ITALY MMXV, PART I, Three Days in Piedmont, Dining Highlights and The War in Heaven

I can't think of a clever way to start writing about the dining highlights of Italy 2015 which began in Piedmont, other than to just list the top dishes. Here they are. 

Porcini and Peaches. at Ristorante da Cesare  in Albaretto. -  This dish is also known as "Il muschio terra Il terra dolce" ( the musky earth.the sweet earth)  The best way to say how good this was is to tell you to look at that photo below and know that it tasted that good. One of those lookers who backs it up.  Are mushrooms and stone fruit a classic paring. I don't know. Should they be? Uh, yeah. 

The restaurant of Cesare Giaccone is one of the most pleasurable restaurants I have been to.  There is something so refreshing about this place.and Cesare.  Part of it stems from a story his friend  - and ours. - Gino Angelini told us. It goes something like "Cesare only opens when he needs some money."    The thing is.da Cesare is probably the least money-hungry restaurant I know. There's eight seats. He won't open for two people. Nancy suggested he put up a sign out front that reads "gone fishing".   For a reservation here. get a hold of Gino.

porcini and peaches

Much of the art work that hangs here is by Giaacone. Check out this mushroom painting by him.

cesaremushrooms painting

I'm raving about this guy so much, you might as well get a look. That's goat on the shish. 

cesare by the fire

Here's the site.

Millefoglie di Lingua di vitello e foie gras con gelatina al porto at  il Cascinalenuovo - near Isolo d' Asti 

This is one of several dishes we had at Walter Feratto's outstanding restaurant.  This is veal tongue and foie gras layered into a triangle.  Rich.  For more on our night here, a report is coming.

For a reservation here, get a hold of Lonnie.

Here's the site.

foie gras walter tong


Semplici ravioli quadrati di faraona  at All'Enoteca in - Canale.

Simple ravioli stuffed with guinea hen.  Now, unlike that photo of Cesare's porcini and peaches, this photo looks like just about any ravioli in the world. Nothing special. Didn't your local cafeteria make some ravs that looked like this? But, they didn't taste like this. The depth of flavor was rated at 467-foot pounds of torque and the zero to 100 kph (62mph) was times at 3.6. both marks are tops for a ravioli, so far in the 2015 season.  And just to emphasize this, I'll let you in on something; Though this was the first dinner of Italy XXMV, there was a movement to declare this dish as pasta of the trip. It was that right.


We had a pigeon in black truffle crust that was good. And a trolley was wheeled by at the end of the meal with about 8 different dried fruits. I cannot confirm this. but two people said it was rated best dried fruit trolley in Piedmont. 

Here's the site.

Crisp pork with sweet onion sauce  at Il Cascinalenuovo  near Isolo d'Asti

The skin is crisp. the meat part is tender. Those onion get ups on the side?  As McNulty says in his fake accent at the whore house, "Spot on." The overall effect of this dish is very good.  Now, if you ever wanted a really impressive food review, that was it right there.  You know what?  Try this instead. If you ever out this way in Piedmont, just order this and thank me. 

walt pok


Tajarin “40 tuorli” al burro e salvia  at Osteria del Boccondivino in Bra

The town of Bra, 15, 20 clicks outside of Alba, is where the Slow Food movement started. It's meant to be anti-fast food. Other than Ferraris and Lamborghinis and some Maseratis,  I didn't know there was anything fast in Italy. Food, cashiers, justice, the army. Even the air force here seems kinda slow.

But, the restaurant we heard about was this Osteria Boccondivino. And there I  had this tajarin, a pasta here made with 40 egg yolks,  and mixed butter and sage. Superb.  

Here's the site.

Bra has a beautiful church called Saint Andrea. Nancy says it might be her favorite church in the world. If you are in Bra, check it out. 

in the city of Nieve we went to another church  In this one, there is a statue of my namesake, the archangel Michael. It was here that I famously described "The War in Heaven" to Nancy.  A recap. Archangel Michael fights the devil in heaven. Mike wins and the devil gets banished to hell. 

So I tell Nancy this an she  says  "So that's how hell got started. Thanks to you."  

Me and my angel 

Me and my angel