Sunday, January 30, 2011

Date Night at Bleu Boheme

For date night this past Friday we decided to share our time with friends - a double date with another couple who we met while we lived in Sicily.  We had a great time reconnecting and eating fantastic food at a restaurant that has become one of my favorites - Bleu Boheme.

My friend and I stumbled across this charming little French restaurant last week and stopped in for lunch.  We were blown away by the fantastic food and decided we had to take our hubbies back.  We lucked out on Friday night to find out that the restaurant was doing "part deux" of Restaurant Week so there was pre-fixe menu where for $30 we got an hors d'oeuvre, entree, and dessert!

The Basil Martini - sounds strange, but it is fantastic!

 For my hors d'oeuvre I choose the mussels - local and very fresh!

During dinner we sipped the Noble Merlot

For my entree I chose the Steak Frites

An after dinner caffe

And, of course, chocolate mousse for dessert!

Our meal was spectacular! To top it off the chef/owner, Ken Irvine, even came out to say hello and make sure we enjoyed our meal.  I will definitely be going back again (and again).  If you'd like to visit Bleu Boheme you can find them at:

Bleu Boheme
4090 Adams Avenue
San Diego, CA 092116

Oh, and if you decide to go on the weekend I'd recommend a reservation.  We were fortunate to get a table outside on Friday evening. They were booked indoors.  Luckily they had heaters on the patio, but if that isn't up your alley then you'll want a reservation.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sunset Point Picnic

Sunset Point on Mission Bay

This was the view from my dinner table last night.  Not bad, eh? :) Hubs took me on a picnic for date night and we had a great time!

Friday, January 14, 2011

The hunt is on!

Ever since my visit to Napoli I've been obsessed with Margherita Pizza. Not just a plain ol' cheese pizza, but one with delightfully simple sauce, scrumptious crust, and mozzarella di buffala. A few leaves of fresh basil don't hurt, either. Pizza in Sicily was always delicious, but the pizza in Naples blew my mind!

Now that we are back in the States good pizza, or rather good Italian pizza, is hard to come by.  I decided to make it my personal goal to find the best Italian pizza in San Diego, and started today with Pizzeria Bruno - highly recommended by my hair stylist.

Yummies @ Pizzeria Bruno

In Italy pizza is probably the most economical meal you can buy.  I don't think I ever paid more than 10 euro for a pizza and that was in the city center of Rome where everything is overpriced.  In Sicily pizza usually cost us around 6 euro per pie, and in Naples the best Margherita pizza I had cost me a whopping 3 euro!  I was in for another dose of culture shock when I looked at the menu in Pizzeria Bruno - a Margherita pizza with mozzarella di buffala cost $17!!  I guess I shouldn't have been suprised - mozzarella di buffala is expensive here, but wow...

Anyhow, enough about the prices, because it was totally worth it!  My pizza was outstanding!  The sauce, made with San Marzano tomatoes was perfectly simple and delicious, the crust had just the right combination crisp and soft that can only come from a wood oven, and the mozzarella was to die for!  Pizzeria Bruno is definitely a repeat!

After pizza I had to try a cannolo.  I had high hopes after my fantastic pizza. Unfortunately, it wasn't quite what I expected. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't authentic either. On one end of the cannolo there were chocolate chips, the other pistachios - salted pistachios.  Strange.  The ricotta tasted more like lightly sweetened whipped cream, but it did have the texture of ricotta, except more fluffy. It wasn't the dense, sweet treat that I became accustomed to in Sicily. Still, it was tasty - just not as expected.

Overall Pizzeria Bruno exceeded my expectations.  I went hoping for a Napoletano style Pizza Margharita and that is exactly what I found. It isn't Naples, but Pizzeria Bruno will keep me satisfied until I can visit Italy again.

Visit Pizzeria Bruno at:
4207 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92103
 Buon appetito!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

San Luis Obispo Art Museum - Art About Town

I've been a participant in the San Luis Obispo Art Museum's Art About Town program for nearly a year.  Every four months the artwork of participating artists rotates through local businesses.  I was honored to be asked to participate and blessed to have a mom who was willing to manage my artwork while I was overseas.  Now that I'm back and getting into the swing of things I decided to come up to SLO for a few days and start managing my own artwork (with mom's help).

For the past four months my photography has been on display at Creekside Brewing Company in downtown San Luis Obispo. This week is transition week - today I took my photos down at Creekside Brewing and tomorrow they go up in City Hall!!  My photos will be on display near the City Attorney's office for four months if you feel like stopping by to see them.

My photography on the walls of Creekside Brewing Company
 Support businesses that support local artists! Visit Creekside Brewing Company at:
1040 Broad Street
San Luis Obispo, CA
(805) 542-9804

Monday, January 10, 2011

Balboa Park, HDR at night

As promised here are a couple of my HDR shots from Balboa Park the other night.

Botanical Building and Lily Pond

Spreckels Organ Pavilion

I had so much fun setting up my tripod, playing with my camera settings, and capturing moments that would be impossible without a tripod.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

A Winter Night in Balboa Park

One of my favorite places in San Diego is Balboa Park.  I had intended to go walk & shoot earlier in the day but time got away from me so Les & I set out at dusk, tripod in hand to see what we could come up with.  I took a lot of photos and had a great time!  Several are bracketed shots for HDR that will require some time in post processing, but for now I wanted to share at least one photo with you.

Balboa Park @ Night

I hope you like it!  More photos, coming soon!

Friday, January 07, 2011

World Nutella Day - February 5, 2011

World Nutella Day is almost here!!  Mark your calendars for February 5, 2011! Are you going to participate? I know I am!  Check out the World Nutella Day website for details on how to participate.

To get you started, I found a recipe on the web that I'm going to have to try: Nutella Cookies by Culinary Concoctions by Peabody.  If you make these let me know how they are.  I need to add Nutella to my grocery list and then I'll be able to let you know if they are any good (uh, yeah, how could they not be!?).


I'm not sure the exact wording of the saying, but it goes something like "the only thing that is certain is change".

Whether or not I like it or am ready things have changed.  This blog, formerly titled California to Sicily followed my adventures while I lived overseas.  Now that I'm back in the States that title doesn't seem quite appropriate anymore.  So, for now I've updated my blog title to California to Sicily (and back) complete with a new blog header! The URL will stay the same (

Eventually this blog will have a brand new title, something probably related to photography and travel (go figure...).  Until then, bear with me while I figure a few things out.  Angela Andrieux Photography isn't going anywhere, the venue has just changed and the next chapter is here, ready or not.  Stay tuned...

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Culture Shock

An afternoon caffe - Italian Lavazza coffee in my espresso cup from Caltagirone

Moving back to the States after four years in Sicily has taken a bit of adjustment.  Culture shock was to be expected, but the thing about culture shock is that if you know it is coming it isn't terribly shocking.  So, needless to say the differences in culture that caught my attention were completely unexpected.

Overwhelmed by options
The first difference - one not so shocking - is the number of ways Americans have to part with their hard-earned cash.  The number of stores and restaurants blow my mind, not to mention walking into a store like World Market or Petsmart and being completely overwhelmed.  Sure, in Sicily we had Auchan and other supermercati but nothing like these massive stores dedicated to a narrow purpose such as housewares or pets.

The Pasta Aisle
My first trip to an American grocery store after moving home was to pick up a few things for dinner.  I was making a quick pasta dish and needed some pasta.  In Italian grocery stores entire aisles are dedicated to pasta and I spent several minutes going from one end of Vons to the other looking for the pasta aisle.  Certainly I didn't expect an an entire aisle to be dedicated to pasta, but surely it would be a rather large, obvious section, right? Wrong!  It was just a tiny section of one aisle.  No wonder I had a hard time finding it!

Everyone (well, mostly) speaks English!
While living in Sicily I had the comfort of knowing that while out in public I could speak English to my husband or friends and know that most people around me didn't have a clue what I was saying.  Needless to say the filter between my brain and mouth became a bit disused. I could blurt out random observations, some of which should have probably gone unsaid, or at least said in a whisper.  Now that I'm back in the States I've had to remind myself more than once that people around me understand what I'm saying!  Yep, I'm having to dust off that filter and be careful what I'm saying out in public or else I'm likely to embarrass myself or offend someone else.

Ordering a cappuccino
In Italy cappuccini are exclusively ordered in the morning.  If you order one after noon (some say even 10AM) it is obvious you are a foreigner, most likely a tourist.  In an attempt to try and fit in I rarely, if ever, ordered a cappuccino in the afternoon.  However, since I've been back I've truly enjoyed the fact that I can order a cappuccino any time of the day without anyone caring.  It is really rather nice!

No riposo?
Speaking of doing things in the afternoon - being in a land without riposo is awesome!  I can actually run errands and get things done in the afternoon!  What a concept.  In Italy, and especially in Sicily most everything shuts down between noon and 4pm.  It is also common that many shops and restaurants will be closed Sunday and/or Monday and/or Tuesday. Getting anything done in a timely manner was usually a joke, so it is certainly a welcome relief to be back in a country where most things are taken care of in a timely manner.

A simple hello
One thing about Italy that I truly miss is the simple greeting - when you pass someone on the street, enter a shop, etc. it is customary to greet people with "salve" (a formal hello), "buon giorno" (good day) or "buona serra" (good evening).  In the States people often avert their eyes when passing and I've discovered that I really don't like that. It feels so cold and impersonal even just walking though the grocery store. If you say hello or even just smile at people they don't know how to react.  Often after the initial surprise you get a smile and hello in return, but it just isn't expected in Southern California culture. I'll be doing my part to change that, even if it does surprise people!

These are just a few of the observations I've made over the past month during our transition.  Moving back to the States has been bittersweet.  I'm glad to be back in the land of convenience, but I miss Sicily, it was my home for four years and is now part of who I am and always will be.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Happy New Year!

Is it 2011 already? Where did December go? My apologies for the lack of posts in December - moving and the holidays got the better of me, not to mention my only internet connection being my iPhone or the rare trip with my laptop to Starbucks.  Not that trips to Starbucks were rare, I just rarely had time to take my laptop and sit awhile.

We are finally starting to get settled into our new place in the Normal Heights neighborhood of San Diego.  We found a cute little cottage to rent and have been busy putting in our personal touches.  Once we are finished I'll take a few photos to share.  Still too much clutter for that at the moment.

We also enjoyed a fantastic Christmas with family and a New Year's Eve with friends and much laughter.  We've had a blast reconnecting with family and friends - many of whom we hadn't seen in four years!

Transitioning back to Stateside life has had its challenges, to be sure.  I don't think I was prepared for the culture shock.  I knew it would be there, but it keeps sneaking up on me when I least expect it!  I have many observations to share, but I'll save those for a post of their own.

For now I need to get back to a few things around the house.  I'll leave you with a photo that I took before Christmas at my Grandmother's house.  I had the best intentions of blogging it sooner, but well...   :)