cristinab's Profile

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Any place special for truffles in Milan or Rome?

season has officially started and some restaurants have already had it for weeks now. In Italy regions have different dates since when they can start officially selling white truffles but generally it is september through december. Black truffle season starts instead in December through March. Summer truffles can be found May through December.

Oct 05, 2013
cristinab in Italy

Any place special for truffles in Milan or Rome?

We have already been in white truffle season for at least 2 weeks and this year seems it'll be a great season. White truffle IS the truffle! At least for me! In Rome you can find truffle almost anywhere and prices depend on the quality and quantity. Black truffle season is few months away.

Oct 05, 2013
cristinab in Italy

Guides 2013

but...didn't he get the award "best lunch of the year"?

Oct 13, 2012
cristinab in Italy

Guides 2013

No Scabin did not move and seems had no intention of doing so. It was a asort of misunderstanding that has been going around for a while now. All other guides came out before Espresso, GR, Identità Golose, Repubblica, etc. last one will be Michelin in November.

Oct 13, 2012
cristinab in Italy

Antico Arco, Glass Hostaria or Casa Bleve.....

That is a pretty harsh accusation to let it go without further investigation! you should try ask the restaurant what happened. In Italy, in restaurants, you cannot charge a credit card unless the holder is physically there with the card and can sign it. One other thing you can do is call your c.c. company and challenge the charge: your signature is not on the receipt, right? Also, the fact that the restaurant was empty for 45 minutes means little: a restaurant might have all tables reserved at a later time and/or guests might be late (in Rome it is the rule). Antico Arco has been around for a long time and Patrizia Mattei is among the top chefs in Rome. All'Oro, great restaurant, great chef, Riccardo, proposes a modern cuisine, sophisticated and often experimental. The crowd is lately mostly made up by foreign gourmets. Antico Arco proposes a traditional cuisine, sometimes lightened up versions of classics. Antico Arco has a very deep and articulated wine cellar and crowd equally includes locals and tourists. On the other hand, it'd be crazy not offer that service to tourists: with a location like that! Also Antico Arco is more suitable for bringing a small baby, just in case your in-laws change their minds!

Sep 09, 2012
cristinab in Italy

La Pergola - dress code

Just heard that on the terrace you do not need to wear a jacket!!

Jul 24, 2012
cristinab in Italy

Rome- Seeking Atmosphere as Well as Food

Imago is beautiful, no doubt about it! And the chef is really good as well! He's been there now for several years and it seems he's becoming more and more popular. All professional food journalists and websites have dedicated positive articles and reviews to Francesco Apreda. He's had a michelin star now for several years and friends who've been there lately have positively commented on the dinner. I have recently eaten some tortelli in a fish broth with just a touch of asian style (bonito flakes) that were really good.
It is true that jackets are required but also true they are not that strict about it. They often close an eye, especially during the hotter months.

Jul 24, 2012
cristinab in Italy

Eataly Rome, revisited

I so much agree with you Minchili. Also, interesting article published just yesterday
http://travel.nytimes.com/2012/07/22/...
by Katie Parla. I admit I was luckier than her when I went to the fishmonger...

Jul 20, 2012
cristinab in Italy

La Pergola - dress code

It seems they enforce the rule throughout the dinner. I am not sure how they would handle rebel customers!

Jun 29, 2012
cristinab in Italy

La Pergola - dress code

yes, let's move the topic to something else, such as how sure I am about what I say :-) Yes, I am sure. You've got to keep the jacket on throughout the dinner. No tie is required.

Jun 29, 2012
cristinab in Italy

La Pergola - dress code

yes. rules are rules and you should not be pushing people to break them. That is their policy: if you don't like them, don't go!

Jun 29, 2012
cristinab in Italy

Sunday night casual dinner - Milan

I would reccomend http://unpostoamilano.it/
I have not eaten at this place yet, but know Nicola Cavallaro's cuisine fairly well. The place, a cascina in the middle of Milan, is getting a lot of attention and will be my first visit next time in Milan.

Jun 29, 2012
cristinab in Italy

La Pergola - dress code

To my knowledge, you are to keep your jacket at all times.

Jun 29, 2012
cristinab in Italy

Eataly Roma

I went to the "meat restaurant" and had perfectly cooked marchigiana steak, a La granda tartare and a hamburger. Tasted all the three of them, my fav was the tartare. My partner and son had cheese plate and prosciutto of different kinds and seemed to like it. They also went to Lait and liked it. I am going on Sat. at lunch: will update you on this.

Jun 26, 2012
cristinab in Italy

Eataly Roma

Wow. You seem to know a lot about what I think. I think my post was about Eataly and pointing out what I see as positive and did not think that I had to hear what I think from somebody else!

By the way, I have never said and will never say that "....you not only don't care if the rest of us end up deprived of the choices we prefer, you will actually be glad when they are gone, you wish to see them eliminated.".
Business like Roscioli, Franchi, Volpetti will survive and will do just fine, I think and hope. Let's not mix two different concepts and that is the "wallmart" marketing philosophy with Eataly's. Eataly is one thing and tries to promote something different than "you can have anything at a lower price" (wallmart) and eats up all small businesses until the point of cannibalism (that's when they stop).

"I watched the youngest employees being driven like slaves by their not-too-much older supervisors to work faster and faster , tossing out pre-packeaged food and clearing tables, assembly line style".

As far as your experience in Turin, sorry to say that mine was totally different. Also had a chance to speak with several of those employees (I was toured all around Eataly by one of their vendors) and my memory does not recall any impression similar to yours. On the other hand, I invite you to reflect that who works for Eataly (and yes, physical labor is involved and I saw with my own eyes one of the owner's sons unloading boxes of stuff late at night in one Eataly), is legally hired, gets paid and is treated as an employee protected by the Unions. On the other hand, many of the mom and pop shops don't (highest rate of workers "a nero" are in the restaurant business.)

What you describe, in my language, means teaching on how to be efficient but this might be just a different point of view. Maybe I see too many young Italian kids with too many iphones on the beach doing nothing while they complain that there's no work:-)

Jun 23, 2012
cristinab in Italy

Glass-Hostaria in Rome

Nobody needs that! You have been so unlucky... I went to check on my notes and we had a delicious coda alla vaccinara and succulent meatballs. But then, again, I must have been just lucky and so were my friends who had cacio and pepe and tagliata among other things and they said they had a very good meal (they told me they had lunch). What I remember is that it was fairly unexpensive: another good point in his favor.

Jun 23, 2012
cristinab in Italy

Glass-Hostaria in Rome

Yes, you definetly are a voice out of the choir! I checked the ratings all over the net and starting from Trip advisor all the way to important blogs like Parla, Gambero rosso, everyone seems to like Flavio. Nothing wrong with that though: I am for democracy and bless different opinions! I personally went to Flavio and had a very good traditional meal (can't remember exactly what as too much time has gone by but the memories are of a very good meal. I have neglected Flavio for Cesare al Casaletto lately, but need to go back). I also had the opportunity of speaking with him about his philosophy and was quite impressed with the determination he had in proposing the tradition as it is, making sure his ingredients were the best and the atmosphere was "light" but not crass. What impressed me was his wasy of being supportive of the tradition without being too narrow-minded. As a matter of fact, he appreciated all the creative cuisines developing in Rome. I remember thinking that his philosophy took intelligence and maturity, virtues of which very few people are equipped with. I also know he's just bought a new place in Prati.

Jun 23, 2012
cristinab in Italy

Eataly Roma

T.R. I so much agree with you. Again, it seems to me that lots of peeps have a very romantic idea of Rome, Italian food. Whoever is threatened by Eataly, businesswise, has not been keeping up with consumer needs. I am personally tired of small shops which monopolize the area and raise their prices without any regards to tourists or romans, giving little or no choice. Eataly not only has human prices but sells ALL Italian food and 30% from Lazio. I really see very little downside to all of this.
"The concept is to give Italians the joys of a American-style big box outlet shopping -- and they fall for it, because many American-type things are popular in Italy as symbols of hipness and being 21st century. I have never seen employees in Italy who looked more downright miserable than the employees I saw in EATALY" This statement leaves me wondering if this is what a major biz concept is reduced to. The joys of American-style box outlet? And if Eataly is that, with a major goal of promoting ITALIAN food and culture, what are all the terrible malls in and around Rome? And to see "miserable" employees, you just need to walk in almost any store...As a matter of fact, one of the observations I made the other day when I went to Eataly for the second time (and it was not the first Eataly I visited since I had already visited the one in Turin) was that Eataly made employees feel cool about being part of a "philosophy" and not just work as waiters or shop assistants. Last but not least, Eataly promotes meritocracy. There are very, very young gals and boys who have major positions within the company and they are not even 30! Something basically unheard of in a country where the old goes away only with death.

Jun 23, 2012
cristinab in Italy

Trip Report -- Rome

Allende,
to answer your questions.
a) Question: why would a well respected restaurant such as Antico Arco serve such a dish with truffles if this year's crop was terrible.
a) because I meant a terrible season, not terrible truffles. This year white,black truffles and porcini mushrooms were very expensive and rare. Neverthelss, you could find some.

b) On Piccini, I recognize her the capacity of placing regional cuisine on a more refined level. I might have been just lucky and enjoyed her food and lessons more than once. She certainly is old school, but still very much enjoyable.
My mention about the location and prices was to stress the fact that her job is not easy.

c) Your position about truffles is too extreme for my taste! I could find many, many tartufari, restaurateurs and chefs that disagree with you, but I feel nothing would convince you otherwise :-)

Jun 09, 2012
cristinab in Italy

Trip Report -- Rome

I agree, the fact that the dish belongs to this or that restaurant means absolutely nothing. My statement was just trying to demonstrate that certain flavor profiles might be a novelty to people who know little about Italian cuisine and the assumption that trying things different than amatriciana are a way to "move up". On Valeria Piccinni and Caino I do not particualrly agree with your statement. She is just a difficultlocation and expensive, but really great chef.

Jun 09, 2012
cristinab in Italy

Trip Report -- Rome

Sorry, one last thing. Truffle oil even though is not among the ingredients I'd bring with me on a desert island, is not the antichrist. The quality of it may depend on several things among which the extraction (or infusion). I have tasted truffle oils made by infusion, therefore without presence of Sodium benzoate, that are out of this world and extremely expensive. Also, black truffle is in season in march (and this year was terrible). And the oil could have been made with the scraps....

Jun 08, 2012
cristinab in Italy

Trip Report -- Rome

well, you mentioned twice in two different restaurants that scallops were overcooked. Could it be, and I am just suggesting this, that maybe the way you like scallops are not the way they should be served? Both restaurants use modern cooking techniques with immersion circulators whose cooking time and temperature are programmed. There is no human impulse but mechanical. All meats, fish and bivalves like scallops are cooked that way nowadays. Could it be that maybe you happen to like them rarer and that was not understood well by the staff? It's just a rare coincidence you pointed at the same problem into two different restaurants that makes me (and I hope and think other readers) think.

Jun 08, 2012
cristinab in Italy

Trip Report -- Rome

scallops, tomato are a fairly common flavor combination. With polenta is a famous dish by Blumenthal (he actually got inspired by an italian ingredient!). Cauliflower and egg with truffle (and snails) is a famous dish by Enoteca Pinchiorri. No jump into international cuisine for restaurants aspiring to "move up". As I have stated before, italian cuisine is often perceived by foreigners in the wrong way....If you studied Italian cuisine, you'll find flavor combinations that might surprise you.

Jun 08, 2012
cristinab in Italy

Rome restaurant reviews

Hello Jen,
I personally don't know of any other restaurant because it is one of thise "foodies" thing. If you google, you'll find several topics related to The "alchiodo" pasta. I personally prefer al dente. I would not associate the pasta cooking with beans just because several beans can actually serious problems if undercooked (Simone Rugiati on "L'isola dei famosi" teaching). Thos beans are probably not cooked enough or well or just old beans.

May 01, 2012
cristinab in Italy

Rome restaurant reviews

Al chiodo means really hard, not cooked inside at all. The white part inside the pasta is visible and thick. You can tell because you cannot wrap the damn thing around the fork! Famous for the "al chiodo" pasta is Arcangelo and, I would say with no doubt,
it is a local tradition. Personally, I love al dente, not so fond of al chiodo, but there are many people who can swear it is the only way you should be eating pasta.

Apr 30, 2012
cristinab in Italy

Rome restaurant reviews

ok, they served it "al chiodo". Something you will find only in Rome.

Apr 30, 2012
cristinab in Italy

Rome restaurant reviews

This year I had vignarola (my mother calls it Minestra Primavera) 10 times at least. Vegetables are cooked long enough to be tender and loose clorophil color, tending to the brown. Love vignarola and could eat tons. The crispy veggies, well, that is something different, this is a stew to be finished with plenty of bread!! What I find interesting is that you found the pasta undercooked when it is a matter of pride here to serve pasta al dente (even outside of Italy pasta is starting to be served al dente).

Apr 30, 2012
cristinab in Italy

First Night in Rome - Help me decide where to eat!

Apr 25, 2012
cristinab in Italy

First Night in Rome - Help me decide where to eat!

I would suggest Osteria Fernanda, Via Ettore Rolli corner with Via Portuense or Osteria di Monteverde, Via Pietro Cartoni 163. They both propose good roman options. Osteria Fernanda is a little less traditional than the other.

Apr 25, 2012
cristinab in Italy

Kicking off my honeymoon in Rome

Thanks Maureen. The explanation they gave you is very weak. Anyhow, it is not only foreigners' practice to occupy tables for hours but Italians' as well. It is not uncommon to have 5 italians booking on a Saturday night at 9pm, order 1 thing each and chat until midnight. The solution is to organize a double shift and tell people they need to free up the table by...pm. Lots of places are doing this and seems it's working.

Apr 18, 2012
cristinab in Italy