ITALY 2013 July 17

“I’ll know when Nancy gets Alzheimer’s, She’ll tell Michael to snack while she’s preparing a feast,” Gail Silverton.

This quote from Gail was in response to Michael Krikorian’s disgruntled demeanor after Nancy Silverton scolded him, told him how annoying he was and threatened to ban him from Umbria for life  after he repeatedly raided  several of the plates she was preparing for a dinner for six Monday evening July 15 in Panicale, Umbria, Italy .

- From Reuters News

 2013 ITALY

It’s day 10 of our annual summer trip to Italy and so far, despite the predictable jabs, hooks and uppercuts, it’s going typically delightful.

Restaurant wise, we haven’t  got into the master groove.  There’s been several mediocre meals and one dinner in the town of Tavernelle so bad it will be the standard of which all bad meals will be judged.  I’ve had better meals at Men’s Central.

I mean I think grey is a useful color. It is excellent for warships. Most of the history’s greatest battleships were grey. Though if my memory is accurate,  I believe the USS West Hollywood was peach and lime green which worked well for it and the crew during the Battle of Sweetzer Creek.

Gregory Peck had a movie about a grey flannel suit. Grey is a leader among primer colors. But for a steak? No way, Giuseppe. For lamb?  Sorry. I don’t know how they got the beef. lamb and  the chicken the same shade of grey. Nancy’s father, Larry, saw one such colored dish come by and asked the servers. “What is that? Chicken?”  “Bisteca fiorentina”, came the answer. Dario Cecchini would have strangled the grill cook. . .

But, who wants to read about the lousy food? On to the highlights.

WARNING. - Let it be understood two things before you read on, if you do. Though the first byline I ever had at the Los Angeles Times (1992) was a small restaurant review of the Spoon House,  Japanese spaghetti restaurant in Gardena,  I am not a food writer. This will soon become quite clear.  Secondly, the website Krikorianwrites.com  is in the second day of a copy editor strike, so there might be a few copy edits missed and heading your way. The copy editors at Krikorianwrites.com have decide to strike in solidarity with the California state prisoners who are on a hunger strike.

That said... -

THE TOP TASTES  OF THE FIRST 10 DAYS

Not in any order of preference. All we would have again with pleasure.

CHOCOLATE CANDY BAR at Marconi Ristorante in the town of Sasso Marconi, about 20 minutes south of Bologna. The 15 euro raisin and brandy soaked cherry 70% bar by Claudio Corallo came in a cardboard box and was devoured by Nancy and I (mainly Nancy)  in one minute and 52 seconds, six full seconds quicker than Chris and Dahlia’s Vegas wedding.

Corallo is said, according to the Marconi menu at least, to be the only chocolate guy who grows and produces chocolate in the same site. That site being the small African island nation of St. Tome and Principe located in the Gulf of Guinea. This candy bar had a rich complex flavor and a borderline tender texture.

Claudio Corallo chocolate is available at Alegio in Berkeley. Though this particular bar is a long shot. UPDATE, I emailed Marconi to see if I could swing by and just by some bars, but they said they were ut until October.

http://www.alegio.com/corallo-chocolate/

I need to mention the seafood risotto i had here. While excellent, it was one of the only  dishes I have ever had that could one could say, as the cliche goes, looked like a painting. Som,etime abut it, the colors, reminded me of a paintin that hangs in Nancy's den here, a plate of fruit by our friend Jeff, husband of Collinette.  Check it out below. Way below. Scroll down extra. Couldn't figure it out to bring it up.  Looking at it, it don't look all that much like the Jeff painting.  Not a food critic, certainly not an art critic. 

Restaurant web site

http://www.ristorantemarconi.it/ristoranteMARCONI_home.php

NANCY'S JULY PORCH SALAD, at home for lunch today, Iceberg, anchovies, tuna, eggs, onions tomatoes. Extraordinary view of Nancy and the Panicale hillside

ROASTED PORK w/ ONION CAKE at Trattoria da Amerigo 1934 in Savigno,This was a standout of several good dishes. we had here. At Day 10, this meal, enjoyed at Day 4, is becoming more highly thought of than originally.  There is even the possibility we will return. The ultimate honor. Well, not ultimate, but high.  One factor in returning here is that this place is a 15 minute windy drive from Marconi so we could go by and get a Corrlo chocolate bar

 http://www.amerigo1934.it/content/show/section/trattoria

Via Guglielmo Marconi, 14-16, 40060 Savigno Province of Bologna  051 670 8326

SPIDER PORK PIZZA at Pellicano in Macchie. 7 minutes from Nancy’s Panicale home. Of all the restaurants in Italy, this place is my favorite. Not for the food, for the wonderful memories I have here. This is a place where we would cram Oliver, Max, Ida, a few adults and head to at one in the morning. I have been here maybe 70 times. The pizza, the only pizza I am legally allowed to eat under the terms of my contract with Pizzeria Mozza, is very good. The Tenant Super beer from England of somewhere like that comes in a size called Giraffe. ‘Nuff said.

Via Pineta 12 | Macchie, 06060 near Castiglione del Lago.

FOCCCIA  topped with coppa, split and smeared with crescenza or stracchino cow’s milk cheese, at Osteria Perilla in Tuscan hilltop village of Rocca d Orcia.

NOTE The kitchen-made KETCHUP  at Osteria Perilla came close to being listed here separately , but at the last minute, the council decided to merely add it on to the Focaccia spiel.   It came with lime zested potato chips and  was unquestionably the best ketchup I’ve ever had. I ate some of it like a soup.

With the ketchup and the focaccia, then a good pasta, (a tortelli with ricotta and peas) Osteria Perilla, which we went to on the high recommendation of Faith Willinger, was off to a very good start. Twice, Nancy raised her glass of local red and toasted to Faith for bringing us her. Bu then, a rain fell and we moved inside, the meal skidded off course and into a chicken coop. While Nancy pork was fine, my main course of a local farm raised capon the server gushed over, was bad.  It was like two pieces of package pressed Leo’s Deli Meats chicken smashed together with passion fruit sauce. Even though Nancy didn’t order it, she was more upset with the dish than me and proclaimed the meal a once promising but ultimately disappointment..

THE NANCY TAVOLA. This is the well-documented spread that lead Nancy Silverton to lay into me for AS, attempted snacking.  She prepared red pepprs, onions, flattened roasted chicken, pistachios from Adana, Turkey, barlotti beans, a pesto to rival, but ultimately lose to  Genoa’s finest, an assortment of cheeses we bought at farmer’s markets, notebale an old percorino and bufala bucconcini.  The best spread.  

SPECIAL K CEREAL.  After a 2.5 k walk and a 2.5 k run, this bowl of cereal Special K,. from the heralded the 2010 vintage, with rich milk was a delight.

DEB CAKE    Osteria Mozza cook Deb Michail, who is visiting her sister in Milan, brought this round almond cookie cake to Nancy as a show of affection. I received nothing from Deb. Well, I got a couple a hugs. But, can one really eat a hug? Still, though this buttery gift from a bakery in Milan was for Nancy, I  proceeded to eat much of it while standing up in the kitchen. 

DARIO COW’S ACL - This very tender and tasty beef dish was served Sunday July 14 at Dario Cecchini's Solociccia, the modern glass-stepped eatery of the world’s most famous butcher. .  His supreme wife Kim, said this as the platter of this was being passed,  “What is that part of the knee that the atheletes always injure?" Deb said “ACL”.  Yes, Kim said, explaining the dish was composed of the meat and tendons and ligaments around the cow’s knees. “It’s Dario\s favorite part of the cow,” Kim said

 As a placard states, Dario Cecchini is not a restaurant. It is the home of a butcher. It is also the place that Nancy and I know we will find happiness. And a greeting like none other. For many years, Dario has greeted me with a bear hug than he picks me up. Tradition has it that, in turn, I pick him up. To prepare for this on this trip, I picked up Nancy – half Dario’s weight,- in a parking lot a couple times. That was fun.  

This list will grow.   

 Seafood Risotto at Marconi

Seafood Risotto at Marconi

 Spider Pork Pizza at Pelicanos,  a favorite of the Berettos street gang. 

Spider Pork Pizza at Pelicanos,  a favorite of the Berettos street gang.