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malika

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    Santa Cruz, California
  1. Norcia is only 40 minutes away. The town is famous for its wild boar and truffles-- which are joined together in some unbelievable sausage-- salsiccia di cinghale trufato (sp?). Cinghale is on the menus of most restaurants, and October is the perfect time to go eat it. I don't have my last trip notes in front of me, so I can't name the specific shop and restaurant that I ate in (I'm sure someone else will chime in). If you're a meat smuggler, be sure to put the sausage in your carry-on, not your checked luggage. My suitcase got lost, and all the sausage was missing when it got delivered to me.
  2. Yes! Eat at the Giacaranda agriturismo: http://www.giacaranda.it Breakfast is only for guests, but I believe they will let others come to dinner. It's certainly worth calling and asking! My sister and I and our two babies stayed in San Marco di Castellabate (1/2 hour north of Marina di Camerota) for a week last year, and loved the region. There is definitely a regional cuisine-- the Cilento was the center of the "Meditteranean diet" research - lots of vegetables, some fish, very little meat. Really amazing vegetables. I very highly recommend "The Food and Wine Guide to Naples and Campania" by Carla Capalbo. It's the bible for the region, llisting food stores, markets, agriturismi, restaurants, producers, wineries... And I second the suggestion for Vannulo. Not just buffalo milk mozzarella and ricotta (oh my god the ricotta), but also butter, gelato, yogurt, and pudding. All of which are delicious, none of which are shipped anywhere - you have to buy them at the farm.
  3. You might also look at Carla Capalbo's book on Tuscany-- I loved her book on Naples & Campania.
  4. Il Frantoio is a splurge, but worth every penny. They don't serve dinner year-round, though - if you're going off-season, you might want to ask. But the breakfast is amazing...more than a dozen kinds of cookies, soft-boiled eggs, yogurt with fruit preserves - all made from fruit grown on the estate - fresh fruit, toast, coffee, warm milk... And every night on your way to bed you'll be offered a small digestif, from about twenty different flavors that they make from fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers (rose!) from the estate. Here's their site: http://www.trecolline.it/english/index_eng.html
  5. In San Sebastian, I particularly enjoyed Gandarias for tapas (23 Calle 31 de Agosto, 34/943-426-362). Are you skipping Bilbao? I had a great time there - it's a very accesible, friendly city, with great tapas bars. Casa Nicolas in Tolosa is a traditional asador. Do you have a car? It's only about a half hour from San Seb. Great place for lunch - go there for the best steak you will ever have in your entire life. Really.
  6. If you go over to Clement St, the name of the used bookstore-- which specializes in cookbooks-- is Green Apples. I think a strong case could be made for Zuni being the best representation of "S.F. food." And off-topic-- there's a website by the Golden Gate Mothers Group that would help you find fun stuff to do with your three-year-old-- they list all the playgrounds in the city, as well as listing indoor activities if it's rainy: http://www.ggmg.org/index.html Have fun!
  7. I've never had trouble being seated alone at a restaurant in Italy, and I've never been treated badly when I've traveled alone there. But I agree that it's one of the least-friendly countries in Europe for solo travelers. It's not that the people are unfriendly, but that dining alone (or being alone) is so unusual. My theory is that it's because Italy has such a family-centric culture-- why go out without your family? When I travel alone, I rely on cafés and bars as places to meet people. But in Italy I'll usually be the only person there alone-- much different than in France or Spain, for example, where you have more of a chance of striking up a conversation with someone at the next table or bar stool.
  8. My sister lives in Rome, in a neighborhood north of the centro. I highly recommend the market there. I thought the Campo di Fiori market was much too touristy, even in November (I was there last Nov). The neighborhood is called Ponte Milvio, and it's just on the other side of the Tiber, over (of course) the Ponte Milvio, a foot-traffic-only bridge-- the oldest bridge in Rome still in use. From the Piazza Popolo, walk outside the gate and take the tram up via Flaminia to the Ponte Milvio. It's just a 10-minute ride, at the most. After you cross the bridge, and you'll see the market on the other side of the street. It's a terrific market-- good meat and cheese as well as fruits and veg. In November, do not miss the clementines, and look out for the mushroom guy. The other important reason to head that direction is to eat the very best pizza a taglio in Rome-- and I tried a lot! There's a bakery called Gianfornaio on the corner (same side of the street as the market, north end of the block). The first section of the store when you walk in is the regular bakery-- you have to go past the cash register into the back section to get the pizza. (There is a separate number-ticket dispenser for the pizza section-- the first ticket dispenser next to the front door is for the regular bakery.) The pizza is baken in long rectangles-- you order by indicating how large of a piece you want cut. You absolutely must try the pizza bianca-- take some home for your dinner instead of bread. All the varieties are wonderful, but some more unusual ones that you might like to try are the spicy potato and fiori di zucca. When I visit my sister, I stop by the bakery on the way to the market, and get a piece to eat while I'm walking around. (The pizza comes out in the morning, it's not just for lunch.) They also sell crackers back in the pizza section, and their regular bakery items are good too (cookies, breads, etc.) Since you're going at the end of November, they'll just be starting to sell the Christmas panettone-- they make several varieties, and they also make a mini version just right for one person. Around the corner from Gianfornaio is an exceptional gelato place, called Mondi. They have a weird closing day-- I'll find out from my sister which day it is. Gianfornaio is closed on Sunday. A few other recs-- for fancy food treats, try Volpetti-- there are two stores, the main one in Testaccio, another smaller store not too far from the Pantheon. The market in Testaccio is also a good, less-touristed one.
  9. I'm the mother of an almost-six-month-old, and I'm thinking a lot about how to raise a daughter with a good palette. Rice cereal (the traditional first food in America) doesn't seem like a good start-- I certainly wouldn't eat it very happily. So I'm wondering about other countries and other traditions-- What's the traditional first food for babies in China? (I'm also going to post this in the following forums: Italy, Spain, Japan, India, France, Middle East, and Mexico. Apologies to those who run across this question in other places!)
  10. I'm the mother of an almost-six-month-old, and I'm thinking a lot about how to raise a daughter with a good palette. Rice cereal (the traditional first food in America) doesn't seem like a good start-- I certainly wouldn't eat it very happily. So I'm wondering about other countries and other traditions-- What's the traditional first food for babies in Japan? (I'm also going to post this in the following forums: Italy, Spain, France, India, China, Middle East, and Mexico. Apologies to those who run across this question in other places!)
  11. I'm the mother of an almost-six-month-old, and I'm thinking a lot about how to raise a daughter with a good palette. Rice cereal (the traditional first food in America) doesn't seem like a good start-- I certainly wouldn't eat it very happily. So I'm wondering about other countries and other traditions-- What's the traditional first food for babies in India? (I'm also going to post this in the following forums: Italy, Spain, Japan, France, China, Middle East, and Mexico. Apologies to those who run across this question in other places!)
  12. I'm the mother of an almost-six-month-old, and I'm thinking a lot about how to raise a daughter with a good palette. Rice cereal (the traditional first food in America) doesn't seem like a good start-- I certainly wouldn't eat it very happily. So I'm wondering about other countries and other traditions-- What's the traditional first food for babies in Italy? (I'm also going to post this in the following forums: France, Spain, Japan, India, China, Middle East, and Mexico. Apologies to those who run across this question in other places!)
  13. I'm the mother of an almost-six-month-old, and I'm thinking a lot about how to raise a daughter with a good palette. Rice cereal (the traditional first food in America) doesn't seem like a good start-- I certainly wouldn't eat it very happily. So I'm wondering about other countries and other traditions-- What's the traditional first food for babies in Spain? (I'm also going to post this in the following forums: Italy, France, Japan, India, China, Middle East, and Mexico. Apologies to those who run across this question in other places!)
  14. I'm the mother of an almost-six-month-old, and I'm thinking a lot about how to raise a daughter with a good palette. Rice cereal (the traditional first food in America) doesn't seem like a good start-- I certainly wouldn't eat it very happily. So I'm wondering about other countries and other traditions-- What's the traditional first food for babies in France? (I'm also going to post this in the following forums: Italy, Spain, Japan, India, China, Middle East, and Mexico. Apologies to those who run across this question in other places!)
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