A Possibly Permanent Pause


Hello fellow foodies and travel buffs,

I’m sorry it’s been a bit since I’ve written here. My cross-US-then-cross-Canada road trip has been keeping me busy, as have (excitingly) some new writing projects, including a bunch of food-related ones.

Which is why I’m writing today here.

Since I’ve got some new food writing work on the docket, I’ll be pausing my food posts here for the foreseeable future. The good news is that you’ll be able to find me over at places like Spoonful Magazine and I’ll still be writing all my regular travelogues (including possibly some new foodie pieces) over at gigigriffis.com.

Thanks for sharing my little foodie blog experiment journey with me and I hope you’ll keep reading over at gigigriffis.com and my other online publications (which I’ll be sharing on Facebook and at gigigriffis.com in my monthly link round ups).

Happy munching and traveling,


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Burgers & Beers in Ljubljana, Slovenia


I didn’t go to Slovenia for the food.

I went for the landscapes. The crashing waterfalls. The big lakes with their tiny islands. The castles built on cliffsides. The distinctly blue rivers. The rolling farmland dotted with old churches and barns.

I went because I’d heard it was beautiful. And that was true.

But what I didn’t know, and was pleasantly surprised to find, is that Slovenia (in particular the capitol, Ljubljana) has quite the foodie scene as well.

All summer long, there are food festivals like Odprta Kuhna (Open Kitchen), which features cheap food stand eats from the top restaurants in Slovenia, and the equally wonderful and far less publicized Burger & Beer Festival, which happens one weekend mid-summer and features all the best little brewers and burger joints competing for your attention.

The star of my own burger experience was the gourmet roast beef burger from Cube Burger, served covered in gooey brie cheese and truffle mushroom sauce.

Oh, and I should probably mention that, like everything else in wonderful Slovenia, the food was super cheap. About $4 for a gourmet burger.

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How to Make an Epic Southern Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing


This is my absolute favorite salad I’ve made this year. I picked up all the ingredients from the local Whole Foods and chose organic wherever possible. When I do salads, I don’t measure out the ingredients. Instead, I eyeball it. It’s not too hard to find the mix that works best for you. Start small with the strong ingredients (onions, for example) and taste test and add more if you like.

Here’s our mix:
Mixed baby spinach & arugula
Chopped tomatoes
Chopped red peppers
Sliced red onions
1/2 an avocado, diced
A heaping handful of cilantro leaves
Shredded sharp white cheddar
Cubes of chicken breast, baked in oil and cilantro dressing (I used one chicken breast for the size of salad shown)
Cilantro lime dressing (made according to the recipe and heavy on the cilantro)


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How to Make Homemade Chicken Tikka Masala & Naan (A Girls’ Night Special)


Photo credit.

One of the best things about my winter in Arizona was that I had so many girl friends in town for coffee dates and afternoon walks and, most importantly, girls’ nights.

I hosted one big girls’ night dinner at my place and, since I was accommodating a variety of tastes, I went with something ethnic, but also classic:

Chicken Tikka Masala.

Also, homemade naan (because what Indian meal is ever complete without naan?).

For the Chicken Tikka Masala, I used this recipe, but I cut the onions down by about 25 or 30%.

For the naan, I used this recipe and cooked only enough for the meal, then reserved the rest of the dough and made and ate it throughout the next few days. I also added one last step that made a huge difference: when you’re mixing the dry ingredients, add about 1/2 a teaspoon (or more, to taste) of cumin and a small handful of chopped cilantro. It changes everything.

And just to shake things up and be a little crazy, we had chocolate chip cookies for dessert.

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A Long Lunch at Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy


When I first started researching for my Italy guide, I knew I wanted to get an interview with one of the top chefs in the country. I wanted Italian eating tips from the best of the best. And after researching all the award-winning restaurants all over Italy, I reached out to two. One was Osteria Francescana, a restaurant listed as one of the top 50 in the world.

Chef Massimo was kind enough to give an interview for the book, and after hearing what he had to say about Italian cuisine, I knew I had to eat in his restaurant.

In fact, when the book published, the very first thing I did to celebrate was take a trip down from the Swiss Alps into Italy’s food-rich Emilia Romagna region to have a long lunch at Osteria Francescana.

The chef’s food philosophy was one that combined very local inspiration and ingredients with unusual and new ideas. There was a foie gras ice cream (pictured above) and an unusual salad in which the flavors were carefully hidden inside a leafy green. There was parmesan cheese prepared three ways (as a foam, a cream, and a crisp). And since I ordered the drink pairing, there were wines and spirits paired with each and every course, including one that tasted strangely and wonderfully like drinking a salad.

It was my celebratory trip and this lovely little restaurant was the driving force behind it.

Tasting menus start at 180 euros and expect lunch to last at least two hours.

Buon appetito.

Italy - 100 locals tell you where to go, what to eat, and how to fit in Going to Italy this year?
Get the inside scoop from 100 chefs, wine experts, culture lovers, and locals in my latest guidebook. Check it out now.
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The Best Breakfast I’ve Ever Had (Just Outside Parma, Italy)

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It probably goes without saying, but I love breakfast.

Fluffy pancakes. Eggs Benedict. Smoked salmon on a toasted bagel. All of it delights me.

And I’ve had a lot of great breakfasts over the years.

Which is why when I say that this one is in my top three, that’s really saying something.

The breakfast, which was served at a beautiful little bed and breakfast just outside Parma, Italy, had everything you could possibly want. There were little pancakes looking snowy with their powdered sugar, local jams, creamy yogurt, fresh cantaloup, toast, croissants, granola, caprese salad, mozzarella, thinly sliced prosciutto, fruit salad, and the most amazing breakfast pastries you’ve ever seen. Plus, fresh-squeezed orange juice, amazing cappuccinos, and eggs.

I loved the B&B itself, but I loved that breakfast even more, sitting there for hours and nibbling away at things until I couldn’t eat another bite.

The B&B, called Villino di Porporano, is about 10 minutes from Parma by car, an hour by foot along lovely country back roads.

My stay at Villino di Porporano was free, but all opinions are my own and, in fact, they don’t even know I’m writing about them here.

Italy - 100 locals tell you where to go, what to eat, and how to fit in Going to Italy this year?
Get the inside scoop from 100 chefs, wine experts, culture lovers, and locals in my latest guidebook. Check it out now.
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