Napoli (Naples) wins for best food

Napoli (Naples) wins for best food

We arrived to Naples a day before the start of the Amalfi Coast tour to spend more time exploring the area.  After we unpacked at the hotel, we walked around our neighborhood to find dinner and found Osteria Da Carmela.

Naples wins for the city with the best food. A lot of people may find Naples “ghetto” and “dirty” and just a place to stop before heading out to the Amalfi coast. I say give this city a chance and stay tune for more Naples post.

Osteria Da Carmela
Via Conte di Ruvo, 12, 80135 Napoli, Italy


Complimentary fried bread with parmesan cheese and herbs.

More fried stuff  like zucchini and arancini (fried rice balls and cheese)

First plate (Primi piatti) – Mezzanelli al scarpariello


Second plate (secondi piatti) – Brasato alla Genovese con Funghi Chiodini

The following night, we met with our tour group at the hotel and had our first dinner at this pizzeria nearby. As you can see, Napoli style pizza is the pizza we are more familiar with in the U.S. — thicker crust and loads of toppings. Also a personal size Napoli pizza is 10 inches in diameter.

Pizzeria Attanasio
Via dei Tribunali, 379, Napoli, Italy


I do not remember the name of this pizza but it looks like white pizza with some pancetta and mushrooms.

Margarita pizza with burafa (mozarella from buffalo milk) cheese. Throughout our stay in Southern Italy, we ate a lot of burafa.

Other foods we tried in Napoli:DSC09003

Lemon granitas — seems to be a specialty dessert in Southern Italy and Sicily.


Fritto misto di mare (mixed fried seafood) — my favorite snack! Found this in some alley in Naples. There’s fried bread, fried squid, fruid anchovies, and fried shrimp.

In Italy, eat gelato everyday

In Italy, eat gelato everyday

They were not kidding you can find good gelato everywhere you go. There’s not really a recommended place to go, we ate gelato almost everyday and we had our reasons: long urban hike, long hill hike, it was hot, we’re waiting in line, try a new flavor, etc — all acceptable reasons to eat gelato everyday.

Home in the U.S., I’ve been trying to find some really good gelato. I’ll probably save that post another time on where to find some good gelato in L.A. Unfortunately, it is not as cheap as Italy’s.

The most expensive gelato would to this one gelateria in Amalfi. These piccolo cones were 5 euros each but they were the largest “small” cones we had. An average piccolo cone would range from 2-2.50 euro for up to two flavors.

Left: Hazelnut (nocciola) and Amalfi — I guess Amalfi has their own flavor.

Right: Chocolate mint (cioccomenta) and pineapple coconut (ananas di cocco)

Rome: These are the average sizes of a piccolo cone.

Left: Mango and blueberry (mirtillo)

Right: Strawberry (fragola) and chocolate (fragola e cioccolato)



Pistachio and…I don’t remember this one. Pistachio was my favorite flavor for the whole trip. K liked mango and coffee the best.

DSC08949 DSC08952At Naples:

Left: Coffee (caffe) and stracciatella

Right: Chocolate rum (rhum cioccolatoand lemon sorbet (sorbetto al limone)


Cinque Terre:

Left: Mango and coconut (cocco)

Right: Fig (fico) and mint (Menta) — probably the most interesting combination of flavors. I didn’t find a fig flavored gelato in any other gelateria.

Do you have a recommended gelateria in Italy or anywhere else? Or do you have a favorite or interesting gelato flavor you’d like to share? Comment below!

Happy Place: A big rubber ducky

Happy Place: A big rubber ducky

Weekly Photo Challenge: Happy Place

Who wouldn’t smile seeing the world’s largest rubber duck (and its tiny sibling) hanging out at the harbor?

This photo was taken back in August 2014 at the San Pedro Harbor. I’ve seen this duck in photos in Hong Kong and at that time I just left Hong Kong when it arrived.  I’m happy to see that this duck made its way to Los Angeles. I asked my fiance (now husband) if we go drive from Van Nuys to San Pedro after work because the duck was leaving in a few days. I’m glad we ventured out through the traffic because it was worth it.DSC03505 DSC03455

The duck’s journey around the world.

Venice II – Cruising the Venetian Lagoon

Venice II – Cruising the Venetian Lagoon

Map of the vaporetti routes

Venice has 118 small island–a lot of them are separated by canals and linked by bridges and then you have islands that are far apart such as Lido, Murano, and Burano. Khoi and I purchased a vaporetti day pass to do some island hopping and cruise around the Venice Lagoon. It’s worth checking out because the islands are all so different and each have a unique history. While you’re cruising, you’ll also notice some ruined buildings floating alone on the lagoon which makes it look like it came from a dream or maybe a movie set.

Lido (population: 21,645)

Lido is very different from the Venice island. It’s basically a suburb and you almost forget you’re on an island. If you are looking to stay and eat in Venice for cheap, then Lido is the place to lodge. On the other end they have an actual beach.


There are cars and buses around Lido.

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Notice the sign says “camping”.

Treporti (population: 12,897)

Treporti is not an island, but a peninsula in Northern Italy that divides the Adriatic Sea and the Venice Lagoon.

We did not stop at Treporti but it is one of the places we passed on our way to Burano.

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Torcello island is the birthplace of Venice. Before this use to be the largest populated area in Venice back in the 10th century. Today there are 10 residents living in Torcello. We wanted to stop at Torcello but very few vaporetti stop there. This photo was taken from the vaporetti on our way to Burano.


Burano (population: about 2,800)

The rainbow ends in Burano — that’s why it’s so colorful. This island is also known for their lacemaking.

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…Then there were a bunch of floating ruins along the way to Murano…

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Murano (population: about 5,000)

Unfortunately we did not go to Murano to check out the glass factory — we simply did not have enough time.

Here’s a photo from the vaporetti.


Going to the Las Vegas Venetian is not the same thing – Venice I

Going to the Las Vegas Venetian is not the same thing – Venice I

We almost did not plan to go to Venice because a lot of people say it’s “okay…but you still need to go.” We weren’t sure about going to a place where people were so underwhelmed upon arrival, but we’re glad we decided in the last minute to book that train ticket to Venice. We were impressed ourselves. It’s a beautiful and very unique city. It made me wonder why people were not impressed with Venice in the first place.


Some blocks, particularly closer to the Grand Canal and St. Mark’s Square were packed with tourists. If you venture a little further out you’ll find some cheaper prices for food, coffee, and souvenirs.

A map of Venice is good to have to help you find and reference landmarks, but it’s so small even if you wander around, you’ll always find your way back to the Grand Canal, Venice’s version of “Main Street”.

How to get there: We took a train from Rome and stopped at Venezia St. Lucia. Expect at least a 3 hour train ride.


Just outside the St. Lucia train station.

Thoughts: Venice deserves another day. We only took a day trip to Venice and just walked around. A majority of our day trip was island via the vaporetti (highly recommended!). On a future Europe trip, we’ll come back to Venice and explore more of the island itself.

People asked us if the water smelled. Not at all. Maybe they came in at the wrong time?

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Since you can’t drive within the island Venice, there were different types of boats such as delivery and waste collection boats.
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Fish market along the Grand Canal.

Sidewalk cafe

Carnevale masks

St. Mark’s Basilica – We did not go inside. We only had a day to explore. DSC08285

St. Mark’s Campanile – the bell tower

Taking the Vaporetti

The vaporetti is Venice’s public transportation system in a boat. It can take you around the larger canals of Venice or you can go island hopping around the Venice lagoon. Instead of checking out museums in Venice, we decided to check out the smaller islands of Lido, Burano, and Murano (will be on the next blog post). The vaporetti is a cheaper alternative to taking the gondola rides.

The vaporetti ride is pretty neat because you get a nice view of the Venice skyline floating on the water — it looks very magical.

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After our island hopping through Lido, Burano, and Murano we ferried back to Venice at the Fondamenta Nuove port.DSC08549 DSC08554

Local kids playing at a square.DSC08557


Canals in the late afternoon.

View from our train leaving Venice.

Happy one year anniversary to j+k! Where did it go?

Happy Anniversary to us! It did occur to me this week we’ve been married for a year. Khoi surprised me on Friday by showing up to work during my lunch break. He had to really make sure I wasn’t travelling that day. Today he also arranged a surprise brunch with our friends.

One year went by so fast. Where did it go?


Rose Bowl Half marathon – On a hot February day.


Adopted Teddy — he looks so little in this photo. He gets cuter everyday.

Italy – Still continuing the series. I don’t need to post photos on this entry. We realized we’ll never be on the Amazing Race so why not just venture out to the world. No auditioning required.

Lake Tahoe and enjoyed the (very little) snow in December.



Yosemite– I plan to post more Yosemite photos, I promise.


We bought a house — It was very exciting and very scary. We had to get use to the idea we were no longer paying $500 per month per person for rent — this means significantly less disposable income. We also had to deal with the realities of home ownership like taking care of all the utility bills, saving up for future renovation projects and furnishings, and overall maintenance of the home. We couldn’t have it any other way because this house could have easily gone to an investor who would flip this house and doubled the value. I’m glad it’s our :-).