Postcard from Zaragoza, Spain: Sampling menus from regional vegetables to Neapolitan-style pizza

Above: Casa Lac roasted pimientos del cristal with hake

We’ll start this post exploring a few restaurants in Zaragoza with a leisurely meal at what some claim is the oldest in Spain – Casa Lac – dating from 1825 but with a decor updated sometime during the 19th-century. While Casa Lac features tapas downstairs, upstairs offers old-school, formal, multi-course service – perfect for whiling away time on a cool, rainy afternoon.

The six-course meal suited our mood, but what really drew us was Casa Lac’s reputation for putting fresh vegetables, instead of meat, in the primary spotlight. Ricardo Gil’s restaurant group grows and harvests seasonal regional vegetables, such as borage and thistle, on its own farm on the banks of the Ebro River. Gil says: “Our dishes are full of tradition, but with lively flashes of innovation. This is how we understand our cuisine; this is how we keep it alive.”

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Postcard from Bordeaux, France: French and other worldly flavors

Above: Grilled fresh sardines at La Pointe Chartrons

We’ve taken you to eat, virtually only, in Bordeaux’s Marche des Capucins and along Rue du Ha, so now we’re going to wander willy-nilly through the city for a final wrap-up of restaurants we sampled.

Located along the Quai des Chartrons, Pastel was among our favorite contemporary French restaurants in Bordeaux. Lunch requires reservations, and, waiting late, we only succeeded in obtaining those once. The soft lemony cheese appetizer with eggplant and tomato confit was particularly refreshing and memorable.

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Postcards from Naples, Italy: Wishing you wind in your sails on all routes*

*Okay, I admit that’s not a literal translation. I just invented one when snapping the photo and stuck with it. In other words, still mine, smooth sailing navigating your way through these troubled times, and take time out from your worries to enjoy virtual travel staycations.

Throwing out some random photographs from our fall trip for a little weekend escape.

Looking over these this morning gave me a hankering for pizza. As Italy is out for now, picking up a Milano pizza from Il Forno proved a flavorful substitute.