Monday, February 19, 2018

Dreaming Of Meals To Come...Soon!



  In just a few days, we'll be packing our bags and heading to Umbria. As usual, Mr. J and I have been  doing our pre-Italy dieting, getting ourselves ready to chow down with gusto after we arrive.

  I'm looking forward to the simple fare I'll fix at home...




Tomatoes with beans and pecorino.
Wonderful in front of the fire.



Typical lunch on the terrace.



Yolanda's market has the best little tomatoes!



Grilled veg for a potluck with our landlord, Carlo.



We eat lots, lots, lots of tomatoes with pecorino.
Here, paired with onion and sage 'pizza' from the town bakery.


Another tasty salad on the terrace.


I'm not kidding...it never gets old!



I can whip out a pretty damn good risotto, too.



Charred shishito peppers were great with parmesan in the summer.
And a surprise to find at the Chiusi weekly market!


  As nice as it is to fix meals at home, we always look for somewhere new to try at lunch time. In July, we heard about this place that we didn't get to until November. It's another of the 'working man' lunch spots that are often only open on weekdays, and are outstanding.
  Again, except for the staff, I was the only woman in the place. That's how these rough and ready places are. See lots of cars and working vehicles parked outside? That's a good sign.
  Fine with me...I can't wait to go back.

  I knew we were in for a treat when I took a peek at a side dining room, and saw tables covered in fresh pasta set out to dry a bit before cutting.




No kidding.




It was beautiful sight to behold, my friends.



Wine and water, of course...

  
The fellow who told us about this place said we had to try the 'pici alla briciole', a speciality of the house. Hand made pasta with breadcrumbs...wow. Not for the light eater, I'll tell you that. 
  But, damn...it was good.







Yes, those breadcrumbs were toasted in lots...LOTS..of olive oil and garlic.
Fantastic.


Really good grilled veg.



Perfectly fine ceci beans, but not for this meal.
We couldn't finish them. They would be great with grilled meat.



  Don't even try to ask me where this place is. It goes in our little black book of places we want to keep hidden away. 



  There are lots of tasty treats I'm dying to get back to....




Piadini at Bar Gallo....





Suppli at Supplizio in Rome....



Fried porcini at Dardano in Cortona....



Tagliatelle with truffles...here at Da Suaro on Isola Maggiore...




More truffles with ravioli... somewhere?
I can't remember, honest.



Pappa al pomodoro...a summer treat at Masolino's.
Tomato and bread soup. Yummy.



My favorite salad of buffalo mozzarella and zucchini.
Bar Gallo.


  Lastly, because you just can't get it like this anywhere else...
  Pizza at Remo, in Rome. We will actually stay over night, at any cost, to delight in this 4.50 euro pizza.



Yep, it's that good.


  Counting the days/hours.....

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Last Night In Venice, Nov. '17



  Here's the thing.
  Life has been throwing us some major curveballs since we returned from Italy at the end of November. I have been struggling to find time to blog, and have a bit of a break right now, so here we  with a much belated post.

  We were so fortunate to have gone back and forth to Umbria four times in 2017, the last time in November. We were able to spend a fantastic week in Venice, too, enjoying the beauty of the city as well as daily jaunts to various Biennale venues to see the best in contemporary art. We love Venice!
  I was blogging while there, and you can find those posts here, as well as posts from previous visits to Venice for the Biennale.

  On our last night in Venice, we enjoyed a lovely dinner at a place we had found back in 2015. It was a good hike from the apartment we stayed in, but so worth the effort.
  Paradiso Perduto is located in the Cannaregio quartiere of Venice. It faces a nice canal, with outdoor seating as well as a very lively indoor dining room. They are known for their seafood and live music. It's a wild scene...just the way we like it.
  We had been there before at aperitivo time, to enjoy some cicchetti (small bites) and wine. We sort of stumbled upon it in 2015, and just went back a couple of times in the late afternoon. We had not tried it for a sit down dinner, so we were pretty excited, and up for the forty minute walk to and from the apartment.

  We made a (much needed) reservation a few days in advance, and headed out early so we could stop at a few of our favorite watering holes along the way. Hey, we we walking...why not? Bonus points for the evening being rain free!

  


We love these neighborhood places where
people are spilling out into the streets...




There mayhem the better!


  With our reservation nailed down, we were taken directly to our table...maybe there was a little gentle pushing and shoving, but everyone understood.


Our table was right back there.....


  This is a spot that is well discovered, filled with both locals and not. It's noisy and chaotic. You won't want to come here for a quiet, romantic evening. This being said, it was just what we wanted.
  We settled in to our menus, ordered a liter of the house white and sat back to soak in the scene.
  Johnny knew going in that he just wanted a plate of mixed vegetarian things from the cicchetti bar, but I wanted to try some pasta. I ordered the porcini lasagna.



MMMmmmmmmMMMM.


  I adore this type of lasagna, with lots of thin layers of silky pasta. The porcini were in season, and very flavor forward. Not too creamy, but still rich and succulent.



Right now, at this moment in time....I really want this.
I'm hungry.


  Johnny had his dream meal...lots of really tasty veggies, with a side of the best polenta we've ever tasted. This is the region where polenta rules, so it was amazing.





A little bit of this, a little bit of that...


Artichoke hearts, carrots, potatoes, etc....
I love the three 'decorative' peas on the side of the plate!


Polenta the way Mom made it when we were growing up.
Soft.



It tasted like roasted corn. It had nothing added.
It was perfection.

  I hope this video, below plays ok. It captures the moment so well...They had Chet Baker playing most of the time we were there, which was magical. His music is so special to us, and it was such a treat to have this as our soundtrack for the evening.






  Because the place is known for it's seafood, I wanted to include this picture I took of the table next to us...This is what most folks stop in here for.





  We managed to clean our plates (ha ha..we always do), and decided to have dessert, too. We had a long walk ahead of us, after all.


Done...


...and done.

  I'm going to take a moment right here, right now, just to say this:
  I can't wait to go back to Italy and eat!
  That's all.

  Johnny almost always orders biscotti with vin santo, if it's on the menu. He likes the sweet wine as a nightcap, and to dip the cookies into. 
  I only recently started ordering tiramisu. It always seems so cliché, but when it's good, it's so damn good.
  This was very, very good.



Just a little dusting of chocolate....
So glad it was semi-sweet.



Yes, please.


Mr. J loves himself some cookies!
These had a touch of anise.


  It was a perfect last night in Venice, and we were happy to hop the train to Umbria the next day.
  Now, we can't wait to get our feet back on Italian soil...soon, very soon...


  Some silly shots of us enjoying ourselves in Venice....



It's a Mirror Shot!


Our go to watering hole, just steps from the Venice apartment...
Another Mirror Shot!
Lastly, a photo that we asked a nice couple to take of us.
We returned the favor.



Monday, December 4, 2017

And Back In California ...




  Now that we are back in California, we are getting into our regular life here again.
  In December, this means watching the annual 'Lighted Boat Parade' out on the Monterey Bay...our neck of the woods.

  It happened last night, and I was feeling sorry for those on board! It was quite chilly, windy and a little rough on the water. That being said, it was still loads of fun, what with the 'Super Moon' doing her best to light the way....



Here come the boats!



The event is put on by the nice folks at the
local yacht club...



The water was choppy, so it was hard to get a clear shot.




Big old moon!








Lots of folks showed up along the bay to watch.
We were at the 'C', a favorite bar on Cannery Row.



A good amount of boats showed up, too.










Even Santa made an appearance!




  Johnny and I were amazed at the reflection of the 'Super Moon'...it was huge-












  Then, this morning, we were able to see the moon set while we were on our morning walk.
  Ummm...it was really cold.





'Super Moon' over Monterey.









Not a bad place for a morning walk...




There's Johnny, down the hill....




Hi, Baby!




A last glimpse of the moon before she calls it a day...




I do miss this when we are in Umbria.....