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Four days Rome, four days Venice

While in Rome, I would definitely try to fit Cesare al Casaletto into your plans (assuming no Christmas closings, which I have not researched). I think it meets your description well (food with a twist but still recognisably rooted in the region). Yes, you have to take the tram, but it's really neither far nor difficult to reach. You can always go to Armando when you're visiting either Campo dei Fiore or the Spanish Steps, since Armando is so centrally located.

Trattoria Monti should satisfy your desire for la cucina Marchegiana.

I haven't been to Vino e Camino and therefore cannot comment.

I do think you should fit some pizza into your Rome experience. Lots of choices there, but you need to decide if you want a "grab and go" or sit-down experience.

1 day ago
lisaonthecape in Italy

Terra Cotta Bear and Brown Sugar

I've always kept mine in a pantry drawer--no need to refrigerate.

Oct 04, 2014
lisaonthecape in General Topics

Any Interesting Food Blogs on Bologna?

We spent a couple of days in Ravenna this summer and, while we had some decent (though not stellar) meals, I would reluctantly have to agree that Ravenna is not much of a food town. We did not, however, try any seafood, as my husband doesn't like it. Still, I would probably make the day trip, as the mosaics are truly lovely.

Oct 03, 2014
lisaonthecape in Italy

September in Italy (3 parts)- Florence

Really enjoyed your reports, and I completely understand your comments about the portion size (and this is most definitely NOT just in Italy). Most of the time, my husband and I each have a primo and share a secondo with a contorno of vegetables, but I could never eat a dessert afterwards. Sometimes I feel that you need to eat out with a larger group, so you can have more tastes of different foods in smaller quantities. We also like the balance of cooking some meals at "home" in a rented apartment, especially when our boys were younger. Thanks for sharing your report.

Oct 01, 2014
lisaonthecape in Italy

Our Rome List- would love some input (we get there today-- oops!)

The one thing I would add about Cesare is that, if you have the opportunity, go with a group. I think 4-6 people would be perfect. My husband and I loved the food when we were there in early July but thought it would have been even better with a group to share more items.

Oct 01, 2014
lisaonthecape in Italy

Recommendations request : 36 Hours in Rome including a birthday

You mention Alinea, so I'll limit my comments to fine dining options. It's probably way too late to get a reservation at La Pergola. If I were you, I'd take a look at the websites for the following, then formulate some specific questions about choosing among them: Metamorfosi, Pipero al Rex, Glass, and perhaps Tempio di Iside if you want seafood.

Sep 28, 2014
lisaonthecape in Italy

Anyone been to the new Mac's in PTown?

I stopped by briefly while taking a drive with a guest--really just drinks and a light meal. Oysters were delicious, and I loved the chowder. The chowder is more brothy than thick, but very flavorful. I sadly must confess that I haven't been to the original Mac's yet (I live in the mid-Cape area, and all of the boys, including my husband, hate seafood).

By the way, enjoy your posts from western Mass. I went to college out your way and, now that my son is there, hope to be spending more time in that part of the state.

Forgot to mention your search for challah: if you're not already down Cape, Whole Foods in Hyannis generally carries it. Theirs is better than you would find at the other local supermarket chains.

Dinner suggestions

Which fountain? Rome has hundreds.

Sep 11, 2014
lisaonthecape in Italy

Bologna: Need help picking 1 lunch/dinner

I had dinner at Serghei and lunch at Teresina last summer. Serghei is about as traditional as they come. Teresina might give you more non-meat options and has a lovely terrace. Of the two, that would be my choice. I haven't tried the others on your list.

Sep 11, 2014
lisaonthecape in Italy

Florence-- your thoughts on our list...

For gelato: I would probably skip Vivoli--past its prime, although I do love their riso. Substitute Carapena and Carabe (for the latter, especially the nut flavors).

I might suggest Casalinga for lunch if you're visiting the Brancacci Chapel--very close and convenient. Love the lunch choices, although also like Da Sergio, which is just behind San Lorenzo.

Definitely keep Da Ruggero on your list. Haven't tried Del Fagioli or Il Santo Bevitore, so can't comment.

Sep 09, 2014
lisaonthecape in Italy

Ravenna Italy

It's hard to know exactly what "great restaurants" mean to an individual--an authentic mom-and-pop place? fine dining? However, I was in Ravenna several days last summer and have a few suggestions. One place I liked was Trattoria al Cerchio, Via Cerchio 13. This is most definitely a trattoria and not fine dining, but the food was fresh, simple and nicely prepared. Service was friendly; price was reasonable, and the location was a bit off the typical tourist's path. You might also want to check out Ristorante Osteria del Tempo Perso, Via Gamba 12, www.osteriadeltempoperso.it. I wanted to try this place, but did not, as my husband doesn't like seafood. I hope this gets you started, as there's not much on this board for Ravenna.

Sep 06, 2014
lisaonthecape in Italy

Siena / San Gimignano day trip---what order for best food?

I absolutely agree with Jen about the order of the visits--Siena first, as there is so much more to do and see. I don't think Siena has the most exciting restaurant scene, although I had a fine lunch a couple of years ago at Antica Osteria da Divo. San Gimignano, unfortunately, is completely mobbed with day trippers and tour buses during the day, so dinner after the crowds leave would be much more pleasant, IF the timing works with the buses. We've mostly done picnics/cold drinks/gelato there, so I don't have any restaurant recs. If you really want to see both Siena and San Gimignano in a day, you might want to consider renting a car for the day.

Aug 26, 2014
lisaonthecape in Italy

Fine Dining in Cape Cod for Foodies

I'm sure that most on this board would agree that your best choice for fine dining would be 28 Atlantic at the Wequasset Resort. Depending on where you are staying in Barnstable, that may slightly exceed your 30-minute driving limit (I know it would for me, but I am at the very eastern edge of West Barnstable, almost into Sandwich).

Correction: I am at the very WESTERN edge of W.Barnstable.

Anniversary dinner in Rome late August

We had a lovely meal at Al Ceppo in early July to celebrate my husband's 50th birthday. We picked it specifically because Matt hates "foams, fusion and hype," and it was perfect for us.

Aug 21, 2014
lisaonthecape in Italy

Accidental Tourist in Florence?

I can't help you with Accidental Tourist, but I would suggest checking out www.homefood.it and booking a meal with one of the local Cesarine. We recently tried this for the first time in Ravenna and really enjoyed the experience.

Aug 20, 2014
lisaonthecape in Italy

Cape Cod Chowder Review August 2014

Just tried the chowder for the first time at Macs in Provincetown. Milky, not thick, but very good.

Hyannis and Sandwich Restaurants

I grew up in Sandwich, too, and the restaurant scene doesn't thrill me, either. You might want to try the Belfry, although I haven't been in a very long time. I like Pain D'Avignon in Hyannis, although it can be incredibly crowded on weekends.

For the OP:yes, Naked Oyster is still open in Hyannis, although again, I haven't been in awhile.

In Chatham, you might want to try Vers.

Rome/Umbria/Florence Food Itinerary. Minchilli, Parla, Kalb, Fant: How Did I Do?

Trionfale Market, perhaps? and then take a cab to Borghese gardens (Trust me; it's worth it. I've travelled in Italy with my kids since they were toddlers.)

A couple of other notes: in Florence, we always found Casalinga and DaSergio to be very kid-friendly. You can't beat DaSergio's location, although note that it is lunch only--and I haven't checked August closings. If you go to Casalinga, I would be sure to visit the nearby Brancacci Chapel--it's time-limited, so it wouldn't be like dragging a small child through the Uffizzi.

In Rome, Armando was kid-friendly and the location next to the Pantheon is great (again, haven't checked August closings).

We were recently in Umbria (without kids) and visited Bevagna, Spello and Montefalco, although our only meal out was at L'Alchimista in Montefalco, so I can't really offer any other dining recs. You can easily do two in a day. Of these, I think Spello is the prettiest, but as others have mentioned, it is steep. Montefalco is slightly less so, and Bevagna is nice and flat.

Aug 19, 2014
lisaonthecape in Italy

Rome/Umbria/Florence Food Itinerary. Minchilli, Parla, Kalb, Fant: How Did I Do?

I wouldn't recommend lunch at Pizzarium with a 4-year-old, as there isn't really anywhere to sit. There are some spaces to stand (too high for your child) and one small bench. Rome can be brutally hot at that time of year. I would purchase supplies for a picnic in a shady park instead. The Borghese gardens aren't that close but offer plenty of space and shade.

Aug 19, 2014
lisaonthecape in Italy

Sicily Trip Report 2013 - Palermo, Siracusa, Taormina, etc. (way too long as usual)

Lovely report, as always--and never too long! Although just back from Italy ourselves, we are already thinking about the next trip. Sicily is definitely on our list, as we haven't been there yet. How do you think someone who dislikes seafood (my husband) would fare in Sicily?

Aug 06, 2014
lisaonthecape in Italy

recommendations for bologna

A new post to this thread just popped up in my email notification, and your comments on HomeFood caught my attention. We are recently back from Italy and had our first experience with HomeFood just outside of Ravenna. It was one of our favorite experiences of the trip, for many of the reasons you noted. It's something we would highly recommend and plan to include on future trips.

Aug 06, 2014
lisaonthecape in Italy

Avocado on Sandwiches: Mash or Slice?

I'm a slicer. Sounds almost like my favorite sandwich, except that I add bacon and use cheddar instead of provolone. Very, very light mayo, and the bread is good quality white sandwich bread (or sourdough), lightly toasted.

Aug 01, 2014
lisaonthecape in Home Cooking

Dessert Italian Style

I love cherries simmered in red wine (add sugar and a cinnamon stick) alongside a slice of pound cake. A dollop of lightly sweetened mascarpone over the top is nice.

Aug 01, 2014
lisaonthecape in Home Cooking

Musings on the relatively low activity on Southern New England Board

I stand guilty for not posting much on this board of late. Two reasons: first, I was recently in Italy and have been more focused on that board pre- and post-trip. It's a pretty lively board and often helpful. Second, when I am home on the Cape, I mostly do my own cooking. For the most part (and with a few notable exceptions) I prefer my own cooking to what I find dining out on Cape Cod, so I don't feel that I have much to contribute.

I don't think that the geography is too broad, provided people properly title their posts to indicate the specific town or area.

Italian foie gras?

Your question got me curious, so I checked a couple of menus (Metamorfosi and Glass in Rome) and, on their Italian menus, "foie gras" simply appears as "foie gras."

Jul 25, 2014
lisaonthecape in Italy

Wine Shop in the Midcape Area With Good Inventory After Labor Day

If you don't mind driving a bit out of your specified mid-Cape area, I would recommend Orleans Wine & Spirits.

Trip report (long): Bologna, Ravenna, Umbria, Rome

The class was about 3 hours, plus lunch afterwards. The sauces were very simple--a basic ragu (simpler than the recipe I usually make at home), a simple tomato sauce for the gnocchi, and butter and sage for the tortelloni. Most of the focus was on the pasta making. I wrote a more detailed review on Trip Advisor, if you're interested. I cook quite a bit at home, so I would say that the class is for entry- to mid-level cooks and not for sophisticated cooks. What was most useful for me was getting a feel for the consistency of the pasta and the experience of hand-rolled, rather than machine-made, pasta.

Jul 23, 2014
lisaonthecape in Italy

Trip report (long): Bologna, Ravenna, Umbria, Rome

I promised a few folks a trip report, which I nearly completed a few days ago and lost the entire report just before posting. So this time, I’ll take the wiser option of writing in Word first. This was perhaps our 15th trip to Italy. We spent two-and-a-half weeks, dividing our time among hotels, rented apartments, and an agriturismo, so we cooked at “home” part of the time and dined out other days. This was a belated 50th birthday present for my husband—just the two of us while our teenaged sons were home with Grandma on Cape Cod, working their summer jobs.
We started in Piemonte, near Mondovi, where we mostly dined with friends. Next, we drove up to Costigliole d’Asti, where we visited the Boeri winery, then had a lovely, winey lunch at a nearby restaurant whose name I can’t remember (I’ll edit later if I find it).
On to Bologna. Our first night there, we dined at Serghei. We didn’t have the stellar experience with the pasta that madonnadelpiatto recently reported—I found the tagliatelle with ragu, as well as my secondo of rabbit, a bit dry, although my husband liked his gnocchi. The next day, we had lunch at Teresina: a plate of salumi and cheeses to start, followed by tortelloni with butter and sage for me and tagliatelle with ragu for Matt. Again, nothing transcendent, but a perfectly fine lunch on their pretty terrace. Our best meal in Bologna, though, was what we prepared in our cooking class at Il Salotto di Penelope: gnocchi, tagliatelle, and tortelloni, each with a different sauce. It was my first experience making hand-rolled pasta and Matt’s first ever cooking class. There were two teachers with only three of us in the class, making for lots of hands-on experience at a very reasonable price.
Next destination was Ravenna. My husband doesn’t like seafood, so that took a fair number of potential dining spots out of consideration. We had a very enjoyable lunch at Trattoria al Cerchio—simple, homey, very good food in a cozy setting. It was cooler that day, so I started with passatelli in brodo, then roasted rabbit, both of which were delicious. I didn’t keep notes, so I forget what Matt had, but I do remember that he was very happy with both his pasta and meat choices. We ate another meal at Ca’ de Ven, which is a cavernous space and always seems to be bustling. Our pastas were fine, but what I liked best there were the piadine. Our last night in Ravenna, however, was our favorite. We booked a dinner with one of the Cesarine from HomeFood in Santo Stefano, a few miles outside of Ravenna. This was our first HomeFood experience, and it turned out to be theirs as well, since their location makes a car a necessity. We had a salad, strozzapreti, piadine with various accompaniments, and a crostata with homemade jam. Everything was delicious, and we really enjoyed having dinner in a family setting. We knew enough Italian, and they knew enough English, to make for an excellent evening. Matt and I would definitely recommend trying a HomeFood experience if you have a chance.
The next day, we drove from Ravenna to Assisi and stopped in Urbino to break up the drive and also to visit the Galleria Nazionale. We had lunch at L’Angolo Divino on the pretty terrace outdoors. Matt and I shared a lovely plate of carpaccio, followed by pasta. Mine was pasta con sacco, which was cut into small cubes, cooked in a meat broth, and smothered with truffles.
We spent the next week at Brigolante, an agriturismo outside of Assisi, so we did much of our own cooking, with a few lunches out. One of our favorites was at Antica Hostaria delle Valle in Todi. I had a wonderful dish of tagliolini with gamberettini, zucchini and pomodorini. Matt had pasta cacio e pepe topped with truffles, which didn’t appeal to me, but he liked the combination. We shared a secondo of mixed grilled meats, also delicious. Another day, we had planned to have lunch at Locanda del Cantiniere in Gubbio, which was unexpectedly closed, so we ate at Ristorante del Taverna del Lupo instead. The food was fine, with a nice outdoor terrace and good service, but I think they were a touch more formal than we generally prefer. Another fun experience we had in Umbria was a day with Gusto Wine Tours. Mark, a transplanted Brit, picks you up mid-morning and drives you to several small wineries—places that you wouldn’t find on your own and more personal and intimate than the big, corporate producers. Pours were generous (and thankfully generally served with food), Mark was very informative and great company, and a stop for lunch was included. You can also purchase wine, which Mark and his wife Giselle will ship home for you.
Finally, we headed to the last stop on our trip—Rome. Unfortunately, we had only three full days there, but we managed to squeeze in some memorable food. This trip, we decided to branch out and try places new to us, starting with Beppe e I Suoi Formaggi. Although we just had a light lunch of prosciutto and melon, followed by a cheese plate, we really loved this place and the wide selection of cheeses. Matt used to work in Piemonte and was thrilled with the variety. That night, we had our first dinner at Cesare al Casaletto, which wasn’t difficult to reach at all. We started with the gnocchi fritti, then pasta cacio et pepe, and finally grilled veal. Really enjoyed the food here, except that it was just too much food for two. I think this place would be best with a group of 4-6 people so you could try a wider variety of dishes to share. The next day, for Sunday lunch, we splurged a little at Al Ceppo. (I had been looking for something a bit special for Matt’s birthday, but he is a fairly traditional eater, so most of the usual suspects on this board like Glass or Metamorfosi just didn’t appeal to him.) Al Ceppo was a perfect choice, with its lovely setting and service and wide selection of wines. I had a delicious tagliolini with mixed seafood, Matt had paccheri cacio e pepe (delicious sauce!) and we shared a secondo of tagliata di manzo from the grill. The meat was so good that I almost wish we had each ordered a full plate. After a large, leisurely lunch, we didn’t want a full meal that evening, so we did return to one old favorite—Al Vino al Vino—which was just down the street from our hotel. We shared a plate of mixed meats and cheeses, as well as the yummy caponata, over a bottle of wine. On our last full day in Rome, we stopped at Supplizio to sample the suppli (delicious!) and then to Pizzarium. There, I have to admit that my husband was the first person I ever heard of who didn’t care for the pizza. Matt makes his own pizzas at home in our small, wood-fired oven, and I think he just likes his own style better. I thought the pizza crust was excellent and, while I was disappointed that they didn’t have the potato topping available that day, happily settled for zucchini flowers instead. Our last dinner was at Sorpasso, where we started with a selection of prosciutto followed by plates of pasta—can’t remember exactly what we chose, but this was definitely someplace we would try again.
All in all, we had some excellent food and wine during this trip. There were, as always, so many places that we had hoped to try, but they will have to wait for our next trip. Special thanks to Vinoroma for her suggestions—Litro is definitely on our “next trip” list.

Jul 22, 2014
lisaonthecape in Italy

First timer to Rome & Greve - Family of 4 (boys ages 8 & 13)

Just ate at both Pizzarium and Sorpasso a couple of weeks ago in Rome and liked both. My only reservation about Pizzarium for lunch is that you might prefer someplace with indoor seating (and preferably air conditioning) during the mid-day August heat. Perhaps you could reverse and have lunch at Sorpasso? Both are very good choices to escape the Vatican crowds. A nice option for a quick and casual lunch might be Supplizio--you have to cross back over the Tiber, but it's not too far. Same owner as L'Arcangelo and delicious suppli.

Jul 22, 2014
lisaonthecape in Italy

Sandwich Area dining?

My vote is with the Belfry.