La Dolce Vita

Been craving some of that dolce vita lately.

Since I just got a new fabulous job, my travel plans have been restricted to long weekends for the next few months. I’m not complaining about it, I figured it’s actually the perfect time for me to do more exploring in the US . I feel like I’ve stopped doing that and was too focused on intercontinental travel the past couple of years. I’ve also flown to NYC at least four times the past year, to visit my family in Connecticut.

Last month’s trip was short but I was still able to quench my moody cravings. This time, my mood wanted to be transported back to Italy. I think because I spent a lot of time that week with my new Italian intern who is going back to Firenze, my favorite Italian city, to study Renaissance art. My favorite kind of art. And then I started to remember that unforgettable carbonara I had in Firenze and all the gelato I had during my time in Italy a few years ago.

Insert forlorn sigh.

That’s how my moody cravings work.

Next thing you know, I was dragging my best friend to Little Italy in New York  for a quick lunch stop before flying back to Chicago. It actually all worked out in conjunction with my ‘revisiting places that I haven’t been in a long time’. Just walking down Mulberry Street gave me all the Italian feels.

I go to Little Italy whenever I want Italian food. It’s exactly like going to Chinatown when I crave dim sum or  Koreatown when I want some gogi. That’s the best thing about gastronomic cities such as New York, it’s like having the world in your neighborhood.

I took my sweet time savoring all the things Little Italy has to offer. By that, I mean the food. The pasta, the gelato, the cannoli, the vino. Did I mention the gelato?

I didn’t exactly have a plan on where to go or how to spend my time in Little Italy. I knew I wanted to eat and take my dolce time in doing it. And that’s what I did. My friend and I even picked the first busy and most Italian looking restaurant we saw – Da Gennaro’s. The best thing about European dining is that no one rushes you out of your table. We all know how it is dining in America. You receive your bill even before you finish eating! No one kicked us out of our table in Little Italy, so that’s good. I like taking my time when I eat. I have a European state of mind, ok?

I know the comparison is not even close, but for one tiny moment I was back in Tuscany sipping wine. And my wanderlusty self was happy.



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Jen is a Chicago-based traveler and a full-time Director of Development for an arts & culture organization. Originally from Connecticut, she created JetsettingJen as a place to share her travel stories and photos with friends and family. Now, it is a place for adventurers, explorers and dreamers. Its purpose is to inspire and encourage people to see the world and achieve a better work-life balance.