Category Archives: travel

At Delinda, Serious Joys

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Full disclosure.  These are our relatives.

My relatives by marriage, and how lucky I was, am, and will always be. (When Tizi’s cousin Pierpaolo shakes my hand and says, Come va, cugino? How goes it, cousin? I sort of pinch myself. How did this happen?) Continue reading

Da Gustin

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Today, on Thanksgiving Day, we went to Bargni.  

I wouldn’t blame you if you said, “You went where?” It’s not the kind of place, you go back to the States and say, Hey, when we were in Italy we went to Bargni.   

Remote location. A small town on a hill west of Serrungarina. Twice this month on the state highway we’ve driven past the exit for Serrungarina, on our way to Acqualagna, on our way to Fossombrone. This is hilly country between the Adriatic and Gubbio. Along this state road that goes south to Rome, Bargni does not merit a sign. And Bargni, truth be told, is barely a town. More like an abbreviated village. So, that’s where. And I’ll tell you why. Continue reading

Intermittent Feasting

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Fat rats. Research focused on them suggests there may be something to intermittent fasting. So says Monique Tello in Harvard Medical Publishing

Good, I think. Because this morning I feel like a fat rat.

My wife and I are in our fifth and final week in Italy.  Around this time in our stay, a kind of desperation sets in. Can we eat enough before we go home? Yesterday at lunch, after our first course–she had the ravioli, I had the pappardelle in boar ragu–we asked our server about the carbonara.   Continue reading

Probably Not the Beef

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So you’re standing outside a restaurant in Italy. Its PR machine has been humming for months, no, make that years. The restaurant has been featured on Chef’s Table, in Food and Wine, who knows where else.  

You’re standing outside enjoying a glass of their Tuscan wine, actually a third or fourth glass. It’s a small glass, of a light swill, and it’s free! While you wait for the starting gun at 1:00 p.m. you enjoy crostini with lard, crostini with olive oil, slices of house salami, and all the free wine you can drink.  Continue reading

Required Eating

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I remember a distinction professors made on their course reading lists: required reading vs suggested reading.  

Put Gennaro down as required eating.

That’s Da Genarro.

It’s on a hillside high above the Adriatic, on a two lane road called “la panoramica,” through a national park called San Bartolo. I wouldn’t say the restaurant is in a village. It’s not a village so much as a brief deviation. If you don’t deviate, you’ll miss it.  And trust me: you do not want to miss it.   Continue reading

Into the Mix

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One of the delights in eating in Romagna (and I hazard to guess all over Italy) is the “misto.” 

The mix. 

Where I come from, eating fish you usually get one thing. Your appetizer is one thing–a tartar, half a dozen oysters, a bowl of mussels. And your main course is usually one thing–fillet of whitefish, fillets of perch, a chunk of salmon or tuna or swordfish, some crab legs or a lobster tail. Want to taste something besides what’s on your plate? Poach a bite from your wife’s when she’s not looking.   Continue reading

But Why Florida?

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I read on a Kindle in bed at night. Lately I have not lasted very long.

I wake up early, at 4:00 a.m., rested and eager to await and face the day. Through the morning and afternoon we walk a lot, in weather that has been partly cold and occasionally rainy. At lunch the wine pours have been generous.  By evening, approaching 10:00 p.m., it stands to reason that I’m running on empty. A page or two into whatever I’m reading (a Kate Atkinson novel right now) I tend to nod off.  

These last new nights, overtaken by nods, I’ve had black and white hallucinations, seeing things on my Kindle screen as my eyes close.  These are fleeting, pixilated visions on the device’s paperwhite background. Twice now, in black silhouette I’ve seen Florida, the distinct shape of that state, just the way it looks on the map. In a couple seconds the peninsula comes into view, then disappears.   Continue reading

Romagna Food Notes, Part IV

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This post is not exactly Romagna food notes. 

Tizi’s family on her mother’s side is from le Marches, a contiguous region known for white truffles. There are truffles in Romagna, too, any Romagnolo will tell you. We’ve been to eat, for example, in Sant’Agata in Feltria, which, as far as I can tell, is a truffle capital in Romagna. Truffles are on the menu in all restaurants we like around here. But we save ourselves for days like yesterday. Because in le Marches, we have a huge advantage.   Continue reading

Don’t Want No Ugly Jesus

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So Tizi has it in for Burt Bacharach. We’re driving down to Rimini this morning, where we’ll visit the Grand Hotel, have some lunch, then go to the newly restored Fulgor movie theater to buy tickets to see the newly restored version of  Fellini’s “Amarcord.” And we’re going to stock up on Jesuses at the Catholic shop today.

At the moment we’re sitting at one of the many stop lights between San Marino and Rimini. I tell her I have a song stuck in my head, “We’ve Only Just Begun.”

“Good God,” she says. “Why?”

“I thought of the song on our wedding anniversary,” I say.  That was yesterday.

“What bull,” she says.

It is, in fact, a total load of bull. The song came to mind when I was in the bathroom a few days ago, thinking hopefully about one of the challenges of international travel–the time change, the change in diet and schedule, eating lunch when you usually eat breakfast, eating dinner when you usually eat lunch, eating a lot, I mean a lot more than usual. It’s a thorough-going alteration of your input-output regimen. And that morning, well, signs were finally pointing in the right direction, in the output department. Sitting there, feeling optimistic, I sang, “We’ve only just begun.” Continue reading

Romagna Food Notes, Part III

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“This chicken has barbecue sauce on it,” I say to my wife.

We’re eating take-out for lunch, a few chicken legs, roasted potatoes, some bietole, and grilled zucchini. All this for 20 euro from a place in Santarcangelo. I also picked up a bottle of Sangiovese for 5 euro from a street vendor. This weekend is Festa di San Martino. The whole town is an outdoor market. I love this place. Continue reading