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 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
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
While in Italy I realized that there’s a lot happening around the world between two slices of bread. Anthony and I have travelled the world eating everything from Balut in the Philippines to blood sausage in Argentina. In every destination there has always been a sandwich shop. Some were good and some were bad but they all had their unique take on this ubiquitous meal. The origin of the sandwich is highly debated and we’ll dive into that on our journey as we discover, taste and debate the best sandwiches in the world.Continue reading...
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Kind of a Roman thing I came to realize. What’s different than most you’ve seen in the states is they use the whole damn pig. That’s why they are so damn big. I think these are closest to a Shwarma joint in that they start the day with a giant piece of meat and slowly slice it back into a tiny nub of swine. A good shop can go through 1 plus of these debones and re wrapped porkers a day. This one was spotted in Piazza Navona. Probably not the best Rome has to offer since Navona is one of the most touristed places in Rome. If you follow Bourdain, he’ll tell you to go to I Porchettoni far away from the tourists.Continue reading...
Monday, December 19, 2011
I realized that the stories from Italy can take months to properly explain. In the crunch of the Holidays and my burning need to share all the Italian goodies before the Italian-American goodies hit the holiday table, I am going to post my highlights in short order this week allowing you all a quick Italian food vacation before the Holidays take over.
First up is this perfect pignoli cookie. The reigning champion of this cookie is my Aunt Joy but as far as an “in Italy” version this takes the cake, or cookie as it were. The key to the pignoli is to get that crunchy outside with a moist and soft inside. This succeed on both fronts. Washing it down with a quick Italian espresso made it that much better. Where did I get it? Just a tiny, non-pretentious, BAR(read coffee shop) on via you-name-it. My favorite type of food discoveries are always the unexpected and nondescript places. Truth be told, there was a name and you should remember it. Pasticceria Dagnino. Get there.Continue reading...
Thursday, November 3, 2011
My buddy Sean Bell and I sent out to explore Venice. Sean had been there before and I asked him for the Sean Bell Tour of Venice. We set out in the morning and had a lot of walking to do that day. Sean, (not a morning person fyi, typical musician) needed a quick fix before we get into the heart of Venice. The video shows the typical sandwich you can get at numerous cafes around Venice, let alone most of italy. However, this sandwich was filled with tuna and olives and was one of Sean’s favorite. Me on he other hand, I can’t stand the smell of tunafish let alone the taste. It was just the pick-me-up Sean needed to give me a great tour of Venice. We walked and saw one of the most unique cities I have ever been to. Where in a normal city you have road, Venice has rivers. Cities have cars, Venice has boats. It’s different but a very beautiful city.Continue reading...
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
I took a tour and explored the catacombs just outside the city of Rome and after they brought us to a farm for some cooking lessons. We were making Gnocchi that day and the eatin was good. I had a lot of fun watching this Italian women make Gnocchi for us all. She eventually had a few of the guests come up to help out. I wanted to join but there was no more room at the table. When it was asked who would like to help make Gnocchi (she didn’t ask because she did not speak a lick of english) I was busy stuffing my face and missed out. Maybe next time.Continue reading...
Monday, September 5, 2011
A couple buddies and I were walking around Santa Marghrita looking for the perfect stop for some lunch. We literally walked around for at least an hour or two. Santa Marghrita is so small that’s all the time it took to walk the town. We stumbled upon a place called Da Nello. It was so close to my last name we had to try it out. We had an old lady that really did not know much english show us to our table which was right on the beach. I guess we are in her country, we really did not know enough Italian. She ended up being our waitress as well. After finding out that the two things we wanted on the menu they ran out of, she gave us some suggestions.
Great view of the water and what will eventually turn out to be a fantastic lunch. I’m still thinking about those mussels. Not one mussels I ate tasted fishy, they were perfect. I could have dipped bread in that wine and olive oil at the bottom of the bowel all day.
Monday, August 1, 2005
The burn in my throat was overpowering. As the lemony, dry, liquid raced past my esophagus and headed towards my stomach I could feel my three-course, homemade, Italian meal race around looking for a place to hide. When the fluid hit my stomach my brain went into overdrive sending a distress signal from my tear ducts to the far reaches of my toes. My neck hairs were at attention. My right hand squeezed the recently emptied shot glass with the power of a vice grip hand tool as my last few puffs of air passed over my vocal chords and released a whisper of an alarm. “Lets get out of here!”, I gasped…Continue reading...