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In a state of hibernation. My backlog has long become unsustainable. Will probably tweet more and write less full-length stuff.


Entries in Italian (54)



Okay, I thought I was through with my Boston photos, but I found a couple from Teatro that I'd forgotten about because I was hoping to grab a picture of their sign. Of course, I actually did go back there, but forgot my camera. That's life I guess. Anyway, Teatro is a nice little Italian spot at Boston Common. The room looks pretty swanky, with a high, arched ceiling and blue lighting. There's also a small bar in the front. The place is actually right next to the Loews movie theater - Geoff and I went before a showing of Batman Begins right before I left Boston (the trip on which I was camera-less). The following photos are actually from a trip like 2 months ago.

Teatro antipasto for two - $23 This massive appetizer plate for two is somewhat famous, so I was eager to try it. I'll try to name everything on the plate from left to right, but I'm sure to have forgotten something. There's also stuff hidden behind/under other stuff, so I'm sure I'll leave something out. But here goes: some kind of eggplant spread/salad, marinated bell peppers on top of crostini, a bell pepper salad, mozzarella & tomato, various cold cuts (if I recall correctly, soppressata, prosciutto, and salami) with some cheese, arancini, fennel salad, olives, and a hummus-like spread. The highlight for me was the arancini, which are little deep-fried balls of risotto with cheese in the middle. I first tried this dish when I was a very small kid, at a restaurant called Bonta[1]. The arancini at Teatro were hot, crispy and cheesy. Then again, the concept of deep fried rice balls with cheese means automatic deliciousness to me. Pretty much everything else on the plate was good, too. Mike, who absolutely hates celery, took a bite of the fennel salad and made the most hilarious face ever (he didn't see it until too late). I, on the other hand, found the fennel salad was tasty and refreshing. [1] Bonta, rest in peace, was a small Italian place on Union here in SF, and it can take a lot of credit for cultivating my tastes at a young age. It's there (and at North Beach Restaurant - still thriving) that I learned to love pasta, fried calamari and Italian food in general when I was like 10 (or even younger). Italian food was easily my favorite food for a long time, until I went to Japan for the first time and sushi challenged pasta's seat on the Arthur Hungry throne.

fettuccine all'uovo with Vermont butter and parmesan cheese - $16 What I really wanted to try at Teatro was the pasta. The menu has a bunch of selections that I want to try. First on the list was the above fettuccine. It sounds all fancy but basically it's egg pasta with butter and parmesan - in other words, an authentic alfredo!!! As soon as I saw this item I flashed back to several years ago in Rome, when I tried the original Alfredo in Rome. I learned that despite the omnipresent cream in alfredo sauce in this country, the original was just hot fettuccine tossed with a lot of butter and a lot of cheese. And boy was it delicious. The version at Teatro was good, though different from what I remember in Rome. There was more of a "sauce" to it (I suspect they do use a bit of cream too), and the toasted breadcrumb topping added a different but interesting element. Every few chews you get a little crunch in there. This pasta is probably one of the richest and heaviest you can find in the city, but it sure tasted good going down. As it turns out, many of Teatro's pastas are extremely rich. I've tried the carbonara and the bolognese as well, and both are very generous with the butter/oil. The result is that an appetizer and a pasta turn into quite a big meal. No complaints here... as you all know I love butter, but I'll again warn those who are fainter of stomach. :) San Francisco is up next, and let me assure you, I'm on a true eating rampage from now through the rest of the summer.

Via Matta

Okay, for some reason, I've been doing a really bad job lately of remembering to photograph restaurant signs, so two posts are coming up that will be signless. After a quick weekend in NYC, I had dinner in Boston at Via Matta with Geoff (who came to visit for a bit less than a week), Mike, Cat, her brother, Marc, and Brian (a friend of Cat and Sean's who was also visiting). I'd been once before a long time ago with Roger and his parents when they were in town, and I remember it being quite good. Our meal this time was parent-less, but when it came time for the check we got a bit of a surprise. Somehow, Cat's boss knew we were eating dinner there and pre-footed the bill for us. This was a bit of a shock since none of us (other than Cat I guess) even knew Cat's boss knew anything about the meal. It felt like finding a $20 in your pants pocket before throwing said pants into the laundry, except better. In any case, thanks a lot Cat's boss! It was a nice meal indeed.

bruschetta with marinated eggplant and peppers

tagliatelle alla bolognese - $19 The bruschetta came out as a surprise as a treat from the kitchen. Perhaps at that point we should have figured something was up... I didn't think much of it. The bruschetta was nicely toasted, and the eggplant/peppers had a great flavor. Afterwards, we shared a couple of apps that I forgot to take pictures of - a sauteed calamari and some kind of baked cauliflower gratin. Both were delicious. I was especially impressed by the cauliflower, which is not a veggie I'm generally too fond of. Here it was rich and buttery. I felt like pasta, and I'm quite partial to pastas that begin with "taglia," so I figured the bolognese would be a good choice. It turned out very nice. The pasta was cooked very well and had a great texture to it, while the sauce was hearty and fulfilling. Great meal all around. It felt that much better when we found out we didn't have to pay. Thanks again Ms. Sawyer (if I heard the waiter correctly, that is)!

Antico Forno


Near the end of the semester, my food anthro class took a Saturday morning field trip to the North End. We ended up eating lunch together at Antico Forno, a homey red sauce Italian spot. The dining room is small and simple, with some wooden tables and an impressive-looking brick oven in the back. The lunch menu is very straightforward, with a variety of appetizers, pastas, and pizzas. The prices are extremely reasonable, and the portions are quite hefty.

focaccina con caprino - flat aromatic bread topped with mixed greens salad, goat cheese, fresh roasted cherry tomatoes and grilled zucchini - $9.5

gnocchi di patate - homemade potato dumpling baked in a brick oven with plum tomato sauce topped with mozzarella cheese and basil - $11 A wonderful, simple meal. The focaccina was a great starter for the table. The combination of flatbread and goat cheese was delicious, and the zucchini had nice texture and flavor. The accompanying salad was crisp and refreshing. The gnocchi was a deceivingly large portion. I'm typically more of a white sauce guy than a red sauce one, but this tomato sauce was very good. I think Carlo's sauce might still be better, but Antico Forno's version of the dish was quite different mainly because of its trip to the oven, leading to a more potato-ey, cooked through gnocchi. I also had a slice of pizza from someone else (not pictured), and it was great - thin crust with delicious sauce. All in all, a great place for a nice lunch.



We were looking for a spot to eat on Newbury St. after a day of walking and shopping. We decided on Croma, which has gotten a few positive mentions on the Boston Chowhound board. Croma is a sort of fairly hipster Newbury-style place the puts out Neopolitan style pizzas. The menu boasts pizzas with a huge variety of different and interesting toppings, from standards like a margherita to odd things such as a peking duck pizza and a tandoori chicken pizza. The place appears small and bustling around the upstairs entrance, which houses a bar, some high top tables, and a slightly bigger dining area in the back. Going downstairs reveals a very large dining room that has a bit more space than the top level. The crowd appears young and hip - we saw a few other tables of college students, and a lot of 20-somethings.

Croma tomato and basil soup, served in a bread bowl - $4.95 They had the Croma emblem on the menu next to this soup, which I guess means it's a specialty. I thought the soup was alright, but the soup to bread ratio was off. They didn't hollow out the bread bowl enough, which meant there wasn't much soup to actually drink. I basically used all the soup to eat the bread, and afterwards there was still extra bread left over. I'm not sure how intentional this is - the soup is indeed extremely thick, so maybe that's what they're going for. This doesn't hold a candle to the Jeanty tomato soup, but I guess that's an unfair comparison at under $5.

parma - prosciutto di parma, marinated olives, shaved parmesan, mozzarella, tomato sauce, arugula - $12.25 The pizza was good. Not excellent, but still very satisfying and tasty. The crust is thin, but not super thin - it didn't crack the way some thin crust pizzas do, and it had a nice chewiness to it inside. The toppings were all nice, and I'm glad to say they added the prosciutto and arugula after baking, something that apparently not everyone does. My pizza was maybe just a tad heavy on the tomato sauce, but nothing to complain too much about (maybe it was because I just had tomato soup). It was also pretty decent-sized, and a good deal at $12. I will likely go back to Croma - it's a nice comfortable spot to grab a bite, and is a great value considering its location. I am pretty interested in trying the tandoor chicken...



At long last, here is my last post from San Francisco. The fact that this meal was a sort of pre-birthday dinner with some family friends just shows how far behind I am... Anyway, we went to the much-loved A16 on Chestnut, which specializes in the Southern Italian fare of Naples. Thanks to my friend John for snapping a photo of the sign for me - I forgot to do it myself when I was there (as an aside, he's got some great photos). A16 has gotten some pretty good pub around the city, and for good reason. They really emphasize the fact that they do food from Naples, which results in a lot of great meats and some well-executed pizza. The place is always pretty packed. We got a pretty large table in the back room, which would have been relatively quiet compared to the bustling main dining room were it not for a table of very loud mid-high 20s women seated right next to us. The main room has a very active and booming atmosphere - must be from all the hype the restaurant is receiving.

mozzarella burrata with olive oil, sea salt & crostini - $10 This dish was highly recommended by just about everyone, and for damn good reason. This mozzarella is delicious. It's smooth, incredibly silky, and creamy. The olive oil and salt give it just enough flavor. An absolutely sublime dish - easily the best part of the meal.

laghane with porcini, potato and pancetta - $9 The menu is fairly light on pasta - there were only two listed when we went, but I guess this is because of the Naples slant. The laghane was offered in both app and main portions ($9/$15), and was described as a thick, wide, flat noodle, so I went with it. The dish was unfortunately a bit of a disappointment, especially following a superb appetizer. The pasta itself was quite well done, and the porcinis were great, but the sauce was far too soupy - you can see the amount of liquid in the photo. I also thought they were a bit too heavy-handed with the parsley, which overpowered the other more subtle flavors.

beef short ribs braised in tomato with basil and bread crumbs - $20.5 Fortunately the meal rebounded very strongly with the short ribs. The beef was deliciously tender, and the tomato sauce lended a deep, hearty flavor. The toasted bread crumbs on top gave the dish an occasional crunch. I loved the simplicity of this dish; its execution was superb. I didn't get a pizza because I'd tried one the last time I was here (sadly I don't have that trip on the site), but let me assure you that they do a pretty mean version for you Italian pizza lovers. They also specialize in various salamis and meats that are cured on the premises. There are a lot of things on the menu I want to try (on top of the list is a supposedly excellent tuna conserva), but it's gonna be tough to not order the burrata every time I go... Anyway, Boston food is coming up.