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  1. Maybe he means Bed-Stuy's long-shuttered Do or Dine - their foie gras donuts were indeed surprising (and delicious!).
  2. Prior going to Vienna last year, I used the "My Maps" feature in Google Maps to creative an interactive map: Vienna Cafes and Cake Shops. In addition to pinning the locations on the map, I included address information, as well as text and images that I culled from local travel sites/blogs, which can be viewed (in IE/Edge, at least) by clicking on the name of the café/cake shop in the menu on the left. Have fun!
  3. Thanks for the tip, Matteo. Will give El Fontego dei Pescatori a try when next in town. I, too, like Corte Sconta. And welcome to eGullet!
  4. Word has made its way up I-95, it seems: Till the Last Doughnut and Drumstick
  5. "Reasonably priced" is obviously a relative term, particularly as far as Venice is concerned. Though not meeting the "restaurant" criterion, cicchetti places fit the bill. My favorite is centuries-old do Mori, located near the Rialto on the San Polo side of the canal. I'm on the way to Berlin next week and have lined up a few Südtirolean places so I can have a good ... schnitzel, as a welcome change from pasta.
  6. Pizza topped with french fries, customarily along with cut-up pieces of würstel, or hot dog, is a staple of pizzerie everywhere here. However, I've never seen anyone but children eating it.
  7. Four-year (!?!) bump -- but then again, some of us have engaged elsewhere in a discussion of the "lousiness" of Umbrian restaurants. Had a most enjoyable meal last Sunday at Il Postale, which recently turned down a 500% rent increase at its old digs in Città di Castello and took its Michelin * down to the eastern outskirts of Perugia in the beautiful, historic Castello di Monterone. The restaurant is small, with just five tables, and retains some of the trappings of the old castle (inscription above the fireplace read "Fortebraccio", hathor) with a pleasing, modern overlay. [apologies for the blurriness] The evening was warm, and some diners elected instead to eat outside under an elegant covered portico. A wedding was winding down as we arrived, and that delayed service a bit. We were ushered into a sitting room and promptly served an aperitivo. In addition to à la carte, two tasing menus were offered: "Dall'Acqua" (fish) and "Sensazioni" (sorta Greatest Hits 1997-2008). We decided to each order one and share each dish, giving us 10 plates to try. Amuse was a scallop. DA first: Battuto di scampi, salsa al campari, gelato limone e basilico (camera failure here). Though paper-thin, the scampo was really rich and held up nicely with all the other flavors at work here. S first: Baverese di bufala, crema di pomodoro, pesto di basilico, croccante di alici This was one my favorite dishes of the evening. The mozzarella had the consistency of a flan (a "Bavarian creme"), the tomato broth was delicate but really flavorful, and the anchovy bits added a nice touch of salt. DA second: Calamaro farcito con verdure croccanti, purea de melanzane al nero, peperoni in tempura A bit difficult to eat, flavors weren't really there for me. The tempura was a nice touch, though, imitating the squid's tentacles. S second: Millefoglie di lingua di bue, fegato grasso, crema di cipolla de Cannara A bit of a misnomer, but delicious all the same. Ox tongue and fois gras -- why don't I do this at home? The onions are a variety local to Umbria and, fwiw, recognised by Slow Food. Midcourse: Carbonara distrutta Deconstructed carbonara, one of Chef Marco Bistarelli's signature dishes and really not to be missed. The egg in the bottom of the dish was kept warm by the spaghetti atop it. You compose your own forkful of guanciale and noodle and swirl in the egg. Really good. DA third: Cappesante in potacchio, aria di finocchio Perfectly braised scallops, nicely paired with the fennel "foam". S third: Pappa al pomodoro e trippa di vitello all parmagiana Not much to look at, but really good. The tripe was soft as butter. DA fourth: Ravioli di seppia e piselli I found these to be somewhat underdone. The filling was light and summery, though. S fourth: Tortelli di alici, zuppa di ricotta e mentuccia, uova di aringa Standout of the night. The tortelli were perfectly cooked, the anchovy filling was delicious, and the combination of ricotta, mint, and herring roe was really, really outstanding. The gold leaf was a tad much, though my dining partner's son, a 10th-grade science nut, was amazed that one would actually eat gold. DA fifth: Gabillon al vapore arrostito sulla pelle, gazpacho di pomodoro, olive taggiasche, chips di calamari The pollack was very good -- delicate yet flavorful -- as was the tomato and olive broth. S fifth: Piccione arrostito con la sua coscia farcita, scaloppa di fegato grasso e verdure croccanti. No big surprise of preparation here, but accomplished well. Desserts were competent. A tasty semifreddo with pineapple and lime and a "mojito" and raspberry sauce and a tagliata di limone, liquirizia, grattachecca di caffé -- I liked the coffee sorbetto part quite a bit My dining partner doesn't drink, and since I was driving, I indicated I'd drink open wine. This was waved off, and I was presented with a choice of two whites from the wine list (I opted for the Grechetto, hathor, which I have been missing). Midway through the meal, I was poured a Lautizio red from Spoleto, which is made with the ciliegiolo grape and does taste distinctly of cherry. Service was impeccable. Chef Bistarelli passed regularly through the dining room to check on how we were doing. With mignardises, coffee, digestivo, water, etc., bill for two came to bit over € 200. I'm looking forward to a return visit.
  8. Excellent post, Phil. Thanks for sharing. I'm making a swing back home next month but not sure I'll make it to Roch. Any chance of me scoring a Chang-like bun in Philly?
  9. In Italian, a foodmill is a passatutto, literally "an everthing-passer".
  10. Just the latest installment in a string of awesome fucking Tupac posts. Kidneys and gin, kidneys and gin, kidneys and gin ... Christ, I will get there before I die. This is the best food read I've seen on any board in quite some time. If I pm you for your non-food porn name before I go, can you give it to me so I can drop it with Davide? O Jesus, thanks for taking the time to write that up.
  11. True. So, do you bully, proselytize or opine elitistly? If so, about what specifically? Or are you personally bullied or proselytized to about anything specifically food related? Depends on the audience. To some, I'm sure my opinions are elitist bullshit. We're not talking about instruction here, right -- like chopping an onion? We're talking about RIGHT from WRONG, as Holly semi-tongue-in-cheek notes. But it's all relative. If you want to make your carbonara with cream or sausage or mushroom or Egg-BeatersTM, who's to say it's "wrong". The whole eating business has become so attenuated and rarified as to make one sick. Chefs in glass cages! Ingredients found nowhere else! Chickens raised on the roof of my homemade smoker! Stop, please stop. One should read and ask and take it from there. And tell proselytizers to shove it.
  12. Bullying, proselytizing, elitist opining: it's likely with us to stay. Meehan also recently blogged about it in the Times.
  13. Posted this on CH, since there's just more Italy-based activity there than on eG, unfortunately. Amalfi Coast Coming down from Central Pork here in Le Marche, I wanted to eat fish. In all, it was pretty much a let-down. There’s nothing really spectacular about the fish on offer – either at the fishmongers or in the restaurants. Preparations tended to be uninteresting to the point of blandness. And be prepared to open wide your wallet. Praiano A good central location for exploring the AC. Alfonso a Mare was a solid CH recommendation. The unusually generous portion of octopus salad was fresh and quite good, as were the spaghetti with claims. I’m not a limoncello fan, but theirs was delicious. We asked for and received nonna’s recipe from the proprietress. La Strada (no website) was forgettable. The clams in the pasta with clams were sandy. However, they offered to replace it (declined) and removed the dish from the bill without being prompted; the over-priced sea bass baked in salt was soggy and flavorless. Pizze from both La Brace and San Gennaro were run-of-the-mill and absurdly expensive. For drinks, Bar del Sole, smack in the middle of the main drag, offers reasonably priced wine and cocktails and fantastic local olives. Markets are somewhat scarce in the area, but Tutti per Tutti has a great selection of everything you need for cooking at home. The local salame I tried was really good. The best part of the area doesn’t cost a dime: the Path of the Gods. Not being a revenue generator, there’s not a lot of signage invested in locating it from Praiano. You can avoid the lengthy bus ride to Bomerano, the customary start of the trail, and instead hike up to it from Praiano, but it’s about a 45-min vertical climb. Once you hit the trail, the path to Nocelle is not at all challenging and affords spectacular views. The reward at the end was Ristorante Santa Croce (no website): simple cooking, beautiful vistas, and sane prices. Ravello We left the car at the docks in Amalfi and from there took a bus up to the lovely town of Ravello. Driving the road would have been harrowing, even for these parts. Lunch at Ristorante Garden was fine, though unspectacular and slow-paced. Jackie O (with Caroline in tow) apparently stayed at the hotel, spending her time partying with Gianni Agnelli. A framed article references a telegraph she received from JFK: “More Caroline, less Gianni”. The gardens of the Villa Cimbrone at the top of the town make it worth the trip, as others apparently found as well (Garbo, Longfellow, Gore Vidal, Tennessee Williams). Positano Beautiful town, crassly commercialized for the upscale set. We hadn’t planned on eating there, so I lacked any information. The waterside restaurants all appeared similar in menu and pricing, with nothing notable on offer. At the suggestion of others in our party, we wandered into an outdoor restaurant just above Santa Maria Assunta (the Byzantine Black Madonna is definitely worth a look) whose name I’ve now forgotten that offers pricey, undistinguished fare to quiet, middle-aged, upper-class Americans (or so it appeared). A tip for those driving into Positano: take the road all*the*way*down to the center, where the pedestrian zone begins and the road forks to take you back up. There you’ll find a parking garage with rates of € 4/hour, a real bargain in its own right, given that street-side parking is € 3/hour. Naples and Environs Naples Hit four pizzerie culled from the Serious Eats list, plus several street slices. My favorite was Di Matteo: really fresh ingredients, well-seasoned, almost enough char (good char is hard to come by unless you ask for it). A neighboring table had the pizza fritta, a new one for me: two pizza rounds filled with ricotta (I believe) and then deep-fried (hence, I guess, why some local pizzerie also advertise as friggitorie). It comes out resembling something like a naan: you puncture it to deflate it, slice it, and dig in. The neighboring table told me that, while heavy, it’s “ottimo”. Also had a tasty arancino. Kate’s favorite was Da Michele, perhaps in part because it reminded her so much of Pepe’s in New Haven for its rustic interior and simplicity of the pizza. There’s pretty much only one style – a margherita – but it’s damn tasty. Quite a crowd had gathered outside on a Saturday night at 8, waiting for seats, but FOH moves people in and out quite quickly. From there, we moved on to Sorbillo. The 90-minute wait went by in no time thanks to the great street theater. You can get some rough local wine by the glass from the little dispensa next door to keep your spirits up. Had a white with pesto. Interesting flavors but not stellar. Earlier in the day, we tried Ciro a Mergellina after emerging from the tour of Naples Underground (really a must). The pizza (basil, mozzarella) was fine, but the restaurant was too fancy-schmancy and priced accordingly. Our only proper meal was at La Stanza del Gusto. Sending out a big thank you here to CH's jen kalb! It was Kate’s birthday, and we were joined by her parents and some other family members. The upstairs rooms were closed (too hot, we were told), but they accommodated the six of us at a table on the sidewalk, which turned out to be the best room. We opted to share three five-course tasting menus, plus four supplemental dishes. It wasn’t a lot of food, but we got to try a significant amount of the menu. Everything was outstanding, a real treat. I’d be hard-pressed to single out a favorite, but the gnocchi di pane were just superb, as was a dish incorporating whipped mozzarella. Buoyed perhaps by all the Greco di Tufo, Falanghina, and house-made amaro, I felt compelled to crush chef-owner Mario Avallone in a big bear hug and shower him with “Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!” Ercolano Viva Lo Re. Again, thank you so much, jen kalb! Somewhat difficult to find coming off the autostrada from Pompeii, but now I know: if you can get yourself to the Herculaneum site, you’re close (all told, about 20 minutes by car from Pompeii). This is some of the most creative cooking I’ve had in Italy. Four of us shared two antipasto courses with an assortment of five or six fish preparations (tempura, mousses, dumplings, mini-soups), three primi (the paccheri with gamberetti were outstanding), and a main of fish. Although wine is the star here (wine racks line the walls of the dining rooms), I opted for a N. Italian pale ale, which hit the spot after a hot morning in Pompeii. Price was € 88 and was the best cost-to-value meal of the trip. VLR is not to be missed when in Ercolano. Capri Kate and I took the ferry from Naples to Ischia, where we caught up with her family, who had chartered a catamaran for week-long sail along the coast. We hitched a ride with them to Capri and then made our way to Anacapri, passing through Capri Town and its veneer of luxury catering to the daytrippers off the cruise ships. This island seems to have perfected the practice of separating tourists from their money. Having been taken for € 30 for two G&Ts and an Aperol spritz at an unprepossessing caffeteria (and carrying on a perfectly pleasant conversation in fluent Italian with the charming, elderly proprietors), we asked Franco, the gracious owner of our B&B for a recommendation for dinner: we wanted to eat fish and we wanted reasonable prices. He reserved a table for us at Il Cucciolo (no web site). Our waiter knew that the reservation had been made for us by a local, so we felt comfortable ordering off menu. We shared one fish antipasto (two oysters, three small-ish scampi, and a bit of thinly sliced crudo of something), one plate of paccheri with gamberetti, and one average-size baked sea bass (unadorned save for a side of sautéed potatoes), plus a bottle of Falanghina (we stressed reasonable, and I think we were charged a respectable € 18 for it) and a shared dessert. Other than the dessert (a traditional Capri torte using almond dough as a base), which was quite good, and the stunning view, the rest was simply passable. The bill totaled € 128. It was as confounding to Franco, who asked about our experience, as it was to us, and he lamented the gouging by hospitality operators on and around the Amalfi Coast . His suggestion when travelling in these parts: ask first what anything costs before committing to order it – a glass of wine, a bottle of water, a piece of fish (and beware the dangerous per-kilo pricing) – especially where the operator doesn’t post the required list of prices. Duly noted
  14. You'd get serious push-back from Italians on that one. Having yet to accomplish an acceptable carbonara at home, I often ask friends (old, young, male, female), "So, how do YOU make carbonara?" Without variation, the egg part is always "one egg per person, plus one egg yolk." When I try to match that up with pasta amounts, I'm always met with blank stares. "For my son, I have to make 500 g!" And whadup with the extra egg yolk? Like omitting that's gonna torpedo the dish with 6 eggs already in it?
  15. Man, it's quite lonesome here on the Italy board these days. This year's Distinti Salumi appeared to suffer from the crisi affecting most of the country. Significantly fewer purveyors made the trek, resulting in an experience less enthusiatic than as was reported last year. Still, several people I wanted to see were back – for readers of other boards, it was the NBC-ish producers that warmed my heart. My companions opted to take in the sun while I scurried hither and yon, collecting my booty. New entries for me were a nice liver salame from Puglia, cinghiale (natch) salame from Norcia (the deer salame didn't do it for me), salame from a Tuscan purveyor of a local pig race whose name I promptly forgot, and a tasty pecorino, also from the Tuscan countryside. But back again were the Pestat guys from Friuli, hipsters with big sunglasses and happy to talk about their product. I jumped up and down in a sychophantic way, and they got a kick out of having a happy repeat customer. Also there was the nice lady selling the lardo di Colonnata, but since I'm still working on my brick from last year, I passed. I was sorry to see that the mid-Marche guy selling roast cinta senese wasn't there, since I was jonesing for that. Kinda of a sad Slow Food event it was – there's just no money in food these days. We all met up in the main square and had a drink. Kelly inspected the pestat, while Lele's not so sure about the whole business. Kelly went on to buy 3 kgs of Fiorentina from a Tuscan purveyor, intended for dinner that night. My sources tell me that it was "good". Francesca bought me a beer, and we had a smoke. On to La Gioconda for a relaxing 2-hour lunch (non-DS report on the Marche roundup), offering a nice (though pricey [€ 32 pp]) tasting menu based on items on offer at Cagli. First course was a selection of three pork products from free-range pigs (assuming my translation of stato brado is correct), surrounding a salad with cured beef. Man, the crudo offering with cinnamon and sugar was real nice. No photo, as I was hungry. Next came "boiled shank" – bollito di stinco. I was wary, but it was very tasty – soft and flavorful. This was followed by grilled mortadella (for those into mortadella, it was "del presidio di 'Bonfatti'", but I'm no mortadella kenner), a toast with seasoned lardo, and a quiche featuring pancetta from the aforementioned local cinta senese. I bugged the server and had him bring us a plate of this pancetta simply crudo, and it was, as George Costanza would say, something to ensconce onesself in. Two pasta dishes followed, but they were beh. Fusilli with a "white" pork sauce Maltagliati of polenta with chickpeas and guanciale Then came the pata negra. I wrote about this on the aforementioned other post. They claim that it's the real deal. I can't say for sure, never having had it at the source, but it friggin' rocked. "Secreto di patanegra". Totally simple and absolutely wonderful. My dining mates were reaching their limt, and I gladly polished it off. Savory, soft, full flavor. Really, really good. Two bottles of very respectable Lacrima. Marche's full of goodness, but the word has yet to get out, it seems.
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