And of course everything else delicious that is Italy.
Italy!!! Where all of my foodie dreams came true! I was a kid in a candy store! Homer Simpson when he sees a box of freshly made hot donuts! How Monterrey Jack from Chip N Dales goes into a trance with the scent of cheese!
I think y’all get the picture for my excitement in eating my way through Italy.
Gelato is not all the same. Some things to look out for:
- The color- if the color is too bright, or it doesn’t look like a color familiar to the flavor. Not good gelato. For example, Pistachio gelato should never be neon green. Walk away immediately. Pistachio is not neon green in nature do not eat neon green gelato.
- Chain gelato stores – Not the best. Pretty décor but you can get that gelato from your local grocery story.
- Artigianale or Artisan Gelato- This type of gelato uses all natural flavors and they make it in-house. Go there.
Here are my favorite gelato places:
- Gelateria La Carraia – Located in Florence Italy. This place was by far my favorite gelato and the line out the door really tells you how much people love their gelato. Don’t worry about the line, it moves fast.
- Emilia Cremeria- Located in Pompeii, Italy. One of the cleanest and chicest gelato places I went to. I had the Mango and strawberry gelato. That strawberry gelato ughhh.. it was like was licking real strawberries.
- Giolotti – located in Rome, Italy. One of the oldest gelato places in Rome close to the Pantheon. Pay first and then you can pick from about 40 flavors of gelato and the awesomely dressed guy will ask if you want fresh chocolate syrup in your ice cream cone. HELL YES PLEASE!
So what I learned about pizza. Pizza is different in every city. From the type of dough used to the size and shape of the pizza. Here are my favorites cities to get pizza.
- Naples: Of course, I had to talk about Naples first! Naples is the capital of Pizza, the godfather of pizza. And for a great reason! I had pizza from several places. It was all phenomenally delicious! Unfortunately, I did not have enough time to go to L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele or Ai Marni. If you guys are planning to go or have gone let me know!
Before I stop talking about Naples, a few things you want to know: you must try the Sfogliatelle, is this flaky pastry that comes in different fillings.
I also bought this Italian paste. This cost me $10 bucks and it is probably the best thing I bought besides wine. It is the hottest, fucking tomato paste I’ve had. I think they used ghost chili.Whatever they used had me down a big ass cup of sangria in two seconds. This small bottle will last for who knows how long. If you find this and you love spicy food, get it. Do not use it all in one sitting but you put it on everything.
- Rome: Pizza in Rome was square. The two places I had pizza it was on a focaccia type of bread.
3. Florence: Mangia Pizza was stumbled upon during one of my hangry moments. By the way, I have a ton of hangry moments throughout the day, every day. Anyways, it is a small restaurant and depending on the time be willing to wait for a table. The pizza was made in a fire brick oven, comes individually size and it was delicious!
Fuck! I can talk on and on and on and on about pasta. If you never had REAL Italian al dente pasta then you never really had pasta. I am convinced that Italians was taught at a young age in the method of making the perfect al dente just like Chinese kids know how to use chopsticks as a toddler. (Fun fact about me: I do not know how to use a chopstick correctly and it bothers the hell out of my family every time I use them).
Back to pasta… Pasta in Italy is the appetizer after the appetizer but before the main entrée. So literally you can imagine I had pasta every night before my main entrée. I can’t pick a favorite. I tried. But I had all types of pasta. My suggestion to you is to try all the pasta you need to. Judgment free zone.
Other things to eat
- Florentine steak: This steak was ahhhmazinnnnnnggg… I mean simply delicious and tender. It was so tender I can cut this steak with a butter knife.Seriously, they gave us a butter knife. And it is only offered in Florence. Why? It comes down to the type of cow and the butcher. Because Florence is a hilly area, cows in this area tend to be more muscular so it makes the meat more muscular. And the butchers in this area are trained to learn how to cut them in their own Florentine way.
- Zucchini Blossoms: Zucchini blossoms are the flowers that blossoms on top of the zucchini. We never really seem in the USA but in Italy they stuffed the zucchini flowers with cheese and fried them.
- Wine: I know it is not eating. I don’t have much to say but to drink it as much as you and drink as responsibility as you can. Wine is uber super cheap. I went for the house wine most of the time and it was probably better than a lot of $15 dollar wines.
- Coffee: They do not have a Starbucks here! And I love that!! Why have Starbucks coffee when you can have Italian roasted coffee on every block.
- Charcuterie Board: Heads up! As shown above, is for two people. We had three people. So the portions are pretty big.
Restaurants I recommend:
Pompeii: Add’u Mimi – this was by far the best meal I had. It was very reasonable price (about $25 dollars for two people) and the décor was very quaint. It is a family owned trattorie. Everyone was very kind and friendly. One suggestion, listen to their food suggestion. They know.I think reservations are highly recommended. They tend to be very busy. I lucked up got there as soon as they opened for lunch and they were able to seat us right away.
Rome: Trastevere is an area I would suggest to find good eats and reasonably priced. A couple of restaurants I went to:
- Grazia & Graziella- great pasta, pizza, and tiramisu was YUM!
2. Historia La Boticella-huge dishes and owner is so sweet and even gave us a bottle of wine to go home with. I strongly recommend reservations. I walked over there one night and she gave us reservations the next day.
3. Ombre Rosse – nice low key bar, great drinks, and a live band.
4. Pianostrada- Street food. very small restaurant and always seem to have a line outside the door. We got there around 5 pm. Anytime later that, expect to wait a long time. The cool thing about this restaurant the women runs the kitchen.
- Trattoria 13 Gobbi- known for their Florentine steak. Good house wine, and food was good.
- Mangia Pizza- good for lunch, Pizza is made to order.
Venice: Antiche Carampane- pretty pricey but if Venice is pretty price anyways. They change their menu daily and they only make what they bought that day from the seafood market. Food was fresh. It was really hard to find this place. One tip, google map the address where you have wifi and follow the dots like a treasure map.
The only one downfall during my Italy trip was breakfast. I realized how much of Asian American I was when all I wanted was bacon and eggs, or pho. I settled with eggs and my own salted pancetta in the mornings.
“Part of success in life is to eat what you like…”– Mark Twain
📸: Rome, Italy