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New Spin on the perennial Regional Italian question, maybe?

Lots of enticing options here. Thanks for the responses. Do any of these places have a particularly praiseworthy rabbit dish? That could be the deciding factor. The "taste of Puglia" menu at I Trulli looks wonderful (orecchiette with rabbit ragu), but I'm seeing quite a few negative reviews of the place, mostly from earlier in the '00s. Has anyone been there more recently?

Oct 27, 2013
Westbrancher in Manhattan

New Spin on the perennial Regional Italian question, maybe?

I'm looking for a short list of Manhattan restaurants devoted to specific Italian regional cuisines. I'm particularly interested in the cuisines of Piemonte, Milano/Lombardia, Emila, Abbruzzo, and Sardegna, but the region matters less to me than a menu-wide emphasis on the food of a particular area. What does NOT interest me is a pan-Italian place that happens to have good cappellacci, or a place that bills itself as Tuscan but serves only a couple of Tuscan specialties beside the usual pan-Italian repertoire. Make sense? My wife and I are looking for a complete regional experience, from antipasto through dolce. Apologies for bringing up a well-worn topic, but I'm having trouble wading through all of the archival material on this, much of which is now out of date. Thanks in advance!

Oct 25, 2013
Westbrancher in Manhattan

Best booze shop in Boston?

Thanks for the great tips. V. Cirace looks like the place, and I'll check out Urban Grape too, since I'll be in the neighborhood. As long as PA hasn't instituted a border patrol, I should be in good shape.

Don't get me started on the absurdities of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. Let's just say it's enough to make this lifelong Democrat scream for privatization. But even our current barn-burning Tea-party governor can't make that happen. The interests are just too well entrenched.

Jan 03, 2013
Westbrancher in Greater Boston Area

Best booze shop in Boston?

I'll be visiting Boston for a few days later this week and I'm hoping to find a liquor store (or package store? is that what you call them?) that has a broad selection of European—especially Italian—cordials, after-dinner drinks, digestivi, etc. Every city worth its salt seems to have at least one place where people-in-the-know go to get their grappa, vermouth, amari, and the like. I'd like to visit Boston's place. I'm one of those deprived Pennsylvanians who has to rely on out-of-state trips to stock up on these things.

I'll be staying in the Back Bay / South End area, but I know the T well enough to get around efficiently. Because of time constraints, I need to limit myself to the inner metro area, what I'd call "downtown," as opposed to the suburbs.

Jan 03, 2013
Westbrancher in Greater Boston Area

Vecchia, real neapolitan pizza in Phoenixville

I think the arugula/prosciutto/parm pie must be new. It's not on the website, but it's on the menu at the restaurant. They call it "pizza covaccino," if I remember correctly. Not sure if that's a traditional style or their own creation. I didn't try it.

Dec 29, 2012
Westbrancher in Philadelphia

Vecchia, real neapolitan pizza in Phoenixville

I'm submitting this as a new topic rather than adding to the older thread because I want to help this place get the attention it deserves. Those of you who despair of finding real Italian-style pizza in the Philly region need look no further than this modest, unpretentious pizzeria in Phoenixville. I've listened with interest to my in-laws' rave reviews of Vecchia since it opened this past summer, and I finally had my chance to try it this evening. Vecchia makes a pizza precisely as one experiences it in the traditional neapolitan pizzerias of Italy: personal-sized, cooked for approximately a minute at an extremely high temperature, lightly charred on the crust, well done around the edges and slightly underdone at the center, with a runny tomato sauce and a moderate to light topping of mozzarella cheese, or none at all. Though Vecchia cuts the pie into American-style-slices, one wants to eat it from center to edge with knife and fork, as most Italians eat theirs.

Apparently the owner-operator (and chief pizzaiolo) learned the pizza-maker's art in Naples and brought over an Italian company to build his wood-fired oven, which was running at about 1,000 degrees when we were there tonight. He has only four pizza styles on the menu—Margherita (mozz, tom, basil), marinara (tom, garlic), bianca (no tom), and a florentine style that includes arugula, prosciutto, and parm-reg. You can ramp up the Margherita with imported mozzerella di bufala for an additional $5 or $6. The only other item on the menu is a house salad. This is pizza at its purest. I won't suggest that it's a "better" style of pizza than what many of us know and love here in America. It's simply of a different order.

Vecchia offers a standard selection of soft drinks. Ignore this lapse of judgment on their part and bring your own beer, preferably a light, Italian-style brew like Moretti or Peroni. In my opinion, a bolder beer (of the American micro-brew variety for instance) would overpower the delicacy of the pizza experience. Wine would work too, of course.

Vecchia is worth a drive. Don't miss it.

VECCHIA
249 Bridge Street
Phoenixville, PA
(610) 933-1355
http://vecchiapizzeria.com/

Dec 27, 2012
Westbrancher in Philadelphia

Source for fresh ricotta in Central Pennsylvania?

Thanks. Do you have any suggestions as to quantity (i.e. how much ricotta does 1 cup of milk produce?) How about raw milk versus processed? Does that make any difference?

Sep 05, 2012
Westbrancher in Home Cooking

Source for fresh ricotta in Central Pennsylvania?

That's what I like to hear! Could you direct me to a good recipe? I'd still like to find a source, because I won't always have time to make it on my own, unfortunately.

Sep 05, 2012
Westbrancher in Home Cooking

Source for fresh ricotta in Central Pennsylvania?

Can anyone direct me to a source for fresh ricotta in the central Susquehanna valley? I'm in Union County. We have lots of small dairies producing raw milk and making interesting cheeses, but I'm unable to find anyone who makes ricotta.

Sep 05, 2012
Westbrancher in Home Cooking

Toddler-friendly near Metropolitan Museum

Thank you for the recommendations. Cascabel Taqueria was perfect, great food and and a lively atmosphere. They even had a high chair (not always a given in Manhattan.)

Apr 23, 2012
Westbrancher in Manhattan

Toddler-friendly near Metropolitan Museum

A new spin on the where-to-eat-near-the-museums question, I believe. We are looking for a toddler/child-friendly place for late lunch or early dinner within 15 minutes walking distance of the Metropolitan Museum. We are very adventurous and open to pretty much anything. (Not particularly interested in delis, burgers, or pizza). Can anyone help?

Apr 20, 2012
Westbrancher in Manhattan