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Day Trip from Rome

Orvieto is a lovely day trip from Rome, about an hour each way by train. There is plenty of information on this board about dining options if you just enter "Orvieto" in the search box in the upper right corner.

May 23, 2015
lisaonthecape in Italy

Tortilla Espanola for a Crowd

I'd be more inclined to make a strata, which is far easier to make ahead and in large quantities.

Lunch in Gubbio

When we were in Gubbio about a year ago, we had hoped to have lunch at Locanda del Cantiniere, but they were closed unexpectedly that day. Reviews are all over the place, but obviously I can't comment on those. We ended up having lunch at Taverna del Lupo instead, which is perhaps the best-known restaurant in Gubbio. It's a bit more upscale, definitely white-tablecloth rather than rough-and-ready trattoria. Our lunch was fine. Not "OMG alert the media" fabulous, but very good. They appear to take online reservations, which is a rarity in Italy.

www.tavernadellupo.it

May 23, 2015
lisaonthecape in Italy

Pizza makers: has anyone tried to replicate Marta's recipe?

Very helpful; thanks. We've been experimenting with the dough for a few years now. Our crust isn't quite as crackly as Marta's--we were aiming for something closer to the Napolitano version--but we do have a small, outdoor, wood-fired oven, so we can get it pretty hot.

May 21, 2015
lisaonthecape in Home Cooking

Pizza makers: has anyone tried to replicate Marta's recipe?

As Memorial Day approaches here on Cape Cod, it's time to fire up the pizza oven once again. I'm hoping to replicate the fabulous pizza patate alla carbonara at Marta in Manhattan, which I've been thinking about since my last visit in January. Has anyone experimented with this yet? My internet research so far indicates boiled, waxy potatoes, guanciale, black pepper, and pecorino, finished with a whipped, coddled egg. It looks like the egg goes over the pie after it comes out of the oven.

I will keep you posted on our experiments but would love to hear from anyone who's tried to replicate Nick Anderer's famous pie.

May 21, 2015
lisaonthecape in Home Cooking

Renting Bologna Apartment for Two Weeks...Need Advice

There are two instructors who trade off different segments of the class, and I think they both did a fine job. The classes are geared for the home cook, although held in a restaurant-quality kitchen. There were only three in our class, with the two instructors. Both speak good English.

The part that I found the most helpful was understanding the proper texture for both the pasta and the gnocchi. It's something you just need to feel, and a book won't really help you. We've been making gnocchi, in particular, since we arrived home, and they are ethereally light. Folding the tortelloni is something I still need to practice, but my husband the engineer (and typically not much of a cook)was much better at that part than I.

May 18, 2015
lisaonthecape in Italy

Renting Bologna Apartment for Two Weeks...Need Advice

I took a cooking class at Il Salotto di Penelope when I was in Bologna and really enjoyed it. The focus was on pasta-making, small group, very hands-on, and the price was very reasonable compared to many in Bologna. I would say the class is designed for the mid-level cook. Check it out: www.ilsalottodipenelope.it.

Even if you can't get a class through Home Foods, I would also highly recommend one of the dinners. We attended one just outside of Ravenna and it was a memorable experience.

May 17, 2015
lisaonthecape in Italy

Trip in June to Florence, Bologna, Parma, Lucca, Certaldo

In Florence, you could swap days and eat at Da Ruggero on Sunday, then Sostanza on Monday. I love Sostanza, but I think it is better at lunch, when it's less crowded. It can suffer a bit from its own popularity in the evenings. Also, while Da Ruggero looks to be open for both lunch and dinner on Sunday, I would consider having your main meal in the afternoon, with a light meal or snack in the evening.

May 07, 2015
lisaonthecape in Italy

Looking for recommendations for friends visiting from Germany

Greetings; I had dinner with you at Trattoria Monti in Rome a couple of years ago. I know that your friends are looking for New York style pizza, but if they might consider Roman-style pizza as well, my husband and I really enjoyed Marta at the Martha Washington Hotel when we were in New York earlier this year. The patate alla carbonare was delicious.

P.S. Heading back to Italy this fall--a week in Umbria, a week in Le Marche, and a little time in Rome at both ends of the trip.

May 07, 2015
lisaonthecape in Manhattan

Best place to find ownership/name history of restaurants/clubs/bars/etc

I would start by checking your local licensing board to see how they index their records (property address? corporate name?). If the former, it would be a fairly easy tracking method--although I suspect that property address is not most likely indexing method. You can also determine where tax bills are sent based on property address, but that won't necessarily be helpful if the property is leased.

A Week in Piemonte: Returning to Past Favorite Restaurants

Very much; thanks.

Apr 30, 2015
lisaonthecape in Italy

A Week in Piemonte: Returning to Past Favorite Restaurants

Great, detailed report, as always. I'm wondering if you (or anyone else who cares to jump in) can enlighten me about carpaccio v. carne crudo v. carne battuta. I always think of carne crudo as the more "catch-all" general term (though could be wrong), and carpaccio as paper-thin slices. I looked at pictures of carne battuta on the a quick internet search, and the pictures showed meat that was chopped, not what I pictured as "battuta." Thanks.

Apr 30, 2015
lisaonthecape in Italy

3 dinners in Florence, help

If I remember correctly, I don't think I've ever reserved for lunch at Sostanza more than a day ahead.

Apr 30, 2015
lisaonthecape in Italy

Culebra trip report

We're just back from Culebra. Our rental had a very well-equipped kitchen, so we cooked dinner at home most nights, but did have a couple of meals out. Had lunch at Dinghy Dock upon our arrival, which was on a Sunday afternoon, so very limited options (and we had some time to kill before the cottage was available). We agree completely with your assessment--certainly not great, but better than we had expected. We also enjoyed Zaco's Tacos--huge burritos, so even our teenaged son took some home for dinner that night. Unfortunately didn't get a chance to try Barbara Rosa's. Maybe next trip. Thanks again.

3 dinners in Florence, help

Personally, I prefer Sostanza at lunchtime. It can get so crowded at dinner; not so much at lunch, which makes for a more enjoyable experience.

Haven't been to Giovanni or La Buchetta, so can't speak to them. Da Ruggero and Santo Bevitore are fine choices.

Apr 29, 2015
lisaonthecape in Italy
1

Restaurants in Rome with kids ages 9, 10, 13

That's on my short list for September as well, as is Litro (we're probably having a nice Sunday lunch elsewhere, then a light snack there in the evening).

Apr 29, 2015
lisaonthecape in Italy

Recommendations for Le Marche this fall

Sorry; it's not Home Cooking, it's Home Food, www.homefood.it. You can search by town to see what is available. My notes had nothing for Urbino or Jesi. The two towns I noted were Macerata and Loro Piceno.

Also, just so you know: I never bother noting places that specialize in seafood, since my husband hates seafood. Have to keep him happy, too.

Apr 29, 2015
lisaonthecape in Italy

Recommendations for Le Marche this fall

I haven't done any research in San Marino, so can't help you there.

For Urbino, we had lunch a couple of years ago at L'Angolo Divino. Nothing earth-shattering, but a perfectly fine lunch. We are looking at Antica Osteria della Stella as a possibility for our fall trip. The Slow Food guide, Osterie d'Italia, has two listings, both of which are agriturismi: Ca'Andreana and La Valle del Vento.

The same guide lists the following for Jesi: Antonietta, and Hostaria Santa Lucia. In my research notes, I have Vintora as a place to check out, but I didn't write the source of the recommendation.

We are also thinking about booking a meal through Home Cooking, which we did in Ravenna and really enjoyed. I haven't explored this thoroughly yet, as the offered meals aren't posted out that far yet for my trip, but you could certainly find opportunities for June at this point.

I hope this is helpful, and I can't wait to hear about your trip.

Apr 29, 2015
lisaonthecape in Italy

Culebra trip report

Thanks so much for taking the time to report! Heading to Culebra for the first time in a couple of days.

Restaurant ettiquette in Rome with a small child?

Rome is not quite the same as Venice, where you probably could make a meal of cicchetti, but it is certainly true that an aperitivo would be served with some type of food. What you get, however, varies widely--it might be peanuts or chips but could also be a tray of small sandwiches.

Apr 15, 2015
lisaonthecape in Italy

Restaurant ettiquette in Rome with a small child?

Are you staying in a hotel or an apartment? I would strongly recommend the latter; eating out three times a day can be very hard on kids (and parents, too).

We started taking our kids to Italy when the eldest was 18 mos. and generally had very good experiences, provided that we had reasonable expectations. When my kids were younger, they had difficulty with the dinner hour--8 p.m. or later was too late for them. That's why I favor apartments over hotels, so you can have a leisurely lunch out and dinner at "home." With the time change, some people can adjust their kids' schedules to fit the Roman schedule, but that never worked for me. The long lunch is also a nice break from sightseeing, especially if the weather is hot.

The osteria/trattoria/ristorante distinction is often blurred these days and not necessarily an indication of the level of formality. In general, Italians are welcoming to children, although in my opinion, small children have no place at really high-end places with lengthy tasting menus.

A couple of places that are mentioned often on this board, and which I have always found to be kid-friendly are Cesare al Casaletto, Armando al Pantheon, and Flavio al Velavevodetto. I don't like Roscioli with small children, as the tables are very tight (and service can sometimes be on the surly side).

I hope that helps you get started.

Apr 14, 2015
lisaonthecape in Italy

Help...Piedmont with Kids!

Here are a couple of prior posts that may get you started: chowhound.chow.com.topics/803556 and /635791.

As this is a fairly broad inquiry, I think you might also find some helpful information on the Piedmont Travel forum on TripAdvisor and at www.lifeinitaly.com, among others.

For wine tastings, I assume you know that Piemonte is not like visiting, say, Napa or Sonoma. You could taste a variety of wines (instead of a single producer) at a regional enoteca--for example, in Barolo--but that's not really kid-friendly. I would think about having someone come to you for a wine and cheese tasting.

As for dining out, unless you're planning some temple of haute cuisine, kids are welcome. You'll probably want to have your main meal at lunch if Italian dining hours conflict with kids' bedtimes. Lunch at an agriturismo would probably be a great option.

Once you've done a bit more initial research, if you come back with some more specific questions, you will probably get more responses.

Apr 11, 2015
lisaonthecape in Italy

polenta - home made

I use an unorthodox method. Instead of adding the polenta very slowly to boiling water, I start with polenta, cold water and salt. Heat, stirring constantly, until the polenta thickens and starts to bubble. Immediately transfer to another burner, at the lowest setting, using a flame tamer if you have one. Continue cooking very slowly, stirring every so often, for about 40 minutes.

Apr 05, 2015
lisaonthecape in Home Cooking

Recommendations for Le Marche this fall

Thanks, everyone--although I didn't get a big response, there were some great suggestions. I promise to post a report, but it won't be until early October.

Mar 25, 2015
lisaonthecape in Italy

Easter in Rome

In my experience, Easter Monday is actually harder than Easter Sunday to find open restaurants. Will try to check around and get back to you.

Mar 25, 2015
lisaonthecape in Italy
1

Naples and Amalfi Coast (With Kids and on a Budget) - Advice Needed!

I love the suggestion of Vietri Sul Mare, and Paestum is a great place to visit (much easier for kids than Pompeii. I've been to Pompeii three times and haven't seen everything yet.)

Mar 23, 2015
lisaonthecape in Italy

Naples and Amalfi Coast (With Kids and on a Budget) - Advice Needed!

I also think that you're doing too much moving around, which is both difficult with kids and takes up too much valuable time. I would find one place to stay and do day trips from there. (Have you considered a rental rather than a hotel? That would be my strong preference with kids, although your options may be limited for a stay of less than a week, depending of course on your travel dates.)

My own preference for a home base would be Ravello, as I think it's more walkable than Positano with young children. Positano is lovely but very, very steep with lots of irregular stairs, so you really need to pay attention while walking. I'll add my vote to the others for Cumpa Cosimo as a good dining choice with kids.

Naples is a fascinating city, and the museums are great, but Jen's choice of the word intense is apt. It's not necessarily an easy city. I bet your kids would prefer some beach time.

Mar 19, 2015
lisaonthecape in Italy

Is there a "quick" bolognese sauce?

I'm admittedly a purist about ragu Bolognese, so I would fall into the "can't be rushed" camp, but there are plenty of other, faster meat sauces. One of my favorites is Marcella Hazan's simple veal pasta sauce from her Marcella Cucina book. That sauce only takes about 30 minutes. The trick is to stick with tender meats that don't need a long cooking time.

Mar 17, 2015
lisaonthecape in Home Cooking

Anniversary dinner Florence

Sorry--momentary mental lapse. Yes, I did mean Rome. Apologies to OP.

Mar 15, 2015
lisaonthecape in Italy

Anniversary dinner Florence

We had a lovely meal at Al Ceppo to celebrate my husband's 50th last year. We picked this restaurant because my husband, like yours, hates fussy and pretentious places, but we wanted something a bit more upscale than the trattorias where we usually eat. You might enjoy it as well.

Mar 15, 2015
lisaonthecape in Italy