Il Morso del Brunch

OK… I know this is out of order, because by the blog we are about to arrive in Positano, but in real time…I’m back at ditta Artigianale in Firenze.
And because today is a holiday, and I know you have time to make yourself a nice breakfast…here’s what I want you to do.

* Slice two thick pieces of a good Tuscan pane you have. Lightly toast, drizzle with a bit of your best Extra Virgin Tuscan Olive Oil.
* Grab some ripe, cherry tomatoes, cut in half, crush and smear across your toast.
* Out of the fridge, grab that yummy, creamy pesto you made the other day, the fresh burrata and the arugula. Oh wait…also 2 or 3 slices of prosciutto crudo.
* Add a little arugula on the toast for color and crunch.
* Place the prosciutto lovingly atop.
* Now give yourself a generous portion of the pesto and burrata, you’ll want enough to savor some with each bite.

Buon Appetito!

Croutons con pomodoro struts into, prosciutto crudo, burratina e pesto.

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Seeing Sorrento

We are in Sorrento for only one day so we decide to forgo sunbathing, opting for seeing as much of the town as we can.

I came to Sorrento for tre notti in 2013. Although I have some sweet memories from here; the best pizza ever, the red lanterns floating up to the heavens, sitting on the roof top terrazzo of my B&B…at the time, I thought I would not return. And I think I have already mentioned, Danita and I come to the same consensus this time. It is busy and very touristy.

So you are now probably asking yourself, “Then why DID she return?” It was not on my original 2017 agenda, Positano was, and when Danita joined in the fun, I thought it might be a good idea to break up our trek…so, join us for a day in Sorrento.

Just off the palazzo where our room is, there is a newish caffe shop, Puro.

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We make our office here (not in the swings) while I write and Danita follows up on her luggage. It is suppose to arrive this evening…

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After a couple of cappuccinos, we go back to the room and clean up.

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Today, our model is wearing AnotherPaige.

There are several places from my 2013 visit I would like to share…most have to do with food.

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Artis Domus stuck in my head like few others places have. And it is not because of the food here…I think I had a birra. It is because of the building and decor.

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I have fantasized about buying that 2 story rock house on the corner of Austin and Adams, across from Market Platz, and turning it into my version of this. A coffee shop, small bakery and when I felt like it, a bar with aperitivo. I even had a name for it…A A Meeting…you know A like in Austin and A like in Adams…
The funny thing is as we are approaching it, a couple stops us and asks if we have been in there. I tell him I had a few years ago. They are ga-ga over it just as I was and recommend we go by again. Certo.
We make reservations to return for dinner…most likely.

Right now, pranzo is on our minds. We wind our way to another favorite spot,

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You might remember this tunnel (and my hesitancy to enter) from my last visit to Trattoria da Emilia located in Marina Grande.

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We order another Caprese and I can’t be here, right on the water, without getting a specialty of the Casa…Acciughe Fritte…

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Danita was kinda disgusted by them, but I got her to take a tiny little taste. I thought they were molto buono! We left no room for dolce even though there were several in la cucina that looked delizioso…I was tempted to order a Tiramisu because Daddy really wants me to have one for him…luckily the English guy beside us ordered one…AND he let me take a picture before,

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and after,

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Marina Grande is not to be missed if you are visiting Sorrento. It is a small, very authentic fishing village, where people carry on family traditions generation after generation…case in point…

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Leaving Marina Grande we take it in its sights…

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winding our way back to a ceramicist shop we found earlier.

We each choose several one-of-a-kind pieces and have an interesting discussion regarding having them shipped home. We watch as they are carefully bubble wrapped and cannot wait until they reach Fredericksburg..most likely.

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Oh…by the way…I guess I have not updated you on Danita’s luggage…not here yet…So any shopping she is doing is on a MUST NEED basis…

We go over to the lookout point above the sunning piers. The vistas from here are amazing.

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We have encounter from a funny uomo at a men’s shop. He does a little jig to show us how comfortable the moccasins are he designed. We buy each of our sons a pair. They are really great looking. We especially like the “ascot” detail…his idea he reminds us.

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As I am leaning over to take the shot of the shoes, first taking them out of the bag, then out of the box, unwrapping them…finding the right spot along the busy street…I hear an English accent say, “Is there ANYTHING you do not photograph?” I whirl around and it’s Tiramisu from Emilia’s. Laughing, I tell him, “No…not much.” This encounter makes me giggle for a while.

20170702-192553-69953080.jpg. See…I looked at this sign, liked it, walked a few steps, then went back to take a photograph of it. I think Danita needs this for her ufficio.

Around 18:00…we think it is time for a cocktail…and we know just where to find the one we want. Andiamo! To D’Anton.

Last night when we were here, we went on and on to Gabriel and his girlfriend on how wonderful this cocktail was. We asked for the recipe and he gave us everything but the “secret ingredient”…that even he does not know…yeah right…
On my way to the bagno, I tried to scope it out. I saw the bartender pouring something from a small bottle wrapped in paper. During the day today, we would walk into enotecas and look for just that, a small bottle wrapped in paper. No luck. For a while, we thought Tiramisu English man had cracked the code when he mentioned he went to a Limoncello factory and there was melon flavored limoncello there that was a pinkish color. But after further research, that didn’t make sense because it has a milky consistency and the “secret ingredient” didn’t…it just kinda added a pinkish hue to the top of the cocktail. As we left yesterday, we told Gabriel we would be back and he told us he would give us a hint then…Yes, I know…that totally discredits the “I don’t-a even-a know-a” line. Anyway…you know us…and we WILL find out.

Enter D’Anton. Tonight, we are waited on by Francesca, Gabriel’s sorella. Order due Limoncello Cocktails…and they arrive with no pinkish hue. I tell Danita, “There’s no secret ingredient”, she responds flatly, “I know”…I push my chair back, glass in hand and head for the bar. The girl recognizes me from last night and says, “I know-a…I forgot-a…I bring-a to table.” Secret solved!

To make this cocktail at tu casa, you will
Gin, and if you want to go all the way, your gin of choice will be-

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Limoncello, Juice of a Limon, Basil Leaf, Twist of a Limon and….

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Angostura Bitters…a splash of Secret Ingredient.

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Grazie Mille Gabriel e Francesca!

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Tutto e ‘Bene Quel Che Finisce Bene!

Our transportation plans have changed a little bit. I had already purchased train tickets from Ancona to Sorrento. It was to be our longest journey yet. We would need to pack, leave the villa, return the rent car and get to our train by 8:35. When I was discussing this plan with our Hertz guy the other day, Danita jumped in to ask, “If we were to drop off the car here at the airport instead of the train station, would that be ok?” “Drop-a off-a eeesaa drop-a off-a.”, was his reply. And yes, my mind started wondering then.

It took Danita another day to ask, “If we did not take the train, but took a plane from Napoli to Ancona, would you still be my friend?”

So from train to plane…that is the plan.

Even though our departure time was noon, I got up early, packed, showered and wrote a bit. Around 9:30, we were off to the areoporto.

My parents always wished I could experience the freedom of having a car in Italy. Hearing their stories of Daddy driving while Mom navigated, exploring towns off the beaten path and just the fun of driving in a different country (parking, driving in reverse down a hill top town), made me want to do so. My first try has been a great experience. Being able to pull a U turn and drive down a dirt road to get a closer look at fields and fields of sunflowers, exhibit one.

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Arrivi l’aeroporto, l’automobile di ritorno, Nessus problema.

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But when we walk into the terminal, we get a bit confused.

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Not a whole lot going on here. We ask. Ahhh…we are at the arrival building. So we head over to departures. And after a bit of waiting in the checkin line (even though there were only 4 people ahead of us) and at the termini…we board…a tad behind schedule but still ahead of what the train would have been…most likely.

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There are two flights involved in this passage. We will fly from Ancona to Roma, Roma to Napoli.

Arrivi Roma…and we wait. I didn’t pay much attention to the time, but I could hear others around us complaining that we were going to be an hour or so behind schedule. We board aereo due…

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And we wait and wait and wait. During this wait time, I am communicating with the shuttle company I had previously scheduled to pick us up at the Napoli Treno Stazione and take us to Sorrento. We worked it out where they pick us up at the areoporto instead, but now he and I are going back and forth regarding our arrival time in Napoli. At one point he asks me, “What time will you arrive in Napoli?” I tell him, since I am still sitting on the runway in Roma…it’s a little tough to say. He writes back later saying his information says we have taken off and should be arriving shortly. I look out the window, verifying we are indeed still on the Terra, and I inform him otherwise. At this point….we are behind what the train schedule would have been…most likely.

Due ore behind schedule…we are airborn.

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Let’s face it…things could be worse. Whenever we arrive, we can figure out a way to get to Sorrento. There may be more euro involved…but we can get there. Things could be worse.

Hang on…things are about to get worse.

Arrivi Napoli.
It takes about 30 minutes for the little baggage track to start rolling our luggage out. OK, there’s mine. One more to go. Waiting, waiting, waiting…

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When the termini worker holds his hands up and says, “E tutti…finito”, Danita and I just look at each other…straight faces…and she joins the line under the Bagagli Smarriti sign.

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I feel bad for her.  Her question, “If we take a plane instead of a train, will you still be my friend” is taking on a different twist.

Meanwhile, back at the luggage carousel, I am still communicating with Francesco regarding our driver and car to Sorrento. He writes asking if we have arrived. Then letting me know our driver is waiting. Then letting me know our driver is still waiting. I first tell him we are waiting on our bags. Then tell him we are waiting on one. Then tell him we are waiting in line to report a missing bag.

Meanwhile, back at the Bagagli Smarriti line, Danita is making her way up. She’s one due persona away, but the donna in front of her at the window WILL NOT let her complaint go. She goes on and on regarding the fact she has two small children who will have no clothes.

Danita mutters something about an impending meltdown…but keeps her cool. It is ironic that Vesuvius is a couple of miles away. I wonder which may explode first.

Next up, little Italian looking guy in front of Danita. When he opens his mouth to make his claim, we realize he’s not Italian, Italian, but of Italian decent from possibly the Bronx. He speaks with a little bit of a lisp which I am sure is exacerbated by the situation.

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Finding it difficult to communicate the name of the hotel he will be staying at, he resorts to the old A like Apple explanation. He’s going through everything, “I like Igloo, M like Mountain, P like Pig, E like….E like…” Here he gets stuck. Finally he leans in under the little glass barrier as he finds his solution, “E like Eggwoll”…

E like Eggwoll??? Oh my gosh, THIS nugget might have been worth all this delay. E like Eggwoll…WHERE does that come from? Danita and I just look at each other doing a pretty good job of containing our laughter. Later Danita shares she thought he said, “E like eyewoll”…which would work perfectly in this situation…whatever it was, it was priceless!!

Meanwhile back at the luggage carousel…Let’s check in with Francesco. He’s being super patient as we are now well over due ore pasted our scheduled pickup time.

Glancing around at others who are waiting to report their lost baggage, I see a little this…

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Paperwork finished, promises of a within 24 hour delivery made…most likely…we make it out where our driver is to be waiting.

And sure enough…There is Mario…

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When he sees us laughing and waving at him…he looks down at his watch and gives us a look. That stops us in our tracks and Danita spouts something about he better not go there….He follows up with a “No problema” and escorts us to the car.

As we pass Vesuvius on our way out of Napoli…I giggle.

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I will end today’s post with highlight of our day.
Enter the Limoncello Cocktail at D’Anton…

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While I threw off the bagged out boyfriend jeans I had on all day, Danita scoped out this quaint little spot right across from our room. Brava mi amica!! Brava!! As we later reflect, Sorrento is a place we would probably not return…although we enjoyed our short time here. But this cocktail, was worth all that preceded it. We add to it a piatto di aperitivo and are revived.

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While we sat, a storm entertained us. Gabriel moved our table under an awning as the rain poured down and the lightening danced.

Another bella example of Tutto e ‘Bene Quel Che Finisce Bene…

Un Altro Giorno, Un’altra Spiaggia

As I mentioned yesterday, it is going to be another low key day.
When Danita returns from her run, she says, “OK…I’ve got an adventure for us.”

We throw on our suits and head out the door. Today, we walk all the way through town and through a park. Soon after exiting the park, the terrain changes drastically…hence the “adventure”.

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Luckily Danita let me borrow some rubber bottomed flip flops to help me negotiate these steep slopes. She’s wearing her running shoes knowing the importance, having been about 1/2 way down already this morning on her run.

We make it down, down, down and it was worth the haul. This beach is MUCH less crowded, the water is prettier AND…

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They also have SPRITZ!!

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During the walk up, we affirm ourselves because in Danita’s words, “Many could not have made it to the bottom. Most could not make it to the top.”
Yay Us! Gelato per tutti!

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And wait…I spoke too soon regarding our disappointment in the food here…a few blocks ago, I notice a young girl gnawing on a piece of rosemary focaccia…si, ho buoni occhi…and I start sweeping my eyes from side to side as we walk. Vittoria!!!

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Pizza…mi porta a casa!

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When I was standing in the middle of the via, getting this shot…a man laughed as he walked by and said, “Arista…” As he rolled his occhi.

Right about now, we realize we have left two bottles of Marche Verdicchios in the freezer back at the villa…Pardon the quality of this photo, but I was laughing so hard trying to capture the moment questioning, “Disperato?” as I poured.

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As was already decided, dinner at the villa tonight. We did grab a bit of pizza and also have some burrata left from our first night, a couple of pomodori, a few olives…but there’s an enoteca we’ve seen advertisements for…and being who we are…we wanna go. So we hop in the car, not even cleaning up from la spiaggia and find it. And what a find it was!

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Our intention was to go in and get a regional bottle or two, but when we asked about regional wines…our little friend began to pour…

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And cut, and slice. We sat and chatted with a local man…picture Pablo Picassoesque, only Italian, not Spanish…while his wife was busy shopping. We were having a difficult time communicating with our little wine guy in the ascot and cool occhiali, so this guy stepped in as if to say, “I’ll interpret…proceed.” Well, that just made the situation funnier and the hour here more enjoyable. We even got Danita to try a regional red…

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Which Le piacque!
Every wine they sell here at Enoteca Azzurra is regional. As we were having taste after taste, cheese after cheese and salami after salami, I asked…”Che soon regionali?” “TUTTI soon regionali!” He replied as he showed me his little map.

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And by the way, I asked if I could have the map…Nope.

Waiting in line to buy the bottle of our choice, the first taste we had…

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“Pablo” asked, “Di dove e?”, “Sono da Texas.”….”AAhhhh! TEXAS!” He exclaims as he nods knowingly pointing at my hat…”Cow-boy-a Hat-a”…No, it is NOT a cowboy hat…although I heard a little Italian kid calling it that as we trekked down to the beach…it’s a fedoraish…lots of people are wearing them, but when they learn we’re from Texas…it’s a cowboy hat.

Back at the villa, we create un altro incredibile board, enjoy our verdicchio

 

The night is lovely.  La Luna is overhead (thinking of you Avery and Dalton)… Salute un’altra bella Notte in villa.

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