The Final 21st

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My little sister turned 21 on September 4th. She was the final Colt girl to turn 21 meaning the final 21st birthday I will probably go to for a while. My parents are now breathing a sigh of relief. My little sister Kylie is in her final year of college at Michigan State University so we, my older sister and brother-in-law, came to her. She didn’t really have to convince us at all since Kara and I both went to State as well so we are always looking for any excuse to return to our old stomping grounds.

I of course wanted to bring the cake so I carried it on. The cake had to be a 21st birthday cake so what could be better than a cheap liquor bottle? Nothing, so a Burnett’s cake it was. My sister loves lemons so I made it lemon themed. I bake the cake in an 8 X 8 pan. That way i could make the rectangle body and have extra for the neck of the bottle. I made the fondant cap the night before I left and also the fondant label. Once in Michigan  I whipped up some butter cream frosting and put it all together.

The night ended up being one we will never forget and not just because of the cake ;) Those involved will get it…

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Final Days of Group Travel

I spent my final days of group travel in Pompeii, Sorrento, Capri, and Rome. I know, no complaining here. At this point when you are traveling with a large group of students you start to see the friendships form; this my favorite. Kids from different groups are sitting with different kids at dinner or walking together. Italy is a good place to make friends.

After my final night in Rome I got up early to leave the group to meet my friends for non organized travel in Madrid. When I woke up the next morning and had to hail my own cab and deal with the cost I realized how much I was going to miss this “prepacked” group travel, but I was ready to eat whenever and whatever I wanted!

Pompeii

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This holes were once used to serve food; basically McD’s.

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Sorrento/Capri

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Our hotel in Sorrento, not too shabby.

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Amazing fish dinner on the water in Sorrento

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First steps in Capri

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Caprese in Capri

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Rome

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Roman Forum

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Spanish Steps

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Vatican City

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Hanging with the Swiss Guards

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Pantheon at night

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Piazza Navona

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Denver Eater: Interview with Rayme Rossello from Comida

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 (Photo credit Adam Larkey)

A year ago today, Rayme Rossello, a seasoned industry veteran opened the Denver outpost of her restaurant. Comida, a modern Mexican cantina that got its start as a hot pink food truck, was the first business to open at the Source.

Rossello’s experience with this popular RiNo restaurant over the last twelve months differs vastly from what she created at the original Longmont location. Some of the differences are by design — chefMartin Campos creates specials unlike those served in Longmont — and some were purely a result of circumstances. Eater had a chance to sit down with Rossello and talk about spacial issues, not getting bored, and the menu.

The rest of the interview…

 

Assisi the Wonderful

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What is there to say about Assisi…it is amazing. It caught me completely off guard and I was in love. Assisi is a little town  located about two and a half hours north of Rome. It is winsome, quaint, romantic, and everything else you would think an Italian town would be. We only were able to spend one day there, which was enough to see the entire village, but not enough to take in all of the charm that Assisi had to offer. Though we only had one day we were able to be there on a very special holiday for this town. The very catholic town, known for Francis of Assisi, was having its celebration of Corpus Christi or Corpus Domini. I can’t begin to say how lucky it was that we were there on that day because Corpus Christi was actually supposed to be celebrated the Sunday prior but it was cancelled so it was happening the day we were there. Fate! Corpus Christi is Latin for body of Christ and it is a celebration of the Eucharist.  What the locals do is create a pathway for the bishop to walk down with flowers, grass, moss, and other shrubs. They basically turned the flowers into dust and created elaborate works of art. It was incredible. I felt like this little village had opened its doors and let me peak in on a very intimate moment. Grandparents, children, family members all gathered to create this beautiful designs. They were amazing.

 

DISCLAIMER: I apology for all the photos, I just couldn’t not share them all.

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Even if you aren’t there going to be there for Corpus Christi do go! And do take a walking tour. Visit the different churches such as the Basilica of Saint Francis, the Santa Maria Maggiore, and the Basilica of Saint Clare. In the Basilica of Saint Claire you can see the original cross, the San Damiano cross, that St. Francis prayed to. Walk the streets and see the sights but also don’t forget to eat. One of the best Italian meals of my trip was had here. Pappardelle with rabbit and an amazing buffalalo mozzarela salad. The rabit was delecate and less gamy than I had imagined and the pasta was just perfect. But the mozzarela, my oh my, it was so good. Creamy, salty, sweat and soft; so so so good!

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Basilica of St. Clare

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Basilica of St. Francis

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Chiesa Nuova Church

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Future Opening – Bierstadt Lagerhaus

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Last night I got a sneak peak at Bill Eye and Ashley Carter’s new project, Bierstadt Lagerhaus. The space located at 2875 Blake Street was previously a teacher resource store. Inside there will be a brewery, distillery, and cidery. The restaurant and tasting area will be up on a mezzanine looking out at an amazing view of the city! And I almost forgot, there will also be a rooftop area! Can’t wait for this to open March of 2015.

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Got to try Billsner, a collaboration beer from Hogshead!

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My friend Allegra, Bill Eye, and John Carlson from the Brewers Guild.

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Traveling with a Pack

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Venice started my group travel experience. Our group consisted of 47 students and adults; serious group travel. I know a few people cringe at the idea of traveling with this many people but let me tell you it does have its perks. You have your days planned out. You have a bus that takes you to each destination. Tickets are purchased for you. You get to cut the line. Sometimes thinking is nice. Am I convincing you yet? Maybe these photos will…

VENICE

Bridge of Sighs

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Piazza San Marco

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The most amazing mussels and clams!

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Oyster served with kiwi. I asked the server if they eat the kiwi with the oyster and they said no after and to just put pepper and lemon the oyster. Delicious!

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A campo with the pozzo(well).

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Afternoon gondola ride.

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In Venice we stayed at a hotel in Venezia which was right on the water and a 25 minute boat ride away from the Venice.

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FLORENCE

We stopped in at the new Brew Dog in Firenze!

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Il Duomo di Firenze

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Ponte Vecchio

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Seafood rice for lunch!

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PISA

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Berlin für die Win

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Berlin is awesome. It is full of culture and history and was my first stop in Europe. Actually Paris was but that was only a lay over. My route to Berlin was Denver to Minneapolis to Paris to Berlin. My flight out of Denver was delayed about two hours so it delayed all of my connecting flights. The airline rebooked me and I was scheduled to be taking a later flight out of Paris that would get me into Berlin only five hours later than planned, bummer but that is life. When I landed in Charles de Gaulle and tried to get my boarding pass the gate agent said my listing had been canceled and the airlines hadn’t rebooked me so now the flights were oversold and I could only get on the later flight that wouldn’t get me in till 9 pm. Not cool. I expressed my frustration since I had a ticket that showed I was confirmed on the earlier flight so I didn’t understand where the problem was. The gate agent was très agréable and tried to help me in any way. She couldn’t get me a ticket for the earlier flight but she was able to get me a 8 € meal voucher. Since I am familiar and comfortable with standby travel I asked if I could at least standby for the earlier flight since I would be here anyways. She said if I went up to customer service in the gate area they could help me. So I grabbed my bags and migrated that way. They let me on the list though they said the flight was full. I enjoyed a cappuccino and a cheese and butter baguette with my meal voucher (Thanks Delta) and then to my surprise got a seat on the earlier flight! Not just a seat but first class!

Tip of the post: DO be nice to gate agents you never know what they will give you. DO try to be standby. If you are going to wait around anyways you might as well see if you can get on. People miss connections all the time.

Now back to Berlin…

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Checking out museum island.

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Things to Eat

I started my first night with beer and German food! We ate at Die Berliner Republick on the Berlin-Spandau Ship Canal right by our hostel. I had the curry wurst and my friend (Shanna) got the kohlrouladen which is a German cabbage roll. I loved the classic curry wurst but my friends cabbage roll took the cake. It has minced meat inside and that made the texture and consistency so light and tasted like biting into meat clouds. It also had a dark sauce on it that was rich like a red wine beef reduction that paired perfectly. I finished her plate.

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Things to See

Shanna and I were lucky enough that the Berlin Gay parade was happening during our visit so that was quite the event one day. We watched the parade then followed the festivities down into Tiergarten. Here we saw the Victory column and then walked through to the Brandenburg Gate. They had a huge screen put up for the Germany verus Ghana game. It started pouring and we ended up going home to get warmer clothes so we ended up watching the game at another outdoor area we found by the metro. That is the great thing about being in Europe during the world cup, you can find a ton of places to watch the game.

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To make sure we didn’t miss anything we decided to do a walking tour. We did a free one from Sandeman’s and this was my first free walking tour experience. It was awesome. I felt I learned so much and saw a lot too. The quality was great even though it was free so I highly suggest them from here on out. We tipped 10 € for the both of us; we saw a lot, learned a lot, but didn’t spend a lot.

Mauerpark Flohmarkt

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Starting our waking tour!

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Holocaust Memorial

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Berlin Wall remains

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Below is my favorite picture. That is the Detlev-Rohwedder-Haus in the background and during the division of East and West Germany it was the House of Ministries, which was basically East Berlin’s government building.

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Hanging with check point Charlie

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Beblplatz Square – Dancing in front of the State Opera House

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Liberal Memorial for the 20,000 books burned by the Nazis on May 10, 1933. There are enough shelves for the 20,000 books. There is a plaque next to the memorial that says “Das war ein Vorspiel nur, dort wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen,” from Meinrich Hein’s play Almansor which was written in 1821. Which translates to “Where they burn books, they will in the end also burn people.

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Where to stay

We stayed at Bax Pax Hostel  in Mitte. It was a great location; close to the metro system (so easy and cheap to get to and from the airport; bus to undergroud) and easy to walk to places. We stayed in one of the 30 bed rooms. It wasn’t bad and it was an experience. When in Berlin might as well push yourself.

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Denver Eater: Interview with Ian Clark from BRU

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(Photo credit: BRU)

A year ago, BRU Handbuilt Ales and Eats, opened to serve beer and food to growing fans. Ian Clark made his dream of owning a restaurant become reality in Boulder after several years of experience in the industry. Starting as a home brewer, Clark explored beer and developed a passion, similar to the one for cooking. He combined the two in the space on Arapahoe Avenue.

The rest of the interview…

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Milan Per Un Giorno

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I apologize for my lack of posts. Since I got back from Europe I have been catching up on summer activities, hanging with friends, and also catching up on sleep. With all of that meant no posts for a little over two weeks. It has been a nice little non-posting vaca but I am back and ready to share my time in Europe with you. My first post is what to do in Milan when you only have 24 hours.

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1. Start with Coffee

If you are smart you will start you day off with free breakfast at your hotel/hostel but if you are like me and can’t seem to get out of bed instead head into the heart of Milan and get yourself an Italian coffee. I headed into tourist central and decided to have coffee in the Galleria next to the Duomo. Some might not suggest this but I found an infamous spot, Camparino, to sit at.  When you sit down and have your coffee you are removed from the hustle and bustle of all the tourist. I started my morning with lemon pie and a cappucino.  Perfetto!

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2. Visit a Church

My next plan was to go into the Duomo but I quickly learned that it is not just shoulders you need to have covered but also your knees so I could not get in with my shorts. My advice for anyone visiting Italy and wanting to go into any Churches come prepared with a pashmina to either wrap around your shoulders or legs, depending on which one isn’t covered. Some churches will sell covers too.

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3. Explore

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A perfect way to see a city is by bike. If you want to bike around Milan you can rent one from BikeMI. You have to create an account online before. It is € 2.50 to create the account and then it gives you a user name and password. You go up to one of the bike stations (that are everywhere) and put your information into the kiosk then go get the bike that it tells you to. The first 30 minutes are free then € .50  per 30 minutes after that and you can only use it for two hours at a time. This is a great way to see the city but also scary because you are biking around not really knowing where you are going and you have to be careful of cars. I was trying to go see the Navigli District but no surprise I got lost. I finally just put my map away and biked around for a bit. Then I found someone nice enough to just show me where I was on my map so I could find my way back.

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4. Public Transit

Use the subway system in Milan. So, so easy. I am serious if I can do it and I didn’t get lost once then anyone, including a four year old, could do it. Not sure if I was buying the correct ticket but it was € 1.50 a ride.

6. Find a Hidden Spot

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For lunch I went to Panzerotti Luini and I highly suggest you do to. Italy is expensive, but this little lunch spot was cheap. It was great to watch the business men and women stop by for a quick lunch. They serve panzerotti’s that are sweet and savory; these are similar to calzones but much better. I almost feel like I am insulting it by comparing it. The dough is similar to an elephant ear dough; light and fluffy and a very simple dough flavor. Then you get the fresh tomatoes and the salty creamy mozzarella taste and voila you have magic. Be prepared for a line but it moved quick.

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5. Don’t Miss Apertivo

This was my favorite discovery about Italy. Apertivo is basically happy hour but much better. Starting around 5 pm most bars/restaurants start apertivo hour. You order a cocktail like normal but you get a buffet with it for FREE! Seriously this is no joke. I couldn’t believe it was real. It was like I had died and gone to happy hour heaven. I ordered a negroni and it as € 9, yes expensive but I got dinner for free; cheese, olives, bruschetta, salad, rice, meats. I had happy hour at a bar in the Corso Como area. So so good and so so amazing.

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6. Mushrooms

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This is my final suggestion. If you love mushrooms go to Antica Trattoria Della Pesa and get the funghi porcini pasta. This was defineitly a fine dining situation (I spending about $50 by myself #sorrynotsorry) but it is worth it. This tagliatelle pasta was the most perfectly cooked homemade pasta I have ever tasted and the sauce though no cream was incredibly creamy. Perfect bites of mushrooms that still have a bite to them. I am becoming depressed just thinking about it knowing I don’t know when I will have it again…

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