Thursday, December 29, 2011
I love markets. It’s the one thing that connects me faster and better with a culture than any other thing I do in a foreign city. Whether it’s an American supermarket an Asian hawker market or a European food market the effect is the same. Today I’ll let the images do the majority of the talking to drive this point home. The below slideshow will take you through the good, ugly and weird of two Italian markets I visited on my recent trip. A few highlights, starting with the above veal brain. Look out for the stuffed rooster neck and the the skinned rabbit in the slideshow. The offal counter is another key image that you don’t see very often. A guy who only serves organs and intestine for a living. It takes a strong man. Enjoy the images, I hope it inspires you to poke around the local market more on your next excursion.
View Italian Markets in a larger map
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Today, if you are a strick catholic, you’re not supposed to eat meat. I figured that’s a great opportunity to write about meat. I personally am about to dive elbow deep into 31 lobsters in prep for tonights feast of the seven fishes. Whether you eat meat or not, this discovery is one to add to your Italy hit list.
Peter Lugars is my favorite steakhouse. I love everything about it but specifically the cut of steak, size of steak and the way you order your steak are paramount to the experience. Florence, all of Tuscany for that matter, is known for it’s beef. Just ask Dario Cecchini. It seems like everyone else has. If you ask me, Bistecca al la Fiorentina is a must taste when visiting the city. The place to have it is Buca Mario. This five steps down, dungeons lair is actually as old world as it looks. The meat is displayed in a glass case as you enter and you’re escorted through the twists and turns of the low ceilinged subterranean steakhouse to your table. On the way you pass diners with enormous steaks half and three quarters eaten. Your stomach growls and your mouth starts to water.
The menu is where the “Lugars” really shines through. You order this goliath steak by number. Steak for one, two or three. Sides are all a la carte, like Lugars. The cut is a Porterhouse, like Lugars, although, the Florentine cut is a bit less tenderloin and a bit more strip than in the states. It also measures in at 3 inches thick. That’s a solid half inch taller than Lugars. The beauty of butchering is how different countries cut slightly portions resulting in new types of steaks to eat. The wine list is extensive, as you’d imagine. Much better than Lugars. When the steak finally arrives it comes cooked only one way. Rare. I made it through most of this meat but slowed at the end thanks to the pasta appetizer I just had to have. In the end I’ll say the experience was amazing but the taste is better in the US. Argentina still reigns supreme but that’s another trip.Continue reading...
Monday, December 12, 2011
Hence the seven days of silence, tight pants and cured meat withdrawals. There is plenty to discuss and review so expect tons of Italian posts in the next few weeks as we slide right into our Italian-American Christmas. For now be satiated by this bowl of spaghetti carbonara I had just a few steps off Campo di Fiori in Rome at Salumeria Roscioli. Thanks to Mario Batali’s real time tweeting he hooked us up with this recommendation of a little nondescript salumeria. Along with this tasty dish the table was filled up by a burata with sun dried tomatoes, a plate of meatballs, a huge samulmi plate, proscuitto carpaccio and of course a bottle of vino.
As they say, when in Rome. As I say, visit here.Continue reading...
Friday, September 20, 2013
I love spaghetti carbonara BUT don’t order it here. You come here for the antipasti. A myriad of delicious, most of it sitting in excellent olive oil awaiting you to snap it up and add it to your plate of over zealous appetizers, awaits just inside the 100 year old doors off Campo di Fiori. My father has been known to make 4 or 5 trips up to the antipasti bar. From artichokes to figs to eggplant, the staples are all there. Eight types of fresh cheese. A whole sub-table for salumi. Hot dishes like anchovies sit above the table on a shelf. Everywhere you turn there is a giant serving dish with another tantalizing treat. You try and pace yourself but the assault on your senses is overwhelming. You snap up items and place them on your over full plate until your forearm muscles are so strained you fear dumping your treasure all over the ancient burgundy carpet. Not the move you want in a place like this. We remind ourselves, we can make another trip. We settle back at the table where some vino de casa has been poured. This is when the sharing and conversation begin. We all check out each others food loot jealous of what we missed but more than willing to offer bites off our plates to the rest of the table. This is commonplace in restaurants in Italy which is why I grew up with this as common in my living room. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Sunday, you name it, there is always an antipasti round in the Anello house. Eat. Share. Relax. Repeat.
Piazza Campo Dè Fiori, 23, 00186 Rome, Italy
+39 06 686 4783
Friday, September 13, 2013
Perfectly fried chicken. After all that’s what it is. In this country we think of fried chicken as a totally different thing. In Italy they think of fried chicken as an equally indulgent dish. Although I have a love for american style nothing beats the Italian’s pounded, double breaded and quickly fried version. Notice the carbonara to right accompanying this particular lunch we had in Taormina. After a half day exploring this Sicilian cliff town you’re ready to belly up at Gambero where the menu reads like a top 10 list of southern Italian staples. All of them are done to perfection but the fried chicken cutlet is numero uno. After this you are ready to tackle the ancient greek theater. Mind you, a quick hit of gelato might be needed to snap you out of food coma.
Ristorante Gambero Rossomore
Via Naumachia, 11
98039 Taormina, Italia
+39 0942 24863
Friday, September 6, 2013
Sicily is awesome for more reasons than I could explain if I wrote a post a day for a year. The nine inch squid shoot that lies across my plate above soaking in the very best sicilian olive oil like a lost treasure sitting in a post-thunderstorm puddle was pulled from the ocean 30 minutes before it hit my belly. The only other thing on the plate was a lemon wedge. Salt and pepper were detectable but in trace amounts simply because the freshness could handle all the talking. That talking being the loud, hand flailing Italian style witnessed throughout all of Sicily and the main land boot as well. What was this calamari, as the Italian’s call it, saying to me? It was firm in it’s position that recipes should be simple, local and fresh. That’s the triple threat you see in so much Italian cooking.
The squid elaborated while on my tongue. “I’m-a fresh. I grew up just-a down the shore-a there, see.” My throat heard it say “I kissa the grill-a for four-a minutes and look how-a good I turned out.” By the time it got to my stomach I heard, “A touch-a of acid-a from the lemona brought out my flavor and that olive oil gave it a track-a to travel on. Finito!” I listened to that squid the rest of the trip as it’s sound advice lead me to find the best Sicilian food from Palermo to Taoromina to RUINS to Marsala. Bravo Mr. F. Calamari. Thanks for the chat.
Trattoria Al Pescatore (It’s now called Il Pirata)
San Stefano di Camestra, Sicily, Italy
Friday, March 8, 2013
That’s what I thought after my first visit to this city. Each subsequent visit always reenforces this desire. Barcelona’s bright culture, food, architecture and people can’t help but become infectious. In Barcelona the creativity is loose, curvy, spontaneous, random and risky. Spain as a whole is creative, partially a bi-product of a country that’s seen it’s share of strife and hardship, with everything they do. With a different flair than Italy and a slightly less structured approach than the Dutch, the Spanish have cultivated a culture that emanates energy, passion and excitement for life. Barcelona is the modern Spanish city that best allows visitors to embrace and experience this. I recently spent a solid week in Barcelona enjoying the 60 degree December weather, eating the freshest seafood around and finding creative inspiration in every building, museum or meal…Continue reading...
Monday, February 25, 2013
Every once in a while the timing works out so we can share a kitchen with some of our closest collaborators. Two weeks ago I found myself in the kitchen with long time friend and chef, Ben Long. His recent trip to Italy and my heritage spawned an idea to create a traditional Italian feast served in the traditional Italian sequence. More on that down the page a bit. With the help of a few specialty items Ben smuggled back from his trip, some surprise ingredients brought in by John “Chu” Churillo and a morning trip to the Asian farmers market in San Francisco, we were prepared to do my namesake some solid justice.
For those who are unfamiliar with our dinners, Forking Tasty’s Suppers is our attempt to bring back dinnertime by seating a bunch of strangers around a table to share some food, conversation and laughter. For this one we flew out west to spread the love at SPICE Supper clubs 8-seat chefs table.
As each guest arrived they were greeted with an immediate sense of home. From the wooden gate they walked through to enter the space, through the softly lit garden and up the stairs into the victorian foyer, each guests arrival procession prepared them for the homey atmosphere that awaited them in the dining room. As the first guests sipped their welcome drink waiting for the remainder of their dining partners to arrive, the kitchen was busy preparing…Continue reading...
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Location: San Francisco (exact location will be released to reserved guests)
Donation: $80 (make a reservation below)
Spice and Forking Tasty unite once again for a one night only, chef’s table, Italian celebration. Drawing from Ben and Jason’s extensive travels through Italy they’ll present a 7-course meal that’s sure to keep you guessing what’s next. Following the traditional style of Italian suppers you’ll work your way through an unexpected series of dishes, flavors and presentation. Drawing on northern, southern and foreign influences the meal will be an over-the-top tour for your tastebuds and emotions alike. We’ll also pair select Italian and Californian wines that match the dinners flavor progression from small to big. This one comes with major bragging right so grab a seat while you can.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
According to us of course! It occurred to me last week that Forking Tasty has never jumped on the top 10 list or the trends of year thing. I thought this year is the year we do both so without further preamble here’s what the whole Tasty family thinks you should look out for in 2013…