Monday, January 30, 2006


the “bialetti” man can be found in almost every italian household. adorned with his distinctive bow tie, striped pants and moustache he acts as guardian of your coffee as it bubbles through the central brewing spout. the “moka express” is the oldest model “bialetti” brand makes and was originally patented in 1933. it has been slightly modified over the years but the basic design hasn’t changed. we have been through a lot of coffee makers in our house, including many a fancy “alessi” maker. but in the end, we find the best brew comes out of our “bialetti moka express”. as you can see from the photo, it has also been through some rough times - the handle has melted more than once on our gas burners! another added feature: the “bialetti” man puts a smile on your face as you serve up the morning java.

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Sunday, January 29, 2006


when i went to my neighborhood produce vendor yesterday i was sad to be reminded that in italy the brief and tasty clementine season is over. one of my favorite things about christmas (besides the decorations, the cookies, the eating and being with family) is devouring clementines and then squirting the rind juice on candle flames. the reaction is a miniature version of firecrackers! anyways, clementines are tiny bundles of sweetness that leave their scent on your nails and hands for the entire day. but by end january the italian clementines are no longer to be found and the “mandarino tardivo”, the late blooming mandarin, takes its place. mandarins are yummy nonetheless but they have a completely different flavor. and, they have seeds! the mandarins i bought yesterday come from ciaculli, sicily and have a distinct and mature lime orange taste, not like the baby sweet clementines, but i probably shouldn’t be comparing apples and in need of a dose of clementines yesterday, i opted for the spanish import - which i must admit kept my taste buds happy!

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Saturday, January 28, 2006


a restaurant review from last summer on tuesday, june 21st, 2005..........
in the midst of all of the complaining we do about how tough it has become to find really good italian cooking in florence at reasonable prices, we recently discovered an old stantard, “mamma rosa”. many people have spoken to us about this restaurant, hidden in the shade of a hotel garden in calzaiolo (south of san casciano), but we never got around to trying it out until now. part of the joy experienced while eating was due to the fact that we had no expectations, and we were quite frankly expecting the regular average over priced meal. the dishes proposed on the menu are few but extremely well thought out - they included choices for everyone from meat lovers to vegetarians. the antipasti for example were 100% vegetarian: pappa al pomodoro served chilled, riso balls stuffed with smoked scamorza cheese and veggies, beer batter fried eggplant stuffed with sun dried tomatoes, and pickled tropea onions. for a primo we chose spaghetti with fresh sardines and tomatoes, and for secondi we had three dishes: traditional beef tagliata with rucola, scaloppine alla milanese, and coniglio marinated in senape and then grilled. the secondi were definitely the least interesting of the group and could have easily be skipped following the filling appetisers and starters we enjoyed. for all of the above dishes, 2 bottles of tasty leonardo vineyards chianti we spent 40 euros each. it’s a gorgeous place to have sunday lunch (in the summer time!). reservations recommended.

via cassia per siena, 32
055 8249454
closed mondays

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