Posts filed under ‘Restaurants’
Ecco un’altra lista:
What I’m watching: Caught Flight of the Conchords for the first time last night, dubbed in Italian mind you. I still enjoyed it immensely! It’s like a cross between Peep Show and Glee. Sigh! I wish Mark and Jez would set their woes to music.
Music of the day: I was thrilled to see Elvis Costello on Letterman the other day. I think he has one of the best voices in music and he was on the show to promote his new album, National Ransom. The title track sounds great and the band is tight, which bodes well for the rest of the album. Can’t wait to get my hands on it.
Best read of the day: I’m currently reading Stephen Fry’s autobiography, Moab is My Washpot. It chronicles the first 20 years of his life and is at times hilarious and melancholy. If you’re a Fry fan, you’ll definitely enjoy following him on Twitter.* Oh, this video is pretty cool, too.
*Stephen Fry left Twitter for a few days due to criticism he received after being misquoted in a recent article on women and sex. He’s back now, thank goodness!
What I’m eating: Yesterday I had lunch at a Sardinian restaurant and was served a teeny tiny portion of grilled tuna steak and malloreddus gnocchi with tomato sauce. Not bad but I was hungry after an hour! So hungry that I decided to make a good old-fashioned Beef Stew.
I got the recipe from my Canadian Living cookbook. Simple and delicious. I even used some of the San Colombano. The only problem was that the kids were disgusted by the vegetables and took ages to finish dinner, or maybe it was the San Colombano that slowed them down. They were also not impressed by the pumpkin spice muffins I just baked. More for me!
Best moment of the day: Bellie’s first tooth fell out!! And she was paid a visit by the Tooth Fairy, even if in Italy a little mouse (?!) usually does the honours.
Worst moment of the day: Little Charlie puking all over me. She’s ok, her tum tum just doesn’t agree with formula.
Where I’d like to go: The China Power Station contemporary Chinese art exhibition at the Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli in Turin.
Things that make you go “AWWW!”: Zidane and Materazzi hugging and making up.
Back from my self-imposed hiatus. I’ve been busy with the usual but I’ve also decided to relax more in the evenings and do things to help me wind down after a long day. So instead of blogging I’ve been obsessively watching episodes of 30 Rock and reading books. Just finished The Namesake. Great up until the first half but the ending was a slight disappointment. Not that I didn’t feel guilty about not writing. Every evening I thought about it but you know, I decided not to get stressed about something that is essentially a hobby. I knew that when the moment was right, I’d start posting again.
So, it’s a good thing I got sick and am at home today. It means I can finally write! So without further ado, let me tell you about my recent mini holiday in Lombard Alps.
While the Milan area may not be as romantic and exciting as living in Rome or the Amalfi Coast, we do have one perk that makes us the “envy” of the Bel Paese: il ponte di Sant’Ambrogio, or the long weekend in commemoration of the St. Ambrose, the patron saint of Milan. What makes this holiday extra-special is that not only do we get St. Ambrose Day off (on December 7, also the traditional opening of the season at La Scala), the next day is the feast of the Immaculate Conception, which just so happens to be a national holiday in Italy. And this year we were extra lucky because December 7 and 8 fell on a Monday and Tuesday. So we basically had a four-day weekend!!
We decided to make the most of it and take the kids to the mountains, in the Valsassina and Valchiavenna valleys, to be precise. The little ‘uns were thrilled because the day before we left it had snowed in the area. Us big ‘uns were thrilled because we slept lots and ate even more! Here’s the photographic evidence:
So that’s how we spent our first long weekend of the season. Now I’m desperately trying to book a hotel in Val d’Aosta for New Year’s but it’s not looking promising. So if we don’t get lucky, it means that I’ll be ringing in 2010 with the in-laws. Can someone please help me? Anyone?!?
Finally coming up for air after a pretty intense two months. The hubster was away on business which meant life was all work, kids and no play. So of course that meant no blogging. But now I’m on holiday in Canada and have a few free minutes to tell you about my lovely day in the country a couple months ago.
Those of you who live in Italy have probably heard of or visited an agriturismo. I mentioned our visit to a rustic agriturismo in Tuscany a couple of posts back. In my opinion, it is one of the best ways to experience Italy. An agriturismo (a combination of the words agricoltura and turismo) is a renovated farmhouse in a, more often than not, picturesque part of the country. Rooms are available to let and if you’re lucky it will have a restaurant with dishes featuring their very own fresh produce, just like at Cascina Caremma in the town of Besate, Lombardy. Located within the lovely Parco Ticino, Cascina Caremma prides itself on its particular attention towards local traditions, the environment and fine food. They are staunch believers in Kilometer Zero cuisine and serve specialities with ingredients that they have either raised or grown themselves. If you are lucky enough to get a reservation, be prepared for a set menu decided upon day by day, in order to guarantee the freshest, most seasonal dishes possible. Mmmm… I’m getting hungry just thinking about my meal. So without further ado, here are some pictures of my day at the agriturismo:
Pretty impressive stuff. And those were only a third of the dishes they served at lunch! We couldn’t even finish everything on the menu and to top it all off we were shocked at how affordable it was. Hmm, I wonder if they have anything similar to agriturismi in the Toronto area. Must find out! But for now, I’m more than happy with my beloved Tim Horton’s. And that, my friends, is another story….
Some of my commensali had another speciality from Abruzzo, roasted lamb with potatoes. The meat was fall-off-the-bone tender, flavourful yet not gamey, a result that’s often difficult to achieve when cooking lamb.
I, however, opted for one of the dishes I just have to eat whenever we visit our friends in L’Aquila, Arrosticini. They’re succulent skewers of grilled mutton which, traditionally, should be eaten by holding the skewer with your hands and pulling the meat off the stick with your teeth. And that’s exactly what I did! I don’t know about you but I get a visceral pleasure from eating food with my hands, however messy it can be.
These arrosticini did not disappoint, all washed down with a house wine (which I failed to note) served in lovely, hand-painted ceramic jugs.
All in all, I was thrilled with my dinner. The food was great, the service fast and very friendly and best of all, it was extremely affordable. We paid about €25 each, which included pasta, main course, dessert, wine, coffee and some deadly liqueurs. Prices like that are a rarity in Milan. So next time you’re in town and you’re hankering for a taste of Abruzzo , give Giannino a call. And please do call in advance because the place is literally an angolo, tiny and always, always packed.
Da Giannino – L’angolo d’Abruzzo
Via Rosolino Pilo, 20 – Milano
Phone: +39 02/22.214.171.124
Opening hrs: Tues – Sat 12:00pm – 11:00pm, Sun 12:00pm – 3:00pm
(Phew! I did it! Monkey #2 is still fast asleep. It’s a good blogging day!)
Mini pappadums, Brampton
My aunt’s spicy barbequed fish
Butter tarts! A Canadian classic.
My favourite: chunky, greasy french fries
Appetizers – Omonia Restaurant, Greektown, Toronto
Canada, vote well!!! Mi raccomando!!!!!!
* Update: I just found out that today is Blog Action Day, an annual, non-profit event aimed at raising awareness on global issues. This years Blog Action Day is dedicated to Poverty. I didn’t have enough time to write a post about the poverty but I urge you to watch the video below and do whatever you can to spread the word.
How was your weekend? Mine was fun and fat-filled because we went out for a friend’s birthday to a restaurant specializing in gnocco fritto. Gnocchi fritti are fried dough, sort of like mini beaver tails (if you don’t know what those are, check out Frutto della Passione’s description of this classic Canadian snack). The Italian version is from the Emilia-Romagna region and is eaten warm, accompanied by an assortment of coldmeats like prosciutto crudo, culatello, and salami. We went to the Gnocco Fritto 2 restaurant in Milan’s Naviglio area and they just kept serving basket after basket of the fried wonders. Not only did we have generous helpings of coldmeats, we also filled our gnocchi with some lovely soft cheeses like gorgonzola, taleggio and torta alpina. I would post pictures of our meal but my husband forgot to bring the camera!! GRRRRRR!! Anyway, you’ll just have to imagine it for yourselves. (In retaliation, one day I’m going to dig up some old pictures of my husband dressed in drag for Carnival and post those!)
After dinner we went out for drinks at a nearby bar. Since it was Saturday night, of course there was a band playing cover songs far too loudly for my aging ears, making it almost impossible for me to talk to my friends. So I was kind of forced to listen to the music. Much to my surprise, the band wasn’t half-bad. They played the usual Top Ten, some Amy Winehouse, Duffy, etc. But the guy did a spot on imitation of Vasco Rossi. For those of you who don’t know, Vasco (aka Blasco) is one of Italy’s most hard-living, hard-rocking singer/songwriters. And like the gnocco fritto, he hails from Emilia. I wanted to post a video of one of Vasco’s biggest hits, Albachiara, but I couldn’t find anything except unofficial concert footage. However, I did find something unusual that might be appreciated by those of you studying Italian. This is a video set to Albachiara but done in sign language by a man called Daniele. I don’t know much about signing but I thought he did a fantastic job at interpreting the song.
And aren’t his eyes expressive? Ah, there’s nothing like good music to start the week off right!
Everyone have a good weekend? Hope so. I just got back from a weekend in Liguria, a sort of cottage country for the Milanese. So with all the traffic, pit stops and toddler crises, it basically took us 5 hours to travel 200 km. But we did manage to relax a bit on the beach on Saturday and the kids had a great time. We even went to a local festival, a sagra, where they served inexpensive local food and a very cheesy band playing polka and the Village People. I’ll post more about that some other time.
To add to our culinary adventures, on our way back from Liguria we stopped for lunch at McDonald’s on the highway. It’s become a sort of family tradition. Even if I’ve lived here for over 10 years, I still need that dose of McDs once in a while. You can take a girl out of Scarborough….
Speaking of which, after we made the long, hot trek from the parking lot to the restaurant, I took a look inside and thought I was back home. The place was full of my people, i.e Indians, South Asians, etc. I have to admit I was taken aback. Despite the recent influx of immigrants to Italy, you still don’t see too many people of Indian origin around. So to find the McDonald’s full of them was odd, but in a good way. I guess they were a busload of tourists on a lunch break, sampling the local cuisine ; ) I took the opportunity to point out to my daughter the lovely salwar kameez and saris the women were wearing. She was thrilled to see all the colourful shawls and the people who looked more like Mommy.
So, to further Indian-Italian relations, I’d like to share this clip from comic Russell Peters (who happens to be Canadian). Slightly crude but all in good fun.