Search Results | 'Italy'

Italy Market Fix

Thursday, December 29, 2011

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Italy 2011 - 401

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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The Peter Lugar of Italy

Saturday, December 24, 2011

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Italy 2011 - 361

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.


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Allora. I’ve been in Italy.

Monday, December 12, 2011

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Spaghetti Carbonara in Rome

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.


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Ristorante Barchetta • Bellagio

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

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Italy-June 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.

Eat there:
Ristorante Barchetta
Salita Mella 13, 22021
Bellagio Como, Italy

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I Due Fratellini • Florence

Friday, June 13, 2014

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I Due Fratellini, Florence

In lieu of the of the plane I’ll be on in 3 hours, here’s a reheated from the last time I walked the boot shaped peninsula. This little hole in the wall, literally, serves up simple sammies on the freshest bread as well as offers a huge selection of wines by the glass. Here I knocked back a sopressata and riccota. I washed it down with a barolo of course. This trip I hope to find the Milano version of this magnificent hero.

Eat here:
I Due Fratellini
Via dei Cimatori, 38, 50122 Firenze, Italy
Phone:+39 055 239 6096
Hours: 9:00 am – 7:00 pm

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I Due Fratellini • Florence

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

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I Due Fratellini, Florence

In lieu of the of the plane I’ll be on in 3 hours, here’s a reheated from the last time I walked the boot shaped peninsula. This little hole in the wall, literally, serves up simple sammies on the freshest bread as well as offers a huge selection of wines by the glass. Here I knocked back a sopressata and riccota. I washed it down with a barolo of course. This trip I hope to find the Milano version of this magnificent hero.

Eat here:
I Due Fratellini
Via dei Cimatori, 38, 50122 Firenze, Italy
Phone:+39 055 239 6096
Hours: 9:00 am – 7:00 pm

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La Carbonara • Rome

Friday, September 20, 2013

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La Carbonara, Rome

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.

Go there:
La Carbonara
Piazza Campo Dè Fiori, 23, 00186 Rome, Italy
+39 06 686 4783

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Gambero Rosso • Taormina

Friday, September 13, 2013

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Gambero Rosso, Taormina

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.

Go there:

Ristorante Gambero Rossomore
Via Naumachia, 11
98039 Taormina, Italia
+39 0942 24863

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Trattoria Al Pescatore • San Stefano di Camastra

Friday, September 6, 2013

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San Stefano di Camastra, Sicily, Italy

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.

Go there:
Trattoria Al Pescatore (It’s now called  Il Pirata)
San Stefano di Camestra, Sicily, Italy

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Eating Barcelona

Friday, March 8, 2013

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Barcelona, Spain

I could live here.

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…

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