Fairly sure that Fairfax is the all day cafe you've been looking for

Fairfax is a new all day cafe in the heart of the West Village. The place is cozy, unassuming and decorated with all the things you love to look at in West Elm. You have many options to sit at whether it's the communal tables, the leather quilted bar chairs, lounge chairs and those cushy leather sofas. Centering the restaurant is the sprawling bar where you can choose to day drink or order that espresso to get you through the day. And the food is just as good as the vibes. I appreciate that the menu is designed to make any restaurant goer happy- whether they are famished or if they're in the mood for something lighter. You can get anything savory, sweet or better yet both. Fairfax is the all day cafe I wish my neighborhood had. This place is ideal for catching up with friends, dining solo while doing some work, or an intimate meal with that person you can't stop thinking about. 

Fairfax lunch and dinner menu

Fairfax lunch and dinner menu

Foccia with olive oil

Foccia with olive oil

Chicken leg with za'atar stuffing

Chicken leg with za'atar stuffing

Cubano with roast pork, shaved ham, swiss cheese, pickles

Cubano with roast pork, shaved ham, swiss cheese, pickles

Favorites:

I am a fan of everything here! My fiancé did say that his Cubano could use less horseradish; it was very strong and dominated the other flavors in the sandwich. 

Made in Milan

Compared to Rome and Florence, Milan is one of the more industrialized cities in Italy. I find that people often struggle to say what there is to do in the city except to see the gorgeous Duomo and explore the European capital of fashion (the world's first Prada store and the Gucci flagship store). But the food scene in Italy's New York is worth the trip alone. In fact my favorite meal in Italy was in Milan at a restaurant called, Contraste (expect a sole review for the place soon). From sushi to chocolate beignets to beef donuts, Milan has it all.

1. Taglio- I was so lucky that Taglio was right across from where I stayed in Milan. This great cafe/restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, aperitivo and dinner. If you don't have time to sit down for a meal here grab an espresso and a croissant and be on your merry way. Below is mussel risotto with asparagus topped with black pepper and a ginormous chocolate beignet. The beignet is as chocolatey as it looks so you better have a sweet tooth. 

Mussel risotto with asparagus topped with black pepper

Mussel risotto with asparagus topped with black pepper

Chocolate beignet

Chocolate beignet

2. Pigato- Pigato is a cocktail bar along the side of the canals in the Navigli district (which is my favorite area in Milan). Cocktails come with mini sandwiches, quiches, cheeses and charcuterie. The snacks can really serve as an appetizer before you go out for dinner. Be sure to check out Mag Cafe next door for witty cocktails also. 

3. Temakhino- In the mood for Brazilian Japense sushi? Well you should be because it's delicious. Sushi prices here are pricier than in NY but one roll includes 8 pieces. Below is a variety of tuna and salmon sushi. They always give you a little bit more on the top! 

4. Contraste- I am so excited to introduce you guys to Contraste because it was my favorite restaurant in ALL of Italy. We did the tasting menu at Contraste and it encompassed the best tastes of Italy- the soft cheeses, gnocchi, beef and gelato. It was difficult to choose which courses to show a sneak preview of but, the beef ragu donut and tangerine cream chocolate dessert is a good start. 

Savory beef ragu donut

Savory beef ragu donut

Citrus tasting- Sweet orange cream in a tangerine  shaped sugar shell with chocolate and vanilla gelato. 

Citrus tasting- Sweet orange cream in a tangerine  shaped sugar shell with chocolate and vanilla gelato. 

When in Rome do as New Yorkers do and EAT

In preparation for my trip to Italy I tried not to eat too much Italian food so I could eat it straight for 11 days. I was no good at it given how I ate caccio e pepe literally the afternoon of my flight (for comparison purposes, obviously). When I got to Rome I was certainly excited to see the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, the Forum, Baths of Caracalla, etc. but, I was more excited about the food because Italy is the ultimate foodie place! As long as you avoid the english and tourist menus, eating in Italy should not be that expensive and especially not as expensive as New York. Below are some of my favorite spots in Rome. Florence and Milan deserve their own highlight so stay tuned!

1. Ai Tre Scalini- Great lasagno bolo during apertivi and for a great price! Check out the neighborhood afterwards for boutique shops and gelato at Fatamorgana

2. Roscioli- Some of the best espresso I've ever had was at this cafe. Come here during breakfast hour or for a quick bite in the afternoon. Be sure to get the mini roast beef sandwiches, bread with sweet cream, cream puffs and croissants. You'll have to stand and eat at the bar so make sure you know a little Italian so you can at least try to converse with the locals. 

3. La Botticella- Your mind is not fooling you. You are indeed looking at cacio e pepe in a parmesan crust. This amazing hole in the wall restaurant serves HUGE portions and cooks with the same love as your grandma. 

4. Freni e Frizioni- This awesome bar gets very crowded at aperitivo hour and once you go you'll see why. The cocktails are amazing (see Spritz below) and they have a delicious aperitivo buffet. You order and pay at the register before you hand your receipt to the bartender for him to make your drink. It's a shame we don't drink Spritz during happy hour here in the US! 

5. Mordi e Vai- Amazing paninis inside of the Testaccio Market. If you're a fan of tripe (I am not) then get the tripe panini here. Below is the steak panini with peppers which I found incredible. The beef is slow cooked and put on delicious soft bread. Paninis in Italy are not pressed so don't be surprised when it looks like the one below.

6. Gelateria del Teatro- Make sure you stop here to get delicious gelato near the ancient ruins. Below is ricotta cheese, almond, fig gelato with a scoop of coffee gelato. It may sound strange to you but wait till you try it.

7. Volpetti- Volpetti is a foodie grocery through and through. Try their empanadas, fried vegetables, cheeses but don't miss the buffalo mozzarella pizza. The hunks of soft mozzarella on the pizza will keep you coming back for more. 

8. Bonci Pizzarium- Bonci has all the toppings you could ever want among which you'll find find cherry tomato and potato pizza pictured below. Side note: Anthony Bourdain swears by this pizza place! 

9. Bar del Cappuccino- The mom and pop run shop serves amazing hot and cold cappuccino. The special frozen cappuccino is delicious and a sweet treat in the morning. This place also has an amazing pastrami sandwich that can rival NY pastrami.

10. Trattoria Perilli- I've heard rumors that this trattoria has the best carbonara in Rome and so I had to go. The carbonara was cheesy with the perfect balance of spice from the peppers. Wish I could have a bite now!

11. Glass Hostaria- Glass Hostaria is a one Michelin starred restaurant in Rome. We did the Traditional tasting menu which was a great way to get all the Roman flavors in one seating. Below is  the scented sumac lamb, stilton cheese, carrots and fennel pollen and coffee, condensed milk gelato, crunchy almonds, and Baileys ice cream. Glass Hostaria has a great atmosphere with scrumptious modern Italian food.

12. Cul de Sac- Craving a great meat and cheese plate with some wine at an amazing price point? THIS is your place. The vast wine selection is also impressive.

13. Tiber Gelato- Cross Rome's oldest bridge Ponte Fabricio into Tiber Island and stop at Tiber Gelato to get a scoop of gelato. I got the cookies gelato which had large chunks of chocolate cookie in creamy vanilla gelato.