Friday, May 13, 2016

Ciao Spello

As we get ready to pack up and leave, I've been thinking how this past 7 weeks has flown by.  Our first month in Rome at the American Academy was kind of like being Cinderella at the ball, and now these two weeks in our home away from home, Spello have felt like being hugged by our family here.

The weather this past two weeks has had us inside a lot, but on the sunny days we are hanging out at the enoteca, and enjoying just being here.  That whole mindfulness thing takes on a new meaning here.  Long walks, down side streets lined with flower pots and hanging flowers, getting lost and finding ourselves at the top of the hill, realizing we've walked in a huge circle, and coming back to our apartment are all part of what we do here.

Meeting old friends, and picking up where we left off in their lives, is another sweet part of being here.
Breakfast at Il Giardino in the morning is part of living here, and we love the view from their back yard.

Since the weather hasn't cooperated, we haven't done much to help with the flower gathering for L'infiorata, but yesterday Dr. C. and I pulled rose petals for about an hour resulting in some gorgeous colors for the design on our street.

We hope that the weather will moderate, so that the citizens can gather flowers to put down on the streets in 2 weeks time.  The flower petals have to dry and the weather has yet to cooperate.
Ciao for now, Spello, grazie per l'ospitalit√†, we will see you at the end of August.  Clicking these ruby slippers together and heading to the USA. 

Where's The Beef?

 It's in Bevagna!  On our last night in Umbria, we ventured to Bevagna, a sleepy little town at the base of Montefalco, about 20 minutes from Spello.  We met our friends, Michael and Grace for dinner at Scottadito Osteria Tagliavento, neither of us having tried this place before, but hearing nothing but rave reviews from our Angelini family.
Tiny, but mighty, this place turns out some of the best grass fed beef I have ever tasted.  The food is typical Umbrian style, simple cooking loaded with flavor.  We opted for the rib eye for 4, and were not disappointed.  The meat was done medium-rare, and perfect.  We had roasted potatoes from the embers of the fire, and grilled vegetables of the season. 

The back story here is that the family owns a macelleria (butcher store) and they have expanded to serve their excellent meats in their own family restaurant.  I only wish we'd had more time to have another meal there, the lamb and porchetta are on my list! 
And, of course, every story has to have a sweet ending, and this was ours; a beautiful Napoleon-like creation with the sweetest strawberries and chocolate chunks.  Yes, I'll have another please!
Tagliavento is open for dinner on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, best to make a reservation, the place was packed on a rainsoaked Thursday night.   
Dr. C. and I are headed for Rome to spend the night at the airport then fly to NYC on Saturday to see our daughter and her family.  Ciao for now!
Scottadito Osteria Tagliavento

Corso Amendola 28
Phone:  0742-360897 or 345 2438361

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Strolling in Spello

Today Dr. C. and I took a stroll into neighborhoods we hadn’t been to before.  There are so many back alleys, and little cul de sacs here it’s easy to get lost wandering. 
Dr. C. at the bottom of our stairs
 In about 3 weeks Spello will have it’s annual festival L’infiorata, where flower petals are laid onto the street in designs by each neighborhood.  It is a festival of the feast of Corpus Domini, and it is magnificent. 

Another part of this, is that each home has flowering plants outside their doors, and hung from balconies.  The winners have lovely tile plaques on their walls to commemorate their winning for the year.  Since it’s been cold here, two weekends ago it was 30 degrees F, , with strong winds, some of the flowering plants are late, but none-the-less, each person is doing their best to outdo their neighbors.

At one time Spello (this is a little burg) had 100 churches.  One of my favorite pasttimes is to look for frescoes on the walls.  They are little surprises of joy when you find them. 
This one is right outside our front door----several years ago, I'd lived here for 2 months and never saw it

These are the ones we found today.  As usual when doing a little passegiata, as the Italians call it, we end up at Enoteca Properzio---it’s kind of like a magnet.  Today we met people from all over the US, with 2 groups were from California.

Roberto explaining the wines

Son Luca discussing the wines available. 
And, of course I found a few other things that tickled my fancy.

Tomorrow looks to be the best day of the week weatherwise, so we will try and do some more walking around, and I hope to do some more writing.  This is a very laid back life compared to Rome.  I’ll say Ciao for now. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

An Evening at Glass Hosteria, Trastevere, Roma

Our last night in Rome, our friend Rick said we had to eat at Glass Hosteria, Cristina Bowermans' stunning restaurant in Trastevere, right down the hill from the Villa Aurelia.  I knew we were in for a treat; Chef Bowerman has garnered a Michelin star, and 2 forks from Gambero Rosso.  It was a cold and rainy night, and the interior of this restaurant is warm and inviting.  

After we sat down, we were served champagne, and a chef's creation that was brought to our table, all before we'd decided what to order. 
Left: Rice crackers  Right:  cocoa butter shell filled with Campari and grapefruit juice--this is on the table in heaven
another little surprise, a delightful cold soup
I was so impressed by the wait staff here; they are caring (asking if anyone is allergic to anything) and want you to have the best experience they can provide.  They seemingly glide to your table when you need something, but never seem to hover---the sign of an exceptional team. 
Oh and there was bread!  What an incredible selection        

The menu is seasonal, and inspired.  I felt like I couldn't make a decision, but finally decided on the shrimp cocktail, and the pork.  Now this is where this restaurant leaves everyone else in the weeds; every course is beautifully plated, but the plates also have little surprises of taste and texture. 

Shrimp cocktails---mine above, Dr. C's below---I'm allergic to raw tomatoes --- an Italian that is allergic to raw tomatoes is hard to believe!

Rick opted for the steak tartare
 Instead of the usual shrimp cocktail with red sauce, which I wasn't expecting, the sauce was a mayonnaise base, with lovely flavors and tiny shrimp.  After finishing these, the chef sent out a beautiful plate of ravioli Parmigiano.  The stuffing was almost liquid and the topping was caviar; all the flavors exploded in your mouth. 
I felt like Oliver in the play, I wanted more, but knew that I had another course coming
This is my pork dish, with little pillows of apple puree and mustard seeds, it was delicious

Dr. C. had the black cod--amazing

Rick went for the foie gras ravioli---another awesome explosion of flavors
 I was the only one to order dessert, the two boys wimped out on me.  I had a zuppa di cocco (coconut soup) flavored with mango, ginger and lemon which was refreshing and delicious. 
But then, this appeared!  A small box with tiny desserts laying on top.  This one was for Dr. C. and me.  Rick got his own.  
From left:  creme caramel, toffee, lemon tart, glace jelly, and chocolate. 
And, of course, I ate all of mine even thought I'd had dessert.  Chef Bowerman came over to the table, asked how our dinner was, and talked about her project in Los Angeles Crateful. She is a delight, and so passionate about her food.  She stopped at every table in the restaurant, and made sure that everything was up to her standards.  
Restaurants like Glass come along so seldom in life; inspired and inventive dishes with explosions of flavor and varied textures, exceptional wait staff and an ambiance that makes you want to stay for the entire night.  What also makes Glass unique is that Chef Bowerman treats the ingredients with respect and care, changing the menu monthly to take advantage of seasonal ingredients.  If you are in Rome and can get a reservation I urge you to experience Glass, it is remarkable.  Ciao for now.
Glass Hosteria  58, Vicolo del Cinque - 00153 Roma, Italy | tel. +39 06 58335903 |