Who am I?

Hi, My name is Alyssa!

I debated on writing about this for a few weeks because who I am right now is completely different than who I was a year ago. And I am already working on getting to know the stranger that I will be a year from now. I’d like to think of myself as easy going, fun loving, happy-go-lucky, and warm. The truth is, I’m the complete opposite. I’m intense, passionate, curious, skeptical, serious and demanding.

Despite all of this, I think my intensities lend to why I have been able to have the experiences I’ve had in my life already, specifically when it comes to travel. One of the things I’ve noticed in the last few years is that I am constantly looking toward the next trip, the next experience. I deflect some of this angst onto the advancement of social media travel campaigning being thrown in my face and some due to my own inner whirling of existential dread and the thought that I may not be able to go to every place that I want to go. And not only that- but I may not be able to go back and do things a second time around at my personal European- style leisure.

Those of you reading this must think “Wow this is already exhausting to read, I can’t imagine what it’s like to worry about that all the time.” Well toots let me tell you, its way worse to live it every. single. day. in my 10 pound noggin.

Regardless of all the pre and post trip anxieties that I love to subject myself to- I love travel with all my heart. It’s when I feel most alive, when I learn the most about myself and about other places and cultures, and when I create my most favorite memories with my family and friends that still give me joy to reflect upon.

When I write each post I try to craft its layout in terms of what my readers can gain from its contents. Before I take a trip I am always looking at packing lists, local cuisine recommendations and can’t-miss landmarks. I hope that the people who visit my blog are able to leave with some insight they can apply to their own travels, or at least spend a few moments being entertained.

Lisbon, Portugal circa 2014

Instagram: @sullialy

Film Photography Instagram: @eyebeeseechyou

The Three BEST Restaurants Near Rome’s Trastevere District

One of my first dinners in Rome, lady and the tramp style

I studied abroad in Rome, Italy in 2014. Back then I was 20. I didn’t appreciate or think about food and wine the way that I do now. I never cooked then. I ate nutella out of a jar with a spoon and burned some frozen croquettes in a panini maker in my tiny apartment kitchen on via degli scipioni in Prati. To me, wine was wine and it all tasted relatively the same. An Italian boy made fun of me and my friend when he found out we were drinking 1 Euro bottles of cooking wine that his mother used. Essentially, it was Italian swill.

UGH. If only I could slap 20 year old Alyssa for her wasted youth and absence of worship for all that is Italian cuisine.

on my way to class in Rome, 2014

Thankfully I had an entire culture of food laid before me on every corner. All I had to do was skip down the marble steps of my building, shout a “buona sera” to the little granny that lived next door and have a hot slice of pizzete rossa or pizza bianca tossed on a plate and into my eager hands.

And thats not to say that I didn’t have amazing meals. I absolutely did. And that is why I am highlighting them in this list. To cleanse my soul of the atrocities I committed while gallivanting in Europe. To let the world know that these places exist and to resurrect my unappreciative former self and allow her to repent her sins, through the delights I am about to bring forth in this blog post.

1. Roma Spartia

Pure happiness at Roma Spartia
Tagliolini Cacio E Pepe.. TO DIE

Cacio e pepe is a Roman delight made of pecorino cheese and pepper swirled between the folds of tonnarelli pasta. You can find it on almost any menu in Rome and Roma Spartia in Trastevere has a specific version of this creamy, tangy dish that was also featured on the show No Reservations.

The pasta is cradled in a shaped bowl of crunchy Parmesan… I don’t think theres a way to go wrong here.

P.S. Don’t skip dessert!

prosciutto and melon

2. La Vecchia Taverna

La vecchia taverna

Nestled in the heart of the Jewish ghetto is La Vecchia Taverna which is a true Roman gem… if you can find it. The outside of the restaurant is rather inconspicuous and we had heard good things about the place beforehand but didn’t realize what we were truly in for. Unfortunately I don’t have as many pictures as I would have certainly taken now.

As we sat down the owners catered to our every whim. There were dishes upon dishes of fresh bread, fried artichokes, grilled vegetables and homemade cheeses. The staff is super friendly and the food was fresh and flavorful. If you want to delve into something truly authentic and romantically Roman- head to La Vecchia Taverna.

Grilled eggplant and mozzarella

3. Dar Poeta

This place has 18 different kinds of bruschetta and nutella stuffed calzones that ooze out of flaky pockets of dough, what else could you ask for? Even though it is third on the list, it is first in my heart and stomach. I had many nights where this tried and true eatery was all I needed to satisfy my every culinary whim. Next time you are on the older side of Rome, swing over to Dar Poeta for sweet or savory bruschetta, pizza that will haunt your dreams and nutella calzones that are worth every single carb/calorie and gram of sugar!

Nutella Calzone