Monthly Archives: September 2012

Molto Mario!

We’ve had a very busy, and fun, August. Lots of traveling, eating, and general frivolity; hence, my silence. Our most recent trip was to NYC. We rented an apartment in the Chelsea district on W30th and 9th for a week. If you don’t mind walking, which we don’t, it’s the perfect location to take in a Broadway show, great restaurants, a run along the Hudson, Chelsea Market, High Line Park, and much more.

One of our favorite places in Manhattan is Eataly ( We had lunch here a few times during our visit. This Italian megastore, bursting with over 50,000 square feet of artisinal provisions, is located on the corner of 5th and W23rd in NYC.  All thanks for this wonder of mankind should be directed to the red-headed-whirling-dervish Mario Batali, his brainy cohort Joe Bastianich, and Joe’s inexhaustible mother, Lidia Bastianich. I first visited this mecca of Italian cuisine only a few short months after it opened in 2010 and the lines were snaking around the corner of 5th. Thankfully, some of the hoopla has died down to a dull roar so you can now walk through the market without your elbows out in a defensive position.

One of the many beautiful things about this market is your ability to order a glass of outstanding Italian wine and consume it while perusing the vast array of specialty items. Genius, hah? A little wine on board and next thing you know, your shopping cart is full of delectable items.

A small sampling of the breads offered at the Eataly market.

Dry aged meat for purchase.

The mozzarella show. Better than some Broadway plays!

I took way too many photos (as I always do) to include them all here. That being said, I can’t resist adding a few photos from one our lunches. Le Cucine di Eataly is one of the many eateries inside this magical place and they have a brick fired oven. Their pizza ingredients are the absolute freshest you can find. Every bite is nirvana.

Pizza Emiliana. Prosciutto Crudo di Parma aged 18 mos., shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, arugula, basil, and a touch of tomato sauce. I paired it with a glass of 2008 Montepulciano D’Abruzzo. Yum!

Pizza Fru Fru. Ricotta cheese and ham, mozzarella and tomato sauce, Parma Ham, arugula, and shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano.

We’ve had the good fortune of eating at several of Batali’s restaurants in the past. Del Posto in the Meatpacking District being the most notable, for me. I decided months ago that we must make a trip to Babbo while in NYC. After Po (Batali’s first house), Babbo was the second restaurant he opened; however, he didn’t go solo on this venture, but instead, he partnered with his future sidekick Joe Bastianich.

Naturally we went with the pasta tasting menu. Roger and I requested our menu with pairings and Babbo’s sommelier is a genius. Each pairing complimented each dish perfectly. We just had our socks knocked off!

The black (squid ink) tagliatelle was bathed in a creamy butter sauce and the charred corn in the dish cut through the richness brilliantly. I could go on and on about each dish, but I won’t bore you with that. Instead I’ll post some pics of the dishes and you’ll just have to make your own journey to Babbo.

“Casunzei” with Poppy Seeds

Goat Cheese Tortelloni

Agnolotti al Pomodoro.

Pappardelle Bolognese.

Summer Cherries “in Mandorle”

Bittersweet Chocolate “Sotto Una Nuvola”

Olive Oil Rosemary Cake with Olive Oil Gelato

Sure we engaged in a Batali love fest; however, we did eat outside Batali’s gravitational pull at a once-in-a-lifetime eating establishment called “Atera.” I read about this place in the New Yorker a few months ago and it sounded VERY intriguing. Luckily, I was able to secure reservations for the week we were in NY. Atera is an 18 seat tasting menu only restaurant. You are catered to like no other. There is a bar that surrounds the kitchen working area so it’s as if you’re taking in a show. Much is on display and the food is very exotic. Monica’s our most adventurous eater so we naturally brought her along. Some of the more “intriguing” menu items were: seared duck heart, barbecued veal sweetbreads, foie gras peanuts, pickled quail eggs, pig’s blood crackers, and, of course, roe. Surprisingly, Monica ate every bite. She was the only teenager in the joint and people were impressed, as were we. It was an experience….I’m already looking forward to our next NYC escapade. As David Letterman says, “New York, the greatest city in the world!”

Monica at Atera. Ready for the show to unfold!

We’re hosting another Italian student this school year and we picked her up at LAX yesterday morning; she’s from Udine, which is in northeastern Italy between the Adriatic Sea and the Alps.  I can’t wait to learn about the food of her region. I’ll be sure to pass it along!

Eat well!