. . . bustling . . . Modern Italian . . . friendly

Restaurant noise, attentive service, sitting in the middle of a family style table and ambiance made us feel like we had found a welcoming happy place for our dinner out after an art opening in the city.

My Parma pizza was from the Le Pizze Tradizionali menu. The crust was thin and crisp and supported perfectly a generous yet truly balanced proportion of mozzarella, fontina, arugula and the most wonderful prosciutto di parma. My road buddy ordered the anatra pizza from Le Pizze Napoletane menu. His crust was doughy and flavorful and a perfect plate for the san marzano tomatoes, anatra duck luganega, red onion, cerignola and mozzarella.

We were really there for the pizza but the rest of the menu looked equally enticing and full of balanced flavors and interesting combinations.

Marc Vetri is a supporter of local farmers and this definitely came through in the Antipasti dish that we had. It was a fall special [a little behind in posting this ; )] and the variety of vegetables prepared and seasoned uniquely was again perfectly balanced and interesting! I would recommend starting with any dish from the antipasti menu in any season and his menu does change seasonally.

On my wish list for our next visit is the pumpkin ciambella with spicy hot chocolate and homemade fluff. I saw several of these wonderful plates with pillowy puffs and hot chocolate and fluff come out of the kitchen. My road buddy was very encouraging about sharing an order including warning me that I might have some regret – hate when he is right ; )

Pizza Note: “In its simplest, most elemental form, pizza is melted cheese . . . on good bread . . . with tomato–one of the all-time great food combinations. Pizza is a perfect food.”  – Ed Levine


Pizzeria Vetri


I love Pizza!

I love making Pizza!

I love our corner wood-fired pizza place! [oven flown in from Italy along with the people who put it together ; )]

And I have been loving the idea of exploring pizza places near and far!   Kind of like the concept of hanging out at a good café! But like many good ideas this one has been lost as a theory and it is for sure time to give it some focused attention. Possibly I was waiting for a revival of artful pizza using homemade pizza dough and quality fresh ingredients. And yes I do realize that great pizza has been in this country for over a century. I also believe that over time some of the art has been lost. For a more in depth discussion Pizza A Slice of Heaven by Ed Levine is an interesting and masterful must read about all things pizza!

Pizzeria Vetri recently opened [kind of where my point comes from] in the museum district of Philadelphia and I feel it is one of the many emerging pizza focused restaurants to open up in the past few years!

So after viewing some amazingly intricate German Prints my friends and I walked over on a grey fall afternoon to Pizzeria Vetri. We sat at the bar by the wood-fired oven so we could watch closely as our pizza’s were formed and stretched and topped and then carefully handled and turned. The last step was holding the pizza to the roof of the oven for a few seconds for a final melting of the cheese and heating of the toppings. This I believe to be a sign of the art of pizza making!

It has been quite a long time since I picked out pizza with friends and I was not sure how it was going to work as there were three of us, two pizza’s to order and my strong preferences ; ) You know that you have the best friends when the two pizzas were perfectly complimentary and had all ingredients that I really like even when I let them pick out one, too! We agreed that the next time we came back we would try two different pizzas and they were sure to be as doughy, cheeesy, topped perfectly and artfully awesome!

Pizza’s Enjoyed : : Renato – mozzarella, rosemary, olive oil, sea salt    Salsiccia – fennel sausage, roasted fennel, tomato, mozzarella.

Pizza Note: “It was in New York that Neapolitan immigrant and grocery store owner Gennaro Lombardi was granted the nation’s first license to sell pizza in 1905.”   – Ed Levine  Pizza A Slice of Heaven



Soltane Breads & Spreads
Phoenixville, PA

It is the kind of café where I can pull up a stool at the counter by the window and stare at the world going by or spend hours catching up with a friend – anytime there enjoying my new favorite coffee drink the Cortado [strong & milky] and distracted from the concept of time! Even when I am running in for an artisanal loaf of bread and some rolls from their wood fired oven I find myself pausing to take in the warmth and aroma and a small chat ; )

A good friend will know how you take your coffee.
– friend and coffee quote via Pinterest

Wildflower Café


There has always been this idea that I would hang out at different cafés and sketch in my book and write and make collages – – all things that I really enjoy doing!
And, of course, their would be coffee involved ; )
And now there is my cool iPad and although I will not be giving up my book and pencil I have decided to turn my blog into a place for these iPad generated collages. My intention is that this will get me to different cafés – yea! And I will learn some awesome apps on my iPad. And I am sure they will be awesome once I know more about them!
Join me for coffee and some hanging out and sketching too!

March Cookbooks


These are all pretty wonderful cookbooks filled with amazing recipes!
It is also the current stack in my kitchen carefully marked with the hand picked recipes that I will be making over the next few weeks.

Irish Stew [this Sunday of course] – page 195 – Homemade Winter by Yvette Van Boven.

My Chocolate Chip Cookies – page 180 – My Pizza by Jim Lahey [I know and the pizza recipes are awesome too].

Mint Chip Gelato – page 110 – Making Artisan Gelato by Torrance Kopfer.

Aluminum-Free Baking Powder – page 158 – The Organic Family Cookbook by Anni Daulter.

Georgian Cheese-Filled Quick Bread – page 292 – Flatbreads & Flavors by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid.

Ginger Molasses Cookies – page 116 – Flour by Joanne Chang.

Coconut Milk & Saffron Seafood Stew – page 95 – Small Plates Sweet Treats by Aran Goyoaga.

Enjoy! And have fun with your cool cookbooks, too!

Stories & the art of listening

Live in Simplicity

[written in the fall – edited today]

How often have we had a friend tell us the same story again? And, how do we react?

This morning I was out front doing some weeding, planting a few bulbs and making a mental note to get more bulbs when my neighbor came over to check out what I was doing and chat . . . Dale is a wonderful older neighbor who always has a project going, a hello to give, a story to tell or something witty to say. This was until his second stroke. After his first stroke he was very matter of fact and moved along like this was just another part of his day – very admirable. But, after his second stroke he seemed sad. His wife told us that his coordination and balance checked out great but his speech was affected. So, basically what he is thinking does not translate into understandable sentences. Today after many months of gradually moving to a smile and a wave then a hello and some words he stopped to chat briefly. Hopefully, it was enough that I smiled when he smiled and agreed a offered some kind words of my own though I did not understand everything he was saying. Before heading on his way he motioned me over to see his beautiful mum that is now in total bloom – this I understood and I am sure he knew that I did!

This encounter made me think about listening and how often I or a friend or a family member tells the same story. My grand mother suffered from dementia so her short term memory was not so great. This combined with being older meant that she told her stories of her youth and a moment ago often. Somehow, I never minded and would listen again or ask a question to move to another subject. This may just be the way I am and I kind of hope so but I am sure that it was helped along by hearing so many people around her let her know that she already said that and I could see how this really affected her.

So, how hard is it to listen to a story again? Can we take the time? If the friend wants to tell it again why not take a moment and listen – we all love to tell stories and if we can also love to hear them how happy is that. Really, how hard is that?

I  miss my grams and her stories but am very happy that my neighbor feels more comfortable telling his!

A Quiet Beginning

If You Love Someone . . .

There is something about running through my small town in the quiet of a new years day morning . . .

This year I was well into my run and my head was lost in thoughts and plans and dreams when I came across three men loosely gathered out in front of one of their homes. They were starting their day catching up with each other over a smoke. One of the men waved at me and I waved back greeting them with a smile and a happy new year. Really to my surprise a chorus of ‘happy new year’ returned in my direction. My thoughts quickly moved to the warmth of community and how fortunate I am to have such great friends, a wonderful dad and my guy who loves me!

The route for this run was where the wind took me so when I ended up on a bridge over a river with several flocks of geese flying over I had to take a moment. In one of the streams of geese I noticed a single goose flying in the middle at the wide expanse in the back. She was taking a break in the draft. Another goose flew off the formation to pull this lone goose on to her wing and back into the group. I started myself and my watch back up and not far down the road four bluebirds of happiness flew right across my path.

So, as I was nearing home I realized that along the way my uncertainties about this new beginning and my place in it were warmed by strangers, tears brought on by the geese reminded me of all of the kindness in my life, and those bright bluebirds made me smile and resolve to appreciate and be happy!

I feel “so damn lucky” – Dave Matthews!

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