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Manarola.

I slept through most of our relatively short train ride to the Cinque Terre, missing what my husband later reported was a great, if fleeting, view of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. With his seat facing backwards, his view was of what the train had already passed, and he couldn’t wake me in time to see it so he decided not to. I was excessively disappointed, and I asked all about it and why not wake me, but I could tell he felt bad about it and I was just making it worse. It was a good moment early in our marriage — he repeatedly said he was sorry, but in the end, I realized I was the one who needed to apologize.

The five villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso comprise the Cinque Terre, from south to north. Each is impossibly built into the craggy coastline where the top of the boot curves west toward the south of France. The region is both a national park and a Unesco World Heritage site, and because vehicle access is either limited or nonexistent, most visitors access the area and move between villages by train, ferry, or walking trail. Read the rest of this entry »

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Beach!

I do the math in my head a couple of times, and it seems that I have more time left in Hawaii than I’ve spent here. It feels weird. Usually, this many days into a vacation, I went home yesterday. The last time I went somewhere fun on vacation for a whole week was four years ago.

I have somehow become the official sandwich-maker of the trip (and by “somehow” I mean “voluntarily,” and “without asking if anyone else wants to do it”). I love it. I eat salad every day for lunch and then whatever I want on the weekends, and “whatever I want” come Saturday usually involves meat and cheese on bread, and also french fries, a bloody mary, and an aspiring actor who brings these things to me on a sunny patio. I almost never make sandwiches for myself, because I cook only healthy food, and a healthy sandwich sounds terrible to me.

Regardless, calling upon my high school lunch-packing, I think I make a good beach-ready vacation sandwich that is only sort of healthy: two slices of Hawaiian bread slathered with honey mustard all the way to the crust, an almost inch-thick layer of deli turkey and ham, and an oversized slice of cheese, all sliced down the middle or on the diagonal, depending on what you like, wrapped up in paper towels and plastic grocery bags. My mom has picked up a ton of fresh lychees for beach snacking, and we’re sneaking beers in the cooler, too.

Today, we are going to a beach that is literally off the beaten path.

You sweet thing you.

My sweet tooth is just not as assertive about her needs and wishes as she used to be. But when my mom’s outgoing and energetic sweet tooth comes to New York, the two of them get together and paint the town red velvet. Together, our sweet teeth have hit a lot of bakeries, and lately, my sweet tooth — hoping to have a good story for the next phone catch-up — has been checking out bakeries by herself. Here’s what we girls have to say. These might be in some kind of order… I would never admit to it, though.


Sweet Revenge’s Crimson & Cream cupcake, photo courtesy of the amazing tasters at CupcakeRatings.com

Sweet Revenge
62 Carmine Street between Bedford and Downing, West Village, NYC
www.sweetrevengenyc.com

The sweet: We LOVE Sweet Revenge’s Crimson & Cream cupcake, a raspberry red velvet. Bits of berry make it through the blender, right to the batter. Read the rest of this entry »

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