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Showing posts from November, 2011

Travels: Gelato!

How can I visit Italy without gorging myself silly on gelato? Seriously, there are gelaterias in every corner much like Seattle and its every-50m-a-Starbucks. Oddly, the sight of bright colored gelato never failed to bring a smile to my face.  Not to mention greed as well.  More often than not, the stomach just did not have sufficient room to enjoy a cone at that moment.  So...I could only manage four throughout the trip. 

I know, I suck.

):

Anyhow, I will share these four coveted gelaterias that were chosen after much research on the "best" gelaterias in each city. 

1. GROM

What's awesome about this artisanal gelateria is that it is by far the one with the most number of branches. It originated in Turino and I had mine in Milan. It is even available in the USA! In addition, there are seasonal flavors as well as monthly flavors.  Torn between so many flavors, I chose a pairing of Sicilian pistachio and dark chocolate sorbet with dark chocolate bits.  First, I must tap …

Travels: Innocenti Evasioni (Milan, Italy)

I was prepared for Innocenti Evasioni's rather inconvenient venue. It would still take about 25-30 minutes on foot from the nearest Metro station and I certainly would not do that in the dark. As it turned out, taking a cab was the wise thing to do.

The restaurant was hidden in a small dark alley with no giveaway signs of its presence in a quiet neighborhood and dodgy people peppered along the corners. When we arrived at the address, our kind cab driver, despite of our language barriers, gestured toward the alley and told us to head there. I could hear his engine waiting for us, until we disappeared. What a kind old man!

Beyond the location, I found the food was pretty intriguing. The cuisine to me, was a mix between nouvelle and traditional cuisine. Not everything was a hit, but at the minimum, it was fresh local ingredients, there was excellent presentation and interesting ideas on the plate.

Small and cosy, the restaurant could be a romantic option if you are looking f…

Travels: 'ino (Florence, Italy)

When you are in Florence and near the Uffizi Gallery, you have to stop for lunch at 'ino. Forget the touristy quick service restaurants along the main streets.  Just because 'ino isn't all that visible, it is just about 50 meters around the corner and I guarantee you a really awesome sandwich for just 8 Euros that includes a glass of wine!

The cafe is modern and small, not good for big groups.  The main con was the language barrier.  There was no English menu or English-speaking staff.  So, I took a gamble with my order and ended up with a delicious sandwich that was filled with a chunky spread that was made with tuna in oil and chopped sundried tomato bits binded with fresh cream cheese. A little oily but really delicious anyway.  The sarnie was huge but in reality, the ciabatta bread was full of air pockets so it remained light, crispy and airy and didn't feel too heavy in my stomach despite eating all of it.   Perfect lunch that would fuel the rest of the afte…

I miss Tokyo!

Taking a break from all the Italy post, here are some pictures from a short (too short) trip to Tokyo.
















Travels: Ristorante Porto di Savona (Turino, Italy)

Now, I seldom use the word "best" to describe food because I feel it's a special word that inevitably builds up expectations and should be used with outmost respect and caution. So if I tell you that I had my best pesto ever in Italy, you probably should listen up and take notes.

Ristorante Porto di Savona, recommended by the Chowhounders and NYTimes, was the culprit made pesto a thing of the past.  I don't think I could ever taste something as simple and yet as unforgettable as its pesto tagiatelle.
The pesto pasta was plated in a mound onto a big plate with no frills at all. It had a dull green hue that really didn't look too appetizing. It was glossy from the olive oil and that contributed to a thick mouthfeel. I found the pesto to be blended using good amounts of pinenuts that weren't too finely grounded so there was some texture, and good amounts of parmesan cheese to lend a smokey savoury hint. There were moments I thought the cheese was a little over…

Travels: La Morra Cuneo, Italy

Using Alba as the home base, we drove around the neighbouring towns and explored La Morra and the Barolo wine region.  Lunch was settled at a local osteria, called L'osteria del Vignaiolo.  The little town was, well, tiny.   It had a church, this restaurant and a small but nice looking hotel.  That was about all of town, all within 50 meters.  Ahh, such is the charm of the countryside, I suppose.



We were there in Alba for one thing and one thing only.  White Alba truffles.  Just picture my glee when we got seated next to the truffle.  I was basking in parfum au tartufo and loving it! 


Lunch began with a simple dish of seared scallops and fresh porcini mushrooms.  The robust flavor of the mushrooms melded with the sweet scallops.  A good starter indeed.


Then it was a simple dish of plain ravioli stuffed with cheese and a butter sauce, followed by additional shavings of white truffles.  It was Euros 4.50 / gram for that white nugget.  I had about three grams and was in heaven moment…