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Emilia-Romagna and Piemonte in Rome, Florence or Milan.

In Rome, Colline Emiliane for E-R. Also, Beppe e I Suoi Formaggi has wonderful cheeses from Piemonte. I can't think of anything for Florence and don't know Milan very well.

As a general rule, though (with some exceptions), you're better focusing on the food of the region in which you are staying.

Aug 23, 2015
lisaonthecape in Italy

truffle hunt and truffle festivals

There is another ongoing discussion about the Alba truffle festival: Included in that thread is a link to an older post with even more information. While I have not been to the truffle festival, I did attend a large winetasting expo there which I am guessing would draw a similar crowd and cannot imagine taking a four-year-old to such an event. Similarly cannot fathom a child of that age on a truffle hunt.

For what it's worth, I am not opposed to travel with young children and have been taking my kids to Italy since they were toddlers. Just not on truffle hunts.

For agriturismi, check out, which lists four in Alba and many more in surrounding areas. I can't personally vouch for any, as we generally stay with friends when we are in Piemonte.

If you still have your heart set on a truffle hunt, you might want to check out Dream of Italy, a recent six-part series on PBS, which includes a segment on Piemonte and a truffle hunt. The Alba tourism board has additional information too.

For food recommendations in the area, I would start by reviewing some of the many, detailed posts from allende as a starting point and then coming back with some more specific questions.

Aug 20, 2015
lisaonthecape in Italy

Cookie Cookbook Recommendation Needed

I love Rose's Christmas Cookies. Mine is falling apart from much use.

Aug 11, 2015
lisaonthecape in Home Cooking

Maialino ordering

Loved the tonnarelli cacio e pepe and also the scottadita. When I was there a few months ago, they had a wonderful crostata on the menu (apricot, I think) which is now replaced by cherry crostata. I don't often have dessert at restaurants but my crostata was wonderful, so I would definitely consider this.

Aug 04, 2015
lisaonthecape in Manhattan

Piazza Navona in Rome and Piazza Santa Maria in Florence

I am assuming for Florence that you mean Santa Maria Novella? You really need to do some preliminary searches on this board, as there are extensive posts for both cities. Then, when you want some help narrowing down your choices, I'm sure plenty of folks will step in to assist.

Aug 02, 2015
lisaonthecape in Italy

Rome: 50th Wedding Anniversary Restaurant Recommendations

Al Ceppo might work for you. We enjoyed it for my husband's 50th birthday.

Aug 01, 2015
lisaonthecape in Italy

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

+ 1 for Cesare.

For Florence, Sostanza has good steak, as well as the famous butter chicken. I like Sostanza better for lunch, though--less crowded and more enjoyable overall. You might also want to look at Trattoria I Due G or Cipolla Rossa as options, given your short time in Florence. Something to consider if you don't want to spend your entire day at restaurants is Coquinarius, which has good salads, sandwiches, wine. It's minutes from the Duomo and open continuous hours, so you can duck in for a bite to eat while still allowing some time for your son to see some of the city.

Jul 29, 2015
lisaonthecape in Italy

burrata not, panna da cucina instead

Panna da cucina is not as thick as English double cream, but certainly thicker than our heavy or whipping cream.

Tree nut allergy at Cape Cod restaurants

You should repost on the Southern New England board, which includes Cape Cod. Although I live on the Cape, I haven't had any experiences with tree nut allergies, so no secure restaurants are leaping to mind. Nor could I find anything on that board with a simple search--although you may find some similarly challenged folks if you repost.

One Day in Florence - What's a CAN'T MISS Restaurant?

Here is a partial list of August closings: Unfortunately, the list includes Sostanza.

Jul 14, 2015
lisaonthecape in Italy

Todi italy

We had a lovely lunch at Antica Hosteria della Valle last summer. I had pasta with gamberettine, zucchini e pomodori and shared the arrosti misti with my husband. My husband liked the cacio e pepe with truffles, which I did not sample--just couldn't wrap my head around the concept of adding truffles to that dish. Although you may be tempted to sit outdoors, you will probably want inside seating, as the restaurant is right on the main drag (such as it is) in Todi and there can be a lot of traffic noise outside. Also, pasta servings are quite large, so don't over order.

Jul 04, 2015
lisaonthecape in Italy

ITALY - Assisi - day trip lunch recommendation Roscioli worth the hype?

When we were last in Assisi, we stayed in an agriturismo just outside the town, so we didn't have any meals in the town; however, the owner of the agriturismo has recommended Osteria Piazzetta dell'Erba.

As for Roscioli, you will see some mixed views on this board, and my opinion is based on only a single meal. We had no issues with service, although from what I read, it can be hit-or-miss. Loved the burrata; loved the sauce on the carbonara--very silky with nice chunks of guanciale. What I didn't like about the carbonara was that the pasta was what I have seen described as "aggressively al dente." I am certainly no fan of overcooked pasta, but this was actually crunchy. I can't recall what I had for dessert, but I do remember being tempted to lick the plate.

The other thing you should know about Roscioli is that the tables are pretty tight. My own mom, also 74, has mobility issues and wouldn't be comfortable there--but if yours is 74-years-young, it won't be a problem.

Hope this helps.

Jul 03, 2015
lisaonthecape in Italy

New Yorkers Seeking the Good Stuff

We didn't make it to Perbacco on our last trip (had one dinner at Barbacco instead) but really loved Cotogna. I would probably do both.

Also, at the Ferry Building Marketplace, you would probably enjoy Boccolone.

Rome: last minute Lunch & Dinner - tomorrow June 21 - family of 3 (w/ 8 year old)

You might do better to reverse your plan and have your nicer meal for Sunday lunch (which is more traditional), then pizza in the evening. Although not universally true, many places only serve pizza in the evening. My choices would be Cesare al Casaletto for lunch IF you can get a reservation, and Trattoria Emma in the evening. While Cesare is not walkable, it's very easily reached by tram. We also had a nice Sunday lunch at Flavio al Velavevodetto a couple of years ago, and it was filled with Italian families. Flavio would probably require a Metro ride.

Jun 20, 2015
lisaonthecape in Italy

Florence dinner on 6/24 St John Baptist night

OK, I am assuming that this is part of a multi-day trip, and you're not making a day trip to Florence. If the latter, then I would certainly pick another day. (We once drove into Rome from southern Umbria on a whim, without checking the calendar. Although we had no trouble finding somewhere to eat, many of the sites were closed.)

You might want to check out hotel restaurants. They're not typically my dining choices but far more likely to be open on the holiday.

Jun 18, 2015
lisaonthecape in Italy

Lebwohl, Chowhound Italy

Sid Cundiff will get you there.

Jun 16, 2015
lisaonthecape in Italy

le Marche/Fossombrone

I am also traveling to Le Marche in September and gathering recommendations. Sharing this earlier discussion with you:

Jun 03, 2015
lisaonthecape in Italy

Dinner in Lucca

That's a Sunday. I think you'd be much better having a more traditional Sunday lunch around 1:00 and a light snack in the evening. I'd be very surprised if you could find somewhere where you could finish dinner by 8.

I'll let others chime in with dining spots. I haven't had any particularly memorable meals in Lucca, as I've mostly been there on day trips.

May 31, 2015
lisaonthecape in Italy

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.

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:

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