jen kalb's Profile

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Announcement: The Beta Site is Open to Everyone!

We currently have a board for Italy and we kick comments on hotels off of it. If I want to follow all content posted for "Italy" on restaurants as well as travel and hotels (that last a good idea, I think) can I capture all of this in one place as a "community?" Im confused still about how this will work.

about 8 hours ago
jen kalb in Site Talk

Announcement: The Beta Site is Open to Everyone!

We currently have a board for Italy and we kick comments on hotels off of it. If I want to follow all content posted for "Italy" on restaurants as well as travel and hotels (that last a good idea, I think) can I capture all of this in one place as a "community?" Im confused still about how this will work.It seems much more natural to have the travel and food discussions on a geography presented in a combined way since the discussions are often integrated.

about 8 hours ago
jen kalb in Site Talk
2

La Scoglio? Da Teresa? Quattro Passi? A perfect lunch for a full day boat charter?

its a constant dynamic in reviews on local discussion boards and the big websites, wherever you are in the country. I feel like a lot of this complaining is about restaurants that present the genuine regional cooking so that locals may feel they can get similar at home so why pay a lot? Whereas they are willing to pay more for seafood, elaborate service and presentations, etc. Of course these local cuisine restaurants are exactly the ones we want to visit..

about 13 hours ago
jen kalb in Italy

Go-to cookbooks for "must impress" dinner parties

my current go tos for these situations are the Ottolenghi books and Paula Wolfert Southwest France (or Eastern Med). Most people havent been exposed to the range of Ottolenghi flavors and are really impressed. Then too, while the results are impressive these dishes arent too technically demanding. If I am confident they are hearty eaters and the weather is cold, the stews in the SW Fance Wolfert book, as well as a simple steak recipe she has are really great, albeit the stews can take hours to days to complete, step by step. Her cassoulet is a boffo socko spectacular, but there are other dishes which are also very very good and will not fail to impress.

great dessert can make a big impact too in these situations since a lot of people dont even try - of course Julia Child's tarte tatin is a good one but the Ottolenghi orange cake and some of the desserts from the David Lebowitz books (and I suppose his website) come together very well.

about 16 hours ago
jen kalb in Home Cooking
3

La Scoglio? Da Teresa? Quattro Passi? A perfect lunch for a full day boat charter?

from what I am seeing on line La Teresa is near Amalfi and some of the reviews describe lines and that it is crowded, whereas lo Scoglio seems like it would be more remote and peaceful. note if you want to use TA reviews the Italian language ones tend to be more helpful although italians DO complain about high prices.

about 17 hours ago
jen kalb in Italy

Piemonte 2015 and some links to prior years

your great fish post is on a different piemonte thread, confusing, eh?
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1011985

about 18 hours ago
jen kalb in Italy

Piazza Navona in Rome and Piazza Santa Maria in Florence

I should add that Trattoria Mario is lunch only so that counts it out for dinner.

1 day ago
jen kalb in Italy

Piazza Navona in Rome and Piazza Santa Maria in Florence

if you change the criteria in the search results to be recency the most recent stuff will come up for Rome. Armando is a popular choice here near Piazza Navona. I believe that Elizabeth Minchelli favorites Cipolla Rossa and I Due G are both not far from Santa Maria Novella, nor are Sostanza or Trattoria Mario. When we stayed in the area many years ago we walked across to Oltrarno (San Frediano area) to eat on a couple of occasions - it is also not a long walk.

2 days ago
jen kalb in Italy
1

Help us craft your idea of a perfect "Meals Game Plan" for Rome, Sorrento, and Florence, per piacere.

looks good however, and probably not all that dressy at lunch in this region. Michelin is giving the good italian regionals stars these days . My take from some of the places that are getting them is that it does not necessarily imply cheffiness but yes a certain standard of service. ishttp://www.lucianopignataro.it/a/massa-lubre...

Its all a question of what you want.

Jul 31, 2015
jen kalb in Italy

Help us craft your idea of a perfect "Meals Game Plan" for Rome, Sorrento, and Florence, per piacere.

It all sounds wonderful and I envy (from the NY metro area) your ability to visit these!

Jul 30, 2015
jen kalb in Italy

Help us craft your idea of a perfect "Meals Game Plan" for Rome, Sorrento, and Florence, per piacere.

Im a little cynical about the ratings of these places precisely because the get the celebrity/charter boat patronage, but I have to say the pictures of Lo Scoglio ive seen look really lovely and as I recall from accounts Ive read and the pix below the food is prepared in a genuine local style and not a gussied up gourmet way. See the writeup in the pignataro wineblog, probably the best single resource for this region. http://www.lucianopignataro.it/a/mari....

It should be a wonderful trip for your family!

Jul 30, 2015
jen kalb in Italy

Help us craft your idea of a perfect "Meals Game Plan" for Rome, Sorrento, and Florence, per piacere.

these are probably the types of places the OP's private boat charter will take her to (if she asks), so maybe she will be lucky on this.

Jul 30, 2015
jen kalb in Italy

Travel to Italy with Food Allergies.

this is a 4 year old thread, Puri may not reply - please note there are other recommendations above for resources for special needs travel cards, etc.

Jul 30, 2015
jen kalb in Italy

Help us craft your idea of a perfect "Meals Game Plan" for Rome, Sorrento, and Florence, per piacere.

there is a lot of info here on Positano and Ravello as well as Sorrento I think (use search) and the former is not a place that attracts me personally. For Ravello, if ample homey cuisine is wanted, Cumpa Cosimo will definitely fill the bill. There are a couple other places, I think Salvatore (?) that have been recommended. There are places in Amalfi and Atrani that have been recommended also by chowhounds, just down the hill from Ravello and there are some meat oriented restaurants in the tiny town above Positano.

Campania has the most wonderful vegetable cuisine and seafood right on the coast (go a few miles inland and it turns over to meat). The cheeses, mozarrella and smoked provola are also wonderful. The base cuisine is very simple and we enjoy it enormously (so much lighter than the italian american renditions) Unfortunately in touristy areas like Sorrento and Positano just any little trattoria may not be wonderful but you have legendary "chowdar"and will know to screen out the ones with 4 language menus posted. Over the years we have generally not reserved in Italy for lunches, except for the most critical ones (places that are known hard reservations or that we are making a long journey to visit, just get there on the early side, which Americans will normally do anyway, and have a fallback plan.

Jul 30, 2015
jen kalb in Italy

Padua/Padova as base --day trip suggestions besides Venice

Ive used trenitalia successfully - you can book online and even use your phone display as your "ticket"

dont know about other inter-city apps, might try one of the specifically travel focussed websites

there are bus type apps for many italian cities if you search

Jul 30, 2015
jen kalb in Italy

Help us craft your idea of a perfect "Meals Game Plan" for Rome, Sorrento, and Florence, per piacere.

Hi Lisa dont have many unique suggestions to add - re Cesare, we really enjoyed it but the fried gnocchi did not send us - the serving is very large and it gets monotonous. Their other antipasti pasta and secondi were so excellent that I would skip this item unless you have a BIG group. We were 4 and there were some left over. You son will love the tram ride to Cesare, and its much easierand faster than a trip from Queens to Manhattan.

Ive not been to Cambi, but its not all that far out in Oltrarno - and the frescos in Santa Maria del Carmine are worth seeing, fairly nearby. However, an alternative (not at all upscale) that we really like for bistecca is da Mario, near the Central Market and San Lorenzo. In addition to the bistecca, and I assume, the beans, they have excellent ribollita (would prefer this to the beans, I think) and a great ragu for their pasta and its a bustling informal place. Lunch only, get there early.

Re Sorrento and the Amalfi coast, there are buses as well as boats along the coast - Id do a little research to see what good restaurants are in reach of where you are because there are a lot of them worth visiting and the cooking style in campania is very special and much lighter than you might expect. IMO Naples is a must visit - its just an amazing city with a feeling like nothing else you will see - if you have the time. Not just pizza by any means, but maybe better for a return visit than in August.

Ill take this as occasion to post an account my sister sent of their april trip to Sorrento :

"Quite unexpectedly, this turned out to be the best day of our trip for food. After riding the Circumvesuviana with our bags to Sorrento (a ride that included live “entertainment” on the train – just like in NY), we settled into our hotel and then sought out Ristorante Il Buco (2ª rampa Marina Piccola, 5 (adjoining Piazza S.Antonino). We were very fortunate that we arrived without a reservation on a Tuesday afternoon. Apart from a group of German food enthusiasts there were few other customers. We ate in the indoor portion of the restaurant, which is in an arched stone vault. We decided, somewhat impulsively, to choose Il Buco’s Seven Course Tasting Menu. Right away, we realized that this was going to be quite an adventure and so we wrote down each course as we completed it. Here’s what we enjoyed:

Amuse Bouche: we were served a rare meatball on finely julienned vegetables, with a coca cola granita.
Corso Uno: A square of polenta, ¼ inch thick, with a warm salad layer consisting of wheat berries and barley, finely diced zucchini and peppers, lobster foam with mint, chunks of lobster, including a claw garnish, and micro greens. We were served a glass of Falanghina with this course.
Corso Due: Four black and white thimble sized pieces of squid, steamed and then grilled, accompanied with pieces of sea urchin, mussels, and octopus tentacles. Garnished with a basil and olive oil swirl. The best squid either of us has ever tasted.
Corso Tre: Homemade fettucine mixed with fresh herbs and a subtle Caccio e Pepe cream sauce. The pasta was garnished with cooked pear, onion bits, and lime zest. Alongside there was a ceviche shrimp with a variegated (of course Leslie noticed!) mint sprig. We served a glass of Fiano wine from the Irpinia region near Salerno.
Corso Quattro: Dumplings filled with ground lamb and topped with a rosemary, tomato, and caper sauce, garnished with a thin dried essence of fresh black olive.
Corso Cinque: This was the most substantial of the courses. It consisted of fresh local fish grilled with a green peppercorn crust with purple potato puree with dots of ricotta sauce, garnished with tiny bits of broccoli and extremely thin sliced deep fried carrot. This was served with another glass of the Fiano.
Corso Sei (pre-dessert): Sliced strawberries with tiny round cookies covered with white chocolate. It was at this point that our waiter brought out the dessert wine, a Pasito di Pantelleria. H is not a big drinker of dessert wines but he really fell in love with this one, declaring it the best he had ever tasted.
Corso Sette: W had requested a lemon soufflé with sour cherry sauce for dessert, but this did not come to the table. Instead, we were both served a very thin, crispy rice cake spread with a caramelly substance topped with big squirts of white chocolate cream and mascarpone foam. It as garnished with a chocolate spiral and a raspberry.
When our waiter learned that we had not been served the lemon soufflé, he insisted that have that as well. So we prolonged our pleasant stay at Il Buco while awaiting the soufflé, which was sublime. After that was completed, and after pleasant conversations with the waiters and the chef, we concluded our nearly 3 hour visit to Il Buco. Amazingly, after all of this food, served in small portions over a long period, we were not uncomfortably full. This meal cost over twice the amount of any other meal we had in Italy but it was worth it! A sublime experience.

Here is a link to Il Buco’s website. Even if you are not going to Sorrento, it would be well worth a trip from Naples to have a long lunch on a weekday. http://www.ilbucoristorante.it/?lang=en. You could also stay for the gelato (see next paragraph).

After this memorable meal we strolled around Sorrento, including a very nice walk to the small but picturesque beach and fishing harbor. And of course, since we’d only had three desserts already, we decided to have some gelato after a few hours of walking. We came upon a shop, Gelateria Raki (Via San Cesareo, 48) where we had the best gelato of our trip. The gelato is made fresh daily and the flavors were among the most interesting we saw anywhere. H had pineapple along with basil and fig and W had limone (which she had everywhere) along with honey, walnut, and ricotta. Here is a link to their website: http://rakisorrento.com/#_=_. We found a commentary on Chowhound calling it possibly the best gelato in Italy."

Jul 29, 2015
jen kalb in Italy

Padua/Padova as base --day trip suggestions besides Venice

I agree with DaleJ's inference that something near the water would be good in August, Also seaside or lakeside venues would be more likely to be open than town destinations. Getting out to the Venice lagoon would be one way - Ravenna could be reached on a train day trip as could Desenzano or Sirmione on the S side of lake garda (where you could catch a lake boat and cruise around if the heat got to be too much) have restaurants you might consider and the lake fish is good.

Day trips to Bologna, Mantova and Verona, Even Modena, to name a few possible towns of both cultural and food interest would work but you would need to search to see who is open in August (I think an earlier thread discussed Mantova August openings.)

If you use the search feature and put in the town names you will find some past discussion threads. but you need to dial back your expectations in terms of finding your desired places open given the August holidays taken by so many Italians, especially in cities.

Jul 28, 2015
jen kalb in Italy

Italian cookie recipe, hard to find

Hi, maybe its the spelling of the cookie name which is throwing your friend in the search? I find a lot of recipes for a cookie called "Musette" Here's a link to one such recipe.
http://velovoices.com/2013/10/26/the-...

good luck !

Jul 28, 2015
jen kalb in Home Cooking

Thoughts on Venissa in Venice?

I wouldnt usually cite to this source but this is what I read a couple weeks ago, looking for the same update http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserRe...

note the management response as well.

Jul 28, 2015
jen kalb in Italy

Italian couple doing AirBNB in Brooklyn (Bed Stuy) what are some great suggestions?

Closer to their "home" is perhaps Berg'n. I see that Bunk'R, vietnamese, just opened an outlet there. http://brooklynflea.com/markets/bergn/

Emily (on Fulton St) for a quite good pizza and hipster faves like kale salad, Umi Nom for filipino south asian fusion and Locanda Vini e Olii are other possibilities near there.

Jul 26, 2015
jen kalb in Outer Boroughs

September 2012 COTM My Calabria: Vegetables, The Calabrian Pantry, Desserts

do you like that book? I bought it, and have found literally nothing in it that rings my bell. I rather wish I had not delayed and sent it right back to Amazon. I love baked stuffed figs though, maybe can try that recipe without the chocolate.

Be interested if you have other recommended recipes.

The most recent orange peel recipe I used was in one of David Leibowitz's dessert books. I froze orange and tangerine peels (mostly with the pith scraped off) until I had enough to justify the effort.

Jul 26, 2015
jen kalb in Home Cooking

September 2012 COTM My Calabria: Vegetables, The Calabrian Pantry, Desserts

This looks really wonderful! TJ is selling a nice whole milk ricotta these days and I just finished a big batch of candied peel. Thanks for the inspiration!

Jul 26, 2015
jen kalb in Home Cooking

Please help narrow down first-day lunch and last-night dinner choices for brief Rome visit

You know you need reservations for the Borghese Gallery, right?
If you are going to Cesare at night, you want to stay light in the daytime wherever you go for lunch, especially on your arrival day. Flavio is a less desirable choice since they serve the same kind of food as Cesare, and arent as good at it.

Terre e Domus (formerly Enoteca Provincia Romana), a winebar with interesting food near the Forum, might be a good Sunday lunch choice if it is open (google seems to indicate it is.)

I would generally not trust, or at least be very careful, relying on TA or Yelp in Italy. if you are going to look at TA, start at least with the Italian language reviews they will give a more realistic food assessment (but look out for shilly friends, too.

Jul 25, 2015
jen kalb in Italy
1

Best store bought mozzarella for caprese

Personally I dont think burrata is right for caprese - too rich and not the textural contrast I expect with the tomatoes, remember olive oil is a component of this too.... I like the freshly made balls (unrefrigerated at preference) but cant get these every day and frankly not everybody makes mozz equally well.

I have been keeping some of the belgioso sliced from costco in the refrigerator and it is surprisingly good, though we tend to slice the slices into pieces when using.

Jul 25, 2015
jen kalb in General Topics

August 2015 COTM - Voting Thread

I have a copy of the Mendel book, which looks very good, and I love Moro, so I will leave it to the crowd - it all looks good.

Jul 24, 2015
jen kalb in Home Cooking
1

Group Meal in Venice

There have been a couple threads on this topic in the last few years, here is one. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9017...

I think I have recommended Pizzeria Ae Oche before. Many places in Venice are really small - its possible you could book a whole place for the evening if thats what you want.

Jul 22, 2015
jen kalb in Italy

2015 Sicily food report: Ragusa, Siracusa, Palermo, Monreale, Cefalu

Thanks so much for the report! what Relais are you referring to near Cefalu?

Jul 22, 2015
jen kalb in Italy

Giggetto disappointment

No excuse for the pasta but I'm wondering if you have had these fritti elsewhere as a standard to compare with giggetto. Maybe the Rome folks here can reccomend where to get excellent renditions

Jul 20, 2015
jen kalb in Italy

Brooklyn Bell the Local Ice Cream 843 Classon Ave off Eastern Parkway

Im really looking forward to the walk down to this one!

Jul 19, 2015
jen kalb in Outer Boroughs

July 2015 COTM: The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean, Chapters 5-8

that looks delicious! time to get some green olives. note that this chapter is titled "small uncooked salads" and the discussion of the turkish salads on p. 179 - sorry for the mistake above - talks about their traditional pairings.

Jul 17, 2015
jen kalb in Home Cooking