ICYMI, We’ve Moved To: The Tasteful Traveler

For those who have followed along here (if there are any of you out there!), or if you’re new and stumbled upon this site: firstly, thank you! Secondly, we’ve moved!

We’ve started something new dedicated to the foodie and food-driven traveler. Follow along over at our new website The Tasteful Traveler for more food- and travel-related content. You can also find us on Instagram and TikTok.

Thanks for following along!


2023-09-16T15:47:09-07:00September 16th, 2023|Categories: Travel|0 Comments

A Stay at Grand Hotel Tremezzo in Lake Como, Italy

We’ve moved! Read more on our new site: The Tasteful Traveler.


When you think of Lake Como, what do you see? Boat rides down a beautifully blue lake? George Clooney’s house? That sparkling floating pool with orange and white umbrellas you always see in photos? 

That floating pool belongs to Grand Hotel Tremezzo in Lake Como, and it is an exquisite place to stay while you are exploring the gorgeous area of Lake Como. Read on for an in-depth review of our stay to see if the Grand is the hotel for you on your next Lake Como trip.  

A view of Lake Como, Italy and the floating pool from Grand Hotel Tremezzo.

Grand Hotel Tremezzo in Lake Como, Italy

The Property:

Grand Hotel Tremezzo is located on the shores of a little town called Tremezzo, directly across the lake from Bellagio. You’ll find Villa Carlotta (a botanical garden and museum) a four minute walk away, as well as two ferry stops (for Villa Carlotta and Tremezzo) a two or four minute walk away, respectively, so you can easily get to where you need to go if you choose to explore Tremezzo and neighboring towns around the lake.

Grand Hotel Tremezzo is indeed grand. It gives off vibes reminiscent of the movie The Grand Budapest Hotel, and the grounds are gorgeous. There are three pools – one of which is that gorgeous floating pool you see in photos, a few places to dine, a private beach, and luxurious rooms to stay in. 

There are multiple ways to get to the Grand Hotel Tremezzo, making it easy to reach. The hotel is located about 80 km (50 miles) away from Milan’s airports MXP and LIN so you can drive, or take the train from Milan to Como, and hop on the ferry to Tremezzo. The hotel can also arrange car transfers for you (either from Milan or the Como train station).

View of the Grand Hotel Tremezzo in Lake Como, Italy, from the floating pool.

View of Grand Hotel Tremezzo from the floating pool.

The Room(s):

Grand Hotel Tremezzo offers a mix of park view and lake view rooms (they’re offered as ‘prestige’ or ‘deluxe’ rooms – more on that later), as well as suites, rooftop suites, and a villa to rent. 

If you’re just looking at the rooms and want a stunning view of the lake, make sure to book the Lake View rooms.

We had booked one night in the Park View Prestige Room, and another night in the Lake View Prestige Room. On arrival, we were lucky enough to have both rooms upgraded so we got to spend a night in both the Lake View Prestige Room and the Lake View View Deluxe room. 

Both these Lake View Prestige and Deluxe rooms obviously offered gorgeous lake views, but had a few differences (aside from price):

  • Lake View Prestige: rooms located in the middle of the Grand, have balconies with views of the lake, and have king or twin beds 
  • Lake View Deluxe: are the corner rooms of the Grand building (so there are more floor-to-ceiling windows), and also have a balcony with views of the lake, and have king or twin beds

The Deluxe rooms is a little bit larger than the Prestige, and that square footage is stretched across the whole room – the bathrooms have double sinks vs one sink in the Prestige, and there’s a bit more space for lounging in the main room. Both types of rooms are absolutely gorgeous so you really can’t go wrong, but if you’re looking for a bit more space and windows, choose the Deluxe.

Lake View Deluxe room at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo

Lake View Deluxe room at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo.

General booking room tip: When placing your reservation, ask for a room on a higher floor if available. This will help give you those gorgeous views, and you’ll be farther from street traffic. 

A lake view from the Lake View Deluxe room at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo.

View from the Lake View Deluxe room at Grand Hotel Tremezzo.

The Food:

Breakfast at the hotel is a must. Not only because it’s included in your stay, but because the offerings are delicious and the seating with a view of the lake can’t be beat. 

Breakfast is set up like a buffet in what seems like a vast ballroom, and you’ll find hotel staff on hand ready to help serve you whatever you’d like from the buffet.

As far as the actual food goes, there’s a wide variety to choose from. There are multiples kinds of local cheeses and meats, as well as hard- and soft-boiled eggs options (as in you can choose from a 3-minute boiled egg, or a 6- or 9- minute boiled egg). You’ll also find different types of pastries, breads, cookies, fruit, and chocolates.

A plate from the breakfast buffet at Grand Hotel Tremezzo

There are a total of five bars/restaurants that you can dine at on the property, all offering a range of food: 

  • T Pizza: This is located behind the property, next to the Flower Pool and offers a few appetizers, salads and, of course, pizzas. 
  • T Bar: For a casual bite to eat, head over to T Bar which offers lunch and dinner on the terrace with a view of the lake. 
  • Giacomo al Lago: This is the lakeside restaurant located in the midst of The Grand’s private beach and next to the floating pool. Food here was delicious (and my favorite out of the three places we tried on the property including T Bar and L’Escale). Get an aperol spritz, a bite to eat and take in the sunshine. 
  • L’Escale Trattoria and Wine Bar: We had a lackluster experience here – both with the service and food. Could’ve been an off night, but I would recommend eating at the other restaurants on the property rather than at L’Escale. 
  • La Terrazza Gualtiero Marchesi: For fine dining on the property, make sure to go here and make a reservation in advance. (We unfortunately didn’t get to have a meal here as we didn’t have a reservation). This restaurant serves up some of late chef Marchesi’s signature dishes, including his famous saffron risotto topped with a 23-karat gold leaf. 
Lunch at Giacomo al Lago, at Grand Hotel Tremezzo

Lunch at Giacomo al Lago, at Grand Hotel Tremezzo

The Amenities: 

You can easily spend a day exploring the grounds of the Grand Hotel Tremezzo itself – from the three pools, the private beach, the spa, the gardens, and the tennis court.

A view of the Flowers Pool at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo.

A view of the Flowers Pool at Grand Hotel Tremezzo.

If you’re in search of something more, the concierge team will happily set up excursions for you (including cooking classes, walks and more). 

We booked a boat tour through them to explore Lake Como by boat and highly recommend! The Grand offers two Venetian motor boats so be sure to book a tour via one of these boats in advance (especially in high season). You can choose whether to go north up the lake, or south down the lake. We went South (since we had gone North via the ferry earlier that day). Going South of the lake takes you by multiple villas (including George Clooney’s, and the villa where they filmed an episode of Succession), and the picture-perfect waterfall in Nesso. 

Boat tour booked through Grand Hotel Tremezzo.

The Verdict: 

Grand Hotel Tremezzo is a great place to stay in Lake Como if you’re looking to splurge on the ultimate luxury. Book the lake view rooms if you can, on a higher floor, to enjoy the grandeur of Lake Como and its gorgeous views.

You can also find more content and videos from our trip to Lake Como and Grand Hotel Tremezzo on Instagram.

Are you making plans to visit Lake Como this year? Let me know in the comments, or share your favorite hotels in Lake Como!

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2024-04-02T14:14:45-07:00April 14th, 2023|Categories: Travel|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

Dinner at 3 Michelin Star Restaurant: Benu

We’ve moved! Read more on our new website: The Tasteful Traveler.


Benu opened in San Francisco in 2010, and was the first restaurant in SF to receive 3 Michelin Stars in 2014. They have maintained their 3 stars since, and it’s easy to see why.

Chef Corey Lee helms this restaurant and spins up a tasting menu that incorporates delicate but divine flavors using local produce. Everything on their dinner menu is stunning – and their ‘small delicacies’ are truly small delicacies. So let’s get into it.

The top notes of things you should know: 

  • The tasting menu is set up with multiple small dishes/starters, 3 main courses, and 2 desserts to finish
  • Expect to spend at least 3 hours to enjoy dinner here
  • The menu is $375/person, and reservations can be made via Tock

Now let’s dive into the full experience:

The menu in December 2022 started off with “small delicacies” which consisted of nine individual small bites. The first dish to hit our table was a thousand year old quail egg which was a stunning sight just with the colors alone. This dish was a great starter though and had some really lovely complex flavors to kick the meal off.
Benu - Thousand Year Old Egg

Continuing the small delicacy section was this stuffed mussel with glass noodles and fine vegetables. This was an outstanding bite, both in taste and presentation!

Benu: stuffed mussel with glass noodles and fine vegetables

A jellyfish and fine vegetable salad with hot mustard were served next. Again, the flavors here were so nice and reminiscent of the mustard used in the Korean dish mul-naeng myun (cold noodles in a cold broth), and the bowl used to serve this was gorgeous.

Benu: jellyfish and fine vegetable salad

Up next was a cod milt in a bath of three mustards. Again with the impeccable presentation and colors. This was a delightful dish.

Benu: Cod milt

And then we had a truly perfect shrimp tempura dusted with pine needles.

Benu: shrimp

A flowering tofu dish came out next, and it was really a beautiful tofu that looked like a flowering sea anemone.

Onto the seventh small delicacy – crispy frog leg sautéed with chili. Hidden beneath all those chilis was an incredibly crispy frog leg with a punchy, delicious flavor. I don’t think I’ve ever had frog legs before, but this is a frog leg I would eat again and again.

Benu: crispy frog leg

The acorn taco was next. And this was filled with iberico ham and black truffle shavings. Need I say more? This was melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

Benu: acorn taco

Wrapping up the “small delicacies” section was bread and orange blossom infused honey butter.

The last starter, separate from the “small delicacies” above, was the lobster xiao long bao with homemade soy sauce and vinegar. This was perfect in every way, and a great finish to the starters section of the menu.

Benu: lobster xiao long bao

All the starters acted as a fun – and not too filling – entry point and introduction into the flavors before you get into the rest of the meal.

Following these starters was the next course which was a choice between three options. I went with the short grain rice with raw spot prawn and pollock roe, sesame leaf, pickled salsify, and rock seaweed.

The other two options were 1) charcoal noodles with sauteed black bean sauce, giant squid, fresh and dried caviar, and 2) jasmine rice cooked in gamasot (min for 2) with monkfish liver sausage, trout roe, calabash gourd.

Benu: raw spot prawn

The next course was another option between three. You could choose between 1) mulwhe with iced water, kimchi broth, cured fluke, sea urchin, oysters, radish, seasame eaf, seaweed, 2) whole abalone roasted in butter, potato, red cabbage, green peppercorn sauce, or 3) roast turbot in a delicate fish broth with minari, sunchoke, picked white beets and beet glaze.

For the final of the main courses, you finish with the meat course. Here too, you were able to choose between three dishes. I went with the barbecued quail with celery root and branch, house xo, black truffle. (The other two choices were a coastal pré salé lamb ribeye, and a steamed pork belly slices and charcoal-grilled pork cheek).

I was sold on the quail when the waiter mentioned the chef had been working with the purveyor of the quail for over 20 years, and the purveyor Brent Wolfe, has been raising quails since 1983. He’s dedicated to raising the best quail and it shows.

The whole barbecued quail was presented before your meal and accoutrements come out. The beautiful quail, and the smoky aroma that came with it, spoke for itself. I still think about how perfectly this quail was cooked.

Benu: Barbecued Quail

This dish was also fun as it came with a black truffle bao so you could turn the quail into a quail bao sandwich. (However, the black truffle sauce and bao came out mid-way through finishing the quail. Think that might’ve just been a fluke for me as it should be presented with the rest of the meal at the same time?). Regardless, still a delicious dish!

Benu: barbecued quail

Finally, two desserts to finish! The first one served was omija and olive oil. This one hit a lot of flavor notes as you enjoyed it – from savory, to slightly salty and bitter, to sweet. I’ve never had anything like it and wasn’t sure how to feel about it at first, but it grows on you and is really delicious experience and great way to start wrapping up the meal.

Benu: omiji dessert

Another unassuming but show stopping dessert described as “milk pudding with salt, smoke, peat” came to the table afterwards. And this was absolutely delicious. The caramel had a sweet, smoky flavor and I wouldn’t mind if it was just poured on any other dessert I’ve ever had.

Benu: milk pudding

The meal rounds out with a pine needle sikhye. Sikhye is a sweet Korean drink made from malt and rice. It’s sweet and tasty by itself, but I’ve never had it flavored in any way or even steeped with pine needles, and served with some frozen icy sikhye. This was a refreshing finish to the meal (and continues the theme of bright green things in this meal, although I would’ve loved to finish on something warm in the midst of winter).

Benu: pine needle sikhye

All in all, Benu is a must-visit in San Francisco if you’re in the mood for a one-of-a-kind experience when it comes to flavors and dishes.

You can make reservations on Tock. Reservations are released 30 days in advance at 10am PT. I’d recommend booking as soon as that reservation window opens at 10am in order to get the date/time you prefer (especially if it’s for a Friday/weekend at 5:30pm).

Let me know if you’ve been to Benu in your comments with your thoughts, or if you’re planning to go!

Dinner at 3 Michelin Star Restaurant: Benu

2023-09-27T11:04:35-07:00February 2nd, 2023|Categories: Food, Travel|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Recipe File: Avocado Lime Crema

I love making tacos for a semi-quick and easy dinner and firmly believe that every taco tastes better with a little something, something. That something is an avocado lime crema that not only goes perfectly on tacos, but also pairs well with roasted veggies.

Here’s my go-to avocado lime crema recipe, and some ideas for what to pair it with.

Avocado Lime Crema Recipe

What you’ll need: 

  • A blender or food processor (I used a blender – favorite is this OG Vitamix!)
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro
  • 1 lime
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 teaspoons greek yogurt
  • salt
  • pepper


  1. Wash and lightly chop your cilantro, and garlic (you’ll be blending these so no need for a thorough chop).
  2. Place avocado, cilantro and garlic into a blender. Add in a tablespoon of greek yogurt, two teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil, and juice of half a lime. Sprinkle in a pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Blend it all together until you get a smooth and creamy consistency. If needed, add in a splash of water and blend more.
  4. Taste and season as needed (another squeeze of lime never hurts! If you like more a bite from garlic, feel free to also throw another garlic clove in).
  5. Pour mixture into a small bowl and enjoy!

I put this avocado lime crema on all kinds of tacos (shrimp tacos, black beans tacos, chicken tacos… the list goes on. It also is great as a dip for all kinds of roasted vegetables (broccoli, potatoes, carrots, etc.). Have fun with it and let me know your favorite pairings in the comments.

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Avocado Lime Crema Recipe


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2022-02-11T13:39:33-08:00February 10th, 2022|Categories: Recipes|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Recipe File: Pitaya Smoothie Bowl

Smoothie bowls remind me of summer and that’s really why I love them. They are also just so versatile and quick to put together for breakfast, lunch or a snack. So here’s a recipe using frozen pitaya, a.k.a dragonfruit: a beautiful bright pink superfruit that’s rich in magnesium, high in fiber, is a great source of iron, and is rich in antioxidants. (The list goes on so you can read more here).

Pitaya Smoothie Bowl

Smoothie Base (for 2 servings):

Toppings (Have fun with your toppings. Below are some ideas for toppings that you can use, but mix and match to your liking!)

  • Chia seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Peanut butter or almond butter
  • Granola
  • A drizzle of honey
  • Coconut flakes
  • Fresh fruit (berries, bananas, pineapple, etc.)
  • Almonds
  • Cacao nibs


  1. Blend together the frozen pitaya, banana, frozen berries, collagen peptides and milk/water/juice until smooth and thick.
  2. Pour the smoothie base into a bowl and top with your favorite toppings.
  3. Enjoy right away. If you’re planning to save it for later, I’d recommend refrigerating the smoothie base, then taking it out and putting the toppings on when you’re ready to eat.

Quick, easy and healthy! My favorite kind of recipe. Have fun with the toppings and enjoy!

2022-02-09T17:14:07-08:00February 9th, 2022|Categories: Recipes|Tags: , , |0 Comments
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