Archive for the ‘Market’ Category

Mangiamo 2007: Campo dei Fiori

February 20, 2008

Located right next to the Jewish Ghetto, and near Piazza Navona in Rome, Campo dei Fiori is a glorious outdoor food market. I’m just reading on Wiki that it’s been open every morning, since 1869! Imagine that! Here’s Maria, founder of the market. Kidding (but you know she’s been here before you were even born).

Radicchio, NOT purple cabbage:
No matter how hard the Greenmarket in NY tries emulating outdoor markets in Europe, until they get a hottie butcher truck in Union Square, it will never reach its full potential.

Maruo Berardi- Campo dei Fiori resident spice man.


January 21, 2008

Last month there was a gathering of sustainable purveyors in the space that use to occupy the historic Fulton Fish Market in NYC, near South Street Seaport- a place that, until recently, has held outdoor makets for New Yorkers since the 1600’s. An organization called New Amsterdam Public invited a group of local farmers, wild food foragers, producers, and cooks to create a happening called “Wintermarket”. It is hoped to be the 1st of many future outdoor markets held in this famous locale to help promote and support the “locavore” movement in the city. After a $5 donation, we were able to join the locals for tastings of fresh ricotta, organic honey, cranberry cider sorbet, liver pate, pine island oysters, ice wine from the upstate Slyboro Ciderhouse and Lady Apples from New Hampshire…to name a few.

Sheep Cheese from 3-Corner Field Farm

Hot Cider

Local Liver Pate

Scallops and other seafood from Wild Edibles

Local Nuts

Hot Cheese and Pickle Sandwich

Mangiamo 2007!: 24 Hours in Madrid

October 30, 2007

Stopped off in Madrid for one night to see my dear friends Marta and Jose. Marta and I lived together in Padova, and she’s like a sister to me.

But first, let’s talk airplane food. I took Iberia both back and forth from NY, and here are just some few points of why non-US airlines are better than American ones:
– Food generally taste better
– All you can drink booze– American airlines make you pay $5+, even on international flights now. You’re so screwed if you have to go to Australia or somewhere really far away!
– Real silverware

I got all these three things with my meal, which consisted of a chicken curry, spinach and rice. The tomato, grilled zucchini and mozzarella starter was really good (the cheese was excellent), as was the cheesecake-like dessert.

And do you see that? REAL SILVERWARE!!! Makes a HUGE difference, as I can’t stand plastic utensils. And yes, I’m one of those people with a growing personal collection of airline silverware. I’m partial to the design.

And let me say that in those 7 hours, they fed us not once, but twice!! Dinner and breakfast– pretty nutty.

A mere 7 hours after leaving JFK, I arrived in Madrid barely having slept at all. Here’s the new terminal at Barajas airport– it’s pretty neat.

I basically slept all day– which is sorta horrible, but Marta summoned me to rest up cause we would be going out that night (in Spain, that means until dawn). When I woke up, Jose took me around their neighborhood in Madrid– a really cute area which reminded me of Park Slope.

The bakery:

The “alimentacion”, which sells anything from basic groceries to toilet paper. This one specialized in jamon and other yummy pork products–there is nothing in the world I love more than cured meats hanging front he ceiling. If I ever open a restaurant, I think I’d call it the Jamoneria.

Went into an indoor market, which was like Chelsea Market or Essex Street Market, with different vendors selling all sorts of food stuffs under one roof.

Like the Jamon Man- they slice each piece by hand! I bet this one was jamon Iberico– which you still can’t get in the States, I don’t think– and is far superior to Italian prociutto, in my humble opinion.


Seafood- these were weird little claw-like mirugai-like things that intrigued me:

HUGE prawns!
The supermarket, which locks up their precious cans of tuna (strange) and liquor (makes sense):

Dinner time- a nice restaurant in Madrid, Los Timbales, specializing in excellent Spanish cuisine.

Check out this beautiful cured meat plate! Drool Heaven! Jamon, chorizon, salsichon, lomo… and queso!

I forgot to take pictures, but we also had this incredible octopus dish, broiled on a wooden plank with potatoes.

Ah, Spain… after dinner we did indeed stay out all night drinking and smoking (INSIDE the bars!). No more smoking in restaurants and bars in Italy- which made me sad.

Pacific Northwest Road Trip 2007

August 6, 2007

Just got back from a 6 day jaunt around the pristine and spectacular Pacific Northwest, stopping in Portland, Seattle and Vancouver. The trip was cloudless, seamless, no accidents, no trip-ups– just good times drinking, eating, discovering, and mellowing with my friend Kristi, who gets a cookie for putting up with me through 2 states, 2 countries, and all that mileage.

My traveling method is really to just go-with-the flow. Especially when you’re traveling with others, I think it’s important not to create any strict expectations about what to do/ where to eat. I did want to eat well, but I had only done a little research going out there, so we ended up getting stuck in a few tourist traps, but whatever, it happens. Here are a few highlights from the trip.

Kristi and I were super stoked when we drove by this Kwik-E-Mart in Seattle. Neither of us knew this was happening to 7-11s all over the country, and it was a very random, very welcome happenstance.

We of course got out of the car, got our Squishee on (the sign really does say Squishee!), and took pictures with Homer, Chief Wiggum, Apu and Ralphie. YES!!!

Seattle is known to be the coffee capital of the US. It is, of course, where Starbucks originated, and I was very looking forward to drinking some hardcore coffee.

My friend Dawn, who lived in Seattle for 3 years, recommended Espresso Vivace, in Capitol Hill, which was my favorite part of town. Look at my cappucino, isn’t it pretty! It was neat to watch the barista make the heart/ leaf design– she basically put the foam on top of the espresso, then with a quick flick of the wrist, created this work of art. And it tasted even better than it looks, really bold but not overpowering, at just the right temperature too.

Kristi’s hot cocoa was gorgeous too, with the whipped cream on one side and the foam with the design on the other. So cool! Watching these hot baristas made me want to master the art of coffee!

We went to Pike Place for their row of veggie, fruit, seafood, cheese, flowers and just-about-everything-else vendors, right alongside the water. Here’s a little clip of this one specific seafood vendor, famous for throwing the customers orders from one end of the counter to the other, and singing all the way through.

Kinda kitchy, but I loved it. It’s sorta hard to tell, but the guy behind the counter really did catch the huge fish! And these fishermen are all so HOT!

In Vancouver, we went to this great indoor market on Granville “Island” (not to be mistaken as a real island, it turned out). Here they house a plethora of local produce, bakeries, butchers, and like Pike Place, just about everything else.

How great are these little pieces seaweed, sold as “sea asparagus”. So cute! I’m sure it would be good in salad and soups.

I had one of these “salmon rolls” which is basically salmon rolled in pastry puff. Since the northwest is especially known for their salmon, this was a great little treat. For $2, it was the best deal ever!

Ironically, the best meal I had throughout the entire trip took place while I was waiting for my flight at the Seattle-Tacoma airport. By then, Kristi was already on her way back to San Diego, so I was all by my lonesome.

I had been saying to Kristi everyday, “let’s go get oysters today”, but for one reason or another, it never happened. Oysters of the northwest are absolutely the best, in my opinion, so I was totally stoked when I got a chance to sample a few before leaving. In the airport, of all places! Thank god for Anthony’s (it turns out it’s a chain!).

Overlooking the tarmac, I ordered a glass of chardonnay at the bar, along with a half dozen, local oysters. I wish I had taken a better picture, but they were all jewel-like creatures of wonder.

There were three different kinds: Baron Points, Snow Creeks, and Bay Waters (I’m pretty sure this is right).

The Baron Point oyster, above, was a luscious, plump beauty, that was milky and briny- just how I like them! The other ones were more subtle, with a little crunch, even, and airy. PERFECT.

After the oysters and another glass of wine, I was pretty wasted and ordered this fresh crab and avocado salad with a bold of clam chowder. The crab was so meaty and delicious! It was truly a fantastic meal, all for myself, to end a memorable journey.

Other good eats/ drinks from the trip that I unfortunately don’t have pictures of, but highly recommend:

– Hot dogs on the streets of Seattle and Vancouver. Best street dogs ever. In Seattle, they smear cream cheese on the bun, which was so good. I had a great dog in downtown Vancouver, from a cart on Robson Street- really good sausage, topped with grilled onions, a slew of various condiments (horseradish mustard and Sriracha, oh my!), on a delish deluxe bun. Yummy!

Linda’s Tavern Bar in Seattle, in Capitol Hill. Great little place. Best martini I’ve had in a while. We went twice!

– The bar Shanghai Tunnel, in Downtown Portland. I hear it’s haunted, as this underground place used to be where locals were lured and kidnapped (or “Shanghaiied”), then sold to ship captains to be slaves. The place was awesome- really seedy, kinda creepy. And you can smoke inside, which I appreciated. Good music too.

– The pho at Ballet, in Seattle was excellent. Large Vietnamese population, I take it. Lots of Vietnamese restaurants all around town. I’ve been super into Vietnamese lately- perfect for summertime!

– The Charlatan for affordable food and drinks in Vancouver. Steamed mussels were yummy, and they had this great, comfortable deck that was perfect for people watching.

Brooklyn Restaurant Week

March 8, 2007

8am, alarm goes off. i look outside, everything is white and covered in snow. what the… SNOW??? and while all of this is beautiful and enchanting and all–the snow coming down in a flurry–having to pep-talk yourself to leave the house SUCKS. walking in the snow to the subway station SUCKS. having to walk in baby steps to maintain your balance in the snow SUCKS. freezing snow flying into your face SUCKS.

so you can imagine my absolute DELIGHT when i saw this ad for Brooklyn Restaurant Week at the bus stop. at that single moment, the snow stopped, the clouds lifted, and sunshine washed over me.

earth to kayoko… get a hold of yourself!

i’m a sucker for restaurant week in new york, especially the brooklyn version. why? cause it’s only $20.12 for a 3 course dinner! restaurant week in the city is almost twice that now, and it’s almost impossible to get a table for anywhere decent. AND, it’s over a week long (3/19-30), also covering one weekend, so you’re not limited to just weeknights.

honestly, this year’s line up isn’t so impressive. but there are a few hidden gems in the long list of restaurants, like the following:
Applewood, Park Slope
Blue Ribbon Sushi, Park Slope, i do this EVERY YEAR. no joke, it’s a tradition. they do this fantastic sushi/ sashimi special that is an amazing bargain for the quality. and their green tea creme brulee is heavenly. they don’t take reservations, so get there right when it opens or else it gets really packed
Bouillabaisse 126, “Columbia Waterfront”/ by Carroll Gardens, sorta out of the way, but worth it
Stone Park Cafe, Park Slope, only lunch, i’m taking a half day to finally check this place out!

i recommend that you make your reservations PRONTO! i know a lot of people are restaurant week skeptics, but this is a once in a year opportunity for those of us who barely scrape by for a living. as a Brooklyn resident, this is an annual event that truly makes me happy- especially cause i don’t have to travel far to get home after my meal.

…and so the day wouldn’t be so bad after all, even after trudging through all the snow to get to work… it was wonderful to see the farmer’s market folk out in the park in front of my work in midtown despite the weather– now they are the TRUE champions!