Monthly Archives: January 2015

Not Your Typical Village Food Tour

BrigadeiroWe are well into January, mucus season here in snowy New York City.  Its also the beginning of the end of resolution season, where we start to forget about all the resolutions of the new year.  Normally the end of resolution season coincides with Cassoulet Week which starts on January 10th, but with the news of obesity rates going up, resolution season has been extended a few more days.  This is after all the season where we ask ourselves that all important question, “Did I gain weight, or am I just bloated”.  Well, you’ve been bloated for 4 weeks, hence its time to take a break.  Reflect, relax, hibernate, and come up with a sensitive plan for this new year.  Food, travel, what else is there to plan.  Maybe babies.  Food, travel, and babies.

I personally haven’t eaten anything noteworthy for almost a month, and my left leg is starting to shake.  Actually its my left thigh really, my Culatello.  So instead of featuring one player today, lets grab our selfie sticks and take a walk in one of the best eating areas in the country, West Village, for a little food tour.  Part of it is in Greenwich Village actually, but for the purpose of this blog its West or East, so if its not East, its West, Kapish?  Lets eat..


Taboonette – Lets start the walk in Union Square.  Close your eyes while crossing 14th st and Mazal Tov, you made it to the village.  On 13th st, you have tiny but deadly Taboonette which can be described in 3 different ways.  A pocket food place, fancy street food, or Middleterranean (Middle eastern with Mediterranean touch) hole in the wall.  Contrary to what it may say on its site, No Falafel For You in this baby Taboon.  But its time to try something new anyway, like the Sabich (with a jewish spitting on your phone ch), a pita sandwich of fried eggplant, hard boiled eggs, Tehini and more, invented in Ramat Gan Israel.  More Israeli veg options like the Kruvit, (roasted cauliflower) fill the menu, or try some of the platters like the Chicken Sawarma (below) or the “Kebab” which is more like hefty delicious Lamb cutlets.

Taboonette Shawarma

AmorinoAmorino – We are breaking all the rules here on EWZ and heading straight to Ice Cream for stop #2.  Normally I start my Gelato relationship with Nocciola and this was love at first Nocciola.  Every cone filling is done with a lot of love and to prove that love they shape it like a flower.  Or perhaps the dude took a fancy to me.  Since then I also discovered the sick Amareno flavor, but only because the Nocciola has been absent.  The ingredients here are top notch, as you taste every fruit and every nut.  A chain in Europe, but quite possibly the best Gelato in NYC at the moment.  At this point a walk in Washington Square Park is in order to kill some calories, or you can head straight west to the next pit stop.  I wanted to recommend Forbes Galleries but I just noticed they are permanently closed

Lumpia Shack Snack Bar – You know what they call a food tour without Lumpia?  A food tour without Lumpia!  These are Vietnamese inspired spring rolls and this Smorgasburg veteran is a good place to try them.  Try all three kinds and guess which is my favorite (hint: its the truffled mushroom).  And while you ate it don’t leave without trying the garlic chips made from tapioca starch infused with tamarind powder.  Yes I said “ate it” on purpose.


Bar Sardine – Time to share a not so average burger.  The $10 Fedora burger is generating some buzz and for good reason.  A well crafted creation featuring smoked cheddar, sweet barbecue mayo, cucumbers, and a shoestring fries loaded inside the burger to give it that crunchy bite.  Fries on the side are an extra $7, but if you really want to try something else, go for the Octopus Hushpuppies.

Bar Sardine BurgerEmpellon Taqueria – I wasnt about to include this one but its practically across the street from Bar Sardine.  The Beer Braised Pork Tongue Taco will run you at $7 a pop but its arguably New York’s best taco.  Just like Bar Sardine you can sit at the bar and be in and out in no time.

Percy Pizza – An exception to the rule, a dollar slice that doesn’t suck.  Very popular with university students, and underpaid professors.  You can go to the more famous Joe’s nearby for a $2.50 slice, but for a dollar slice this is as good as it gets and the smaller size is perfect for this itinerary.Percy Pizza

Brigadeiro Bakery – We end our tour in this spanking new hidden gem where I almost got arrested.  Mariana 1 and Mariana 2 were selling their Brazilian Truffles (Brigadeiros) from a basement in a restaurant around the corner until they finally found this spot.  And according to the feminine inner Ziggy, this little shop is adorable.  Fantastic spiced hot chocolate, and a wide range of freshly baked Brigadeiro.  I’m partial to the bright ones over the chocolate, but try as many as you can.  Last time I left with the feeling that I forgot something until I finally remembered 5 blocks later..Paying!  Yes, I went back, ask Mariana 2.

Brigadeiro2 Brigadeiro Bakery

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Restaurant Week is Over. Here’s What You Missed

Reblogging a post from last year around this time in preparation for Restaurant Week 2015….

Eating With Ziggy

photo (7)1) A Slew of participants.  None of which are the hottest/trendiest places at the moment.  Mostly establishments that can use more bodies during Monday-Friday.

2) Menus designed for restaurant week.  A $25 lunch menu that normally includes a minuscule or none inspiring appetizer like the ever so trendy kale soup.  A main entree that is either off the regular menu, a smaller version of the regular menu item, or a new cheap invention.  You certainly did not miss the signature dishes, or the dishes that truly define the participant establishments

3) Dessert.  Seriously, who orders dessert during lunch anymore in NYC other than the business lunchers or “Ladies Who Lunch”.  At the end of the day, once you calculate all you had versus what the regular menu offers, you wind up with a free dessert

4) Cold Service.  Yes this will vary from place to place and certainly debatable I…

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Categories: New York City | Leave a comment

Emilia Romagna – The Producers!

Italy 2014 797Suppose you are really into Hummus.  You eat it almost daily, you feed it to your family every other day, and you live in an area that is known for it. Hummusville, Kentucky, the birthplace of Hummus!  Many moons ago it was established that the 30 mile radius that surrounds Hummusville, Kentucky has the perfect terroir for growing the most perfect organic Chickpeas.  And some time later, the formula for Hummus was created, only to be challenged by less than perfect Hummus from imitators all over the world.

Fearing sudden danger from those pesky imitators, and a slip in quality from some producers who opted for second grade ingredients in order to increase their margins (a scandal dubbed Tehini-Gate), a Hummus Consortium was established to protect the integrity of its product.  A Hummus Czar was appointed, and Hummus cops are dispatched daily to inspect the producer’s daily production.  They inject a special strip made by HumTech that determines the quality of the product.  The items that pass make it to the market as “Hummus”.  Those that fail make it as well, but labeled “Sabra Hummus” as a more affordable item that should be eaten immediately.

You get the idea, right?  Because if not I can go on and on and talk about the Annual Hummus Festival that includes the famous Hummus donkey race, the tossing of the chickpea game, and the famous Hummus Bucket Challenge.Italy 2014 1147

Such is the food culture in Italy, and especially in Emilia Romagna.  I visited Eataly in NYC the other day and I saw this “Felino Salami – Made in Utah” Is there Felino in Utah?  I asked the girl.  Because as far as I know Felino is a small town south of Parma, famous for its Felino Salami, dubbed King of Salami in Italy and US.  How can it be made in Utah.  “Its just the style” she says.  Hmm, “Parmesan” is a style as well.  EU Courts have been banging heads for years trying to determine whether “Parmesan” is a generic name that can be sold in other countries.  I’m no expert but “Felino” resembles “Felino” name more than “Parmesan” resembling “Parmigiano Reggiano”

Emilia Romagna is the home to the famous Prosciutto di Parma, Aceto Balsamico di Modena (Balsamic Vinegar of Modena), and Parmigiano Reggiano, king of cheese.  If these items dont excite you than most likely your home country did a masterful job selling you poor imitations.  All three are protected by governing bodies that protect the authenticity and integrity of their products.  The point of this post is to highlight some of the area producers that accept English speaking  visitors.  If you dont have a car there are tours you can take from Bologna, Modena, and Parma, some of which will take you to all three in one day.  But I recommend renting a car in order to do it at your own pace, visit some castles, and eat something delicious while doing so.  The challenge is to find producers that Speak English…

Italy 2014 737Prosciutto

I dont have Prosciutto producer recommendations (Bravo Ziggy, what a start).  Instead I got something similar but much more prized.  The creme de la creme of cured hams, the Culatello di Zibello.  Prosciutto so good it has a different name.  And the place most known for it is Antica Corte Pallavicina which I already discussed in full length.  A visit to this old Castle/farm and its world famous Culatello cellar, preferably over night, will leave a lasting memory and a plethora of wet dreams.

But if you rather visit another producer, you can contact the consortium.  I’m aware of one member that is open for English speaking visitors and that is Terre Ducali which you may contact at

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Italy 2014 817Parmigiano Reggiano

CiaoLatte is a small family producer located between Parma and Fidenza.  For 10 euros per person, you get a private (unless other show up) tour with young Serena who speaks English well and is a wealth of information.  But you will need to be there early (8 am if I recall) in order to see the entire process that lasts about two hours.  Well, not the whole process.  For that you will need to spend the night in their Agriturismo and help milk the cows early in the morning.  The farm is very popular with local schools, mainly due to efforts of Serena’s mom who is quite a character (she turned into Liza Minnelli as soon as we mentioned NYC).  Also included is a tasting of various aged Parmigiano, jams and other homemade goodies.  Well worth a visit

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Italy 2014 1158Balsamic Vinegar

Forget everything you know about Balsamic Vinegar.  Unless you already know what you are supposed to know.  Know what I mean?  Out of the three amigos (Parma cheese, ham and balsamic), this one may completely change your buying habits, and the way you use Balsamic.  Ice cream anyone?  Don’t leave Villa San Donnino, just outside Modena without having some ice cream with Traditional 18 year aged Balsamic Vinegar.  “Traditional” has an entirely different meaning in the Balsamic Vinegar universe.  You will learn all about Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale, its much younger, hence more affordable cousins, and the eye opening process.  An absolute must.  Free of charge.  After that, a power lunch at the legendary Hosteria Giusti in Modena is in order.

Buon Appetito my friends!

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Categories: Emilia-Romagna, Italy | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Houston Street, We Have a Problem!

161A Note from the Editor:

In the summer, during my much anticipated staycation, there was a moment on the High Line that is etched in my mind.  We found ourselves almost paralyzed, stuck in rush hour Sunday afternoon traffic behind a family of 4, a rooster, and a pair of parakeets.  It was like a zoo!  We’ve seen our share of tourists at the High Line before but not to this degree, and with characters no less.  We needed to get out of there and we had to do it fast, after a bite of the Delaney Brisket of course.  A trip to the storied High Line coupled with braving the crowds of the Chelsea Market is now firmly on the tourists path.  Great for NYC, and all those Chelsea eateries that must be thriving just about now, right?  Not exactly.

A few weeks ago someone asked me if my knowledge of Hell’s Kitchen extends to Real Estate, for the purpose of finding a new home for La Lunchonette, a long time Chelsea institution.  In what seems like a daily occurrence of businesses closing its doors, La Lunchonette is just another one to bite the dust of rising rents.  Culprit in this case:  The High Line.  The park, along with new zoning permits attracting Real Estate developers who now see a lot of green in West Chelsea, and I’m not talking about the plants along the High Line that no one looks at anyway.  Current building owners succumb to offers they can’t refuse, essentially forced to evict their tenants in many cases.  According to Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York, the High Line is the cause of La Lunchonette’s demise, and presumably, many more will follow.

I guess we are done with gentrifying the island and now focusing on hyper gentrification?  I’m not pretending to know anything about economics or real estate.  I’m just a poor software developer who wants to have a f*** bagel or matzoh whenever I choose to, or whenever Jewish holiday dictates.  Excuse my Yiddish there.  Oh did I mention Streit’s Matzo Factory is closing soon and so is the original Ess-a-Bagel to make room for Bank of America and you guessed it.. a bagel shop.  How can anyone afford to run a business or live in NYC anymore.

The Union Square Area alone is one giant “For Rent” sign, led by Union Square Cafe which is forced to move after its lease is up.  Restaurants are getting squeezed left and right from 57th street to Houston Street.  In Hell’s Kitchen the action is slowly shifting to the West.  A Mexican restaurant owner recently told me he couldn’t afford being on 8th ave anymore and had to move all the way to 10th.  Meanwhile downtown, Brigadeiro Bakery finally found affordable space in Soho after selling their Brazilian Truffles from a Basement nearby for years.  Do you have a Bodega (Mexican deli) near you nowadays?  Bodegas are closing all over or forced to transform and unbodega themselves.

So whats in store for 2015 and beyond.  Brace yourself for more Bank of America, 7-Eleven, Chipotle, and Eataly which plans to open two more stores in NYC in the future.  While I love Eataly as much as the next guy (I spent 3 hours there last Sunday), I need more Eatalys like I need a pimple on my ass.  This expression never made much sense to me, until recently when I finally got one.  Those things can be truly annoying.  Anyway, I cant help but wonder how many more small mom and pops will close as a result of two more Eatalys.  Places like Di Palo’s, where you get a much more personal service, need to cherished like we cherish our kids.

But is it time to panic?  Yes!  I suppose 2014 also saw many new restaurants open, and I believe I even saw “Record Year” being proclaimed somewhere out there.  But with that I also noticed that my spending has increased, so no doubt I’m paying for the rent hikes as well.  How many of the new openings are truly affordable, with entrees below $20.  For every Lumpia Shack there seemed to be 10 Batards opening last year.  In Hell’s Kitchen new business owners used to find refuge on 9th ave, but now they find it on side streets where foot traffic is much lighter, or 10th ave where traffic is even worse.  Whenever I walk to Inti, a Peruvian gem on 10th where the Rotisserie chicken rivals anyone’s, I always wonder how they are still in business.  My co-worker believes they have a healthy delivery business

I still believe NYC is the greatest food city in the world, don’t get me wrong.  And the options I have in lower Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Queens are limitless.  But I’m a little worried about the direction.  Perhaps the worry is for nothing and I should stick to writing about food.  Time will tell.  Meanwhile, avoid the High Line


Editor in Chief

Categories: Brooklyn, Chelsea, Chinatown, East Village, Gramercy, Flatiron, Lower East Side, Midtown East, Midtown West, New York City, Queens, SoHo, NoHo, Nolita, Staten Island, TriBeCa, Trucks, Upper West Side, West Village | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Lazy Post – Random Bologna

Italy 2014 1344I haven’t posted a lazy post in a while in case you didnt notice.  Reason for this particular one is threefold.

1)  Hockey addiction is back in full force

2)  Busy at work after my dependable intern decided to suddenly quit

3)  Lazy

Here are more from our recent visit to Bologna

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Categories: Emilia-Romagna, Italy | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

HKSG Update – 3 in, 1 out

Pam Real OxtailNot the most exciting update to the Hell’s Kitchen Survival Guide, but an update nonetheless.  I keep trying new places, and looking for hidden gems which turn out to be just hidden… Puff Cha, B-Side, all sorts of new Mexican, and Puff Cha Ramen formerly known as Puff Cha (little identity crisis, that’s all.  We all go through that at some point).

While some of you were standing outside of Pure Thai, patiently waiting for a table, I’ve been cheating with Pam for the past three months.  A much more approachable Pam Real Thai joins the list even though the list already includes two Thais.  I explain why there.

Two bars that happened to offer some tasty treats join the list, Brickyard and Shorty’s.  I didn’t have any bars in there, and I see plenty of site traffic coming from Ireland lately.  Just trying to keep my audience happy, and well fed.

I’m removing Annabel from the list after a recent visit.  Shared two pies with a friend and after I left it felt like I just ate an entire loaf of bread.  I liked it just enough after the initial visit but I think I added it prematurely.  I almost replaced it with Tavola, but I’m not totally in love with it either

Stay Hungry!

Categories: Midtown West, New York City | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

NYC – Top 10 Dishes of 2014

Lincoln StrozzapretiBowery Steak at Bowery Meat Company.  Normally in the food blogging universe, when a steak is compared to a Hockey puck, its usually in order to describe a poorly cooked piece of meat.  But in this case, its the odd looking Hockey puck shaped perfection sitting on top of creamy whipped potato puree, and topped with a little bit of Chimichurri.  One little touch of that thing with your fork or a prolong stare breaks the spiral roll of ribeye cap, aka the more flavorful part of the ribeye.  A most noble cut, generated by none other than the legendary Pat LaFrieda of course.  Don’t believe me?  Ask fellow meat lover Justin Bieber who was spotted there a day after yours truly and his family.  “Way to go dad, always picking the wrong days”

Bowery Meat Company Bowery Steak

Oxtail Soup at Pam Real Thai – I’m starting to believe this soup has special healing powers.  Whether you are suffering from Flu like symptoms, Depression, Frontal Baldness, Cholera, try the soup and see a doctor.  Best to have the soup solo, as it will clear up both your nostrils and allow free grazing of the two giant oxtail bones in a way that should leave no witnesses.  Its spicy, complex, addictive and just about my favorite soup in NYC at the moment.  Which really means America!

Pam Real Oxtail

Patate Alla Carbonara at Marta – The White pizza section to me is like the pet isle in the supermarket.  I only get there by accident or under some form of influence.  My wife found me there once and though I was having an affair.  These days the only way for me to cheat on the reds is with this Bianca, featuring Guanciale, Pecorino and egg “juice” poured ever so slowly all over the pie.  It took a few initial incarnations (started as “Gricia” with an egg in the middle) until this thing was perfected by Nick Anderer who perfected so many things at Maialino.  Its Roman style pizza which means Matsoh like cracker thin (especially at the edges), but it holds its own nicely throughout so knife needed.

Marta Patate alla Carbonara

Lobster Roll at The Grand Banks.  This place rocked!  Literally!  In fact we almost left upon entering this Schooner (a ship for the German readers) parked on Pier 25 in the warmer months.  But the food obsessed that we are, we braved it out and stayed for the main event.  A Maine style Lobster Roll (cold) using the meatiest and clawiest parts of the lobster, with tarragon mayonnaise and cucumbers which isnt very “Mainely” I know, but serve as barriers between meat and bun.  Very often lobster rolls lose its luster due to a soggy bun, but here the cucumbers keep it fresh and dont deter from the taste.  The roll which comes with well seasoned potato chips (no frier on board) is not exactly a value play at $25, but you gotta pay up for the good stuff mon.  Especially on the island I call Manhattan


BBQ Squid at Annisa – Stunner!  Actually the first word that comes to mind is “gorgeous” but its hard even for the feminine inner Ziggy to say the G word these days.  When was the last time you heard a straight man say something is gorgeous.  And adding the F word just makes it sound awkward.  But this dish is not only attractive to look at, but got the flavors to match.  Marinaded, perfectly grilled Squid with fried tentacles, mint, and fresh peanuts boiled to match the texture of the tender Edameme.  Add Hoisin sauce for some sweetness and tanginess and the formula is complete.  I hope it never leaves the menu.  Anita Lo are you reading?

Annisa Squid

Carrot Wellington at Narcissa – A rarity.  A meal where the veggie dishes outperform the meats and fish.  Even the beet dish here made me question everything I knew about beets and seek Borscht the next day.  I never seek Borscht.  The carrots are cured, roasted and simply shine in those puff pastries.  They are tender and rich enough that you wont miss the meat.  And the accompanied veggies especially the earthy Bluefoot mushrooms complimented nicely.  Along with Piora’s carrots, perhaps the carrot dish to beat.  If you are having commitment issues, you can always share it as a middle course.

Narcissa - Carrot Wellington

Strozzapreti Con Aragosta at Lincoln (Top).   Orange is the new crack!  Possibly the most ingenious pasta dish I ever had.  First of all its looks gorgeous sensational, and you smell the sea as soon as it arrives.  Smell it!  Its an important aspect of any meal.  The Strozzapreti (invented I suppose when someone envisioned a pasta shape while witnessing a priest being slowly strangled) is made with lobster coral, the female egg sac, to bring that bright sexy orange prison look.  Sweet lobster chunks are added to the mix along with Tarragon and a delicate citrusy sauce.  But the best part and what puts this thing over the top was the shockingly flavorful lobster and scallop “sausage” bits which had the texture of chicken skin nut tasted nothing like it.  As of this writing the dish is not on the menu, so write to your local congressman

Scrambled Eggs at Gato.  I’m quite the sucker for nicely executed egg dishes, and this one topped a year filled with good ones (Casa Mono comes to mind).  Almond Romesco (spanish red pepper sauce), Boucheron cheese, and fluffiness levels that I’ve yet to produce no matter how hard I try.  I Google the heck out of how to make my scrambled eggs this fluffy, and it looks like Boucheron may be the answer.  Bobby Flay got something nice going there, but dont tell him that, or mention this pick.  We dont want success to get to his head.

Gato - eggs

Zabzi Tagine at Bar Bolonat – I attacked this mini Tagine on more than one occasion in 2014.  But I confess that the first time, closer to the Bar Bolonat debut was the best rendition.  Homemade couscous, aromatic fresh herbs, and short rib or beef cheek (it changes from time to time) so tender and flavor packed, even the Goyim foodies can appreciate this modern Israeli delight.  Get this, the kibbeh, Creme Brulee, and any of the other “Best of 2014” dishes circulating the web.  Einat Admony got herself another winner.

Bar Bolonat - Zabzi Tagine

Fried Chicken at Root and Bone – Last year it was the Ma Peche Habanero, this year its R&B singing the chicken song.  Choon!  The bird is brined in sweet tea, onions and garlic for 24 hours, and finished with a dusting of dehydrated lemon powder to add that nice zesty tone.  Perfectly crisped skin, and juiciness levels I havent seen since college.  Great dish and a great menu that features all sorts of goodies like Sticky Toffee Pudding with whiskey sauce and beer flavored ice cream.

root and bone chicken

Special Mentions:

Burger at the NoMad Bar
Marinated Pork at Somtum Der
Falafel plate at Zizi Limona
Agnolotti at All’onda
Chicken Burrito at Missions Cantina
Beer Braised Pork Tongue Tacos at Empellon Taqueria
Octopus at Marea
Kimchi Fried Rice at Louro
Tofu at Dunji
Samsa at Nargis Cafe
Elk Chops at Henry’s End
Carrots at Piora
Green Curry Ramen at Bassanova
Dirty rice at Ivan Ramen
Cha Ca La Vong at Pok Pok Brooklyn
Oxtail and Bone Marrow Fried Rice at Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill

Categories: East Village, Gramercy, Flatiron, Lower East Side, Midtown West, New York City, SoHo, NoHo, Nolita, Upper West Side, West Village | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Meal of the Year 2014 – Il Centro in Priocca

Italy 2014 420Top NYC dishes of 2014 are coming up next, but first I have to tell you all about the meal of the year and quite possibly the best meal we ever had.

To give you an idea of what I’m talking about…  Its well past 3 pm and we’ve been seating there for three hours, alone now in the back room.  We are starting to feel a bit agitated that we havent received our bill, and we still have yet to get a tour of the magnificent cellar.  Mrs Ziggy is now playing Candy Crush!!  When Mrs Ziggy starts to play Candy Crush on her phone it means things are not going very well, unless she finally beats that crazy difficult level that makes her forget sometimes she has children.  This kind of inconvenience would normally put a big damper on roughly 99% of our meals, but not even a dent in this one.  30 minutes before Candy Crush I was telling young Giampiero (the son) about how much fun we were having and that we did not mind sitting there for such a long time (we really didnt at the time).  He either took my comment a bit too seriously or more likely rightfully shifted his attention to other patrons.  That same attention we were so greatly enjoying the previous 3 hours.

Italy 2014 410I hope any of the Corderos reading this will only see the previous paragraph as the compliment it was intended and nothing more.  Over 10 courses of absolute delight, with each dish and each item on each plate showing brilliance we have yet to witness anywhere.  I vividly remember the lone caramelized fig sitting in the corner of the Veal Cheek dish, like the little shy girl that no one wants to dance with.  That unassuming little thing carried surprising intense flavors, wow moment #8 or so.  The same kind of attention to detail and top notch raw materials followed throughout without any hiccups whatsoever.  A rare (for us) perfect blend of Slow Food and Michelin (1 star).  We are very fortunate to visit places that lean one way or another, but very rarely, perhaps never, we’ve witness this kind of marriage

The room was well lit and simplistic.  Not a whole lot decor wise.  An American couple somehow stole our reservations but they still managed to accommodate us and seat us directly facing that couple.  So we were able to give them the stink eye!  The best way to experience Il Centro fully is for one to go for the tasting menu while the other A la carte.  The tasting menu is basically 3 starters, and one primi, secondi, dolce that you choose from the menu.  On to the food…Italy 2014 404

While I had plenty of steak tartars in my life, this was my first ever Carne Cruda – a Piedmontese specialty of chopped beef, not as finely minced as tartare.  Helped by a shaving of White Truffles (26 euros fixed price) this was a top dish of the trip nominee, and led the way to more Carne Crudas  to come.  For those brainwashed and scared of raw meat, Carne Cruda is perhaps the best way of self hypnosis.

Italy 2014 411Porcini in a Parmigiano cup was another big winner.  The delicate perfectly cooked Porcini went very well with the flavors and crunch of the cheese.  It was like eating Porcini for the very first time.  The attractive Pepper plate stuffed with tuna a bit overshadowed by the other two but would have easily been a hit anywhere else.  Faraona (Guineafowl) was simple yet quite exquisite.  The best compliment I can give to any dish is that it changed the way we order in other restaurants.  Like the Carne Cruda, this Faraona led to three more during the trip

Tajarin with ragu was rich and pleasant.  Not as explosive as La Torre in Cherasco but still quite good.  Ravioli stuffed with beef and topped with sausage and chicken liver ragu was even better.  The liver especially elevated this dish to another level.  Another wow moment came with the veal cheek caramelized with figs. Sweet, deep lasting flavors, and as tender as veal can get.  And the aforementioned little fig in the corner was an eye opener.  Codone beef (top), essentially a hazelnut loving local breed accompanied by a fragrant fruity salad was another revelation.  The secret to happiness is happy cows Italy 2014 415

The best thing I can say about the hazelnut dessert trio on top of the menu is nothing, because I don’t want to spoil the surprise to those who will experience this. It’s like telling you the ending of Breaking Bad.  A must get, along with the gelato

We drank a 2010 Cascina Val Del Prete Nebbiolo d’Alba, a winery based locally in Priocca.  One of the best wines we drank the entire trip which was filled with great Barbarescos and Barolos

A visit to the magnificent cellar was the perfect finish to a most memorable meal.  Bravissima! Italy 2014 400 Italy 2014 405 Italy 2014 407 Italy 2014 413 Italy 2014 419 Italy 2014 421 Italy 2014 422 Italy 2014 424 Italy 2014 425 Italy 2014 427

Church around the corner

Church around the corner

Categories: Italy, Piedmont | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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