Aug 30, 2014

florence: trattoria zaza

i was looking forward to florence and was more excited with its culinary offerings....seems like there are more restos in florence and everything is within walking distance. i've read so many reviews about zaza and although it's very touristy, people vouched for their good food. and indeed, trattoria zaza didn't disappoint. we ate there twice, it could have been more if only there were nights we weren't lazy to walk.

spinach ricotta ravioli

this was awesome...the truffle scent was wafting and yet not overpowering. i super loved this dish. truth be told i got confused i was thinking that this ravioli was stuffed with meat... think tortellini so that it won't be cloying. i was so famished i was not thinking straight and ordered this ultra rich dish. you need something else to counteract the richness...that's what my parents' orders are for hehe.

pork dish

i forgot the name of this dish. it was good too. the pork loin was sooooo tender. the baked beans cooked in tomato sauce was reminiscent of canned pork and beans but was a couple of notches better. 

zaza's tuna spaghetti...i forgot the name again

this was a house special. you'd think it's so lame to order tuna spaghetti in italy, it's so "un-italian". but this was extraordinarily good. the herbs and spices just worked together. this was a nice contrast to my cloyingly rich truffle cream ravioli.

salad nicoise?

this was from our second outing, dunno why i ordered this. cannot remember if they have plain caesar which is what i should have gotten. there's nothing really special about this one it was so so.

fried zucchini flowers

i wish they were stuffed, i wanted them to be stuffed but they weren't. i just doused it with malt vinegar since it was bland. skip this.


i always thought that our pinoy spaghetti translates to the bolognese, but i thought wrong - blame it on my asian and american experiences! this bolognese has a different flavor profile, i liked the mildness of the italian herbs and it doesn't have that distinct tomato flavor, this totally redefined bolognese for me, it is not just plain red meat sauce.

bistecca fiorentina

this was a must! i couldn't leave florence without trying bistecca fiorentina. a traditional bistecca fiorentina is the t-bone from the chianina or maremmana breed which are more expensive. this one is a different breed, atleast 1.5 inches thick it's a minimum of 1kg. the verdict? the beef wasn't that flavorful...i want my meat really beefy - think dry aged beef. of course this one is fresh so the flavors are less intense. i wasn't super duper happy but i'm glad to have finally tried it.

there are hits and misses with zaza, you'd rather stick to the pastas which they do really well and zero in on the truffle menu if you like truffles =).

trattoria zaza
piazza del mercato centrale
(it's right outside the mercato centrale)
there are two zazas side by side and they are just the same

Aug 26, 2014

when in must eat gelato

unfortunately, i am not an ice cream lover. but i do enjoy this cool dessert once in a while. and because i'm in italy...gelato is a must whether i was in the mood or not. luckily the weather was warmer and enjoying a cold cup of gelato is actually a treat. i was only able to try 3 gelatos in italy. here's my take on each and everyone of them.

1. san crispino

i reckon this is the most famous gelato in roma. the caramel flavor is there, but somehow i didn't enjoy the sticky consistency of the gelato. it wasn't smooth and creamy as i expected it to be.

2. venchi

this wasn't on my list but the owner of our b&b recommended this place. this is right across the mercato nuovo and was perfect after all the walking we did in florence. again i had caramel or was it dulce de leche? i forget. this has the smoothest consistency this was like a rich ice cream not too dense but very creamy.

3. grom 

another perfect stop after an entire day of walking the streets of florence. the reviews are indeed correct. grom's flavors are rich but the texture is similar to san crispino just a bit better.

if you ask me venchi, wins just because of the consistency, it would be perfect if it has the richness in flavors as grom's gelato =). 

other gelato brands i would have loved to try would be flor in rome, gelateria la carraia and perche no in florence.

san crispino
via della panetteria, 42
(near the trevi fountain)
rome, italy

vicolo calimaruzza, 18
right across the mercato nouvo
florence, italy

via del campanile angolo delle oche
near piazza del duomo
florence, italy

Aug 22, 2014

the cannoli search ensues

if you've been following this blog, you'd know i'm obsessed with cannoli. (i had to edit my old post because i realized cannoli is the plural form and cannolo is singular). i've only tried it in las vegas and nyc so i was optimistic that i will find the perfect one in italy. let's see how i fared.

i only got to try two cannoli. both were in rome, from two pasticceria which are known for their cannoli.

ciuri ciuri, we were walking along via cavour as we were headed to the colosseo when i spotted ciuri ciuri. i took a mental note...must buy cannoli on our way back.

people have been raving about ciuri ciuri and they are known for freshly filled cannoli. verdict? it was too sweet! i like the thin crispy shell but i find the filling cloyingly sweet. i am not sure if it's just my palate or what but it was just too sweet for my liking.

la cannoleria siciliana, as the name suggests you'd think that cannoli is their specialty. however, i'm quite disappointed to find out they don't have fresh filled cannoli...or was it just for the bigger ones? i forget. i got the small versions only because i was afraid they might be too sweet again. the filling wasn't too sweet actually but the shell is a bit thick and because it's not freshly filled the shell has lost the crispness. 

sigh, i have yet to find that mind blowing cannoli. there was one more place i wanted to try in florence but missed the chance of trying it...if only my dad agreed to sit down and grab coffee then i could have tried that cannolo which has a better review. maybe next time.

ciuri ciuri
via leonina, 18/20
(it's on a smaller street parallel to via cavour, if you walk along via cavour you can see it because there are steps leading towards the store itself)

la cannoleria siciliana
via di monte brianzo 66-67
(street along the tiber near piazza navona)

Aug 18, 2014

rome: life

we were hungry and i didn't anticipate we would be in the spanish steps area by lunch time. i just checked yelp and saw life which was relatively nearby. i've read a couple of reviews on it so we decided to eat there.

my dad's vongole - didn't try it

truffle pasta, fragrant but nothing special. i even hate the pasta it was gummy.

my mom's grilled chicken with a slaw of veggies nothing special either 

via della vite
rome, italy