My “Summer Food & Fun” series got slightly interrupted … by a trip to Italy. Not a bad interruption if you ask me! I figured I’d finish up this little series and then go on to Italy … and Canada. Yep that’s right, Canada. Guess you’ll have to wait and read about that. For now, let’s just say the whole trip was one part sweet and two parts awesome. Now, back to our originally intended broadcast.

This next little lunch and Music Circus adventure was probably my favorite food wise. I think. It definitely wins for best overall experience. Cafe Rolle is a-mazing (yeah, I’m still not sure how to pronounce the name … is the “e” accented or silent like “roll”?? I studied Spanish and Italian, not French. too many randomly silent letters for my taste). Rolle is a little hole-in-the-wall place run by this guy from France, and it’s been featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives (you should totally watch the video, because I ordered what he talks about – http://www.caferolle.com/site/index.htm). The place is tiny and we had to wait for a bit. The server was so nice, and when we told him we were on a tight schedule, he made sure to seat us as quickly as possible and provided excellent service. In order to use the bathroom, you had to walk through the kitchen. That’s my idea of a good restaurant. I was fascinated as I watched the chef slicing up baguettes and salmon and whipping things together and talking and calling out orders in French. The kitchen is also open to the dining area, so you can watch everything he’s doing. So fun! I was in culinary heaven. We ordered the prawns and lentil salad (featured in the video), a warm brie baguette, and the hot salmon sandwich. Wow. Everything was incredible! He’s known for his salmon, and I’ve got to say it’s some of the best I’ve ever eaten. Smoked salmon + gruyere cheese + dill creme fraiche = a sophisticated party in your mouth.

After lunch, we saw The Music Man, which was delightful. This was my mom’s favorite out of all the shows we saw. I enjoyed it, but not nearly as much as her. It was kind of like how The Little Mermaid was for me, because she’d grown up seeing this and saw the play when Dick Van Dyke was playing the lead role. So it was quite fun. And afterwards, we kind of had to have gelato again. 🙂

Advertisements

For our Midtown Sacramento adventure #2, I asked for restaurant recommendations on Facebook and got some awesome suggestions. We decided to try a totally new place that I’d never heard of called Paesanos. What sold me on this was one look at the menu. Bocce balls (lightly fried balls of pizza dough smothered in garlic butter, parmesan, and basil) and polenta fries (served with balsamic ketchup and gorgonzola sauce)?? Yes please!! We ended up ordering the polenta fries and a pancetta and prawn panzanella (a special that night). Wow, were these good. The polenta fries were so fun and different. And the gorgonzola sauce?!? Yum. Have to say I wasn’t crazy about the balsamic ketchup, which is pretty odd since I love both balsamic vinegar and ketchup. Weird. And the panzanella? Oh that was tasty. If you’re not familiar with panzanella, it’s basically an Italian salad which consists of chunks of bread and tomatoes and other veggies. This tasted so light, fresh, and summery. Good choice! (And by the way, I had to try making my own panzanella at home. Check out Smitten Kitchen’s Summer’s Last Hurrah Panzanella! It’s delicious!)

polenta fries + gorgonzola sauce = deliciousness

 

does this picture even need a caption?!

And for dessert? Thank you, Yelp, for pointing out this little jewel. Devine Gelateria has definitely become one of my favorite places. I fell in love with this place at my first glance in the gelato case; it looked legit. It’s the most authentic gelateria I’ve been to in the area, and probably outside of Italy. Did you know that you can go to gelato school in Italy?? (that was news to me) The owner spent time in Italy – at gelato school – and totally knows her stuff. Her baked goods are pretty great too. The waffle cones? Best I’ve had. I would try to tell you what flavors I enjoyed that night … but I honestly couldn’t tell you. I think it was bananas foster and dark chocolate, but seeing as how I actually went here 3 times in less than 2 weeks, it’s hard to recall. 🙂

Mmmmm … gelato.

Next on the agenda … The Little Mermaid. Oh boy, was I ever excited. As a kid, I just loved this Disney movie. I was so excited to see the play. I couldn’t wait to find out how they would do the water scenes and make everyone “swim.” Well I was blown away. They did such a fantastic job, and the girl who played Ariel was amazing. She sounded so much like the voice in the Disney version; I just loved it. Everything from the music to the costumes to the set design was incredible. It was truly a feast for the eyes.

This was such a fun night, and I felt like such a little kid. I mean, we’re talking an ice cream cone and The Little Mermaid. Could this night have gotten any better?!? I submit that it could not.

This summer, my mom and I treated ourselves to some fun. We splurged and got season tickets to The Music Circus.  The Music Circus is a theater in-the-round in downtown Sacramento. It’s a small, intimate, vibrant atmosphere with excellent performances. To say that we had a blast would be a HUGE understatement. We took the opportunity to try new restaurants for lunch or dinner in the downtown Sacramento area with each show. So I’d like to take you on a little journey through our summer of fun.

Our first show was in the evening, so we started with dinner at an already tried and true favorite, Lucca. Lucca did not disappoint. We had a wonderful experience at this Mediterranean Restaurant. From the blue water glasses to the flatbread with hummus to the service, we loved our dinner. We decided to try something really different (for us) for our main course – a pork chop. Unfortunately, I don’t remember all the details about our dish. But what I do remember is this: it was to die for. To truly understand how good it was, you must first understand that I’m not a huge pork fan. The first time I ate pork and liked it was in Italy. But I’ve never really liked big, thick, pork chops. In all honesty, they gross me out a bit (thank you, high school biology). But this pork chop? Best ever. And it was served over polenta with asparagus and had the most delicious sauce.

Love this place!

It’s a good thing dinner was so amazing, because our show that night … not so much. Part of why we bought season tickets was because all of the shows actually looked great, except this first one. So we didn’t go into it with high hopes. The Music Circus’ rendition of Grease was definitely disappointing, on so many levels. Besides the fact that the story line is just plain awful and quite dirty (I didn’t remember the movie being as dirty as the play), there was some sort of trouble with the sound. And while the actors were good, their voices weren’t anything to write home about. And let’s face it … Olivia Newton John and John Travolta are a hard act to follow. But negativity aside, there were some good numbers and funny scenes.

We couldn’t end our lovely evening on this note, so we went back to Lucca for dessert. Again, I don’t remember what exactly we had. I want to say a chocolate semifreddo torte or something along those lines. And again, it was delicious and our service was excellent.

So all in all, our first Music Circus adventure was delightful. And don’t I just have the cutest mom ever??!

A picture of my cute mamma with her program became the tradition at each show.

It’s almost the end of August. My how time flies … whether you’re having fun or not! So here are a few random thoughts on this Sunday afternoon of August …

1. I’ve had a guitar in my possession for about 2 years. I still don’t know how to play it. A few weeks ago, a friend showed me three chords and told me to practice 15 minutes a day. I eagerly sat down and practiced. And the next day, I practiced again. And the third day … I stopped practicing. No wonder I still haven’t learned how to play!

2. I do not like the heat and have decided once and for all that I’m a wimp. When it’s 100 degrees outside, I have conversations with myself that go like this … “Self, would you like to go on a bike ride right after work during the hottest part of the day when you’re going to be absolutely miserable?” “No, thank you,” I reply.  BUT … I have certainly enjoyed some beautiful Saturday morning rides lately (and even a couple late evening ones)! And I have decided I’d rather face cars than the joggers on the bike trail! Last time I rode the trail on a Saturday morning I almost crashed twice, and I decided that there should be a separate trail for joggers, runners, walkers, daydreamers, moms and their strollers, etc. But until they create another bike trail, just because I want one, I’d much rather face large pieces of machinery and narrow, winding roads! Besides, I’d miss seeing the llamas and horses and goats and cool little spots like this:

Wish I could’ve stopped for a good cup of coffee!

3. Over the last month or so, I began listening to some sermons by a guy named Tim Chaddick. He’s the pastor at Reality LA, and I have been super blessed by his teaching of the Word. This sermon on prayer was so amazing, I think you all should go listen to it right now. Ready? Go! http://realityla.com/teachings/enduring-in-prayer/ (btw, if my pastor had an hour+ to preach, he’d be so stinking excited!)

4. I did something today that I haven’t done in a very, very long time. I went through some Italian vocab!!! And boy am I rusty. It’s amazing how much you can learn and forget … and forget that you learned. The reason I busted out my Italian vocab cards (I feel like I’m back in Greek) and my Italian lesson book (and I just realized I think I let someone borrow one of my Italian books … hmmmm, I should check on that!) … but back to my exciting announcement … Lord willing, I’m going to Italy in October! I’m so excited about this and just praying that it works out. 🙂

5. I am longing for fall to come!! I just want to bake and be warm and cozy and drink hot beverages. I passed a pumpkin patch on my ride yesterday, and it made me even more excited for fall … the fall weather helped too.

6.  “Holiness is beholding and reflecting the character of God.” – Tim Chaddick

 

 

I’ve ended up with about 30-40 minutes of “free time” that I wasn’t expecting. So I thought … I am near a computer and the internet, so I’ll blog! I’ve had quite a few things buzzing around in my brain to blog about over the last few weeks. Now that I’m sitting down to blog? I’m drawing a blank. I believe this happened the last time I tried to blog. 

I thought I’d answer a question that perhaps you’ve wondered on this rarely updated blog: why do I even keep a blog? That’s a good question, which I’ve recently thought a little about.

The reason I started my blog was to keep people back home updated when I went to Italy in the fall of 2007. Side note: I can’t believe it’s been almost 5 years since I hopped on a plane in San Francisco, completely uncertain of what was at the other end of that plane ride in Venice, Italy (or how long I’d even be there). Hmmm, I feel another blog post brewing. Back to the current broadcast…. I thought blogging would be the best way to keep family, friends, supporters, and such in the loop. Email blasts can be … obnoxious. Let’s just be honest here. We are all on mass email lists that we wish we weren’t on but we feel like it’d be too rude and awkward to request being taken off. Well, I didn’t want to do that to anyone. A blog on the other hand is something that people who want to follow my life can choose to do so. Those who don’t are under no obligation. It’s really a win win situation for everyone involved. You may be thinking (when I accuse you of thinking something, it’s basically because I’ve thought and asked it myself), “Well, of course it’s cool to follow a blog of someone living in Italy! We get to see pictures of cool Italy stuff! But you’ve been living back in Cali for almost 5 years. It’s not that exciting.” Excellent thought. Because I lived apart from my family for a few years in SoCal, it was still a good way to keep them posted through stories and pictures. And once I moved back to Sacramento, I had people from Southern CA who wanted to keep up with me. So the “keeping people updated that I don’t live near” reason is still valid.

One of the main reasons I blog is actually this: I enjoy writing. I’m “that girl” who actually missed writing papers after graduating from college. Crazy, I know. I actually wrote a professor my first summer out of college explaining how I sort of missed writing papers. (He gave me an assignment, and I gladly took him up on it. Now don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t exactly a research paper. It was simply a 2-4 page paper describing my summer and how I was doing. But it was a writing assignment from a professor nonetheless. And I enjoyed it.) Speaking of missing college papers, I must confess something else I miss: school and learning. But that’s another blog post too.

So I don’t really have this crazy long list of why I blog … I just like it. I think it’s kind of a habit too. An infrequent habit, I admit. I think it’d be weird to not have my blog anymore. And today, I was discussing blogs with someone and she told me she reads mine … and then she “scolded” me for not updating my blog very often (thanks Rachel! and I know you weren’t really scolding me, but saying you scolded me just sounds really funny and so not you hehe).

So, I’m not out to get Freshly Pressed and have hundreds of readers everyday. I just enjoy writing and keeping a few people updated on Hannah’s Happenings … mundane as those happenings may be. But hey … real life is about the mundane. So welcome to my real life!

Celebrated Ricky and Brit’s Wedding on Saturday! I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves…

Me and my beautiful Mom!

Twin cousins

Hanging out with my cousin and future cousin-in-law!

“Silly faces!”

Kisses for Papa

Me and my boys!

Me & my Dad

My uncle literally forced me into the bouquet toss where I missed the first one because it went over everyone’s heads. Toss number 2 … it was like she was directly aiming for me! If this wasn’t my 4th bouquet, I might think it means something. 😉

Cousin picture! Do I have a beautiful family or what?!?

Some might call us “The Original Five” 😉

By blogging today, I’m doing something I haven’t done in a very … long … time. I’m blogging twice in one month! Woohoo! Gold star for my forehead. So it’s been a pretty good week. And here’s why:

Sunday … Great day fellowshipping at church and being ministered to by the body of Christ. The Church is an amazing thing, for which I’m incredibly thankful. After church, I hit the road and enjoyed a lovely bike ride. Then, I got to go see The Avengers!!! I had been doing my homework the previous week by watching Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, and Thor. The only one I had previously seen was Captain America, which I loved. I loved Thor (what’s not to love … his people originate from Norway. They’re my people!). Thanks to my buddy, Janelle, I was all ready to see The Avengers, and oh boy did I love it!! And I have become somewhat of a Marvel Comic nerd now. But in my defense, I did not download the comic app!

Monday & Tuesday … I was blessed by a sweet friend from church who brought me what might be my new favorite drink at Starbucks (a tall one pump vanilla cappuccino). Tuesday, I found an extra brain on my desk (it’s been a crazy time at work).

Coffee and a brain … a great start to a busy week.

Then on Tuesday night, my mom and I went to one of our favorite restaurants called Lucca (they have pretty blue glasses) and to see a show at The Music Circus (we bought season tickets for the summer and are quite excited!). We had a delicious dinner, a fun show, and then a yummy dessert back at Lucca’s.

Lucca! I just love this place – from the atmosphere to the food to the service! Everything is just great!

Wednesday … I had my first experience with Korean food! Super fun night out with friends and a very fun experience. As she kept putting more and more food on our table, I just stared wide-eyed. I probably sounded like a broken record with how much I said: “What is this?” or “How do I eat this?” Good times!

That would be dinner for 6 girls right there. 😉

Friday … Last night, we had a slumber party! I mean, how can you go wrong with your auntie and cousin and mom, brownies, staying up late talking and laughing, having a leisurely morning, doing a super fun workout, and having lunch with another cousin?? You just can’t go wrong with that combo.

Today … one of my cousins is getting married! So crazy. We’re all about to go to our first family wedding; exciting times! (Maybe I should stop blogging and go get ready??!)

Finally … I’ve been blessed throughout the week by starting to read (again) John Piper’s Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ. If you haven’t read it yet, I totally recommend it. I’ve been meditating on his prayer at the end of chapter 2 …

O to know him [Christ]! Father, we long to know him. Banish from our minds low thoughts of Christ. Saturate our souls with the Spirit of Christ and all his greatness. Enlarge our capacities to be satisfied in all that you are for us in him. Where flesh and blood are impotent, reveal to us the Christ, and rivet our attention and our affections on the truth and beauty of your all-glorious Son. And grant that whether rich or poor, sick or sound, we might be transformed by him and become an echo of his excellence in the world.