Thursday, August 24, 2017

A sunny coffee date at Latteria Studio in Rome

Latteria Studio cooking school in Rome

A visit to Latteria Studio had been on my list for a while, ever since meeting Alice Adams last year at Il Baciarinowhere she was collaborating on Emiko Davies' second cookbook Acquacotta ~ and even more so after an invitation to a  lovely Sunday lunch in Alice's enchanted garden in Lubriano earlier this year ...

A native Australian who has called Rome home long enough to speak fluent Italian with a destinct Roman accent, Alice is a wearer of many hats of talent - a cook, food stylist, recipe developer, blogger and proprietress of before mentioned Latteria Studio  a sunny gathering space, culinary prop studio and cooking school in the heart of Trastevere.

And while we only had time for a quick caffè, it was nice to get a tour of the studio {with a dash of prop envy} ... 

Latteria Studio culinary prop rentals in Rome

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

An {unintentionally} color coordinated twilight dinner in the Lucca Hills ...

Airbnb Lucca hills Matraia Valgiano

Last month found us returning to the Colline Lucchesi, the fertile olive and wine growing hills surrounding Lucca, a region I had vowed to revisit after scouting culinary tour destinations for Viola's Italy here last year ~ and returning to a favorite Airbnb, a classic Tuscan farmhouse nestled into an olive and cherry grove with a long alfresco dining table overlooking Piana di Lucca and Monte Pisano in the distance.

And after some memorable evenings under the stars, sharing the rustic table along the ancient stone wall with our host Pablo and an ever evolving group of friends, it was once again time to say Arrivederci to the Lucca hills:

firing up the grill for an Italian inspired menu of "surf & turf", it made for a memorable farewell grigliata ~ and looking through these photos made me realize how {unintentionally} color coordinated this dinner turned out to be in camera ...


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Carbonara days of summer


Last month has been unusually hot along the Mediterranean, with a hot Scirocco wind blowing from Africa meaning lazy days spent in the shade of our casetta patio, reading, relaxing and embracing a long "pranzo" {Italian for lunch}, a leisurely long meal stretched out over those hottest hours of the day, playing with local ingredients and re-interpreting favorite Italian dishes ...

One of my all time favorites, even if not a local Maremmana recipe, will always be Spaghetti alla Carbonara ~ and after spotting appropriate substitutes for the original Roman ingredients at our little alimentari, this Carbonara {with a Tuscan twist} has become a favorite staple of our summer lunches ....


Monday, July 3, 2017

A rustic kitchen and favorite table under the fig tree


Summer has arrived again, and as in the past couple of years we have escaped San Francisco's summer gloom and returned to Vetulonia, an Etruscan founded hilltop town nestled into the rolling hills of Tuscany's Maremma region – returning once again to Il Baciarino, our "home away from home", a small agriturismo with five rustic cottages nestled into a quiet oak and olive grove and owned by our dear friends Clelia and Andrea.

The first days have been a much needed timeout, resetting our clocks to life with the cycle of nature, long afternoons spent in the shade of "our" fig tree, embracing the Italian siesta concept, reading, relaxing and cooking simple meals in our rustic outdoor kitchen with endless views.

dinners with friends Il Baciarino dishesonly

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A long Sunday lunch {& Infiorata} in Lubriano


We are back in Italy and what a treat to start off with a drive into the Tuscia region to join Alice Kiandra Adams {proprietress of Latteria Studio and author of the always inspiring RusticaRetro blog} along with family, neighbors and friends for a long Sunday lunch in Lubriano , sitting down under the vine-covered pergola of her enchanting garden with views of the surrounding valley and neighboring Civita di Bagnoreggio.

And it turned out it was not just any Sunday, coinciding with Lubriano's Infiorata, an annual festival held on the Sunday of the Ascension, turning the small towns narrow streets into colorful canvases of intricate flower carpets ~ a rather temporary spectacle of flower petals, leaves and seeds set up by the town inhabitants overnight and swept away after a ceremonious procession leading over the flower carpet to the main church in the morning.
  



Friday, May 5, 2017

Mediterranean inspired flavors in the desert

dinners with friends octopus cucina di andrea

A couple of weeks ago we decided to take a road trip, driving from San Francisco to the California desert on a quest to see the desert in bloom. We followed the back roads from the Central Valley towards the high desert, detouring to see the California poppies along Antelope Valley, and spending a couple of days at a favorite desert hideaway to catch up with our friend Nancy. 

With mild desert temperatures and in anticipation of the next Italy trip we cooked up some Mediterranean inspired menues, from octopus salad and cannellini tuna crostini to cured salumi and grilled lamb chops, the perfect flavors for some breezy spring days in the desert ...


Friday, March 24, 2017

A sunny escape from the office & tacos at TACOS CALA


Yesterday brought a rare glimpse of sunshine to a week of dreary downpours, so spotting the Achilles Heel pop up on Instagram was the perfect excuse for an impromptu escape from the office, heading down to the secret taco stand that is TACOS CALA, tucked into the back alley behind CALA.

As it turned out, we were too late to savor Lee Desrosiers' specials {grilled on the sidewalk on a portable Francis Mallmann parrilla traveling in a fancy leather traveling case}, but plates of Mexico City style tacos de guisado {lengua en salsa verde, carnitas & pollo en pipian} with agua fresca {lemon ginger mint} still made for the perfect fix while taking in CALA's cool interiors ...

TACOS CALA in San Francisco

Follow along on Instagram ...

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