Sometimes We Go Out to Eat
It was a bittersweet dinner at Locanda al Gambero Rosso. A restaurant we’ve loved, that we’ve called our favorite in the whole world, will shut the lights and shutter their doors at the end of August. Our hearts are broken, but we are looking forward to the next chapters in the lives of Giuliana, Moreno, Michela and Paolo.
It’s holiday season. That time of year when you are either entertaining, or being entertained and you need to bring something delicious to the next party.
Here’s a simple and delicious way to make potatoes using Prosciutto di Parma. If you use little red potatoes and a chopped parsley as a garnish, it will look extra holiday perfect.
Maybe it was the louche red swivel bird-cage seats, but this place oozed dark bar cool. Maybe it was the cocktail menu that came with an index listing La Boutique, Twisted Libations, Library & Classics or Swing Collection that made us settle in to make a well considered choice. Maybe it was the cute waiter who clipped a little mag light to my swivel chair so I could actually read the menu, but it all seemed glamorous and fun to me.
Aside from food and wine, one of the great things about Europe is CHEAP FLIGHTS within Europe. These are not luxury flights, these are CHEAP FLIGHTS where any resemblance to comfort is purely accidental. But, hey the flight isn’t long, and for about 50 bucks you can fly round trip to from Pisa to Barcelona, so hell yeah, we went to Barcelona for a long weekend.
This isn’t a “ Best of Barcelona” list, it’s a boy, did we have fun list…enjoy!
It’s August, so it must be Ferragosto, and if it’s Ferragosto, then it must be festa time in Montone! We are in the midst of our annual, week long medieval festival, the Donazione della Santa Spina.
August 15 is the official Ferragosto holiday in Italy, but one can go ‘on ferie’ (fair-ee-a) or vacation, anytime during the summer. We can all thank Emperor Augustus who, back in 18 B.C., thought it was a great idea to take a little break from work during the dog days of summer.
Surely there are plenty of mad women in the village of Le Forna on Isola di Ponza, but it’s the mad chefs of Le Forna that captured our hearts and stomachs. From crusty pizza to oily, inky black spaghetti, to delicately fried fish, to impressive apertivi, to a feast on a boat, these men know how to cook!
How far would you travel for a superb lemon? Would you consider giving up eating shrimp after tasting fresh red shrimp and knowing this is the best you’ll ever have? Is the market your first stop in a new place even when you only have a hotel room and no kitchen and you feel as though you’ve been denied entry to Paradise? Do people still tell stories about that time in Puglia when you bought out half the fish market and invited a boat load of strangers to dinner? Do you hang around in coffee bars and restaurants eavesdropping to hear what people are cooking? Do you keep track of when peaches are at their peak in different regions of Italy?
When do you cross the line from culinary traveler to Culinary Crazy?
A weekend adventure that transports and recharges. Bright cones of ground spices seduce with their colors and their aroma. A mosaic pattern on the floor is actually an intricate arrangement of rice, beans and peas. A bowl of black seppia ink pasta coats our lips and teeth, turning us into daytime ghouls. Meals that are more than memories…a moment of pleasure on the lips, a liftime on our hips! Welcome to Venice and Bolgona, exotic plantets of fantasy, light, art, water, fruity white wines, friends and the search for surprise and delight.
As part of the “Italian Cuisine in the World Forum”, Academia Barilla hosted a World Pasta Championship at their beautiful campus in Parma. You have to love a town where the directions to the Academia are, “Follow along the Strada del Parmigiano…”
I swear I’m not trying to rub it in, but unless you are in central Italy, right now, and unless it rains again, you probably won’t be able to taste the elusive prugnolo mushroom.
There is a prugnolo cult in Umbria. Small signs pop up on restaurant windows simply announcing ‘prugnolo’. Nothing more. No dish is mentioned, no hint that it’s a spring mushroom; it’s an insider thing. That would be an insider who is willing to pay for her pleasure.