Friday, April 29, 2016

When Napoli Meets Japan - Romeo Bar, Romeo Hotel (Na)

When you're a local, you may not have a hotel restaurant or bar  on your top ten lists of places to dine.  But if you live in or near Naples, you probably do...or at least should.  Romeo Hotel - Napoli's only 5 star luxury hotel which boasts a Michelin star Restaurant - Il Comandante.  I've visited the hotel on several occasions, here, here , and here and have always been pumped about how the hotel continues to evolve searching for new and innovative ways to keep their guests and locals like me interested and intrigued.  So  what's up?  I found out last week during an evening at Romeo Bar entitled When Napoli Meets Japan.  A location to relax before, after or during dinner for 8 mille idee- 8 thousand ideas  including spaghetti 'mbuscinatto and sushi & tartare.

Sushi isn't new here...neither is spaghetti - but Romeo Bar has decided to fuse the two cuisines together in one place - un posto - for a unique dining experience.  So here's a look at what I tried Thursday evening ...

A taste of  Napoli by Michelin chef Salvatore Bianco ...

 and a slice of Japan by Sushi Chef Mariko Watanabe...

Romeo Bar
Cocktails, drinks and tasty snacks.
Every day from 3 pm to 12 am.
Sushi, soup, tartare and spaghetti.
From 7 pm to 11 pm. Closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Appetizers on the Beach, Chef Francesco Sardegna, Ristorante Marina Grande (Sa)

In Campania, the sun rarely looks at the calendar to decide when to come out and play.  And that's a good thing for those off season tourists like me who prefer hitting the winding roads of the Amalfi coast before the heat of the summer. I chose a Saturday afternoon for my trip to Amalfi...for my lunch prepared by Chef Francesco Sardegna and his brigade at Ristorante Marina Grande

Warm sunny sunshine. Great. 
A table on the terrace overlooking the beach.  Perfect
Three amazing appetizers. Even better. 

Number One:

Sauro in poke, tarallo, puttanesca sauce. citrus yogurt and, burrata cheese

Number Two:  

Three scallops wrapped in-wait for it-bacon...and a third little bundle of fried mozzarella in carozza.  All on top of a playful rubic's cube made with zucchini and yellow bell peppers.

Number Three:  

Roasted octopus and barley salad.

Lunch on the beach???
Who say's you've got to wait for summer!!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Pigeon in “ Terre di Siena” Crust -Chef Vincenzo Guarino, Il Pievano Ristorante (Si)

Gaiole in Chianti in the heart the Siena province is about 459 km from my driveway.  And that's a long way to go for lunch.  But I packed my bag and put it in my car along ith my camera, computer and teenage son and headed the five hour or so drive from seaside of Campania to the hills of Tuscany.  

My destination?  Castello di Spaltenna - a 5 star luxury resort, home of Il Pievano Ristorante where Campanian born and raised  Vincenzo Guarino has been serving as Executive Chef since the beginning of March.  Campanian chef-there's the connection.  
I've known the chef for several years and as more than curious to see what he was up to and try some of his new dishes...and I needed a weekend to do so... or at least 36 hours.

Chef Vincenzo Guarino
So after a little catching up, a quick tour of the facilities and an awesome chat about his plans (details soon), I decided to take a break until dinner...

A dinner which featured Guarino's , Pigeon in “ Terre di Siena” Crust.  As if the chef was saying 'Karen, here's Siena through my eyes'.  

The dish included a perfectly pink pigeon with a flavorful coating.  A variation of colorful orange and violet carrots, shallots fermented in Chianti wine (of course) ,and a Vin Santo sauce drizzled on top.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

In Love with Spring - Chef Lino Scarallo, Palazzo Petrucci (Na)

Confession.  I'm in love!!! The colors on the plate are what hit me first - spring green, pinkish pale seafood, and a touch of dark purple.  Not to mention the aromas that wafted up from this amazing appetizer prepared for those of us present at Michelin star restaurant Palazzo Petrucci that Saturday afternoon. Chef Lino Scarallo's cuttlefish cooked just so..tender friarellii greens...aromatic bread crumbs toasted with sea algae...raw scampi.

I  mean,  wow - come on!!! Add a glass of Donna Lisa malvasia bianca 2012 by Leone Di Castris...

How could I resist  falling  in love with Spring ???!!!


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Sunshine on a Cloudy Day, Chef Lino Scarallo, Palazzo Petrucci (Na)

I had this particular pranzo on my calendar for weeks.  Lunch at Palazzo Petruuci at their new location.  New location?  Let's rewind just a bit. The Michelin star restaurant relocated from the popular centro storico at Piazza San Domenico Maggiore to the beach on Via Posillipo - complete with a view of the Mt Vesuvius and the sea. Yes, I had the date on my calendar in pen, not pencil so I had no intention of changing it.
A couple of days before, however, the weather forecasts predicted that clouds and/or rain would spoil my plans.  But I had faith.... A Napoli esce sempre il sole! The sun always comes out in Naples!  And I was right!  An unusually warm Saturday afternoon inside the restaurant as well as outside!

Beginning with this sunny spring appetizer featuring sweet caramelized zucchini flowers, ricotta
cheese, anchovies, tomatoes, basil and provola cheese! Let's take a look...

Monday, April 11, 2016

Spaghetti, Salt Cod, Gaeta olives, Dried Tomatoes and Juniper - Chef Domenico Stile, Enoteca La Torre a Villa Laetitia, (Rm)

It is almost impossible to hide infatuation for pasta lunga/long pasta.  So whenever I see spaghetti on the menu - well - spaghetti madness!  Like this dish by Chef Domenico Stile of Enoteca La Torre a Villa Laetitia in Rome.  Stile, who is from Gragnano - home of dried pasta shares his recipe for a fantastic first course as well the inspiration behind the dish in this video...

Spaghetti, Salt  Cod,  Gaeta olives,  Dried Tomatoes  and Juniper 

Ristorante Enoteca La Torre a Villa Laetitia
Lungotevere delle Armi, 22
00195 | Roma, Italy.
39 06 4566830

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

1, 2 Fantastic Firsts - Osteria Arbustico, Valva (Sa)

I was looking over the menu - the primi piatti section in particular - when Chef Cristian Torsiello came over to my table.  He wanted to make sure I didn't have any allergies, intolerances, preferences, etc etc.  I ensured the young Michelin star chef that I was ok with everything but needed a little help in deciding which pasta dish(es) I would like to try.
Osteria Arbustico, Valva in the Salerno province.  An interesting selection of classics and new dishes for the spring. This part of Campania is known for its pasta fresca, fresh homemade pastas, Torsiello shared. let's try the ravioli!

Raviolin stuffed with caramelized onion in a broth made of burnt potato skins and an infusion of porcini mushrooms.

I noticed that the menu had a selection of dried pastas - and since I am a big fan of pasta lunga, particularly spaghetti, I mentioned that to the chef as well.So right after my raviolini...

 Torsiello sent out an amazing healthy portion of  spaghetti with roasted artichokes and tuna bottarga.

Primavera, Karen...Spring, said Torsiello.

Fantastic, Chef.  Grazie mille!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Amazing Aperitifs and Appetizers, Osteria Arbustico, Valva (Sa)

During the nearly two hour drive to Valva (Sa) I had plenty of time to think.  Think, listen to the radio, and actually enjoy the drive to a part of Campania that I had neglected for too long. Osteria Arbustico was my destination for lunch that Saturday afternoon - a recent edition to a series that I have fondly nicknamed #saturdaystellato - a Saturday visit to one of the many Michelin star Restaurants in Campania. A visit with Chef Cristian Torsiello on his home turf in the small town nestled between the provinces of Avellino, Potenza and Salerno.
And maybe because of that nearly 2 hour drive, I was ready to be treated to what Torsiello had to offer me and the other guests that sunny Saturday afternoon.  Beginning with a series of amazing aperitifs and appetizers...

Beginning with the benvenuto.  The welcome aperitif that let's you know that the entire staff appreciates your visit. 

Tartlet with tuna sauce and beef carpaccio, a minimeat and potatoes ball,  brioche with chicken liver mousse and lemon, celery root in vinegar mayonnaise paprika and smoked herring. 

Each bite had its own style, its own punch, its own welcome.

Then to amazing appetizers...
First up, an Osteria Arbustico classic.  One that Torsiello has had on the menu for four years.  

Marinated and smoked trout with cauliflower and oranges.

Afterwards, a chance to try a ne dish that Torsiello was still fine tuning. One which was colorful, flavorful, and required a healthy hunky piece of pane to soak up the sauce at the bottom of the dish.

 Eel, almonds, wild asparagus, radishes and herbal extracts.

A series of dishes that were a perfect introduction to what would definitely be a long leisurely #saturdaystellato...with Chef Cristian Torsiello on his home turf in the small town nestled between the provinces of Avellino, Potenza and Salerno.

Osteria Arbustico
Contrada Deserte, 
Valva (Salerno)