Down by the Baia

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A Seafood Lunch at Il Falco

Even before I’ve seen the place, I’m way in favor of eating at Il Falco because it’s in the Baia di Vallugola.  I get to say that cool word–Vah-LOO-go-lah.

Great word.  Fantastic place.

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My wife and arrive early, having agreed to meet her cousin and his wife. The Baia di Vallugola (I even like writing the word) is off the SP 44, also know as the Panoramica, connecting Pesaro to Gabice. The road winds through the Parco Naturale di Monte San Bartolo, featuring in turn, breathtaking views of the sea and the inland hills, including the castle of Gradara, famous for the story of Paolo and Francesca. Treated to this protracted beauty glut, just below Gabice Monte we swing down toward the sea, and there it is. The bay. A hotel. Two restaurants.

What a sea. It’s calm this day, barely any wind at all, and what wind reaches shore is gentle and briny. We breathe, enjoy the sun. It’s late enough in the morning for me to enjoy a glass of white wine. When cousins arrive we take our table just next to the sea. The sun warms us further.

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How does one start such meal beside the Adriatic? We start with bianchini. Googles calls it “white bait,” which does not sound appetizing. Little thingies that come out of the Adriatic. These, I gather, are on the large side. Deep fried. Anything fried is good. These beauties, with the arugula and tomato and a light drizzle of balsamic, were crunchy, sweet and sour, and irresistible. If they’d brought a bucket of them, we’d have eaten them all.

Next, pan of clams alla marina: cooked in white wine with garlic and parsley. They’re tiny little things. Once we’ve eaten our way to bottom of the pan, we plunge bread into the sauce, to fare la scarpetta. More wine, please.

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The main act today is paccheri with grillo. Paccheri are a tube (more like hose) pasta cut into inch-long links; grillo is a lobster-like crustacean. This particular dish has a sauce that is thick, tomatoey, briny. More wine, please.

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Temperature when we leave, low 70’s.  A day of goodness by the sea. Vallugola. Vallugola.

Baia Vallugola, 61100 Vallugola PU. 0721 208403  

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