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Recent Blog Posts

The Best Pizza in Naples

Naples is known as the birthplace of pizza. But, there’s more than just classic Neapolitan pizza in the Città del Sole (City of the Sun) Pizza origin story Pizza Margherita (photo: Brent Petersen) People have been putting things on bread to make it tastier for at least 10,000 years. And, the ancient Greeks put oil,…

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Portugal needs to update their high speed train network

Portugal has an efficient transportation network of light rail, bus, metro, and ferry. But, their high speed train system lags behind the rest of Europe. Public Transportation Most cities in Portugal have public transportation to serve the community. The systems in Portugal’s biggest cities of Lisbon and Porto are world-class. Lisbon Portugal’s capital is known…

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The best chocolate in Honolulu

Hawaii is the only state where cacao trees can be commercially grown. This makes for some of the best farm to bar chocolate in the world. Where cacao grows Cacao pods (Manoa Chocolate) Cacao trees need constant warm temperatures and plentiful rainfall to thrive. This environment only occurs in specific places along the Cacao Belt…

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The Best Limoncello on the Amalfi Coast

Although you can now get limoncello all over Italy (and in most of Europe or any self-respecting Italian joint in the US), its home is the Amalfi Coast region where the famous Sfumato, or Sorrento, lemons are grown. I first encountered limoncello decades ago at Nonna Cherubina restaurant (don’t look for it, Stefi and Luigi…

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Spouting Horn of the Ancient Lizard

Physics might explain the strange noises at Spouting Horn, but the legend is far more interesting. Spouting Horn of the Ancient Lizard Origin Story Spouting Horn of the Ancient Lizard (video: Brent Petersen) On the Hawaiian island of Kauai at Spouting Horn Park is a fun attraction called the Spouting Horn of the Ancient Lizard….

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New London Ledge Lighthouse

A Connecticut lighthouse has distinct architecture and a chilling ghost story. New London Ledge Lighthouse Origin Story New London Ledge Lighthouse (photo: Brent Petersen) There’s been a light beacon at New London Harbor in Connecticut since 1761. This light helped guide ships into one of the most important ports of New England during the Colonial…

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Montezuma Castle

This well-preserved cliff dwelling in Arizona has nothing to do with the Aztec emperor, nor was it a castle. Earliest Settlers Montezuma Castle (photo: Brent Petersen) The Native American Sinagua people lived in central Arizona’s Verde Valley starting around 500 CE. The Sinagua were hunter gatherers, eating local game like antelope and bear as well…

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Who gets the aisle seat?

When you travel as a couple, you want to sit together on the plane. But, this creates a problem. Who gets the aisle seat and who gets stuck in the middle? Traveling as a couple is great. You get to share the experience (and expenses) with someone you love. But, when it comes to couple…

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Athens Music Walk of Fame

Athens Music Walk of Fame markers (photos: Brent Petersen) The Athens Music Walk of Fame is a relatively new addition to town, celebrating the longstanding music scene and wide range of artists who have called Athens home. In 2020, ten inductees were honored with plaques installed in the sidewalk of a 2 block area of…

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Orecchiette & Broccoli Rabe (Vegan)

This is a very traditional dish from the Puglia region (the heel of the boot) in Italy. But, I put my own spin on it to make it vegan. Orecchiette Photo: Brent Petersen Orecchiette, literally “little ears,” is the most popular pasta of Puglia. In the Internet age, Orecchiette has been made famous by the…

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Makapu’u Point Lighthouse

The lighthouse with the most powerful lens in the United States was also used as the secret home for witnesses in a mob trial. Makapu’u Point Lighthouse origin story Makapu’u Point Lighthouse (photo: Brent Petersen) In the late 1887, Sanford B. Dole (it was Dole’s cousin James who founded the Hawaii Pineapple Company which later…

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Wellington’s Pedestrian Crossing Signals

Green and red crossing signals (known in New Zealand as pedestrian crossing lanterns) in Wellington celebrate the city’s history and diversity. Wellington’s Crossing Signals origin story Kate Sheppard crossing signal, Wellington, NZ (photo: Brent Petersen) Most cities and/or countries have rules outlining how crosswalk signals should look and operate. They usually have pretty standard language;…

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Jury Duty vs. Root Canal

Some choices require analysis and deep thought. Others are a piece of cake. My first experience with jury duty When preparing to write this story, I asked my friends how many times they had been called to jury duty. Most of them said that they’d served multiple times; some said as many as ten times…

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Rome’s Drinking Fountains

Rome has thousands of quirky drinking fountains called Nasoni to keep you hydrated during the hot summer. Nasoni origin story Nasone by the Pantheon (photo: Brent Petersen) In the 1870’s, shortly after unification, Rome became the capital of the new country of Italy. The local government decided it would be a good idea to supply…

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The R.E.M. Steeple

The site of R.E.M.’s first ever show is a church locals have fought hard to preserve. St. Mary’s Steeple, Athens, GA (photo: Brent Petersen) On April 5th, 1980, R.E.M. played their first ever show in the chapel of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, which had been converted from a house of worship to an arts and…

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Ancients & Horribles Parade

Big Nazo puppets at Ancient & Horribles parade, Chepachet, RI (photo: Brent Petersen) Unlike other reverent parades, Rhode Island’s Ancients & Horribles parade skewers local and national figures and satirizes popular culture. Ancient & Horribles origin story Photo: Brent Petersen In the 19th century, it was common in New England to have military parades to…

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A cheese from Sicily cooked three times

Tricotta takes Ricotta Cheese and cooks it a third time for a special Sicilian treat. Tricotta origin story Tricotta for sale in Sicily (photo: Karen Campopiano) Ricotta Cheese is made from whey, the protein-rich liquid left over from the cheese making process. Most of the Ricotta Cheese consumed in the United States is made from…

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Garlic Scapes

This little-known part of the garlic plant makes an amazing pesto. What are Garlic Scapes? Notice the distinctive curly-cue shape of the Garlic Scape (photo: Brent Petersen) Garlic is an allum, related to the onion. Everyone is familiar with the garlic bulb, the part of the plant that grows underground and is harvested for its…

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Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience

Several digital art exhibits featuring the work of Vincent Van Gogh are traveling the United States in 2021 and 2022. Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience (photo: Brent Petersen) What is Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience? Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience is one of several exhibits of the master’s works. Rather than looking at canvases on…

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The Real Chicago-style Pizza isn’t Deep Dish

You’ll want some authentic Chicago-style Deep Dish Pizza when you visit the Windy City. But, don’t miss out on the very different kind of pizza that the locals eat everyday. Tavern-style Pizza origin story Vito & Nick’s Tavern-style Pizza (image: vitoandnicks.com) There’s a joke among Chicagoans that they only time they eat Deep Dish Pizza…

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Rhode Island’s Icy Summer Treat

You may have tried Sno-Cones and Shave Ice, but until you’ve been to Lil’ Rhody in the summer, you haven’t had a Del’s. Del’s origin story Image: Del’s Frozen Lemonade Facebook page Del’s started as a frozen lemonade stand in Cranston, Rhode Island in 1948 by Angelo DeLucia. But, the business can be traced to…

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Lyon’s Little Prince

A statue honoring Lyon’s favorite son, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, is hiding in plain sight. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Antoine de Saint-Exupéry & The Little Prince statue in Lyon, France (photo: Brent Petersen) Lyon, France’s second city, has had her fair share of famous citizens from Roman emperor Claudius to chef Paul Bocuse. But, when the airport’s…

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Beavertail Lighthouse

A beacon guiding ships through the treacherous waters of Narragansett Bay has been on this spot in Rhode Island for over 300 years. Beavertail Origin Story Beavertail State Park (image: discovernewport.com) Conanicut Island sits in Narragansett Bay, just a couple nautical miles from Rhody’s other famous island Aquidneck, where the city of Newport is located….

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Affogato

This rich and creamy drink combines two things that Italy excels at: espresso and gelato. What is an Affogato? Notice the extra crema on top from the melted gelato (photo: Brent Petersen) An Affogato is a very simple, elegant coffee-based drink made by pouring a shot of espresso over a scoop of gelato. The gelato…

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Vegan “Mock Tuna” Chickpea Salad

This delicious and versatile recipe doesn’t really taste like tuna, but it has a similar texture and can be used in similar ways so I’m calling it “mock tuna.” Chickpea Salad Roasted peppers and chickpea salad (photo: Brent Petersen) Chickpeas are incredibly versatile but we often get stuck using them in hummus over and over…

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Shave Ice

You might know it as Italian Ice, Snow Cone, SnoBall, or Hawaiian Shaved Ice, but real Hawaiians know this sweet treat simply as Shave Ice. Shave Ice Origin Story Wailua Shave Ice with Sno Cap (photo: Brent Petersen) Japanese immigrants brought Shave Ice (never called Shaved Ice in the Aloha State) to Hawaii when they…

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Manuka Honey

Manuka Honey is enjoying a moment as a trendy sweetener. But, is it worth the hefty price tag and are you getting what you pay for? What is Manuka Honey? Manuka Honey comes from honeybees pollinating the Leptospermum, a shrub common in New Zealand and southeast Australia. When the shrub is in bloom, bees flock…

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You’ll Never Win, Spassky

I recently watched “The Queen’s Gambit” on Netflix. I know I’m late to the game, but I enjoyed the show. It also brought up memories of my youth, when my father taught me to play chess. Between the ages of 6 and 10 we played all the time. This was in the early 70’s when…

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Farfalle & Carrots

This vegan dish is easy to make and quite delicious. It might also win you a girlfriend (or boyfriend). Origin Story Photo: Brent Petersen When we first started dating, Karen claimed she couldn’t cook (I found out later this was a big lie. She’s one of the best cooks I know). Me, wanting to impress…

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