Pistachio Pesto Flatbread

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What it is: Pistachio Pesto Flatbread

Where is it: Garces Trading Company, Philadelphia, PA

Price: $10

What’s in it: Thin cracker-y flatbread with pistachio pesto and mozzarella, topped with arugula and (who would have guessed?) horseradish

Why you need it: you can choose between vegetarian pizza dough or dough made with duck fat. The vegetarian dough is perhaps too matzo-like but the toppings are what made this delicious. A hint of zing! from the horseradish sealed the deal.

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D&N Have Exact Change Sandwich

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What it is: D&N Have Exact Change Sandwich

Where is it: Hi Rise Bakery, Cambridge, MA

Price: $10

What’s in it: Avocado, Monterey Jack cheese, roasted tomatoes, arugula, smoked serrano mayo, on sourdough

Why you need it: this is heaven in sandwich form, though frankly any sandwich sounds good at this joint. The smoked serrano mayo is what brings this sandwich together, plus some unbelievable bread.

San Francisco

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I just returned from San Francisco, a city that makes it very easy to gain five pounds from eating delicious foods and then torturously makes you burn it off by walking its steep hills. One such delicious food is Bi-Rite‘s ice cream. But that’s an obvious answer.

A turn off of busy, food-laden Valencia Street will bring you to Esperpento, a cozy tapas place.

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The Gambas Al Ajillo are tasty, full of garlic and white wine. But, surprisingly, my favorite dish was the Asparagus A La Plancha. With just a sprinkle of sea salt and a squirt of lemon juice, this simple dish stole the show.

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Other things I learned on my trip:

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Dining al fresco is the best kind of dining, particularly when wine, cheese, and local blueberries are involved ;

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Earth Balance Coconut and Peanut Spread is dangerously good (and even better when spread on slices of banana);

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The Mill, a new venture formed by Four Barrel Coffee and Josey Baker Bread which was recently mentioned in Food+Wine, is fabulously simple with its thick slices of bread topped with favorite spreads like butter and cinnamon sugar.

If I can say anything at all, I know I ate well while in San Francisco.

Nicaragua

I spent last week in beautiful Nicaragua.

I witnessed mind-blowing sunsets every night,

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ate my weight in rice, beans and the occasional scrambled eggs,

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felt like an ant on the widest beach I have ever seen,

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ate fresh fish tacos,

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took a catamaran trip to an untouched beach, returning to town just as the sun was setting,

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rode a horse through the mountains, ending the trek with a refreshing bottle of Coca-Cola at the ranch,

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saw rugged coastline upon rugged coastline,

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lived the hard life,

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and of course, ate some more tacos.

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Key West

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Following the drive down the Florida Keys, we stayed overnight in Key West at Papa’s Hideaway. I managed to research and book this bed and breakfast less than 24 hours in advance. Most inns have a minimum night stay, or bust the budget for us poor college students, but Papa’s Hideaway was a hidden, and economical, gem. Located just a few blocks from the busy section of Duval St, and within walking distance to the Southernmost Point, the bed and breakfast gave us refuge from the noise without lacking any Key West charm. Breakfast was simple–nothing homemade, simply boxed cereal, bagels, or toast. However, that was all we needed.

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Wandering the city on foot is the best way to view the city, both in terms of people-watching and architecture. Despite eating breakfast at Papa’s Hideaway, we snuck in another meal at the Six Toed Cat Café.

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No Key West trip is complete without a slice of Key Lime Pie:

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On our way back up the Keys, we serendipitously happened upon this:

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We reached Key Largo just in time to catch yet another beautiful sunset:

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Drivin’ the Keys

Please excuse my tardiness in posting. I was driving down the Florida Keys this past week:

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And if you know me well, you know that the first thing I do when traveling is research where to eat.

Cue: Sparky’s Landing, in Key Colony Beach, at US 1 mile marker 53.5.

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The mojitos were fresh, but the conch fritters stole the show:

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Fried shrimp, a fish sandwich, and grilled shrimp salad were also enjoyable, and a fitting welcome to the Florida Keys:

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Of course, before we sat down to eat, we had to make a pitstop at Robbie’s Marina in Islamorada at US1 mile marker 77.5. Whether ecologically-sound or not, feeding tarpon and getting attacked by pelicans was the most entertaining $2 of my life:

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After a long morning of eating, and watching tarpon eat, it was time to take a nap at Bahia Honda State Park. Despite being too windy to snorkel, it provided a great spot to rest in the sun:

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We arrived in Key West just in time for the perfect finale to our day:

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