Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Positano eats: La Sponda

Positano couldn't be prettier. I've wanted to go to this visually stunning place ever since Only You with Robert Downey Jr (*swoon*). Positano was planned, La Sponda (Via Cristoforo Colombo, 30, 84017 Positano SA, Italy), on the other hand, was not.

That is... until I saw this photo on Instagram and just had to have it (I guess I eat with my eyes first): 

Not only was the spaghetti vongole as delicious as it was pretty, the restaurant itself was the most beautiful restaurant hubby and I have ever been to. It was also the only Michelin-starred restaurant we went to in Italy.

Ask to sit outside if you can, where you'll overlook this:

Everything was perfect: the attentive service, the well-executed food, the gorgeous view. Even the dinnerware was whimsical. But my favoritefavorite part was this happy little champagne cart that a jolly man pushed around. I mean, how can you not be jolly pushing around a cart like this:

Of course we had to get something from the cart:

Pink just felt like the right color for a celebration at La Sponda. It went well with my vongole, hubby's John Dory, and this silky eggplant:

La Sponda is not easy to get to, because Positano is not easy to get to, but I think... that's what makes them even more magical. You count your blessings here. 

Oh, and the olive oil is stunning. 

Rome eats: Pane & Vino

I really like sandwiches. But I loooooooooooooooooooooove porchetta sandwiches. I literally hunted down porchetta sandwiches when we were in Italy. One of the best eats near the Colosseum is Pane & Vino (Via Ostilia, 10, 00184).

It's a teeny tiny shop with a very friendly, English-speaking owner. His porchetta is delivered fresh every morning. Get the special porchetta with everything and just... eat in silence. And, if you're like me, grin like a fool.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Rome eats: Hostaria Romana

You want to eat with locals? You want to eat trippa alla romana? You want a simple, unfussy, non-touristy place to rest your feet after playing tourist? Eat here: Hostaria Romana (via del Boccaccio, 1, 00187).

They're known for their fish and their carbonara, but we went bucatini amatriciana, fettuccine with mushrooms, and trippa alla romana. The food was cozy, peasant-like. Bonus: the waiters gift you little plates of delicious (albeit salty) things, like beans, croquettes, and even pasta (!), while you wait for your dinner. We got lucky and were seated by the windows (make reservations) and got to see Roma grow dark.

You know what the perfect thing to do after dinner at Hostaria Romana is? Walk to the Trevi to see it glow: 

Rome eats: La Prosciutteria Trevi

You like pig, wine, and rock n' roll? Welcome to La Prosciutteria Trevi (Via della Panetteria, 34A, 00187).

This place is run by some bad-ass ladies who build a mean board. Said board is made of olive wood and every inch of it is covered with Italian goodies: meat, cheese, grilled veggies, more meat, and bruschetta.

The music is fun, the place is itty bitty, and the wine is gooood. Try the lambrusco.  It's not sweet at all, but dry, fizzy, and berrylicious. It goes perfectly with the board. By the way, the one that we ordered was a medium and it was already over 2 feet long. Yeah, it comes in bigger sizes. Have fun 😉!

I recommend going here when Roma is napping (i.e., not at lunchtime and not at dinnertime). 

Rome eats: Taverna Trilussa

Do you get get giddy when your dinner is served in the pan it was cooked in? Because I do. I don't need any plates, dude. Just give me that steaming hot pan of magic pasta water tossed with cheese and freshly ground black pepper!

Taverna Trilussa (via del Politeama, 23/25, 00153 Roma, Italy) is a bustling bistro in hip Trastevere. Reservations are a must. They have a romantic outdoor area, but we sat inside, past the ham stumps. 

It seems like every other restaurant in Roma is known for their charcuterie. We ordered the prosciutto with creamy, dreamy mozzarella di bufala and the sampler. 

And if you're the kind of person who likes to put an egg on it, here's some #yolkporn for you: 

That's bombolotti (mezze maniche) alla carbonara with glistening ridges and a happy pool of yolk at the bottom of the bowl. Yum-o. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Rome eats: Roscioli

Ah, Rome. Where the pasta is almost too al dente, almost too salty, and for sure bleeping delicious. You'll eat rustic pasta with just pecorino and ground black pepper doused in the pasta's own water and you'll say "Please, sir. I want some more."

#1 on the list is Roscioli (via dei Giubbonari, 21/22, 00186 Roma, Italy). I can't ever imagine traveling to Italy and not eating here.

Roscioli was so tasty, it was the only restaurant we went to twice during our 14-day vacation. You read any foodie list on Rome and Roscioli is at the top of the pack. Mario Batali, Anthony Bourdain, me: we all say go faster. Actually, first you must make reservations. The deli moonlighting as a restaurant is tiny, with less than 20 tables. If you can, ask to sit in Daniel's section. He's charming and knows his prosecco, champagne, and sparkling wine. And he doesn't try to sell you the 100 Euro bottle. Instead, he finds you a small producer that's in your budget and somehow nails your taste buds with just one look.

I studied the menu months before our trip and already knew what I wanted to order before we sat down.

Must order: La matriciana o amatriciana (bombolotto paffuto pasta tossed with campanian region tomato sauce, crispy pig cheek, and roman pecorino). It tasted like it had heavy cream, without the heaviness. I'm not sure how they sauced each individual pasta so perfectly without making it saucy, but this was so delicious, I wanted to order it again for dessert. It was in the top 3 things I ate in Italy.

Do you know what echire butter demi-sel is? Yeah, I didn't either. Then I ate it and now I want it forever in my life. The burro e parmigian "Francescana" is short pasta rigatone with echire butter demi-sel, 3 kinds of parmesan cheese made from red cow (aged 36 mos), bruna alpine (aged 30 mos), and classic reggiano hills (aged 36 mos). Wait until you see the pool of butter at the bottom of the bowl. I dare you not to squeal.

Burrata con perle di tartufo (burrata cheese from andria with winter black truffle pearls) + selezione di prosciutti italiana = party in your mouth. If you can, travel to Italy in October. Two words: truffle season.

This is real carbonara (large spaghetti tossed with crispy pork cheek, malaysian black pepper, paolo parisi eggs, and roman pecorino). It's decadent, but not heavy at all. Eating it makes you feel giddy and naughty. Slurp it like you slurp ramen.

And finally, if Rome had a pasta mascot, it'd be cacio e pepe (fresh pasta with roman pecorino, cacio from moliterno, pecorino di fossa from sogliano del rubicone, and mayaysian black pepper). This is adulting. With adult mac n' cheese. Oh, and bubbles (another small producer). Cin cin!

The Italy Series

Hubby and I celebrated 5 years of bliss with an epic trip to Italy. It took about a year of planning, but we were rewarded with a flawlessly delicious 14 days in Rome, the Amalfi Coast, and Tuscany. Do you know how many food articles, Instagram photos, Mario Batali, Eater lists, Tripadvisor reviews, and Rick Steves I had to sift through to make sure that every single meal we ate and every hotel we stayed at was The Best? A bajillion.

So, for anyone who wants to vacation in the Tastiest Country in the World, look for my upcoming posts. I already did the legwork and traveling for you. I'll start with the food, because that's the most fun 😍

The Colosseum is kinda a big deal

Have you seen Robert Downey Jr. in Only You? You go do that and you'll want to go to Positano, too

Capri, we're kinda in love with you

Tuscany is so beautiful, it must not be real