The Hot Tale Of Trains, Tickets And Roman Lovers by Aria The Bad Ass | Aria Alperts, Italian Journals

Bari Train Roma Aria Alpert italian journey 01 The Hot Tale Of Trains, Tickets And Roman Lovers by Aria The Bad Ass | Aria Alperts, Italian JournalsPhotographer: Aria Alpert

The tale of how Bad Ass Aria, never takes no for an answer, when it comes to reaching a Roma Lover. Well let me back up, let me start by saying, I got my train to Roma. Finally. It was quite an ordeal to get here. On the train that is. I have been challenged with an insane transition back into the real world from my peaceful countryside retreat in Noci. Away from food, wine, espresso, drama, computers, phones, language barriers, crowds of people, obstacles….Ahhhhhhhhh….

So…this is what happened…

The train station is in Bari, about an hour away from Noci. The van dropped me off, with 40 minutes to purchase my ticket, get some water, relax and slowly meander onto the train. I went to the self-serve computer to purchase my ticket but was having trouble. Hmmmmm, what was the problem…. well…the problem was the train seemed to be… sold out. Huh? SOLD OUT?? WTF?

My anxiety immediately started to build. I didn’t even think to buy my ticket in blissed out Noci.! Huh. Okay, pull yaself together. Talk to the authorities. So, I stood in the long ass line to talk to the Italian ticket guy. My turn comes, 25 minutes later. ‘I gotta get on that train. To Roma now.’ I demand. Not only does this guy not speak any English, he didn’t seem to give a shit and he just kept shaking his head, NO.

Well, mister grumpy Italia, I am not gonna take NO for an answer. My lack of speaking this beautiful language will not stop me either from convincing whom ever I need to convince that I gotta get on that f-ing train!!!

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Retreating To Noci And The Abate Masseria Resort | Aria Alperts, Italian Journals

retreating to noci Aria italian journey 011 Retreating To Noci And The Abate Masseria Resort | Aria Alperts, Italian JournalsPhotographer: Aria Alpert

My cooking school has ended and now I have a few free days before I go back to Roma to meet my sister who will be joining me for the last two weeks of my Italian journey. Hmmmmmmm…what do I wanna do after a decadent week of abundant food and wine and socializing and lack of sleep…how about a silent retreat and f-ing cleanse! Ha.

I was looking on line at a bunch of different towns and hotels and then, after many searches, I found it: Abate Masseria Resort in the town of Noci. This place sung to me through the computer. I asked Silvestro what he thought about Noci (which means Walnut in Italian) and he said, “Noci? Why would you want to go there? It’s a farm town in the countryside and there is nothing to do.” Perfecto. That’s exactly what I want. Nowhere to be, nothing to see, no one around, no espresso, no wine, not a lot of food, just the sound of birds singing, wind blowing, farmers working, ahhhhhhh… bliss. So I took the train from Lecce north to a town called Bari, got into a cab and drove 45 minutes into the mountains, arriving at Abate Masseria Resort in peaceful Noci.

retreating to noci Aria italian journey 02 Retreating To Noci And The Abate Masseria Resort | Aria Alperts, Italian Journals
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Sea Food And The Bottom Dwellers | Aria Alperts, Italian Journals

Aria italian journey cooking school seafood 01 Sea Food And The Bottom Dwellers | Aria Alperts, Italian JournalsPhotographer: Aria Alpert

Lets be honest, I am not gonna be eating shellfish when I get back home and if I wasn’t here in Lecce I would not be eating all these ‘shit’ eaters at all. Well…that is what they are! And, as you know, while I AM here, I say… f-it! But I gotta admit, it’s been a wee bit challenging for me. But, I’m doing the best I can with embracing the all the many crustacean meals we are making. And we do seem to be making a lot of them. I mean, we are along the Adriatic Sea and all, where the water is clear and blue and beautiful. It surely looks clean but as we all know, looks can be deceiving so while I am here, it’s better not ta ask or investigate if the Sea is, in fact, clean so….F-it!

Today was an easy peassy fish soup that surprisingly didn’t taste too fishy or was too stinky. Which is kinda surprising cause it’s clams, shrimp, mussels, scampi and cod fish in a pot with white wine, tomatoes, garlic, sea salt, red pepper flakes, fresh chopped parsley, basil and mint. It’s very quick to make. The soup takes, at most, about 8 minutes from start to finish. Thank god for the bread today cause I basically dipped it in the soupy part, avoiding the ‘shit’ eaters as much as I could…

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The Last Supper | Aria Alperts, Italian Journals

last supper Aria italian journey 01 The Last Supper | Aria Alperts, Italian JournalsPhotographer: Aria Alpert

Yes, friends, this is almost it. The Awaiting Table is coming to an end. It’s been so lovely but, I gotta tell ya, I am f-ing filled to the brim with food and wine. I need to stop f-ing eating and drinking! Ahhhhh… 1 dinner and 1 lunch to go…I think I can…I think I can…I think I can…okay…twist my arm…. :)

The temperature keeps rising here so we wanted to create the least amount of heat in the kitchen while making dinner. That was the plan anyway. But as you know, plans don’t always go as planned. Somehow I volunteered to make the eggplant over the hot stove. The dish shoulda been called eggplant with essence of Aria from all the sweat I dripped making them. And right next to me, Ted was sweating a big pan of yellow bell peppers and next to him Giuseppe was sautéing a pot of string beans…I mean…come on guys! This was probably the MOST heat we made in the kitchen!

The only thing that wasn’t creating any heat was a classic Leccese dish. It’s basically a bread salad with fresh vegetables. The difference is that they use a local dense hard bread to do it called, Frise Integrali. It’s cooked like a biscotti so it’s very hard and the only way they eat it is by soaking it in water to rehydrate it and then eat/use in recipes when soft. Am I the only one who finds that strange? I mean, why not just keep it soft in the first place? Well, I asked of course, and Silverstro informed me that this particular type of bread has been around for years and originally was eaten by field workers and those who travelled long distances because it doesn’t spoil. So they would pack the hard bread in their bag and when they got hungry travelling along the countryside, or working in the fields, they would forage some wild onions and tomatoes, what ever they could find and soak the hard bread in the fresh stream until soft and managia (that’s eat in Italian)! Well, I’ve tried it both ways and personally, I like it better crunchy. But then again, I’m American, so what do I know… :)

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My Life In Italy Attending The Awaiting Table Cooking School | Aria Alperts, Italian Journals

cooking italian Aria italian journey 01 My Life In Italy Attending The Awaiting Table Cooking School | Aria Alperts, Italian JournalsPhotographer: Aria Alpert

If my life in Italy wasn’t envious enough for you… and me for that matter …I’m gonna break down my days here in Lecce. Around 10am we all meet at the café for our morning espresso drink of our individual choosing. I first started out with an Americano but since it is so freaking hot here I have moved onto the iced espresso with the almond milk I talked about in my previous post. Oh and since I am being so honest with you all, I must admit, my one shot of espresso has moved onto two! It’s a pretty molto bene way to start the day, I gotta say.

So, after we all slowly enjoy each other’s company mixed with the gentle kick from the caffeine, we walk down the road to the famers market and buy all of our fresh produce and ingredients for lunch and dinner. After shopping we walk back to school in the hot summer sun and start our prep to cook lunch. Also, if we are making pasta, we will make 2 different shapes and we’ll enjoy one shape for lunch and the other for dinner.

This is the first time in a long time I have enjoyed eating pasta. It’s fresh and dense and chewy and light and hearty all the same time so less is more, which means you don’t need to eat a mound of it to feel nourished and get satisfied. And since it’s a blend of unprocessed whole grain barley and semolina flours, it gives it tons of fiber, which makes for lovely regularity for this traveler. Sorry…I’m just saying…

Ummmm…before I mention what we prepared, I just want to give a shout out to a very special particular G Monkie who informed me that I am the first and only one blogging on this site who is writing about non-vegan dishes. Thank you for allowing me to share my non-vegan ways!

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Fix Me Pumpkinseed Salad by GreenChef Sarma Melngailis

Sarma Melngailis pumpkinseed salad 01 Fix Me Pumpkinseed Salad by GreenChef Sarma Melngailis

On our menu it’s actually called the Pumpkinseed and Herb Salad, but otherwise referred to by me as my favorite breakfast salad. I wake up craving this salad. And yes, it’s meant to fix me. I started eating this specific green mix because I was told that I probably need more of the sexy mineral zinc in my system, among other things. I haven’t been feeling well (at all) so this salad is part of my healing plan. My books are all about how raw food makes you feel amazing. I used to feel amazing. Why do I now feel like shit? And how can I admit that? (Doing it now). More on the healing plan as soon as I can find more time to write about it. Back to zinc. Pumpkinseeds happen to be very high in zinc. And so my love affair with pumpkinseeds has been rekindled.

Years ago in another (not raw) restaurant, I put a pumpkinseed salad on the menu: lolo rosso and red oak lettuces, shaved bosc pear, shaved pecorino, toasted salted pumpkinseeds and pumpkinseed lemon dressing. While I love delicate fluffy greens like lolo rosso and red oak, what I really can’t get enough of are kale and herbs. I could eat bathtubs of kale.

So, I started making myself this salad at the restaurant. Kale plus a bunch of parsley leaves, cilantro leaves, and torn mint leaves. Add hempseeds (full of omega-3’s… good for so many reasons!). Then toss the whole thing in a dressing made of pumpkinseed oil and lemon juice, and plenty of salt (ideally Himalayan crystal salt). You can also use a mix of olive (or other) oil with the pumpkinseed oil since the flavor is strong, and good quality raw organic pumpkinseed oil happens to be super expensive. (ours comes from Austria, raw and organic). I love maxium pumpkinseed flavor so I use just that oil and lemon (and salt). Top this green pile with a handful of pumpkinseed macadamia parmesan.

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Lecce Forbidden Espresso | Aria Alperts, Italian Journals

aria alpert lecce italy espresso 01 Lecce Forbidden Espresso | Aria Alperts, Italian JournalsPhotographer: Aria Alpert

Well, I am here. In Lecce. The most quaint, glorious, Italian town I have ever experienced. Yes, I know this is the first time I have ever been to this country but I am still gonna stand by a statement like that. Lecce is everything I ever fanaticized an Italian town, along the coast would be. The friendly locals, the simple and rustic cuisine, the landscape, the vino and the…the…the (forbidden) ESPRESSO! Yep, my friends you read that right, I said it. I am proudly drinking it. It’s some good shit. I must say. I have missed you my espresso!

The espresso over here is totally different than in the states. Even the imported stuff doesn’t compare. I was talking to a local today about that and she says it has to do with the water here, which is loaded minerals and especially has lots of Iron. She says it balances the acidity in the espresso. And boy oh boy does it ever. Yum. Smooth, bitter, perfectly astringent and most importantly, it hasn’t given me the crazy cracked out feeling that I often get when I drink the stuff back home. This espresso just a nice little kick. A warm Italian embrace to get your day started out right. And while I am here in Lecce, or in Italy for that matter, I do believe I am gonna get into it. Well…I guess I already have.

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What If Everything Is Perfect Just The Way It Is | Aria Alperts, Italian Journals

aria roma postone 01b What If Everything Is Perfect Just The Way It Is | Aria Alperts, Italian Journals
Photographer: Aria Alpert

So, this is what happened. I am in Roma right now and, being that I am a foodie, I was taken to a hidden Italian slow food restaurant last night for a 9:30pm dinner. Which meant that we didn’t really eat until 10:30pm, much much later than I normally eat. But I was fine with it. I mean shit. I am in Roma for f-sake!

We started with a salted cod capriccio with black truffles and red onion dressed with lemon and amazing olive oil. Then we went on to have fried zucchini flowers and olives, then we split an order of anchovy, raisin, pine nut homemade tagliatelle pasta and then I ordered an onion flan and he had the rabbit.

Oh yes and washed it all down with a lovely crisp bottle of white wine. Oh and I forgot to mention the traditional Italian aperitivo we started off the evening with, at a bar overlooking the coliseum no less. I forgot what the aperitivio was called but it was a mix of campari, sweet vermouth and sparkling white wine. Bitter and very very strong. Definitely woke my jet-lagged ass right up! Anyway we ate and drank and all was delish and merry. Oh and very salty. A bit too salty but f-it I am in Roma remember.

What is my point at painting the picture of my eating and drinking…well first it’s fun and if you are anything like me I like to have a visual…but my main point is…I went to bed with a full belly and a warm fuzzy wine haze. Which, not only affected my not so sound sleep but I woke up feeling not rested and very salty. Puffy to be exact.

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The Salad | Aria Alperts, Italian Journals

arial alperts italian journals thesalad 012 The Salad | Aria Alperts, Italian JournalsPhotographer: Aria Alpert

It’s my last night here in Roma before I take to the train. Time just seems to go by smoothly here. There is a flow that has effortlessly slipped into my Roma life. Well, in my life in general but I am here now so…

Tomorrow, I am off to the town of Lecce, to attend, hopefully an amazing week long authentic Italian cooking school. Which happens to be in the Region of Puglia, right along the Adriatic Sea. Damn. I can’t believe this is my life. I have always been envious of those brave people taking trips like this, alone. And then, boom, here I am, doing it. Wow, how quickly your life can change if you choose to change it. Magic starts to sprinkle in and you suddenly find yourself in Italy. In ROMA!

This is also my first night without plans and I am hungry. A familiar loneliness crept in to my mind but thankfully quickly left. Aria, I said to myself, you are in Roma, get over yourself. No time to get depressed. No need to wallow. Get your ass up and out and explore the streets. Stumble upon a cute little café for dinner and embrace life. This moment. As is it is. Cause, remember the last post? I am here now. And it is perfect. And if it wasn’t, well, then, it would be different, right?

So I go walking, feeling the gentle warm breeze guiding me along the cobblestone street and the fresh Roman blisters on the bottom of my feet growing with each stride. It’s already 8:30pm and I seem to be falling right into the late dinner schedule here perfectly too. What do I want…hmmmm…a nice big crisp salad. Greens. Dark. Bitter greens. Simply, that is all I want.

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Donate to Charity Water For My Birthday

what will money do Donate to Charity Water For My Birthday

My birthday is coming up on Sept 19th.. the big 43, and of course you guys know, I have received more than my share of life changing gifts this year. I am beyond blessed with all of the happiness in my life. I have found true love and complete happiness with beautiful Aria. And of course, we are now anxiously awaiting the arrival of our son, this coming Nov. If that wasn’t enough, we also have adopted, not just one, but two happy dogs. Basil our little buffalo and now baby Louie the love bug. Louie joined the family last week and I think he is a keeper!

So, for my birthday, if you have a spare $10 bucks or so.. maybe you could give it to Charity Water. They are raising funds to buy a new water drilling rig which will be used in Africa. Once they have the new rig, they will be able to provided fresh water to over 40,000 plus people each and every year. Think about it… and thank you in advance. Hope to see everyone soon.

V

I started it off by donating a $100

You can donate here or anywhere on the site: http://mycharitywater.org/gliving

You can learn all about the fund raising campaign here: http://www.charitywater.org/september/

And there is a great video about Charity Water and everything they are doing here: http://vimeo.com/27693696

Louie The Love Bug!

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Nutrition Is Not About Calories {food for thought}

twinkie diet rush limbaugh 27pounds 01 Nutrition Is Not About Calories {food for thought}

These past few days I have come across a few different stories that have touched me in some way or another and I would like to share them. Each totally unrelated yet also very related. They are about nutrition/food, of course but ALSO about finding our ‘purpose’ in this life!

The first is an article from the Washington Post: The new front in the culture wars: food
The next was the Rush Limbaugh show: See, I told you so: twinkie diet
And then, a David Wolfe vblog: Mission and Values {see below}
And finally, this wonderful indie film: The Human Experience {brililant}

All I mainly want to say about Rush’s Show is that I didn’t enjoy even one aspect of it. It gave me that icky feeling I talked about before – sort of a cynical, depressed mood about where we’re at on the food front in our society. Just an overall bad energy and vibe. But, on the other hand, Rush is correct when he conveys that calories in minus calories out is the equation for weight loss. Eating TONS of “health food” won’t necessarily result in weight loss. In fact, it can be quite the opposite. I went from a diet of basically smoothies and salads to no sugar/fruit diet and gained 5 lbs.

Many people associate weight loss with Health. It’s crucial to remember that optimal Health is more than just weight. This is the COMMON simple-minded way of looking at health. The twinkie diet? I mean come on. But, unfortunately, this mentality is not all that out of the ordinary when it comes to most of America. { oh and cholesterol is one of my FAVORITE topics that I will tackle later on.}

This leads me to the Washington Post article and it’s discussion about culture. I often talk about this idea: for our society to REALLY change its diet we would have to completely restructure the foundation of the culture and its value system. The article references the ‘elitist’ connotation that goes along with the idea of ORGANIC food and health food in general. We’ve already debunked this idea awhile ago – the truth is that eating organic healthy food can be affordable and is available to all classes. The reality is, you’d find WAY more people out on Black Friday spending their wads on flat screen TVs than you would on let’s call it Green Monday – a day when Farmer’s Markets were on every corner selling veggies at a discount.

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What A Long Strange Trip It Has Been / My Detox

kookie karma cookies raw What A Long Strange Trip It Has Been / My DetoxPhotographer JoulesVintage

I chose this pic because it made me happy today when coming across it by accident. some girl took the photo and posted it online. i often forget i make kookies?

Where do I begin? These past few months have been so interesting from a detox perspective. I have been going through some seriously crazy health milestones. My body is changing. My mind is transforming. I’m finding MYSELF again. I’m talking my 24 year old self. The girl I was back when I started my business. You know those days, when you feel like you’re on top of the world and like you can do ANYTHING as long as you put your mind to it. You work and work and don’t stop, just because you’re passionate?

I lost that for awhile. I think partly due to my pregnancy, birth of my firstborn and knowledge of being pregnant again with my second only 3 months later.

Life was so hard and stressful. My diet was OK, but not as powerful as it is these days. I was sort of homebound and unable to get out much so work suffered which made things even more difficult.

Then, 9 months later, things only got worse healthwise and mentally.

I was suffering from some serious sleep deprivation induced postpardum issues. I had terrible anxiety. Nervousness. Mild depression. Being stressed with my business and faced with a newborn plus a 1 year old at home was just beyond my comprehension. And without much family to help out, it was almost too much for me to withstand.

kookie karma detox What A Long Strange Trip It Has Been / My Detox
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