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.
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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, February 6, 2015
This is the perfect day for this story. There’s nothing like a hot broth to warm up your insides and kickstart your depressed winter soul as that mercury barely edges past 20 degrees. I am also about to get crazy over my love for Panera Bread. Last time I did something like this it was a KFC obsession. This runs the opposite end of the spectrum with Panera’s goal to be as good for the body and this planet as possible. That’s not so much on the Colonal’s to-do list.
It was just over a month ago when I had a sneak peek at Panera’s new broth bowls. In a small kitchen in Little Italy, Chef Kish shared…Continue reading...
Friday, January 30, 2015
Why sorrow you say? Two reasons. First, not getting to this story sooner. Second, not being their right now. The food in Lima, as many have recently screamed from the middle of their 3 star michelin kitchens, blew my mind because of the immediate and aggressive foreign assault on my senses. Sparing just my hearing the rest of my system couldn’t make heads or tails for a good day from the sights, textures, tastes and smells pummeling me at each meal. But, let’s start at the beginning as all epic, gastro-adventures should.
South America was on our list for a while. Having nailed Argentina and Brazil, Tony and I set aside two weeks to roam Peru. First stop, the capital city of Lima. A rough start had us sleep our first night in JFK because of some LAN Airlines mix up. When we finally arrived we quickly hopped a Green Taxi (which seemed more regulated than the other cheaper options) and headed to the Miraflores Hilton to freshen up before our 8pm Central Restaurante ressie. Despite the delays our plan to start the trip with a 17 course tasting menu meal was not foiled. We even had enough time for…Continue reading...
Monday, December 29, 2014
Below we’ve compiled our top 10 mouth dancing, tastebud bulging, instant instagramming, blow our minds, bites of the year. Some obvious. Some unexpected. All worth going back for. You guys know we love our bites BUT we’d love to hear about your favorite, delectable, OMG-moment, bites of the year. So, as you peruse our top 10, think of your fav and drop it in the comments, tweet or insta with #bestbiteof2014. Here’s a simple equation to follow. Bite (at) Place (in) City = Link (if you have one) Here’s an example based on our first pick: Spaghetti at Carlo e Camilla in MilanWe can’t wait to hear what you guys found outstanding this year. Now jump in there and check out our top ten.Continue reading...
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
This Christmas is our first in 12 years that we’ll be in New York. Christmas “observed” was a success but nothing beats the real thing. We’ll miss the controlled, gastro, chaos of my Uncle Doug’s kitchen and all the characters that go along with it but I am sure we’ll get into our own character riddled, kitchen craziness soon enough. If the $200 I just spent on fish have anything to say about it, it’s a guarentee. We wish everyone a Happy and tasty holiday. Appropriately we have provided the catch all of Italian Christmas foods for you to stare at while you await your holiday meal. The pizza rustica or meat pie or pestarustica, depending on what part of Italy or Brooklyn you are from, has it all. Four cheeses, three meats, tons of cream and pie crus baked into a molten, salty foundation and served in bricks is a crowd pleaser to rival all others. It’s an all in one delight. Wherever you are and whatever you are eating, enjoy the next few days. Eat. Talk. Rest. Repeat.Continue reading...
Friday, December 12, 2014
It’s time this post saw the light of day. I’ve been avoiding the publish button until I lost the 15lbs that inevitably comes with Christmas. Damn you Santa. And, now yes that has taken me an entire year. The cookie table certainly doesn’t help. Instead of the recap we usually post each year. I thought I’d focus on the coming year and, specifically, it’s cookie contenders. On the jump are the four contenders.Continue reading...
Friday, November 14, 2014
As those who follow religiously know, Missus Tasty and I spent a week (two weeks for her) in Northern Italy a few months back. Amongst the small lake towns, tourist trap cities and true Italian ONLY villages we hit, Milano was the in and out point. We saved 2 days for a walk through the fashion capital. There were few highlights to note except this one. Having opted out of Carlo Cracco’s two Michelin star, 174€, tasting menu, in the left ventricle of tourista Milan, I let my well seasoned traveling gastronomer take charge. NOTE: Gastronomer might be a word I just coined*
Michelin doesn’t just give out stars so, a chef that has two has to be superb. If that chef is business minded, or has a great business partner, they understand the need for a less expensive outpost that can turn many more covers a night and cater to those with shallower pockets. The insight here is that no two starred chef is going to make Applebee’s food at their “bistro”. On this premise we decided to book a spot at Carlo e Camilla. Tucked in the hip Navigali neighborhood housed in a repurposed saw mil, you gain access through a small wood door built into the side of a wall. Once through, the space opens up into a gravel floored courtyard with several sitting areas made from mismatched, but very modern, design furniture. Walking into the main building you are greeted by a leather and dark wood clad bar tucked into the corner. Past the bar the room opens up to a cavernous room with an enormously long cross shaped table. We’re talking hundreds of feet in all directions. Click the jump for a pic and the rest of the story.Continue reading...
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Lake Como is beautiful. So is Bellagio, the point of the lake that’s been honored and awed for decades. So much so that Las Vegas felt it necessary to recreate it. Attention like this brings two things. The super rich and the tourists. Although beautiful, finding an authentic spot to eat without feeling ripped off is tough to do. For this one we had to turn to a tried and true companion, Lonely Planet. The Lakes guide steered us towards this elevated osteria with quite the extensive menu (Usually a red flag but not in this case).
Amongst the plethora of items, I immediately saw my hero dish. Since I was a kid and visited Umberto’s Clam House I’ve loved spaghetti with clam sauce. Red or white. Properly described spaghetti con le vongole. When this hit the table I already new I’d need more bread to sop up the tasty broth that would be left at the bottom of this bowl. All went according to plan and the clam infused wine and stock based broth was polished off without a drop left in the bottom of the porcelain marking the middel, not the end, of an awesome lake side Italian lunch. That’s the way it should be everyday.
Salita Mella 13, 22021
Bellagio Como, Italy