Feast of the Fishes

It’s already time to leave Florence, after a brief, in-and-out, overnight stay. We arrived mid-afternoon, and our first stop was at the central market for a round of those trippa sandwiches I’ve been talking about. I had been waiting two years to come back and enjoy another one, and I have to say, WOW, they’re just like I remember.

The same guy was there who served me last time. The only difference was this time I only had two. (That should hold me over for a few years!) I am really thinking about putting a similar sandwich on my menu at Nove once I get home.

The dinner we had in Florence was the best meal of the trip, hands down—and we’ve already enjoyed some pretty amazing food on this trip. This place, Fuor d’Acqua, was the best seafood restaurant I’ve ever eaten at. Jay and Drama still can’t stop talking about the meal.

We had 9:30 p.m. reservations at what proved to be a sleek, well-designed restaurant. I would say it is similar to a few of the Vegas restaurants—great vibe, hip and full of action. This was my second visit to the place, but the boys’ first. And get this: They remembered who I was from the last time I was there! I

We started with champagne and grappa—welcome back Geno!—and started with crudo of tuna, needlefish, langoustine, extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. Next, baby sole with summer squash (Jay gave this dish five stars), then turbo with baby tomatoes and basil. It was simple, but great; they pulled fresh vegetables from their garden.

Then we had Sicilian tuna olives, fennel and chili, followed by the best linguine and clams ever (telline clams, which are about the size of pea and so sweet). I want them for Nove’s menu, and don’t worry, seafood lovers, I am on it!

After all this food and drinking (three—count ‘em, three!—bottles of 2007 Jermann Dreams!) came the shellfish platter: blue lobster, shrimp and more langoustine, all steamed to perfection.

I had the chance to chat with the chef and owner about how amazing everything was. We talked about food and wine and business.

Now we are off to the beaches of Santa Margherita. Florence, I miss you already… but I did take a trippa sandwich to go for the train ride.



P.S.: Something to try (or at least keep in mind) back home: Do like the Italians and keep food simple and fresh with great flavors. The pasta here is so delicate and full of flavor. They don’t over-sauce the pasta (so many places in America do!). If you have good sauce, you should be able to serve equal amounts of pasta and sauce—and it should be delicious!

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Full and Florence-bound

By Geno Bernardo

Last night three great days in Rome came to an end. The boys and I meet up with MK and Lisa Kornick at La Scala Ristornate, which is a locals spot, about 20 minutes outside of Rome. (We got the hook-ups in Rome; the boys only find the best restaurants!) We arrived at 9 p.m. and from the minute we sat down, the food and wine didn't stop—for four hours! We started with antipasti: octopus salad, spada crudo (swordfish), salumi and melon, grilled veggies with extra virgin olive oil, fried artichokes, breasola and arugula.



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