Curious Appetite

alternative food guides

3 Fine Food & Wine Pairing Fails- Lessons from Italian Sommelier Training

oysters & bubbles- you’re doing it wrong

Hey readers! I’m sorry I’ve been rather quiet on the blog. The last couple months have been intense- from launching a food & negroni club, managing my food tour hustle, writing articles for Eater and now currently traveling like a crazy woman in the USA between LA, Seattle and San Francisco. Not to mention, having just completed an Italian Sommelier certification with FISAR Firenze which I had been following for the last year. Officially I have completed all 3 levels and now am one big exam away from Italian Sommelier status. Yikes!

The last level still fresh on my mind was Level 3: Food & Wine Pairing. With the holidays among us, I’d like to offer you some useful life tips which you may apply during current festivities and the holiday gatherings to come. In short, if you’ve been pairing turkey or steak with Brunello, oysters or caviar with champagne or truffles with Barolo- you’re doing it wrong. Read on to know why! Continue Reading

An alternative guide to the “best” panini in Florence

salami florence panini brunori

There is more to panini in Florence than l’Antico Vinaio. Places like Antico Vinaio are extremely famous thanks to a failproof recipe: thousands (13K+) of tripadvisor reviews mostly since they’ve been listed for ages, tasty albeit obnoxiously large panini and cheap wine all for under 5€. However rarely questioned is the quality of their ingredients. Like are those industrial factory produced cheeses and grocery-store quality meats? Aren’t you curious as to what’s in those sauces/globs?

I’m going to flat out and be honest- this post is a reaction to seeing l’Antico Vinaio on nearly every major publication’s list, usually written by writers who are just passing through probably gleaning clues from other articles without contacting local on-the-ground experts. While I’m not saying me or anyone is the ultimate authority, it’d be nice if visiting writers actually reached out to the people who live and breath the food scene every day in Florence, to make their pieces more authentic.

The panini at l’antico vinaio are good, even delicious, but not worth to me waiting up to an hour in line for. Italian panini, were meant to be simple and traditionally included few ingredients: primarily cheese and/or meat. It seems that they’ve become monstrous man vs. food feasts here! Not that I don’t enjoy a decadent massive panino, but again, I suggest folks to consume info (and food) with a discerning palate. I am suspicious of the ingredients in terms of what’s actually in there and truffle sauces with 99% artificial flavor and 1% truffle extract. My personal tastes goes towards more artisan style eateries, where ingredient quality is emphasized. Not always, I do enjoy junk food too! But I get a lot of questions “is Antico Vinaio really that good?” Yes- it is but in case you don’t want to wait in line for an hour, here are some alternatives.  Continue Reading

An alternative guide to the "best" restaurants in Florence

Do you really want to eat from a blatant tourist menu’?

“Stuffing feathers up your ass does not make you a chicken” is one of my favorite quotes from Fight Club. Just because a thousand people with unproven enogastronomic credibility reviewed an eatery on tripadvisor as the best pizza in Florence, does not make it the best pizzeria in Florence.

I’m not saying 3rd party sites like tripadvisor don’t have their place or worth- it just seems to have become gospel for some food hunting travelers. I find that the people worth trusting online 1st are bloggers who live, have lived and/or continue to spend time/visit that place (and stay in the good graces of the locals there) or those who actually know good food either by writing about food, knowing cooks, having taken culinary tours or classes and who aren’t bad cooks themselves. Like pasta- how can someone really recommend the best pasta if they’ve never made it themselves or understand the curious anecdotes behind al dente? Continue Reading

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