Something I don’t do nearly enough is read other food blogs. I wish I had the time to just chillax for a full day and read nothing but food blogs. No wife, no work, no kids, just me, myself and blogs. Not possible. But whenever we are about to travel somewhere I put the blog reading on the next gear, and naturally these days I read Italian food blogs. I noticed that not only I get many ideas on what to eat on our upcoming trip in the summer, but I also get plenty of ideas on how to improve the blog.
For example the excellent Katie Parla blog (which I found last fall while researching New Orleans and got the a great Boucherie reco from her) and Elizabeth Manchilli in Rome (and Florence) have given me something to think about, like that my site
sucks does not have enough lists. So I gave you Best Pizza in Hell earlier this month and now I figured I’ll write about Eataly. A place dear to my heart and wallet (my wallet strongly believes in keeping your friends close and enemies closer)10 years ago I used to work right across the street from Eataly where it was a Toy Building. While we were too busy at work checking out the modeling action on 22nd st with our binoculars working, we didn’t have much time to check out the toys back then. But nowadays we go there often. Eataly is busy, hectic, full of Italians for some reason, and very very touristy, but for good reason. You can easily spend an entire day there. Well, I can! During the last few years I spent a lot of time there eating, drinking, shopping and learning elementary Italian cursing like “tuo padre è un pollo” (your father is a chicken) comes in handy. So without further ado, here are 10 things to try while visiting Eataly to make your visit more memorable
Sorry about some of the Iphone photos.
1) Italian Soda. My new obsession. The refreshingly citrusy Cedrata, Gazzosa, the ‘root beer on crack’ Chinoto, the lightly sweetened Gus Sodas. Buy a few and see what you like. All with natural ingredients and some like the Gazzosa feature the famous lemons of Amalfi
2) Maitake Mushrooms at Birreria – Put your name down for the roof garden, and wait for the text. The text is your gateway to some of the most delicious Mushrooms you will ever eat. Perfectly chewy and savory Maitake with Pecorino cheese. One of about 3 or 4 dishes in their mushroom section along with nice Oyster mushrooms and fried shiitakes. Also try the Cotechino sausage and pork shoulder
3) Grande Piatto Misto Di Salumi & Formaggi at La Piazza – Say what? thats right. A nice little assortment of the best cheese and Salumi of the day in the Piazza. Prosciutto, salami, 4 different kinds of cheese, honey, figs and more. Add a glass of one of their fine whites and its like having an aperitivo in Piazza Navona staring at la Fontana dei Fiumi. Except that you are in Eataly, inside a building, staring at a German tourist’s sandals with socks.
5) Cacio e Pepe at La Pasta. “A so a simple and a so good a”. Cheese, black pepper, al dente pasta is apparently all you need to make this Roman classic. Perfection on a plate. So what am I doing wrong?
6) Gnocchi at La Pasta – To compliment your Cacio e pepe. Gnocchi, with 3 hours braised + 3 hour cooked + 3 hour groin massaged, wonderful melt in your mouth lamb shank. Also try the Neapolitan pizza while there
7) Fresh Agnolotti cacio e pepe – This is to buy. Pillowy delicate Agnolotti stuffed with pecorino and black pepper. Don’t overcook. Set the timer to what it says on the box – I believe about 3-4 minutes after returning to boil. Add some freshly shredded cheese and butter and invite me for dinner and Voila! I found that a little more than 1 pound (1.2) feeds a hungry family of 4.
8) Truffle sauces. Walk all the way to the right pass the dry pasta section, and you’ll see this mostly Urbani truffle heaven. It will do wonders to your pasta. Just don’t overdo it – add just one of those little babies and invite me for inspection. You can also visit the Urbani NYC headquarters on 11th in the 50’s (I forget)
9) Pesce Alla Diamantese at IL Pesce – Seared fish of the day cooked with tomato sauce, olives, Calabrian Chiles, fennel and capers. Savory, great flaky texture and absolutely delicious. Well played Mario.
10) Gelato – Duh!! Try the Stracciatella (sort of like choc chip) and Nocciola (hazelnut). Fantastic gelato
So there you have it. Buon Appetito, and stay hungry my friends. Some more food porn…