Monday, July 26, 2010

Soccer world cup final spaghetti.

Casole D'Elsa, Tuscany July 2010
We were so lucky to get a table on final night. There's only 3 places in the town that have a TV to show the final and we scored a prime table at the pizzeria, right in front of the telly. Pity it was such a crap game in the end but anyway, the spaghetti was good. Pomodoro with sweet, sweet Tuscan tomatoes, fresh basil, fresh pasta and some tasty house wine. 7/10

Gingham tablecloths, olive oil and conversations that sound like arguments.

Casole D'Elsa, Tuscany July 2010
Fresh egg pasta. Made that morning by a large italian nonna with flour on her forehead. I'm guessing...You do see fresh pasta shops around Tuscany. They are like our versions of bakeries. So the sauce went something like this - ground beef (meaty not mincey) with nutmeg, garlic and a touch of something I can't put my finger on. This is the real deal, the traditional recipe. While I nang away on it happily, it's not my ultimate (as in Il Barretto Sydney) but it's good. 6/10

Spaghetti related. Kind of.

Giant nutella! I wish I put something near it so you could see that it was seriously bigger than my head. I also wish it would have fit in my suitcase.

Inspired by the great tomatoes I was writing about below, here's one of my drawings from the art course in Casole D'Elsa.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Healthy rivalry

Casole D'Elsa, Tuscany July 2010
Bruchetta. It's made of the same stuff as spag bol really, isn't it? I know I keep going on about it but the tomatoes in this town were so damn good. We ate bruchetta every day, sometimes I even preferred to have bruchetta over spaghetti. Here's the bruchetta pomodori from the 'sophisticated' place is our little town. It rocked my world. Think this is a first but it was 10/10.
PS. Photo in the middle is from outside, that's Ryan and two of the guys from the art course.

You can become regulars in 10 days.

Casole D'Elsa, Tuscany July 2010
After Florence we caught 3 buses to get to this tiny village where I was doing an art course. With only 3 or 4 restaurant options in town, we soon got to know the menus very well. Two became our favourites and we pretty much alternated between them for the 10 days we were there. We nicknamed them either the sophisticated place or the pizzeria pub place. The two spaghettis above are from the latter, by the end of it there the waitress stopped calling me Bella and called me Sophie. They even gave us a table the night of the soccer world cup final so we could sit and eat and watch it, everywhere else in town was completed sardined. I wish I had a photo of the view, you sit out on a deck outside the town walls looking over the misty blue hills of Tuscany. Chewy fresh pastas, the pomodori was actually my favourite, the best tomatoes you'll ever taste and fresh basil. 8/10

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Top Tratt in Florence

It's in all the guide books but it deserves to be. If you're ever in Florence head to Trattoria Mario. The menu is scribbled on brown paper on the wall in Italian, you have to share tables and they don't fancy you loitering around but it's just tops. It used to just feed the market workers across the plaza but now they have to compete with every man and his dog. We were there 2 minutes after opening and only just got a table. It's only open for lunch and the kitchen is in the same room as the little wooden tables you sit at. Highly recommend it.

No more imitations

Florence, Italy July 2010
Finally I'm here. It's been 5 years but now I can legitimately have spaghetti every day and not be questioned. First stop is Florence where we miss out of seeing David but get a good dose of spag bol. Mostly it's listed as Ragu...and I've decided to shut my eyes and ignore when I think it might be pork. This place was near our hotel, recommended by a guy there and was one of the few times when we've found g-bread to accompany the bol. Temperature was in the early 30s and we had some Australians next to us which is never ideal but it was still lovely. 7/10.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Bolognaise Chips

Champagne region, France. July 2010
Do you remember the flavour 'Light and Tangy'? Well Bolognaise chips are kind of like that on steroids. Really nothing like spag bol but they are tasty anyway. Hats off for giving it a go. 4/10

Thursday, July 8, 2010

If it's good enough for Nadal, it's good enough for me.

Paris, June 2010
Watching the French Open this year became a little serious when 'our Sam' started doing so well. We were in San Sebastian and started watching every game religiously, getting quite revved up. We even went and found a clay court to have a hit on. During our hours of viewing the commentators mentioned a little Italian joint in Paris where Nadal likes to eat pre-match. He likes it so much that he's recommended it to 'our Sam' and she went there for a carb load the night before the final. Unfortunately so did her opponent and the two entourages were both pictured eating in the same room. When in Paris we thought we'd check it out. It was packed and the waiters were older men which I find is often a sign of quality restaurant. We only got a table if we promised to eat in 45 minutes. It was a shame to rush it because it was just lovely, I probably should have given it a 10.

Espaguete. Portuguese for Spaghetti.

Lisbon, June 2010
In Portugal we'd done the traditional piri piri chicken, eaten at one of the many indian joints set up for the pommy tourists and regrettably made a hungover dash to Pizza Hut, now it was time for some spag bol. Found this little treasure in a side street in downtown Lisbon, absolutely brilliant. Bit of pesto smeared around the edges, chewy fresh pasta, I give it an 8/10.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Ewww shudder

Merida, Spain May 2010
I'd been in the land of pig and cheese for 2 weeks. As I either neither food group, tasty bites were scarce. By the time we got to Merida on our way to Seville, I was absolutely fanging for a spag bol. It was on the menu but it was an oasis. It didn't actually resemble spag bol at all - lumps of boiled unidentifiable meat in minging sauce with soggy noodles. I won't continue, the score says it all. I can only assume the chef was sleeping. Interestingly, on our drive to and from this town we also saw many animals sleeping. Cows and horses lying down during the day with their heads on the ground, like they were playing dead. I have never seen anything like it so I've asked a few people about this but no one seems to know the answer, they say 'siesta' and shrug.