrus season in Portugal. And, the sweet fruit isn’t just grown on farms. It seems just about every house has a citrus tree…

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Take a Number

Everywhere you go in Portugal, it seems, you have to take a number. Ticket machine at the bakery (photo: Brent Petersen) In Portugal, waiting in line is a national sport. And, for the most part, it is an orderly affair-the exception being the Portuguese grandmother who pushed her way past everyone on the causeway to…

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Tenants Harbor Lighthouse

Built on a tiny island at the mouth of Tenants Harbor, this lighthouse is owned by a famous family of American painters. Tenants Harbor Lighthouse origin story Tenant’s Harbor Lighthouse (photo: Brent Petersen) Since at least 1838, sea farers had been asking for a lighthouse at Tenants Harbor on West Penobscot Bay. The bay was…

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How Portugal’s elderly can live in high-rent neighborhoods

There are parts of Portugal, especially in Lisbon and Porto that are rapidly changing. New condos and apartments are being built and sold at a premium, some with pricetags north of one million Euro. But, if you wander around these gentrifying areas, you’ll see local septuagenarians going about their daily activities or hanging out in…

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Lisbon’s Tram 28

Lisbon’s trams have become a symbol of the city. And riding the tram is a great way to see many of Lisbon’s top sights. Lisbon’s Tram Origin Story Trams began hauling Lisboetas from place to place in 1873. Back then, trams were powered by horses. But, there was a problem. Lisbon has many steep…

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Percussion party in Setubal, Portugal

Every year, percussion groups gather in the port city of Setubal, Portugal for a giant drum party. We were sitting at a little outdoor cafe in Setubal called De Pedra e Sal. They have amazing house-brined olives, BTW. All of a sudden we started to hear rhythmic drumming coming from different parts of the…

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Ginjinha Grandma

Ginjinha is a drink that can be found all over Lisbon. But, for a unique experience, look for a Ginjinha Grandma. Ginjinha Origin Story Mural at A Ginjinha, Lisbon (photo: Brent Petersen) Ginjinha, also known as Ginja, is made by adding cinnamon, sugar, and, sour cherries (Morello) to brandy. The drink was invented by a…

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Uso de Mascara

Cases of Covid are currently spiking in Portugal, like much of the rest of the world. But, Portugal’s citizens are good about wearing masks in public, which seems to have blunted the virus’ spread somewhat. Portugal’s efforts to contain the spread When entering indoor spaces in Portugal, everyone wears a mask. If you forget, you…

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New Year’s Eve & red underwear

If you’re in Italy for New Year’s Eve, be sure to wear this specifically colored undergarment. New Year’s Eve When December rolls around, this market in Ortigia will also have red underwear for sale (photo: Brent Petersen) All over the world there are different customs on New Year’s Eve. In Spain, people eat 12 grapes…

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How the Grinch avoided prison

“Have you been looking for a job?”  When Mr. G. didn’t answer, I kept looking him in the eye, saying nothing, an old trick I’d learned when I was a middle school teacher. Sit there silently, looking them in the eye and eventually the silence becomes too much to bear. “Um, a job?” he mumbled….

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The (probably untrue) legend of Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

Puttanesca translates literally to “prostitute.” So, Spaghetti alla Puttanesca is “pasta in the style of a prostitute.” That couldn’t be where this came from, could it? Spaghetti alla Puttanesca origin story Photo: Brent Petersen The story goes that prostitutes in Naples would cook this quick dish of spicy tomato sauce and spaghetti to give their…

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Chocolate Hazelnut-the famous flavor of Turin

Chocolate and hazelnuts seems like a match made in heaven. But it took a war to bring them together Chocolate Hazelnut origin story Turin, Italy is the unsung chocolate mecca of Europe simply because this is the home of the iconic sweet mixture of Chocolate and Hazelnuts. These two ingredients were first combined during the…

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The best viewpoint in Lisbon

When your city lies on seven hills you’ve got lots of great views. This one is my favorite in Lisbon because the beautiful Tagus River and St. George Castle are both in its sightlines. The Miradouro’s of Lisbon It’s no secret that Lisbon is a beautiful city. From the flamboyant and Gothic inspired Manueline architecture…

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