Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Sometimes all it takes is one little thing for me to like a restaurant. And I’ll admit it right here, right now, in print. Any restaurant that has a jar of dried fava beans as the table decoration is gonna win me over. Every time.
Terranima, in Bari, won me over big time. And not just for the lovingly created interiors, but mostly - of course - for the food.
Even though Terranima has been around for a few years, in Bari, it took my friend and colleague Faith Willenger to bring me there. Even though I go to Bari all the time, we tend to either eat at home (Domenico’s mom lives there) or go to the handful of restaurants the family has been going to forever. (Creature of habit, I'm no exception)
But a few months ago Faith and I happened to be in Bari at the same time (on an extremely weird olive oil press trip that turned out to be not at all about olive oil. But that’s another story). So I tagged along with her to visit Terranima. Since at the time I couldn't stay for more than a glass of wine and some nibbles, I finally managed to get back there last weekend - with the Minchilli family in tow- to have an incredibly delicious meal.
Monday, February 27, 2012
We’ve been trying to get down to Bari for the last month. We usually go about every three or four months or so, since Domenico is from Bari and his mother still lives there. It’s about a four and a half hour drive down from Rome, so it’s not such a huge trip.
But for two weekends in a row we were snowed out. Or in. Take your pick. There was the one weekend that I’ve posted about when we couldn't get out of Rome. And then the following weekend the snow landed mostly on the road that we would have taken to cross the Apennines. Yes, in Italy. Go figure.
But we finally managed to get down there last weekend and it was like winter had never happened. It was a gorgeous sunny day on Sunday, and the Barese were out in full force for a morning passeggiata.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
There are a couple of things I really like. Cocktails. And gifts.
The cocktail thing I’ve written about so much on this blog that I’m not even going to bother to link to any specific entry. It’s all over the place.
The gift thing? I’ve mentioned it in passing. I love love love getting gifts. In my line of work I am actually pretty lucky in that respect. Although since it’s all in the name of research, can I really call the box of grappa or balsamic vinegar that the producers send me to sample, gifts?
But of course the gifts I really treasure are those from my friends. Especially the gifts they make. And you can imagine how excited I get when a hand made gift actually dovetails into my love of cocktails.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
You might have noticed that there is not a lot of fish cooking going on, on this blog. That’s not because I don’t like fish. I do. Very much. As you can see here and here. And the few fish recipes I have shared have been when I am cooking in cities other than Rome, like Bari and Santa Marinella. But Rome is kind of an odd place to buy fish. It’s not nearly as easy as you'd think, and it’s usually very expensive.
And even though we have one of the best fish stores in town in Monti, I somehow never get my act together to walk up there before they close at 1pm. Actually, if I really want to have my choice of fish, I have to get there much earlier, at least by 10am. My problem is that once I hit my desk in the morning, it’s hard for me to start thinking of grocery shopping before 5 or so, and by that time all the fish stores have long since closed.
Monday, February 20, 2012
A while back we went to what turned out to be a rather fancy dinner party. Our friends Randy and Lauren were in town, visiting from Australia. They were staying at a friend's house, and the friends - Metaxia and Kostas - very kindly offered to have us over for dinner so that we could see Randy and Lauren before they headed back down under.
So it was really just old friends getting together. But the table was set with a gorgeous starched white table cloth, silver and flowers. You know: fancy dinner party style.
But once we sat down, and Metaxia brought out the main dish, things took a decidedly un-fancy turn. As she served up inky black strands of unwieldy spaghetti al nero di seppia, I had two thoughts:
- Thank god I’d decided to wear my black cashmere sweater rather than my new ivory one.
- How in the world was I going to stop the slippery, inky pasta from whipping itself off my fork and onto the pristine table cloth?
Thursday, February 16, 2012
You know when you just need a little bit of wine to see you through a recipe? Just a cup, or even less. This used to be no problem. Domenico and I would start a bottle of wine with dinner, drink another couple of glasses the next night, and then have a bit left over that I would save for cooking. I’d usually have at least three or four of these opened bottles on the counter at any given time, waiting to be poured into stews, braises or soups.
But one of the side effects of switching over to drinking cocktails in the evening (and you know I’m not going into the other side effects) is that I no longer have those open bottles of wine laying around. And the thought of cracking open a bottle just for cooking seems just plain wasteful.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
I’ve been wanting to go to Metamorfosi since it opened last October. But there was something about it that made me hesitate. Not because I doubted it was going to be fantastic (I’d heard from Katie, Maurizio and Andrea that is was great) but....I was kind of intimidated.
Not intimidated in a bad way. But I suspected the experience was going to be so extraordinary, that I wanted to choose an extraordinary occasion to go there.
I’d say a 22nd wedding anniversary qualifies, don’t you?
Monday, February 13, 2012
It’s been a crazy weekend. Snow once again. This kind of thing just doesn’t happen here. But there you have it. Last weekend we were snowed in. And this weekend too.
I used to live on the East Coast: Connecticut, Boston and New York. So you’d think I'd be one of the few in Rome that had the skill set to deal with an amount of snow that (if truth be told) wouldn't even make a North Carolinan blink. But I’ve grown out of the habit. Turns out snow skills are not like riding a bike. I’m not prepared from a clothes point of view (no snow boots, and I don’t think I’ve owned a hat in about ten years).
And I also forgot about the whole food hoarding thing. You know, run out and buy way more food than you really need just in case you get snowed in. So there I was, on Friday night, with not much food in the house. We had been invited out to dinner, but were actually snowed in. In Rome. Go figure.
Thursday, February 9, 2012
February always presents a problem. In theory I’m still in the post holiday “eat-less” mode. But at the same time it’s really cold outside, and my body is begging more for calories (even if it knows full well it doesn’t need them).
So while my mind is telling me to eat a nice piece of fruit, my legs are walking me in another direction. Often towards one of my favorite pastry shops in Rome, Dagnino.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Between Facebook and Twitter, I hear about a lot of 'special' meals around town. And by 'special', I mean events that have been organized on a Monday or Tuesday night to fill up an otherwise empty restaurant or enoteca. Sometimes these events are just silly (Natural wines from the Easter Ukraine paired with cave-aged ewe cheese from Uzbekistan) (Ok, I made that up, but you get the idea).
Other times the events sound truly wonderful and delicious But it’s gonna have to be beyond wonderful and delicious to get me out on a Monday or Tuesday in the middle of winter. Plus, when I attend a meal that’s not on the ordinary menu, then there’s not a lot I can do with it. It can’t go in the app. And I feel badly writing about it here, since the restaurants rarely play a repeat performance.
But I broke two of my rules last week. I went out on a Monday. And I’m going to make you crazy by telling you about a meal you’ll mostly likely never get a chance to taste.
Monday, February 6, 2012
Ok, my readers outside of Italy, this post probably is going to be a bit perplexing to you. No, it’s not about pizza or pasta or gelato. It’s about Indian food. In Rome.
I know, I know. If you are in Rome, why on Earth would you ever want to eat Indian food, right? Well, if you actually live in Rome, it’s kinda nice to go out for something other than the same old same old (even if that same old is pretty darn good.)
So, it's no suprise that one of the most frequent questions I get from my fellow ex-pats in Rome is “Where to you go for Indian.” With this in mind, I answer you: Sitar.
Saturday, February 4, 2012
Thursday, February 2, 2012
When the weather starts getting cold in the fall, my cocktail cravings turn from summer favorites like The Basilito and Pimm’s Cup, to classics like an Old Fashioned or a Martini. For some reason, as I hunker down, all I really want is the alcohol, with not much else.
But come February, my body starts to crave something brighter and - slightly - lighter. It’s citrus time, and working blood oranges, mandarines and lemons into anything and everything seems right to me.
That said, the thought of a Screwdriver or Greyhound just seems insipid, especially while the weather outside is still frightful. What I want is citrus, but citrus with a bit of body.
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
You asked for it. You got it! Eat Rome and Eat Florence are finally out in Android.
Whatever that means.
Even though I write apps and blogs and all that stuff, my understanding of the technical side of things is limited. But I do know that a lot of you have been clamoring for the non-iTunes version of my apps Eat Rome and Eat Florence. Since I am a iPhone/iPad/iMac-toting kind of girl, I only had a vague understanding of what you wanted. But thankfully, the geniuses behind my publishing platform, Sutro Media, are better equipped to give you what you need. And they have.
So visit the Android shop (or where ever it is you Android people have your secret meetings) and download Eat Rome and Eat Florence right away.
You don’t have any excuses anymore.