Birthday Lunch at Pio Pio

For years I have wanted to eat at this small Peruvian restaurant on the Upper East Side. Leave it to me to eat there on my birthday and the day before Peruvian Independence Day. Love the way my mind works without me sometimes.

Probably the best rotisserie chicken I've ever had. Crispy, spicy, and tender. We also had the ceviche, which was fresh and tangy. The side salad of avocado and tomato was so good too. I love avocado with chicken. We washed it all down with some sangria. This place is very reasonable and you get so much food, it's crazy. Share everything! And it is quite gluten and dairy free friendly too. There are multiple locations in Manhattan, Bronx and Queens.

Good Birthday...
Have a great Monday.


I'm Going To Be 40!!! (in 10 years)

Happy New Year to me, tomorrow I will be 30. Definitely not sad about turning this age because I'd like to eventually grow up one of these days. Lately I've done, said and thought things and then later asked myself, "Who does/says/thinks that at 30?!"

I definitely have some goals to go along with this little milestone... here it goes:

My Health
Perfect timing finding out a little before my 30th that I'm Gluten and Dairy Intolerant (read more here). It's made a big change already in my lifestyle and I hope it steers me in the right direction when it comes to taking care of myself. Gone are the carefree days where it didn't really matter (even though it always did). Someone recently said to me to not focus on health so much (meaning food and exercise) and "just have fun." But is it really super fun to not like your body and lack of athleticism and feel like shit mentally and physically all the time? 

What Do I Want?
Lots of soul searching has been happening lately. From reading about different New Age faiths to finding more creative outlets, I am constantly waiting for that lightbulb to go off and tell me what I'm supposed to be doing with my life. This is something that I want to continue to work on and not let the day-to-day steer me away from figuring my purpose out. I get very distracted by nonsense. We all have a purpose... it's finding it that is the hardest challenge.

That's really it. 
In this new decade I'd like to declutter myself of everything to see through it all. 
Have a great weekend!


Gluten Free Zucchini "Pasta"

Now that I am a part of the Gluten Free clan, pasta is on my mind 24/7 (as if it wasn't already, who am I kidding?). While it is incredibly easy to find Gluten Free pasta made out of corn, quinoa and what have you, I really have to watch my carb and calorie intake - Only-one-serving-of-carbs-a-day watch them.

Recently I tried the Shiritaki "Miracle" Noodles and I wanted to get a lobotomy to forget the slimy texture. In my next attempt at eating no-carb pasta I looked no further than the zucchini.

All you need is a julienne peeler. I'm sure there are cooler contraptions but this did the trick.

olive oil

1 small red onion, chopped
1 large zucchini, julienned
2 bell peppers (use red, orange or yellow for color and sweetness), chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
italian seasoning, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat olive oil in large pan. Saute red onion with a little salt until tender. Add garlic, zucchini pasta and bell peppers. Season with italian seasoning, salt and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes.I like the veggies to still have a crunch.

Of course, you don't have to cook the zucchini pasta with the peppers... you can sauteed it by itself in a little oil, and then top it with your favorite pasta sauce.


Venice: A Trip Down Memory Lane

I will admit that Venice was not my favorite of the Italian cities. That's not to say that the scenery was not beautiful or the food was not delectable. I just didn't get the "happy" feeling I got from the other cities we visited. Rome, Florence and Siena were so magical to me.

Granted, on our first day we had a major mishap that involved me getting my bad juju feeling (which for those of you who don't know means something bad will definitely happen) and digging my husband and our camera out of the stank canal. So I might be biased!

Other than that, it was very charming. The people, to me, were very much like New Yorkers and not fans of tourists. A shame for a vacationer but what can you do? Karma for all the times I flip them off on the streets of Manhattan.

Here are some iPhone photos from the trip. Remember, our good camera met the shadowy murky depths of the canal.

Aside from walking around and taking in the lovely sites, I also recommend taking a day trip out to an island. We went to one of the farthest, Burano.

We were actually in search for the risotto that Anthony Bourdain said...

"If there's one dish worth crossing the lagoon for, if not half the world, it's this. It's a dish that all alone makes Venice, and Burano in particular, a place you just have to visit." ~Anthony Bourdain

And we found it! I wish the pictures did it justice... so just imagine. If ever you are in the position to take Mr. Bourdain's advice... take it!

Other Italian Adventures


Week 2 of Gluten and Dairy Free Eating

Well it's been another week living the life of a Gluten-Dairy Free Warrior. Here's the progress...

The Good
I am definitely feeling a lot better now that it's been 2 weeks. 
I lost about 5 pounds, give or take, and while that is not much in the GRAND scheme of things I already feel lighter because of the lack of bloating! But please note... I only eat 1 carb a day (if that) and I work out now... so who's to say if the weightloss is from no gluten/no dairy or just not being a little miss piggy all the time. But I can also say that since going gluten and dairy free I am not eating processed foods all that much. Everything is fresh and I'm the one cooking it!

The Bad
Every recipe book I read on gluten and dairy free options is 80% desserts still. I'm getting really frustrated and am thinking I need to look at more low-carb recipe books or paleo books and monitor the gluten/dairy aspect on my own. These gluten-free cookbooks are just so not for me...

The Ugly
These "Miracle" Noodles... It's a miracle I didn't vomit after taking one bite. I tried to make a tasty chicken and vegetable curry with the noodles. The taste was on point but the texture of these noodles are by far one of the worst textures I've ever put in my mouth. That's what she said. Never again.

Some other foods on my meal plan.

Snack Time

Instead of my beloved cheese and crackers I dressed up some cucumbers with red pepper hummus and sliced cherry tomatoes.  Nothing groundbreaking... but they were tasty.

Fruit Fiend

I love fruit, but I think I am eating too much. Now that I am exercising more and eating less carbs, I crave sugar. I'm not a cookies/sweets person... but if you put a bag of grapes in front of me I will devour the entire bag. Not good. Need to work on that.

Chia Pudding Obsession Continues

I've already talked about my love for Chia Pudding (recipe here)... but this combo is my favorite! Plums are in season, and the combination of the plum and pumpkin seed is so tasty in this pudding.

Versatile Veggies 

Trying to get more creative with my veggie dishes. My staple starters for veggie dishes: Red Onion, Garlic, Celery, Bell Pepper, Fennel... then I'll add what veggies I want to eat that night: Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Beans (I know, not a veggie), Zucchini, Squash, Eggplant, etc... I'll keep those to a minimum so it's not a mess of a dish.

Zucchini "Pasta"

MY Miracle Noddles. I will post a recipe soon because this is 100% approved by my stomach. So good!

And that's the story this week. To be continued...


South Africa: Cape Town Botanical Garden

Kirstenbosch is South Africa's world-famous national botanical garden, set against the backdrop of Table Mountain and Devil's Peak. We had the luxury of getting lost in it last October. I was digging through pictures and can't believe I did not share these yet. 

Just taken on the iPhone, but it was a really nice walk. So many different plants and secret places to sit and relax. Many people were picnicking on the grounds. What a great place for that, don't you think?


New Orleans: Swamp Tour

Going back in time here from my last trip to New Orleans. One of the best things to do while there is to take a little day trip out of the city and go on a tour of the swamps. We went out with Airboat Adventures. You'll be picked up by a shuttle to take you and other tourists to the destination, which is more than an hour away. You can reserve a spot on a large boat or a small boat. We chose the latter because there would be less people. It was really amazing because you could ask so many questions and our guide was hilarious and very interactive - he was right out of a History Channel reality series. When we arrived, I saw him walking around with his animated self... I started praying to the heavens that he would be our guide since there were so many boats going out. It worked!

For a few hours you cruise around the swamp looking for gators and learning about the lands. It was honestly more beautiful than I thought it could ever be. It also smelled amazing: The perfect combination of salty air and fresh greens. Totally unexpected and beyond gorgeous. I wanted to cruise around all day long.

There are a few other tours in New Orleans that I'd like to try on our next visit. They have plantation tours and vampire tours. So much to do here other than getting shit-faced. This New Yorker can't get enough of New Orleans!

Other New Orleans Posts:


Boston: Neptune Oyster

If you are planning a trip to Boston you MUST plan on eating at Neptune Oyster. This is by far one of the best seafood restaurants I've ever been to... but there is a catch! They take no reservations, and the wait is long. But, fear not. If you plan it into your day it'll all be worth it in the end.

Neptune Oyster is up in the North End. So get up there about 2-3 hours before you'd like to eat. I recommend doing this as early as possible because the later it gets, the longer the wait gets.  Put your name and number down with the host and then go off on your merry way to explore the North End. Stop at a bar for a pint and chill while you wait for the call, Batman.

The raw bar is to-die-for... as is the warm lobster roll and seared scallops. Everything was so fresh and delicious. The space is tiny, so expect to be packed into this seafood joint like a bunch of sardines.


Boston: New England Aquarium

When we were in Boston a few months ago we went to the New England Aquarium. I'm really not sure what took me so long to go to an aquarium because it was so much fun and truly "magical." So many beautiful colors and shapes, it really opens your eyes to how fruitful the sea is.