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Best wines with pizza? Best pizzeria wine lists?

Meno male, as they would say in Naples.

Apr 17, 2008
obob96 in Wine

Best wines with pizza? Best pizzeria wine lists?

Thanks for the rec--the profile's exactly what works for me with pizza. Along the same lines, but not region, a Frappato from Sicily, Monica from Sardinia, Rosso Conero from Marche or one of the uva di troia-based Pugliesi. Old line Neapolitans always seem to insist on a fizzy gragnano or a lemon acid asprinio d'aversa, but I'd take a simple young aglianico or piedirosso from Campania instead.

Apr 17, 2008
obob96 in Wine

Bensonhurst

Il Colosseo, senza dubbia, on 77th and 18th Avenue. Brick oven pizza, fresh fish on the grill, grilled octopus from heaven, fine pastas, small but serviceable wine list, and perhaps one of the last un-selfconsciously Italian family spots around--the feel is really much more like that of a mid-range trattoria in a residential area of, say, Naples, Bari, or Catania. Oh yeah, swift, professional, and friendly service. And amazing value.

Apr 15, 2008
obob96 in Outer Boroughs

Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana Padana, or Pecorino Romano?

Si dipende, as they say. Parmigiano Reggiano is to my taste among the 2 or 3 finest eatign cheeses anywhere. Grana Padano is fine, too, but not always worth the cost saving. I use both mixed with mostly pecorino when I need grated cheese, but I tend to cook southern Italian dishes that really need the sharpness. Pecorino Romano was for many years about the only pecorino widely available--usually by Locatelli, usually made in Sardinia.
I recommend the Fulvi brand, made in la campagna romana, for eating as well as grating--cut fresh from a large wheel it's amazingly delicious. Teitel on Arthur Avenue sells tons of it, cheaply. Many other pecorinos (Sicily, Calabria, Sardegna) readily available here tend to be mass-market, and are often only distinguishable by age. Be wary of very old or poorly handled pecorini--young and fresh ones need to be just that, and when they are, are exquisite.

Apr 09, 2008
obob96 in General Topics

Restaurant Girl Howler of the Week

Diaspora can be a loaded word--especially when it gets used for political reasons to replace "emigration" tout court. But I'd agree on one thing, though: a big plate of chicken parm, side of ziti, load o' garlic bread is Italian disaporic food at its loudest.

Apr 07, 2008
obob96 in Food Media & News

Anyone tried the Cento imported San Marzanos?

The Cento DOP San Marzanos have bene fine in my experience, but there is always great variability across and within brands. The LaValle line I find very dependable, and good. I also long for the day when the tomatoes were always packed in juice alone--I'd drink the juice it was so sweet and good. Some still are, but are scarce, and I usually separate fruit from puree before using.

Apr 04, 2008
obob96 in General Topics

Italian wine recommendations for specific tastes

In Tuscany, try a vermentino (from Bolgheri or Colli di Luni) for that lemony-lipsmacker; there are, of course, vermentinos form Sardinia, but when in Rome... In Umbria, grechetto makes minerally, crisp whites, somewhat less floral than vermentino.

Mar 18, 2008
obob96 in Wine

Home made Tomato Sauce For Pasta

I usually look forward to hand crushing my san marzanos over the bowl, but do occasionally food mill them before using, depending. For a basic sauce (pummarol' in Naples), I've started to simplify--lightly browning a whole small (not chopped) onion in olive oil with a big basil bunch, and then adding tomatoes. Saw it first on Batali in Italy's Sorrento episode. And although my entire Calabrese bloodline might wonder why, I've also started to use either garlic or onion, but not both, in a simple sauce. Re: "bolognese"--there is a widespread Southern Italian tradition of basic tomato sauce with carne macinata, or ground beef, playing a small role. As for ragu, anything goes (we always had beef, pork, ribs, fresh and dry sausage, braciole, and meatballs and maybe even a piece of chicken). Small cuts of any meat, browned, cooked with aromatics, wine, and tomato, make wonderful (and simpler) ragus--try chicken thighs and some pancetta or small cubes of lamb or pork or all three.

Mar 08, 2008
obob96 in Home Cooking

International Food Magazines

There's a US edition of Gambero Rosso available, too, as well as of Cucina Italiana.

Mar 05, 2008
obob96 in Food Media & News

Any real italian spots in UES

We've lived on the UES for 20 years, and, as a Brooklyn Italian kid, long ago gave up any plan to discover small, "artisanal" providers. However: Citarella is by far the finest fishmonger around, at any scale, and if you cannot find acceptable Italian products at Agata, you'll need to come up here to Arthur Avenue or head to Bensonshurst. Milano is a distant choice. Simple facts: there is no free-standing salumeria, pasticceria, or paneficio anywhere in the nabe. But we manage.

Mar 03, 2008
obob96 in Manhattan

Elizabeth David-What do you think?

Buy and read immediately, and see where so much of what gets written today about food and landscape and culture and desire comes from.

Feb 26, 2008
obob96 in Food Media & News

Unknown but flavorful wine varietals – Timorasso, Nosiola, Pigato. Others?

Second the vote for Moschofilero, and add another for Librandi's L'Efeso, a delicious white from Calabria made from the montonico (or mantonico) grape native to the Ionian coast around Ciro. Usually vinified as a (wonderful) passito, here mantonico is dry, but barrique-aged to yield a warm, rich, fragrant, but still refreshing mid-weight wine for grilled fish or walnuts or aged pecorino.

Feb 26, 2008
obob96 in Wine

Lupa - review

Agree that the food's always terrific, wine list is the bets of its class, service fine. Our only serious problem is the crowd noise when full, especially in the back room--for us, a reason to go off-hours. Music's good too, but I'd vote for I've Got a Line on You instead of Fresh Garbage.

Feb 05, 2008
obob96 in Manhattan

Advice on Italian wine requested

Whew. All the posts above make great sense--it seems like you're best off with an introduction to regions, wines, and styles, in a book like the Dummes', Anderson's pocket guide (now replaced in a new, less valuable edition prepared by another writer) or Matt Kramer's Making Sense of Italian Wine: Discovering Italy's Greatest Wines and Best Values. Go to the best wine shop you have, ask about for recommendations in a style you like and a price point you're at ease with, and start reading and drinking and taking some notes to locate favorite regiions, styles, and producers. If you're going only to Rome, any one of the wine bars/enoteche listed above (also, try Trimani's) are essential stops. The wine towns in the Castelli Romani and Colli Albani (Frascati, etc) are all very close by via rail. If you're headed to other regions, why not start with those wines--otherwise, I think you'll be overwhelmed by the variety. Buon soggiorno e beve bene!

Feb 04, 2008
obob96 in Wine

best seaside chowtown in Italy?

Sperlonga's nice, and fairly close to Rome. Farther south in Campania, and past the Amalfi coasts and Salerno, try the towns along the Cilento coast--Castellabate, Pisciotta, Camerota, for example, for a very unspoiled, green seaside sojourn. All have marina towns and histoic borghi a little up in the hills behind, and there are lots of good trattorie.

Jan 30, 2008
obob96 in Italy

What's a great book about eating in Italy?

Some of the best and most evocative writing about Italy and its food is in cookbooks--I'm thinking of Nancy Harmon Jenkins's The Flavors of Puglia or Viana LaPlace's La Bella Cucina, also about Puglia, and both anchoring essay, memoir, culture,and travel in very informative, detailed recipes. For a unique portrait of a different Tuscany, I always recommend Elisabeth Romer's The Tuscan Year, a season by season memoir of the very rural Tuscan table, among countryfolk, but without an ounce of the boorish self-regard that can sometimes sour these tales.

Jan 29, 2008
obob96 in Food Media & News

Was my DiFara's dissapointment my fault?!?

Now that we apparently need a user's manual for eating a slice of pizza, what's next: warning labels on a water glass to make sure you drink from the right side?

Jan 29, 2008
obob96 in Outer Boroughs

Unknown but flavorful wine varietals – Timorasso, Nosiola, Pigato. Others?

Second the vote for grignolino (Prunotto has a decently priced bottle at Astor in NY) and also from Italy: piedirosso (Campania) and monica (Sardegna) for fresh, mid-weight reds. In Savoie, the roussette makes crisp, flowery whites (Apremont, most available); in Languedoc, Jurancon sec and Picpoul de Pinet are interesting, taut, lemon/mineral whites. In Galicia,Spain, goedello makes a nice alternative to albarino.

Jan 24, 2008
obob96 in Wine

Help me solve an olive oil mystery

Barbera not only produces a range of oils undre its own labels, at varying price points (the Primagoccia is the least expensive), but also packs for a number of private labels, including Fairway and Coluccio in New York. While not everything it packs is estate grown, it's all Sicilian, and all very good. It's on their site: www.oliobarbera.com.

Jan 24, 2008
obob96 in General Topics

Is Trattoria Zero Otto Nove the best pizza in NY?

Had an excellent non-pizza lunch at 089 (escarole and pickled eggplant salad, mixed seafood grill) at fair prices. Interesting, fresh menu (next time: the escarole calzone) and what looked like very good pizze. I'd not be surprised if the crust, in contemporary Neapolitan and Salernitana fashion, were indeed more pliable than Mario's, which makes an equally emblematic New York/Neapolitan pizza, with a more "traditonal" crust. Either way...

Jan 23, 2008
obob96 in Manhattan

Was my DiFara's dissapointment my fault?!?

Bravo, abu applesauce. Having gone only once, many years ago, I''m a mere Di Fara's agnostic. but however good or bad the product, no one should ever feel disappointment's his or her "fault". It's a pizzeria, after all.

Jan 11, 2008
obob96 in Outer Boroughs

Italian books

Agree about Hazan and Batali and Silver Spoon, but also recommend
Giuliano Bugialli's The Fine Art of Italian Cooking, recently revised and expanded, and a few regional gems that combine recipes, history, and culture: Mary Taylor Simeti's On Persephone's Island (Sicily), Arthur Schwartz's Naples at Table: Cooking in Campania, and a classic, lyrical account of unadorned country life, Elizabeth Romer's The Tuscan Year: Life and Food in an Italian Valley.

Jan 03, 2008
obob96 in Home Cooking

Wine Pairing for Lobster Fra Diavolo

I'll drink champagne with anything, but I wonder if this dinner calls for a white, a rose, and a red--and, maybe, keeping to relatively local matches, Italians. Almost any crisp, fruity white (falanghina, vermentino, inzolia, greco di tufo, fiano), a sturdy negroamaro rosato from Puglia ( I like Rosa del Golfo), and a medium red with a good fruit/acid/warmth balance, like a Ciro from Calabria, an Etna Rosso from Sicily or a Monica from Sardinia.

Dec 19, 2007
obob96 in Wine

Vermentino rec?

For a slightly richer (but still crisp) version, try the Funtanaliras Vermentino di Gallura, made by the co-op Cantina Sociale del Vermentino. It's around in many better shops, and costs about $11-12 max

Dec 04, 2007
obob96 in Wine

For Cooking--a white for San Marzanos?

Sauce sounds delicious--any herbs or other flavors, like garlic? There's a ton of choices, but why not a Falanghina from Campania, a Lugana or Soave from a good producer like Inama, or an Inzolia from Sicily, all (more or less) good blends of crisp acid, fruit, and some roundness.

Nov 28, 2007
obob96 in Wine

A desire for a good coffee after a short stop in Italy

Zibetto, Sixth Avenue bet 54-55 (53-54?) west side,, is a small, clean, white-tiled stand up only spot for excellent Danesi coffee and some snacks, with a classic barista--attentive, skilled, quick, professional.

Nov 27, 2007
obob96 in Manhattan

Adulterated olive oil

With all due respect to the cleverness of some Italian entrepreneurs, I think it's absurd and a wates of effort to simply boycott all Italian oil. Italy produces 25% of all olive oil in the world --Spain, 36%--and if you buy smartly, there's little danger. I've been buying and using only Italian extra virgin, from a stable of reliable producers, mostly Sicilian, for a long time, and have only once felt I was cheated (bad mistake buying some anonymous supermarket special). Will you never get a wrong bottle? Of course not, just like you might never know how much of that bottle of AOC "Bourgogne" came from, say, Languedoc-Roussillon. Or Puglia.

Nov 19, 2007
obob96 in Food Media & News

Italian wine varietals

Although blending (aglianico + piedirosso, other varietals) have always been allowed in the disciplinare for Taurasi, Feudi appears to use aglianico in purezza for its 2 Taurasi and for the "super-Taurasi" non-DOCG Serpico. It's not always easy to know when a winery decides to use these blending options.

Nov 15, 2007
obob96 in Wine

What did they make 40 years ago...?

Good points, and well taken. In our tight Italian family and neighborhood in Brooklyn in the 50s and early 60s, meals were still pretty traditional and simple, and to a large degree seasonal: no grapes in deep winter, no tangerines in summer, and so be it. An outing for a burger or luncheonette snack was rare and a treat. Big meals, except for summer backyard bbq, were almost always traditional southern Italian--but with more protein.

Nov 13, 2007
obob96 in Home Cooking

Italian wine varietals

I'm not about the clones generating so dramatically different flavors by themselves, but whatever familt differences, the varietal sure isn't montepulciano.

Nov 12, 2007
obob96 in Wine