Posts Tagged With: Da Ruggero

Top 10 Things We Ate in Tuscany

Il Pozzo RavioliI’m off to the Island I like to call Providenciales in Turks and Caicos, but meanwhile here is something to chew on…

Pollo al Burro in Sostanza (Florence) – Call it chicken with butter, butter with Chicken, doenst really matter.  Two generous breasts are cooked over coal before pan fried with eggs and one stick of butter.  Thats still 2 sticks less than the similarly celebrated BBQ Shrimp at Mr B’s in New Orleans, but rich nonetheless.  The result is tender and addictive goodness.  With the massive Sostanza Bistecca Fiorentina side by side, for the first time ever my fork was reaching for the bird over a well cooked medium rare steak.  Long live pollo!Sostanza Chicken

Pappa al Pomodoro at Da Ruggero (Florence).  Love on first bite.  My first Pappa al Pomodoro of the trip might as well have been my last.  The waiter reassure me that this is one of best Pappas in town, so who am I to argue.  Who knew tomatoes and stale bread can taste so good.  And I could have easily included some of Ruggero’s killer pastas (with a nice kick) here as well.

Da Ruggero

Cecina at Da Felice (Lucca).  Oldest Pizza in town, and the most popular with locals.  We sampled some great pizzas, one with salami, and another one with prosciutto that blended oh so nicely with the rest of the ingredients.  But I came for the Cecina, thin pancake like or crepe if you will, made of chickpea flour.  Delicious!  Add a little bit of seasoning, Delicious-er!

Lucca - Cecina

Charcuterie Board at L’Incontro (Volterra).  Holy smokes this was good.  Leave it to local Annie Adair from Tuscan Tours to take us to this treasured local bar.  A feast for all senses that included great Salami, Prosciutto and all sorts of Pecorino cheeses (not seen below).  But the highlight was a first-rate Porchetta they just happened to have prepared that day.  Highly recommend having lunch here when in town.

Charcuterie Board at L'Incontro

Pecorino at Podere Il Casale (Near Pienza).  Like eating cheese for the first time.  The views did not hurt, but the smells and flavors from the Sheep’s milk cheese like the grape aged or walnut leaves age was nothing like we ever had.  And did I mention the views?  Oh yes, looks like I did

Italy - 2013 969

Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli at Il Pozzo (San Angelo in Colle). (Top Picture).  Magical dish in another magical setting in stunning San Angelo in Colle.  Watch the monks sing nearby at Sant’Antimo abbey before having this beauty with butter and sage.  This is a typical Tuscan dish you can have anywhere, but it was especially memorable here, as was the marvelous Pici.  Or Pinci as they call it in nearby Montalcino, a town too proud (of their Brunello) to simply call it like everyone else. 😉

Bruschetta at Gattavecchi (Montepulciano).  Carnival in my belly!  Fantastic Salsa Verde with melted cheese, savory liver pâté (best of the trip – Lilian the Brazilian cook makes it with wine and fruit), all kinds of great concoctions in a cup including potatoes-onion-bell pepper thingy (foodie technical term), and my fave, white beans spread with bread and veggies – ribolita.  Heavenly stuff at this heavenly city.

Gattavecchi - Bruschetta

Insalata Lagumi at Da Roberto (Montisi).  Simple, beautiful, and highly palatable.  One man show Roberto lets the ingredients do the talking.  5 different beans with pecorino, tomatoes, sunflower seeds, carrots, stem of garlic, olive oil.  All work together like a beautiful symphony, showcasing Roberto’s true passion.  The wrong place to ask “Whats good here” in this Slow Food Ambassador’s place.

Da Roberto - Insalata lagumi

Polenta with Porcini at La Tellina (Siena).  On a Porcini filled trip this was most memorable.  Grilled to perfection Polenta with these delicate, great textured Porcini, a nice app before the great seafood arrives.  All prepared with a lot of love from the family that runs this picture perfect trattoria.

La Tellina - Poricini

Ravioli with pigeon from Guastini (Valiano).  This was a tough pick since everything in this meal of the trip was so good.  I could have easily inserted the glorious fennel crusted duck, or the divine Tagliata, or the sinful fried rabbit I suppose.  But these pigeon stuffed Ravioli with 2 succulent pieces did the trick and more.  No wonder this place was full with locals

Guastini - Ravioli

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Categories: Italy, Tuscany | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Da Ruggero {Florence} – “A Good Place to Eat”

da ruggero

The title of this blog post has a much deeper meaning than it suggests.  A meaning I will discuss soon.  But first..

When we first decided on a Tuscany/Rome trip in the summer instead of the planned Banff, Canada, I didn’t waste much time and started researching food before I even knew where exactly we are going.  Da Ruggero was the first restaurant I read about (on the excellent Elizabeth Minchilli blog) and the first restaurant I added to the itinerary.  3 months later however I found myself struggling to keep it in the itinerary due to its location, but I managed to squeeze in a lunch after Pitti Palace (nice 20 minute walk).  A lunch which unquestionably turned out to be the top meal in Florence for us.

When we walked inside one of the first things I noticed gave me a feeling of relief; tattoos.  “Why Ziggy did tattoos give you a feeling of relief”.  Well I’m glad you asked Timmy!  That’s because when I read about this place I saw a few mentions of perfect English coming from the tattooed waiter.  You see Timmy, the only Italian I speak is “Menu Italian”.  I’m ok with Italian menus and on occasion when we do get English menus I ask for one in Italian just to make sure nothing good is lost in translation.  But I cant Incorporate “Menu Italian” into conversation.  Except when I learned elementary Italian cursing (while waiting for my International Driver’s Permit imagining being stopped by a cop in Italy).  I figured I can utilize “Menu Italian” in phrases like “Tuo padre è un pollo” (Your father is a Chicken).  So getting an English speaking waiter means I dont need to struggle and I can enjoy and relax.  Of course the opposite is normally true for the waiter(s), but that’s there problem.

I think I digressed long enough this time.  Our tattooed friend was pleasantly surprised and reassured us that we ordered all the goof stuff.  His great English comes from marrying a Russian, which also means (from experience) that he doesn’t need to make a decision for the rest of his life.

Da RuggeroThe dishes at Ragurro ranged from Very Good to Andrew Zimmern like facial expressions “This is it” good.  Started with another nice crostini with liver, a popular starter in Tuscany.  A very pleasant farro salad with asparagus, fresh tomatoes and shrimp was especially liked by Mrs Ziggy.  My first Pappa al Pomodoro of the trip might as well have been my last.  Delicious!  The waiter reassure me that this is one of best Pappas in town.  Who knew tomatoes and stale bread can taste so good.

We shared a couple of pastas between the 4 of us and they were both outstanding. An almost see through thin tagliatelle with zucchini flowers and a little bit of heat. And more heat via the Spaghetti Carrettiera, essentially spicy spaghetti. So simple and SO addictive.

For secondi we just shared a pork chop (2 hefty pieces) which turned out more than enough for us.  Up until that point our secondis in Florence were less than stellar.  This was stellar. I don’t believe I ever tasted a pork chop as moist, juicy and flavorful as this.

On the wall near us we spotted an article by the Seattle Times of all things titled “A good place to eat” touting Mr Ruggero’s restaurant and his cooking.  That was 1969.  Now in another location, son and daughter are continuing the legacy and judging by the food and the packed house  on a Sunday afternoon I would say they are doing a fine job.   We were the only tourists there.  I can only say it about one other restaurant we visited this trip.  Diners included a family with a 4 year who was talking non stop to his uncle about Star Wars.  A mother and daughter, an older gentleman wearing a suit.  All of which set the scene to one of those memorable meals that remind you why you go to Italy.  Da Ruggero Da Ruggero Da Ruggero Da Ruggero Da Ruggero Da Ruggero Da Ruggero

Categories: Florence, Italy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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