Thursday, February 28, 2013
I’ve had the great good luck of attending one of the best food fairs in Italy the last two years: Taste. The fair takes place in Florence and is an ‘invitation only’ event. No, not for the people who attend, but for the folks who display their wares. That means that it’s not too big, is highly curated and what is on display is the best of the best.
Taste 2013 takes place this year on March 9-11, in Florence. As always, there will be lots going on not only in the Stazione Leopoldo, where the fair takes place, but also around town at the hundreds of special meals, tastings and events organized by Fuori di Taste.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing that all of the best pizzerias in Rome are in hard to reach neighborhoods. If they were closer to where I lived, I would go more often. But if they were closer to where I lived, then I would go more often. Double edged sword if you understand what I mean.
In any case I made the effort to head up to La Fucina a few weeks ago. This is one of the better known pizzerias in Rome, and is located off the Via Portuense. In other words: far off my usual beaten track. But my friend offered to drive, and so I was very happy (and grateful) passenger
Monday, February 25, 2013
One thing that always stumps me when planning a meal is the first course. I’m not talking about during the week, when I’m aiming at one course that will serve all purposes. But on the weekends when I’m inviting people over and multi-course is the thing.
Pasta is an obvious primo here in Italy. But not only does that often involve last minute fussiness (a no no in my book) but it’s also often just a bit too much food to follow up with a meaty main.
Also, there’s that whole no carbs thing we’ve been doing all month.
Thursday, February 21, 2013
I’ve been going to Bleve since I was 12 years old. Sounds hard to believe, I know. And I admit, that when I first started frequenting Anacleto Bleve’s wine shop in the Ghetto, it wasn’t the Barolo and Brunello I was interested in. Instead, this was my go-to source for empty cardboard boxes. To make Barbie dollhouses out of. (which I would then sell to my sisters. But that’s another story)
Over the too many years in between then and now, I’ve followed Anacleto around town. By the late ’80’s, when I moved back to Rome permanently, the wine shop in the Ghetto had turned into a lunch spot where Tina, his wife, turned out exquisite platters of all sorts of goodies: zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta and hazelnuts; roasted peppers stuffed with salmon mousse; truffle topped turkey rolls. And the best cheeses and cured meats and other assorted delights sourced from all over Italy. With wine of course. Lots of wine.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
One of my favorite things to do it invite people over for dinner on the weekends. It gives me the perfect excuse to spend all day in the kitchen, which I don’t have much time for during my hectic weeks. I also like the whole ritual of setting the table, deciding what plates to use, pulling out the pretty wine glasses, lighting candles, making a centerpiece, all of it. Also, sometimes (often) it’s just nicer to hang out at home with friends, rather than deal with the hustle and bustle of a restaurant.
But there’s one thing I’m not so found of: clean up. Somehow when I’m setting out all those glasses - water, red wine, white wine - as well as cocktails and after dinner drink, I somehow manage to block out that all those glasses will have to be hand washed.
Monday, February 18, 2013
If you’re anything like me, you’re probably lazy. Ok, maybe you’re not lazy. But when’s the last time you’ve been out to Pigneto? (and no, you don’t get to answer this one if you live there.)
Rome is like any other big city (even if it’s not so big). Once you get settled into one neighborhood, it’s hard to get up the energy to move on to another area. During the day I’m usually here, in Monti, working away at my computer, and find I barely have time to have lunch in my own kitchen, much less wander across town. And at night? Then I get real lazy, and usually opt for something that involves minimal cross town movement.
But last week I managed to shed a bit of my lazy ways, and went to Pigneto to meet my friend Martha for lunch. Martha is a pioneer of sorts, since she’s been settled into this neighborhood long before it became so hip and trendy. (she did similar things in San Lorenzo and Tribeca in former lives, but those are other stories).
Thursday, February 14, 2013
One of the most exciting recent developments on the Rome restaurant scene has been what’s happening in the Ostiense neighborhood. This nondescript area, located just past Testaccio, was no one’s idea of a destination dining experience. Until Eataly moved in, that is. Eataly took over an abandoned train station and - seemingly over night - turned an forgotten corner of Rome into the place everyone wants to be.
Just down the street, in a former industrial building, Porto Fluviale is adding another reason to head over to this (obviously) happening area.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Remember when Domenico came home last week from Tuscany with all sorts of meat? One of the butcher paper-wrapped parcels he brought me contained the makings for bollito. Since I had put a limit on the quantity that he could buy (he sometimes forgets we are just the two of us these days) he showed unusual restraint, and only got two cuts of meat for bollito, instead of the usual mix including tongue, a half a hen and maybe a piece of turkey.
Monday, February 11, 2013
The other night I was making pork chops for dinner. A side of cicoria was an easy choice for a vegetable. And, or course, my go-to starch for pork chop night is mashed potatoes. But this was a non-starter (non-starcher?) since we’ve sworn off carbs for February.
Since I had a gorgeous slice of pumpkin, I decided zucca al forno would be an acceptable alternative. I could cut it into little cubes, stick them in a hot hot oven, and they’d come out all golden and crispy. And we could sort of pretend they were potatoes.
Thursday, February 7, 2013
I know it's still winter. Lots of rain yet to come, and cold as well. It's even supposed to snow here in Rome on Saturday (fingers crossed.)
But even though I love the crisp cold of winter winter, and would just die of happiness if it snowed, somehow I'm also thinking about Spring. Walks in the country. Getting my garden going. In the meantime I make do. I stop by the local flower stand to buy a bunch of tulips. And since I'm at my computer more often than not, I search my own photo library for key words like "flower', 'gardens', and 'spring.' (yup. That's what I do. Sit around looking at pretty pictures)
The other day, during a particularly dismal downpour, a photo of a flower-bedecked garden in front of a Romanesque church popped up on my screen. And immediately I was transported from rainy Rome back to a perfect Spring day on the island of Torcello in the Venetian lagoon. Where I had not only a delicious lunch, but one of those sun and flower-filled days whose memories get you through the worst of winter.
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
I don’t know what your husband (or wife) brings home to you when they go on a business trip, but 9 times out of 10, my husband comes home with some kind of meat. He takes the phrase ‘bringing home the bacon’ very seriously.
Last week, while on a trip up to Tuscany, where he is working on the restoration of a farmhouse, Domenico not only brought home the bacon (literally. a kilo of pancetta) but also came home with a mega-sized bistecca fiorentina, several pork chops, enough bollito for an army and various other tidbits.
Monday, February 4, 2013
Whenever anyone talks about l’Anice Stellato they first mention how out of the way it is. As if that’s a bad thing. It’s actually one of the things I love about this restaurant, that it’s located way off in a corner of Venice that most tourists don’t bother with: the northern reaches of Cannaregio.
The cozy wood-paneled interior opens right out onto the super quiet Fondamenta della Sensa. There are a handful of tables right on the canal, but the inside is so charming you will probably choose to sit there. That's where we sat, during a recent visit I made to Venice while working on my latest app EAT VENICE