I’ll start this one with the current list of my biggest weaknesses: Pizza, Bread Pudding, small spiders, Ramen, foreign movies, big spiders, White Truffles. Yes, white truffles! Or as I call it, Tuber Magnatum Pico. As some of you that read this blog for a while know, me and Tuber go way back. Last fall the relationship reached its peak when we spent four days in Piedmont, possibly the most underrated region in Italy for food. While in NYC, I always look forward to every opportunity for a taste during the fall season, often shelling out premium $$$$ for it. But I should probably give It a rest.
I always look for excuses to go to Eataly. Need wine for Thanksgiving… Eataly! Need fresh pasta.. Eataly. Need new light bulbs in the bathroom… you guessed it… hardware store… on the way to Eataly. Yes its touristy, crowded and a little expensive, but in this case all for good and valid reason. I can spend hours there, Sunday Football hours! And I normally do. I dont need to “brave the tourists”, partly because I’m used to the scene and partly because I dont really feel like I’m braving anyone. If anything it feels like a good spot for people watching, although my eyes are normally glued to the shelves.
Last Sunday also happened to be “Truffle Day”, a collaboration with our local truffle tzar Urbani. Urbani, in addition to bringing in Truffles from Umbria, makes truffle sauces, truffle butter, truffle perfume (on my Santa list), and anything and everything to do with truffles. If you are in the area of their headquarters on 60th and West End ave (11th ave), I suggest popping in for a quick look at their showroom where you can purchase any of their products including some nasty looking Tubers. Juts keep in mind the dry summer in Italy this year resulted in less and more expensive truffles this time around
Ok, confession time, I dont really call them Tuber Magnatum Pico, but I feel like I should. I was just talking to friends the other day about ear, nose and throat doctors, and that they dont have more of a proper name like Gynecologist. As if they simply ran out of “ologists” when they got to those parts of the body. Well, it turns out they didnt. “Otolaryngologist” is the proper name, so you can see why no one calls them Otolaryngologists. No one can.
Anyway, so Sunday off I go to Eataly for a quick Salumi and wine run, and before you knew it, I’m asking a waiter wearing white gloves to turn the truffle around so I could take a better shot of it during a $140 solo truffle lunch. It was like sending an alcoholic to the local bar for diapers. I even left without buying any salumi because they put the truffle stand right next to the salumi/cheese making me miss it and forget all about it. I spent a good 20 minutes looking and talking at these babies until the truffle lady called security. As for the lunch, this was at Pranzo (meaning “lunch”), Eataly’s lunch only restaurant in association with its cooking school. Lets just say, after this Carne Cruda and pasta, both with four grams of shavings each, a little more schooling is in order (hence the title). But bashing is not the goal of this post. The goal is to celebrate everything Eataly and Italy
Some new and old faves:
Venchi Chocolates – Those are the chocolates you’ll see sold by the pound by the sweets counter. Anythig dark and hazelnutty especially good. Expensive for good reason, just like all the rest of the Piedmontese sweets. And ye, just about half of the chocolates you’ll see over the store come from Piedmont
Truffle sauces – Especially the mushroom/truffle stuff from Urbani, Like Pasta cologne
Fresh pasta – mainly Agnolotti dal Plin which I make with.. you guessed it.. truffle butter
Re Ale Extra Beer – Love the Italian craft beer here and this is my favorite. Fantastically hoppy, citrusy IPA.
Italian Sodas – Chinoto, Gazzosa
(Just avoid the truffles)