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One of the most exciting parts of travel is immersing yourself in the local culture.  And, one of the best ways to do that is with food. Whether you are thinking about your bucket list trip or want to reminisce about a trip you’ve already taken, preparing that local flavor at home can really hit the spot.  Here in Italy, this is classic Italian street food – la piadina!

Many of you ask which products I use and recommend. This post contains some of my affiliate links for “making every day the best day” while cooking, entertaining and living life.

Sugar, Spice and Everything in Between

Do you like sweet, spicy or salty? Whatever your go-to crave is, a piadina has got it covered……literally!  A piadina is a thin, rustic Italian flatbread sandwich, made of some of the most basic ingredients, which you likely always have on hand.  Originating from the Emilia Romagna region, “la piadina” is  one of the traditional regional foods in this area of northern Italy, world famous for its food and wine. I’ve spent a great deal of time in this region’s capital, Bologna. It’s where my husband grew up and where my mother-in-law and I have spent countless hours going through old family recipes.

rolling out dough for a piadina
Rolling out dough for the classic Italian street food: la piadina

Any time you visit Italy

Nowadays, any time you visit Italy, and in whichever of the 20 regions of Italy you may find yourself, you’ll find the piadina.  Venice is in Veneto, the region just north of Emilia Romagna.  When you walk into gam gam goodies, our kosher bakery/pizzeria a few doors down from GAM GAM Kosher Restaurant, you’ll often hear someone ordering a piadina. Read on to find out what what you eat in a piadina! Similar to a wrap or tortilla, you can fill a piadina with whatever suits your tastes.  Here are three of my favorite piadina fillings:

Piadina Pizza

Making a Piadina Pizza is super easy.  Choose your favorite sauce and cheese.  Then, spread them on a baked piadina.  Add seasonings like fresh basil and oregano, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Heat this open-faced piadina in an oven or in a pan on the stove top until the cheese is melted. 

Piadina with Chocolate and Fresh Strawberries 

Whether you choose white chocolate, milk chocolate or dark chocolate, you can’t go wrong.  You can use a ready make creamy chocolate spread or make your own. My Best Ever Chocolate Mousse is perfect for this.  You can get that recipe here: https://rebbetzinunplugged.com/best-ever-chocolate-mousse/

Using a large spoon or spatula, spread a generous portion of chocolate on a piadina. Then add fresh cut strawberries on top. Like the piadina pizza, this can be eaten open-faced, or folded in half.  Feel free to add a mix of fruits, such as peaches, forest berries, pear or whichever are the seasonal fruits in your area. 

Veggie Piadina

If you want to step up your vegetable intake, the Veggie Piadina is a delicious way!  Choose a good quality extra virgin olive oil.  Then, in a sauté pan, cook your favorite combination of vegetables, such as red & yellow pepper strips, zucchini, Roma tomato halves, mushrooms, onions, carrot ribbons or eggplant.

Load your veggies in a horizontal line on the piadina, add seasonings and extra virgin olive oil to your liking.  To create a barrier to prevent the vegetables from falling out, fold in the left and right sides of the piadina just a bit.  Then, from the side closest to you, begin to fold the piadina  over the vegetables.  Halfway, tighten the roll if necessary.  Continue rolling until the piadina is completely closed.

Here’s my four ingredient recipe for homemade piadina.  https://rebbetzinunplugged.com/4-ingredient-recipe-for-homemade-flour-tortilla-wraps-in-just-30-minutes/

Tip: If you are packing this in a lunchbox or to take on a trip, wrap a napkin around the piadina first, then wrap well with aluminum foil or plastic wrap.  This will prevent the piadina from getting soggy.

The Italian region of Emilia Romagna is famous for agriculture, cuisine, wine and Italian street food, like the piadina.

Are you ready for some Italian Street Food? Which of your favorite fillings would you put in a piadina? I can’t wait to read your comments below!

🎬 You will love these Bisse Italian Cookies. Watch the Cook & Connect with the Rebbetzin Unplugged to find out how fun they are to make.

Join celebrity chefs and thousands of online viewers who watched from around the world, as they enjoyed an evening of connection, cooking and creativity as part of The Shabbat Project.

This special event was geared toward teenagers and featured a special message from Chopped champion, Rachel Goldzal.

These Italian biscotti are likely the most well known of the typical desserts of the Jewish Ghetto of Venice. These are one of my family’s favorite cookies…..crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.

Their “S” shape makes them perfect for dipping in a glass of cold milk or your favorite hot drink.

They are as easy to make as they are delicious.  

One of the best things about these Bisse Italian cookies is that they are made from ingredients which you most likely always have in your kitchen and pantry anyway.

bright cheery kitchen envato

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They are inexpensive and the dough can be made ahead, as it stores very well in the refrigerator for a few days in a tight sealed or well-wrapped container. These cookies do not last long in my house. In fact, I usually have to make a double batch.

Try out this recipe and your friends and family will think you are a biscotti pro!

Bisse Italian Cookies

4.95 from 18 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 19 minutes
Total Time 29 minutes
Servings 19 Cookies
Calories 181
These are the perfect Bisse cookie – crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside

Ingredients

  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 3 1/3 Cups Flour
  • Pinch of Salt

Instructions 

Prepare the Batter

  • Beat the eggs and sugar together until creamy
  • Next, add in the olive oil and the zest of one lemon.
  • The zest is the yellow. You want to avoid getting any of the pith, the white, in there. It’s bitter. We only want that delicious, fragrant yellow zest.
  • The easiest way to do this is with a mandoline.
  • Next, add a pinch of salt
  • Finally, add the 3 1/3 cups of flour in two parts.
  • This makes it easier to fold in the flour and ensures that we don’t have any lumps. Check down at the bottom to make sure all the flour has been incorporated.
  • Once mixed, you can put the dough in the fridge for about 1/2 hour to get a more workable consistency, but if you don’t have time, it's not necessary.

Shaping the Cookies

  • Now, flour your cooking paper and your fingers with a little bit of flour. And take a large spoonful of the cookie dough and roll it out like a stick, around 8 or 9 inches long (20-23 cm). I like to use the length of my hand as a guide to make uniform sized cookies, with the stick of dough extending a bit past my wrist and the tip of my middle finger.
  • You want to work the dough the least possible, because an overworked cookie dough leads to a tough cookie.
  • Now, I’ll tell you a trick to get a perfect "S" shape.
  • What you want to do is pick up the stick from each end and as you transfer the dough on to your baking sheet, and just before you put it down on the baking sheet, form the "S". Once down, you can adjust the shape a bit if necessary.
  • Try to get 2 rows of four cookies on the baking sheet.
  • In between batches, stick the dough in the fridge to keep it at a good consistency to work with.
  • Bake the cookies for 5 minutes at 425F. (202C)
  • Then lower the heat to 350F for around 14 minutes. (175C)
  • Cookies continue to bake if left on a hot baking sheet, so as soon as they come out of the oven, you want to carefully slide the baking paper onto a cooling rack.
  • Place a new sheet of baking paper on the baking sheet and continue shaping and baking the cookies.
Calories: 181kcal
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: biscotti, bisse, Italian desserts, Jewish Ghetto, kosher, Venice Italy

Nutrition

Calories: 181kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 26mg | Sodium: 11mg | Potassium: 33mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 38IU | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 1mg

If you love these Bisse Italian Cookies and Italian cooking in general, then you’ll love my gnocchi recipe. Let me know in the comments what other Italian recipes you’d like to see on RebbetzinUnplugged.com

“How do you make the perfect Italian coffee at home,” you wonder? Well, I’ll tell you!  As you may already know, I am passionate about coffee. When I go to sleep at night, I am already excited to wake up and have my morning coffee. Anyone else?  There are several ways and types of coffee that I enjoy, but there is a wonderful way to make coffee that is a deep part of Italian culture, and that is the Moka.  Not to be confused with mocha, the combination of chocolate and coffee flavors, but moka, with a “K.”

Many of you ask which products I use and recommend. This post contains some of my affiliate links for “making every day the best day” while cooking, entertaining and living life.  If you buy something through one of these links, you won’t pay a penny more, but I’ll get a small commission which helps keep the lights on. Thanks!

To make this coffee and bring some of this Italian coffee culture into your home, you must begin with a moka pot.  Interestingly, the word “Moka” actually comes from a port city in Yemen, where coffee was exported.

Delicious Coffee to Start the Day

There’s nothing like a cup of hot coffee in the morning.  Just the mere thought of the smell, the taste, can make you jump out of bed.  A pot of good coffee is a way to bring everyone together.  Sitting over hot coffee with a friend is one of my favorite things to do.  And, there are so many ways and types of coffee, but today I’m going to tell you all about preparing and drinking a moka.  

Coffee the Italian Way

Torrefazione Cannaregio – My favorite coffee shop!

Fortunately, not far from where I live, there is one of my most favorite places in all of Venice. It is a coffee house called Torrefazione Cannaregio.  Torrefazione refers to a coffee bean roaster. It was started in 1930, and was located on the main street, Strada Nuova.  It was a unique place. The door opened and you were hit with the most incredible aroma of coffee.  The floor was lined with enormous sacks of coffee beans and you could even get a glimpse of an enormous round coffee roaster in the back.  It was always packed, but the line moved fast. Some would take their coffee “da portare via” (to go) and others would drink at the counter, as there was only bar service.

It’s since changed ownership and now it is located right near the Jewish Ghetto, on the Fondamenta Ormesini.  Combining the look of a quaint coffee house with the beautiful glass containers of coffee lining the walls, you can sit inside and look out at the Venetian canal and watch gondolas go by. Although you may hear many languages from around the world at one of their canal-side tables, if you stand and drink right at the bar, you can often hear Venetian, the unique Italian dialect of the lagoon city. 

Know Your Coffee

The staff is well-versed in every type of coffee they sell and how exactly to make it.  Each coffee bean produces a different taste, and the staff is kind and patient to explain the details.  Some coffee beans are more fruity, while others are more earthy. At Torrefazione Cannaregio, they will even blend coffee for you with your choice of ingredients such as anise, black pepper, cinnamon and more. In Italy, people genuinely savor and enjoy the flavor of the coffee.  A typical Italian breakfast is a coffee and a “cornetto,” a croissant, either plain, dusted with powered sugar or chocolate-filled. 

The Moka Coffee Grind

Perfect Moka Italian Coffee Grind

If you will be buying coffee beans to be ground on the premises, you will be asked whether you would like them ground for espresso or moka.  The grind for a moka machine is a bit more course than that of an espresso machine. Once you have your perfect grind and blend, you are (almost) all set.  

An Italian Coffee Classic

With these easy steps, I will share with you how you can make the perfect moka Italian coffee at home, just like the Italians do. I That’s a coffee with a smooth, rich taste, and not bitter. But first, you must have a moka machine.  My preference is a Bialetti, which is the most well-known brand.  With a Bialetti, you know what are getting.  It is a high-quality coffee maker, named after it’s inventor, Alfonso Bialetti.  The story goes that in the early part of the 20th century, Mr. Bialetti had a workshop where he produced aluminum products.  In the 30’s, he designed what would become the iconic moka pot, which has enhanced the way people drink coffee around the world.

Moka machines comes in a range of sizes.  At home, I have a six cup moka, which is a perfect size for just us or for when we are having some company. If that’s too big for you, you can get a small moka that makes two cups.  I’ve seen a much larger 18 cup moka, as well. And now, on to the actual brewing process.

                                                              

How to Make a Moka Coffee

Making a moka is actually very easy.  Familiarize yourself with the parts of the stove-top machine.  The base get filled with water.  The little filter cup gets the coffee.  On the underside of the top of the moka machine, you will see two parts: a little filter and a rubber ring holding it in place.  It’s all quite basic.  But there are some tricks of the trade that will make your moka coffee taste just perfect.

Step 1

Put some water up to boil, because starting with boiling water is one of the keys to making a delicious moka.  By beginning with water that is already hot, the coffee in the moka machine won’t be exposed to the direct heat of the flame any longer than necessary. This will eliminate that bitter taste that’s commonly associated with coffee that is prepared incorrectly in a moka.  

Step 2

Next, take a look inside the bottom container.  You will see a little valve.  That’s where you fill your boiled water to. Keep in mind that once you fill the base of the machine with the boiling water, it will be hot.  So, work with a dish towel when you need to pick it up. You can also preheat the coffee cups you’ll be using with some of the remaining boiled water.

Step 3

Now it’s time to fill the filter cup with coffee.  Fill it to the top of the cup, without pressing the coffee down. You can give it a gentle swipe to even it out, but it shouldn’t be packed.  Insert the cup into the water-filled base.

Step 4

Next, take your dish towel to hold the base still while you place the top of the moka machine on and carefully twist it closed.  And now, you are just a few minutes from having some of the most delicious coffee you will ever taste.

Step 5

Place the moka machine on the stove and turn the flame on to medium-low heat.  Regardless of the size of your moka pot, be sure that the stove flame does not extend outward and up the sides of the moka pot.  Soon, the coffee magic will begin. You’ll start to hear the coffee boil upward through the internal mechanism into the top container.  It’s doesn’t take long, so keep an eye on it. 

Your kitchen will smell so delicious.  All the coffee lovers in the house will come running.  Carefully pour, serve, sip and enjoy.  I always say that coffee is like a vacation in a cup.  And a moka is like when you get an upgrade. To make it even better, you can pair it with these delicious Bisse Italian Biscotti.

A Virtual Shopping Experience in Venice

When you do come and visit Venice, you can buy a bag of beans to take home for yourself or to give as a gift.  What an amazing souvenir for a coffee lover.  But, why wait! This is one of the places I love to take people on my virtual personal shopping tours. Would you like me to pick some up for you? Let me know! You can set up a virtual personal shopping experience in Venice with me, from the comfort of you own home.  For more info, email me at RebbetzinUnplugged@gmail.com

What’s your favorite flavor or type of coffee? Let me know in the comments. I’m so excited to hear from you!

Just wait until you try this 3-ingredient olive dip.  Isn’t it amazing how sometimes it’s the easiest things to do, that are the most impressionable.  I have found this all across the board: in business, guest service, family fun and even (and maybe especially) in cooking. After decades running GAM GAM Kosher Restaurant, we’ve hosted hundreds of thousands of guests. Some of the easiest dishes have become the favorites that people can’t seem to get enough of.  This easy olive appetizer is one such recipe. 

Many of you ask which products I use and recommend. This post contains some of my affiliate links for “making every day the best day” while cooking, entertaining and living life.  If you buy something through one of these links, you won’t pay a penny more, but I’ll get a small commission which helps keep the lights on. Thanks! 

Olive Dip is Perfect for Shabbat or Weekdays

Those who have been around our Shabbat table know that I love salads and always make many of them.  Guests come from all over the world and I want to make sure there is something to suit everyone’s taste.  I’m careful to switch it up a bit. I make some different salads for Shabbat lunch, that weren’t served during Friday night dinner.  Some standards, like humus, are served for both meals due to popular request. And they are amongst the most simple to prepare. You can check out my humus recipe here. Another uncomplicated salad is coleslaw.  It’s a real crowd pleaser.

But there is one salad that is amongst the absolute easiest in my recipe box: 3 Ingredient Olive Dip.  There is something about olive dip that is so elegant.  Perhaps it’s the knowledge of how very special olives are. Did you know that olives are one of the seven foods that the Land of Israel is blessed with?  We even say a longer blessing than usual after we eat them.


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The Olive Through The Ages

Olive oil has always been important in the world at large and the Jewish world in particular.  Noah sent the dove to see if the flood waters had receeded.  It came back with the leaf of an olive tree in its mouth.  The Kohen Gadol (high priest) was annointed with olive oil in the days of the Temple (Beit HaMikdash) in Jerusalem. The Beit HaMikdash was where the Western Wall, the remaining outer border wall, still stands today.  The menorah in the Beit HaMikdash was lit daily with olive oil. Many have the custom to light the Hanukkah menorah each year with olive oil as well.

It’s by Divine Providence that the weekly Torah portion at the time of publication of this article is Tetzaveh. It begins with the commandment to take the purest olive oil found in the first drop when the olive is crushed.  We are taught that we need to live with the times. In other words, to see how everything in the Torah portion holds a relevant lesson to our daily lives.  Just like the olive, when we are under pressure, our finest attributes come out as well.  

Olives, Health and Nutrition in the Torah

The Talmud is the Oral Law of the Torah.  It was originally taught to Moses on Mount Sinai. Then, it continued to be taught orally in a continuous chain from teacher to student for centuries. Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, born after the destruction of the Second Temple, foresaw that the Jews would be scattered throughout the world. He feared they would forget the Oral Law.  So, he compiled the Mishnah (law details), and later, Ravina and Rabbi Ashi compiled the Gemara (law discussions). Together it is called the Talmud.  

In the Talmud, whose details cover every aspect of life, it’s mentioned that olive oil is beneficial for our health. It specifically details that olive oil supports and sharpens memory.  Nearly 1,900 years after the Talmud was compiled, the advantages of olive oil have been recognized by the medical world. Now, it’s commonplace to read about the proven benefits of olive oil and how it is helpful for our well-being. 

Give It That Extra (Extra Virgin Olive Oil, That Is) 

It is indeed worthwhile to incorporate olive oil into our meals. In particular, extra virgin olive oil is even healthier because of the way it is produced.  The process is done without heat or chemicals involved.  Science now recognizes the good fats from the unhealthy ones.  It’s been proven that even cooking with extra virgin olive oil is beneficial. The antioxidants don’t break down under the heat and are instead absorbed by the food.

Olives have many varieties and have a unique taste.  That being said, let’s jump right into this recipe. The olive lovers amongst your family and guests are sure to delight in it.  Those who may have never tasted an olive or imagined that they would enjoy it, are in for a treat!

Watch: 3 Ingredient Olive Dip

3 Ingredient Olive Dip – Easy Olive Appetizer

5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 142

Ingredients

  • 1 can Green Pitted Olives (plain, not spicy)
  • 1 clove Fresh Garlic
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (to your taste)

Instructions 

  • Drain the liquid from the olives and place them in a bowl or in the food processor.
  • Add fresh garlic to taste. I use one clove per can of olives.
  • Pour on some extra virgin olive oil.
  • Blend with an immersion blender or in the food processor. Think pesto with olives!
Calories: 142kcal
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Kosher, Mediterranean
Keyword: appetizer, ChoppedOliveDip, dips, easy, kosher recipes, NondairyOliveDipRecipe, OliveDipWithoutMayo, olives, vegan

Nutrition

Calories: 142kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 1517mg | Potassium: 44mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 383IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 1mg

What is your favorite dip or appetizer? I can’t wait to read your comments below!

Spring is knocking on the door, so welcome her with these beautiful, easy and budget friendly spring decor ideas for every room in your home.  They will brighten your living room, dining room, kitchen, bedroom, home office and bathroom.

Getting Started with Your Spring Guide

If you’ve ever wondered, “How can I decorate my living room for spring?” or “How do you decorate for spring on a budget?” you’ve come to the right place. I’ve got the tips, ideas and solutions for you. This is a collection of some of my favorite personal photography from Venice, Italy.  Read on to see how you can adapt it to take advantage of the fresh aspect of spring to add some joy and happiness to your home.  These decoration ideas are blooming with style. You’ll find something for every style from casual to elegant, to freshen up your home and your life.

Do It Yourself Spring Decor Ideas

Here is a simple and easy way to use the technology available to us, even to decorate. You can now choose what you like from the comfort of your home.  There is no shipping and no waiting. Just download the link to the high-quality photo that you like and have it printed locally right on the spot. CVS & Walgreens often offer printing within the hour. You can even print them from the comfort of home with an online service like Shutterfly, as you’ll see one of our guests did down below.

They are high-quality and can be printed on almost anything: canvas, coffee mugs, shopping bags, puzzles, wedding invitations, thank you cards, save the date cards, holiday cards, glass or photo paper. Our recent guest, Debbie ordered two pictures and wrote, “I decided to do something a little artsy and different! It’s printed on metal…kind of urban chic.”

Photos of Venice printed on metal.
My photos printed on metal!

Whether you’ve been to Italy in recent years or long ago, these additions to your spring decor will bring back great memories.  If you’ve only dreamt of coming, then this will be the inspiration to plan a trip at the right time.

How To Decorate Your Space

The Living Room, Bedrooms & Home Office

Start by picking a Venice scene that you like. Typically, spring decor is complemented with bright, joyful colors along with florals and greens denoting new life. In the living room, bedroom or home office, you can add throw pillows and an accent rug based on the colors in your newly framed picture of Venice. Or, you can print the picture directly on one of the throw pillows.  Then surround it with two other pillows with colors or patterns inspired by the picture.


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The Kitchen & Dining Room

Depending on the size of your space, a series of smaller prints can add a fresh perspective and brighten up any room.  Add in some colored glassware reminiscent of Murano, the famous smaller island of Venice.  For nearly 1000 years, families have passed down the mesmerizing skill of combining fire and colored glass to make some of the most unique blown glass pieces seen around the world.  

A stunning framed photo of Venice can be the perfect backdrop to a lace tablecloth inspired by the Venetian island of Burano.  Generations of mothers have created handmade lace tablecloths, napkins and handkerchiefs.

Sara, who hopes to come to Venice someday, adorned her wall with my Venice photography in a lovely grouping of four.

Bathroom or Laundry Room

Everywhere you go in Venice, the magical city has something beautiful to see.  There are palaces lining the Grand Canal and beautiful bridges of marble that have stood for centuries.  But, all throughout Venice, one of the most eye-catching things that brings a smile to all passers-by is the colorful clothing hanging from the clotheslines. Attached between the buildings, and very often hanging over the canals, clotheslines decorate the air with a variety of garments and attire. These sparks of color make the antique city come to life.  They are reminders that within these old walls, there are people with personal stories continuing today. 

Spring Symbolizes Rebirth, New Beginnings & Your Decor Can Too  

After the long cold winter, the sun shines and flowers bloom. Most Venice residents don’t have front lawns or backyards for landscaping.  Instead, beautiful flowers adorn the windows and balconies. There are gardens, but many are hidden behind the larger palaces. When I do come across a park or area with fresh cut grass, I take a moment to breathe in that refreshing and invigorating scent. 

Here’s a spring decor idea that is good for your health too! Spring is the perfect time to bring nature inside.  Choose some indoor plants from your garden or your local gardener. Ask about the best plants to improve the indoor air-quality of your home.  Often, these varieties require very little attention and are amongst the easiest to care for. 

Spring Gift Ideas for Holidays, Birthdays & Special Occasions

As Mother Nature comes alive and shares her gifts of the season, you can also share these gifts to enhance someone else’s space. This is the perfect way to make a unique and custom made gift that is personal, memorable and will leave a lasting impression. It’s fast, easy and convenient!  And you’ll pay a tenth of what one would pay for a framed piece of art in a gallery.  There is something for everyone’s budget.

The end of the school year will be here before we know it.  Do you have several teachers to thank? As the weather gets warmer, more outdoor parties and gatherings will be taking place.  This is the perfect opportunity to choose birthday gifts, a unique thank you gift for a host or appreciation gifts for everyone on your list.

What is the best gift for a newly married couple?

Spring is a popular wedding season. If you know someone planning a wedding in the spring, you can easily give a thoughtful wedding gift that will be cherished for years to come.

Even though there may be many spring weddings this year, many may not be able to travel.  What better way to send a beautiful gift for a new home. Not only is this a great gift idea, it is easy to ship and can even be done completely online from the comfort of your own home. Choose a photo, decide what you would like it printed on and have it shipped directly to the lucky gift recipient.

Spring Gift Ideas for Your Bridal Party

Are you the bride or groom? If you are looking for gift ideas on a budget, this is the solution for you. Those who have helped you organize your wedding have been there for you. What better way to show your best man, maid of honor or bride’s maids your gratitude than with a unique, custom or personalized gift from the City of Love.

These are so-well priced, they can even be wedding favors for your guests. Get creative and print smaller sizes to use as themed table decorations from the most romantic city in the world. 

Spring is Coming!

When spring arrives, you’ll be ready! The sun will be shining and so will your smile as you look around at the beautiful, easy and budget friendly ideas that you’ve turned into a decorating reality.  All that will be left to do is to create wonderful memories in your home and in your life. 

Which of these spring decor ideas is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below. I can’t wait to see what you wrote!

Be sure to check the ChaiStyle Shop often for new photos and more! 📸


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As a restaurant owner in Venice, Italy, where our streets are canals, we deal with certain aspects of the business that most entrepreneurs would never think about.  Whether it’s renting a refrigerated boat to transport product or closing our outdoor seating because of high tides, there are an array of complexities to deal with.  But, one thing that is standard regardless of location, is choosing the best chairs for your food establishment.

I’m always on the lookout for great products to enhance my guests’ time in GAM GAM.  When people think about where they would like to go out to eat, the things they usually consider are: the food, atmosphere, guest service, location and price.  These priorities stand out in the minds of any restaurant guest.  However, seating is not usually something given much thought.

Atmosphere – Setting the Tone and Mood in a Restaurant

Eating out is relaxing, takes one’s mind off daily challenges and is a great way to step out of the usual and connect with family or friends.  Guests save time cooking and cleaning and are able to reinvest that time with those whom they care about.  

Sometimes, people choose a meal out to celebrate.  We’ve hosted everything from birthday parties to graduations and wedding proposals to 50th anniversaries. We know that as a team, we are providing more than just a meal.  We hope to contribute to an atmosphere that will help create beautiful memories for years to come. Often, guests are trusting us with some of the most special moments of their lives. 

Especially now, as the world struggles to contain the Coronavirus, going out to a restaurant is almost deemed as a luxury.  The time spent at a restaurant is more valued by the guests, and restaurant staff are happier than ever to see their usual clients come back for a visit.

There are also the things that enhance the atmosphere and the guest experience that are more subconscious. One of those things is the seating. Imagine your favorite restaurant. What words would you use to describe the feeling when you are there?  That is the atmosphere.  And before you even think about what type of chairs you need, you have to decide what kind of atmosphere you want to create.

GAM GAM Kosher Restaurant at the main entrance of the Jewish Ghetto of Venice, Italy

Style is for More than Clothing

High back, low back, fancy and formal, there is so much to choose from.   Knowing the environment you want for your guests, will help you determine in which style you should invest.  Some style concepts to consider are: casual, chic, rustic, elegant, contemporary, artsy, modern and fabrics such as upholstery, leather and plastic.

Another aspect to consider is the chair frame.  There are many types such as wood, metal, plastic or aluminum lightweight material.

Choosing a specific style of chair goes further than the aesthetics. The design and style allows the guests to sit closer or further apart.  Some chairs inhibit leaning forward.  Keep in mind that part of enjoying a meal out is that it provides a way for your guests to connect with one another.  

Other style factors to consider are the flexibility of moving chairs when necessary.  In facilities with a high guest turn-over rate, chairs shouldn’t be too heavy for the staff who will have to move them during cleaning.   Chairs should also be easy to move around when rearranging the composition of tables to adjust for larger parties.  And, if you have busier seasons where you’ll need more chairs than usual, consider stackable chairs to maximize storage space. 

Feel Comfortable – Make Yourself at Home

A chair can actually affect how a person feels while they are dining.  An uncomfortable chair can be likened to having a small pebble in your shoe while you are walking.  It can make or break the entire experience, especially if the meal is a longer one.

It’s one of those things that you don’t give too much thought to until you are seated in a chair that is uncomfortable.  Have you have been seated in “the broken chair?” Or, where you can feel the inner parts of the chair itself because the cushioning is too worn.

Diners come to relax and you want them to be comfortable, but not that guests will linger unnecessarily. An important factor to consider is how long your guest will be seated.  If you have a food establishment with a low-cost menu, it is likely that you rely on having a high turn-over of tables. If your guests are going to have a quick coffee and a croissant, then a barstool may be a good choice.  Not only because this matches the more informal style of a coffee house, but it also lends itself to that sort of quick food service.  On the other hand, if you run a more formal establishment, diners will likely take their time to enjoy a longer meal. Here, a more comfortable chair with proper cushioning will be more suitable.

Proper spacing is an important consideration as well.  Guests should be able to comfortably walk between tables without banging into those currently dining.  This is even more important to think about if your restaurant is located in a tourist area or in a shopping zone where guests may come in with their shopping bags. Or, in the Winter, if you don’t have a coat room or rack, your guests will need space to put their coats on the back of their chairs.

Adequate spacing is also important for waitstaff who need to safely transport food while moving easily and quickly. Your choice of chair size will help staff avoid frustration and help ensure they can provide quick service.

GAM GAM Kosher Restaurant in Venice, Italy offers seating with a view of the Cannaregio Canal

Durability is Key

When it comes to durability, there is a difference between commercial vs. residential grade chairs. Use from the sheer number of guests coming in to a food establishment far outweighs the typical wear and tear that a chair built for home use can withstand.  Restaurants need chairs that are specifically built to tolerate this kind of use. Chairs are an investment in the restaurant. It’s not the part where you want to take the cheap route.  Having to replace chairs more often than you should will end up costing you more in the long run.

Another factor for durability is the fabric.  It can make all the difference.  

Whether an elegant fabric or a faux leather, it should be easy to clean, especially if you have a family restaurant where there will be children dining.  Consider chairs that can be cleaned using a light damp cloth to both eliminate dust and to easily and thoroughly remove food crumbs in the cracks and crevices where it can accumulate.

Hygiene is More Important than Ever

Restaurants are struggling to find ways to make their guests as comfortable as possible during this difficult time while abiding by the increase of health regulations because of the Coronavirus.  Many restaurants have limited hours and reduced seating capacity as a result of having to remove some tables.

Here are some best practices during this challenging time:

Print signs for employees and guests reminding them to wash hands for a minimum of 20 seconds.

Hand sanitizer should be readily available in all public areas, such as at the entrance, restrooms, coat racks and the bar area.

Provide clear pathways for your guests to walk.  Proper signage helps guests know where to enter and exit.  Signs should also assist guests as to where to walk within the restaurant as to avoid, or at least minimize, direct contact with others as much as possible.

Menus are some of the most handled items in a restaurant.  Just as it’s an obligation to maintain proper food handling practices in the kitchen, we train our staff to maintain health standards in the service areas as well.  This includes proper maintenance of menus, which should be wiped down often.  During these particular times of Coronavirus, we are using temporary menus that are disposed of after each use.

Soon we will be introducing a more permanent solution.  Guests will be able to scan a QR code on the table and pull up the menu directly on their cell phone.

By taking these 5 essentials for choosing the best restaurant chairs into account, you will be able to enhance your guests’ experience in your food establishment.  You’ll be able to create a great atmosphere and your guests will come back again and again, because they will know they can dine in a clean and stylish place with efficient service.

Have the taste of GAM GAM at home with GAM GAM’s Hummus recipe!

Fashion. Get the latest fashion tips and style ideas from Venice, Italy. 

I’m often asked “Where’s the best place to shop in Italy.”

In addition to helping people live their best lives by elevating their spirituality, I am often sought out for help with life’s daily challenges. After all, we are physical people in a physical world. Our bodies are the protection for our souls, so here are some great tips to keep you at your best.

As a trusted mentor for people from many backgrounds all over the world, I’ve found there is one thing that unites us: we are all trying to “make every day the best day.” One of the best places to focus on is with the things that affect our daily lives. And that includes the closet dilemma. More precisely: what to wear, when to wear it and how to wear it.

We can all relate to how good we feel when we get dressed up for a special event. It shows in how we walk and in how we talk. The reality is, every day is a special occasion. I often say, “I woke up today, so it’s already going to be great”! Although we can’t control everything that happens each day, we do have our own free will. We can determine our approach for the day and how we will react and respond to everything else.

🤍 Many of you ask which products I use and recommend. This post contains some of my affiliate links for “making every day the best day” while cooking, entertaining and living life.  If you buy something through one of these links, you won’t pay a penny more, but I’ll get a small commission which helps keep the lights on. Thanks!

Fashion Tip 1: Find Your Personal Style

This fashion how-to will add confidence and positivity to your life. Choosing a personal style doesn’t need to be specific, like Vintage, Artsy, Casual, Chic or Bohemian. We all have different inspirations and this can determine how we want to dress each day, depending on how we feel. Defining your signature fashion style can be in more general terms, like Dignified or Classic.

What works for you and what feels good should be your primary focus. Your style can change from day to day.

Fashion Tip 2: Organize Your Closet, Organize Your Life

Of all the latest fashion tips, this one may seem less significant, but it can make a world of difference. The first place to start is with buying good hangers that dont get tangled. Buy hangers that slide well. This makes taking out and putting away clothing very easy. It’s also helpful to get all the same type of hangers. It not only provides a uniform look, but everything hangs the same width, giving an overall neater appearance in your closet. Velvet non-slip hangers are great for your items that like to slide off as you are putting them away.

Separate everything by season. There are many advantages to this. First, you’ll be able to better see what you have, and more importantly, what you still need. Storing your clothing away properly keeps it in better condition. It makes it less susceptible to the elements for the majority of the year when a garment isn’t being used. You will save money in the long run because your clothing will last longer when its protected.

Now, you can organize everything by color range. This is easier than it seems and will help you find that black top that seems to always get lost in your closet. Instead of having to go through each and every one of your garments, you can now quickly swipe through just the dark ones.

Fashion Tip 3: Make a Plan and Stick to It

Lay out or at least plan what you will wear the night before. Five minutes invested in choosing a complete outfit is easier than rushing in the morning. And, you’ll reap the dividends for the rest of the following day when you feel good, whether you are heading out to a meeting, working from the home office or keeping your castle under control.

In the evening, although tiredness from the day may be settling in, it is a more opportune time to plan your next outfit than when you are stressed or short for time in the morning. There’s something about planning your day the night before that is energizing. When you know that you are looking forward to the following day, even in a small way, it is invigorating. It makes you feel good mentally and physically. You’ve already accomplished something for the next day, and it hasn’t even begun yet!

If you’re not following me yet on Instagram, I’d adore your support. I’m at Instagram: RebbetzinUnplugged

Fashion Tip 4: Accessories & Layers

Fashion is like good friends. You don’t need a lot, just a few good ones. A few statement pieces are key. Once your closet is cleaned out according to season, you’ll be able to see everything you have. Take out your accessories and layering pieces and put together some outfits. Write them down. Trust me on this. After following the above fashion tips, I found that I have much more to mix and match than I thought. I have an outfit list taped to the inside door of my closet.

Now that you have a really good idea of your complete outfit possiblities, you can decide on a few types of accessories and color combinations that would be nice additions to what you already have. It doesn’t take much. All you need is a nice selection of classic pieces that you can rotate, and that work well with the majority of your clothes. Add one or two unique items that fit into your budget for those special days. With this strategy, your accessories and layering items will last and won’t need to be replaced as often. Fashion blogger, Tali Kogan is an endless source of ideas for fashion tips, especially on accessorizing and layering.

Fashion Tip 5: “Get dressed and live your life.”

Luxury jewelry designer Rebekah Price says, “Get dressed and live your life.” In additon to making your bed each morning, this single piece of advice is one of the best I’ve heard. I want to give you a head start on tackling the day, so you can set yourself up for a great one. Even when working from home, I get dressed to the shoes first thing each morning. It puts me in the mindset of “Go and get it done.”

I hope these fashion tips will help you as much as they’ve helped me. But don’t stop there! Be sure to take care of your physical health too, beginning with your Daily Skin Care Routine.

Let me know in the comments what else you’d like me to share. Be in touch because I am always here for you!

By now, you’ve heard about cauliflower power. Wait until you try these Healthy Cauliflower Fritters. Cauliflower is high in fiber, which helps reduce inflammation and promotes overall digestive health.  It is low in calories and will also contribute to your recommended daily intake of B-vitamins, anti-oxidants and vitamin C. It contains important minerals too, such as folate and potassium. 

Take it from a Pro

As a restaurant chef, I take food sensitivities into consideration. I made a delicious and healthy cauliflower fritter recipe without flour.  Make no mistake, this isn’t only for the gluten-free crowd.  They disappeared as soon as they hit the plate.

If you’ve ever wondered how to make cauliflower rice, it’s quite simple. 

Cauliflower rice recipes are a great alternative to rice and are fast and inexpensive to make from scratch. For these cauliflower patties, there are a couple methods, like grating by hand with the big holes of a box grater. I used a hand immersion blender and pulsed it to get the consistency I wanted.  That meant very small pieces, but not mush.

Making Cauliflower Rice is fast and easy.
Making Cauliflower Rice is fast and easy.
Make Cauliflower Rice with a box grater or an immersion blender.
Make Cauliflower Rice with a box grater or an immersion blender.

Endless Ways to Make Meals with Cauliflower Rice 

Cauliflower Rice is a great base for a main course or side dish of a meal and can be seasoned to suit any taste.  With this recipe and a slight variation, you could also make a baked Cauliflower “Mac” and Cheese. You can even use it to make Cauliflower Fried Rice,  But let’s get to these irresistible Healthy Cauliflower Fritters.

Healthy Cauliflower Fritters with Cheese

5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 8 fritters
Calories 84

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 eggs
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  • 1 cup shredded low-fat mozzarella (or your favorite cheese)
  • extra virgin olive oil (the least amount necessary to coat the pan)
  • a tiny amount of fresh chopped garlic (or garlic powder to taste)
  • 1/4 cup flour (optional)

Instructions 

Preparing the Cauliflower Fritters

  • Cut the stem and discard. Cut the head of cauliflower into large pieces.
  • Pulse with an immersion blender or grate one head of cauliflower with the large holes of a box grater. (It shouldn't be liquid, but without large pieces either).
  • Squeeze out excess water with a cheese cloth. (I didn't have one handy, so I just spread the cauliflower out and dried it in a pan on the lowest heat for a two minutes).
  • Put cauliflower in a mixing bowl. (Let cool a minute, if necessary).
  • Whisk eggs and add to the cauliflower.
  • Add seasonings.
  • Add flour (optional)
  • Mix completely, but gently.

Cooking the Cauliflower Fritters

  • Heat extra virgin olive oil in a pan on medium.
  • Spoon out the cauliflower mix and flatten with the back of a spoon.
  • Cook for approximately four or five minutes per side.
  • Very gently, flip with a spatula. (They are quite delicate).
  • During the last minute of cooking, add your favorite cheese.
Calories: 84kcal
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Keyword: cauliflower, cauliflower rice, cheese, fritters, kosher, Vegetarian

Nutrition

Serving: 1fritter | Calories: 84kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 50mg | Sodium: 125mg | Potassium: 246mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 127IU | Vitamin C: 35mg | Calcium: 133mg | Iron: 1mg

What cheese will you try to top off your Healthy Cauliflower Fritters with?

I’ve even tried Muenster and it was amazing. Let me know in the comments below!

This Colorful Vegetable Salad is one of my favorite salads ever! It is delicious, crunchy and has so many wonderful tastes that blend perfectly together.

Many of you ask which products I use and recommend. This post contains some of my affiliate links for “making every day the best day” while cooking, entertaining and living life.  If you buy something through one of these links, you won’t pay a penny more, but I’ll get a small commission which helps keep the lights on. Thanks!

I love cool, crispy salads during the spring & summer! This one is sure to be a favorite amongst your family & guests. And it’s so easy to prepare!

Whether it’s for a weekday lunch or you are in search of something fresh for Shabbat, everyone will enjoy this colorful vegetable salad.

The details are in the way the vegetables are cut, so read the recipe below. Remember to use a good knife and decent sized cutting board to make your time in the kitchen as efficient and easy as possible.


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Colorful Vegetable Salad

5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 61

Ingredients

  • 1 head of iceberg lettuce
  • 3 tomatoes (I prefer Roma tomatoes for this salad)
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 1/2 can pitted green olives
  • 1/2 cup tahini (prepared with garlic, parsley & lemon juice (all fresh!))
  • Trader Joe's Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend (optional)

Instructions 

  • Slice the lettuce in strips
  • Cut each tomato in eight pieces
  • Peel & cut the cucumber lengthwise. Place the flat side down and slice on an angle.
  • Peel & cut carrots in half or thirds and then make carrot ribbons with the peeler.
  • Cut thin slices of celery
  • Slice olives. Or, using an immersion blender, blend a can of olives, one garlic clove and some extra virgin olive oil. (You can check out my 3 Ingredient Olive Dip recipe here)
  • Tahini
  • Sprinkle with the Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend or your favorite seeds. (Don't live near a Trader Joe's? Click the link to order it or to see the seasonings and make your own!)
Calories: 61kcal
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Kosher
Keyword: appetizer, salad, shabbat salad, spring salad, vegan, Vegetarian

Nutrition

Calories: 61kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 406mg | Potassium: 286mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 3247IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 1mg

What’s your favorite ingredient in this colorful vegetable salad? Let me know in the comments below. I love reading your feedback!

Running a kosher restaurant for decades has allowed me to help countless people around the world simplify their process of preparing for Passover. Preparing for Passover involves physical and spiritual preparation. The spiritual prep can be just as important. But right now, read on to see how I prepare my meal planning, ordering and cooking for Passover. This simple method I use for GAM GAM Kosher Restaurant can be adapted to any home.

When is Passover?

Passover begins in the evening Friday, April 15, 2022 and finishes in the evening Saturday, April 23.

How do you prepare for Passover?

One of the most popular questions I get is “How do you cook for so many people.”  Usually, this is referring to our Shabbat program, which unites up to 800 people per Shabbat during the busier summer months.  During the main part of the year, the average is around 300 people.  That’s still 900 meals over the course of the 25 hours!

When it comes to Passover, even though the crowd is smaller, it takes a fair amount of organizing. Usually on the first night, we run three simultaneous seders in different locations within the Jewish Ghetto of Venice.  One year, we had five! But, the Passover preparation method always stayed the same.

Passover Traditions, Customs & Rituals

In an effort to avoid anything that may have come in contact with chametz (wet fermented grains that have risen), our custom is to peel everything and cook only with salt and oil. It makes everything super easy to prepare.  And, you can really taste the delicious natural flavors of the ingredients.  It is taught that one’s efforts during Passover bring blessing for the entire year! That’s a great return for an eight day investment 😉.

Whatever your custom is, it is beautiful! Plan and create an unforgettable Passover using these tips as a springboard to get started.  I’ve included two downloads: a To Do List and a Menu Template to help you get organized for the entire eight days of Passover!

Preparing For My First Passover Seder at Home

Because of Coronavirus, we could not have a public seder in 2020.  Instead, my family and I had a private seder in our apartment.  It was the very first time we had that experience!  

As I cooked and prepared, the motions seemed the same: peeling, chopping, boiling, baking.  Of course, I had a lot more time on my hands than typical years, and everything got done much more quickly.   In 2021, we had a few guests.

Whether this will be your first year preparing for Passover or you are a pro, these Passover tips and ideas will make preparing for Passover easier for you. You can make them a part of your yearly routine.

How Do I know What to Buy to Prepare for Passover?

The easiest way I have found is to start by making your menu. Use my Passover Menu Template below. Then, create your shopping list. Keep it fun! Enjoy the Passover memories that will pop up from when you were little or imagine the ones that you will create.

The best part is that once you make your menu and shopping list, you will be able to use them as guides each year.  So, every year afterwards, the majority of the work will already be done.

It doesn’t need to be overwhelming.  After all, we are celebrating freedom.  Don’t put yourself under unnecessary constraints and limitations. 

Make a list. Keep it simple. Prioritize by time and function. 

This is what I do the morning of the Pesach seder.

I used to begin at GAM GAM at 7am. Then, as the years passed, I could head into the restaurant a bit later. Like with most things in life, Passover preparation got easier with experience.

My simple To Do List has been my guide to cooking for our public seders for years.

Print it and keep it handy. You can change or add in anything to the list you wish. But the most important thing, as I mentioned, is to keep it prioritized by time and action.  (While this is boiling, then I can peel that, etc….).

PUT: Tomatoes in freezer (makes them easier to peel)

MARK: a few knives with tape as “peel” knives

BOIL: Eggs in egg pot

PEEL: (buy the best peeler you can afford)

Carrots

Potatoes

Zucchini

Eggplant

Tomatoes

BOIL: (in separate pots) Carrots, Potatoes, Zucchini

CUT: Salmon and cook asap

CUT:  Chicken

PREPARE: Soup and Cook

CHECK: Lettuce for Bugs

CRACK: Walnuts, Almonds, Pistachios

PEEL & GRATE: Horseradish (do it with the door or window slightly open)

COOK: Eggplant

COOK: Potato Kugel and Carrot Kugel     

MAKE: Mayonnaise

MAKE SALADS & SIDES:

  • Potato Salad with Sautéed Onion
  • Potato Salad with Carrots
  • Egg Salad
  • Babaganoush
  • Eggplant and Egg Salad
  • Tzimmes
  • Sautéed Zucchini & Onion
  • Sautéed Zucchini & Carrot
  • Cucumber with Thin-Sliced Onion & Lemon Juice

MAKE:  Pesach “Noodles” for the Soup (Scrambled Egg Strips)

This will give you a multi-course Passover meal:

An Assortment of Salads

Baked Salmon

Chicken “Noodle” Soup

Baked Chicken

Kugel & Various Vegetable Side Dishes

An Assortment of Kosher for Passover Side Dishes

Next Year’s Preparing for Passover Begins This Year

At the end of Passover, I write myself an email with my menu attached. I write what went well and what I need to buy or replace (peelers, utensils etc…).  In the subject line I write “Passover Pesach 20_ _,” with the following year. The body of the email says: “Check today and start ordering now.” (I set a calendar reminder to search and check that email four weeks before the holiday begins). 

Woman setting the tables for a Passover Seder, including boxes of handmade shmurah matzah.
Final Touches! Each seder guest gets an individual box of handmade shmurah matzah.

There are endless kosher for Passover recipes to be found online, such as on Kosher.com’s app or on Naomi Nachman’s Instagram. Be sure to download my Passover To-Do List and my 8 Days of Passover Menu Template. I hope these tips and ideas will help you prepare your meal planning, ordering and cooking for Passover, this year and every year.

Leave me your comments below with your questions and I will be happy to answer them!

Venice photos printed on metal

Freshen up your home or surprise someone with a beautiful gift from Venice!

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