Tag Archives: italian

flour+water Tomato Dinner

Plating in the Dough Room

flour+water had been popular right out of the gate, spurred by a buzz going even before it opened – with Chef Thomas McNaughton boasting a resume listing La Folie, Quince and Gary Danko; a number of stages at Michelin-starred establishments in Europe, including an artisinal pasta apprenticeship: “…basically Tom and a bunch of old ladies with rolling pins…” according to David White, one of the partners at f+w.

DD and I have been jonesing to go back to flour+water but trying to get a decent online reservation in advance lately has been quite difficult. On 98% of my attempts, I’ve usually encountered nothing earlier before 10pm. Once in a while, if I looked out far enough, I’d spot a listing for 9:15 or 9:30pm. For a Tuesday or Wednesday. Sheesh! They opened in May of 2009, and 2 months thereafter garnered 3 stars from The Chronicle’s Michael Bauer. Accolades followed from the other local food press, and soon there was even a blurb in the New York Times. The restaurant purportedly holds back 1/2 of their seats for walk-ins, but we’ve been hesitant to try this tactic, not being from the immediate neighbourhood.

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Honey Lavender Panna Cotta

Easier than Pie

I’ve probably mentioned this before – baking/ baked goods and desserts of all kinds get short shrift at our house. If given a choice between making something savory or something sweet, I almost always will choose the savory appetizer, entree, vegetable side dish, etc.

But of late I’ve been trying my hand at after-dinner treats more – DD’s sweet tooth demands it. So – to avoid the late night forays to Holy Gelato in our pyjamas, I’ve been making panna cotta. I didn’t realize how easy it could be until I tried making my first batch, using David Lebovitz’s recipe for a vanilla version here.

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Trippa a la Napoletana

Tripe in the Neapolitan style

If someone wanted to ease a friend or family member into trying offal meats, tripe is probably the most logical starting point.  Properly cleaned and processed, it takes on the flavors of whatever it’s been cooked in and has great textural complexity.  If the person you’re trying to convert can somehow get over the fact that tripe is the lining of a cow’s stomach, it’s one of the tastier, somewhat more innocuous of offal meats.  When Gourmet magazine publishes an Asian tripe recipe, you know its time has come indeed.  Continue reading


Incanto: Il Quinto Quarto (1)

Incanto Interior

I grew up eating offal and love it to this day.  DD will be the first to tell you that if I see organ meats featured on a menu, they’re quickly registered on the mental shortlist of items to order.  Back in the Philippines, we never referred to offal as such, no “nasty bits” references, no euphemisms about “eating nose to tail.”  We simply ate what our kitchen, or the restaurants we frequented, produced, whether it was a platter of kidneys, a sautee of chicken liver, or simmered calfs’ brains floating in a chinese herb soup.  I grew up learning how to ask for the pigeon head for the pleasure of cracking its skull open to get at the creamy goodness within. Continue reading


Mailale al Latte

Pork Braised in Milk

Marcella Hazan, in her seminal Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, wrote that of the thousands of recorded dishes that could illustrate the genius of a cuisine, Pork Braised in Milk would certainly be among the favoured few.  Her recipe is exceedingly simple – start with a pork loin roast (bone included), brown it well in some oil, add around 2 cups milk, and simmer over low heat for several hours until tender.  She also notes that, if we have access to it, and are not averse to the fact that it might fall apart in whilst carving, pork butt, or Boston shoulder, laced with a goodly amount of fat – is preferrable, but perhaps won’t be as pretty on a plate. Continue reading


Cucina Urbana – San Diego

Cucina Urbana Interior

Whenever I’m able to visit San Diego, I take the opportunity to get together with my family – my sis and her husband live there, near USD, and my parents usually make the 2-hour drive to have dinner with us as well.  I have to admit that I didn’t know much about Cucina Urbana, or the Urban Kitchen Group before I decided to make a reservation here – San Diego has always been somewhat of a black hole for me in terms of dining.  But, thanks to a couple of local blogs (Alice Q Foodie and Capt’n Jack’s San Diego Restaurant Reviews), UrbanSpoon, and yes, I’ll admit it — Yelp — as well as confirmation with my sis that C.U. was an establishment she and Paul had wanted to check out – I booked it for a Tuesday night dinner. Continue reading

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