Browsing: Food & Travel

Bro D

August13

When I reflect on key food influencers in my life-my brother-in-law from Toronto ranks right up there.

He has exquisite taste in restaurants and introduced me to “Fred’s Not Here” in Toronto and Keith McNally’s “Pastis” and “Union Square Cafe” in Manhattan.

He is a great cook, especially grilled items, learning early as a teen aged Broiler Chef at the Keg Restaurants alongside my husband.   The last time he cooked for me, I went on and on about the grilled potatoes (potato aficionado that I am).  He shared that his secret ingredient was truffle oil that he had purchased on a trip to Italy. Of course I had to do the same and bought a beautiful bottle on the beach in Positano, Italy.  When it was snatched with our luggage on a train platform in La Spezia, we had to repurchase one in Monterosso al Mare.

Truffle oil is precious to begin with and this little bottle is placed on the table as a flavour to top a salad or a pasta course for very special guests.

I am prompted to write all this as my husband is staying with his brother this weekend.  As he was heading out the door to catch a flight to Toronto he reminded me that he was taking my camera.  Thankfully, I remembered that the memory card was in my laptop and quickly removed it for his departure but not in time to transfer all my current photos which were for my upcoming blog entries-drat.

Kath’s quote:  “There are two types of people who eat truffles: those who think truffles are good because they are dear and those who know they are dear because they are good.”-J.L. Vaudoyer

La Pizzeria Fresca Ristorante-Part 2

August11

We were able to get right in to La Pizzeria Fresca Ristorante without a reservation.  We were seated at a comfy table against the exposed brick wall with a view of the wood-burning pizza oven.

We started by sharing the Insalata di Rucola when wild arugula and  endive was topped with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano and the Insalata  Mista.

We paused to pinch ourselves as we had only been in New York for a couple of hours and then proceeded to sample the Ruastica Pizza where pancetta was  sauteed with onions and covered with fresh bufala mozzarella.

The special pizza that evening was as sophisticated as our surroundings-a savoury asparagus pie.

I couldn’t resist the Linquini Voncole e  Zucchine-a trillion fresh baby clams and slivers of zucchini steamed in Pinot Grigio.

We were appropriately tempted by the sorbetti, tiramisu and panna cotta but managed to resist.  Instead we enjoyed the stroll to our temporary home (with a detour to shop at Union Square).

Our compliments to chef Alessandro Cargiolli from Liguria,  Italy.  I loved the cuisine of his home region when we visited Riomaggiore last fall, one of the Cinque Terre villages.

La Pizza Fresca Ristorante on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.” Yogi Berra

 

La Pizzeria Fresca Ristorante-Part 1

August10

On this my third visit to New York City I was so pleased to once again find affordable accommodation in the Flatiron/Union Square area.

A beautiful stroll down E 20th took us to Park Ave. and the famed locked Gramercy Park.  In this case the journey was as pleasant as the destination as the elegant brownstones and town homes in the area are a indication that the gentry of New York is alive and apparently still thriving.

La Pizzeria Fresca Ristorante boasts the certification of “Verace Pizza Napoletana” (Original Artisan Neapolitan Pizza) which is a Italian organization headquartered in Naples which upholds the ancient traditions of pizza making in a response to the frozen and fast food industry making false claims to the consumer.  The chair states: “The pizza secret lies all in the dough rising.  The recipe?  It doesn’t exist and I can tell you that because I’ve learned since I was a child that dough rising changes according to the weather…it is the experience that refines the art.”

The little shop in Naples where pizza was invented is still serving them up today.  My husband and son are of the few that can boast of visiting its doors and tasting its wares, having backpacked Europe together in 2006.  D can still vivdly remember the taste of the Margherita pizza they sampled that day.  Named after Queen Margherita of Savoy, the ingredients display the colours of Italian flag and was invented to honour her visit.

Kath’s quote:

“We live in age when pizza gets to your door faster than the police.”- Jeff Marder

Guest Blogger : Sister #3-Turkish Delight

August3

One of the most amazing trips I ever took was to Turkey. We started our tour in Istanbul-a busy city that sits half in Europe and half in Asia. I had no idea what to expect and everything there was like nothing I had ever seen before: the smells from the spice bazaar, the five-time-daily call to prayer, the veiled women and dark handsome men.  The food too was very different from what I had tried before.  I have to admit that I struggled with warm milk in my breakfast cereal and eating fish that was staring back at me. We did have a couple of meals that I loved, including this one just outside of Ephesus.

Over the years I have acquired more of a taste for Middle Eastern cuisine.  While we have some Israeli and Lebanese restaurants in Winnipeg, we don’t have any Turkish ones that I’m aware of. But, recently while visiting friends in Toronto I got a chance to once again feast on authentic Turkish food.  Let me tell you it was better than I ever remember it being.  The friends that I was visiting in Toronto happen to be the couple who lead our Turkish tour. They introduced me to a place called Konak Turkish Grill. It is a tiny little take-out, with only three tables to dine in, located in a strip mall in Etobicoke.  The food is delicious and ridiculously inexpensive. The couple who own the shop were so lovely that when I tipped the gentleman he insisted that we take a box of Turkish delight to add to our already over abundant dinner.  So, if you are ever wandering along the lake shore in Toronto, be sure to stop by 2491 Lake Shore Blvd. W.416-251-3700.

Kath’s quote:  “The only kind of seafood I trust is the fish stick, a totally featureless fish that doesn’t have eyeballs or fins.”-Dave Barry

Rozendal Essentia Vinegar

July29

A friend is representing this upscale vinegar line and knew that I would be interested in tasting them as they come from the Rozendal Farm of Stellenbosch, South Africa.  My youngest daughter visited the area this winter and was enthralled by the beauty of the vineyards and the crisp taste of South African wines.

When I saw my friend Jeff last night at the grocery store, he asked if I had a chance to sample the vinegars.  Having not tested a recipe at that point, I indicated no.  That was when he suggest that I pour a glass and enjoy it is an aperitif.  I was hesitant but OMGoodness-it was lovely. 

This is what the folks at Rozendal Farm have to say:  “we now make different blends of vinegar from our wine using ingredients from our farm: chili, elder flower, carob, basil and thyme.  We bring seaweed and green tea from elsewhere.  After serving it to our customers for years in the restaurant on Rozendal Farm we began bottling and selling it.   The Rozendal Red Wine Vinegar tastes good and drinks beautifully and we have noticed it makes people happy.”

For our supper, I poured a little bit into the bottom of a sautee pan to poach chicken breasts in it.  Next I mixed 3 T with 1/8 c of olive and 1/8 c of truffle oil for the dressing and tossed together spinach leaves, toasted pecans, mandarin oranges and the sliced chicken.  The taste was light and rich at the same time.

Kath’s quote:  “Vinegar, the son of wine”.  –Proverb

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