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Callea's Profile

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First foodie trip to NOLA

Thank you! We like fine dining every now and then, but I definitely feel more at home in a more casual setting.

I appreciate the music suggestion, too. I'd just been thinking we'd forgotten to even take music into account. Huge oversight!

Nov 26, 2013
Callea in New Orleans

First foodie trip to NOLA

Thank you for the suggestions! The Soup 1-1-1 sounds perfect, and the cups look even bigger than I'd thought they might be.

We were thinking about Central Grocery for a muffaletta, but I'm open to anything. I'd kind of prefer to have a list of good places and then we'll see where we are when we get hungry.

Thank you!

Nov 26, 2013
Callea in New Orleans

First foodie trip to NOLA

Thank you! I went to check out their menus; both look very good!

Nov 22, 2013
Callea in New Orleans

First foodie trip to NOLA

Hi, everyone!

My husband and I are planning a 3-night trip to NOLA in late Jan. If things go as planned, we'll be arriving late afternoon/early evening on a Wednesday and leaving Saturday after breakfast/brunch.

This is not our first trip, but it is the first time we've gone with an interest in food. We're planning to stay in the Faubourg Marigny area.

I'm thinking perhaps Muriel's the first evening. Other than that, we'd like to try Commander's Palace and Cochon Butcher.

Should we do lunch, dinner, or Saturday brunch at Commander's Palace?
Where else should we go? We want to eat local stuff that NOLA is known for, and would prefer places that aren't just for tourists.
We're more or less planning on asking the servers for their recommendations everywhere. Should that work okay or are there dishes that we can't risk missing?

Any advice at all is very appreciated. Thank you!

Nov 21, 2013
Callea in New Orleans

Florence/Siena/Venice trip report

Hi, again! We are (sadly) back in the States. I'm already mourning Italian wine, gelato, and cappuccino. I look around our local restaurants and I'm pretty sure nothing can compare to what we loved in Italy.

In any case..

As with Rome, my meal plans continued to go totally off the rails. When I emailed da Divo (in Siena) to reserve, the chef very nicely informed me they would be closed for 10 days starting on Feb 18, but we could come on Feb 17. After no small amount of deliberation, we changed our plans. That wound up changing a lot of our Florence plans.

Trattoria Mario: We tried to go here on the Saturday we arrived in Florence. They were open, but swamped. At 13:00, there was a 90-minute wait. We--and most other people trying Mario--made the mistake of going next door to Trattoria Za-Za (meal not worth reviewing, but wine and two pastas was €29.50).

We went back on the following Monday and arrived when they opened at noon. They very quickly were packed both with tourists and locals. We ordered water, the house red, ravioli, chickpea soup, and 1 kg of bistecca fiorentina. Our bill was €51.50.

All the food was good, and the wine was actually great. But for us, I don't think it's a place I'd choose again. Not because it was bad, but only because there are more places to try.

We went to a handful of gelato places including Perche No. We loved them all.

In Siena, we went to Antica Osteria Da Divo. We ordered water, the house red, risotto, gnocchi, wild boar, and the citrus pastry for dessert. It was, in short, our best meal in Italy. Even the bread was five-star. The risotto was incredible.

There were quite a few tourists. But a lot of them Italian, so maybe that helps. We had reservations--as mentioned, I emailed them a couple weeks ahead of time, and got a very nice reply from the executive chef. I don't think I would try to go, even at lunch, without a reservation.

Our bill was €69.50, and to be honest, I think even my very frugal husband would have happily handed them twice that for our food.

After Florence, we took a train to Venice--our last stop--for two nights. We ended up only having two sit down meals, and both were in Dorsoduro. Next time, if we stay longer, I would like to get up to Cannaregio and try more of the places recommended to us.

Enoteca Ai Artisti: We ordered water, two glasses of the house white wine, pumpkin ravioli, pasta with artichokes and prawns, and veal scallopini. Our bill was €64.

It was all very good, though I think we enjoyed the pasta more than the veal. The prawns in the pasta were the highlight of the meal. The veal was good, but the portion was pretty small for the €20 it cost.

Ristorante La Bitta: We ordered water, red house wine (which they deliver in a bottle and charge you only for what you drink--we drank a shade over half, and they charged us for half), pasta caruso, bean soup, stewed rabbit, panna cotta, and tiramisu. The bill was €66.

We had a reservation, but there were enough empty tables that I think it probably wasn't required.

Everything we ordered was very good. The sauce on their pasta caruso had both cinnamon and cloves, and I liked that we ended up with something that had shades of Venice's eastern influence.

We were surrounded by other tourists--Brits and French mostly.

We also gave up gelato in Venice. It was just too darn cold. We did go to Grom (as we did in Rome, Florence, and Siena) and got hot chocolate.

I think that's everything! Now I'm planning Disneyworld later this year with our kiddos as well as Iceland in 2015. Planning the next trip is part of my grieving process. =)

Feb 24, 2013
Callea in Italy

Rome trip report

Hi there,
Thank you all again for all your wonderful advice and suggestions!

In about an hour we'll be leaving Rome for Florence, and I just wanted to come by quickly and share some of our experience. Overall, we had fantastic food here and have zero complaints. After the first day, I realized I was going to have to cut back on some of our restaurant plans simply because it was too much food.

Armando al Pantheon: We made reservations via email for our first night in Rome. And it was good that we did as probably two dozen people (both tourists and regulars) were turned away. We ordered carbonara, cacio e pepe, lamb, an artichoke, and house white wine. The bill was €58.

Service was kind of brisk but friendly. We tried to speak (terrible) Italian and they quickly switched to English. We thought the pasta was good, but the lamb was great. Really, really great.

Pizzarium: We went twice. =) The first time we got two suppli (one spaghetti, one sausage/pasta/artichoke), pizza rossa and pizza patate. Bill was something like €12. We ate the pizza first and loved it, but the suppli was out of this world. I can't figure out why I've never seen it in the States since fried balls of stuff is right up our alley.

The second time we got two suppli (classico & spaghetti), a pizza with broccoli/sausage/mozzarella and one with prosciutto and Gorgonzola. We loved the broccoli pizza but found the other okay. Our bill was €11.40.

Pizzeria da Remo: We ordered two pizza Margerhita, two suppli, and house white wine. The bill was around €18.

The pizza was great, and compared to PIzzarium the suppli was kind of meh. Service was brisk and I don't think anyone there spoke any English. We did okay with our terrible Italian. Regulars were greeted warmly, and the place was full of them. We were the only tourists.

Flavio al Velavevodetto: We ordered carbonara, ravioli, tripe, tiramisu, and house white wine. The bill was €48. We were able to call on Thursday to make a reservation for Friday night.

The pasta was fantastic. Utterly wonderful. The tripe was good really well and the flavor was great, but I think the texture was not really for me. We tried it at the suggestion of the server and are glad we did. The tiramisu was amazing, and even my husband liked it.

Service was really great. They took the time to stand and explain the menu in English. They made suggestions and were really helpful. We left a few Euro as a tip when we left.

We had gelato all over the city, and liked most of what we got. We managed to get to Palazzo del Freddo on half price night, which was a happy accident.

Feb 15, 2013
Callea in Italy

Florence & Venice in February

Thank you for the wonderful ideas! There's no amount of Googling that can make up for the experience you all bring to the table.

Feb 05, 2013
Callea in Italy

Florence & Venice in February

Thank you for the suggestions!

Maybe a chicheti crawl would be more interesting anyway? I think we would have more fun walking around a bit rather than getting to Venice and immediately heading into a sit down meal.

Feb 05, 2013
Callea in Italy

Florence & Venice in February

Boo for typos. Sorry! Yes, we're coming from Rome to Florence.

Trattoria Mario's website claims they are open on Saturday. But your experience definitely trumps that. So maybe we will do as Elizabeth suggested and go to Antico Vinaio for lunch.

Feb 05, 2013
Callea in Italy

Florence & Venice in February

Thanks!

Those are some good thoughts about Venice, and honestly I love having a Plan A and Plan B.

I will look up both Alberto and Portego. Thanks for the recommendations!

Feb 05, 2013
Callea in Italy

Florence & Venice in February

Neither of us love fish but we are completely on board with trying anything. We even talked about going to Alle Testiere and just putting the meal choices in the hands of the server/chef.

I love shrimp/shellfish, but my husband not so much. I made scampi for dinner last night that he picked through mostly for the kids' sake. =)

Feb 05, 2013
Callea in Italy

Florence & Venice in February

After, thank goodness. We get into Venice on Feb 19.

Feb 03, 2013
Callea in Italy

Florence & Venice in February

Oh, great! It's really nice to hear that they're casual and friendly. That doesn't usually get mentioned in reviews.

Feb 03, 2013
Callea in Italy

Florence & Venice in February

Thank you for all the help with the Rome portion of my trip! You guys gave me such good advice. And I'll definitely post a trip report when I come back--I've already picked up a couple notebooks where I can record information.

I thought I'd post our tentative plan for Florence and Venice just to make sure we haven't made any bad choices.

Saturday: Train from Florence to Rome. Lunch at Trattoria Mario
Sandwiches at All'Antico Vinao for dinner.

Sunday: Lunch at Trattoria Cibreo
Dinner at Osteria Cipolla Rossa

Monday: Day trip to Siena. Lunch at Antica Osteria Da Divo
Dinner: I'm not sure whether we should try to eat in Siena or get back to Florence. If I'm reading the bus schedule right, the last train to Florence leaves Siena at 20:10.

Tuesday: Train to Venice. Late lunch at Ai Promessi Sposi
Dinner: La Zucca

Wednesday: Lunch at L'Anice Stellato
Dinner: La Bitta (This is our last night in Italy)

It's been a challenge for me to wrap my head around eating in Venice, and I'm not sure why. I don't know whether it's because we're not big seafood eaters or that everything seems so expensive, or both or neither.

But I'm so excited about the way that all the food (Rome vs Florence vs Venice) is so regional and different.

Feb 02, 2013
Callea in Italy

Rome in February

Hi Beezwaxxx,

My impression (and I do hope someone will correct me if I'm wrong) is that you probably want to make reservations pretty much anywhere. But perhaps except for Feb 14, those can be made same day or a day ahead?

Thank you for the link! I think that will be very helpful!

Jan 15, 2013
Callea in Italy

Rome in February

Eeeek, I hadn't realized it would take that long.

As I work through itinerary stuff I'm trying to do a bit of Plan A/Plan B stuff with both activities and restaurants.

Thanks again for your help!

Jan 15, 2013
Callea in Italy

Rome in February

Thanks, jen! Trattoria Monti sounds amazing! If they open at 1, we should be able to make that. Our plane is due in at 11am and all our luggage is carry-on.

I'm going to check out Urbana 27, too. I hadn't been able to identify too many places really close to our hotel so I'm thankful for the recommendations!

Jan 14, 2013
Callea in Italy

Rome in February

Thanks Elizabeth!

Er Buchetto is about 2 minutes away from our hotel, so it's mostly a convenience thing.

We do definitely want pizza, both because we like pizza and because we're thinking it will be a relatively inexpensive choice.

I just read your review of Cesare al Casaletto, and I'm hoping to get there for lunch the day we would have gone to Naples.

If there is anything else you would recommend, I'd love to try it. Thanks for your help!

Jan 12, 2013
Callea in Italy

Rome in February

Thank you for looking into that! I had seen their menu but never would have thought to search for past fixed menus.

Jan 12, 2013
Callea in Italy

Rome in February

Thanks for the tip! Should we expect special fixe prix menus? Since it's a big deal I'm not sure whether we should try to get an early seating somewhere nice or stick with a quick pizza.

Jan 08, 2013
Callea in Italy

Rome in February

You know, the more I think about it the more I think we should save Naples for another time. When we started planning Pompeii was a MUST for me.

Thanks for the wine idea! This is our first trip without our kids, and sitting in our hotel reading and drinking wine sounds like a lovely evening.

Jan 08, 2013
Callea in Italy

Rome in February

Hi there,

I apologize if I'm asking questions that get asked a lot. I read the last few dozen threads, but that's obviously only the tip of the iceberg. =)

My husband and I are taking our first trip to Italy in February. We've been to Europe before, but never Italy. We are very excited! We'll actually be in Rome, Florence and Venice, but I'll get overwhelmed and twitchy if I try to tackle all 3 in this post!

A few things about us...
- I wouldn't call us foodies, but we like good food. We both like food that is simple but well prepared. Nothing fussy or stuffy.
- Neither of us love fish but we are open to trying things out of our comfort zone.
- Budget is a big consideration for us. Neither of us are huge eaters, though, and I'm hoping that we can share a course here and there and maybe limit ourselves to 2 courses in most places. We are okay with splurging and paying around €100 for a couple dinners but would prefer to stay closer to €50 most of the time.

That said, here are our thoughts:

Rome
Day 1: Er Buchetto (lunch), Taverna dei Fori Imperiali (dinner)
Day 2: Day trip to Naples/Pompeii. I'm a little unsure about dinner here. I think the last trains to Termini leave too early for us to have dinner in Naples.
Day 3: L'asino D'oro (lunch), Armando Al Pantheon or Pizzeria da Remo (dinner)
Day 4: Pizzarium (lunch), Felice a Testaccio or Perilli (dinner)

Am I going beyond my budget? It's hard to be sure.
Are there any glaring omissions?
Day 3 is Feb 14--What is Valentines Day like in Rome? It is not a big holiday for us, so I didn't pick anything special.
My husband and I like sweet wines (love Moscato!) does anyone have any recommendations for wine?
When should I start trying to get reservations?

Thank you!

Jan 07, 2013
Callea in Italy