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Rome in January--what to buy at food markets and cook in our apartment?

My family will be spending a week in Rome in mid-January and renting an apartment there. For several of our dinners we plan to buy ingredients at food markets and cook together at home.

In my board search I have found the following market recommendations:
Testaccio (seems to be the most popular)
Trionfale
Campo dei Fiori
Vittorio Emanuele
Piazza Vittorio

If you had to pick your top 2-3 of these, which would they be--or do you have other recommendations? We are fine with walks and public transport; hoping to avoid anything that would require a long taxi ride. If you are familiar with these markets, are there particular sellers/stalls we should be sure to visit?

Are there any local/in season (or just really good) veg, fruits or other ingredients that we should look out for at that time of year? Any suggestions for classic Roman winter dishes we can make at home? (I love artichokes and heard they might be in season so anything carciofi would be great!)

Thanks in advance!

Emily

Dec 03, 2010
erh909 in Italy

ISO restaurant/neighborhood recs for 3-day business trip

Six people from my office are travelling to Miami at the end of August for a 3-day business trip, and I was hoping to get recommendations for individual restaurants or (ideally) a neighborhood where we could find three or four good restaurants for lunch or dinner (and maybe some places to grab a quick breakfast) within walking distance of a decent hotel.

Here are our parameters:
No dietary restrictions
Need to keep breakfast and lunch (combined) under $30ish per person
Dinners can go up to $40-$50 per person including drinks
Hoping for at least one Cuban restaurant in the mix, more would be great, or anything else with a local flavor
If possible, hoping to find dinner options that aren't too loud, where we could hang out at a table for an hour or so without causing trouble--we usually hold informal debrief sessions over dinner

Our junior staff members have been lobbying heavily for Miami Beach, but my concern is that we'd be paying a lot for the location and wouldn't get as much for our money in terms of food or hotel in that part of town. (Feel free to correct me if this is a false assumption.) Boring old people like myself are mainly looking for good restaurants within a short walk and maybe an interesting neighborhood to wander around in the morning/evening (we'll be stuck in meetings all day). Our meetings are all over Miami so there's no one location that's ideal.

Thanks in advance!

Jul 06, 2010
erh909 in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

suggestions for working dinners in Little Rock

I'll be traveling with a group to Little Rock, and have been assigned the task of finding venues for two dinner/meetings. I saw some restaurant suggestions (Ashley's, Doe's) in previous threads but am adding a few more parameters (below) in hopes of finding the perfect match. All suggestions much appreciated!

1. At least one vegetarian option (good salad is fine, doesn't have to be fancy)
2. Within walking/short (<15 min) driving distance of Statehouse Plaza
3. Layout/volume/atmosphere such that we (a group of 6 people) could linger over a meal and review the day's meetings without annoying other guests.
4. Reasonably quiet (for the same reason)
5. Around $30/person or less with drinks, so we can stay under our per diem

And of course great food! Suggestions for good quick breakfasts near Statehouse Plaza and lunches on the run anywhere in Little Rock are also welcome--

May 17, 2010
erh909 in Central South

looking for Cleveland restaurant recs--work trip, good food, quiet

Thanks so much for the recs! I was hoping short drive would be around 15 mins, but I don't know Cleveland at all and I guess that might not be possible--it's easier for us to be flexible on that criterion than any of the others. I went back and checked with our admin person and it looks like the per diem is higher than I thought so we could probably go up to $30/person (if that helps).

Feb 19, 2010
erh909 in Great Lakes

looking for Cleveland restaurant recs--work trip, good food, quiet

I'm headed to Cleveland with five of my co-workers at the end of March, and my assignment is to find restaurants for our three working/debrief dinners. I'm looking for places that are:
1. Good food but not too fancy (i.e., people could feel comfortable in jeans or casual clothes)
2. Not crazy expensive--we are on per diems, so I'm guessing less than $20 for dinner
3. Within walking distance or a short drive from the Rennaissance Hotel (24 Public Square)
4. Quiet enough that we can review the day's events without having to shout. Ideal would be a place where a group of six people could get a table off in a corner somewhere so we could have a working dinner without annoying everyone around us.

I don't think anyone in the group has any unusual food phobias or restrictions.

All suggestions will be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much!

Feb 19, 2010
erh909 in Great Lakes

Can you cook with sprouted chick peas?

I am a dried bean newbie and decided to make a stew using some dried black chickpeas I bought a while ago--I put them in to soak last night and sorta forgot to drain them before I left for work this morning. I just came home and about 1/4-1/5 of them have tiny sprouts emerging from the skin. I seem to remember something about how you're not supposed to cook with those, but I can't find anything on a quick web/cookbook search and I'm not sure if I'm supposed to (a) use them all (b) discard the ones that have started sprouting or (c) discard them all and start over again. Are there any legume experts who could guide me? Thanks!

Sep 14, 2009
erh909 in Home Cooking

recommendation for family dinner with difficult-to-assimilate food preferences?

Thanks so much, everyone! I'm looking forward to checking out your recommendations!

Aug 11, 2009
erh909 in Washington DC & Baltimore

recommendation for family dinner with difficult-to-assimilate food preferences?

Hi all--I'm posting in hopes of finding a recommendation for a challenging family dinner. My fiance and I are planning to take our parents out to dinner a few days before our wedding; the purpose of the dinner is to thank our parents for their generosity, so we really want to find a place where everyone can feel comfortable and enjoy themselves.

That's where the trouble starts. Our parents include:

--my dad, who has travelled a ton, eaten everything everywhere, likes fancier places, and can be something of a food snob at times.

--my mom and my stepdad, who like small ethnic restaurants and are kind of reverse restaurant snobs--if I take them to a restaurant that has any decor beyond, say, formica and a supplier's wall calendar, they're guaranteed to spend at least part of the meal complaining that the place is overrated and/or overpriced and they could make the exact same dishes at home.

--my future in-laws, who are very, very, profoundly New Englanders. Due to extreme politeness and a mortal terror of wasting food they will eat everything that's put in front of them, but there are very few cuisines that they would consider comfortable and familiar. Home cooking is usually meat, potatoes, some vegetables boiled beyond recognition and pie. My fiance claims they enjoy the occasional Chinese dinner, but they must be eating egg foo yung or something because we took them out to dim sum in NYC and it was a disaster.

Can anybody recommend a cuisine (or, even better, a specific restaurant) where all of these people might find happiness? We were thinking of giving up and cooking for them at home, but we will have relatives staying there so that's out now. We do have a few other constraints (in case the ones I just listed weren't enough): we're having middle eastern food (after much discussion of whether future in-laws would not be alarmed at the presence of olive oil) at the reception so are hoping to avoid that at the dinner; we're hoping to find a place that's quiet enough for older adults to have a conversation since his parents will be meeting my dad for the first time; we're hoping to stay around $50/head but can definitely be flexible; we're hoping to stay within a 30-minute (driving) radius of DC.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

Aug 11, 2009
erh909 in Washington DC & Baltimore

big batch of baked goods that can be made 2-3 days in advance?

Wow--you're an inspiration! Thanks for the great suggestions, everyone--I feel like I have a much better sense how this could work and I'm feeling motivated :) I'm hoping a day of baking will be a nice break from stressing about ridiculous wedding things :)

May 26, 2009
erh909 in Home Cooking

big batch of baked goods that can be made 2-3 days in advance?

Hi everyone--I'm hoping for advice about baked goods I might be able to make in advance as favors for a large event. I'm getting married this summer, and my future mother-in-law (who is from Maine, and is a staunch supporter of her state's agricultural products) wants to bring down small jars of Maine blueberry jam for our guests. I was hoping to box them up with some sort of baked good that people could eat, with the jam, as a quick breakfast the next morning. I made 50 little currant scones for a friend's party last year and remembered that the leftovers were quite tasty, so I got the idea (blame it on prewedding insanity) that I could make 300 little current scones by preparing the dough a week or so ahead of time and freezing it and then baking the scones a day or two in advance. Do you think the freezing will work? And is ~48 hours too long for scones to survive in decent shape? Of course, I would prefer to have them magically materialize in everyones' hotel rooms the next morning, warm from the oven (sigh...) If scones can't make it that long, can anyone suggest a recipe for something that would hold up better and would match well with the blueberry jam? (My mother-in-law's contribution is, as you may imagine, non-negotiable.) If baking in advance is a complete non-starter I can suck it up and get something from a bakery, but I figured even those would be at least 24 hours old by the time they were eaten and I was kind of looking forward to giving people something I had made myself....any suggestions would be much appreciated!

May 26, 2009
erh909 in Home Cooking