Ciao Friends!

Hello everyone!

Sorry for being MIA the past week or so. The reason being, I was traveling in Italy! Which means, I have quite a bit of writing to catch up on. I visited middle to the south of Italy — Napoli, Sorrento, Roma, Capri, Almafi Coast and Pompeii! So while I’m churning some ideas to put on paper, here’s some photos from my trip. Hope you enjoy.



Fresh bread. Yum.

Fresh bread. Yum.

Croissants from the hotel in Sorrento, Italy.

Croissants from the hotel in Sorrento, Italy.

Homemade Pizza in Napoli, Italy

Homemade Pizza in Napoli, Italy



Forget cheap, $1 slices* and let’s get classy people. Sottocasa brings that elegance and refined take on brick oven authentic Neapolitan pizza that we’re all looking for. It’s a cozy, inviting and rustic little establishment. My friend and I were looking for someplace with a great atmosphere and reasonably priced dinner. And we found just that.

Sottocasa sources their flour and tomatoes from Italy as well as their wood fired oven was built and shipped directly from Naples! How’s that for ya? When I walked inside I was immediately enticed by their simplistic decorations and wooden picnic tables. We were asked if we’d like to sit in the closed-off greenhouse. UMMM… YES PLEASE! Just my kind of seating. They have stringed lights from the ceiling and heat lamps for when it gets cold. Practical and pretty.

Now let’s talk food. For the antipasti we ordered the Prosciutto, Mozzarella and a side of Arugula salad. It was all extremely fresh — a nice beginning to our meal. As for the main course we weren’t too hungry and decided on splitting a pizza. We chose the Salsiccia: tomatoes, mozz, hot italian sausage and basil. *Sigh* The dough was perfectly crispy and held all those ingredients fairly well. Brick oven just has that home-y taste that you can’t get anywhere else. That crispy, slight (in a good way) charred crust. Brings me back to when I visited Italy when I studied abroad.

Our service was great… the waiter was friendly and helpful when deciding on what to choose. As well as we didn’t feel rushed since we had a lot to catch up on that night. Hey, we’re talkative people!

Overall, I’m really impressed with this place. I can’t wait to come back and try their other items on the menu. *Eyes immediately drift towards the Burrata pizza*. Next time it is!

*I mean don’t get me wrong… we all have those $1 pizza night cravings. You know what I’m talking about.

298 Atlantic Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11201

b/t Hoyt St & Smith St in Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill

(718) 852-8758




PC: Olea

I have a firm belief/philosophy in life that I try live by:
“Sharing is caring.”

And what’s one of the best ways to share? TAPAS.

Olea was brought to my attention by my co-workers. They raved about this cute eatery and its uniquely styled Mediterranean offerings… so naturally I couldn’t wait to go! Inside reminds me of a combination of decorations that borders a Pier 1 Import/Antique feel. My taste in a nutshell. It was a very cozy and relaxed environment which is just what we needed after a long work week. We went early to ensure we didn’t miss the happy hour specials…which are great. You can choose from a couple of wines and sangria (both white and red) for $5 each. They also have happy hours for the tapas $3-6 each and $1 oysters M-F and from 4pm-7pm.

They bring you out a nice bread basket with EVOO to dip in. It was very fresh and the perfect start to our meal. As for the tapas, we ordered a bunch. The more the merrier, am I right? I’ll try to be concise and highlight the best parts of each dish.

-Almond Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Dates: Umm, what’s not to love about Bacon? The only negative is that they should have given us more. It was an interesting pair with the dates/almonds. Crunchy and crispy.

-Boquerones al Vinagre: It’s a very light “salad” if you will. Not my favorite. But then again I’m biased since I’m not the biggest fan of anchovies (unless they’re in a sauce). But the arugula and toasted almonds helped balance out that strong flavor.

-Spanish ‘Pitza’: One of the best items of the night. It’s sweet, savory, and spicy in one. It’s a crispy thin pizza with quince paste, Manchego, toasted garlic and red pepper. Side note…If you haven’t had Manchego cheese, you’re missin’ out in life!

-Fried Chickpeas: I’d like to think of it textually-like wasabi peas. Pretty good.

-Patatas Bravas: My friend called this the “fancier version of cheesy fiesta potatoes*”. Which I laughed at. This is a killer side dish. The thing that makes it is the harissa aioli. Yum.

-Harissa-Deviled Organic Eggs: Good. Spicy. But nothing special IMO.

-Grilled Whole Wheat Pita with Spicy Feta Dip: The dip was very creamy and fluffy. I liked the unique twist of the added heat.

From what I’ve seen their brunch is pretty popular as well. So I can’t wait to try that soon. But speaking for their dinner experience, it was a pleasant one. The staff was friendly, attentive and patient while we pick our tapas. And of course the food was pretty darn good! At a place like this, try as much as your wallet can allow. (Happy hour certainly helps!!!) I’ll definitely be back to have the full brunch experience.
*Really? You’re comparing this place to Tbell? Shameee.

171 Lafayette Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11238


b/t Adelphi St & Clermont Ave in Fort Greene

(718) 643-7003

Quick And Easy Pizza



How many of you are like me?

You work 5 days a week, 40+ hours and when you get home all you want to do is kick back and relax. Most of you will go for that frozen tv dinner or find solace in a bowl of cereal. One of the things I dislike doing is eating because it’s a chore not because I should enjoy it. And you’re probably thinking wow a homemade pizza? It doesn’t come to mind when you’re thinking of a quick and effortless meal. But it can be!

During the week I will stop by my local bakery and pick up pizza dough. It’s usually around $2 at the place near me. Not expensive at all. I’ll buy a couple of those and stop by my grocery store and pickup a jar of sauce as well as a block of mozzarella cheese. The great things about these items is that they’re versatile. You can use the leftover sauce in pasta or use the cheese in mac and cheese. Be creative! So there’s no need to worry about wasting money. You can always make good food on a budget. And voila…all the ingredients you will need to make that homemade pizza.


1 bag of pizza dough from your local bakery

1 block of mozzarella cheese (I use part skim, Polly-O’s)

1 jar of sauce (I use Barilla Tomato Basil)

Some olive oil for brushing the dough.

Flour/cornmeal for the dough.

Any spices you may wish to add.

Here’s some tips and tricks to how I made mine (as seen in picture above).

Preheat to 425 degrees.

-Take your dough and place it on a hard surface. Make sure surface is lightly floured first. *If you have a pizza stone like I do, lightly dust that with cornmeal beforehand. Trust me, it adds to the texture of the pizza and some extra flavor. The grainy texture will help the pizza slide off the stone or whatever surface you choose, more easily.

-Knead the dough a little bit (but don’t over-do it) and flatten it into a round disk shape. Work the edges in a circular motion and pull the dough slightly with your hands. Be careful not to pull too much because that may create holes. Try to get the thick/thinness as even as possible.  When you have the desired shape, place on top of cornmeal covered pizza stone.

-Then take small amount of olive oil and brush the surface of the dough with it. This will add a nice color to the crust and will give it flavor too.

-Take your sauce and ladle it over the dough and spread evenly. I like a pretty thin coating, but that can be your preference. Do not push sauce all the way to the edge. Leave room for the crust to form.

-Then take your cheese and you can either shred it or cut it into chunks to put on top of the sauce. Add as much or as little as you’d like! At the same time add whatever toppings you like to the pizza. I personally love red pepper flakes, basil and garlic powder. YUM! But feel free to add things like leftover sausage, spinach, chicken, veggies, etc!

*Bake for about 12-15 minutes, checking to make sure the crust is brown and the cheese is bubbly.

Let cool for a few minutes, cut into slices and serve.

**The best part about this pizza is that you can multi-task while this is cooking. It is such an easy prep and clean up as well. I usually make my lunch for the next day or iron my clothes quick. Hey, that’s what you have to do nowadays. Multi-tasking is the way to go! If you have kids, friends, family…they can help too! And with pizza you can really have fun with it. Maybe do one half sausage and one half eggplant. You can experiment with many different types of flavor profiles and such. Pizza is like a blank canvas, the opportunities are endless! And if you have leftovers…that means dinner for tomorrow.

In my mind, it’s a win-win.

(Also, next time I will update this with more pictures of the step-by-step process so you can have a better visual.)

Questions? Leave a comment!