Left at the Fork

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Category: Italy

Trattoria Mario, Florence, Tuscany, Italy

REVIEW

Noccioloni su' Fagioli: bean soup with pasta.  Bean soups with pasta or farro (a type of wheat) frequently appear on Tuscan menus.  The beans in this soup have been pureed to a smooth texture.

Noccioloni su’ Fagioli: bean soup with pasta. Bean soups with pasta or farro (a type of wheat) frequently appear on Tuscan menus. The beans in this soup have been pureed to a smooth texture.

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Trattoria Ponterotto, San Casciano in Val di Pesa, Florence, Tuscany, Italy

REVIEW

Ribollita, the Tuscan cabbage soup thickened with bread

Ribollita, the Tuscan cabbage soup thickened with bread

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Ristorante Buca Mario, Florence, Italy

REVIEW

1/2 Melone al Porto: The melons we encountered were just amazing.  Never have we had melon in the US as ripe, sweet, and full of flavor as the ones we had in Italy.

1/2 Melone al Porto: The melons we encountered were just amazing. Never have we had melon in the US as ripe, sweet, and full of flavor as the ones we had in Italy.

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Mangiando Mangiando, Greve in Chianti, Florence, Tuscany, Italy

REVIEW

Salads in Tuscany tend to be served as contorni - side dishes.  This composed salad served as a first course - the anchovies closed the deal for us.

Salads in Tuscany tend to be served as contorni – side dishes. This composed salad served as a first course – the anchovies closed the deal for us.

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Mamma Rosa Trattoria, San Casciano Val di Pesa, Florence, Tuscany, Italy

REVIEW

Like bruschetta, sliced cured meats are a constant on traditional Tuscan menus.  The white stuff is lardo: cured pork fat.  Tuscan prosciutto tends to be drier and saltier than silky prosciutto from Parma, but it is no less delicious.

Like bruschetta, sliced cured meats are a constant on traditional Tuscan menus. The white stuff is lardo: cured pork fat. Tuscan prosciutto tends to be drier and saltier than silky prosciutto from Parma, but it is no less delicious.

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La Solita Zuppa, Chiusi, Siena, Tuscany, Italy

REVIEW

We love traditional Tuscan dishes prepared in the traditional manner, but we are also impressed with the lightened preparations served at La Solita Zuppa, a small and popular Chiusi spot run by the Gallicly puckish (but Italian, we believe) Roberto and Luana Pacchieri. The day’s unwritten menu is recited with great enthusiasm by Roberto, in English if you prefer; they especially try to make non-Italians comfortable here. Continue reading

Il Gelato di San Crispino, Rome, Italy

REVIEW

Gelato, Il Gelato di San Crispino, Rome, Italy Continue reading

Il Conte Matto, Trequanda, Siena, Tuscany, Italy

REVIEW

Composta di melanzane  e pomodor  in emulsione di basilico: molded eggplant and tomato in a basil oil

Composta di melanzane e pomodor in emulsione di basilico: molded eggplant and tomato in a basil oil

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Gelateria Dondoli, San Gimignano, Siena, Italy

REVIEW

The selection of unique flavors is mind-boggling.

The selection of unique flavors is mind-boggling.

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Forno Campo de’ Fiori, Rome Italy

REVIEW

Pizza at its most elemental, and satisfying

Pizza at its most elemental, and satisfying

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Enoteca Bengodi, Castelnuovo Berardenga, Siena, Tuscany, Italy

REVIEW

An enoteca in Italy refers to anything from a wine store to a wine bar to a restaurant with a special focus on wine. Unlike in the US, wine in Italy practically requires a food accompaniment, so these wine bars will always have something available to eat (even a wine tasting during a winery visit will often come with a plate of salumi and bread). Also unlike the US, where wine bars can seem like serious and studied (and expensive) temples to fermented grape juice, Italian enotecas are casual places often serving a limited selection of the local rustic specialties. Continue reading

Da Sergio, Rome Italy

REVIEW

Cacio e pepe is another Roman pasta favorite.  It's made with pecorino and black pepper but, again, no cream or butter.  Moisture comes from some pasta cooking water and perhaps a little olive oil.  This is a perfect example of how simple combinations of good ingredients can make Roman dishes so transcendently satisfying.

Cacio e pepe is another Roman pasta favorite. It’s made with pecorino and black pepper but, again, no cream or butter. Moisture comes from some pasta cooking water and perhaps a little olive oil. This is a perfect example of how simple combinations of good ingredients can make Roman dishes so transcendently satisfying.

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Da Giorgino, Siena Tuscany Italy

REVIEW

The Italy we encountered, from Rome north to Florence, is pretty much devoid of street food as we know it in urban America. Which is not to say that Italians don’t love to snack on the stroll, because they obviously do. They just don’t snack from street carts, and the menu is limited mostly to gelato and pizza, purchased from storefront shops and bakeries. There’s one notable exception to this pattern. Continue reading

LAF in the A.M. February 14th, 2015

A Morning Menu of LAF-Style Food News and Stories to Begin Your Day

HAPPY CREME-FILLED CHOCOLATES DAY!

Pie and Ice Cream Benefit at TX Brewery

Top 10 Food Cities in the World

Shake Shack Comes to Baltimore Monday

Local Praise for Giordano’s of Indy

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Carabé, Florence Italy

REVIEW

From the left: apricot, "fruit salad," banana, melon, and fig. It's all called "gelato," but the quantity of dairy greatly varies, depending on the flavor and gelateria. Fruit flavors tend to have less milk, and the flavors we tried had little or none; they seemed to be, essentially, sorbets or cremolatas.

From the left: apricot, “fruit salad,” banana, melon, and fig. It’s all called “gelato,” but the quantity of dairy greatly varies, depending on the flavor and gelateria. Fruit flavors tend to have less milk, and the flavors we tried had little or none; they seemed to be, essentially, sorbets or cremolatas.

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LAF in the A.M. November 11th, 2014

A Morning Menu of Stories We Think You’ll Find Interesting

World Famous St. Elmo Shrimp Cocktail Eating Championship

St. Elmo Steak House, an Indianapolis landmark since 1902, is famed for their jumbo shrimp cocktail with explosive cocktail sauce. We’ve had it and, yes, it’s everything they say it is. But nine pounds of it in eight minutes? That’s what Joey Chestnut did last year to set a world record and win the World Famous St. Elmo Shrimp Cocktail Eating Championship. This year’s event takes place on December 6th, and Joey Chestnut will be on hand to defend his title. Read the details here. Continue reading

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