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What Italian food items do you bring back to the U.S.?

Mostarda Veneta from Venice. Preferably not the kind that comes in bottles but the cheaper and hotter version in plastic tubs that is found in Billa supermarkets -- never saw it elsewhere -- in the Fall. Chocolate pocket coffee less urgent as it now can be seasonally found in the US.

Aug 04, 2012
jmatturr in Italy

Lunch in Cape May

Also the North Carolina bbq at JBs. They relocated to a bank building in Rio Grande a few years back -- originally they sold through a bar along the back of Cape May -- but are also at the West Cape May farmer's market one day a week. And the scallops at Mayers, a divey fisherman's bar near the docks as you come into Cape May.

Aug 25, 2011
jmatturr in New Jersey

Lunch in Cape May

Would definitely recommend YB's (younger brother of George's) on Beach Street for good, interesting informal modern Greek food. Quite inexpensive given the portions and very friendly. Would have gone back more than once during the week we were there if we had found it earlier. Would give it an edge over lunch mainstays like the more formal Blue Pig and and the informal McGlade's.

Aug 22, 2011
jmatturr in New Jersey

Gelato in Rome, Florence & Venice?

The Alaska in Venice is great and Carlo is an extremely nice man. In September I would watch out for his grape musto gelato, which was among the best I've eaten. (The grape on the other hand had seeds, which I don't mind in grapes but is hard to take in ice cream. (In the spring there is the artichoke.) Another good one that is less heralded than Nico, the Travaso, et al. is a little shop on Via Garibaldi. No idea of the name but it is on the right coming up from the Riva before you get to the gardens.

Sep 03, 2010
jmatturr in Italy

Best coffees in Milan, Venice or Florence?

The Doge on Calle dei Cinque in Venice is certainly the place to go for a quick espresso but it is also surprisingly a good place to sit around and talk. Very good hot chocolate also. Have eaten breakfast there every day for months on end. For more atmosphere try the Frari across from the church. And, yes, for pastries Tonolo.

Sep 03, 2010
jmatturr in Italy

Eataly NYC

Fine if you prefer spectacle more than food. Very low product to square foot ratio and almost nothing that couldn't be gotten elsewhere cheaper. (Was looking for Venetian stye quince mostarda and did get a pear mostarda that is as close in style as I've found in NY; it happened to be produced by the one brand that they have a relationship with.) Don't see it as much competition for Buona Italia in selection (minus the meat, fish, veggies, etc., all of which can be bought elsewhere in Chelsea Market) or Da Palo's in quality and service. Wonder how it will do once the hype dies down.

Sep 03, 2010
jmatturr in Manhattan

Venice restaurant recommendations

I'm not a very big fan of Madonna but do quite like their cuttlefish in ink. I'm sure they also have liver.

Apr 04, 2008
jmatturr in Italy

Venice, Christmas 2007 - reviews

Not only don't be put off by the cones but pick one up as a snack if you are passing by. A smaller portion of the fried fish entree that Peg liked so much (as do I). I think it mainly is a way of maintaining something of the tradition of a fritolin fried fish stand (which I still existed in Venice).

Vecio Fritolin
Location – north of the Rialto market, away from the main shopping/eating areas.
Clientele – mix of tourists and locals. This place serves cones of fried fish to take-away as well as full restaurant service, but don't let that put you off.

Dec 29, 2007
jmatturr in Italy

Venice wine shops

Oops. I misread the original poster's post. I think I know the place on the San Marco side of the bridge that is meant but Muscara is in the S. Polo side. Know it better than the other or, at least as a wine shop rather than a bar, Schiave but all three are good, and you can also get decent wine in supermarkets in Venice. Never enthusiastic about the bulk wine from my local cantina for drinking but it was fine and cheap for cooking.

Oct 15, 2007
jmatturr in Italy

Best Gelato in Venice, Florence, Rome? Please share

In Venice, try Alaska, near Campo Nazaria Saura. Looks like just another gelateria with a big cone out front -- though the map of Jamaica and the painting of Marcus Garvey is an indication that something is different -- but the owner goes to the market for fresh ingredients. The carciofi last March was wonderful; ginger is very nice. I'm thinking that chestnut might be available now. An added point is that Carlo is among the most simpatico people in Venice. More delicate than say the richer Nico.

Oct 11, 2007
jmatturr in Italy

Venice wine shops

Probably Muscara. The wine selection is hidden in the back behind masses of candies, spices, etc. I found them very helpful and they wrap things up quite nicely. Right by Do Mori so you can stop in there for a wine and a snack (I'd recommend the poppetti di carne there and the sandwiches).

I never bought bottled wine (or had a water bottle filled for that matter) at Schiavi but they also have a very good selection. A bit cool now, I guess, very pleasant to stand outside by the bridge sipping and eating. Love the baccala mantecato and the mortadella with onions there,

Oct 11, 2007
jmatturr in Italy

trieste

Making a day trip from Venice this week. Suggestions for something not overly elaborate or expensive?

May 06, 2007
jmatturr in Italy

Everyday Venice

Having started this thread, a bit of a preliminary conclusion, a bit over two months down the line. Essentially, I think that if you are in a position to eat follow an everyday eating pattern, meaning that you have an apartment and are in it for a reasonable time, it is best to eat most of your dinners at home. Venice is not the food disaster that some people have said it is but restaurants are expensive and the quality of food that you can get for your money doesn't generally compare to, say, what you can get in NY, or I think a city like Rome. Also, sadly, it is not a good town for culinary exploration: as in other things the city has been comprehensively cataloged and my moves off Scibilia's maps have not yielded any great benefits and have led to mediocre meals not worth the price. (And in fact I haven't been all that enthusiastic about all of Scubillia's choices). (One possible exception is the Alaska gelato shop, more delicate than, say, the famous Nico but more delicate and served with great charm by a man who clearly loves ice cream, people, and who likes to experiment with what is at the market.) All that said, I do very much like Vechio Fritolin and Riobba, as middle ground restaurants with bar snacks at Do Mori and Schiavi, et al. Haven't been tempted by the high end. But if you have the chance the market gives you opportunities for really good food and good food exploration and if you have a chance should be taken advantage of: the best meals I've had here have been when I cooked for friends. (Just wish there was better bread easily available but I make do.)

The other thing is to make sure that you can handle a moderate bit of Italian. No need to be fluent but just be able to start off the order in Italian and continue to stammer a bit more, with smiles and self-deprecating scusis, where appropriate, when needed (often the interaction will shift immediately into English, which is most efficient for everyone). It does make a difference: in one instance at a bar where I had been politely but somewhat distantly served a number of times I was told the price -- 4.60 or so -- and handed back 5.60; the barman looked quizzical, and then realized that I understood the bill without looking at the receipt, said "eh, bene" and gave me a big "Ciao, grazie" on the way out. Not a major linguistic accomplishment but it did somehow make a difference. (This goes especially for the market where, as far as I can tell, English isn't much spoken). Venice is not a particularly welcoming town -- when venturing way out into the neighborhoods, as my work requires me to do constantly, eye contact with outsiders is assiduously avoided in a way that I've not much seen before -- but you need at least to meet it part way.

In short, Venice certainly isn't the best place in Italy for a food oriented vacation but food isn't everything.

May 06, 2007
jmatturr in Italy

Dining in Venice on a Sunday

Veccio Fritolin in San Polo, ten minutes up from the Rialto, is open on Sunday and is quite good, quite friendly, and not all that expensive. Very good bread, which is not that easy to find in Venice, I'm afraid. I've had a number of meals there in the past couple of months, including their 8E take-away fried fish special and left happy each time. I'd make reservations in advance there or wherever you decide: you don't want to get stuck having to find just anything that's open if you only have one meal.

Apr 30, 2007
jmatturr in Italy

Everyday Venice

A few suggestions. As was noted earlier in this thread Vecio Fritolin is very good; what wasn't mentioned is that you can get a take-away paper cone of fried fish with a small slab of polenta for 8E. Been slightly disappointed with the fried fish at Madonna and other popular spots but, as might be expected by their name, Vecio Fritolin fries very well. Looking forward to Easter dinner there.

Also have liked quite liked Rioba on F. Misericordia. A very cheap, very old fashioned place on the same stretch is Antiche Mole (maybe not quite accurate); liked the 5.50 fish risotta (needs to be ordered for two). Maybe not the very greatest of pizzas but Nono Risorto just down from Vecio Fritolin is good and has a nice informal atmosphere; prefer it to the Birria on San Polo and it should be quite nice when the garden is open. Had a nice lunch of shrimp in curry sauce (curry showing up surprisingly often on Venetian menus) at Palanca on Giudecca, right by the vaporetto stop of that name. All of these except for Mole are listed and mapped by Scibilia.

As for picnics, Aliani is a good source but there is a nice roast chicken, sold piccolo or grande, on the side of the Rialto veggie market. On colder days, the Doge has very good, rich hot chocolate as well coffee.

Finally, with a kitchen don't pass up the 7E/kilo fish scraps at the fish market: with some calamari and shrimp makes a really good fish soup.

Mar 31, 2007
jmatturr in Italy

Everyday Venice

The coffee at the Doge is quite good I think but the breakfast pastries nothing exceptional. It's great virtue for me is that I enter it on the third step after I leave my building. Certainly good for a quick hit of espresso if you are in the neighborhood.

Mar 05, 2007
jmatturr in Italy

Everyday Venice

"There is also a glitzy coffee purveyor on one of the little streets running between the ruga rialto and the grand canal - I will try to recall its name."

Caffe del Doge, perhaps? That's down the street from where I'll be and I was wondering about whether it would be the place for my morning macchiatto. Thanks for the suggestions.

Dec 28, 2006
jmatturr in Italy

Everyday Venice

I'll be in Venice for three months starting March. My apartment is just off the Rialto markets and has a good kitchen so I'll be eating home quite a bit, but am looking for decent, not expensive eating for everyday meals, especially at places where it will be comfortable to eat alone. Plenty of time to explore and I'll report back any good finds but starting points will be helpful.

Dec 28, 2006
jmatturr in Italy

newark area vegetarian

Sorry about the misposting. Caught it just after I hit post and couldn't figure out if it could be retrieved. Did repost.

Nov 08, 2006
jmatturr in Outer Boroughs

Newark Vegetarian

Meeting a couple, one of whom neither eats meat nor fish, to see a show at the museum in downtown Newark. They'll have a car but we don't want to have to drive too far away and then drive us back to Newark Penn Station. Not sure if down neck Portuguese restaurants would have much of a non-fish vegetarian selection. Same with the various Latin restaurants in Kearney and Harrison across the river. Italian hot dogs at Dickie Dees are, alas, obviously out. Was thinking of the Belmont Tavern in Bloomfield but that is a bit far out and haven't been there for years.

Suggestions?

(accidentally first posted this on outer borough board)

Nov 07, 2006
jmatturr in General Tristate Archive

newark area vegetarian

Meeting a couple, one of whom neither eats meat nor fish, to see a show at the museum in downtown Newark. They'll have a car but we don't want to have to drive too far away and then drive us back to Newark Penn Station. Not sure if down neck Portuguese restaurants would have much of a non-fish vegetarian selection. Same with the various Latin restaurants in Kearney and Harrison across the river. Italian hot dogs at Dickie Dees are, alas, obviously out. Was thinking of the Belmont Tavern in Bloomfield but that is a bit far out and haven't been there for years.

Suggestions?

Nov 07, 2006
jmatturr in Outer Boroughs

Pakistani lamb chops

Thinking back to the great thinly pounded marinated lamb chops served at the Lahore Kabab House in East London. Where in NY to get a good version of the dish?

Oct 18, 2006
jmatturr in Manhattan