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Southern Tuscany - am I missing anything?

Apr 04, 2014
GyroBall in Italy

Weekend Lunch from ATL to Augusta

Hi - my wife and I are flying into Atlanta on a Saturday for the Masters, but would like to grab lunch on our way out. We thought of King + Duke and but it is north of the city. Does it make sense to loop up to Gunshow?

Any recommendations? Doesn't have to be in Atlanta...maybe a BBQ joint on the way out? Thanks.

Mar 13, 2014
GyroBall in Atlanta

How to Spot Good Gelato

I read this article in a archeologist's blog, and thought it appropriate to share it here. Enjoy!


Jan 25, 2014
GyroBall in Italy

Honeymoon inNorthern New England

Street and Co., Fore Street, Miyake, and Duck Fat in Portland. Oxbow Brewery in Newcastle Maine is brilliant.

Jan 18, 2014
GyroBall in Northern New England

Question about Romeo

Were went to Romeo in early December at about that time of the evening and the restaurant was open, in addition to the pizza and meats/cheeses.

Jan 17, 2014
GyroBall in Italy

Rome and Tuscany Trip Report

Happy to help, everyone. Least I could do!

Jan 05, 2014
GyroBall in Italy

Rome and Tuscany Trip Report

La Bandita Townhouse Restaurant serves guests and non-guests alike. The local truffle hunter was there one night…you could smell him coming yards away. Yes, they do have outdoor seating, but from our conversations with staff I gather that it gets quite crowded when the weather is nice.

If you're thinking of a place to stay in the Val D'Orcia I can't recommend La Bandita enough. Pienza is a wonderful litle town. We were the in December, so basically had the place to ourselves.

Jan 03, 2014
GyroBall in Italy

Rome and Tuscany Trip Report

First, thank you to all the 'Hounders who contributed intel for what turned out to be a fantastic trip. Special thanks to Elizabeth Minchilli and Katie Parla for their wonderful apps. Here are our impressions on where we ate.


Armando al Pantheon. We loved the look and feel of the place, and of course the location, but found the food just perfectly OK. For mains I had the tripe and my wife has the salt cod, both of which were fine but not outstanding. I started with the cacio e pepe, which was great. My wife had the artichoke and burrata with balsamic, which she really enjoyed. The meal was marred a bit by a rude local couple sitting next to us who were clearly not happy they had to sit next to Americans. All in all, a fine meal but don't expect to be blown away.

Sciascia. Great coffee before our trip to the Vatican.

Sorpasso. We loved this place, and the staff were accommodating for our early lunch. I had the meatball trapizzini and my wife has the zucchini trapazinni - both were wonderful. The highlight, however, was the amazing cheese plate. Holy wow. My wife's favorite choice.

Romeo. Stopped in for a post-Vatican and pre-dinner snack. We absolutely loved this place, which has an amazing vibe and is full of locals. Because we got there early we were surrounded by families enjoying their time together, and even caught a glimpse of Chef Cristina doing some early evening paper work or menu planning. The staff were wonderful in explaining how to navigate the counters up front.

Cesare al Casaletto. What an amazing restaurant. As noted a bit out of the way, but worth the ride, I think. We ordered the fried gnocchi and meatballs, which were as good as advertised. It was a lot of food to start with! For our mains my wife had the cod, which she thought was outstanding, and I had a very nice amatricianna. Dessert of panna cotta and the creme caramel were fantastic. Here again, the staff were amazingly helpful and considerate of our horrible Italian skills. Full of locals who clearly knew the staff and each other - even still - many other customers passed our table with a welcoming "buona sera".

Localino Da Claudio. Lunch after the Borghese Gallery. Wonderful fish, and a nice atmosphere with (again) many families sitting down for dinner (post-church, I would guess). Great find and respite from pasta and pizza. Tasty fried amuse-bouche. I had the grilled swordfish - not a usual selection for me - and it was outstanding.

Pipero al Rex. Sunday night, no Mr. Pipero, and less full than the other restaurants. A nice dining room but its location off the hotel lobby makes it feel a tad less special. The carbonara is as amazing as advertised, though for some reason our menu didn't include the price per weight option. Perfectly fine but this is one we would have chosen differently.


La Bandita Townhouse. We stayed at La Bandita in the beautiful village of Pienza, and ate at the restaurant there two nights after long days of touring. Would a Scottish chef be able to cook great Italian food? YES. Wonderfully balanced tagliatelle with white truffles, a creative and fresh zucchini appetizer, local sausages, complementary sparkling wine, and (honestly) the best creme caramel and tiramisu we've ever had, created by the sous chef (it was apparently the tiramisu - a family recipe - that won him his job at the property).

Il Rossellino, Pienza. Enzo brought over a mason jar full of white truffles wrapped in paper towel, asking us to take the smell in as we perused the menu. Hard to resist, yet the tagliatelle with white truffles was better at La Bandita Townhouse (but still really good here). His wife does the cooking in the back. I had the stuffed rabbit for my main, which was a food highlight of the trip. We paired our meal with a nice Brunello.

Il Leccio, near Montalcino. Wonderful hilltop restaurant with a great wine cellar. Bottle of Cupano Ombrone for lunch (WOW). Run by a father and his daughter. Again, lots of locals. Highly recommended. Wish I could remember what I ate, but the impression of the meal still lingers.

Osteria Le Logge. Siena. Amazing lunch here, right off the Campo. I had the veal cheeks, which were expertly prepared. Started with a picci of red onions, local bacon, and cheese. Truly excellent food with a comfortable and interesting dining room. Almost like you're in someone's house. Both of the wineries we visited the day before recommended this place (without prompting), and it didn't disappoint.

Taverna di Moranda. Montecchiello. We wanted to eat at La Porta but it was closed, so we walked a half block down and found this place. Very quiet this time of far - we were the only ones there - but a nice lunch. The owner did the cooking and the serving. I had boar sausage, which was excellent with a half bottle of Nobile.

There were a few random pizza places scattered here and there, but those were the sit down meals. A memorable trip!

Jan 01, 2014
GyroBall in Italy

Critique our Rome / Tuscany Restaurant Choices?

Hello. We are still in Rome, but I had to report immediately on one of the best desserts I have ever had in a restaurant. The white cholocale, nuts, and cherries at Pipero al Rex was devine, with a white on white presentation hiding the surprise below. Go, if only for that dish!

Dec 08, 2013
GyroBall in Italy

Critique our Rome / Tuscany Restaurant Choices?

Last question - dress code at Pipero al Rex? Again - thank you.

Elizabeth, we bought your app and it's already been very helpful.

Nov 29, 2013
GyroBall in Italy

Critique our Rome / Tuscany Restaurant Choices?

Thank you! Now to get reservations...

Nov 28, 2013
GyroBall in Italy

Foodie stops between Nashua and Sugarbush

Simon Pearce for sure. Can't miss.

Nov 28, 2013
GyroBall in Northern New England

Critique our Rome / Tuscany Restaurant Choices?

Very helpful, thank you, especially Armando over Danilo. Location is a winner too. Think we'll simply make that substitution and have three different / unique experiences.

Lunches will be opportunistic, but def. plan to make it up to Pizzarium.

Do I dare ask...Piperno al Rex or Glass???

Nov 25, 2013
GyroBall in Italy

Critique our Rome / Tuscany Restaurant Choices?

And honestly, I've been obsessing about this a bit. We only have three dinners in Rome, and we want them to be perfect… At some pint we just need to be comfortable with our choices, right?

Nov 23, 2013
GyroBall in Italy

Critique our Rome / Tuscany Restaurant Choices?


My wife and I will be in Rome and Tuscany in early December. Here are our dining plans - any critiques are welcome, particularly suggestions about substitutions. Trying for a diversity of experiences. Many thanks!

Reservations in Rome: Roscioli, Trattoria da Danillo, and Piperno al Rex

Our other considerations and reasons for passing:

Armando al Pantheon - da Danillo sounded better / more unique despite better location of Armando near the Pantheon.

Glass - we love modern cuisine but can get a similar experience in any large city?

Cesare al Casaletto - too far away from the center / not worth the trip after a full day of touring?

Tuscany: Il Leccio, I Tre Cristi, and Dardano

Thanks again.

Nov 23, 2013
GyroBall in Italy

Sushi in Naples

We would lime to get sushi tonight, but we're not sure what would be best. Sushi Thai donwtown, or what about the Sushi Bar at the Ritz? Thanks!

May 25, 2013
GyroBall in Florida

My first time in Boston

Breakfast Paramount and Flour. Lunch be sure to hit one of the oyster bars (Neptune, B&G, Island Creek). Dinner Toro, Hamersleys, good red sauce in the North End (hey...first time in Boston!), or No. 9 Park.

Fortheloveofgod do not go to Cheers.

Would help to know what kind of food you like, budget, etc.

Sep 15, 2012
GyroBall in Greater Boston Area

Earth at Hidden Pond


Jul 18, 2012
GyroBall in Northern New England

The Fresh Market beating Whole Foods to the punch, coming to Bedford next month

*medium to large* university

Jul 16, 2012
GyroBall in Northern New England

The Fresh Market beating Whole Foods to the punch, coming to Bedford next month

Or not. We just don't know. WF has certain economic / investment hurdles, as well as a brand to maintain. If this demographic couldn't met the criteria they use to determine where to locate a new store - and clearly this is a carefully developed strategy (as it is for most companies) - then the decision to not come to this area was a good one.

A variety of criteria go into the decision: demographics (volume and concentration of target households), typical amount invested to maintain the brand versus projected sales, the distribution network and capacity, and other key indicators. I once read that the single best predictor of the success of a WF is its proximity to a medium to large sized college or university. That's lacking here.

Jul 15, 2012
GyroBall in Northern New England

The Fresh Market beating Whole Foods to the punch, coming to Bedford next month

A few initial impressions.

This is a fantastic addition to the Bedford food scene (such as it is). The produce is fresh - much nicer than Hannafords or Harvest Market - and the general food selections are appropriately upscale. Their sandwiches, while they take a while to make and once you actually get someone to pay attention to you behind that counter, are really good. Nice fresh fish (though still lamenting the closing of the fish market just over the boarder in Manch), though not sure how often they get deliveries. I asked the guy and he said every 2 to 3 days, but must have seen the look on my face and he quickly backtracked and said that the fish is always fresh and the stock is always rotating through (whatever that means).

The wine selection isn't all that great, and the price-to-value/label is sort of offensive. For example, Pallazo Della Torre is about $4 more expensive than it should be (they're charging $26.99 or so), and Monte Antico (!) is similarly about $4 too expensive (they're charging $16.99 or so).

Weird to have all that candy for sale too. A commentary on the local demographic?

Also, I didn't see a lot of nice marbling in their steaks. Barely any, actually. For the time being I'm going to stick with the Meat House for steaks.

Also, don't look up. The "country chic" decorations are awful.

In sum, a really awesome addition - it's already a go-to for us - but a few things to work out, IMO.

Jul 15, 2012
GyroBall in Northern New England

One Night in LA - Staying @ Farmer's Daughter

Hey Hounds. I'm staying at the Farmer's Daughter in a few weeks and would love to try some authentic asian or mexican cuisine - a style or execution that I can't get in NYC / east coast. I have a rental car and can travel, but prefer to stay relatively local. Price not a strong concern but don't want to blow past $100 either. I'll be dining solo.

I see Animal is nearby, but I've already done nose to tail and wonder if the scene is now more than the food?

Thanks for any recs!

Jul 04, 2012
GyroBall in Los Angeles Area

Labor Day Weekend

Thanks all.

Jun 19, 2012
GyroBall in Manhattan

Labor Day Weekend

My wife and I will be staying in Manhattan over Labor Day weekend. We're excited that we'll basically have the city to ourselves, but wondering a little about the restaurants. Are there certain places that we should avoid or try given that half the city will be out of town?

Jun 17, 2012
GyroBall in Manhattan

best restaurants for a small wedding celebration in new england?

The Bedford Village Inn in Bedford, NH is fantastic. 30 min from Exeter. Converted barn with plenty of event space.

Jun 09, 2012
GyroBall in Northern New England

Foodie Weekend Suggestions in Portsmouth NH - or should we go somewhere else?

Eh. Naw. Go to Portland.

Jun 05, 2012
GyroBall in Northern New England

Earth at Hidden Pond

Has anyone tried it yet? I really like KO's restaurants in Boston, but wondering about this one.

May 25, 2012
GyroBall in Northern New England

24 hours in Manchester NH

Reputation. And yes, Republic is your best bet. It's the best restaurant in Manchester.

Apr 26, 2012
GyroBall in Northern New England

Best Octopus in Manhattan?

John Dory is the best I've had in Manhattan. Amazing. Il Buco is #2.

Mar 30, 2012
GyroBall in Manhattan

Best Breakfasts in New Hampshire

Lou's in Hanover. Homemade red flannel hash. Amazing.

Mar 14, 2012
GyroBall in Northern New England