Ora D’Aria – Michelin star dining in Florence

My husband and I went to Ora D’Aria on our honeymoon in October and we were really looking forward to our meal there based on reading about the chef and the place in general. However, we were a little disappointed with our meal and I think that, for the money, we had better meals elsewhere at a better price.



We did the Tuscan autumn tasting menu and each course was good, but not great.


I think the amuse bouche was actually tastier than the actual courses, which was really unfortunate because I think it set us up for disappointment.  It consisted of a pint-sized portion of steak tartare with caviar and truffle oil, tempura fresh cherry tomato and prosciutto “sandwich”. Continue reading

In Vino Veritas – Casa Bleve (Rome, Italy)

If you find yourself in Rome doing the whole tourist thing near the Pantheon, and have some cash to burn and a hankerin’ for some vino, strut your fabulous butt over to Casa Bleve and enter perhaps the most luxurious wine bar and restaurant that you’ve ever been to.

I had Casa Bleve on my list of “must-sees” in Rome after scouring the boards over at Chowhound to find the best wine bars in Rome. After a careful selection process (which was pretty much just figuring out what was close to stuff that we wanted to do – and that people could agree was a good place), Casa Bleve was “it”.

And “it” did not disappoint.

A mini Versailles dedicated to the tasting of delicious, gourmet Italian food and appreciation of wine, the nectar of the gods, the downright opulent surroundings made Frank Sinatra look like a hobo. But, now that you’ve read this post, you’ll dress nicely before you go. Unlike us…We felt like Continue reading

Hilton Malta - Pool

Get Your Sleep On – Hilton Malta (St. Julian’s, Malta)

My husband and I spent the first leg of our honeymoon at the Hilton Malta, a luxury property situated in St. Julian’s Bay, Malta, and I could not be more pleased with our decision to stay here! We had looked at several other hotels on Malta and, after reading reviews, decided to cancel another reservation and book here instead. While the other property we were looking at was very nice, I think it’s the best decision we could have made.

Pro-Tip: Get a room in the newer part of the hotel and upgrade to Executive Level. It’s worth it.


Apart from a beautiful Executive King room in the new part of the hotel (Room #1158), what made our stay so special was Continue reading

In Vino Veritas – Enoteca Al Duomo (Orvieto, Italy)

The Enoteca Al Duomo: My husband and I loved this place so much that we came here twice in one day during our honeymoon back in October.  Aptly named, this enoteca is literally next to the famous Duomo in Orvieto, Italy. Looking at the front of the amazing façade, it’s on the left-hand side, on the side of the building (facing the beautiful striped sides of the duomo). Can’t miss it.

It was truffle season so we opted for a full-on truffle lunch: bruschetta assortment including truffle bruschetta, tagliolini with fresh truffles, and then a prosciutto and truffle sandwich on fresh ciabatta.

Enoteca al Duomo in Orvieto, Italy


Enoteca Al Duomo in Orvieto, Italy
Cheese plate…including truffled cheese

Continue reading

In Vino Veritas – Winterose Portofino (Portofino, Italy)

A day in Portofino should never be complete without a visit to Winterose Portofino, a wine store and wine bar right on the edge of the marina, to sip champagne and fine Italian wines lazily at a little table or even sitting on the edge of the water, while you enjoy the Italian Riviera sunshine and rest your weary legs after a long day of shopping and being fabulous.
One of my absolute favorite things about Italy, and its wine bars and cafés in particular, is that when you order wine, it comes with a very nice plate of antipasti, gratis. In a world where nothing comes for free, it’s nice that this is still what I would say the “norm”.  So, it’s a good idea to wait until you’ve sat and ordered your drinks until you order a small bite – a snack might already be on the way.

We found Winterose after I connected to some local WiFi and was looking for a wine bar with good ratings on TripAdvisor. Winterose had the highest rating of any, and was right on the water. We headed over faster than I could close the browser on my iPhone, and lucked out, finding two seats at a cafe table right in front.

After a brief panic attack wondering if I had just accidentally spent all of our wedding gift money by sitting at a wine bar in the Italian Riviera without looking at a menu, Continue reading

In Vino Veritas – San Pier Wine Bar Cafe (Mdina, Malta)

My husband and I happened upon the San Pier Wine Bar Café, tucked away in one of the ancient bastions of the city wall of Mdina, Malta during our honeymoon… and I’m so glad we did.
San Pier Wine Bar Cafe
Entrance – photo courtesy of the San Pier Wine Bar Café Facebook Page – Used with permission
Joanna Stellini, the daughter in the Stellini family, who own and operate the place, greeted us cheerfully and plopped down what was a very reasonably priced drink list on our high-top cocktail table, as well as a food menu, just in case we felt peckish.  After reviewing the offerings on the list, we enlisted Joanna’s help picking the perfect glasses of wine to enjoy before dinner.
Since we indicated we would like to try a local offering, she recommended a delicious Maltese red. Aptly named Medina, the young 2013 blend (Syrah, Carignan and Grenache) usually popular in the French Languedoc region and in Catalonia in Spain (where Grenache is, of course, known as Garnacha…those pesky Spanish with their special Spanish grape names!) is made by the Emmanuel Delicata Family winery. It was a beautiful Continue reading