There are a few mantras I live by:

“There are only two mantras, yum and yuck, mine is yum.”― Tom Robbins, Still Life with Woodpecker (one of the greatest love stories I’ve ever read)

“Work is love made visible. And if you can’t work with love, but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work.” ― Kahlil Gibran

“The tortoise heard his taunting jeer, But still resolved to persevere, You may deride my awkward pace, But slow and steady wins the race.” The Tortoise and the Hare, Aesop

All which can explain my silence around these blog’s parts, not laziness I assure you! I’ve been incredibly busy, more busy than I’ve ever been: testing out eateries (yum) designing a new food tour in Bologna (love) and somehow magically meeting article deadlines (slow and steady wins the race).

If you are looking for the best restaurants in Florence, check out this guide I wrote for Eater, that I tortured myself over, from eating out to hours of writing, but eventually got it done:

http://www.eater.com/maps/best-florence-restaurants

As I approach the 5 year mark in Florence, I’m becoming proud of what I’ve accomplished in a relatively short amount of time. I came with the intention to carve out a career in food & wine and do something productive with my writing. Before making the leap, I gave tours in Seattle and worked a wine sales job in order to save money for my leap to Florence and see if I could make it. Low and behold- here I am 5 years later: doing the work of my dreams in a country I have been determined to make mine for as long as I can remember.

If this is your first time reading my blog, beyond these 5 years in Florence, I spent more before obtaining a degree in Italian Studies (including several study abroad/volunteer periods in Italy from Rome to Puglia), plus an Italian passport- so I came somewhat prepared. I do not advise anyone to just show up as part of some Eat Pray Love idealism.

As far as food, I minored in Geography which I took courses which focused mostly on food politics, intercultural communications and food anthropology topics. I paid many dues in the food industry from bagging groceries to busing tables to bartending to specialty food sales to culinary tours to taking formal food & wine training. I started from scratch, just like the meals I advocate one should eat. I didn’t work as florist and decided one day I was into food or get Italian culture served to me on a silver platter, or arrive on a trust fund.

This may come off as a CV, but I refuse to accept our world has become a frivolous place where we only respond to pretty pictures or have attention span reserved for fluff. I’d like to think there are those of us left out there who read in between the lines.

Before I left- there were a lot of my “friends” who laughed at my dreams to move to Italy, didn’t get why I was studying Italian at University while they took the tracks of Business, Marketing, Medicine, and other useful fields promising lucrative careers. They didn’t take my determination seriously, and worse- they didn’t think I’d succeed.

On the flip-side, there were also many who encouraged me from the start, and a piece of loyalty from my heart will have their name on it for as long as it beats.

We live in a strange world. If your aspiration doesn’t fit into a neatly organized box- try anyways. Don’t listen to anyone who would tell you otherwise, and especially don’t listen to the jeers and judgement from others.

I’m convinced that we only detest what we cannot attain (or understand). Like the Fox and the Grape, and the grapes the fox deemed sour rather than admit defeat, “people who speak disparagingly of things that they cannot attain would do well to apply this story to themselves”

I’ll sign off, as I have gotten off topic. But while this guide is small potatoes to the work my peers do: i.e. write books, raise children and grow families, acquire property, restaurants, master’s degrees, etc- this nevertheless represents a milestone for me.

In your Coral’s Morals,

Curious Appetite

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