Venice Birthday Dinner

Catcher
Catcher
Fish Yum!
Fish Yum!
Big Ass Bottle of Grappa
Big Ass Bottle of Grappa

A few years back I celebrated my 33rd birthday in Venice. The Chef was a fisherman who every morning caught what he would later cook for the restaurant. Our meal was stunning...

If you are ever in Venice I highly recommend  Al fontego dei pescatori.  To this day that meal is still the best seafood I have ever eaten. 

Italy Cures All

Instead of going into the long sordid details of how the past 6 months have been the most trying of our professional lives and the people we thought we trusted most ultimately stabbed us in the back,

I won't. 

I'll skip the angst and replace it with some Italian love. After a painful 6 months the Chef & I took the minis to Italy. Turns out Italy is the most relaxing place on Earth, mainly because Italians chose food and drink over working 50 hour weeks. Enjoy. I know we did. 

 

 

Roadside Raw Milk Stand in Switzerland

I'm back. We're back. After a stunning ten days in Europe #teamsawyer is back to business and I'm ready to start sharing our adventure.

First up is something that blew our minds and made our mouth water.

We had planned to take a day trip to St. Moritz as it was only 45 minutes away from our Italian hideaway. St. Moritz sucked a big one but the drive  easily made up for all of it's pompousness & shitty food. As we drove through the winding mountains of Switzerland, we happened upon a self service, roadside raw milk dispenser. At a gas station no less. Check it out:

 

Flying to Italy

We packed our bags and headed to the airport. Next stop Italy!

Delta really went above and beyond on our journey. Every step of the way the people who worked for Delta were kind and over the top attentive to all of our needs. They changed our seats so we could all sit next to each other and even put us in a row that had extra seats so we could spread out. The kids also got to meet the pilots and sit in the cockpit. The pilot forced me to do the same after I told him I was scared of flying. Didn't really calm my nerves but pretty cool nonetheless. Our flight with Delta really gave me hope that airlines still have a chance to be great again. 

After a mighty long day of travel we drove directly to Lake Como to meet up with George Clooney. Unfortunately George wasn't home so we settled for this guy:

Let our italian family vacation commence!!

Stay tuned. I plan on getting my blog (and wine drinking) on. Stories of Italian debauchery to come...

18 days

The Chef & the Mini's on Mother's Day (also the day he flew to Italy)

For the next 18 days I will be a single mom. The Chef will be travelling across the homeland of my grandmother, La Bella Italia, while I wake up every morning at 5 to get the mini's ready for school. He will be dining on the most delicious food in the world, drinking wine every night, and going to sleep amongst fields of olives and grapes while I tend the chickens, mow the lawn, and rear our children.

What. A. Dick.

Trying not to sob on Mother's Day

I kid, I kid. I'm actually crazy excited for his journey. In fact when the opportunity came around he wanted to say no (3 weeks is the longest we've ever been apart), but really, how many chances to go Italy does one person really get? I forced his hand. The first week of his journey starts in Trento, a city in Northern Italy that my dear nonna (grandma) mother was from. Trento located in the Alto Adige valley is a pretty spectacular Italian city that I was lucky enough to live in during my twenties. When the Chef found out he would be headlining a culinary tour of Italy, I suggested that he check out Trento for inspiration for our newest restaurant (coming to University Square this fall). Trento has a pretty cool history because it has changed hands from Austria to Hungary to Italy over the past hundred years and is actually autonomous from Italy. Look it up people. The food, the people, and the culture all take their autonomy very seriously and I thought spending a week there would give the Chef an interesting perspective to Italy. I wrote to an old friend at the emigration office and asked if a stay in Trento would be possible for the Chef. Before I knew it, a spectacular itinerary landed in my inbox. The Chef was well on his way to enjoying a week in Trento that would offer him " a wide range of different experiences to create a relationship with:

  • local Trentino Chefs including Michelin Chef
  • family hotel owners who follow traditional Trentino cooking traditions
  • educational culinary academy to learn modern and traditional Trentino cooking techniques
  • world-known wineries and distillers
  • local products and producers: olive oil, grappa, carne salada, and more"

Sounds great right????

After his week in Trento he will head south for a travelling culinary tour. He will spend 2 weeks eating, cooking, and drinking his way down to the heel of the boot and then will fly back up to meet the kids and I for our first ever NON WORKING vacation. Well kinda sorta non working. The Chef's book deal is signed,  and I am still working on my proposal, so I am sure there may be some book work to do. But other than that, NOTHING, NADA, NONE.  Just family, food, and fun!! The kids are ecstatic for the trip, Miss L can't wait to eat pasta every single day and Catcher can't wait to go to the city without streets. I myself am eager as hell for these next 18 days to pass!

18 days and this is me! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!

Seven & Seven

Seven & Seven. My drink of choice on cruise ships, and the places and time traveled this year. Cuh-razy.

We have been travelling fools.  It all began with the Chef's Food & Wine win and went downhill uphill from there.  We've been to New York City, Miami, Key Largo, Aspen, Napa, Orlando, back to New York City, & Philadelphia, all in less than a year.

All in less than a year.

Holy Shitballs.  Seven Cities in Seven Months.

During our travels we have been very fortunate to stay at some really divine places, eat some amazeballs food, and just be tourists of our land.  I have been meaning to compile a series of blog post highlighting to the best (and worst) aspects of each trip however the travelling has not really allowed me to do so.

Until now.

As of today my butt is not leaving Ohio until February (when I will hopefully be going to the freaking Academy Awards!) so travel blogging HERE I COME.

Starting next week will be a new feature I like to call Widowlogue, it will be a travelogue of our journeys together as a chef family. Some will be informative, some funny, and some foodie friendly. I am also excited to share so many parts of this country that our family has been fortunate enough to see.

Like Pennsylvania.

Not.

Chef's Widow of the World: Aurora

Oh my gosh readers, Aurora is beyond cute.  I think I'm going to have hang out with her on my next trip to San Diego.  She is the raddest!  And her boys...my uterus is screaming!!!  She is also a new blogger so make sure you leave her lotsa love in the comments section. xx

What is your name & what kind of widow are you?

My name is Aurora and I am a chef's widow

Where is your casa & what is your jobby job?

We currently live in San Diego, and I am a full time domestic engineer, with a part time catering job on the side

How long have you been in a relationship with someone in the ‘industry?’

We have just hit our 5 year anniversary!

What is your biggest turnoff or dislike of being a Chef’s/Restaurant Widow?

1. The hours. Back before we had babies, when I was also working as a cook in the city, I absolutely loved the schedule. We were both gone the same amount of time so it wasn't a problem. Now that I'm home though, it's different. 2. Pity. People assume that because he's barely home we are somehow worse off and offer to help him find a different job (wtf) and “help us out”. Beyond annoying.

What is your favorite aspect of being a Chef’s/Restaurant Widow?

People in the industry are very good at taking care of each other. My husband and I love to eat out when we actually get a night together and especially on vacation. People who are into food know that when you come in to eat, you want an experience, not just a meal, and they are happy to give it to you.

Considering your significant other most likely works a million and one hours a week, how do you find time to keep the relationship alive?

My boys and I stay home in the morning so they get to have an hour or so with Daddy a day, and I wait up for him every night. Normally, he's hungry when he comes home so I'll cook him dinner too. We absolutely need that time or else it would be very easy to get lost in the mix.

When you do have time together what is your favorite thing to do (besides the nasty☺)

It's incredibly boring but when we can we like to go to the YMCA together. The man spends a ridiculous amount of time on his feet, so he swims for exercise and I usually lap swim with him. Other than that, lots of family down time!

Do you have any sage words of wisdom for those men or women just starting a new relationship with a Chef or Restaurant manager?

I know it's crazy cheesy but follow your heart and like with any relationship, make sure it's right. If my husband wasn't 100% the one for me, we would've fallen apart a while ago. This schedule is hard and will stress even the best bonds, so unless both people are completely committed, problems will arise. Also, if you're planning on having kids, be prepared to be almost solely responsible for discipline and the day to day child rearing.

Do you cook?

Yes! I cook A LOT, I'm a little crazy. We do all our own breads, yogurt, I'm determined to make homemade cheese and salami, I garden and beg the man daily for chickens. My wet dream is to one day own a farm with a restaurant where The Man and I can do everything ourselves. Raise our own cows, goats, ducks, chickens, get our dairy from our own animals, make our own cheeses, grow all herbs, veggies and fruits, literally EVERYTHING. I don't know how much sense that would make financially etc. but that's my fantasy.

What would your last meal/adult beverage on earth be? Who would you eat it with?

I really like fatty stuff, roasted bone marrow or foie gras would have to be in there somewhere. But the best meal I've had, that I wish I hadn't been pregnant while enjoying, was at Joel Robuchon at the Mansion in Las Vegas. That again, with my husband.

I know that being a mother and being married to a Chef makes me insane, how do you handle balancing your family life with such a demanding work schedule of your partner?

I'm a lucky lady with a very, very supportive partner. We had three babies in 2.5 years, which is insane even for people with normal jobs! My husband is very much a person who was meant to have kids and enjoys every second with them, which helps a lot. If I have a late night staying up with him, he'll wake up and get the kids ready for the day before waking me up. When the babies were tiny he took over the night feedings and on weekends he wakes up and takes them for donuts so I can have a morning to myself. Without these things it would be really, really hard to balance. Being “on” all the time isn't good for anyone and parenting is hard, exhausting, work. We all need a break!!

If you have/had kids would you encourage them to pursue the restaurant industry as a career?

I want my kids to do whatever makes them happy. Although this industry is hard on the body, it is also extremely passionate and exciting, which is more than most can say about their jobs. I grew up with ADD and had a horrible time concentrating in class, studying, etc. When I started cooking, I was the happiest I had ever been at work. I wanted to go every day, I took pride in my work, and I LOVED it. I know the same is true for my husband. I want that, in whatever field, for my kids.

Feel free to share an awesome widow facts about yourself &/or anything you’ve got going on…blog, restaurant events, etc…

I JUST started a blog. Had been thinking about it for what seems like forever and finally took the plunge. Hoping for it to be a bit of everything; cooking, music, fitness, family etc. Check it out www.Aerah.com. I'm also going back to school to become a Registered Dietitian! Crazy!