Gnocchi nirvana

Crackers and a Coca-Cola.

That’s all I really wanted. Something to settle my stomach. Hugging the occasional guardrail, crawling along the exceedingly narrow roller-coasterlike roads that twist through the tiny towns dotting the shore of Lake Como had left me feeling lightheaded and somewhat queasy. But it’s Sunday, and essentially everything is shuttered: groceries, gelaterias, even gas stations.

As fate would have it, the torturous ride was worth the wait. My reward: the most memorable gnocchi I have ever wrapped my lips around. A sumptuous sauce of Camembert, studded with walnuts and enriched with truffle. That dish will haunt me for years to come. Eventually, I will succumb to its siren song, returning to Nuova Capannina for yet another taste of the plate that rescued me from the drive that almost put me over the edge.

Wine down

vinovolo_image.jpgIt’s about time something good happened on the concourse.

Yesterday, on my way to gate C-1 at Washington’s Dulles airport, I stopped in at Vino Volo. These wine rooms have landed at half a dozen airports, and I hope they become as ubiquitous as airport Starbucks stands. Vino volo, loosely translated from Italian, means wine flight. And I’m sure you’ll agree that flying, or waiting to fly, is infinitely more enjoyable when you can pass the time in the company of some good wine.

Sip in, or carry out. A thoughtfully written wine list includes crowd pleasers like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but also offers an opportunity to taste lesser-known grape varieties like Virginia’s Norton and Majorca’s Callet. A menu of small plates allows you to pair like a pro, savoring selections like Braised Pork Tacos or Smoked Salmon Rolls while you wait to make your connection. Whether you order a tasting flight or a single glass, you’ll love the comfy living room feel of these welcoming wine sanctuaries.

Finally, flying has become civilized once again. Cent’ Anni!

Bag bonanza

bag-bonanza.jpgJennifer’s my new best friend.

When I spotted a must-have bag on Bag Borrow or Steal, I got her on the phone and she assured me that I’d have it the very next day, in time for my overseas flight. That’s what best friends do.

Another reason Jennifer’s my BFF: She has access to a closet brimming with designer styles. And she lets me borrow whatever I want, whenever I want it, for as long as I want to wear it.

She’ll let you do it, too. Choose from 3,000 bags with names like Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs and Prada. Keep them for as little as a week, or opt for a longer get-to-know-you-better session. There’s a modest price to pay, but you won’t even think twice. Just consider it a thank you gesture for your new best friend.

First, I borrowed a stunning red lizard clutch by Kara Ross, which would have cost me upward of $2000 to buy. My price: a mere $51 a week. I wore it to a charity event and then blissfully returned it to its owner. It made the outfit, and it was such a smart way to accessorize a one-night stand.

Today, I’m enjoying the Exception tote by Lamarthe in black leather. It’s buttery soft and oh-so-chic. We’re en route to Europe, and if the first day of our relationship is any indication, I think I’ll end up stealing this bag so we can travel together more often.