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question about Ibai (San Sebastian)

Just a quick question about Ibai in San Sebastian... I've been calling the past couple of days during their business hours to make a reservation for a trip in late September - but I haven't been able to reach anyone so far. Does anyone know if they're just closed for part of August? Or if there's a different process I need to go through to make the reservation? Thanks!

Aug 14, 2014
fizzy in Spain/Portugal

il norcino bernabei in marino

getting excited now!! the pork looks amazing :) do you happen to know what time the porchetta would usually come out fresh from the oven... or is it something that would vary throughout the day... i'll call the shop tomorrow to see if i can find out with the little italian i've picked up... lol, we'll see how that goes... but curious if you had any idea...

May 02, 2014
fizzy in Italy

il norcino bernabei in marino

Thank you guys so much again for the notes! We'll probably be making this a morning trip then :)

May 01, 2014
fizzy in Italy

il norcino bernabei in marino

I'm planning a Saturday visit to Il Norcino Bernabei in Marino when I'm in Rome. I was just wondering if anyone knows what time of day would be best to visit. If I go in the afternoon, is there a chance that they would run out of the porchetta? Also, are there other items at Bernabei that I should be sure to try while I'm there?

Apr 28, 2014
fizzy in Italy

rome - 5 days in early may

Thanks!! Will definitely check out Katie Parla's notes.

Feb 24, 2014
fizzy in Italy

rome - 5 days in early may

Thanks, this is good to know! I didn't realize Volpetti closed for so long in the afternoon... but it looks like they're back between 17h to 20h. I think we may end up missing Testaccio market this time around then... but the farmers market at the slaughterhouse definitely looks like a good option since we plan on visiting the Macro museum also. We'll also have the Circo Massimo mercato on Sunday. A slow drift from Termini station to Monti to Testaccio sounds good! :)

Another quick question - what's the general rule on tipping at for drinks at a bar in Italy? I usually leave a dollar for each drink in the US, is it similar in Rome?

I have some friends who are really into mixology, so I thought it might be fun to scout out JTP for them. Do you know if it's difficult to get into on a weekend night... or is it better on a weekday? lol, I'm a little worried about having to fight for the bartender's attention with my awkward italian. I've also heard that reservations are required.

Feb 23, 2014
fizzy in Italy

Out of towner looking for great dinner spot downtown area or North county

second that, i really liked smoking goat... i tried it for the first time a couple months ago... remember it being small and warm, with some deliciously hearty dishes...

Feb 23, 2014
fizzy in San Diego

rome - 5 days in early may

Thanks so much for the notes and suggestions! I almost forgot to take weather into consideration + I wasn't aware of the regulations against picnics at the more popular sites... though it makes sense. Good food for thought these past few days... and I've made a few adjustments.

day 1 - may 6 wed:
* lunch = take pizza al taglio + snacks to villa borghese
---- Pallatium if the weather is bad
* aperitivo @ Bar La Terrazza (or 0-300/Misceliamo)
* dinner = Armando Al Pantheon

day 2 - may 7 thurs - vatican:
* lunch at l'Arcangelo - for suppli and gnocchi giovedi
* early dinner at Pizzarium or Il Sorpasso

day 3 - may 8 fri - colosseum:
* torta di ricotta at Il Boccione in the morning :)
* lunch = Gaudeo
* dinner = Roscioli

day 4 - may 9 sat - marino + testaccio/monti
* lunch in marino = Il Norcino Bernabei
* snack in the afternoon at testaccio market (mordi e vai), food shopping at volpetti, wander through testaccio and monti neighborhoods
* dinner = Perilli

day 5 - may 10 sun - appia antica
* sweets at pasticceria regoli
* Mercato di Campagna Amica del Circo Massimo
* lunch = picnic at appia antica
---- tbd if weather is bad
* dinner = Cesare al Casaletto

some late night places we might try if we can stay awake:
* Ai Tre Scalini (Monti)
* Il Goccetto (near CDF)
* Il Pentagrappolo (near Colosseum)
* Open Baladin (near CDF)
* The Jerry Thomas Project (near CDF)

//////

vinorama -
yes! we've heard pizzarium is pretty sparse but we're ok with standing at counters (or on the street if necessary) if the food lives up to the hype. for marino to frascati... we were thinking of backtracking on the train, but thought it over again and have since decided to sleep in that day and just make the pilgrimage out to marino. we'll just have to come back to rome for that second round of porchetta :) and thanks for the tip about il boccione -- we'll make an attempt on day 1, but will likely pass by early morning on our way to the colosseum also.

minchilli -
i really love reading your blog and the notes in your app! will definitely look out for the conciata di san vittore at the mercato... still thinking about localino, but being tempted by so many other options too

//////

still reading and adjusting... :)

Feb 21, 2014
fizzy in Italy

rome - 5 days in early may

Hi! I'm going to be visiting Rome with my sister for the first time this May. We're serious food lovers who would really like to try and get a rough taste for what Roman cuisine is about in the short time that we have -- traditional and some modern twists on traditional... with a bit of walking and sight-seeing in between meals :) We've put a bit of research into this trip and just wanted to see if we could post a few questions and get some feedback on our current thoughts.

We'll be staying at an apartment near Campo de Fiori -- halfway between the market and Ponte Sisto.

day 1 - may 6 wed:
* "lunchtime" eat 'n walk -
---- walk to Jewish ghetto, mostly for torta di ricotta at Il Boccione :)
---- stop to buy some snacks at Salumeria Roscioli and Antico Forno Roscioli, possibly Forno Campo de Fiori also
---- rest and eat at Trevi fountain and/or Spanish steps
---- walk around the villa borghese gardens
---- enjoy view and aperitivo at Bar La Terrazza in the Hotel Eden
* dinner at Armando Al Pantheon

day 2 - may 7 thurs - vatican:
* lunch at l'Arcangelo - for suppli and gnocchi giovedi
* dinner at Pizzarium or Il Sorpasso

day 3 - may 8 fri - colosseum:
* pick up some goodies at the new testaccio market in morning
* picnic at Roman Forum/Palantine Hill for lunch
* dinner at Cesare al Cassaletto

day 4 - may 9 sat - marino/frascati, testaccio
* marino = Il Norcino Bernabei
* frascati = a second round of porchetta + wine
* dinner at Perilli

day 5 - may 10 sun - vatican and/or appia antica
* if prati, lunch is currently undecided
* if appia antica, might lunch at l'Archeologia or stop to pick up some goodies to picnic with at Mercato di Campagna Amica del Circo Massimo
* dinner at either La Gensola or Localino

/////

Some Questions -

a. Day 1: We were thinking of going to Sora Margherita instead of doing the eat 'n walk -- would it be worth it to switch? How long is the usual wait for a weekday lunch?

b. Day 3: What are your favorite stalls at Testaccio Market? Items we have on the list - panini from Mordi e Vai, prosciutto and mozzarella di bufala from Lina and Enzo.

c. Day 4: Do you have any suggestions for Marino or Frascati -- esp. for wine or non-porchetta foods?

d. Day 5: What type of experience would we expect at La Gensola vs. Localino? It looks like they're owned by the same couple and specialize in seafood dishes. I couldn't find much information on Localino... for anyone who has been - what were your favorite dishes here? how much more expensive would it be than La Gensola? is it open for dinner on sunday?

e. Day 5: What are your favorite stalls at Mercato di Campagna Amica del Circo Massimo? Are there many choices for prepared foods - or is it more of a produce market?

f. How early would we want to make reservations for the above restaurants? Would it be too early to make them 2-3 months ahead?

g. Is there anything that you would suggest swapping out for something else? or any street foods and quick eats that you would suggest for the walk on Day 1?

Still working on the gelato list! :)

/////

Feb 18, 2014
fizzy in Italy

Going to Piemonte soon...

my husband and i visited piemonte last fall and had an amazing time... i would suggest visiting La Torre in Cherasco... it was one of my most memorable meals and we met some locals at the next table who pointed us towards a small chocolate shop - cioccolato riccardi - nearby where they made the most amazing baci di cherasco... prices here were very reasonable... also da Bardon in San Marzano Oliveto... alba truffle fair was fun but was a bit touristy... lots of people though it never felt over-crowded... alba itself and the saturday farmers market was kind of cool to wander through... look for a bakery near the festival sites... i forget the street that it was on, but there was a mountain of hazelnut cakes (torta di nocciole) in the window... their cakes and focaccia were always fresh and delicious... bra had a really great farmers market - i think it's on wednesdays and fridays - where we loaded up on some awesome cheeses and snacks... my favorite town in the region was probably La Morra - some really beautiful hikes through vineyards around town and it has a lovely high point for sunsets... there's a restaurant called bovio a little outside the city that was really good, but a little more pricey from what i remember... i would definitely suggest renting a car - the charm of this region is really in being able to lose yourself the many small towns... we really wished we had more time to explore... since you mentioned truffles, be prepared to pay a hefty supplement in restaurants... if you find accommodations that include a kitchen, you can probably save a little by purchasing a whole truffle and making a simple feast with fresh pasta and cheese from the markets...

Oct 15, 2013
fizzy in Italy

Cake in SD

my husband's family used to get him the black forest cake every year for his birthday when he was growing up so we kind of have a sentimental connection to that one... but the "dark chocolate cake with layer of boiled chocolate and cream, similar to fudge" does quite fine for me too... :D

Sep 06, 2012
fizzy in San Diego

ferme auberges in the Luberons

Now I'm hungry! Thanks so much for the notes. I'm spoiled by a year-round growing season where I live so I forgot to consider how close our dates would be to winter. I think we'll have to plan a second trip after this -- maybe spring or early autumn next time! :)

I looked up Mas des Vertes Rives + it turns out they are open year round... but closed the week that we'll be in the region. Our visit falls right in between -- after they end the goose dinners + before they start the "cochonailles" (pig?) dinners.

I think we might go ahead with Le Castelas for this trip + leave it up to the weather like boredough suggested. We should have access to a phone so making arrangements when we're there shouldn't be difficult. Do you happen to know if Le Castelas has the roast pig or other special dishes on any other day of the week? Our plane leaves on Sunday so we might not be able to take advantage of that. *sigh :)

Aug 17, 2012
fizzy in France

ferme auberges in the Luberons

Just wondering if anyone might be able to give us some more insight on ferme auberges in the Luberons. My husband and I will be staying in Bonnieux - the first week of November - and we would love to have the opportunity to visit + dine at some farms in the area.

I found a searchable list of farms in the region + was wondering if anyone on the board has had any experience with them:
http://www.bienvenue-a-la-ferme.com/p...

One place we've heard some good things about is Les Grand Camps (Le Chene) -- has anyone tried this place + would it be worth a visit?

We were looking at Le Castelas at first but came across some recent reviews that indicated things might have changed recently. For those who have visited in the past month or two, would this still be worth a visit? Would you recommend a lunch or dinner there?

Aug 12, 2012
fizzy in France

Visiting Provence + the Luberon during Toussaint

Just wanted to add a quick update in case this might help anyone else in the future.

Thanks boredough! I think your advice was pretty on target. I confirmed with the tourism office at Isle Sur La Sorgue that the Thursday market will still take place on Nov. 1 -- though they noted that the number of vendors will probably be much less than normal. I'm thinking that other markets (at least the larger ones) in the area will probably be the same -- open during the holiday but more minimal. Many restaurants I've contacted so far have also replied saying that they'll be open normal hours on Nov. 1 + the surrounding week.

Thanks mangeur! I did come across some places that begin their seasonal closure around the time that we're in the area. Fortunately, it looks like there's a good selection of places that don't close until later in the month or early December so we'll still have some good options when we're there - yay! :)

Jul 29, 2012
fizzy in France

Cake in SD

I like Extraordinary Desserts + European Cake Gallery. Sumi's Oven is amazing if you're looking to order something for a special occasion. Pubcakes is awesome if you're craving cupcakes.

Jul 24, 2012
fizzy in San Diego

Help! In town for 5 days, A Vegetarian Foodie - not an oxymoron;)

This might be a little out of the way, but there's a Lebanese place near SDSU called Alforon with some amazing food that's *very* veggie-friendly. We went there recently with a vegan friend who actually found he had a lot of options here. I especially loved the falafel + tabouli salad, but their flatbreads and other dishes are really good also. >> http://www.alforon.com

We also have some good farms in the area -- and some restaurants that try to focus on using local produce. You might have some luck finding good veggie options at these locations, but you should check out their online menus before going.

Some of my favorites from this list >> http://sandiegoroots.org/restaurants....
* linkery
* el take it easy
* nine-ten
* sea rocket bistro
* kensington grill
* ritual tavern
* cucina urbana
* alchemy
* farmhouse cafe
* blind lady alehouse - also tiger! tiger!

If you're into really decadent sweets :) the brunch at Urban Solace has a pretty amazing cinnamon roll. There's usually some meat component in their other brunch dishes, but they do have a few that are more just eggs + bready stuff.

Also, there are a ton of really good Mexican places in the area also that might have good options for you -- cheese, beans, nopales, huitlacoche, etc.

Jul 18, 2012
fizzy in San Diego

In Culver City for 2 nights, how about Mozza2Go and Umami Burger?

You might want to consider Gjelina Take Away also in place of Mozza2Go. For me, the pizza at Mozza is definitely a step above but the ones at Gjelina are really good as well. They also have some really great salads/sides + dessert (esp. the date cake if they have it!). It'll be a much easier drive for you from Culver City.

Another vote for Father's Office in Culver City also! The Umami in Santa Monica shouldn't be hard for you to get to from Culver City but the wait can be frustrating unless you get there early -- even on weekdays. I've only been to F.O. for dinner later at night + there usually isn't a wait then -- not sure what it's like during normal meal times.

Both these options would be cheaper cab-wise since most traffic tends to flow eastward in the evening. I think renting a car is usually the better option for LA, though, since traffic here can be unpredictable sometimes.

Jun 27, 2012
fizzy in Los Angeles Area

Visiting Provence + the Luberon during Toussaint

Thanks so much for the advice! We were definitely leaning towards a stay in the Luberons but didn't want to limit ourselves if the holiday did slow things down considerably -- esp. the markets. We'll start diving head-on into researching the area then :) -- seems like there's a wealth of information on the region here on CH.

Jun 20, 2012
fizzy in France

16 Days in Provence and the proposed Itinerary and Restaurants

hi! i've been searching through posts on provence in chowhound and just saw your mention of toussaint - do you know if the outdoor markets (thursday for this year) still take place on nov. 1? are market schedules affected other days during this week?

Jun 20, 2012
fizzy in France

Visiting Provence + the Luberon during Toussaint

I was just wondering if I could get some advice on what Provence and the Luberon areas are like in the week surrounding All Saints Day (Toussaint) on November 1. I've heard that a number of restaurants and businesses shut down around this time.

My husband and I will be visiting southern France this fall - from October 30 to November 4. We had wanted to base ourselves in Avignon or somewhere in the Luberon so we could visit the many restaurants, markets and wineries in the region - but we're concerned that many of these places might be closed during this time, especially in the smaller towns.

Some more specific questions:
* Do markets still take place on Nov. 1 (Thursday) or does everything really shut down on this day? Would we expect markets normally held on other days to be affected during this week?
* Do you think we should split our week with a larger city like Marseilles where more options might be available?

Jun 17, 2012
fizzy in France

craving a ginger cocktail

Has anyone had a really great ginger cocktail recently? I'm looking for places around SD that make really delicious drinks with some element of ginger -- a ginger puree that gives it a sort of spicy zing, really good ginger brew, etc.

Aug 14, 2011
fizzy in San Diego

craving a ginger cocktail

Has anyone had a really great ginger cocktail recently? I'm looking for places around LA that make really delicious drinks with some element of ginger -- a ginger puree that gives it a sort of spicy zing, really good ginger brew, etc.

Aug 14, 2011
fizzy in Los Angeles Area

New Yorker looking for one restaurant to represent LA

Adding Animal + Lazy Ox Canteen to the list... both nice places that are a little more playful and focus on seasonal/local foods. Mozza is pretty amazing - but you probably already have a lot of great options for italian/pizza in nyc.

A second vote for Chosun Galbee -- it's an upscale Korean bbq place with some amazing food. There are some other great Korean bbq places in the city that are just as good and a little less expensive... but the atmosphere and service at chosun is where the extra cost is going.

-----
Lazy Ox Canteen
241 S San Pedro St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Aug 14, 2011
fizzy in Los Angeles Area

What is the freshest seafood shack in the San Diego area?

Mexican seafood places, definitely! They might be a little divey for a nice birthday dinner, but there's some really great places in SD. I don't think any are really near the water though.

Karina's -- for awesome ceviches, whole fish, grilled prawns, tamarind margaritas... looks like they have multiple locations, but i've only been to the one in national city.

I second the suggestion for the Marisco's German truck -- good fish/seafood tacos, a kickass seafood cocktail, ceviche served on tostadas, etc. Don't forget to ask for the soup with the shrimp they give out with each order. The only awkward bit you should be prepared for is that the truck is in a parking out where there isn't really anywhere to sit - we usually go to the one at 35th/University Ave. They used to have tables, but I think they had to take those down... so now we end up eating in the car or taking it home. They also close up kind of early -- usually around 6pm, I think.

El Pescador is a solid choice for casual seafood, not Mexican -- a couple blocks from the beach in La Jolla, though it may be a little more tame than what you're looking for... I think they close a little earlier also, around 8pm.

You should definitely check out the Little Italy Farmers market if you have a chance. There's a stand there that sells fresh live sea urchin harvested by a group of divers in San Diego -- really great stuff! They'll prepare it for your there at the market or you can take a whole one home to cut later. I've seen oysters there too, but haven't had a chance to try those out yet.

Aug 10, 2011
fizzy in San Diego

what are your favorite places on (or off) adams ave?

thanks for all the suggestions everyone! guess it's time to get to some eatin'... :)

Jul 31, 2011
fizzy in San Diego

Uni...great places for it (not only for sushi)

I think you guys are circling around some good points, but not really looking at the right things.

What you get at a high end sushi restaurant is premium grade uni that has been sorted so that you only get the best pieces of roe.

You take a little bit more of a chance with a live sea urchin... each urchin will give you several pieces of roe, some that are really beautiful and/or some that aren't as nice. It's the same chance you take when cutting open fruit, you can only make a guess as to how good the meat will be inside. How good live uni is will depend on the quality/conditions of the kelp beds that it lived in, transportation time, storage conditions, etc... so you can really only depend on the restaurant to choose a reliable source who will ensure that the uni comes from a good place and is treated well. I believe the same species of sea urchin are harvested from Santa Barbara + San Diego. The difference in quality and taste probably depend more on the above factors.

I don't think size really matters. I've noticed that SB/SD uni tends to be on the larger side. Hokkaido uni tends to be smaller -- but they're different species, so size really doesn't play into how one compares to the other. Both can be amazing. Size within each species probably depends some on how close the urchin might be to their mating times when harvested.

My experiences with live uni on the shell at restaurants have been mixed -- though my experiences buying from people who source directly from the divers have been generally very good. Unless you kind of know more specifically where your uni is coming from, I would probably stick with the prepared uni at higher end sushi restaurants since they do provide the extra selectivity and care in preparation that ensure consistently amazing experiences. You *can* have equally amazing live uni on the shell experiences -- you just have to either know/trust your source or take a chance.

Jul 31, 2011
fizzy in Los Angeles Area

what are your favorite places on (or off) adams ave?

My husband and I just moved to Normal Heights + have been exploring the neighborhood. We love to eat + were wondering what favorite places you might have in this area -- restaurants, fresh produce, unique eats, bakeries, etc.

Jul 28, 2011
fizzy in San Diego

Uni...great places for it (not only for sushi)

Forgot to add that Catalina Offshore Products in San Diego probably also offers fresh whole live uni like the ones sold at the market. You just have to learn to cut them yourself.

The experience is so different from what you get from the restaurants. That stuff is great... but this stuff is *amazing* esp over fresh pasta or risotto -- so creamy, it absolutely liquifies in your mouth. Really pure flavor, no other garnishes needed.

Jul 27, 2011
fizzy in Los Angeles Area

Uni...great places for it (not only for sushi)

Take a road trip down south! :)

There used to be a lady who sold whole uni at the Little Italy Farmers Market (Saturdays) in San Diego. I think her husband was one in a group of divers. She stopped for some reason and the uni is now being sold by another vendor -- the price went up a bit, but I tried them out recently + it seemed just as good/fresh.

An old article on the lady:
http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/20...

I've been trying to go to La Guerrense forever, but they weren't working on the days I was down there on my last two trips to Ensenada. I've heard she does some awesome stuff with uni. The seafood in general is amazing down there.

Jul 27, 2011
fizzy in Los Angeles Area

Chef's Table @ Maialino

My husband and I are visiting NYC in the fall. We'd like to go to Maialino on one of our nights there + have been discussing whether we should go for the chef's table vs. a normal dinner reservation here.

We were wondering if anyone here has any opinions on this and/or has had personal experience with this menu. Do you think it's worth it to go for this instead of the normal dinner menu?

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Maialino
2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

Jul 27, 2011
fizzy in Manhattan