About a year ago, a friend from my Italian class asked me to meet her at her favorite Italian Café. I had no idea what a hot spot it would be for me…as well as many others. This little gem is located in The Camp in Costa Mesa at the corner of Baker and Bristol…tucked way back in the final corner of this unique mall.
The owners are as charming and Italian as the restaurant. Barbara and Maurizio are from Bologna, Italy and feature the foods of Emilia Romagna.
As you know, I am finicky when it comes to espresso and cappuccino. Their coffee featured is Filicori and it is magnifico. Served in a porcelain cup, the froth is perfection and the crema of the coffee itself divine.
Their piadina sandwiches (closest to describe is like a flat bread which is made fresh on the premises) are delightful. As is the gelato. My favorite dish for dinner is anything with their homemade gnocchi!
It’s a gathering place from morning to night. check out their website for more information.
You won’t be disappointed. To add to the flavor, while sitting a sipping, you will certainly hear people chattering in their native Italian language.
Marla Jo Fisher of the Orange County Register had a great column in the Travel Section on Sunday, May 10,2015 entitled 10 Reasons Not to Take a Package Tour.
Not only do I agree with her. I have some other reasons of my own. I discussed this in my book, “An American Chick’s Guide to Italy.”
However, I want to add a reason you might want to take a tour and use if for a specific purpose. For instance, people traveling alone might want to take a tour and use it for companionship. You need to be aware of the difficulty of the tour and if it’s geared for adventure, leisure, or for first-class service.
I learned, on my ONLY 21 day tour through Europe that many couples use the tour for transportation and hotels and the free breakfasts. But I noticed them disappearing at each stop, never joining us for dinner – where we dined with not only our tour bus – but several others – and did everything on their own. I figured it out about half-way through the trip.
Join the locals, give them your money, and be adventurous. It’s more fun than being herded like cattle to places you really don’t want to see.
A classy tour company is Tauck Tours. It’s high end, first class all the way. However, it is still busy and follows the path of other tour companies, just more elegant.
Where I break away from Marla Jo is the type of travel. I like adventure but am a bit of a princess. So I don’t always look for bargains, but places where I feel quite at home for my hotel and then I venture out. I am firm in the belief that you can always do better on your own, and occasionally hiring a local guide if you want to get a lot of information and history. I highly recommend, for instance, a local private tour of the Vatican and the Vatican Museum…a before hours tour.
Hats off to Marla Jo for a great article.