Where to Eat in Rome: Il Giardino dell’Eden

Light, crispy and delicious Frutti di Mare at Il Giardino dell’Eden

On my last visit to Rome, I stayed at the Hotel Eden, which is one of my all time favorite properties in Italy’s Eternal City. I arrived prior to check in time and my room was not yet ready, so I headed up the the Eden’s rooftop bar and restaurant, Il Giardino dell’Eden for lunch.

The gorgeous view from the Giardino dell’Eden

I ordered the calamari, which I thought was steeply priced at €30. After tasting it, I decided it was worth every euro cent. The portion was large enough to share, and the calamari was so lightly crispy and delicious, especially when squeezed with fresh lemon. It was a hot summer day in Rome, so I also ordered an Aperol Spritz, my favorite Italian cocktail.

Aperol Spritz at Giardino dell’Eden

I can also recommend he zucchini blossoms stuffed with ricotta and taleggio cheese (€20). Both the spaghetti cacio e pepe (€18) and the mezzi rigatoni all’amatriciana (€20) are excellent if you’re in the mood for one of the famous pastas Rome is known for.

The menu at Il Giardino dell’Eden

Il Giardino is not cheap, but the spectacular view, great service, and delicious food make it well worth the price of admission.

NOTE: I’ve written about this restaurant before because I consider it one of the Great Rooftop Bars of Rome.

Il Giardino dell’Eden

Hotel Eden Rome
Via Ludovisi 49, Rome 00187, Italy
Telephone: +39 0647812761
Lunch 12:00 pm- 3:00 pm
Dinner  7:30 pm -11:00 pm

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Cinespia Presents Purple Rain (30th Anniversary Screening) at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Dearly beloved we have gathered here to get through this thing called life…

Prince’s iconic 80s flick turns 30 year this year. To celebrate, Cinespia is holding an outdoor screening of the film at LA’s coolest cemetery, Hollywood Forever, on Saturday, September 6th. DJ Questlove will be spinning before and after the film. Tickets are $14 for general admission and available here.

Purple Rain will be showing on Saturday, September 6th at 8 pm

Cinespia screenings are always a good time. If you’re going with a group of friends, or have a lot of picnic gear, I highly recommend getting the $15 on-site parking ticket as well for convenience.

Vintage hearse at Hollywood Forever

Doors open at 6:15 pm for the 8:00 screening. If you’re picky about where you sit, be sure to get there early– this screening and all it’s 80s goodness– is going to fill up.

6000 Santa Monica Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90038


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Griffith Park Now Offers Shuttle Service to Hollywood Sign Viewpoint

The Hollywood Sign

The Hollywood Sign is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Los Angeles. Now the Department of Recreation and Parks have made it a little bit easier to get a clear shot of the Hollywood Sign by offering a shuttle service on weekends (and selected holidays) from Griffith Park to a viewpoint of the Hollywood Sign and then on to the Observatory.

Hiking trails overlooking Griffith Observatory

The shuttle costs $10 for adults and tickets must be purchased online here so be sure to book before you go. You’ll also want to pack your zoom lens, as the viewing point offers a clear view, but there is still quite a bit of distance between the shuttle’s viewpoint on Mt. Hollywood Drive and the sign itself.

View of Downtown Los Angeles from Griffith Observatory

The shuttle service also stops at the trailhead for a hiking trail that will get you even closer to the Hollywood Sign, approximately an hour and 15 minute hike to the closest viewpoint you can reach by foot. After 20 minutes at the viewpoint, the shuttle continues on to the Griffith Observatory where you all get killer views of downtown Los Angeles (especially on a clear day).

Early morning view of downtown Los Angeles as seen from Griffith Park Observatory

The shuttle service to the Hollywood Sign viewpoint is expected to run through the end of 2014.

Griffith Observatory Shuttle Service info can be found here.

Griffith Observatory
2800 East Observatory Road
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(213) 473-0800

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Photo & Video Essay: A Visit to the Olympic Game Farm in Sequim, WA

Minty fresh yak breath!

I recently found myself on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula with a few hours to kill. While driving around I saw signs for the Olympic Game Farm. My first thought was “that sounds like a great location to film a low budget horror movie.” But curiosity got the best of me and the next thing I knew I was taking the driving tour and hand feeding yaks whole wheat bread.

The Olympic Game Farm

The Olympic Game Farm is home of the waving bears that appear in Carrie Underwood’s See You video. For 28 years The Olympic Game Farm worked exclusively for Walt Disney Studios, providing the animal actors for old school nature projects like The Incredible Journey and Grizzly Adams.

Bison at the Olympic Game Farm

Elk Encounter at the Olympic Game Farm

Hungry fawn at Olympic Game Farm

You can buy whole wheat bread for $2 a loaf at the Olympic game farm to feed the animals “except the predators”… um, duh. I bought two loaves. I easily could have used four more.

Llama giving me attitude at the Olympic Game Farm

The yaks were very friendly and they had surprisingly fresh breath. 

Grizzly bear drive by

Left: Seagull and bear Right: Naptime for bears

Fallow deer chilling out

Bison action

Gorgeous elk & beautiful views at Olympic Game Farm

Seagull flying away at Olympic Game Farm


Olympic Game Farm
1423 Ward Road, Sequim, WA 98382
Phone: 360-683-4295
Toll-free: 1-800-778-4295

Driving Tour Hours Currently:

Sunday-Friday 9 A.M. to 5 P.M.
Saturdays: 9 A.M. to 6 P.M.

(open every day except Thanksgiving & Christmas)

Driving Tour
Adults 15+ – $12.00
Kids 6-14 – $11.00
Seniors 55+ – $11.00

Walk Tour (in additions to Driving Tour)
Adults – $3.00
Kids & Seniors – $2.00
Walk Only (no drive included) – $5.00 flat rate per person

Ages 5 and under- FREE for all tours

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A Stay at the Belmond Villa San Michele in Florence, Italy

Gorgeous views of Florence from the Villa San Michele

There are a lot of luxury hotels to pick from in Florence, but there is only one in Fiesole hills in a converted 15th century former monastery that has a facade attributed to Michaelangelo– The Belmond Villa San Michele.

An alter from Villa San Michele’s former life as a monastery in reception

My husband and I chose the property from among LHW’s excellent edit of Italian properties. I love repurposed buildings and the Villa San Michele has managed to keep much of the Renaissance charm of the monastery intact while providing all the expected perks, luxuries, and excellent service that are expected from a Belmond property (note: The Belmond Brand was formerly known as Orient-Express).

Interior hallway at Villa San Michele

With gorgeous terraced gardens, a pool, a fabulous restaurant, a fitness center and a kids club on site, you don’t have to leave Villa San Michele to have a great time. But the staff wants you to get the best out of your time in Florence so the hotel offers a complementary shuttle for the 15 minute ride to the city center.

A simple and elegant room at Villa San Michele

The 21 guest rooms and 25 suites are classically elegant and surprisingly spacious considering some of them used to be monks cells. The bathrooms are modern and stocked with Bulgari amenities.

Marble drenched master bath at Villa San Michele

A bowl of fruit and bottle of Champagne were our welcome amenities. There was also a card from General Manager, Aaron Kaupp, inviting us to a wine reception on the lawn. When the General Manager goes out their way to meet with guests, you know that the service is top notch.

I’m guessing the monks didn’t eat this well

The breakfast spread is impressive, with an amazing selection of baked goods, meats, cheeses, and fruits in addition to cooked items. Eating delicious pizza for breakfast on the covered terrace overlooking Florence was especially delightful.

The baked goods on the breakfast buffett

The hotel’s concierge, Maurizio, the concierge was so great, we had him make our dinner reservations for our entire stay in Florence. He also set us up on a crazy good wine tasting tour of the nearby Chianti region.

Buffalo mozzarella, tomatos and pizza in the atmospheric La Loggia restaurant

Eggs Benedict and breakfast delights

Lobster pasta for lunch at Villa San Michele

Such a pretty dining experience

The covered terrace of the hotel’s La Loggia restaurant

Villa San Michele’s Gorgeous green lawn and terraced gardens

Stunning views overlooking Florence at Villa San Michele

A dreamlike archway at Villa San Michele

You can check out special offers (including stay two nights, get your third night free LHW offers for Villa San Michele here.

Belmond Villa San Michele

Via Doccia 4, 50014 Fiesole, Florence, Italy

Tel: +39 055 5678 200

Email: reservations.vsm@belmond.com

Reservations: + 39 0185 2678 803

Rates start at $711.39 (534.00 EUR) for Classic Double Room (with complimentary American Breakfast)

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