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Pizza a Day Keeps the Doctor Away?

  A typical breakfast can mean grabbing a croissant on the way to school or an American college student breakfast of cereal and milk. Since my mornings are not that organized, it usually means the latter. Usually I am a zombie in the morning, so I like an easy breakfast of cereal. But sometimes, it is nice to get up a little earlier and buy a pastry from a cafe.

Lunch or dinner at Gilli rings up a bill outside of my student budget, but breakfast works for my wallet. Caffè Gilli conveniently sits downstairs from CEA and let me tell you, it is not easy deciding what to get because everything looks and smells divine.  Eventually, I decided on this tasty croissant filled with a chocolate pudding and dusted with cocoa powder. And to accompany the flaky croissant, I just had to get a cappuccino. Now coming from someone who does not drink coffee in California, every once in awhile I like ordering a cappuccino with breakfast because it is delicious, but secretly it is so I feel more Italian.  

Please sit down, because this may come as a harsh reality to some readers, but Italy does not have Starbucks. Read it again if you need to, but no Starbucks stores are here because Italians claim their coffee beats Starbucks.  I cannot fairly judge a competition between Starbucks and Italian coffee, so you have to come here and test it yourself.

 Bagel sandwich from La Feltrinelli Red.

Most days allow an hour for lunch, but sometimes there is only a short a half hour. For a quick lunch, a sandwich from La Feltrinelli Red is a favorite because it's in Piazza della Repubblica. Other popular options are sandwiches from All'Antico Vinaio, Salumeria Verdi "Pino's Sandwiches" and I Due Fratelli. All three sandwich shops are fantastic choices with their pros and cons. All'Antico Vinaio can attract quite a line around lunchtime and Pino's Sandwiches is far away for a half hour lunch. I Due Fratelli sells 3 euro sandwiches that are simple, with only a couple ingredients, but is nearby CEA. I recommend these popular sandwich shops, but there are still quite a few other sandwich shops and lunch spots I want to try.  
 Margherita pizza from Mercato Centrale.

The food almost as synonymous with Italy as pasta or gelato, margherita pizza always makes for a good option. Though the pizza in the photo is from Mercato Centrale, I usually go to Gusta Pizza near my apartment for my pizza cravings. Gusta Pizza often has a line, but it goes pretty fast because they quickly cook the pizzas in brick ovens and sometimes make heart shaped pizza. I usually eat the pizza back at my apartment or on the steps of Santo Spirito Church. Most nights, students, tourists and locals sit on the steps while eating their Gusta pizza with a glass of wine or beer. The restaurant has a sitting area, but it gets crowded. On some of the glass-top tables, customers sign their ticket number with their name, hometown and date of visit and slip it under the glass to make a collage of memories.

Talking about food in Florence is difficult because restaurants and shops hide around every corner. Small restaurants that get overlooked sometimes have the best food, or unfamiliar restaurants get ignored for familiar restaurants. The journey of food in Florence continues because there is always a new restaurant to try.

Stephanie Ino is the Fall 2015 MOJO Blogger in Florence, Italy.  She is currently a senior at UC Davis.

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