Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Fantastic Firsts - Casa A Tre Pizzi, Naples (Na)

My recent visit to Casa A Tre Pizzi included 2 first course dishes that make part of the Innovazione tasting menu.  Innovazione - innovation in English - an introduction of  new, creative ideas.  In  this particular case, dishes that use familiar Neapolitan recipies, but with a twist.  

Like this first pasta dish that Chef Gianluca Farina served me.  Not your typical pasta alla genovese dish.  Genovese - is a classic Sunday lunch pasta sauce slow cooked with beef and copper onions.  

What makes this dish different?  Instead of beef, rabbit is used...and Farina sprinkled crispy crusco peppers.  Also the choice of pasta format is a change from the norm.  Corkscrew shaped eliche pasta instead of the classic candele pasta.

The second primo piatto was a dish introduced by Executive Chef Francesco Sodano last fall and is back just in time for pumpkin season.  Neapoletan pumpkin risotto.  

Risotto is not typical in the south, and this dish is even more innovative with the addition of blue cheese, grape must mustard, and a final touch of Italian rosemary spray. 


Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Happy Blog Birthday !!!

10 years ago I published my first blog post. It was about an evening out with friends at a local enoteca. Basically, a write up on the fantastic evening my little group of wine tasting buddies had.
Ten years ago I never even thought about blogging. My dad suggested it could be a good way to spread news about events in the area instead of sending out newsletters. I tried and eventually got hooked!
As time went by, I decided to write about wine and wineries. I wrote a book, organizzed  photo exhibitions and even got my sommelier diploma. My love for Campania wine eventually led me to explre some of Campania's top restaurants and pizzerias, as well as interview top chefs. Blogging has changed a lot of the past 10 years - I eventually added an Instagram account, a Youtube channel, a Facebook page and even a podcast.
What's in store in the future?
Surely something fantasticaaa!

Happy birthday, Andiamotrips!

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Start Me Up - Casa A Tre Pizzi, Naples (Na)

As the temperature drops just a tad and the sun sets around 7 pm ish you can tell that fall has officially fallen on Campania.  Another sure sign?    Fall menus ready for the harvest. Ready to express the colors and flavors of the new season.  I decided to head out to Casa a Tre Pizzi in Naples last week to see what Chef Gianluca Farina would be serving this autumn.

Chef Gianluca Farina

Casa a Tre Pizzi's fall menu is the fruit of the collaboration between Farina- Pizzi's Head chef and Francesco Sodano - who serves as Executive chef and consultant.  Here's a look at what they served to start me up...

Starting up with something to satisfy my thirst.  Mirko Notaro brought out - no, not a sparkling wine - but a cocktail.  His latest, and I would a have the opportunity to be one of the first to try it.  

Wild Turkey 101 Rye Bourbon, Cointreau, cinnamon extract, and green apple centrifugal juice.  Notaro later told me that he named it the KP drink - after me!

I enjoyed this cocktail as part of my aperitivo. 

A bao bun steamed then lightly fried.  Farina filled it with  barbequed guinea fowl and yuzu.

Wonton filled with smomed eggplant and eel.

Taco with marinated vegetables, rice vinegar, lime coriander.

Andrea Notaro brought over the next dish - an amazing sushi appetizer.  

Creamed codfish sushi with horseradish, salmon roe, marinated onion and coriander powder.

For the next start me up Notaro pored me a glass of Morellino di Scansano 2018 from Fattorie Le Pupille.

A glass to pair with a plate of beef tartare.

Beef tartare with a goat cheese, a hazelnut emulsion and chickory.  Fantasticaaa!

So, to recap - my start me up serata in cluded a new cocktail - grazie, Mirko!!! , an aperitif featuring a fantatsic bao bun sandwich, a crazy creamed codfish sushi, and a bombastic beef tartare.

Benvenuto autunno!

Thursday, October 17, 2019

A Magical Mystery Tour -12 Morsi Burgers and Friends, Caserta (Ce)

A laid back Saturday afternoon was the perfect time for me to (finally) head out to  12 Morsi Burgers and Friends.  I have long been a fan of Chef Mirco Scognamiglio's magnetic personality and magical combinations that have made him and 12 Morsi one of the top gastropubs around. 12 Morsi has 2 locations - one in downtown Naples and the other in Caserta.  I chose Caserta - which has been open a little more than a year.

Chef Mirco Scognamiglio

 I walked in around 1 pm, quickly eyed the place and found Scognamiglio sitting at a table, totally relaxed, waiting for the long day ahead.  Since I was the first to arrive, it gave me the perfect opportunity for a little one on one time with the chef to chat about the menu for my first visit.  It wasn't easy.  It never is when I vist a restaurant for the first, so I place myself totally in the hands of the chef.  

Do you trust me?  he smiled.
Of course! I smiled back.
Let the magical mystery tour begin.

So we got started with a few starters -

Angus beef tartare seasoned with salt, extra virgin olive oil and pepper.  Scognamiglio added lime zest, fresh ginger, homemade mayonnaise, basil oil spheres, and beet and chard sprouts.  This all sat neatly on a thin braided eclair.

Next up, the chef decided to have me try his chicken and fries.  It may look simple, but these were deep and delicious.

First lets talk about the fries.  Two large potato wedges lightly seasoned and fried.  Then the nuggets that which have an impressive story all their owned.  Scognamiglio bones and chops up chicken then places them into silicone cube molds.  The cubes are then vacuum sealed and slow cooked.

Then they are bathed in corn meal and lightly fried.  A lot of work - but this is not your simple pub.  Scognamiglio prides himself for the time and care it takes to prepare each dish including the homemade dipping sauces.

Next up is a panino that I had been dying to try.  His steamed bao bun! 

The bun is filled with pork belly which had been slow cooked for 18 hours.  Scognamiglio then adds his teriyaki sauce...

and tops it all of with friarielli greens that have just popped into season.

I wanted a burger, but I couldn't decide which one.  Scognamiglio thought I should try two...

His buns are homemade, of course.  Soft  -but strong enough to host his burgers.  One housed his cheeseburger made from angus beef  with Westcombe cheddar cheese, the chef's pickled cucumbers...

 and his super sauce which is a blend of bbq, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and anchovies.

Next his Yimmy Burger with caramelized onions, a sunny side up quail egg, and a truffle sauce. 

I couldn't leave without tryong one of 12 Morsi's steak - the chef insisted.  So I agreed to an assaggio- a bite or two of his bistecca.

Scognamiglio uses Friesian beef and prepared medium-rare...with just enough pink.  Grilled pumpkin, zucchini, and eggplant were the perfect sides.

 As much as I would have wanted to dive into dessert, there just wasn't any room. 
My magical mystery tour is on a brief pause - to be continued soon.  Very soon, because at the end of the month, Scognamiglio is changing his menu to include a couple new steamed bao bun sandwiches, for example.  Then I need to try those desserts...did he mention cheesecake?  Also, I'm curious about some of the wines and beers that make up his carta di vino.

So, stay tuned for the next stop on the tour!