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Anything new in Edmonton

Another newish spot is Tavern 1903 in the old-new Alberta Hotel. Folks involved are from the Hardware Grill.

Oct 29, 2013
Silverwing in Prairie Provinces

Food apps for Tuscany and Venice?

We used Tap Venice and it was helpful in finding a restaurant for our last night in Venice. I'm not sure how extensive it is as we didn't rely on it exclusively - we were there for a short time and had notes based on Chowhound tips and other research.

Jul 19, 2012
Silverwing in Italy

Feedback on Itinerary: Rome, Genoa, Florence

I've enjoyed reading your reports - thanks so much for sharing! I was particularly delighted to see that you had a wonderful evening at Cavolo Nero. Three of us noticed this restaurant as it was next door to our apartment rental last fall and one friend encouraged us to try it, though it wasn't on any list I had researched! It was a delightful find and I'm so pleased you enjoyed it as well. Perhaps others may find this little gem as well.

Jun 08, 2012
Silverwing in Italy

Oahu - short trip report

I was on the island for a week in May with my mother and grandmother. As we rented a house, we ate many meals at home, so this is a short report.

Assaggio - Hawaii Kai
Convenient to get to from the house we rented in Aina Haina, this was one of our first meals out. Everything was fine, though not outstanding. I realize Oahu is not known for Italian - it was just an easy choice for my mom and grandmother, particularly with location. We particularly enjoyed the caesar salad, which was made tableside and the server made it without anchovies for my mom and then added them in for me.

The Pineapple Room - Mother's Day Brunch
I took my mom and grandmother to the Pineapple Room for Mother's Day. I wanted to go to Orchid's and even with contacting them six months in advance, they were already booked and had a full waiting list. It turned out well, as Mom and Nan enjoyed being able to shop at the Ala Moana Centre before brunch! The food was fantastic, the service (as needed given a brunch buffet) was prompt and friendly, after a bit of a rocky start. We had reservations for 12:30 and showed up a bit early to a packed and busy room. I know this will sound ridiculous, but I hadn't really thought about the number of children that would be out for Mother's Day lol. It was noisy! Anyway, my mom is a diabetic, my grandmother is 90 - so after 15 minutes, I asked about being seated and was advised that we just had to wait our turn and they had no idea how long it would be. I explained about my mom and grandmother, and pretty much said that if we weren't seated in 5 minutes, we would leave - and sure enough, we were seated shortly after. The food really was great, particularly for a buffet. We tried a variety of items (for me, this was an opportunity to try some different food without dragging my mom and grandma somewhere too different for them) and while not everything was to my taste, it was all well prepared and presented. I think my mom could have eaten a dozen of their mini scones!

Jameson's by the Sea - Haleiwa
We went here twice, we so appreciated the food, location and service. Both times for lunch, so we had sandwiches, burgers, etc. Funny to comment on coleslaw but it really was delicious with some crushed pineapple added to the mixture. Everything was good but the reuben was a standout - huge, good amount of meat, tangy sauerkraut. Definite highlight was the pie - it was the macadamia nut cream pie from Ted's Bakery that brought us back the second time. The service was outstanding - friendly, helpful, prompt. Our first meal was for my grandmother's birthday and they provided her with a complimentary pie.

Cheesecake Factory
What's there to say, huge portions - my mother and grandmother shared a lunch sized portion of shepherd's pie and still couldn't finish it! My meatloaf was similarly sized. Food was okay - the shepherd's pie and meatloaf tasted the same, maybe made from the same base? None of us had been to a CF before (we're all from Canada), so glad to go, but I wouldn't seek it out again. Again, great service - appreciated that the server noted that my mom and grandmother could likely share a lunch portion and be just fine.

So, not the most spectacular report I've written. I was thrilled to get to a Leonard's truck on my first morning - the malasadas were delicious. My grandmother loved the custard ones - with her small appetite, it was great to see her enjoy them. I never did get to House without a Key or numerous other places, but this trip really was about spending time with my mom and grandmother and in that case, it was perfect! Thanks to all those who provide advice!.

Jun 02, 2012
Silverwing in Hawaii

Any updates on Corso 32?

If you haven't been, go! Housemade ricotta with crostini - I could eat that daily lol! The chicken liver tortellini I had last time was too rich for me, but the flavour was divine - I would just rather share it. The chocolate hazelnut torta - divine. I think it's as close to Italy as we get in Edmonton.

I do hear good things about Vivo (west end) and Cibo (Oliver) but haven't been.

Jun 02, 2012
Silverwing in Prairie Provinces

Best baguette in Edmonton area?

My favourite is from Breadland in Oliver Square, next door to the Second Cup. They only bake the baguettes on Saturday, and they come out of the oven by 11:00 a.m.

May 16, 2012
Silverwing in Prairie Provinces

Cooking and Sleeping in Umbria or Tuscany

This could be an option: The owner is from Umbria and also provides cooking classes. I haven't stayed here myself. I was a regular visitor to the SlowTrav forums before my trip to Italy last year, and Letizia is a regular contributor. Here's a recent blog post from someone in my city who stayed there and took the cooking class (though I can't seem to find the post on the cooking class!):

Apr 19, 2012
Silverwing in Italy

Trip Report - part 3 - Florence (long)

It depends on what you're looking for, as they are very different restaurants. Cavolo Nero is elegant, the garden room romantic, service is attentive but reserved, and food is a bit eclectic - beautifully presented and delicious, but not traditional. Casalinga is a bright, bustling, busy room, with traditional homestyle cooking. Service is also attentive but it's a bit brisk just due to the fast pace of the packed room.

We went to Casalinga twice because of the pasta, tiramisu and the price. I would happily return to either restaurant any time.

Where ever you go, enjoy!

Feb 19, 2012
Silverwing in Italy

Da Felice vs Perilli, L'asino d'oro... so many questions after reading the board!

Cleopatra999, I recognize you from the Prairie boards - I'm so happy to see you planning a Sunday lunch at Perilli! was in Italy in October with two good friends, and our Sunday lunch at Perilli was a highlight of our trip. Here's my report on Rome (our shortest stay in the trip...sigh) I know there regulars on this board each have their favourites, and I wish I had more time to try them all! Enjoy!!

Feb 09, 2012
Silverwing in Italy

Praise Cheeses! Good cheese in Edmonton/Alberta

Just checked their website, and both Paddy's and Everything Cheese are listed as distributors, as well as Planet Organic among others.

Dec 15, 2011
Silverwing in Prairie Provinces

Grandmother's 90th birthday - Oahu

Thanks to Bill Hunt for the suggestion to call. I called the Halekulani and was advised that Orchid's is closing for a few months for renovations.

For Mother's Day, I'm still looking for Sunday brunch options. Orchid's suggested the Sheraton's brunch but it's not often mentioned here. Any thoughts?

I'm now debating on the location for my grandmother's birthday dinner. I think the Hau Tree Lanai would be the most appropriate, with menu, view, atmosphere and hopefully exceptional service. Although I appreciate the comments regarding La Mer. I will search the threads and read the comments again on each of the restaurants before I decide. All seem to have availability so it's not urgent.

My mom has also mentioned going to a luau. However I recall reading that these tend to be rather touristy and the food is not very good, so I would welcome any recommendations.

Dec 05, 2011
Silverwing in Hawaii

Grandmother's 90th birthday - Oahu

Thanks everyone for the suggestions. The challenge looks like finding a lovely location that serves food that my mom and grandmother will enjoy. The Hau Tree Lanai looks like the best possibility so far - I would enjoy the fish and they would likely choose items from the grill. I think the menus at some of the other restaurants would be just a bit too eclectic for them.

A tea room is appealing - if anyone has details, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks again!

Dec 01, 2011
Silverwing in Hawaii

Grandmother's 90th birthday - Oahu

My mother and I are taking my grandmother to Honolulu for her 90th birthday in May. We happen to be there on Mother's Day, so I sent a reservation request to Orchid's for their Sunday brunch. Unfortunately, they are already booked for Mother's Day and have a full waiting list.

I'm looking for other suggestions for a special celebration meal, either for Mother's Day or for her birthday. Well prepared and beautifully presented classic food is most important. A view or lovely decor would be nice. Price point is not an issue, although I will likely need to remind them to ignore the prices. We're staying a rental house in Honolulu but will have a car or can take a taxi.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Nov 28, 2011
Silverwing in Hawaii

Trip Report - part 4 - Umbria

This is the last of my trip reports, having already posted reports for Venice, Florence and Rome. We spent a week in Umbria, having rented a house within the walls of Todi. It was wonderful to spread out into the space, enjoy the outdoor garden (with still great weather in early October), and we made a few suppers at home.

Trattoria La Grotta - Cortona - Saturday
Before arriving in Todi, we stopped in Cortona on our way from Florence. We weren't entirely certain where we would stop, so we didn't have a list of restaurants. We did a quick check of our guide book and on the internet and wrote down a few possibilities. We came across Trattoria La Grotta and appreciated the quiet yet accessible location. The atmosphere inside was so charming, with stone walls and lovely wooden tables and chairs, that we should have had lunch indoors, but we enjoyed the weather and chose to sit outdoors. Service was prompt and friendly. S had the crostini, K and I each had an order of bruschetta - all flavourful, with crispy bread. S liked hers so much she didn't share (a rarity on this trip!) S then had the ricotta and spinach gnocchi with tomato sauce, K had the mezzaluna special with zucchini flowers, and I had the ricotta and spinahc gnocchi with truffle sauce. All very good, though I would have to say K's special was the winner. With a 1/2 litre of house red and water, the total was an amazingly low 27 euro. I almost wonder if I wrote that down wrong.

After the drive to Todi and settling into the house, we didn't really feel like going out for dinner. We walked up the hill to the piazza and picked up meat, cheese, fruit and breakfast fixings in various shops. We also found Dige's Pizza and bought assorted slices to take back to the house. Perfect for a quiet night at home!

Antica Osteria della Valle - Todi - Sunday
We had a completely relaxing day on Sunday and were ready for an evening in Todi. We made reservations for 7:30 (early, yes, but we didn't have quite enough fixings for breakfast and lunch, so we were hungry!). We received a very friendly welcome and were seated in one of the tables of this small restaurant. It was a wonderful meal, with friendly, helpful and knowledgable service. We started with melon and proscuitto which we shared amongst the three of us. Then K and I each had the gnochetti with fresh tomatoes and basil and S had the ravioli with truffles. S was an amazing friend to share her ravioli with us, and we all agreed we had to return just so we could each have this dish! K and I enjoyed our gnocchetti, which were light, with a lively tomato sauce. Hard to compete with ravioli with truffles, but as we were looking for something a little less rich, this was perfect. We all ordered secondi, S had turkey with balsamic sauce, K had the filet of beef with truffles, and I had the roasted sea bass. We also shared an order of grilled vegetables. First, the food was so plentiful. S couldn't finish her turkey. She found the balsamic sauce a bit too strong for the turkey, but I enjoyed tasting it! K's beef was tender and she was very happy with the truffle sauce. Of course, I think my sea bass was the winner. Beautifully cooked, almost slightly underdone in places, it was seasoned so perfectly with a variety of herbs. I could eat this fish weekly! With a 1/2 litre of house red and water, the total was 107 euro. We didn't have dessert, instead we walked to the creperie up the hill and had nutella crepes on our walk home. Divine!

Wine Tour with Gusto Wine Tours - Monday
We booked this tour in advance and were picked up by Mark in the piazza in Todi at 9:45 a.m. We went to three wineries around the Bevagna and Montefalco area, sampling Rosso Montefalco and Montefalco Sagrantino. We started at Moretti Omero, where we had one white wine, two red, and the Sagrantino passito, as well as sampling their olive oil. We then went to Raina, where we had three red and the passito. We took a break for lunch, as food was definitely needed by this point, and had a wonderful lunch Camiano Piccolo. We started with melon and proscuitto, then tagliatelle funghi, follwed by pork medallions wrapped in pancetta with potatoes and eggplant, and finally, tiramisu. We also had wine with lunch (well, I didn't!) and espresso to finish our meal. It was a delicious meal in a beautiful setting, and was included in the price of the wine tour. After lunch, we finished the tour at Fongoli, where we had one white, three red and the passito, as well as their olive oil. The wines at each location were wonderful, and while we couldn't take too many bottles with us (and shipping charges to Canada are much higher than to the USA), we bought a few at each winery and also bought some olive oil. The friendly welcome by each family was much appreciated. Mark was a great host, knowledgeable, funny and it was truly a great day. No driving for us, we could relax and enjoy the scenery. Mark stopped to let us take photos on several occasions and we returned to Todi around 5:30 p.m. The cost of the wine tour was 135 euro each.

Trattoria Degli Umbria - Assisi - Wednesday
I haven't overlooked Tuesday, we had a very forgettable lunch out and supper at home. We spent the day in Assisi on Wednesday and had lunch at this restaurant in the piazza. A pleasant spot with excellent food, I had the fettucine with mushrooms, guanicale and sage. The earthy flavours of the mushrooms and sage blended beautifully and the guanicale just made it more amazing. So simple, almost no sauce, and so delicious. I neglected to note what K and S had. We all had cake for dessert, and I enjoyed my cake with custard and a cup of espresso. While I didn't note the total, I did note that the prices were very reasonable. Once we returned to Todi, we had a quiet night at home and made supper with fixings we had picked up.

Cooking class - Umbria Cooks 4 U - Perugia - Thursday
We actually missed lunch - we were having a great time at the fossil forest and Carsulae, that we just didn't have time to eat before the cooking class. We booked the cooking class in advance and just like the wine tour, it was just the three of us. Nonie met us at an easy to find place outside of Perugia, and then led us to Tito's home, which was also outside of Perugia with beautiful views of the hills. This was another highlight of our trip and we felt like we were with friends by the end of the day, laughing and sharing stories! The cooking class was about three hours, and then we enjoyed supper together - so it was about five hours or so altogether. Nonie and Tito showed us how to make a couple of tortas, a chick pea soup, spaghetti with roasted tomatoes, veal with fresh herbs and tomato sauce, baked broccoli, and chocolate lava cake. With red and white wines and espresso, it was an exceptional meal - even if we did make it ourselves! We took the extra tortas home with us for the next day. The cost was 110 euro for each of us, and was definitely worth it. We have all made one or two of the recipes at home so far, and look forward to trying more.

Pane e Vino - Todi - Friday
We stopped in for a glass of wine and some snacks. Just a perfect refuge on the coldest and windiest day of our trip. Very friendly service, great choice in wines...we could have stayed for supper but the ravioli with truffles were calling to us...

Antica Osteria della Valle - Todi - Friday
It was our last evening in Todi, the week ending far too soon. We didn't order an antipasti this evening, although they all looked wonderful, we knew the portions were large. We all had an order of the ravioli with truffles and it was just as good as it was on Sunday. We all ordered a secondi, and we probably should have shared - again, large portions of rich flavourful food! I had the arrosto misto, K had the lamb and S had the sea bass. All were superbly cooked and plated. The arrosto misto had good sized portions of four meats - more than what I could eat. Service was warm and friendly, the atmosphere here is cozy and the chef/owner made a point of coming to visit each of the tables. This was a delicious end to our week in Todi and well worth the repeat visit.

That brings an end to my reports on Italy. Again, many thanks to those who post here - these forums truly are a valuable resource. We were so fortunate to find so many amazing restaurants throughout Italy - thanks to your help - and we know that there are many more, we just need to return!

Nov 17, 2011
Silverwing in Italy

Trip Report - part 3 - Florence (long)

I have already posted the trip reports for Venice and Rome, and still have our week in Umbria (Todi) to do after this posting.

Cavolo Nero - Tuesday
On our first night, we actually intended to go to La Casalinga. It was on my list of possible restaurant options and K also liked what she read on the Eat Florence app. Plus, it was close to our apartment rental, which was near Santa Maria del Carmine. So we walked to Santa Spirito and found La Casalinga completely packed, with people lined up inside and out the door. We agreed that maybe a reservation for Wednesday might be better than waiting in line, so S went inside, finally got the attention of someone who would take our reservation and we began to walk back toward our apartment. There are quite a few other restaurants near Santa Spirito, but we had also noticed Cavolo Nero while settling into our apartment - it was literally next door. We went back and were whisked through the dining room into a delightful garden area twinkling with lights and candles. I'm sure we all felt like our husbands should be with us in this lovely romantic space!

It was a remarkable evening from start to finish. Attentive and discreet service, food was beautifully plated and executed with interesting flavours and texture combinations, and the atmosphere was ethereal. To start, I had the rabbit which was served cold with a sundried tomatoes, black olives and a light dressing. I have never had rabbit before and wanted to try it - it's not the way I had envisioned as I expected the dish to be served warm and to be somewhat like a stew. Regardless, it was divine and I would certainly be willing to try rabbit again. K had goat cheese filled pastry rolls with black olives - it was rather like a crispy spring roll but filled with creamy goat cheese, with a tangy black olive sauce. S had the buckwheat tagliatelle with turbot fish filet, marjoram and cherry tomato. The flavours were great and the turbot was nicely cooked, but it was just a bit too heavy on the tagliatelle.

We all shared one order of the chef’s ravioli filled with ricotta cheese - there was just so much on the menu that we wanted to try, and we all enjoy ravioli, so this was a great way to sample a little bit more. The restaurant plated this beautifully for us, each dish looking like it's own perfect individual petite serving.

For our secondi, I had duck breast with lemon and honey sauce and caramelized fig, K had the rice timbale with prawn, asparagus sauce and parmigiano cheese waffle, S had something with crawfish, but I didn't write down the details. I don't normally order duck, but I'm so glad I did. Every bite was an amazing blend of flavours, complementary yet each noticeable. The duck was perfectly cooked, very tender, and the caramelized goodness! K and S were equally pleased with their selections.

We would have liked to have had dessert, but it was impossible! We left the little oasis and went back to the garden of our apartment rental, happy to be in Florence. With a bottle of a supertuscan (I didn't write down the name) and water, the total was 120 euro.

La Casalinga - Wednesday
We arrived for our 8:00 p.m. reservation to a bustling restaurant, though at least this time the lineup was not out the door. Seated quickly, we enjoyed the activity around us and watched the plates of food go past us. We ordered a bottle of chianti following our waitress' recommendation and we each started with a pasta, I had the ravioli bolognese, K had the spaghetti bolognese and S had the pasta suga della Nonna. This was my version of comfort food. We all then had the roast chicken and shared potatoes and vegetables. We ate every delicious bite, thinking this is what Sunday dinner would be like at home! We shouldn't have had dessert, but how could we resist the tiramisu?! We couldn't, and after dessert, we were grateful for the walk home, which was perhaps a bit too short. We really enjoyed Casalinga, so much that we made a reservation for Friday night before we left. It had a lively atmosphere, very friendly service, and the food was delicious in a homemade style. The total for our meal was 83.50 euro.

Nerbones - Thursday lunch
We had a great time wandering through the Mercato Centrale and bought some fruit, nuts, sundried tomatoes, and wished we could take the meats home with us to Canada! the lineup at Nerbone's never seemed to end, so eventually we got in line with everyone else. K got us seats and we all had a porchetta panini and shared a 1/2 litre of red wine. We were all just a bit disappointed with our sandwiches as they were just too salty. It was an interesting experience but I wouldn't return.

Le Volpi e L'Uva - Thursday snacks
After a full day of wandering, with an afternoon at the Uffizi, we stopped at Le Volpi e L'Uva for a drink and snacks on our way home. We each had a glass of chianti and shared the cheese and mustard platter. Every cheese was delicious and while we enjoyed the jelly-like mustards, the honeys that came with the platter were superb. This was the perfect respite. In fact, after this late snack, we didn't really feel like having a dinner out, so we made a light cold plate dinner at our rental with a combination of items that had been provided for us by the owners of the apartment rental and the meats, cheese, fruit and bread that we had been picking up ourselves. The total was 27 euro.

Zoe - Friday lunch
This was recommended to us when we were at Busatti's buying linens and it was good food at reasonable prices. We each had a pasta, either the penne with tomatoes, mozzarella and basil or the spaghetti with basil. While not special or outstanding, they were tasty and reasonably priced. With two glasses of wine and three small bottles of water, our total was 27 euro.

La Casalinga - Friday
We returned to Casalinga and were pleased to have the same waitress, who remembered the wine we ordered on Wednesday. We started with pasta, we all had ravioli with sage and butter. Didn't I mention earlier that we all like ravioli?! It was heavenly comfort food at it's best. I am embarrassed to admit that we then ordered another pasta. Yes, I know - we shocked ourselves. However, the lure of spaghetti bolognese and spaghetti carbonara was too much to resist. We were happy...even if we were embarrassed! We went on to have the tiramisu again and we had a leisurely walk home. With the wine, water and a salad, the total was 76 euro. K has already begun trying to replicate the bolognese sauce.

Thanks to everyone who provides trip reports and those who provide advice and comments. These boards were a great resource!

Cavolo Nero
Via D'Ardiglione, 22/r, Florence, Tuscany 50124, IT

Via dell'Ariento, 87r, Florence, Tuscany 50100, IT

Sdrucciolo de' Pitti,9r, Florence, Toscana 50125, IT

Nov 13, 2011
Silverwing in Italy

Trip Report - Venice (long)

I have already posted the report for our short stay in Rome. We started our trip in Venice, so I'll continue on with the report from there and then will post separate reports for our stay in Florence and Umbria (Todi).

We arrived in Venice on a Friday afternoon and after settling into our apartment in Cannaregio, which was just a short walk from the Ca' d'Oro vaporetto stop, we went out to walk. We had no plans that evening, as we knew we would be tired from our travels from Canada. However, that did pose some challenges later on...

We walked along the Strada Nuova and I noticed La Cantina, which I recognized from my research. We decided to stop, as it had been some time since our last meal - and of course, that was on the plane! We all enjoyed La Cantina, and for more reasons than just our appetite! We actually didn't have much, as it was still fairly early. We each had a glass of prosecco and two crostini, one meat and cheese and one tuna tartare and quail egg. Service was pleasant, the food and wine was delicious, and the price was 21 euro. It was a great spot to pinch ourselves, realizing we were actually in Venice, and a wonderful spot to watch the people traffic along the Strada Nuova.

After fortifying ourselves, we continued our explorations for several hours, walking and using the vaporetto. By 8:00 p.m. we knew we needed to find something more substantial to eat. We made our way back to Cannaregio, thinking we would find something to eat, pick up groceries at Billa for breakfast and then head back to our apartment. However, it was naturally very busy at most restaurants at this time on a Friday night, so it was a choice between the Irish pub and Osteria Ai Osti, which were next to each other. Osteria Ai Osti wasn't at all busy (which was somewhat concerning to us, but at that point we just needed to eat!) Service was quick and the food was just fine. We shared a 1/2 litre of white wine and a couple of bottles of water. I had the baccala mantecato and spaghetti pomodoro, K had mussels and spaghetti funghi, and S had an antipasti (it was our first night - I didn't write everything down!) and spaghetti pomodoro. I didn't enjoy the baccala primarily because of the texture. I expected it to be more creamy and smooth, and didn't like the large chunks of cod. K's mussels were delicious and lucky for S and I, she shared! We all enjoyed the pasta, and went back to our apartment happily satiated and delighted to be in Venice.

Every morning, we had breakfast at our apartment. With three women getting ready in the morning, it just made sense to take turns preparing breakfast. It also kept costs down, we could chat about plans during the day, and we were able to have some kind of Canadian-Italian combination breakfast. We picked up just a few things from Billa the night before, knowing we would be at the Rialto market on Saturday. Yogurt, apples, ham, cheese and bread - and of course, espresso, made for a hearty breakfast.

We immediately went across the canal to the Rialto Market and were dazzled by the array of fish, fruit and vegetables. I come from a fishing town on the east coast of Canada, but there were so many types of fish that I had never seen before. It was great fun to wander! We bought various fruit to take back to the apartment for our breakfast and then wandered through some of the shops in San Polo. We came across Casa del Parmigano and added to our breakfast supplies with a couple of cheeses, ham, mortadella and smoked salmon.

It was time to get a snack and I recognized Bancogiro from the recommendations on these boards. We shared a bottle of prosecco and a cheese/mustard platter for 60 euro, but wow, what a great location and view on our first full day in Venice. An overall note, every cheese platter we had in Italy was wonderful, with an interesting variety of textures and flavours. We were never disappointed in ordering cheese at any restaurant. This was just a snack, as we had booked an evening walking tour so we planned on an early supper.

We went back to La Cantina, after admiring the meat and cheese platters of other diners the previous day. We each had two glasses of prosecco and shared the platter for 50 euro total. It was a very large platter, very filling. With the location, friendly service, delicious and plentiful food, and reasonable prices, I would go to La Cantina regularly if I were able!

After our walking tour, we finally had our first gelato! We went to Al Teatro in San Marco and I had lemon and strawberry, both so flavourful. 2.50 euro

We had an earlier start on Sunday morning for a tour of the Doge's Palace. I know this board is about food, but I have to note that it was just wonderful to arrive in Piazza San Marco to enjoy the morning quiet. After spending a few hours in the palace, we were somewhat taken aback to come out and see the immense crowds. Which led us to our lunch selection - we had to escape the crowds, and we wanted to go to the Guggenheim, so we decided to leave the San Marco area and just go to the Guggenheim and have lunch at the cafe. While still busy, it was a pleasant refuge after the sea of crowds at San Marco. We were fortunate to get a table immediately. I'll note that our lunch plans were not generally well organized! We typically walked and toured and enjoyed each city and then one of us would realize we should eat, sometimes to the point where the person was so famished we must just find the closest place and eat. We did just fine with this approach in Venice, but had less success in Florence, but that is still to come!

The Guggenheim Cafe was similar to many other museum cafes that I have been to over the years, a slightly elegant casual restaurant. I find that the food quality can vary at these restaurants, but the Guggenheim was very good. We shared a 1/2 litre of white wine, water, a plate of french fries (irrestistable!), two of us had the gnocchi with herbs and smoked ricotta and another had a sandwich. The total was under 60 euro, though I can't recall the exact amount. The gnocchi were light - just a great texture, and the sauce had an earthy taste, topped with an abundance of ricotta shredded on top. The french fries were great too!

We had an afternoon gelato at Ca' d'Oro. I have lemon and peach for 2.50 euro, and the lemon is very good, though the peach is not as intensely flavoured as I would have liked.

We made reservations for Sunday evening at Alla Vedova, which was truly no more than perhaps 50 steps from our apartment. When we walked home on Friday and Saturday nights, we passed the packed restaurant with people overflowing in the calle. Sunday night, the restaurant was just as busy when we arrived for our 8 p.m. reservation. Someone was seated at our table but immediately moved when we gave our name, and we had friendly, helpful service throughout the evening. We started with the meatballs - great combination of a crispy, thin exterior on the meatball that seemed both light and very flavourful. We shared a bottle of cabernet sauvignon (we asked for a recommendation, but now that I think of it, I'm not certain if we specifically asked for red wine, regardless it was very good, though of course I didn't note the name). We each had a primo and secondi, and it was definitely too much food! K and I both had spaghetti vongole, and I failed to note what S had. Full of clams and a very light sauce that tasted of the sea. S and I then each had the fritto misto, a huge platter of shrimp, calamari and sardines. K ordered shrimp with polenta. We were surprised to find out that these were the same extra small shrimp that we saw at the Rialto market - and unfortunately K just couldn't get over the look of them. They were so tiny they looked like bugs. We all tasted them, and they were well seasoned and tasted great, it was just the appearance! Needless to say, we couldn't eat dessert, but we enjoyed the limoncello that was provided. Another great spot, busy atmosphere, reasonable prices (94 euro for the three of us), friendly service and tasty food.

After walking dinner off for a while, we stopped at Grom for gelato. I had lemon and one of the chocolate for 3 euro. The lemon was not at all to my taste, but I very much enjoyed the chocolate.

Our last day in Venice, as we would leave Tuesday morning for Florence. We spent most of the morning wandering through the calles throughout Cannaregio, and as usual, needed a lunch spot. We somehow found ourselves on the Strada Nuova again, and K noticed a table of women enjoying great looking pizzas, so we stopped. It was Ristorante Pizzaria Da Giorgio and we ordered three pizzas. S and I shared the artichoke, and the ham and mushroom, while K had the funghi. With a 1/2 litre of white wine (for K and I) and S's spritz (someone finally ordered it!), the total was 40 euro. Thin, crunchy crust, perfect amount of toppings - plentiful without being overwhelming. The waiter was entertaining with his sense of humour, and it was a good find - I would return for those pizzas! We stopped at a nearby cart for gelato and I enjoyed the dulce de leche for 1.50 euro.

For Monday supper, K and S consulted the Tap Venice app that K had downloaded on her iPad. With the public transit strike, we couldn't use the vaporetto, and we had an early morning ahead with our departure for Florence. They found a restaurant in San Polo that sounded appealing, so we made reservations. S took the traghetto across the canal, while K and I decided to walk and stop into some of the shops along the way. We met up at Osteria Garanghelo at 8 p.m. and we were happy to be seated in the small row of tables outside to enjoy the cooler evening air. We all ordered the risotto with shrimp and porcini, which was just amazing. Every bite was wonderful and my friends often laughed at me, as I always saved my favourite food for the last bite of a dish. In this dish, you might think the best bite would be the shrimp. But the risotto was just so wonderfully full of a combination of sea and earthy flavour, that I could have cast the shrimp aside and just had the risotto itself. Which I did not do, of course! K and I also ordered a salad, S had the grilled vegetables - as we all realized our vegetable intake had greatly diminished. We succumbed to dessert - finally having tiramisu and we also had a cappucino (I know, I know...but we like it after a meal!) With a bottle of house wine and water, our bill was 119 euro. We happily walked off the meal to enjoy Piazza San Marco at a much less busy time before making our way back to Cannaregio.

Thanks to everyone who posted their helpful advice for our Venice stay. I would happily return to the Rialto Market of course, as well as Casa del Parmigiano for shopping, and La Cantina would be weekly destination! The view of the Grand Canal on a busy Saturday from Bancogiro will always be remembered, as we let our imagination wander to future trips and life on the canal. Thanks again!

Campo San Giacomo di Rialto, San Polo 122,, Venice, Veneto 30125, IT

La Cantina
Campo San Felice, Cannaregio 3689, Venice, Veneto , IT

Sestiere Cannaregio,3844, Venice, Veneto 30121, IT

Nov 06, 2011
Silverwing in Italy

Rome - short trip should mean a short report, right...

Sigh. Thanks for sharing the photo, I'm weeping indeed!

As a follow up, one of my friends read the post and noted that she did not have the pannacotta at Perilli's, but the zabaglione, which was "like eating a cloud".

Via Marmorata 39, Rome , IT

Nov 01, 2011
Silverwing in Italy

Good places for lunch around Jasper and 104 Street , Edmontoin

I think MRKT is connected to Soul Soup - the owner of Soul Soup is one of the co-owners at MRKT, I think. So the three soup choices that would have been offered by Soul Soup are now offered at MRKT.

Oct 31, 2011
Silverwing in Prairie Provinces

Rome - short trip should mean a short report, right...

Yes, except that I always have too much to say!

I'm back from a wonderful trip to Italy that included stays in Venice, Florence, Umbria (Todi), and just two very short and very packed days in Rome. We knew it was too short, but it was either travel back to Florence for our departure flight, or fly home from Rome and end the vacation knowing two days in Rome would just inspire us to return! As if we needed more inspiration... I will follow up with trip reports on the other locations.

I'll start off with noting that I travelled with two very good women friends. We've been friends for years and we all shared in the planning for this trip. I did the research on food and restaurants, but the choices were made by us as a group. By the time we got to Rome, I just gave them my notes on restaurants, and told them I would be happy with any that they chose - and I went to nap! They chose well!

Reservations made for 8:30 p.m. on Saturday. We walked from our apartment rental and arrived to a bustling restaurant. Steered to a table toward the back, we had a great view of the lively tables around us. None of us speak Italian, other than a few pleasantries, and service was friendly and helpful throughout the evening. We shared the crispy potatoes with cheese fondue and truffle slivers. I enjoyed the flavours, although the presentation was not quite as I expected, with sliced potatoes layered on the plate topped with melted cheese and the truffle slivers. We each had an order of tonnarelli cacio e pepe, which was delicious. It was the first time I had this dish, and I was so looking forward to trying it. I was not at all disappointed. I ate every morsel, although with some regret later on as... I also ordered the pork fillet with smoked ham and chestnuts purèe. It was divine! The chestnut purèe was silky smooth and a perfect complement to the pork, which was two large portions of pork tenderloin wrapped in smoked ham, perfectly roasted. It was far too much food, which I could have easily shared, but my friends wanted the suckling pig roasted in salt crust, which they greatly enjoyed. Needless to say, we did not have dessert! We shared a litre of house red, had a couple bottles of water, and the bill was about 100 euro.

I was thrilled when my friends decided on Sunday lunch at Perilli. Now, our experience here was fantastic - and we owe many thanks to the staff at Perilli for accommodating us. As noted before, we don't speak Italian, although we learned what we could and were happy (and embarrassed) to muddle our way through. Calling for reservations could sometimes be a challenge, depending on the restaurant. For Perilli's, one of my friends called on Saturday to make a reservation for Sunday. Remember, I am napping. Also, just keep in mind that it is at the end of a nearly three week trip, we were up at 5:00 a.m. to get on the road from Todi, so we could have an early arrival in Rome, and we had spent the day at the Vatican. I say all this for my complete lack of thought in what was to come. So, Sue calls Perilli's and asks for a reservation. I can hear her side of the conversation which is pretty much a repeat of I'd like a reservation? No? No reservations? Okay. Sue says they don't take reservations. I should have known better, I had done the research. My only excuse is how tired I was.

So Sunday, after spending the morning at the Colosseum and Forum, and facing the taxi battle with Italians and tourists alike, we arrive at Perilli's at 12:45 p.m. to an empty restaurant - where every table appears to have a reservation card on it. Delightful scene. Except of course, for the three women in shock at the door! Kelly takes the lead, asks if a table is available, and notes that we called yesterday and obviously we didn't understand that they were full. The staff (dressed in their fine white shirts with black ties and pants) consult and after a couple of minutes, they offer us a table in the front at the window. It's an interesting set up, there are three tables for two "attached" in a row, the three of us share a table for two, there is the table in the middle, and about 30 minutes later the third table is occupied by a couple. We felt a little worried about whether they would think these Canadians had invaded their table, but truly, we spent a leisurely couple of hours enjoying what was a traditional Sunday lunch spot for generations of Roman families. The service continued to be exceptional throughout our meal, with our waiter noting that he had been working for 52 years and he did a wonderful, welcoming pose for a photo.

The food. The carbonara. That was what we came for. It was amazing. I would have liked to have had a week or two in Rome to do a carbonara tour. With one meal, I was completely satisfied. Of course, it was a lovely (and fun!) added touch to have the carbonara served at the table from the large serving bowl! We also each had a meat dish, with this being our last meal of our trip, I admit, I neglected to jot down exactly what we had. Lamb for one, pork for two others I believe. It was fine, it just wasn't as memorable as the carbonara. With this being our last meal in Italy, we forced ourselves to have dessert - all were exceptional examples: creme caramel, pannacotta and tiramisu. We also ordered espresso, shared a litre of house wine, a couple bottles of water, and the total was about 120 euro. Also, a final note about the couple who "shared" our set of three tables - they were a lovely older couple who come to Perilli's quite often, for the carbonara. We happily talked throughout the meal, despite our language barrier. Perilli's was definitely one of the highlights of our trip, for the fantastic combination of delicious carbonara, friendly and entertaining service, and obviously traditional family destination. We felt like we shared in a little bit of Rome that day.

Finally, on Sunday night we walked to Campo di'Fiori and ordered paninis from AristoCampi which we then ate outside. Neat spot, very busy, great to people watch, and just what we needed after a big Sunday lunch!

Many thanks to all who share their experiences, the travellers with their trip reports and in particular, the contributors from Rome who respond to countless requests for the seemingly same questions. Your advice and input is very much appreciated.

Via Marmorata 39, Rome , IT

Piazza della Cancelleria, 73, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

Oct 31, 2011
Silverwing in Italy

Good places for lunch around Jasper and 104 Street , Edmontoin

Oh yes, I forgot the food trucks. There's also Nomad on 102 Street south of Jasper.

And I forgot to mention Back Street Bistro, in the HSBC Building on 106 Street and Jasper. Their won ton soup is delicious, and the lineup can be long if you don't get there before noon. LIke most lunch places I suppose, I just notice it more here perhaps.

Oct 23, 2011
Silverwing in Prairie Provinces

Good places for lunch around Jasper and 104 Street , Edmontoin

I work on 104 Street just south of Jasper. A few comments on suggestions already posted:
- Yes, The Hat serves primarily burgers
- Japanese Village closed on 100 Street, across from the Westin, but is open on 104 Street just north of 103 Avenue
- Fantasia Noodle House has closed
- Madison's is lovely and more upscale than the typical lunch place, and as long as you're having one course, it's usually about an hour
- V Sandwiches - call in your order before 11:30 and you'll have less of a wait when you pick it up
- Boun Thai - been a while since I have been there, but it was good when I did

Although I don't go out for lunch that often, in addition to Madison's and V Sandwiches, I do enjoy:
- MRKT - good sandwiches, also check twitter for their daily soups and special
- Karma serves an Indian buffet
- Zenari's in Manulife is a standby for me, with two daily soups, I also like their lasagne and their italian cold cut sandwiches
- The Marc and Cafe Select, though Cafe Select can be painfully long

Some other suggestions, not necessarily favourites of mine personally:
- Wildflower Grill
- Rigoletto's
- Doan's
- The Creperie

Good luck!

Cafe Select
10018 106st, Edmonton, AB T5J 1G1, CA

The Creperie
10220 - 103 Street, Edmonton, AB T5J 0Y8, CA

Wildflower Grill
10009 - 107 Street NW, Edmonton, AB T5J 1J1, CA

The Noodle House
4815 48 Ave, Red Deer, AB T4N 3T2, CA

Oct 21, 2011
Silverwing in Prairie Provinces

Florence: Seeking Casual Dining

We just left Florence today for Umbria - I'm delighted to be sitting in a comfortable home in Todi and look forward to meals throughout the region. Back to the point, we had only four days in Florence, but some of the places we went to on your list include:

- Casalinga: our favourite spot. We would go here weekly if it were located in our city! Always full, they couldn't take us the first night we dropped by, so we made a reservation the following night (we were within a 10 minute walk). Every pasta was delicious, all priced at 6 euros, and the roast chicken was flavourful, tender and moist. We all enjoyed the tiramisu as well. Friendly service, note that the menu is in Italian only, so bring your dictionary! It really is packed, and definitely in close quarters, but I noticed several tables of twos talking to each other - we really enjoyed the food and the atmosphere. We actually went twice, we liked it that much. It was about 80 euro each time, with 3 pasta, 3 secondi, 2 cotorni, 3 dolci, bottle of chianti and bottled water.

Le Volpi e L'Uva: great variety of wine, interesting and delicious cheese platter, fantastic stop for a snack, or a light supper of cheese/meat platter. 27 euro for three glasses of chianti reserve and a cheese/mustard platter.

Nerbone's: I didn't like it. We had porchetta paninis and it really wasn't that good. Maybe we should have been brave enough to try the tripe... It was reasonable - 4 euros for the sandwich, 4 euros for a half litre of wine.

I'll do a full trip report when I get home, just wanted to pass along this recent information. Have a great time!

Via dell'Ariento, 87r, Florence, Tuscany 50100, IT

Oct 08, 2011
Silverwing in Italy

Florence & Rome area; chef & sommelier want to eat/drink right. (Jan 2012)

One of my current favourite threads was initiated by Tenortom, who much appreciated the food and wine in Rome. This thread includes advice prior to the trip, and Tenortom's lovely, detailed report on his experiences.

Sep 15, 2011
Silverwing in Italy

Venice - need tips for food/wine shopping and sipping Prosecco

Thank you for the suggestion of Timon, I'll add that to the list! Being of Portuguese heritage, my family has enjoyed many cod and salt cod dishes. Baccalà mantecato sounds like the perfect treat to combine my love for cod and bread!

Sep 14, 2011
Silverwing in Italy

Rome - good friends in search of good food and wine

Thank you tavoleromane, for providing your thoughts. The list is getting refined!

For Saturday lunch, if we have time for a sit down lunch we will likely go to Vino e Camino as it is quite convenient to our apartment rental. Otherwise we may bring some snacks with us from our rental in Todi and make do.

Saturday evening is likely either Checchino or Hostaria Costanza as these are closed on Sunday. I am leaning towards Checchino though my friends may prefer the history of Hostaria Costanza. We will discuss!

Sunday is more challenging of course. It looks like Perilli, La Gensola and perhaps Flavio are open on Sunday. Would any of these be recommended, or even open, for Sunday lunch? I'm thinking about the possibility of Roman pasta for lunch (though we would likely order only two courses, so we don't overdo it for our evening meal) and then go to La Gensola for dinner.

Thank you again to all for your advice and input. I look forward to providing a report!

Sep 14, 2011
Silverwing in Italy

Venice - need tips for food/wine shopping and sipping Prosecco

Many thanks for the tip on the baccala mantecato! I have learned that there appear to be more than one Calle del Forno in Cannaregio. Our apartment is on the one that is near the Irish Pub (at least that is what google maps shows me!). It looks like Sisa and this bakery are closer to the Jewish area. No problem, I can still make my way there - sounds like it is worth it! Thank you again.

Sep 12, 2011
Silverwing in Italy

Rome - good friends in search of good food and wine

I did not have this on the list I posted, though of course it was on the larger list I started from! If it was open, it could have been a convenient option that I had overlooked. Thanks for the updated Sunday info, vinoroma.

Sep 12, 2011
Silverwing in Italy

Rome - good friends in search of good food and wine

Elizabeth, many thanks for your input. I know you are quite a fan of Perilli and I am indeed a fan of carbonara lol! Thanks also for the suggestion of Sunday lunch at L'Asino d'Oro, it certainly would be convenient. Nice to see that both you and vinoroma recommend La Gensola! I shall do some more research on the restaurant regarding specific items to order.

Regarding Todi, I did not post but was delighted to see that someone else did - and many thanks for your response. I had already noted several of the restaurants you suggested from your blog or these forums, and I have used Fred Plotkin's book as a guide to other towns as well. We have also booked a wine tour and a cooking class, so with those recommendations, travel to other towns, and a bit of cooking in our rental house, we are pretty well set for Umbria. Thank you to all who provide input and those who provide trip reports, these boards have been the source of great fun and great information!

Sep 12, 2011
Silverwing in Italy

Rome - good friends in search of good food and wine

Hmm, La Campana was a definite possibility for Sunday lunch. Thank you, vinoroma, for the very recent feedback. Checchino has been near the top of my list, it seems to be often recommended, has a long history, and I loved tenortom's report! Thank you also for noting that Goccetto is only open on Saturday.

LotsC, I had not considered Hostaria Costanza, thank you. Time to do a search and find out more!

Sep 12, 2011
Silverwing in Italy

Rome - good friends in search of good food and wine

Hi Bob, I have been following the Italy board for some time now - I really enjoy the planning part of the trip! I have appreciated the advice and input of vinoroma, katie parla, elizabeth minchilli, maureen b fant and many others, as well as following blogs and twitter. I am sure I will have some type of withdrawal after the trip is over :) I am just being terribly indecisive and uncertain about the Roman part of our trip, at least where food is concerned, and while likely unfair, I am hoping to get some further input specific to us, our location and travel plans.

Sep 12, 2011
Silverwing in Italy