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Dinner right by Pantheon for first night in Rome?

Thanks! I have reservations made all over the place at this point and will be a good citizen and cancel if I can't keep them. I had to take a lot of strange times that were not ideal and who knows what the days will bring. Love the casual menu at emma. I think it will be perfect for that evening. Managed to get a reservation at Cesare al Casaletto for the Friday night. Roscioli for a lunch. Waiting on Piperno for a Sunday lunch. Let's see...

2 days ago
ZenFoodist in Italy

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

"For the lunch we have many choices, on the island of Capri or we can organise directly together when you'll be on board for the time.
Usually we prefer Nerano's bay, where you should taste the typical italian food ( not touristic ):

you'll taste spaghetti with zucchiné, fresh fish, and traditional food.

Then there is an higest quality restaurant "Quattro Passi" with one Michelin star, or the "Cantuccio restaurant"typical family or the old style.
Return at sunset-shadows.

We offer a nice aperitive on board... with typical products, Prosecco openbar, Caprese's salad, fresh fruits."

This place was mentioned by a couple of the captains with whom we exchanged email. Any idea about these places?

Jul 30, 2015
ZenFoodist in Italy

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

Yes! These places have been mentioned to us by all the captains with whom we talked. We will do a full day charter and can dock wherever we choose. Haven't even gotten to thinking about that part yet, but am super excited as it is our gift to my parents. I am hoping the weather will be perfect, the sea warm and tranquil and the food fantastic. Perhaps I'll even be able to get the Christmas card shot!

Jul 30, 2015
ZenFoodist in Italy

Dinner right by Pantheon for first night in Rome?

Thinking more specific requests will probably be better.

Decided to take everyone's advice and start making reservations from New York today. Unfortunately (or NOT depending on your opinion) Armando al Pantheon will be closed in August, so my idea of having our first meal there when we arrive from our stay on the Amalfi coast, will not work out. We will be taking the train to Rome from Naples and arriving midday. I figured we'd have some pizza al taglio to tide us over until dinner.

Anywhere else you would recommend a short walk from the Piaza Navona?

Thanks!
Lisa

Jul 30, 2015
ZenFoodist in Italy
1

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

Thanks so much for taking the time to write this up, Jen! Much appreciated. Hope you are well. I always love it when trusted, familiar names from Chowhound's early days pop up on my threads.

Il Buco sounds divine and if it were just the three of us, we would check it out, but it's not the type of experince that would be appreciated by my parents, who although very adventurous "ethnic eaters" and lovers of good food, prefer larger portions and less complicated executions. Think big platters of pasta and seafood, tons of vegetable contorni etc I didn't even want to add that my mother has been a vegetarian for the last 35 or so years because truthfully she can navigate her way around any menu and find things to eat, and when she is traveling she will eat scallops and shrimp. Because of this limitation, we will generally avoid tasting menus especially if the whole table has to participate. Gelataria Raki, however, has been added to the list! I plan to have gelato at least three times a day ;)

I think that even though I am, at heart, a big planner and researcher, I am still holding on to this romanticized notion that it's my beloved Italia where bad food just doesn't exist. Where I will be able to walk down a random side street, slip into a little trattoria and be served the most fantastic pasta of my life by a chubby little black-clad nonna surrounded by beautiful, gregarious Italians with whom I can practice my rusty Italian. If truth be told, one of my biggest superficial nightmares is walking into a restaurant I know NOTHING about. I would almost rather not eat than have a crap meal, and here in NYC I am ON it. At all times. I'm just a bit overwhelmed by trying to figure it all out abroad because reservations are involved and I never really know what the days will bring and hate committing to things so far in advance. Little by little, however, a plan is starting to take shape.

I'm comfortable with Rome, Florence and Sorrento, but I need a couple of lunch spots from which to choose in Positano and Ravello at this point. Hopefully some more 'hounds chime in.

Thank you so much again!

Jul 30, 2015
ZenFoodist in Italy

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

Thank you so much. Cesare is definitely on my list. As is Armando. This weekend we will call and make reservations. For anyone following along, I just found this list of restaurant schedules for August. It's in Italian, but the actual openings and closings are pretty easy to decipher.

https://tavoleromane.wordpress.com/20...

Jul 29, 2015
ZenFoodist in Italy
1

Three full days in Barcelona looking for well-loved, timeless classics

Thank you both so very much for taking the time to write such excellent responses. I realize August is a tough month but am hoping to make the best of it! I will look into all of these recommendations and let you know how we fare. Muchissimas gracias!

Jul 28, 2015
ZenFoodist in Spain/Portugal

Three full days in Barcelona looking for well-loved, timeless classics

Ciao 'Hounds~

The time has come. Headed back to Europe the last two weeks of August after a 12 year hiatus with the 11 year old ChowPup. The majority of our time will be spent in Italy, however we are starting off our trip with three nights in an old favorite, Barcelona. And, annoyingly enough, we are missing a Real Barcelona game by a day! We had already booked, alas. This trip will be extra special as my parents, who are both turning 70, will be joining us to celebrate the beginning of their eighth decades! My dad is a retired Spanish teacher who has been to Spain dozens of times but has not been to Barcelona in decades. We are both fairly conversant in Spanish. Should be fun!

I am looking for casual places that would be great for inter generational families. I envision big paellas near the beach (last time we were there my husband and I had such a great paella in Barcelonetta, but I forget the name) and bustling tapas places etc. It's been sooooo long. Our favorite meal on the last trip was at the bar at Cal Pep. For years they sent us a post card at Christmas. I would love to check it out again. Although I know that Barcelona has established itself as a cutting edge food city, this time around I want to focus on more of the well-loved timeless classics. Basically I am looking for places that are not pretentious, not the newewst incarnation of El Bulli or anywhere that features foam or deconstructed things. Not that I dislike that stuff, but we do the fancy shmancy stuff pretty frequently and I just want something more rustic and old school this time. Well prepared classics in well loved venues. Even newer places that feature traditional dishes.

Any places you would recommend for some nice family lunches and dinners? We are staying on the Passeig de Gracia in Eixample and will be visiting all the touristy places like the Sagrada Familia, Picasso Museum, so restaurants near them would be particularly welcome although we will be taking taxis and walking a lot.

Any any places that cater to vegetarians but aren't exclusively vegetarian? My mom has been mostly a vegetarian for 35 years but she DOES eat most shellfish when necessary and in Spain it will be necessary!

Gracias in advance ;)
Lisa

Jul 28, 2015
ZenFoodist in Spain/Portugal

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

Ciao 'Hounds~

The time has come. Headed back to Europe the last two weeks of August after a 12 year hiatus with the 11 year old ChowPup. For those of you who know me and have graciously helped me with myriad North American travel dining requests practically since Chowhound's 1997 inception, this is the kid whose 10th bday dinner started at Queens' Tacqueria Coatzingo and ended with the truffle tasting at SD-26, all the while second guessing whether we should have "just gone to Maialino for the porchetta and cacio e pepe." In short, this child appreciates good food and feels as grateful as I feel blessed to be able to visit Italy and Spain this summer for his first time to Europe. He's been poring over the Yelp photos of Roscoli and Cesare al Casaletto (those gnocchi!) since it was announced we would be in Rome! We are talking hardcore here. What will make this trip extra special is that we will be traveling with my parents to celebrate both of their 70th birthdays. We'll start our trip in Barcelona for three nights, then in a villa in Sorrento for 4 nights (from which we will visit Positano, Amalfi, Ravello, Pompeii), Rome for 4 nights with a possible day trip to Florence just for old time's sake. None of these places are new to any of the adults, just my son, and the trip is more of an overview (no snarky remarks about the ridiculousness of Florence as a "day trip", per favore).

Weeks ago I tried to book Elizabeth Minchilli or Katie Parla for food tours of Rome, to no avail. I was particularly interested in the Trastevere Jewish ghetto tours, but in the end will settle for a self- guided tour and a meal at Piperno. I'm fairly confident, with or without guided tours etc, we will eat well and have really only begun to seriously research prior reports on these boards to come up with a rudimentary list of places we want to hit. We are seeking comfy, homey places with zero pretension. More trattorie style. Not looking for the Italian version of El Bulli or anything that features foam or is deconstructed. Just warm, casual places that feature well loved dishes that will be enjoyed my our multi-generational family.

I am hesitant to make reservations in advance because we never know what our days will entail until we arrive, however if I am advised otherwise, we will definitely heed advice.

I am seeking a few excellent dinners and lunches in Rome. Also snacks (read: gelati). We will be staying in the Piazza Navona, and as we are tourists, seek places near touristy things such as the Colosseum, Vatican, etc.

When we are in Sorrento we will spend one full day exploring the coast by sea on a private charter and welcome any suggestions for where we should dock and enjoy a memorable family meal. I have been looking forward to this day for a very long time and want it to be special. The captain who is taking us out apparently has many suggestions, but I would like to be prepared as well. I recall reading somewhere that one of the little towns on the Amalfi coast is the birthplace of sfogliatelle which is one of our family's favorite treats here in NYC. We get incredible ones from our Sicilian friends at a local bakery, but would LOVE LOVE LOVE to taste ones from where they originated. If anyone has any thoughts on this, please share. I have visions of beginning or ending our little day at sea with a still warm sfogliatelle. Who knows?

We decided NOT to have a car on this trip to Italy as most people told us it would be more of a hindrance during high season. Someone compared the back ups on Amalfi coast in August to the LIE traffic going out to the Hamptons and that was all my husband needed to hear! So we will be taking taxis and ferries etc. We have no problem paying whatever we need to pay to make it as fast and convenient as possible. I haven't done much research on this part of the trip at all. Being that our villa is 5 minutes from Sorrento, I am thinking most of our dinners will be in Sorrento, but lunch ideas in the neighboring towns would be much appreciated.

In Florence, if we even end up going for the day, I am thinking I would want my son to try a classic Bistecca alla Fiorentina and some fagioli all’uccelletto etc. Many friends have recommended Trattoria All’Antico Ristoro di Cambi in the Borgo San Frediano which is a bit out of the way. If I were staying there for a long weekend I would be happy to venture afar, but being that we would only have a full day there I would want something closer to the city center. Any thoughts?

And then Rome. I can't WAIT for the food in Rome. You have no idea. Well, actually you DO ;) I was thinking Armando al Pantheon (seems like a love/hate thing for many of you, but def is iconic), Cesare al Casaletto (might be too much of a schelp), Roscioli, Pizzarium for pizza al taglio which my kid will LOVE, FattaMorgana for gelati? I am overwhelmed for sure. So much I would love to try, and if I were there for a few weeks I would have the time to venture off the beaten path and get a real insider's taste, go to the Italian equivalent of say Corona or Jackson Heights, but we are really just tourists this time and just want to cover the highlights. What to do?

Thanks in advance for tolerating the meandering and indulgent post. Hoping that with your expertise I will be able to come up with a game place that will be delicious and memorable for all of us.

Mille Grazie,
Lisa

Jul 28, 2015
ZenFoodist in Italy

Rainier Cherries shipped to NYC farm recommendation, please?

I'm wondering if any of you can recommend a farm that ships them to the east coast? My absolute summer treat and I am planning a party and want to feature them stuffed with pastry cream or cannoli cream so I need them in bulk and quality assured. Thanks!

Lisa

Jul 01, 2015
ZenFoodist in General Topics

Rainier Cherries Shipped to NYC?

I'm wondering if any of you can recommend a farm that ships them to the east coast? My absolute summer treat and I am planning a party and want to feature them stuffed with pastry cream or cannoli cream so I need them in bulk. Thanks!

Lisa

Jul 01, 2015
ZenFoodist in Pacific Northwest

Conti's in Little Neck

I hear you on Il Bacco. While I've never had a bad meal there and the people who run it are very lovely and willing to go out of their way, I find the food very ordinary. I'll take Parkside over pretty much any other Italian place any day of the week
(Disclaimer: we have a table there lol) I was actually just at Parkside again for lunch on Monday and my shrimp oregonata over escarole was just outrageous. Giant shrimp. No iodine taste whatsover which has happened to me a lot as of late. Such flavor in the breadcrumbs. After Sapori d'Ischia of late, it's my fave. Uva Rara is pretty good too.

Jun 10, 2015
ZenFoodist in Outer Boroughs
1

Iki Restaurant - Flushing

Thanks for your review. I loved it too! And I agree with your Kotobuki assessment. I get better sushi at humble little Ginza here on Francis Lewis Blvd by our home than at Kotobuki. I am not optimistic about the longevity of IKI, though. Never anyone inside :( And the name cracks me up!

Jun 09, 2015
ZenFoodist in Outer Boroughs

Conti's in Little Neck

The chef at Piccolo Sogno used to cook at Il Villagio. Nice guy. Milanese I believe. Sicilian wife. I work a block away and go there for lunch a lot in the summer. The garden is nice when it's not too hot. I like their focaccia a lot. Nothing remarkable but alway solid. I miss Sapori d'Ischia :(

Jun 06, 2015
ZenFoodist in Outer Boroughs
1

Conti's in Little Neck

Gone, baby :( 'For rent" banners all over the front. Just passed it on the way back from Anthony's Coal Fired.

Jun 04, 2015
ZenFoodist in Outer Boroughs
1

Soy Sauce Factory

WJS'a soy sauces are my fave. The organic soy and the vegetarian oyster sauce are staples in my cooking. Also love Pearl River Bridge Golden label but tend to favor WJS because the owner's son is my student and they give me a steady supply ;)

Apr 30, 2015
ZenFoodist in Outer Boroughs
1

Queens Night Market kickoff tonight

Yep. My friends were calling it the Queens NightMARE Market. Truly hope they work it out because I think it would be such a fun concept here. What vendors were there in the end? The people I know hightailed it out of there without even seeing what was being sold at the front of the long lines.

Apr 26, 2015
ZenFoodist in Outer Boroughs
1

Queens Night Market kickoff tonight

I was all set to go but pretty much every friend who went texted me and told me to stay home. Very few vendors. Ridiculous lines with outrageous waits. I think I will delay my visit until the kinks get ironed out. A bunch of friends got there, saw the lines, and then went to empanadas del parque and Lemon Ice King instead so it wasn't a complete debacle. I hope that ultimately they figure it all out because I love the concept and wish them well.

Apr 25, 2015
ZenFoodist in Outer Boroughs

Queens Night Market kickoff tonight

I think the cooler weather caused some vendors to cancel, but I'm hoping there is still a decent showing. Does anyone know what vendors signed on and will be coming?

Thanks!
Lisa

Apr 25, 2015
ZenFoodist in Outer Boroughs

Rudy Merlin Executive Chef of Payard Caesar's Palace Las Vegas Turning out sublime confections in New Age Asian Market on Northern Blvd and 160th Street

Hmmm. I still stand on record as saying that Chef Rudy's pistachio croissant is the best thing I've put in my mouth so far this year. The year is quite young, however. I guess we can chalk this difference in opinion up to my beloved HS Latin teacher's favorite expression relating to all matters of taste: "De gustibus non est disputandum." Incidentally, I was at Spicy Lanka on Sunday enjoying string hopper and kotthu after a particularly awful baskeball game. It provided the perfect consolatory fare for my son and his teammates. One of my Queens faves.

Apr 14, 2015
ZenFoodist in Outer Boroughs

One memorable dinner in Westbury or thereabouts [reposted on New York State]

Pleasure. You won't be disappointed. They also own the Market Bistro in Jericho.

Apr 13, 2015
ZenFoodist in Outer Boroughs

One memorable dinner in Westbury or thereabouts [reposted on New York State]

Twilight special at the West End Cafe. Look up the menu online but get the pork chop. And the parfait for dessert. Great vibe and top quality dishes. An eternal favorite of all our LI family.

Apr 13, 2015
ZenFoodist in Outer Boroughs
1

Rudy Merlin Executive Chef of Payard Caesar's Palace Las Vegas Turning out sublime confections in New Age Asian Market on Northern Blvd and 160th Street

If you scroll up you can see the gorgeous Napoleon Chef Rudy made for us for Palm Sunday. He charges 4.50 per slice for custom orders. It was outstanding. You can discuss many different cake options with him.

Apr 11, 2015
ZenFoodist in Outer Boroughs

Rocky and Carlo's in Chalmette? Brocioloni/Bruccolini/Bracciole?

What do they normally add to the breadcrumbs for stuffed artichokes in New Orleans? Here in NYC most Italians add lots of grated cheese (Locatellin or pecorino)parsley, garlic and olive oil. We use this same mixture atop roasted asparagus as well.

Apr 10, 2015
ZenFoodist in New Orleans

Any thoughts on Bon Ton Cafe these days?

I **completely** got what you were saying Hazelhurst and have valued your comments on these boards for quite some time.

Apr 09, 2015
ZenFoodist in New Orleans

Any thoughts on Bon Ton Cafe these days?

Bahn mi would be one of my Monster's Ball food choices if I ever had to make one. We get some phenomenal ones here in New York City. And some **really** phenomenal ones in Falls Church, Virginia and Toronto! If I had known that there was a great local place, I would've definitely checked them out in New Orleans. But I digress...

Apr 09, 2015
ZenFoodist in New Orleans

Rocky and Carlo's in Chalmette? Brocioloni/Bruccolini/Bracciole?

Some people "cheap out" as we say here in Queens, NYC and just use parsley, breadcrumbs and Locatelli cheese. Real bracciole for us includes salami, ham, mortadella, hunks of provolone, chopped hard cooked egg, tons of garlic and parsley. Watching my grandma take the twine-tied bundles out of the Sunday sauce and then slice them all up on a platter is one of my happiest childhood food memories. My mom makes them great for us too! And she's a vegetarian ;)

Apr 09, 2015
ZenFoodist in New Orleans

Any thoughts on Bon Ton Cafe these days?

I'm sure it's excellent but in a town with so many choices I generally tend to check out the places that people seem to be *very* passionate about. My fave places for what it's worth are along the lines of Katie's, Liuzza's by the Track, Casamento's etc. Smaller neigborhood spots. And then the old guard spots like Galatoire's and Antoine's etc.

Apr 09, 2015
ZenFoodist in New Orleans

Any thoughts on Bon Ton Cafe these days?

Thanks. That screams out MISSABLE to me ;) There are just too many reataurants in New Orleans from which to choose; unless someone oozes some semblance of passion, I generally skip.

Apr 08, 2015
ZenFoodist in New Orleans

Rocky and Carlo's in Chalmette? Brocioloni/Bruccolini/Bracciole?

Had a fantastic conversation with a Sicilian-Creole in NOLA yesterday. He heard our NYC accents and recognized us as Italian-American New Yorkers and pulled up a chair and talked food with us for a looong while. We talked about St. Joseph's Day altars and foods, our love of Angelo Brocato's and bracciole. He waxed poetic about a place called Rocky and Carlo's and told us we should take a taxi the 5 miles to Chalmette, but we couldn't because it was our last night in NOLA and we had Pelicans tickets (what a game!) and plans to go to Irene's. He went on and on about their version of bracciole which they call Bruccolini. I was fascinated as Bracciole is one of our fave family dishes and tough to find made right.

Has anyone been? What do they stuff their bracciole/brocolioni with? It's such a beloved Sicilian dish that we enjoy here at home and we would love to check it out on the next trip.

Apr 08, 2015
ZenFoodist in New Orleans