Thursday, June 30, 2011
Please excuse the hopping around this month. Someone just complained that they thought this blog was supposed to be only about Rome, and felt like they had stumbled on the wrong page by accident, since there were posts about Paris and Barcelona. Well...yes, the blog is called 'Elizabeth Minchilli in Rome'. And I do claim to write about the 'good stuff in Italy'. But when I manage to get out of the boot, I like to report on the good things I saw/ate/did in other places.
So I hope you’ll put up with my wanderings. Actually, I hope you’ll do more than that. My intention is that you will actually enjoy my trip reports as much as I enjoy the trips.
And so...on to London. I was up there last weekend visiting my daughter, Sophie, who is at University. Even though it’s easy enough for me to fly up for a visit, on a cheap flight, I somehow managed not to go the entire year. Sophie came back home so often, it was hard to fit a trip in.
Monday, June 27, 2011
When I travel I’m always hoping to find that little neighborhood restaurant that only locals know about. But the thing about that is that you have to know a local. And a local who likes to eat well. I often go to Chowhound for advice, but even then, the same places tend to get repeated over and over (and I should know, since I’m often the one giving advice on this forum in Rome).
Friday, June 24, 2011
After having planned nothing ahead of time for my trip to Paris last week, I found myself equally unprepared for my one day in Barcelona. I had been invited to the naming of a new Seabourn cruise ship (the Quest, if you really want to know) and besides attending the very swish party and absolutely delicious dinner, I had no itinerary for the next day.
Well, that’s not totally true. I knew I wanted to wander around the old part of town, Barri Gotic, and then head over to the Boqueria, one of the best markets in Europe. By not having a ‘plan’ what I really mean is not having made a ‘reservation’ for ‘lunch.’
Thursday, June 23, 2011
I first went to Barcelona in 1996. I was invited to attend a nutritional conference by Oldways and so - as you can imagine - there was a lot of food involved. But as always, I managed to find some time to do some shopping. I was with my sister Robin and we headed down to the old part of town, Barri Gotic, wandering up and down little alleyways, sort of getting lost, but not minding in the least.
Eventually we stumbled across a small ceramics store filled with hand-painted, rough-hewn, brightly- colored plates and bowls. We each wanted to buy more than we could possibly carry, but were traveling so had to limit ourselves to a few small bowls. They are perfect for serving olives, which we’ve both been using them for, lovingly, ever since.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
When I travel I’m usually one of those people who maniacally research restaurants months in advance. Making plans and reservations for every lunch and dinner, and even snacks. That’s what I did for our last trip to Istanbul. And that’s what I had every intention of doing for the trip to Paris we took last weekend.
But life gets away from you sometimes. Even though I had browsed all my favorite Paris sites ( Paris by Mouth, Hungry for Paris, David Lebovitz, Barbara Austin and The Paris Kitchen), the entire process of making a decision was just too much to handle. I’ve been really busy lately and I thought, well, we’ll just wing it.
Monday, June 20, 2011
For some reason Gigetto gets a bad rap from a lot of people. They think it’s too touristy, or don’t like their food. But I’ve been going there since I was 12, and can truthfully say I have never had a bad meal here. In fact, it is one of my favorite restaurants in Rome.
Don’t look to Gigetto for fancy, or creative. Do run here for all the Roman classics – amatriciana, carbonara and gricia are all excellent. Since they are located in Rome’s Jewish Ghetto, they naturally specialize in Roman Jewish dishes, and have been doing so long before it became trendy.
Friday, June 17, 2011
It’s that time of year again, when everyone’s stomachs turn to thoughts of gelato. At least I know mine does. And to judge by the gelato happenings in Rome these days, I’m not alone. I’ve written about my favorite gelato places in the past, here and here. However an update is in order, given the recent new openings.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Many swear that Sforno is currently the best pizza in Rome. The only reason some people never make it there is its out of the way location, in the Tuscolana neighborhood. But if you are in Rome for the pizza, then hop on the metro or grab a taxi.
And I have to say, it took me quite a while to make the trek. But I'm glad I did, since I concur: it's one of (if not the) best pizzeria in Rome.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
My last post was about being lazy. About getting to the end of the day and not really wanting to cook, yet having a family whose expectations I have managed to raise to a frighteningly high level. So the other day I threw together a quick, nourishing, yet delicious soup. That was fine up to a point.
Soup, and nothing else just isn’t a meal, right? Especially when that soup is basically 100% carrots and not much else. At this point, if you’re in the States, you’re thinking, just make a sandwich and be done with it. Well, I’m in Italy and sandwiches are not dinner fare. They really don’t even make it to the lunch table. Sandwiches are mostly something you grab while on the run, on the road. They can be really good (like the ones from the tripe stands in Florence) but they are never considered a ‘real’ meal.
Monday, June 13, 2011
You’d think, from reading this blog, that I’m cooking non-stop, all the time, 24/7. A pie here, a pizza there, and lots of pasta and salads in between. And it’s true. I do love to cook. And photographing and writing about it comes easily.
But I have off days too. Like when I look up at the clock, realize it’s 7:30 pm and “oh f#%k”, it’s dinner again? I have to cook another meal NOW?
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
If you go out to dinner a lot in Rome, you tend to see the same things over and over. That’s why the appearance of ingredients like scallops and duck make me so happy.
Anatra Grassa is one of my favorite new restaurants in Rome. Opened in 2010, it offers a completely different dining experience from the tired and true Roman scene. The menu definitely speaks Venetian and I’m happy to say that duck is not only on the sign out front, but on the menu too.
Monday, June 6, 2011
When we are up at our house in Umbria, you’d think we’d be going out exploring and eating all the time. But actually, when it comes down to it, we are so happy just staying at home, that it takes quite a bit to make us venture forth.
But a few weeks ago I heard about a dinner not far from Todi that I knew I couldn’t pass up. I was on Facebook and saw that two of my friends would be attending “La Cipolla di Cannara fa il giro del mondo in una cena”. The Cannara Onion goes Around the World in a Dinner. First of all, I love onions from Cannara. They are super sweet, and recognized by Slowfood. They aren’t easy to find, even if you do live nearby (which we do). Ages ago we went to the town’s yearly sagra di cipolla, and I’d been thinking about them ever since.
Friday, June 3, 2011
When we bought our home in Umbria twenty years ago it was a ruin. Although we could see the potential in the crumbling walls and fallen roof, it was the location that convinced us. Set atop a hill, looking out over the green valley below, we knew Pergolaccio was home.
Even though the house came with 140 olive trees, and is surrounded on three sides by forest, one of the first things we did - even before we began construction - was to plan out our garden. Fruit trees, vegetables, roses; fences, pergolas and walls. We knew that the sooner we got these things going, the sooner they would grow into what we imagined.