When there are no trips booked on the calendar and you need a get-away from day to day life, a relaxing “staycation” can do the trick.
This is exactly what my husband and I decided to do. We both took the day off of work and made ourselves a little picnic on our porch. We laid out a large blanket, popped open a bottle of champagne, turned on the record player and enjoyed our lunch in the sunshine. I made us a bunch of small bites for lunch, starting with an easy pear, blue cheese and honey appetizer. I sliced 2 pears long ways so they could serve as the base. I topped them with blue cheese crumbles, walnuts and honey. So simple, yet so tasty! On the same plate, I added some salami slices, as well as some slices of filet mignon topped with a Rosemary garnish. This filet was so tender and was simply rubbed with salt and pepper before cooked to a beautiful medium rare 👌🏻. I let the steak properly cook before cutting into it.
Moving along our picnic menu, we come to my stuffed peppers! I used small peppers that were easy to prep. I simply cut the tops off and stuffed them with fresh parmesean, oregano and a grape tomato. They cooked in the oven until the peppers were softened and the cheese had melted. I added some asparagus to the oven as well with a bit of salt, pepper and vegetable oil. While these cooked in the oven, I had some mushrooms cooking down on the stove with some rosemary, capers, garlic and vegetable oil. Once the vegetables were all ready, I added them into cute and colorful serving bowls. Lastly, I chopped up some celery and added spicy salsa to a bowl.
This was my perfect picnic! You should try it at home 🥂
We made a stop at Ristorante Mestastasio in Assisi, Italy to treat ourselves and enjoy this amazing view. How beautiful is that dessert?! It tasted just as good as it looks. The lemon sorbet was so refreshing and perfect on this hot, summer day.
Assisi is a quiet and quaint town with breathtaking views, amazing architecture and small local shops. It is known to be the birth place of St. Francis. So, there are many Franciscan attractions as well such as the St. Francis Basilica. Assisi is a very special place and good for the soul.
One of my very favorite places to visit for amazing food and historic culture is the beautiful country of Italy. It is the home of many of my favorite things, specifically my “favorite bite” at a restaurant called La Marinella.
It turns out that the best meals we ate in Italy were the unplanned and unexpected ones…the ones that a tourist wouldn’t be able to find on a map. My friends and I got ourselves lost in this new city, only to be found by this hidden gem of a restaurant. We stumbled upon La Marinella as we were exploring the cozy streets of Sorrento. As we entered the restaurant, we were all greeted by a stunning view of the Mediterranean Sea (as well as complimentary champagne from the wait staff). We all perused the menu as we admired the breathtaking view in front of us. My eyes flew to the Sea Bass dish. I am a fish lover (sea bass especially), so I quickly made up my mind. I impatiently waited for the others to select their dishes, assuming I was going to taste a spectacular meal, but not knowing I would have one of my “favorite bites”. I ordered a crisp, light glass of pinot grigio to compliment my fish entree, but not to overpower or take over the flavors of the dish.
Once this dish was put in front of me, I was immediately eating with my eyes. It was so aesthetically pleasing and I couldn’t wait to dive in. This dish sent my tastebuds on a flavor journey! The buttery sea bass, so light and natural was sitting in a beautifully seasoned broth, salted to perfection. The beans, potatoes and tomatoes that accompanied the white fish, added a depth of flavor and a simple, yet delicious heartiness to the dish. All of the separate ingredients worked in harmony together. They each made each other stand out and shine.
As I finished my dish, I tried to savor my last few bites. Closing my eyes, I let my tastebuds take over…
This experience has fueled my love for food and finding other unique, “off the map” hidden gems. I did not know I was going to have one of my favorite bites on this day, but that’s the beauty of it, isn’t it?