Porcino Returns

20190706_114959 (2)Like a phoenix from the ashes (a fire consumed the restaurant and neighbouring businesses in 2016) or like a mushroom after the rain (porcini mushrooms are a gourmet addition to menus around the world) the Italian restaurant has popped up once again to open its doors to London.

Porcino is an Italian eatery located on Hyde Park Rd. with a decidedly contemporary aesthetic. But the clean and modern design belies the traditionally Italian menu of appetizers, pasta, and pizza which one would expect from European based restaurant. There is even a wood burning oven to give pizza that authentically charred taste….you know the one!

On a recent weekend, the boy and I decided to pop in for a quick bite between running errands. We were met with a friendly hello and a choice of seats. Although the restaurant wasn’t packed, a few diners chose seating in the back, the space didn’t feel empty. The sounds of cooking from the open kitchen and low buzz of conversation from the back gave the place a relaxed atmosphere.Porcino Restaurant, London Ontario  Porcino Restaurant, London Ontario20190706_121003 (2)Porcino Restaurant, London Ontario  Porcino Restaurant, London Ontario  Porcino Restaurant, London Ontario

We ordered a few appetizers: fried calamari, meatballs, and a trio of spreads. All three were delicious but the calamari was the standout with a perfectly crisp coating and tender flesh. The dishes were a quick treat to satisfy grumbling tummies since we didn’t plan to linger very long.

In full disclosure, there were a couple of hick-ups with our table settings which I wasn’t impressed with, but which were remedied quickly.

I hope that Porcino enjoys much success in its second incarnation and wish them all the best!

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You Made It Cafe

20180725_100507So it has been about a billion years since I last posted on my blog. Life …what can I say. The boy and I bought a place last summer. We renovated it floor to  ceiling. And between the stress of renovating, decorating, and balancing budgets there was little place for much else. Both self care and blog went on the back burner. I didn’t need any more pressure in my life. I have always thought of Cobblestones and Cappuccinos as an avenue for my creative expression. A way to share some of my funventures and finds with those of you who pop on here from time to time (by the way…thank you for reading!). I didn’t want to keep posting “just cause” and especially not until I had something special to share. Until now!

Having just finished the renovations on a 40 year old place, let me tell you…I believe in second chances. And often third…and fourth, sometimes to my detriment. So when I finally had the opportunity to visit YOU Made It Cafe, I was not disappointed. A business that has not only breathed life into an old, underutilized heritage building (something London has a lot of) but also offers a comprehensive program of employment services to youth dealing with homelessness, unemployment and/or lack of education. Second chances are everything.

The Cafe has been around since 2012 and is owned and operated by Youth Opportunities Unlimited. It offers a skills training program under the mentorship of professional staff the results of which can be witnessed in the service and food prep in the cafe. It also sells Mushed by YOU preserves featuring jams, jellies, spreads, salsas and BBQ sauce made by youth employed in Enterprise Services. The only draw back of this business model are the limited hours of operation. The cafe is only open for breakfast and lunch Monday to Friday. They occasionally host special evening events, Cornerstone Cuisine dinner series with guest chefs and creative themes, which are worth watching for. 20180725_090831 (2) 20180725_090954 (2)  20180725_091115 (2)20180725_090839 (2)20180725_090847 (2)20180725_090856 (2)20180725_090903 (2)20180725_090911 (2)20180725_090918 (2)    20180725_090942_HDR (2)20180725_091045 (2)20180725_091835 (2)20180725_091133 (2)20180725_091204_HDR (2)  20180725_091328 (2)  20180725_094214 (2)20180725_094243 (2)20180725_092644_HDR (2)With a good book and time to spare, I filled my morning with a spot of good coffee, bacon grilled cheese with apple butter, a side of freshly made home fries, and a great feeling that I was supporting not only my city but also the youth of its future.

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Weekend Edition

Pelee Island OntarioIt certainly feels like summer out there this year. And not just a good Canadian summer. It’s the kind of weather that smacks you in the face when you step off the plane in Jamaica and makes you happy to be alive. It’s also the kind of weather that makes me thank the gods for air conditioning!

For this weekend edition I wanted to share some links with you that you might enjoy regardless of whether you are staying indoors or soaking up vitamin D in the great outdoors.

1. Summer is the perfect time to put away the guilt of not getting things done. It’s too hot, it’s too beautiful, it’s too wasteful to not take advantage of this glorious happy time of the year. If you want to learn the Art of Farniente (of doing nothing!) pop over to this post by Garance.

However, if your guilt of accomplishing nothing while lounging with a cold drink is too great, then pop over to this post and perfect your french before your next trip to Monaco! Bonne aventure!

2. It’s never to early to plan a trip to Paris. Even if that trip is in your 5 year plan. This “Summer in Paris” list can give you a heads up of what you can expect, and wet your appetite to keep saving those pennies!

3. And all of my London friends, don’t forget that Londonlicious starts today! Enjoy the summer and some good eats while supporting local businesses. Londonlicious runs from July 20 to August 12.

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Malta Once More – 2018

20180512_105411Malta gets under your skin…deep. If you have a penchant for Mediterranean food, a soft spot for history and culture, an affinity for warm sunny days, a propensity for relaxing vacations, or a weakness for gelato, you will most definitely fall under Malta’s spell.

I recognized the first signs of the boy’s addiction to the tiny island when he booked his third trip in less than a year and a half. It took me three years to return to Malta. You can read about my first Maltese experiences here and here. And I’m a thrilled to report that I have fallen head over heels in love with this country. Again. My return felt like coming home. A warm hug filled with promises of great food, good times, and reconnecting with family.

Although the island isn’t much bigger than the city I currently live in, there is so much to see and do. And definitely too much to put into a blog post. As with most of our other vacations, we parked ourselves in a rental apartment for two weeks. This gave us plenty of time to explore and relax.

I hope you enjoy the glimpse I will share with you here.

20180428_10392520180428_104333 20180428_104432-120180509_16193920180428_104658  20180429_07113120180501_14122320180507_05475020180428_183317   20180504_143223  20180501_14000520180501_140233   20180501_14244820180501_14243620180501_16055720180501_160640   20180508_05470720180430_16351520180508_063344  20180502_173535 20180508_05452720180504_125554  20180501_15534620180504_12443720180504_12450020180504_065203  20180504_125124 20180504_12450720180512_17092420180502_17140620180429_141611 (2)   20180429_13120420180502_172455   20180502_17233120180430_07062320180510_08070320180512_065358-1    20180512_190236  20180510_19313520180503_204000-1  20180429_21212220180429_15160020180429_141742 (2)  20180429_14090920180509_14262920180429_205011A stay in Malta is definitely a celebration of the best life has to offer. At any point in time, there are festivals and events around the island that highlight the culture and the beauty of one of the smallest islands in the Mediterranean.  I hope you don’t just take my word for it, go visit!20180430_163755Sign-off

A Very Valentine Day For All

February 14, Valentine's DayFirst of all, Happy Valentine’s Day! Second, I know that this will not be a popular sentiment with many…but I don’t care! I love the pink, the red, the hearts, and the flowers. And chocolate….most of all the chocolate! Not just any old drugstore milk stuff, but the dark flavored truffles rolled by tiny fairy hands in a sweet little shop somewhere in Paris. Clearly I live in a dream land built for two because I have a boy that actually makes this happen.

Over the last few years, the day of love has seen many haters jump on the “anti-Valentine’s Day” bandwagon. Don’t get me wrong, I realize that a commercialized version of the day was thrust on us by a company hellbent on selling a pile of cards. Most restaurants and flower shops hike up their prices for services that on regular days cost at least 25% less. Our significant others start to feel societal pressures to live up to romanticized versions of themselves, while singles are supposed to throw themselves off rooftops or hide under blankets on couches. What nonsense. All of it!

And yet…I think it’s a day worth celebrating. Lets look at Valentine’s Day and what it means one step at a time. Valentine’s has a long history that seems to start with some guy called Saint Valentine, move through pagan fertility rites of Lupercalia, the beginning of bird mating season in the Middle Ages (this one made me laugh), hand written exchange of love letters during the turn of the last century, until finally somebody was smart enough to cash in on all this mushy love stuff (but why begrudge someone a brilliant idea).

The loudest objections to the day appear to be financial and the fact that love should be celebrated every day, not just once a year. And I can’t really disagree with this either. Except, we don’t seem to have any qualms about throwing coins around on other days. We spend like crazy on ourselves and others for birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas,  girls’ weekends, or what we just call “shopping sprees” or “self care”.  Many of these “other” days also only come around once a year.

And yes, love shouldn’t be reserved for one day. We should be spreading the love and feeling it all year long. But let’s face it, this doesn’t happen. Life happens. So why is it so bad to get a nudge from the calendar, a little reminder, that love is all around us, in many forms. So reach out to your boy, your girl, friend, family, pets, neighbours, even strangers (I did!). Surprise them. And surprise yourself with how good it feels to spread some love.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!

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