Curious Appetite

Update from San Francisco: Pizza, Gelato and Negroni Pop-ups

Franco Pepe’s “scarpetta” cheese and tomato enthusiasts- enthuse!

Hello everyone! Let’s get down to business- I promised some updates so no funny stuff!

First, I wanted to share a few of my latest clips on the internet. It may seem like I only write about pizza and gelato- but is there anything else worth writing about? (Okay, maybe pasta)

I also wanted to invite you to an upcoming an Italian pop-up on July 15th at 5pm I’m curating along with Dinner Italiano in San Francisco! Details all coming up! Continue Reading

Pizza notizie: Giovanni Santarpia leaves Santarpia in Florence

Giovanni Santarpia and his pizza Photo credit: facebook

I know this comes off as reporter-y, and I usually don’t write or update restaurant gossip from Florence- but Giovanni Santarpia leaving the pizzeria branded after him is worth giving y’all a heads up about.

In sum, Giovanni Santarpia is no longer spinning at Santarpia. What’s this pizzeria, you ask? Santarpia is a critically lauded, 3rd wave kind of pizzeria in Florence’s Sant’Ambrogio district originally helmed by Giovanni Santarpia, a revered pizzaiolo from Naples. But 3rd wave doesn’t quite do Giovanni’s pies justice- I’d say gourmet Neapolitan but the pizzas really reflected Giovanni’s imagination and memory of taste. It’s hard to classify the pizzas served here- which is why the news of Giovanni leaving, will leave a gapping hole in the identity and draw of Santarpia. The carb parties thrown here were distinctly Giovanni’s propriety and I’d be curious as to how those left will attempt to recreate them.  Continue Reading

Eating through Italy, Pasta and San Francisco

You’re probably wondering why the title of this post is named as such. I’ll tell you! I snuck off to San Francisco and while perusing the events at Omnivore books, I discovered Elizabeth Minchilli in Rome would be speaking as part of her book tour in the US! What luck, right?

The new book she was presenting was Eating My Way Through Italy and it concentrates her 30 years of exploring Italian regional foods into neat chapters divided by the regions she has closest connection with, including dining advice, recipes and resources. For those of you who don’t know (which I highly doubt) Elizabeth Minchili is an American in Rome holding a varied background with Italy over her life including having put down roots with an Italian husband, children and a doggie. She is revered and a respected authoritative voice on Italian cooking and Roman cuisine, and has varied resources for eating around Italy with her apps and popular food blog. Her daughter Sophie is carrying the gastronome torch and leads culinary tours through the eternal city. Ciao, Sophie! Continue Reading

Feasting on Volcanic Etna in Sicily: Wine, Pistachios and Granita

roadside cannoli in Bronte, Sicily

For as long as I can remember, Sicily has been a distant curiosity. And not because I’ve never been- anzi. Post study abroad in Rome during a Spring/Summer of 2007 I took a trip through Sicily via Catania, Agrigento and Palermo. 10+ years later at my current stage of culinary curiosity- I wanted to return to Sicily. I decided, this place needed to be mine- at least for a few fleeting days.

For Sicilian food excellence, you hear mostly about Sicilian sweets- crispy fried shell smooth sweetened ricotta cannoli, marzipan enveloped cassata, mounds of almond granita said to be breakfast, cookies packed with pistachios of Bronte, luscious bold chocolate from Modica. Of course, Sicily is more than sweets. This place is a treasure chest of pastas, meats, cheeses and specialty ingredients like olive oil, saffron and pistachios.

I reached out to sommelier & Etna expert Brittany Carlisi with a wish-list to help make it happen. This post details what ensued over 4 days in the Mt. Etna area of Sicily. The subsequent 4 days of this trip covered Noto, Modica and Vittoria but I’ll get to that in a a future post. Continue Reading

Meat Trends and Bistecca alla Fiorentina in Florence

photo by Tracy Russo taken on my gourmet market walk!

If Florence had to choose to be renowned for one thing food-wise, it would definitely be this thickly cut, grilled to a bloody char La Bistecca Fiorentina. Mention these 3 words to any Florentine or Florence transplant and assuredly a debate will ensue. There are many opinions on what is important for a steak, where to get the best steak in Florence and most of all, what breed of cattle la bistecca fiorentina should come from. But restaurants in Florence are evolving to cater to meat connoisseurs, offering more than just a mystery meat variety grilled in the Florentine manner.  Continue Reading

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