Saturday, December 31, 2022

Will You be My Trullo?


Puglia is famous for the conical roofed houses called Trullo or Trulli (if there are more than one)  Our next accommodation for 7 days was a 400-year-old Trullo that had been meticulously restored.  2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, pool, air conditioning, and a jacuzzi off the master bath.  High up on a hill it was a beautiful place to call home for the week.  We'd arranged a driver and some tours to help us get to know the culture, food, and wines here.  

A neighbor's cat came with the property

Our first night here, our landlord suggested we head to the local machelleria, where we could pick out the meat we wanted to eat, and they would cook it over an open flame.  Always up for an adventure, and trust me, GPS in Italy always delivers, we set out--the machelleria was only .5 miles away but took us the long way and we got there in a half an hour.  
Since we are Americans, we always end up arriving for dinner really early---at 7 p.m. the butchers were just putting on their aprons but were so happy to have us, we thought we were probably their only customers that night....not a chance!   Forno Masseria Lisi Anna is a great place to get a taste of Puglian hospitality.  
After picking out our meats, we headed for the dining room which had a great view of the open kitchen

A bit different from the Bari foccacia, this one was a little less crunchy

Potatoes in the embers

Pork with potatoes and grilled veg

I opted for steak

Breaded pork cutlets

The butchers are also the cooks--what could be better?

And, cannoli for dessert! 

So, more food than we could possibly eat, great service, 2 bottles of local wine, and the bill was 68 Euros.  Our first night in Fasano closed, with the restaurant bursting at the seams with lots of customers, some seeming to be part of a sports syndicate.  We'd found a gem in the middle of nowhere...that happens a lot in Italy.  Ciao for now.


Bari Street Food Tour


Our first two days in Puglia, we were based at Don Ferrante, a beautiful hotel on the water.  If you look across you might be able to see Albania, 50 miles away.  Monopoli is a glorious town on the Adriatic and we enjoyed wandering the streets, since it's mostly a pedestrian-only city.  
On our way out of town, we decided to do a street food tour before traveling to our trullo airbnb in Fasano.  Bari is an interesting city, we were told that many years ago, it was quite rough, but has experienced a renaissance just as the entire region of Puglia has.  
We began our tour with some foccacia Puglese---quite different from the Ligurian foccacia.  This one is crunchy, usually has tomatoes on top and is delicious.  

This is the line for the Focaccia
Bari is a warren of twisty streets, and around every corner you will see something new.  This was a vendor selling his wares from his garden.  

Wandering through the narrow streets, dodging scooters, and other pedestrians, we arrive at a sandwich shop.  Their specialty is an octopus sandwich, but I was really focused on the other sandwiches, each one a little jewel of color, taste, and aroma.  

Another Barese specialty is Panzarotti---basically a fried pizza, it's got the requisite cheese and tomato inside, and the crust on the outside that is deep fried.  

Many of these foods are foods of the poor, or cucina povera.  Simple dishes that cost a few cents to make with readily available ingredients.  

One of our final stops was the street where the ladies of Bari make their famous pasta, orecchiette. They sit and make and sell their wares here, and probably have been doing it for hundreds of years.   Bari is worth a stop and especially to sample the street foods here.  

After a gelato stop, we were off to find our Trullo in Selva da Fasano.  Ciao for now.

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Rule Brittania

 After our Bourbon tour, we spent a week in Connecticut and New York City.  Now we were off to London.  Several months ago we decided to buy tickets to see Andrea Bocelli in concert.  The tickets in London were 1/4 the price of the tickets in San Diego where the venue is a hockey rink.  We landed on my birthday and headed to Fortnum and Mason for tea.  We managed to stay awake until 9 p.m. The next day we were having dinner with friends at Mere, an incredible dinner and a great time to catch up. 
Amuse bouche

another love bite

Chestnut gnocchi

Veal sweetbreads



Black sesame choux

The hokey pokey

Dinners like this are an experience, and each bite is an adventure.  Highly recommend it if you are in London.  The next day, we headed to the Tower of London for some souvenirs for our grandkids--they love getting postcards, but I found some interesting stocking stuffers for them, too.  

We used the Uber boats on the Thames for transport while we were there.  That night we headed to Greenwich which is where the Bocelli concert was being held.  

Heading down the river, we got to the Greenwich North station.  The 02 arena is quite the place; lots of restaurants, bars, and then the arena.  

I'm kind of a follow-directions girl, when we were told to turn off our cell phones and not record during the concert, this is the only photo I took.  The concert was beautiful; I will say that I think Andrea is slowing down (he'd done 9 concerts in the UK when we saw him) he's turned some of the program over to other performers, along with his son Matteo and his daughter.  We were sitting next to a group of women with their mums (in their 90's) They had waited 2 years to see this concert since it was postponed due to Covid.  They were treated to 3 encores, and we felt it was a trip worth taking.  We are on to our happy place in Spello for 3 weeks, and then a week in Puglia with our friends.  I hope you'll join us as I blog along with some adventures.  Cheerio!

Lux Row, Evan Williams, and Louisville Sluggers

Lux Row distillers are new to the bourbon trail, but its history dates back to the 1800's.  They make five different bourbons here on site, Rebel, Ezra Brooks, David Nicholson, Davies County, and Blood Oath.  The facility here is modern, and the tour takes you through the distilling process, with the ubiquitous Bourbon tasting at the end in a lovely tasting room.  

Fermenting grains

Bourbon cathedral

With most of these tastings we were also given chocolate covered Bourbon balls to sample

As the newest of the distilleries we visited, this was also the most modern.  Each one has its own flavor, and ambiance, and they do hospitality well.  Now we are off to Louisville and Evan Williams.  
Located along the river in downtown Louisville, Evans Williams is part of the Heaven Hill Distillery group.  Evan Williams, a Welsh immigrant came to the United States towards the end of the 18th century. Williams settled in Kentucky and began distilling in 1783, in Louisville, Kentucky.  A historical marker in Louisville marks the site as Kentucky's first commercial distillery. Williams was the first wharf master of Louisville in 1797.  The modern brand was introduced in 1957.

Our last Bourbon tasting of the tour topped off with more Bourbon balls.  Heading down the street, we came to the Louisville Slugger museum.  

Lots and lots of bats

We watched as the bats were made, labeled, and then finished.  Having grown up as a Red Sox fan and now a Padres fan, it was fun to see the bats belonging to baseball greats.  These are special bats designed by the players for the all-star game.  

Downtown Louisville

So, all in all, this was a great 4 days in a beautiful state (who knew?) and the history of the Bourbon distillers was really interesting.  If you are a Bourbon lover, it's a great trip to take.  
Kentucky, you are a stunner.  Cheers!