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Erba Luna


hathor
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We have a little, very local magazine that gets distributed to all the stranieri (foreigners)...They then explained that they are now doing restaurant reviews, and that it costs 450,00 euros to have your restaurant reviewed.... Am I crazy, or is this just about the strangest 'review' situation you've ever heard of?

And in a related story...

ETA: 1) Carina insalatina! :laugh: 2) Gorgeous menu and grown-up salad! Do Umbrians grate cheeses thusly or are you mavericks? 3) Brava on the clear violation of norms in plating, too, on retro rounded surfaces vs. chunky white rectangles or squares!

Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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That is not a "review," it's an advertisement. No, magazines do not sell reviews. In fact, I'm "reviewing" restaurants this month for Spring's "Best of ..." issue. We are NOT allowed to be comped anything; in fact, we are not even allowed to tell them we're reviewing them.

I guess there are different ways to do things; in particular, there are are different ways to make money!

That menu looks great.

Cheers

EDIT: This probably is obvious, but if you do decide to pay for the review space, maybe wait until the walls stop weeping? Take a few weeks to iron the wrinkles, get the trendy headsets tuned, put a bigger smile on tomato head. You deserve a chance to settle a bit, don't they think? Reviews in your first weeks of operation are tough indeed.

Edited by pedalaforte (log)
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Judith-

Buona fortuna e tanti auguri!

Am awaiting a raffle this weekend at a local food/wine benefit for a trip for four with airfare to a villa in Umbria. If we win, we will bring more friends-they'll have to buy their own plane tickets, but if so, one of first stops will be Erba Luna!

Palazzo Santi Terzi

Not sure how far that is from you.

Mark A. Bauman

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Totally Italian!

I have a dining guide online for florence and chianti.

People want to know how they can pay to be on my site.

I only put who I haev been to and liked... and also since i pay for maintaining a site.. think my guide is large enough already.. and haven't put new stuff on in awhile.

but Italians have learned.. almost everyone pays... to be reviewed!

so bizarre!

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Judith-

Buona fortuna e tanti auguri!

Am awaiting a raffle this weekend at a local food/wine benefit for a trip for four with airfare to a villa in Umbria. If we win, we will bring more friends-they'll have to buy their own plane tickets, but if so, one of first stops will be Erba Luna!

Palazzo Santi Terzi

Not sure how far that is from you.

Crossing my fingers that you win! :biggrin::biggrin:

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We have a little, very local magazine that gets distributed to all the stranieri (foreigners)...They then explained that they are now doing restaurant reviews, and that it costs 450,00 euros to have your restaurant reviewed.... Am I crazy, or is this just about the strangest 'review' situation you've ever heard of?

And in a related story...

ETA: 1) Carina insalatina! :laugh: 2) Gorgeous menu and grown-up salad! Do Umbrians grate cheeses thusly or are you mavericks? 3) Brava on the clear violation of norms in plating, too, on retro rounded surfaces vs. chunky white rectangles or squares!

Do Umbrians grate cheeses thusly? I never thought about it like that. It's a super fresh, young pecorino that just sort of melts of the porcini and adds a richness to the dish, that balances with the crunch of the rucola. That clearly does not answer your question, it just explains why we do it that way. Yes, I have to say, with this sort of cheese, you will see the big grate.

Yeah, I like round plates. I confess, call me old fashioned. I've developed an aversion to anything that is stacked, and little tangles of micro-greens. But, to a large degree, none of those trends: square plates, micro greens, towers of food etc. has much impact in rural Umbria.

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That is not a "review," it's an advertisement. No, magazines do not sell reviews. In fact, I'm "reviewing" restaurants this month for Spring's "Best of ..." issue. We are NOT allowed to be comped anything; in fact, we are not even allowed to tell them we're reviewing them.

I guess there are different ways to do things; in particular, there are are different ways to make money!

That menu looks great.

Cheers

EDIT: This probably is obvious, but if you do decide to pay for the review space, maybe wait until the walls stop weeping? Take a few weeks to iron the wrinkles, get the trendy headsets tuned, put a bigger smile on tomato head. You deserve a chance to settle a bit, don't they think? Reviews in your first weeks of operation are tough indeed.

I couldn't agree more, and you are dead right about waiting until we get things right. No headsets this year, maybe next year. Although I'm still holding out for a cute young runner......

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Although I'm still holding out for a cute young runner......

What are you "holding out"? Maybe I'll come over!

Of course, I'm neither "cute" nor, in any way, "young." I can run, however.

Be well and, in all seriousness, best of luck. This place looks exceptional.

Cheers

:laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh:

It's been a helluva ride so far, let me tell you! Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the moral support.

I was just reading the NY Times article about starting a restaurant, it almost makes dealing with Italian red tape look easy!

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Although I'm still holding out for a cute young runner......

What are you "holding out"? Maybe I'll come over!

Of course, I'm neither "cute" nor, in any way, "young." I can run, however.

Be well and, in all seriousness, best of luck. This place looks exceptional.

Cheers

I'm cute but I can't run! (knees blew out in the rehab. Notice I ignored the bit about being young)

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Although I'm still holding out for a cute young runner......

What are you "holding out"? Maybe I'll come over!

Of course, I'm neither "cute" nor, in any way, "young." I can run, however.

Be well and, in all seriousness, best of luck. This place looks exceptional.

Cheers

I'm cute but I can't run! (knees blew out in the rehab. Notice I ignored the bit about being young)

OK, we can make this real simple. Send me your photos, and I'll get back to you. :laugh::laugh::laugh:

My knees are shot to hell, so Swiss Chef...you're out of the pool. I don't want to have to fight you for the ice pack at the end of the day! :laugh: But then again...you probably have other talents!

Now, getting back to food: lets say you just got a huge case of those great big hard 'zucca' squashes, what would you do with them? We're talking about zucca gnocchi.....

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Now, getting back to food: lets say you just got a huge case of those great big hard 'zucca' squashes, what would you do with them? We're talking about zucca gnocchi.....

if they were zucca as in pumpkin I would make some pumpkin tempura/ fritto situation - like a little antipasto with a couple "luna" shaped pumpkins and some sage leaves to give it the erba and I would have a little pot of slightly thinned down stracchino cheese so if they got really crazy they could dip it in the sauce.

Now with the other 9/10ths of the case I (personally) would make pumpkin soup - or I would make ravioli.

If I was feeling really energetic I would boil the crap out of one and can it or freeze it for Thanksgiving so I could make a pumpkin pie (which everyone hates - including myself - so I usually end up dumping it).

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Now, getting back to food: lets say you just got a huge case of those great big hard 'zucca' squashes, what would you do with them? We're talking about zucca gnocchi.....

if they were zucca as in pumpkin I would make some pumpkin tempura/ fritto situation - like a little antipasto with a couple "luna" shaped pumpkins and some sage leaves to give it the erba and I would have a little pot of slightly thinned down stracchino cheese so if they got really crazy they could dip it in the sauce.

Now with the other 9/10ths of the case I (personally) would make pumpkin soup - or I would make ravioli.

If I was feeling really energetic I would boil the crap out of one and can it or freeze it for Thanksgiving so I could make a pumpkin pie (which everyone hates - including myself - so I usually end up dumping it).

I'll take a picture. I get really confused this time of year between the squashes and the gourds and the zuccas and the pumpkins!

It's one of those big gnarly orange, hard as hell to peel zuccas.

I'm voting for the ravioli, and since I'm the pasta queen, I'll probably get my own way. At least with some of the zucca.

How can you hate pumpkin pie??? I'll have to get my Zia Stella's recipe for you...everyone loves her pumpkin pie! :laugh:

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ok - you go and make your ravioli and I will go home and make your future signature dish "erbaluna" with the pumpkin and sage situation above.

Now that you have a restaurant do you find lots of people coming to and telling you "oh my gawd, I have the best recipe for.... blah blah " you should put it on the menu......... ???

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if they were zucca as in pumpkin I would make some pumpkin tempura/ fritto situation - like a little antipasto with a couple "luna" shaped pumpkins and some sage leaves to give it the erba and I would have a little pot of slightly thinned down stracchino cheese so if they got really crazy they could dip it in the sauce....

I'm voting for the ravioli, and since I'm the pasta queen, I'll probably get my own way. At least with some of the zucca.

I love the signature dish--both as an idea and as something to eat. You could even shape them as circles whenever there's a full moon!

* * *

Out of safety zone? One of my favorite things in the world is this: Winter Squash Galette which could easily be transformed into a torta or little impanate.

Then there is mostarda or the possibility of modifying another country's traditions further. Wolfert's braise of lamb and winter squash as Umbrian grill? Mexican beans and chili-slathered sweet potato wedges as...

Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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love pumpkin ravioli.. with amaretto cookies crumbled in.

Pumpkin soup... ( cibreo firenze) garnished with crushed amaretto cookie and parmesan

Saffron Pumkin risotto

Pumpkin leek risotto ( touch of chili pepper)

Grilled marinated Pumpkin, garlic, chili

Pumpkin gnocchi with balsamic ( traditional!) and parmesan

Pumpkin BRead.. real bread.. not sweet

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  • 4 weeks later...

On our recent trip to Italy, my wife and I had the great fortune of visiting Judith and Jeff in the Umbrian hills, and dining three times at Erba Luna!

We were welcomed into the town of

gallery_6902_5187_223379.jpg

gallery_6902_5187_1289561.jpg

excitedly and with open arms...

gallery_6902_5187_718841.jpg

It is such a beautiful place for a restaurant!

gallery_6902_5187_636823.jpg

And the restaurant is absolutely stunning...here's a shot of some diners enjoying their meal...

gallery_6902_5187_9347.jpg

Over the course of three nights, we tried nearly everything on the menu. I didn't take notes, and I didn't take pictures (other than the one above), so everything is from memory.

One of my favorite dishes was the zucca gnocchi with celery sauce, which I got to taste during it's first appearance (cloud like gnocchi, I might add!). An artichoke souffle, which was a special on one of the nights we were there, came out of the kitchen puffy, golden brown, fragrant and disappeared in two minutes.

There is an awesome assorted anitpasti platter, which everyone should try (it would make a great lunch all by itself with some of Judith's wonderful bread), as well as a fabulous insalata with sauteed porcinis that my wife and I fought over.

A couple of standout pastas included Judith's hand-made maltagliati (badly cut pasta) with a 5-nut pesto, and another with bottarga and grilled gamberini that was briny, funky, messy and absolutely delish! The one risotto on the menu (made to order - no pre-cooking involved!) includes gorgonzola, walnuts and grapes - it was perfectly cooked, the flavors worked so well, and the walnuts added a nice textural surprise.

Moving on to the secondi (and here's where my memory starts to fail, as by this point I've usually had quite a few glasses of wine), I had a great rack of lamb crusted with pistachios - order it rare! We dug deeply into the fried codfish and artichoke dish - it was lightly battered and the equal of any we've had in Rome...not hard to believe, as Claudio is Roman! My pork tenderloin was also nice, tasty and juicy, though I don't remember what was served with it :blink:.

And I remember even less about the desserts - we're not real dessert people, as by that point in the meal, we're usually too full to worry about them - we did have a crepe one night, but I'm guessing and hoping that some of Judith's granita/sorbet/ice cream experiments will eventually end up on the menu...taking advantage of some of the wonderful local fruits when they're around.

The wine list has some really nice surprises (at ridiculously low prices, imo) from Umbria, and delves into a few other Italian regionals as well. And all meals start with a nice prosecco, offered "on the house."

All in all, lovely hosts, a beautiful town, a fine dining experience and hopefully a return trip is somewhere in our future! Thanks, hathor!

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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"Be here now."

Sounds as if you were so wrapped up in the pleasure of the experience that documentation was impossible. Once you whip out a camera, you're acknowledging the fact that the moment will end and become simply memory. It's a way of distancing yourself and stepping outside the present, compromising the pleasure if you're not careful.

Nonetheless, what you recall sounds delicious and just a little bit distinctive--enough to provide a stronger sense of what Judith means when she is thinking about the relationships one can forge between tradition and innovation in her kitchen. (She also seems to have a thing for nuts!) Reminding us of Claudio's Roman roots and the way one cooks the dickens out of artichokes--not always, but mostly--also is enlightening.

I didn't feel like having breakfast this morning, but I am now officially hungry. Ciao!

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Great stuff-kudos-reminds one of the good old days when people would lustily describe their meals, before everyone became addicted to food porn. I would like to thank you for getting too drunk, or perhaps just having a sense of propriety, or perhaps both (no, I'm guessing it was simply the alcohol) and not taking pictures or notes, and leaving something to the imagination. That lazy cat says it all, anyway. :biggrin:

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How'd I miss this thread?! How'd I not go when I was just in Italy? AARRRGH!

Judith, congratulations on this endeavor. Everything looks fabulous. We're planning on going to Arrezzo on our next trip, and I'm going to suggest that we go to Erba Luna.

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

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Ciao Rgagazi!

My apologies for the long absence. I got double whammied: my internet has been intermittent ( oh, gee, what a surprise!! :blink: ) we've been busy, oh and Chufi came for a visit!! :biggrin::biggrin::biggrin: Chufi was here with her husband, and we had a fine time!

Weinoo, thanks. :wub::wub::wub: Your kind words and support are truly appreciated. Not to mention that it was really fun to have you and Ms. Weinoo stay with us.

I'm sort of thinking of opening up our house as an eGullet B&B. The house would be a private b&b, buy youmust you be an eGullet member. You don't have to pay, just bring us treats to eat.

Mitch brought lovely cheeses, wine, salumis and LIMES! Chufi brought this amazing cumin/clove scented cheese and some killer wine, and some salty Dutch licorice, and some spices. Swisskaese is coming next week, and she is promising us N.African spices. Now, is this good luck, or what??

Karen, I Call the Duck....we better see you next year! We are about 1/2 hour from Arezzo, which is one of our favorite small cities. What Philly treats can you bring? Cheese steaks don't travel very well. :laugh::laugh:

Kelly, reservations are appreciated, but not a requirement. And if I get to finally meet you in person, that would just be wonderful!

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