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Madonna Says She Would Like to Meet the Pope Over a Glass of Wine and Some Pasta

Madonna Says She Would Like to Meet the Pope Over a Glass of Wine and Some Pasta

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“We’ve got to meet,” Madonna said of Pope Francis

The queen of pop has her dinner plans with the Holy Father all planned out. (Photo Modified: Flickr/ Republic of Korea)

During a recent interview with Italian radio station RTL 102.5, pop music icon Madonna shared that she’d like to meet the Pope for dinner sometime, if he were up for it, according to Vatican Insider.

Commending Pope Francis for his progressive response when recently asked his thoughts on the gay community (“Who am I to judge?”), Madonna told journalist Luca Dondoni that she’d like to meet him, despite having been excommunicated by the Catholic Church three times in the past.

“God bless Pope Francis,” said Madonna. A plate of pasta, a bottle of good wine. Do I have a chance?”

Pope Francis, who has previously confirmed that he is “not a teetotaler” and that he drinks wines from all over the world, also decided not long ago that he would open the farm at his summer residence of Castel Gandolfo to the public for the first time in its history, leading to speculation that visitors might get to sample some of the farm’s produce.

Stars With The Worst Personal Hygiene

If you're rich and famous star, chances are you have no problem affording things like soap, shampoo, and deodorant, right? You could even hire professionals to bathe you, if you so desired! So it must be a problem of motivation for the celebs on this list, who are surprisingly some of the biggest and most popular stars of movies and TV.

Would you believe one of the stars of the Marvel Cinematic Universe supposedly has bad body odor? What about two beautiful cast members of one of the most successful sitcoms of all time? Well, one of them supposedly has the tendency to smell "like a trucker," which the other allegedly used to do some particularly private "ladyscaping" right on the couch she shared with a roommate. Heinous, right?

This list goes on and on, and it actually gets worse from there. In fact, some stars are straight up gross. Let's take a look at Tinseltown's A-list, and how some celebs get a get a big fat F when it comes to personal hygiene. These are the stars with the worst personal hygiene.


The custom Ocean SUV, capable of going more than 350 miles on a single charge, also comes with an all-glass cupola (or small dome) roof that will allow the head of the Catholic Church 'to greet the faithful.'

It will be delivered next year.

All popemobiles have license plates that start with SCV, which stands for Status Civitatis Vaticanae or "Vatican City State.'' Pope Francis' current license plate Ford Focus currently used by Pope Francis is "SCV 00919.

Traditional versions of the SUV, which starts at $37,499, will go into production Nov. 17, 2022.

Pope Francis' concerns about climate change

The new electric SUV notwithstanding, Pope Francis repeatedly has expressed concerns about saving the environment.

The Pope has repeatedly warned about mankind's impact on the Earth. In 2019, he said he was considering introducing 'ecological sin' as a way to combat climate change

In 2015, the Pope tweeted that climate change 'represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.'

Two years later, he wrote that care for the environment is a 'social concern,' adding that humanity needs to hear the cry of the Earth and the poor alike.

In September 2020, he said the destruction of the environment is serious, as 'God has entrusted the world to us.'

Pope Francis has expressed his concerns about mankins' impact on the climate throughout the years

With more than 18 million followers on Twitter, Pope Francis has an enormous following on the social network

A destruction of the environment would be serious 'because God has entrusted the world to us,' Pope Francis said in September 2020

Separately in 2015, during his visit to the U.S., Pope Francis addressed climate change with then President Obama.

His Holiness repeatedly warned about mankind's effects on the environment.

In March, he warned a second great flood would come as a result of climate change unless leaders around the world work to fix corruption and injustice.

The 84-year-old said that, in the story of the great flood in the Bible, God used his wrath to punish injustice and 'clean up' the world.

He then added that humanity is facing another 'great deluge, perhaps due to a rise in temperature and the melting of glaciers.

'[That is] what will happen now if we continue on the same path,' he said.

In 2019, he said he was considering introducing 'ecological sins' in an effort to combat climate change, adding that it is 'a duty' to protect 'our common home.'

Centerpieces in a Glass Display Case

WHEN last we left the restless young chef Jason Neroni, he was a fugitive from justice, living on scraps sneaked through back doors of restaurants and wondering if he could nab a spot working the garde manger station in the Big House.

I exaggerate. Just the teensiest bit. But it’s true that one of Mr. Neroni’s last gigs ended with accusations of crime and threats of punishment, his boss filing petty larceny charges, which Mr. Neroni staunchly denied.

The charges were dropped. Mr. Neroni’s record is clean. But the drama surrounding his departure two years ago from the Brooklyn restaurant Porchetta, which has since closed, reflected the sort of kerfuffle that he seems to have a special gift for stirring up. Just before his legal contretemps, he did time as a blogosphere whipping boy for his Internet groveling for a James Beard award.

Now he’s at 10 Downing, which went through its own turbulence, the proposed kitchen lineup changing repeatedly before a November opening. That opening was unusually delayed even by the standards of an industry in which “five weeks out” translates into “maybe next millennium.”

Mr. Neroni, by many reports, wasn’t the owners’ first choice to run the kitchen (which he does with input from Katy Sparks, a consultant). But they took a chance on him.

And it turns out that they were right to, because he has rewarded them with cooking more complete and grounded than much of what he’s accomplished before.

He did some excellent work at 71 Clinton Fresh Food on the Lower East Side, but that was a smaller room than 10 Downing’s, with a more succinct bill of fare.

At 10 Downing, in the Village, there’s enough space for about 65 diners now and more than 100 in warm weather, thanks to an outdoor cafe facing the Avenue of the Americas.

And the menu is substantial, not just appetizers and entrees but also a half-dozen sides, some dishes to be shared, and an assortment of charcuterie or salumi (pick your ethnic term and allegiance).

A clarifier before we go any further: 10 Downing’s name makes a British allusion but 10 Downing doesn’t serve British food. The menu has Mediterranean leanings, if any.

It does the requisite contemporary genuflection before swine, though not as floridly as Porchetta did. That restaurant served a margarita with a rim coated in cracklings. This one merely quotes Miss Piggy on the menu.

“Never eat more than you can lift,” she is credited as saying. If you’re A-Rod or Madonna, that leaves you a lot of wiggle (or is it piggle?) room.

Shaped like a triangle and situated on a corner, 10 Downing has the blessing and curse of glass walls on two sides. They give an open feel to the restaurant, which looks like a high-gloss, low-clutter brasserie, but they’re two additional hard surfaces in a restaurant with plenty already. The din can be excruciating.

And the layout is awkward, the narrow side entrance and cramped bar area contributing to a bottleneck of human traffic on the way to the tables.

But the food was more than ample compensation for the aggravation — except on my first visit, around the one-month mark. I’ll long remember that visit for the way a server pitched a steak special. She described it as Piedmont-style, referring to the northern Italian region.

What to Cook This Weekend

Sam Sifton has menu suggestions for the weekend. There are thousands of ideas for what to cook waiting for you on New York Times Cooking.

    • In this slow-cooker recipe for shrimp in purgatory, the spicy red pepper and tomato sauce develops its deep flavors over hours.
    • Deploy some store-bought green chutney in this quick, saucy green masala chicken. could be good for dinner, and some blueberry muffins for breakfast.
    • For dessert, watermelon granita? Or a poundcake with macerated strawberries and whipped cream?
    • And for Memorial Day itself? You know we have many, many recipes for that.

    “How so?” one of my companions asked.

    “Well, it’s from grass-fed cattle raised in the mountains,” she said.

    That night the gnocchi was awash in too much butternut squash — it was all orangey sweetness — and a dish of squid ink agnolotti, filled with a cauliflower cream, was a mushy muddle in which the peekytoe crab over the pasta didn’t really come through.

    But months later these dishes were terrific, their proportions fine-tuned, their flavors sharpened. The mushrooms had more say with the gnocchi the pasta forming the agnolotti had more weight, and the crab had more personality. Slippery red strands of piquillo pepper with it added to the fun.

    The kitchen seems to be getting better and better, and I seldom had the sense that Mr. Neroni was showing off, which he’s been known to do. What was strongest about the best dishes wasn’t some fanciful conceit or adornment, but rather the quality and preparation of the centerpiece ingredient.

    For a recent appetizer special, sweet Maine shrimp were flash-fried to crunchy (but not dry) perfection, their dusting of sea salt, pimentón and cayenne merely an added bonus, though an appreciated one.

    The fillet of merluza (Spanish for hake) in one of my favorite entrees had the opulence of excellent lobster, and if you find yourself wondering whether it and the béarnaise sauce on it are fully responsible for its oomph, the answer is no. The fish is glazed with a beef jus as well.

    The kitchen obviously has a talent for brining, because it brines its roasted chicken, served in a thicket of panzanella salad, and it brined a recent pork chop special. Both were superb.

    But don’t overlook the charcuterie. While it’s no longer impressive for a restaurant simply to hang or smoke its own meat — the way this trend has taken hold, every McDonald’s in Manhattan will soon trumpet house-cured bacon in Egg McMuffins — 10 Downing does a commendable job of it.

    What’s more, the restaurant is generous with the results. For just $25 it presents an assortment that can meet the appetizer needs of at least three people.

    The platter includes morcilla, which is Spanish-style blood sausage mortadella, presented in cubes, as it should be and slices of duck prosciutto, each with a substantial rim of fat.

    Mr. Neroni supervises the sweet as well as the savory side of the menu, and the standout dessert straddles that divide. It puts goat cheesecake in the company of beet sorbet, thus redeploying familiar salad partners for an unfamiliar mission.

    I wish the wine list were more surprising. But you can find what you need to go along with a robust duck meatball cassoulet, actually an appetizer, or with rich braised beef cheeks. They’re served with bone marrow and spaetzle, and are as piggy as beefy gets.

    10 Downing Street (Avenue of the Americas), Greenwich Village (212) 255-0300 or

    ATMOSPHERE A handsome triangle of space with big windows and the look and feel of a sleeker, glossier brasserie.

    SOUND LEVEL Unforgiving.

    RECOMMENDED DISHES Cured and smoked meat platter marinated brussels sprouts sunchoke soup duck meatball cassoulet squid ink agnolotti brisket alla vaccinara merluza roasted chicken beef cheeks goat cheesecake peanut butter and grape jam dessert.

    WINE LIST Accessibly priced, international and suitably comprehensive.

    PRICE RANGE Dinner appetizers, $9 to $14. Full-size pasta dishes and entrees, $19 to $27. Desserts, $8.

    HOURS Dinner from 6 p.m. to midnight Sunday through Wednesday and to 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. Brunch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

    RESERVATIONS For prime times call at least two weeks ahead.

    CREDIT CARDS All major cards.

    WHEELCHAIR ACCESS Special street-level entrance from Sixth Avenue accessible restroom.

    WHAT THE STARS MEAN Ratings range from zero to four stars and reflect the reviewer’s reaction to food, ambience and service, with price taken into consideration. Menu listings and prices are subject to change.

    Bowel cancer danger of just one glass of wine per day

    As little as one glass of wine or a pint of beer each day raises the risk of bowel cancer, doctors have warned.

    Their study, of almost half a million people, highlighted a clear link between alcohol and the cancer which claims 16,000 lives a year in the UK alone.

    It showed that two units - equivalent to a large glass of wine or a pint of beer - is enough to raise the risk of developing the disease by 10 per cent.

    And the more you drink, the greater the threat. Two pints a day, or two large glasses of wine, increases the risk by a quarter.

    The researchers did not look at whether drinking more than four units of alcohol increased the risk even further.

    Writing in the International Journal of Cancer, they said it is not the alcohol itself that causes cancer but the damage caused by chemicals produced when alcohol breaks down in the gut.

    Bowel cancer, which is surpassed in deadliness only by lung cancer, affects around 35,000 Britons each year, with a new case diagnosed every 15 minutes.

    Men have a one in 20 chance of developing it in their lifetime, while for women the risk is slightly higher at one in 18.

    The researchers, from across Europe, studied the health and drinking habits of 480,000 people from ten countries, including the UK. Six years after the start of the study, more than 1,800 of the volunteers had developed bowel cancer.

    Professor Tim Key, of the Cancer Research UK epidemiology unit at Oxford University, said: "The research shows quite clearly that the more alcohol you drink the greater your risk of bowel cancer.

    "The increase in risk is not large but it is important that people understand they can reduce their risk of a number of different cancers - including bowel cancer - by cutting down on alcohol."

    Other conditions linked to alcohol include mouth cancer and breast cancer. Small amounts of alcohol, however, appear to keep heart disease at bay.

    A recent study found that half a glass of wine a day is so beneficial to the heart that it extends life expectancy by almost four years.

    Dr Lesley Walker, Cancer Research UK's director of cancer information, said everyone should stop and think about how much they drink.

    "There is a lot of confusion over safe levels of drinking. This partly arises over the increasing strength of some wines and beers and the fact that many pubs offer a large glass of wine that is actually equivalent to one third of a bottle.

    "It is important that people do not automatically equate one drink with one unit.

    "A large glass of wine with a high alcohol volume is likely to be the equivalent of considerably more than that.

    "Cancer Research UK recommends that women should drink less than two units a day and men less than three.

    "While there is increasing evidence that over-indulging in alcohol can increase the risk of some cancers, research also shows that by far the biggest risk for life-threatening diseases is the combination of smoking with drinking alcohol."

    85 Best 4th of July Captions for Instagram for a Red, White, and Blue Celebration

    Everyone celebrates the 4th of July a little differently. Maybe you throw a backyard barbecue with your favorite grilling recipes. Or perhaps you gather your friends and head to the beach with a playlist of your favorite patriotic songs. No matter how you celebrate, you're bound to document the day with plenty of photos that will need some witty 4th of July captions for Instagram. This list covers any type of message you want to convey, including clever puns, heartfelt patriotic quotes, and more.

    If you want to keep it lighthearted, write "Red, white, and barbecue" on a pic of a delicious spread of BBQ sides. If you're planning on shooting off an impressive fireworks display like Ladd Drummond does in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, every year, then you're definitely going to need an equally impressive caption! "Firework pics or it didn't happen" is a great for anyone wanting to be a little cheeky. And a festive quote from one of your favorite 4th of July movies will also do the trick&mdashor just about any line from Hamilton!

    Since it's a day to kick back and relax with friends and family, keep your 4th of July Instagram captions fun and celebratory with these creative ideas.

    What America's Fittest Peloton Instructors Eat In A Day

    Spoiler alert: They're as obsessed with Trader Joe's as you are.

    To take a Peloton class is to feel like you just became BFFs with your instructor. The cool luxury of inviting the cycling experts into your home has spawned a loyal fan base of ride-or-die followers&mdashand turned the instructors into mini celebrities.

    People want to know the person behind the bike, which is why many instructors have amassed tens of thousands of followers on Instagram. But we wanted to know more than their &lsquoGram grid could show. We asked five top instructors to open up about their daily routines&mdashwhen they workout, who they cool down with, and, obviously, what they eat.

    Jump To

    Emma Lovewell | Hannah Corbin | Olivia Amato | Cody Rigsby

    Emma doesn&rsquot &ldquojust&rdquo teach Peloton classes&mdashshe&rsquos also a dancer and a model. Ironically, modeling is what brought her to Peloton in the first place. &ldquoI met the folks at Peloton in 2012, right when they were getting started, and was eventually hired as a model for them,&rdquo the 33-year-old says. She kept in touch over the years and became an instructor two years ago. Emma&rsquos a self-professed &ldquobig food person,&rdquo with a blog ( of original recipes to prove it. &ldquoMy mom is Chinese, and I grew up with a lot of Chinese home-cooked meals,&rdquo she says. &ldquoI realize the importance of cooking at home. I&rsquom just trying figure out how to eat healthier and have it taste good.&rdquo


    I woke up at 7:30 a.m. and drank a glass of room temperature water with lemon, followed by a fruit and veggie smoothie with banana, blueberries, spinach, avocado, almond butter, and almond milk. I like having a smoothie for breakfast because it&rsquos quick, and I can pack a lot of nutrients into one cup. I followed that with a cup of hot green tea. I&rsquove been making matcha lately&mdashand loving it.

    I left the house around 10 a.m. for the gym and did weight training with my trainer for an hour and a half. When I left, I drank a bottle of water and headed over to Peloton to teach a 30 minute HIIT class.

    Right after class, I ate lunch around 2:30 p.m. I went to Bite and got a vegetable Moroccan lentil soup with a piece of pita bread. I saw my physical therapist just after for a 45-minute session then headed home to Brooklyn.

    I love to cook, so I whipped together a vegetable Thai coconut green curry dish with bamboo shoots, broccoli, taro, carrots, and onions, and served it over brown basmati rice. It was so good! I love mixing a bunch of different vegetables together for a meal.

    After dinner, I had a piece of dark chocolate and a cup of African Rooibos tea. I always make sure to drink decaffeinated tea at night so I don&rsquot have trouble falling asleep.


    Saturday is my day off&mdashso I woke up around 8:30 a.m. I try to stay in Brooklyn and like to lay low as much as possible. Almost every Saturday, my boyfriend and I make pancakes (gluten-free with oat flour!) together for breakfast. We added chocolate chips, covered the pancakes with fresh fruit (raspberries, blueberries, bananas), and topped them with real maple syrup from Vermont. We also made fresh-ground coffee, served with a little bit of half and half.

    Around 1 p.m., I started to make a favorite crockpot recipe, butternut squash coconut chili. This recipe tastes and smells so good. My whole apartment ends up smelling like it, and I don&rsquot mind at all. While that was cooking for four hours in the crockpot, I made myself some avocado toast with multigrain bread, avocado, a squeeze of fresh lemon, and salt and pepper. I like to have a light lunch after a heavier breakfast.

    Around 6 p.m., we ate dinner, which was the butternut squash coconut chili over quinoa. We cut up a Cara Cara orange as dessert.

    Lunar New Year

    For the Lunar New Year eve, I hosted dinner with a group of friends at a Mongolian hot pot restaurant in Chinatown. That day, I ate pretty normally until dinnertime. I had my fruit and veggie smoothie and hot oatmeal with fruit, cacao nuts, and walnuts for breakfast.

    For lunch, I had food from Green Symphony on 6th Avenue and 15th Street&mdashsteamed vegetables (kale, carrots, cabbage, sprouts) with tofu and a veggie patty on top, served with hot sauce and tahini sauce.

    For dinner, we all met up around 6 p.m. but didn&rsquot sit down to eat until 7 p.m. There were around 10 of us, and we ordered two big hot pots&mdashone spicy and one mild. All the food comes raw and you cook it together, all in the big pots. We had Kobe beef, pork, tons of vegetables (bok choy, Chinese cabbage, broccoli, lotus root), tofu, calamari, fish balls, rice noodles, and dumplings. You also get to make your own sauce to dip everything into. Mine had a mixture of scallions, black bean paste, hot chili oil, and soy sauce with garlic. We surprisingly ate everything&hellipand still had room for dessert: fried soft rice cakes with green tea ice cream.

    Hannah Marie is as OG as Peloton instructors come. &ldquoWhen I came onboard, we didn&rsquot even have a studio yet,&rdquo she says. These days, when she&rsquos not teaching, the 30-year-old trains as a dancer and aerialist. It&rsquos led her to adopt a food-as-fuel mentality. &ldquoI want the best things in my body to get through my day but also so that I can age gracefully,&rdquo Hannah Marie says, noting that she&rsquos &ldquomostly vegan&rdquo and hasn&rsquot had dairy in 10 years. Luckily she&rsquos got a live-in, quasi personal chef: her husband, who loves to cook. &ldquoI definitely reap the benefits of his hard work,&rdquo she laughs. While she does the grocery shopping, she admits, "It wouldn&rsquot be as easy to eat at home if I was depending on my own cooking skills because they&rsquore definitely lacking.&rdquo


    I always eat within an hour of waking up in the morning. Breakfast was a sweet potato quinoa casserole, made from a recipe I got from the Running On Veggies blog. I make this once a month to use for a week of breakfasts. After that, I did weight training, which I followed up with a post-workout shake of blueberries, vegan protein, and soy milk. I'm actually not a huge fan of protein powder, but I don't eat meat, so it's necessary with how much I exercise.

    I got ready to teach a Peloton class by putting branched-chain amino acids in my water bottle, which I do every time I have an intense workout. After that, I had lunch, which was a green and grain bowl with falafel from Cava and a dark chocolate peanut cup.

    Later, I taught two short rides and a stretching class at Peloton. I followed that up with an afternoon iced coffee. I take my coffee black&mdashI usually skip milk and sugar. I would rather consume extra calories by way of dark chocolate or a glass of Pinot Noir at the end of the day.

    Dinner was a quinoa bowl at home. I combine anything I have around the kitchen. Tonight was arugula, quinoa, kidney beans, veggie sausage, roasted broccoli, and cauliflower. For a pre-bedtime snack, I had grapes and a handful of tortilla chips. Salt and sugar&hellipit felt right at the time!


    I slept in and went straight for an early lunch, which was an open-faced sandwich topped with garbanzo bean salad (from the Plantpower Way Meal Planner) and a quarter of an avocado. I went back for seconds about an hour later!

    After that, I had an acupuncture appointment, followed by a snack of veggies and edamame hummus. Dinner was sweet potato enchiladas, using a recipe from the Oh She Glows cookbook. These are a staple in my house, thanks to my husband.

    Afterwards, I enjoyed a post-dinner couch cocktail: a smoky boulevardier (whiskey, vermouth, and Campari).

    Holiday Dinner

    My special occasion days aren't so different from any other day. A long time ago I realized that I didn't need a special occasion to indulge, but that only came after I realized that indulgence doesn't have to equate to feeling sick and terrible.

    For breakfast, I had coffee with chocolate oat milk. My mom and I like to act fancy with our homemade "mochas." We snacked while we cooked, noshing on veggies, crackers, olives, and almonds.

    For dinner, I had green beans, homemade rolls, and mashed potatoes made with dairy-free milk and Earth Balance "butter." (Pro tip: My family normally doesn't notice that there isn't dairy unless you tell them.) I also had acorn squash stuffed with quinoa, kidney beans, toasted walnuts and cranberries. Dessert was a ½ slice of angel food cake, and 1/2 slice of marionberry pie with coconut whipped cream on top. I had a second dinner of more mashed potatoes later on.

    Olivia started a career in finance but realized she missed the team aspect and motivation that she used to have when playing sports. So three years ago, she made the transition and became a fitness instructor. Two years later, she joined the Peloton team. &ldquoI wanted to make the best part of my day what I do for a living,&rdquo the 26-year-old says. When it comes to food, she tends to eat when she&rsquos hungry. &ldquoEverything in moderation&mdashI don&rsquot limit myself and I don&rsquot follow a specific diet,&rdquo she says. Still, Olivia prefers to make her own food: &ldquoThen I know what I&rsquom putting in it.&rdquo


    I woke up at 5:30 a.m. and took Tobi for a walk. I drank coffee with almond milk and got to the studio to teach my morning Tread classes: one 20-minute run and one 20-minute core class. At 8:30, I took a Pilates class to stretch it out.

    I went home to walk Tobi and feed him breakfast. I grabbed a regular coffee with oat milk during the walk. Around 11 a.m., I had two eggs and two veggie sausages for breakfast. After breakfast, I worked on my playlists for my Peloton classes the following day.

    I had a meeting at Peloton at 1 p.m. and had lunch around 2:30 p.m. I'm a creature of habit, and when I find something I like, I stick to it. There is a small restaurant in Flatiron called Green Symphony that I love. The food is so simple and healthy, and I always feel great after I eat it. I usually order it to my apartment, but I went there in person this time and got steamed veggies, brown rice, and a veggie patty with tahini and hot sauce. It's so good!

    I did a strength workout in the gym in my building, and afterward, I programmed my classes for the next few days and answered emails. I also took a 20-minute nap.

    I had dinner around 7 p.m. I&rsquove been trying to branch out a bit more by cooking new recipes, and tonight, I made Panko-breaded cod with broccoli and sliced potatoes. It was delicious.


    I had the day off from work, so I woke up around 9 a.m., grabbed a hot coffee with almond milk from Sarabeth&rsquos, and took my puppy Tobi for a walk. When we got home, I fed Tobi breakfast and made yogurt for myself. I used 3/4 cup nonfat Trader Joe&rsquos yogurt with frozen blueberries, a sprinkle of muesli, and one tablespoon of almond butter.

    After breakfast, I walked to SoHo with Tobi to pick up a new pair of running shoes at Nike then met up with a friend for a matcha from Matchaful. I also had a matcha cashew butter cup. They&rsquore handmade in Brooklyn and so delicious. They also have matcha in them. so they&rsquore healthy, right?!

    When I got home, I made lunch: three Trader Joe&rsquos turkey meatballs on a Greek salad, which I made with lettuce, cabbage, feta cheese, Kalamata olives, olive oil, and red wine vinegar. After lunch, I got ready for my weekly Trader Joe&rsquos run, which is about a 10-minute walk from my apartment.

    I love having breakfast for dinner. I made eggs with ricotta, peppers, and two slices of turkey bacon. Sometimes I&rsquoll add one or two small gluten-free pancakes, too. I have a huge sweet tooth, so I have to have something sweet after dinner. I&rsquove been really into a few pieces of chocolate-covered banana or strawberries recently.

    Dinner With Friends

    When I know I&rsquom going out for a dinner with friends, I eat lighter during the day. For breakfast, I had a ½ cup of yogurt with blueberries and cinnamon. Lunch was salad with spinach, feta, and sliced chicken breast, with balsamic vinegar. For a snack, I had a pink lady apple.

    Finally, it was time for my celebration dinner with friends. We went to Lil&rsquo Frankie&rsquos in the East Village. I don&rsquot eat pasta and pizza a lot, but when I do, I make sure it&rsquos good&mdashand this was amazing. We ordered a bunch of different pizzas, pastas, and salads for the table to share, which I loved because we got to try a little bit of everything. I can honestly say everything was delicious. My favorite was the lemon pasta&mdashit was so simple, yet so good. I left the night feeling great because I had such a fun night with my friends and also enjoyed the food, knowing that tomorrow I&rsquoll be back on track with my normal schedule and routine.

    An Italian twist to a favorite Thai dish

    If you've ever had the pleasure of trying Thai drunken noodles (or pad kee mao), you know what an amazingly vibrant, rich and flavorful dish it is.

    With ribbons of broad rice noodles drenched in a sweet and savory sauce, charred red and yellow bell peppers and onions, a choice of spicy meat, tofu, or shrimp, and a light flourish of freshly julienned Thai basil, this dish always hits the spot when it comes to all those big flavors I crave in Thai cuisine.

    I must admit, whenever I would enjoy this dish, it always made me wonder what an Italian version of it would taste like.

    So in the spirit of play, I created this Italian drunken noodles recipe in which I swapped out some of the more Thai-style ingredients for Italian ones—my oh my, were the results delicious!

    How to Make Drunken Noodles with an Italian Twist

    In keeping with those basic components of noodle, meat, veggie, sauce and herb, it's easy to see how Thai-style drunken noodles can easily be “morphed” into a brand new, Italian-style dish with a distinctly different flavor profile, while still maintaining the spirit of the original.

    This is what I love and appreciate about fusion food!

    What I did with this Italian drunken noodles recipe was to substitute wide and tender pappardelle noodles in place of the broad rice noodles, and then switched out some spicy and rich Italian sausage for the tofu, shrimp or chicken typically served in the Thai version.

    For the sauce element, I used a tomato base kissed with a hint of wine in order to make the dish a bit “drunken”, and then kept the classic vegetable medley of multi-colored bell peppers and onions, plus that flourish of fresh basil to tie all the flavors together.

    Here's a glance at my Italian drunken noodles recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe below. )

    11. 2015 Jolie-Laide Rossi Ranch Grenache-Syrah Sonoma County ($49)

    When he’s not working his day job as assistant winemaker at Wind Gap, owner and winemaker Scott Schultz produces roughly 500 cases per year of Jolie-Laide wines. This classic Rhône blend from the historic Rossi Ranch in Sonoma Valley brings Grenache and Syrah into one tank, where they਌o-fermentਊlong with a small percentage of white Viognier and Muscat grapes that grow amongst the rows. The white varieties add a wild perfume note to the final blend. And the grapes are actually crushed by foot! After a whole-cluster ferment, the wine is pressed off into neutral oak barrels for another 10 months. The result is an elegant red with a dark-fruited core of sumptuous Grenache that melds harmoniously with the sauvage- and peppercorn-scented character of Syrah. Bold and masculine, but charming and playful.

    Two Neighborhoods, One Naples

    ''QUESTA e Napoli,'' declares the waitress. With the city's trademark cynicism, more juice than rind, she says her trattoria hires only family because strangers entail taxes and paperwork. Blood is thicker, and cheaper. This is Naples.

    Her neighborhood, however, looks little like the city tourists know. There is no cluster of medieval palazzi over Roman paving on a Greek plan. There's no laundry on public display. That Naples, the postcard Naples, isn't far -- the Spanish Quarter, the ancient seaport at its crankiest, is just five minutes downhill by the funicular railway.

    My trattoria, new and still without a name when I was there in May, is in the Vomero, home to the city's upper middle class. Around me stretch broad 19th- and 20th-century boulevards. After lunch, for my digestivo, I'll walk to Villa Floridiana, a spacious and airy park with sweeping views of the waterfront, the islands and the sea.

    In the Spanish Quarter and the Vomero (pronounced VOH-meh-roh) one encounters Naples at its extremes: the former long impoverished, its inhabitants often testing the borders of criminality, and the latter newly booming, its population solidly bourgeois. At times, the neighborhoods seem to share nothing but their hillside boundary.

    The Spanish Quarter takes its name from the Spanish viceroys, rulers of the city for 200 years, beginning in 1504. Don Pedro de Toledo first laid out the thoroughfare still known as Via Toledo, now the neighborhood's downhill border, then developed the Quarter as troop housing. The general population flooded in thereafter, but the layout retains a military grid. On the map it suggests a dollhouse checkerboard.

    On the street, it seems even smaller. Even if there were no foot traffic and construction work, if there weren't the believers pausing at streetside shrines and the children scampering after cats and dogs and hens, and the Vespas zipping everywhere, if mothers didn't sit out on their kitchen chairs keeping an eye on their babies and vendors didn't stand on every corner hawking cigarette lighters or lottery predictions, water or Kleenex or (from a hidden drawer) illegal tax-free cigarettes -- even if it weren't for all this untrammeled life in the streets, the Quarter would offer no small physical challenge. Its east-west vicoli climb the slopes under the Vomero, and most of these alleyways turn into stairs. Its north-south parallels rise and fall only slightly less. And none of the buildings have elevators.

    Yet this aerobic clamor conveys unique charms. I can think of no other neighborhood in Europe that offers so close an approximation of medieval city experience, footbound and communal. Every street has its bassi, ground-floor apartments of two rooms or even one, and the inhabitants openly share their lives with passers-by. Hole-in-the-wall restaurants bear out the urban wisdom that cheap amenities mean good food.

    Nor does any neighborhood this side of Granada possess such an Arabian feel. The Spanish arrived in Naples just after theyɽ driven out the Moors, and though the original three-story barracks have long since been built up, they retain the same Moorish details that marked the golden age of Andalusia. The two shopping streets, Pigna Secca and Emmanuele de Deo, present a carnival crush to rival any souk.

    The ruling faith, of course, comes from Rome. On saints' days, young men vie for the honor of carrying the holy effigy, and every day the power of church icons is evident in the street-side shrines, many of which have been in place for 50 years or more. The figures of worship, usually a Madonna and child, may be composed of store-bought dolls or spangled with paste-on halos. But some settings are inlaid with Neapolitan marble, red or green. Shrines contain household knickknacks, photos of the recent dead, a syringe to symbolize release from addiction -- bits and pieces of local life. Most sanctuaries hold fresh flowers, too. Nobody touches the coin offerings.

    The Quarter protects its own. One spectacular crucifix stands at the intersection of Via Concordia and Vico Colonne a Cariati, a crossing that is part stairway and part street with a stirring view of the lower blocks. Yet if a couple of the inhabitants of the quartieri choose to meet there, they will keep outsiders from knowing where they're headed by using a well-nigh unpronounceable slang for the site.

    By Piazza Montecalvario, a homemade mural has lasted a dozen years. A celebration of the Napoli club's 1987 Italian professional soccer championship, the painting links the team's star, Diego Maradona, to two other local gods, the writer Eduardo De Filippo and the actor Toto. Likewise, the gangs here don't bother patrons of the Teatro Nuovo. The Teatro, on Via Montecalvario, is ordinary architecturally, but it has a proud history, having been in operation since 1724, 13 years longer than the San Carlo opera house. More than that, it provided early exposure for many young artists, including De Filippo, and still features groundbreaking work in theater or film.

    But the kind of inner-city self-reliance that keeps the Teatro Nuovo from harm can also result in stunted horizons. Ten-year-olds can skip school and adults can grow to accept street gangs and purse snatchings as a part of Neapolitan life.

    In the 90's, under the enlightened administration of Mayor Antonio Bassolino, Naples has at last begun to address these problems. In particular, workers have begun to take down i tubi, the jury-rigged scaffolding that has marred the Quarter since the earthquake of 1980. These resembled immense iron tic-tac-toe games, and while they kept a few buildings from collapsing, they further isolated the inhabitants. A headline in the daily Il Mattino likened living with the tubi to '✖ Years in a Cage.''

    Now the area is noticeably emerging from its cage. The Spanish Quarter Association, a citizens' group, works with children at risk, and blocks are even gentrifying a bit, as downtown professionals take advantage of the location. The Quarter also now claims a gem of a hotel, the Toledo, where I had a comfortable, modern room with telephone, TV, desk and perfectly functioning bathroom. Above the Teatro Nuovo, and roofed by a garden restaurant with small palms, lemon trees, cockatoos and tortoises, the Toledo is often the choice of visitors working in academics or the arts.

    In the Vomero, gentrification came with the territory. Only those with money could move up from downtown, particularly during the cholera outbreak of the 1880's. At that time, newcomers developed the neighborhood hub of Piazza Vanvitelli and its feeder boulevards.

    Earlier, the hilltop had been home mostly to lemons and broccoli. Vomero is Italian for a handheld plow, and peasants once worked perhaps the most beautiful farm terraces on earth there. Even now, streetside vistas can leave a visitor dumbstruck. The classic panorama of city, bay and volcano sweeps out beneath the piazza at the end of Via Tito Angelini some 800 feet above the Spanish Quarter.

    Across the street, from the Carthusian monastery of San Martino, is an even more spectacular view. San Martino, and the fortress Castel Santɾlmo beside it, date from the 1320's the church's splendid Baroque remodeling is by Giovanni Antonio Dosio and Cosimo Fanzago. The complex includes, besides a museum, a painting of the descent from the cross that some claim is by Caravaggio (guidebooks claim it's by Ribera) and a swirling, dramatic ceiling painting of the Judith story by Luca Giordano.

    Out in the cloister gardens, Fanzago's switchback stairways do their best to equal the stunning setting. Not surprisingly, all these Vomero overlooks attract ardent Neapolitan couples, eager for any excuse to kiss.

    The Vomero's next stage of development occurred farther downhill, in and around the Villa Floridiana, which is actually a park, unwinding along spiral pathways around its eponymous central mansion, now a ceramics museum. A gift from the Bourbon Ferdinand I to his lover, the estate was finished in 1819, lavishly stocked with exotic plants, in particular camellias.

    The villa itself was a place of legendary sumptuousness. Countess Blessington (a writer and sharply observant friend to, among others, Lord Byron) said that the bath ''would admit not only of bathing, but of swimming.'' Much of that finery is now gone, though Chinese vases and French tapestries still adorn the foyer. Most visitors, however, enjoy a different, more fragile extravagance: more than 6,000 ceramic works from all over the world, including feather-perfect Meissen miniatures and fine local majolica.

    All in all, the Floridiana's park and museum offer a textbook case of the contrast that vivifies Italian cities. One emerges from roaring and stony man-made constriction into lush greenery, scrupulous artwork and inspiring vistas.

    Other Bourbon palaces remain nearby, subdivided into apartments. But most of the great houses went up later, during the first 50 years of urbanization, before and after the turn of this century. Lesser buildings crowded in after World War II, but every street has its marble scrollwork, its cherubim or stained glass. Panoramic thoroughfares like Via L. Sanfelice offer one beauty after another, among them the 1898 retirement home of De Filippo's playwright father, Scarpetta. The palazzo is inscribed ''Qui Rido Io'' (''Here I laugh'').

    Already comfortable, the Vomero, too, has gotten better over the last few years. Like the Spanish Quarter, it has a new grass-roots organization dedicated to local amelioration. Recent successes include a park and pedestrian-only areas and a modern hotel, the Belvedere, built along Via Tito Angelini in such a way that every room looks out over the city and the bay. My broad and comfortable room included a refrigerator and a balcony perfect for evening meditations.

    My nameless trattoria, as it happens, was in the opposite sort of place: a heavy traffic zone without an overlook. Fat luxury cars kept cruising by, and on all sides rose soulless postwar buildings. The scene looked nothing like the Quarter.

    And though I was struck by what the waitress said, by the way Naples remains Naples, I couldn't force a connection between the two neighborhoods, other than my rickety table, which may well have come from down the hill. Yet a trip that includes both odd bedfellows, rich in contrasting flavors like my lunch of penne and octopus, hits the spot.

    Good pizza and good views: visiting the Quarter and Vomero

    The Quarter is a five-minute walk west of central Naples. The main street, known as Spaccanapoli, extends into the Quarter as Via Pasquale Scura.

    The Quarter can also be reached by train, bus and the Montesanto funicular. Next to the funicular is the last stop on the Ferrovia Cumana, a commuter train, and down an adjoining street is a Metro stop. All tickets within the city are less than a dollar.

    Via Emmanuele de Deo climbs perpendicularly off Via Toledo (also called Via Roma) from close by Piazza Municipio. The lower six blocks or so of the Quarter can be explored safely, if alertly, until sundown.

    The most famous local restaurant is Pizzeria Brandi, 1 Salita Santɺnna di Palazzo, birthplace of the Margherita pizza. Many a famous tourist has his or her picture on the wall, but local residents sniff at the quality. A meal for two costs about $42 (at the exchange rate of 1,672 lire to the dollar) telephone (39-81) 416 928.

    Better are the hole-in-the-wall places. At Priggiobbo, 96 Via Portacarrese a Montecalvario, a fine pizza and a couple of beers cost less than $15, a full meal with appetizers about $20. It is closed Sundays and holidays (39-81) 407 692.

    At Sette Soldi, 6 Vico Tre Re a Toledo, the very name, which translates as Seven Pieces of Change, suggests economy. A pizza with wine or beer for two is about $15. Closed Monday (39-81) 418 727.

    The Quarter has only one hotel, but it's a gem. Hotel Toledo, 15 Via Montecalvario, offers doubles for about $100, including a small breakfast in the rooftop restaurant, a marvelous pink-stone hideaway with cockatoos and tortoises. The 18 rooms have TV and telephone the front bar is well stocked (39-81) 406 800, fax 406 871.

    All three Naples funiculars (the Montesanto, the Centrale and the Chiaia) serve the Vomero. Metro connections to downtown are under construction, but the line to the suburbs is complete. By car, take either Corso Vittorio Emmanuele or the Tangenziale beltway, a 15-minute drive from downtown (but hours, perhaps, in traffic).

    For the best pizza, locals suggest Acunzo, 60-62 Via Cimarosa a Margharita costs $5. Closed Sunday (39-81) 578 5362.

    A favorite for families is the garden restaurant Frasca, 12 Via Raffaele Morghen, with a menu of classic Neapolitan pizza and pasta that runs $25 to $50 for two (39-81) 556 8154.

    Pizza e Contorni, 27 Via Massimo Stazione, is a local chain of unusual quality. The menu changes daily but recently featured penne with olives and capers, spaghetti with swordfish and shrimp and a variety of roasted meats and fish. A dinner for two, including wine or beer, starts at about $20. Closed Tuesday (39-81) 556 4849.

    The Vomero has two good lodging possibilities. Hotel Belvedere, 51-59 Via Tito Angelini, across the street from San Martino, is friendly, spacious and altogether excellent. All 27 rooms (half with balconies) look out onto Naples and Vesuvius, and have full bath and all amenities. Doubles are about $107, including breakfast in the garden restaurant (39-81) 578 8169, fax 578 5417.