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Sicily, Amalfi and Capri Dining Suggestions Please

I was in the eastern coast of Sicily last September. Lots of good places. I recommend you visit the island of Ortygia in Siracusa. Very pretty with lots of cool places to eat. We liked 1921. We were with kids so we only ate at trattorias, but Ortygia has everything. I posted more information last fall, here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9168...

You may also want to check Arthur Schwartz's website. I think he lives in Sicily part of the year.

Mar 15, 2014
petergreen in Italy

Critique my Florence itinerary

sounds great. I second the Sostanza rec. I know that Florence has a reputation among foodies as not being as great as other parts of Italy, you will find good food just about anywhere there. Be sure to have a glass of amari to help you digest.

Sep 19, 2013
petergreen in Italy

Our Trip to Southeast Sicily

I deliberately avoided Taormina , which we went to about twenty years ago, which was too chic for my tastes. Southeast Sicily had much friendlier people, and lower prices in restaurants. There's so much to see in Sicily. We only covered the tiniest little area in a week. I could go back there dozens of times and not get tired.

Sep 17, 2013
petergreen in Italy
1

Our Trip to Southeast Sicily

OK, really sorry to post this so haphazardly, but the place we ate at in Ragusa was City L'Altra Ragusa, located at Parco G. Paolo II, Ragusa. The naked pizza was called facci i veccia. Even with the help of several Italian English dictionaries, I haven't been able to translate that. Veccia means vetch, the plant. Here's their facebook page, but it doesn't say much:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/City-L...

Sep 14, 2013
petergreen in Italy

Our Trip to Southeast Sicily

One foodie place I stopped in was Le Antiche Siracuse, which is located in the heart of Ortigia's shopping district. This was a little pricy, but they had things there I doubt you could find elsewhere easily. For example, I love Planeta wine. I bought a can of Planeta olive oil which I can't wait to try. They also sold pistachio and other nut based pestos.

In Modica, the store where we found some really amazing food items was called Casa Don Puglisi on Corsa So. Umberto I. 262. They had all kinds of artisanal chocolates, pastas, sauces, oils, wines, brandies, etc. Very nice people. Don Puglisi operates several businesses in Modica, including a bar and a trattoria.
In the area around the north side of Etna, just outside the town of Linguaglossa, we stopped at a place called Etna Nocciola, which means hazelnut. They have a website, I was happy to have found out after getting home, because I was sorry I didn't stuff my suitcases with more delicasies, like pistachio cream. etnanocciole.org is their website.

The panini place we stopped in Ortigia, which was really just a little fast food stand, but the owners were very proud of their cooking, was "Il Panino di Archimede" on Via Amalfitania 10.

One regret I had was we didn't go to Ragusa until our last night, and it was very late by the time we got there. I never found the Ragusana cheese, which I understand is quite good. Next journey, I guess.

Sep 14, 2013
petergreen in Italy

Our Trip to Southeast Sicily

My family and I took a week's long vacation to Southeastern Sicily, flying into Catania and staying in a hotel outside of Siracusa. I have been to Italy before, and I know that it is generally hard to find a bad meal, but I have to say that we were very pleased this trip. Please note that we traveled with our two teenaged boys, so white tablecloth restaurants were not what we were seeking. Our first day we ate lunch at our hotel, Borgo Pantano. I am not sure if this place is even open to the public, but the food was pretty fantastic. One thing that was a little bit off putting is that generally in Europe they don't use window screens, so there were some insects flying around.The food was so good at this hotel we learned to ignore it. A big deal in this part of the world is sword fish, and we had it on spaghetti, as well as in a more American grilled steak form.
For dinner our first night, we went to a place recommended by Arthur Schwartz, Castello Fiorentino, which is on a hard to find little alley called Via del Crocifisso. This was mainly frequented by locals, and my family all had pizzas, which looked like the thing to get. They had about 40 different kinds of pizzas, all of which were the standard pizza vera size of about 15 inches. They were all fabulous.
The next day we went to a beach in Noto, called Lido Il Solleone, which means the Heat Wave beach. Generally public beaches are pretty sketchy in Italy, so it is wiser to cough up a few Euros to park, rent chaise lounges, and an umbrella. Lido Il Solleone was just a little shack, but they had the best crostini I have ever had. Mine were tuna fish with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. Quite amazing for a beach shack.
We went out to dinner in the city of Noto. We went to a small restaurant called Giufa, which the waiter told me means "buffoon" or "village idiot." The pasta dishes and antipasti were amazing, especially the eggplant in various forms, whether as raviolo alla norma or in a caponata. We also purchased wine from an enoteca in the city of Avola. They sell wine there in plastic two liter jugs for a pittance. I bought three liters of wine for five euros, and it was quite tasty Nero D'Avola for the red and insolia for the white. This helped to make up for the ridiculous cost of air fare and car rental.
We also visited the town of Modica. We loved all the chocolate and pastry shops. I am doing this from memory, but I will post the names of some of the ones we tried later. For dinner we ate at a pizzeria called La Perla, which was very nice. We had artisinal beers which were made local which were very good. Also great arancini mignon (finger sized rice balls) as appetizers. There are lots of places to buy local gourmet items too.
Another place we visited was Ragusa, however, we went on a Sunday night, so we had a hard time finding a place that was open. We were tired after a long day of the beach and a lot of driving, so we walked around almost panicking that we would not find a restaurant open at nine at night. We finally found a very hip pizzeria called City Pizza which played cool jazz, had very modern lighting, and had another unbelievable assortment of appetizers, including a naked pizza that was called faccia. I asked if that was the same as foccaccia, but was told no. It is amazing how good a simple recipe like pizza crust, oil, salt and oregano can be. They also had craft beers from local makers.
Back in Siracusa - Ortigia, we ate dinner at 1921. This had a really nice atmosphere with cool graphics on the wall and a nice wine list, mainly made of Sicilian wines. The entrees were mainly seafood. While walking around Ortigia, which can be a little touristy, we stopped for gelato in two different places. One was right by the Piazza Duomo. The man behind the counter was the most friendly food server I have ever seen. He loved his job. I had pistachio gelato. Sorry, I can't remember the name of the places where we bought gelato, but it was a few steps east of the piazza duomo. I was surprised to see how common horsemeat was--even being sold in paninerie.

We drove up to see Mt. Etna, and I was becoming a little drowsy, so I stopped at a caffe in Bronte. I bought an espresso topped with crema di pistachio, a frothy sweet kind of pesto. it was coffee nirvana!

I'll try to go through my receipts and come up with some more specific names, but at any rate, the entire area is a culinary playground.

Sep 13, 2013
petergreen in Italy
1

GREAT FOOD IN SIRACUSA SICILY

Sad to say that on my visit last week, I could not find this place. The address is in a part of Ortigia which is full of fish dealers, and at the hour we went (3 PM), nearly all of the stores were closed and the only activities were fishmongers closing up for the day.

Sep 12, 2013
petergreen in Italy

Carciofi Alla Giudia

I just enjoyed carciofi all Giudia at Salento this past weekend. Great place. Too bad it is BYOB. Not being from Philly, I did not know how difficult it is to find a liquor store. Had to walk four blocks to get a bottle of wine.

Jul 23, 2013
petergreen in Philadelphia
1

What was the most memorable thing you ate in Hawaii?

Believe it or not the pineapples were extremely fresh. I also had some really good local onions, which I cooked with, similar to Vidalia in size and taste. Stayed 6 nights in Maui in Makena with an efficiecncy, so we grilled them. Also Maui coffee company and Kauai coffee both very good. The Kauai coffee plantation has a showroom and a shot of espresso I had there was among the best I have had in the world. Also really liked locally made dark chocolates.

Sep 02, 2012
petergreen in Hawaii

Cuban Sandwiches - Manhattan Dish of the Month August 2012

This is information which is over a year old, but El Castillo de Jagua on 113 Rivington Street makes a nice Cuban sandwich. Not sure how authentic the bread is, but good

Aug 07, 2012
petergreen in Manhattan

Connecticut Pizza

Just wanted to say that I had dinner with my son and wife at Strada 18 in Norwalk last night for a late Sunday night meal. Their white thin crust pizza was very good. All of their pasta dishes are baked. My wife and my son both had linguini with clams, a dish you don't normally think of as baked. Anyway, great atmosphere, excellent wine list. I would go back there to further explore the menu as they have a good wine and cocktail list.

Mitch & Toni's Horrible Service

Went to dinner as a foursome at Mitch & Toni's American Bistro on Willis Avenue in Albertson, NY. This is a fairly new restaurant, and my understanding is that it was the same team as Bistro M in Glen Head NY. The new space, originally a Friendly's which has had several iterations, including its most recent as Gondola, is attractive, but small. We had an 8:15 reservation, and despite showing up on time, were forced to stand at the door for half an hour. Our entrees didn't come to the table until ten to ten. We were never offered an opportunity to look at the wine list, and our waiter, who seemed disinterested, never told us what the specials were until we asked. The acoustics are absolutely horrendous, forcing you to shout to be heard by others in our own party. The food is okay, but believe me, the acoustics and indifferent service really spoil the night. I really could not recommend going to this place at peak hours.

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Bistro M Restaurant
70 Glen Head Road, Glen Head, NY 11545

American Bistro
296 Columbus Avenue, Tuckahoe, NY 10707

Anniversary Dinner in NYC: Marea, A Voce, Corton, or Aldea?

Great food, a little overpriced, very uncomfortable chairs, far too low for the tables. Very confused waitstaff with an inordinate number of them milling about aimlessly, without any clear idea of which ones were assigned to our tabel. Would skip a return visit, despite the great pasta dishes and appetizers and desserts.

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A Voce
41 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10010

Apr 17, 2011
petergreen in Manhattan

Pick your own Apples?

I did not care for Outhouse Orchards at all. The apples were not all ripe, the crowds were terrible, the fried foods really smelled bad, and the trees were so tall, you have to use poles to pick the apples, and there aren't enough supplied.

Portland for 5 days - Need recs

The Nines has a great bar for Happy Hour with Tapas that are excellent.

Sep 13, 2010
petergreen in Metro Portland

Castagna with older kids?

We ate there with a ten year old and a twelve year old and had a great meal, and were treated very well.

Sep 01, 2010
petergreen in Metro Portland

I5 thru Oregon, where to eat with kids?

We visited Crater Lake National Park with kids. We were astounded to find a really nice restaurant, in the middle of nowhere, about an hour from the west side of Crater Lake in a little town called shady cove. Madrone Kitchen was a very chowhound worthy place, with a beautiful room overlooking a river. Great wine list, made up almost exclusively of Oregon wines, and nearly all ingredients are local. we would highly recommend. http://www.madronekitchen.com/

Sep 01, 2010
petergreen in Pacific Northwest

Oregon Coast (Depoe Bay, Newport)

I just wanted to add that I recently came back from a trip to Oregon. We found the Side Door in Gleneden Beach to be a very nice bistro, with a great wine list, and terrific entrees. An alternative to the somewhat overpriced restaurant at the Salishan resort where we were staying.

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Side Door Cafe
6645 Gleneden Beach Loop, Gleneden Beach, OR 97388

Sep 01, 2010
petergreen in Pacific Northwest

Coffee Micro Roaster Manhasset

Believe me, this is definitely not a web oriented business. I wouldn't expect a fancy web page.

Best Greek Restaurant in Queens

I just ate at Philoxenia last night. What a terrific place. The owners are so nice, and the food was great. My wife and I both had grilled fish as entrees. The wine list is very short, but the waitress picked out a greek wine for us, Amethystan, which was great, not too dry, not too sweet. It was a blend of an indigenous Greek grape and a sauvignon blanc. The appetizers, really tapas sized, are terrific. I had the goat cheese, which was lightly grilled, very tangy.

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Philoxenia
32-07 34th Ave, Queens, NY 11106

Apr 11, 2010
petergreen in Outer Boroughs

Coffee Micro Roaster Manhasset

I have just found a microroaster in Manhasset, NY, who does a great job of roasting coffees, and is very friendly and reasonable. The location is rather odd, however. The business is located in an office which is connected to a realtor, Kappeli, at 426 Plandome Road, Manhasset, NY. There is no coffee bar, no posters, no cool lighting, guys with piercings, punk music, etc. It's just an office, but the owner, Kurt, roasts some really great stuff and will sell you a bag on the spot. I gather that most of his business is wholesale, and most of his roasting is done offsite, but he has a few small roasters that can roast a couple of pounds at a time, and he is willing to sell retail (at least he was to me.) The company is called Globus. Their phone is 516 304 5780.

FLR: Sostanza, Cibreo Trattoria, Baldini, others?

At Sostanza, you can get bistecca fiorentina for one. My wife and I easily finished ours. I would also make reservations, and bring cash. No credit cards. And if you can't get in, go to Centopovere down the block.

Mar 04, 2010
petergreen in Italy

Looking to go off the beaten path in Italy

I agree about Lucca being a beautiful destination. Very walkable city with a wall that circles it which is perfect for strolling. We wanted to eat at Gigi, but didn't have reservations (it was a Saturday night) so instead found a very cute place run by a husband and wife on Via St. Giorgio, 26, which was Osteria San Giorgio. They had great Cinghiale steaks, and pasta dishes for the kids. Lucca is not really known as a foodie's town, but we were very pleased with Osteria Via S. Giorgio. Their telephone is 0583 953233

Feb 28, 2010
petergreen in Italy

Family of 4 in Rome (Piazza Navona)

I just came back from a trip with my wife and our two boys who are pre-teens. We had a fantastic vacation. We mainly ate in trattorie so that we wouldn't have to worry about the boys sitting too long. As it turned out, our kids loved dining out in Italy so much, it really wasn't a problem. In Rome, we had lunch right near the Pantheon in a very nice enoteca, beautifully decorated , known as Capranica. The service was very friendly, and the food and the wine list were fabulous. Even the music was good, we asked the maitre'd to tell us what was playing, and he took the time to look up what cd was on (It was Diana Krall). You should also consider taking a taxi (not sure if the subway goes there) to a neighborhood called Testaccio. Do a search on this board for recommendations. It is a blue collar neighborhood that is up and coming, and there are some great trattorie there. We ate at one called Il Cantinone (the big urn) which is at Piazza Testaccio, 31. The lighting in these trattorie is usually a little garish, due to cfls being used, but the food was fabulous. We had the mixed fritti, different deep fried vegetables, almost like Italian tempura. I also had a great pasta dish with oxtail (coda is the Italian word for tail.) I didn't work up the courage to try the pasta con fejata, which is calves' gut. The steak at il Cantinone was great too, as were the huge bowls of gelati they served.

Feb 28, 2010
petergreen in Italy

Looking for Bistecca alla Florentina in Florence....

I second the Sostanza recommendation. We had a terrific time there, I had bistecca fiorentina, so rare, it almost looked raw, but it tasted fantastic. we had to get a reservation, as we could not get in two nights prior, so our concierge made it. Then we forgot they did not take credit cards, so we walked in almost an hour late, because I couldn't find an ATM nearby. They were very gracious about it. This was on a midweek night. The crowd was roughly half tourists, half locals. My kids had pasta, and they made it fabulously well. I couldn't understand that they don't serve coffee, however.

Feb 28, 2010
petergreen in Italy

Italy--Rome and Florence with kids

I'll be taking my two sons, 9 and 11 to Italy soon, and would want to know if Checchino dal 1887 was too formal to take kids. They are pretty good as far as restaurant behavior is, but naturally, their attention spans are shorter than those of adults, and therefore long, slow white table cloth meals are out.
Also would welcome suggestions for small towns to visit in Tuscany that are worth seeing, not too touristy, and have good places for lunch--San Gimignano obviously comes to mind--as does Greve--any others? We'll have a car in Tuscany, but not in Rome.
In Rome we will be staying near the Colosseum. Any good places to eat near there?

Feb 06, 2010
petergreen in Italy

Brass Rail, Locust Valley

Ate there about a month ago after the Long Island section of the Times raved about it. I was disappointed with the service, and with the food. I had fish and chips. The chips (fries) were the skinniest shoe string fries I had ever seen, skinnier than angel hair pasta. they made for an unusual presentation, but the thinness meant they were nothing but grease. Not appropriate for fish and chips, which should be nice thick steak fries. My wife ate something which was so forgettable, I forget what she had. Nice pretty bar, nice atmosphere for watching a ball game, but certainly didn't deserve the rave that Florence Starkey of the Times gave it.

Sanibel for 3 meals, whats best?

I've been going to Sanibel for years. I really like Traders, on Periwinkle. It has a lunch menu, a good bar, a good wine list, live music a couple of nights a week and a great store you can shop in while waiting for a table. Also, IMHO, Timbers is very reliable for fresh fish, sort of a family place but dependable. '
Island Cow is good for cheap family food. McT's has good shrimp, so so atmosphere. Twilight cafe is also good. La Vigna is overpriced. Mad Hatters is excellent, but very pricey.

Jan 31, 2009
petergreen in Florida

New Haven Lunch If you had One Choice what

Thanks to the poster who recommended Thali Too on Broadway, just off the Yale campus. It was an excellent vegetarian Indian, with hip decor, pretty cool Indian music, and two dollar beers (sorry, can't remember the kind of German beer I had, but they had good beers on tap, including Magic Hat) on Sunday afternoon. I had the Uthappam, which is a kind of pancake, and the Masala Papad, a side dish which is sort of an Indian version of crustini, diced tomatoes and onions on a very thin crispy chip like "pastry" made from chick peas. I was "overhungry" when I went there, so I ordered in a hurry, and didn't have time to study the menu. They have a whole section of "street vendor style snacks" from Bombay and Delhi, which look very appealing. I will definitely go back the next time I am in New Haven.

New Wine Bar in Port Washington--"Vintage Port"

ChaCha, the only time I have eaten in Bistro du Village was shortly after it opened, and the service was really awful. Our waiter clearly had never worked in the restaurant business ever. Has the Bistro gotten over its service problems?