Dec 29, 2010

Marlowe, one of the best burgers in SF, SoMa

There are few lists of the best burgers in San Francisco, each of them with their own criteria and marvelous pictures. 

We went to try the one from Marlowe and it's excellent. Sided by crispy French fries and aioli sauce, the burger was very well prepared and delicious.

I would like to take the opportunity to wish Happy 2011 to all of you!

Dec 23, 2010

Pyramid Brewery, Berkeley

Football, baseball and most of the team sports are greatly appreciated in American culture. Specially the last games of the championships are always more fun when watched at bars and pubs. 

One of the top classic games in the SF Bay Area is always football games between Stanford University and UCBerkeley. On that Sunday, we watched the game in Berkeley at Pyramid: surrounded by specialty beers, burgers and sandwiches. Stanford won hugely and we could feel all the disappointment around. :)

The brewery holds tours on their facilities every day starting at 4pm.

Dec 20, 2010

Corner Bakery Cafe, Flowood, Mississippi

Our last post from Mississippi is about Corner Bakery Cafe, a healthy conscious franchise from Dallas that has been expanding all over the country. 

It was the first time I ever saw and tried one of their places. They offer panini sandwiches, pastries and baked goods in a cozy and warm atmosphere. 

We tried their panini sandwiches and they were good. Their berries parfait was fresh and made to order: berries, granola and yogurt all well balanced. It was a great stop for breakfast or midday snack around that area.

Dec 17, 2010

Fresh Market Grocery Store, Madison, Mississippi

Mississippi has been the top US State to have the highest percentage of obese people in the country. It's a sad fact and I personally thought it was most the media exaggerating than all reality.  It's not the case. 

Previously, I saw in the Southeast US, a little girl eating an orange without peeling the skin, since she had never eaten one before, she didn't know what to do with it. It was heartbreaking.

The good news is that recently, healthier mindsets are getting there and with that, new options (Vegetarian healthy restaurants, for instance) and grocery stores.

As the name already states, the Fresh Market carries the freshest fruits and vegetables. They have a great selection and variety, with high quality and reasonable prices. They also offer organic local produce and imported products. It's a great stop for groceries, if you ever happen to be around Jackson (the capital of the State).

Dec 14, 2010

Bi-Rite Creamery, Mission District, San Francisco

Some people think ice cream is all the same. I disagree. The ingredients, the texture, the flavors, the feeling can be all different. The first time I tried Bi-Rite Ice Cream it was a honey lavender flavor and I had never forgotten it: just too amazing.

Located right by the Dolores Park on the Mission, Bi-Rite uses the slogan "Creating Community through Food". (They are directly involved in several actions towards giving back to the community).

They are also listed on the 7x7 magazine "100 things to eat before you die in SF": #35 - salted-caramel ice cream from Bi-Rite.  

Dec 11, 2010

Monk's Kettle, Mission, San Francisco

I guess you already can tell that we have been hopping around gourmet beer bars around the SF Bay Area. Each of them has their own special character and an interesting flare. This time, we went to Monk's Kettle in the Mission District. I passed by the bar few times but never would have thought they served beer. Kettle for me always reminded me of tea, much more when it's associated to the monk.

The small place offers great selection of European beers, some of the same offered at La Trappe and some slightly more expensive than elsewhere. Still, it's worth trying for their exclusive selection and their service, which was impeccable, friendly and knowledgeable. 

Food wise, the only thing we tried their chocolate chip cookie dessert and it was very hearty and delicious. The place gets packed all week long, we went on a Sunday afternoon and got no line and great crowd. It's a fun place and we will come back! 

Dec 8, 2010

Limon Restaurant, Mission District, San Francisco

I never judge a place just because of the previous reviews and reports I read. With a couple of friends, I went to try Limon on Valencia Street, in the Mission District for Sunday brunch. Despite some mixed feelings I had upon previous readings, once I was there, it felt totally different. Seafood ceviche was incredibly fresh, lemony and refreshing. I ordered the Latin bouillabaisse (a type of seafood stew) and it was very delicious. I haven't tried my friends' dishes, but described as it was great. Service could be faster and more attentive, but overall the experience exceeded my expectations. It was interesting to try a Latin brunch, inspired in Central and South American cuisines and ingredients. 

More info on Limon: 

Dec 5, 2010

La Trappe, Belgium Beer in San Francisco, North Beach

Few months ago, I posted a comment about La Trappe, the Belgium-style pub that is located in North Beach, when describing the La Chouffe pub in Amsterdam.

La Trappe offers an amazing selection of Belgium beers. To pair well with your choice, try great Belgian food: mussels, Belgian fries and delicious burgers! Whether the menu is simple, it pairs really well with the food.

The street level entrance doesn't give a real idea of what this place has to offer. Downstairs, you can find the pub and it's an amazing cozy place. Their beer menu is pretty much a book, where you can find through type of beer and their related page.

Once looking for type of beer, you have a great selection of brands and an informative description of each. The waiters there are knowledgeable and very helpful to describe and suggest different choices.

I go there few times a year and always have a raspberry Lambic - totally recommend it! It's one of those cozy places that doesn't change often, yet you always feel great about being there.

Dec 2, 2010

Samovar Tea Lounge, Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco

Sometimes, half way through the busy routine life, you just need a pause to sip a great tea and enjoy a nice conversation. Finding a good place to do that can be a challenge around cities that live in a rush. Samovar is this place. While enjoying an extensive selection of tea and good small plates to pair with them, there is a perfect place to enjoy silence, read a book, get updated on the emails and/or talk to a good friend. 

I was introduced to this place through a great friend and since then, I always think of her while going there. For a mid-afternoon break or to grab a light snack, this a great spot. On a side note, I just would like to mention that after going there for almost two years, I felt a difference on their service - on this last time I went. It was not as attentive and friendly as always, my friend also felt that. Maybe it was just that day or it was just us. 

I love the Jasmine Pearl Tea, but they also have great chai and oolongs. Their chocolate chip bread pudding, scone, dolmas and salads are also delicious. They have three locations around the city, but my favorite is still the Yerba Buena Gardens one. 

Nov 30, 2010

Wonderful Kee's Chocolates, SoHo, New York

The best things are hidden in small packages. One of the mandatory stops in NYC is stop by Kee's Chocolates and savour those beautiful jewels. Giving up a corporate world job, Kee started a flower and chocolate shop in 2002. A great friend of mine introduced me this beautiful tiny shop and since then, I am in love.

Well, she did the right thing. Her flower shop apparently went down, but her chocolate one has going really well. The handmade chocolates are delicious, fresh, perfectly balanced. The use of great ingredients make so much difference, resulting in a beautiful flavor. 

The macaroons I tried for the first time few weeks ago and were also equally delicious. While the dough is not as homogeneous as other ones I've tried, the crispy texture and the creativity on the flavors is divine.

I love the creme brulee, coconut, raspberry, sesame... it's hard to choose! 

If you happen to be in New York, stop by her SoHo shop and try one of these delicacies!

Nov 27, 2010

The delicious flavors of New York

This year has been really special. After Europe, New York came into sight to visit wonderful friends in the city. The city that never sleeps has a very characteristic energy and aromas. In a tiny area that is Manhattan, you can indeed find everything and anything you can imagine. For just three days and with great guidance and planning from my friend Paula, I tasted so many delicious and unforgettable moments and tastes.

From a delicious milkshake from Shake Shack to taking me to the Chelsea Market, we went to the Top of the Rock, dined at Annisa, Park Avenue Autumn, Buddhakan and En Brasserie. We also had stomach for Kee's Chocolates (which will come in a separate post) and spontaneous laughs watching "A Life in the Theater" at Broadway. 

But most of all, these were days to enjoy great company and that indeed makes the moments fabulous and unforgettable. A warm hug from a great friend, playing with Milo (their cute dog), chatting about everything and whatever are what made these few days so incredible and memorable!! 

I won't make special posts dedicated to each of the restaurants & spots we visited, but definitely drop some places you should definitely visit while in NYC. 

Annisa  |  Coming from a celebrity Chef, you can already expect a lot. But Annisa went over my expectations on how creative and delicious it can be, "the best Asian in NYC". Try their black sable (it was the best fish I have ever ate in my life!!) and lemon bread pudding with poppy seed (oh my God, it was very amazing!) --- one of the best meals ever!

Park Avenue Autumn  |  The restaurant changes the decoration and menu completely every season of the year. For the autumn season, orange-y and brownish shades were chosen. It was a delicious brunch!!

Buddhakan  |   "Do you remember Carrie Bradshaw rehearsal dinner on Sex and The City 1?" is what I heard upon entering this fabulous and glamorous place, located right by the Chelsea Market. The food was comforting and great, try the lobster rice and delicious dumplings. 

En Brasserie  |  While I am biased Japanese lover food, this place had it all together in delicious flavors. Unfortunately, they didn't have the freshly made tofu that day, but the wagyu beef and small dishes were perfectly mastered, very good! 

Shake Shack  |  My friend Paula recommended and she was right! Their milkshake was incredible!!! Get it to go as we did and keep sightseeing. 

Top of the Rock  |  On the heart of Rockefeller Center, right by Saks at Fifth Avenue, this sight point has a gorgeous view, Empire State Bldg included. It has became more and more popular lately, so give enough time for the lines, specially close to the holidays. Totally worth it!

A Life in the Theater  |  This comedy will be on for a short time and it's delicious to watch it. In the beginning, I felt off track for the humor, but after few sketches, it was on, very funny!! 

Nov 24, 2010

Enssaro Ethiopian Restaurant, Lake Merritt, Oakland

Well, I recognize that I am not the most food adventurous person you will ever met. I had no idea what to expect and the only thing I had heard before was that they eat with hands, no silverware. 

To tell the truth, it was a good surprise. Guided by a good rating on Yelp (4.5 stars out of 324 reviews), we decided to give it a try. Overall, it felt to me like a similar cuisine to Indian, many vegetables, some fried pastries and a bread to follow the whole meal.

The appetizer was a very similar pastry to a samosa, vegetable-filled, crispy and seasoned lightly. The sauce was spicy and sweeter. Very good. 

It was suggested a honey wine, which for my palate was okay, a little too sweet, resembling a Canadian ice wine (a type of dessert wine). It's a Ethiopian Style Wine, it was a good experience.

As the naan is for the Indian, Injera is for the Ethiopian. Their bread is thin, looks like a spongy pancake, very light and somewhat mild flavor. The whole idea is to use the injera to serve and eat the other dishes. 

We order three dishes for three people and served family style. The presentation was a large plate with salad in the middle (by the way, very good dressing). We order the Vegetarian (Yetsome Beyaynetu), Meat Combinations (Ye Feseg Beyaynetu) and a chicken drums (Ye Doro Wot) serving. 

The food was good, full of Middle Eastern style spices and flavors. I loved a kale side and chicken breast! The service was very warm and friendly, but slow. If you plan to go, search ahead the menu and order when you arrive. It can take a long time to get your order in  (there are a lot of yelpers that comment that too). In the end, although it was worth the experience, Ethiopian cuisine is not yet on my favorite list.

More information about Enssaro:
Pictures by Rosemary Alonso

Nov 21, 2010

Recipes: Easy Apple Pie

Other than the drastic change on the weather, we can easily tell that autumn arrived with the change in the fresh produce: the berries become scarce, the apples and pears start getting more attention, as well as with the harder skin vegetables and leaves. 

I don't recall if I ever mentioned here that every other week we receive at home a box filled with fresh vegetables and fruits through Fresh Farm to You, which is a CSA (Community Supportive Agriculture), which in few words, mean that you receive produce fresh directly from the farmers. 

But all that to say that this past week we had received a large amount of apples and pears. I love them, but it's hard to eat them all before they spoil. Okay, I was just looking for an excuse to prepare my first apple pie.

With my Joy of Cooking book in hand, there I went to look for the recipe - it had to be an easy one. I adapted a little bit for my own taste:

Apple pie

two  9-inch crust pie (I skipped the dough preparation and bought it frozen at Whole Foods)
2 1/2 lb apples (about 5-6 apples)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1tbsp fresh lime juice
pinch of salt
2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon 

1) Get the crusts out of the freezer, let it thaw slightly. Preheat the oven at 400F. 
2) In the meantime, peel, core and slice 1/4 inch thick the apples. 
3) Combine in a bowl: the 2/3 cup of sugar, flour, lime juice, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, salt. Let it stand for about 15 min, stirring several times.
4) Pour the filling into the bottom crust and gently level with the back of the spoon. Dot the top with the butter.
5) Using other crust with care, to cover the pie. Be careful to not break it in pieces (it happened to me...)
6) Sprinkle with 2tsp sugar and 1/8 tsp cinnamon. Spread it evenly so it doesn't mark the spots on the crust after baking.
7) If your oven is strong, bring the temperature down to 350F before baking it. Otherwise, bake it at 425F for about 30 min. Take a look after 15 min. We should bake it until the fruit feels just tender when a knife is poked through the vents. You will probably need more 30 min. Cool completely on a rack for about 3 hours. If you wish to serve the pie warm, place it in 350F oven for about 15 minutes. 

Well, my excitement preparing this pie and following a great cooking book were worth it, the result was in the end great. The crust was slightly brown, but the filling was delicious, perfectly balanced and taste. I over baked the crust and had few lightly burned spots (there are also some dark spots from the cinnamon).

To prevent that from happening again, I already adapted the recipe above to help you from having the same mistakes! (On one of the pictures, you can see some pears, I decided not to mix them, so I didn't use them).

The hubby was very encouraging and didn't let me give up (I was all down, when saw the crust darker...) This recipe is very easy and takes about 30 minutes of preparation and the time on the oven.

Update: On Thanksgiving, I did the apple pie recipe again and brushed the top crust with egg white (I used just one). It baked perfectly and uniformly. On a different oven, I let it bake for longer. 

Yogurt Saint Benôit, SF Ferry Building & Northern California

ArtofSavouring loves the simple things mastered and made with excellence. A cup of a great yogurt is unforgettable. Saint Benôit produces small batches of Greek yogurt made with few flavors: boysenberry, plum, honey, plain, strawberry and lemon! If you prefer a sweeter flavor, this might not be the perfect one for you. However, the texture, aroma and consistency are so incredible, that you should at least give it a try.

Unfortunately, they are just offered in Northern California, since the production is still small and local. The organic high quality milk results in a gorgeous yogurt. If you come to visit the area, this is a must-try item!

They can also be found in the farmers' market in the Bay Area and in few grocery stores (like Whole Foods). You will have to leave $1.50 deposit for each container (and you will get it back when returning that either at the store or market). The container is also a cute option to be used a pencil holder, for example!

More information about Saint Benôit:

Nov 18, 2010

Mariage Frères Tea, Paris

Mariage Frères is a gourmet tea company that offers a wide selection (more than 500 types) of the best tea in the world (supplied from 35 different countries). The quality is outstanding and the flavor is divine. 

"For several generations, Mariage Frères passion for tea has been governed by an aesthetic sense of refinement and a quest for perfection.(...) Mariage Frères perpetuates the fine art of serving tea through the design and reproduction of exclusive teapots, tea services, and other utensils."

This place is perfect for an afternoon tea (like the British: 5pm tea time) or to prepare it at home. 

On a side note, I love the street signs that mark the streets in each city. It couldn't be different in Paris! Have a great weekend! 

Nov 15, 2010

Montmatre cool spots, Paris

Distant from the main touristic spots but with a countryside flair of glamour, Montmatre still has the charm and laid back breeze of Paris. The main spot is the Sacré-Coeur, the majestic Catholic church that is located there. Not only the church is beautiful, but the view of Paris from there is also breathtaking. Bars, cafés, restaurants, street vendors are also very charming and worth checking them out (yes, there are also a bunch of souvenir shops). 

A spot that I personally really enjoyed was the Biscuiterie de Montmatre. The store has lovely delicious French cookies (they are different from the American ones). You won't find chocolate chip cookies there, but instead buttery delicate cookies. It sort of reminds me of the cookies sold in American stores on those large metallic boxes, but believe me... better! They are moist, crunchy and very delicious.

More information on Biscuiterie de Montmatre:

Nov 13, 2010

Exploring Denfert-Rochereau

Each little neighborhood in Paris has its own personality and beauty. We visited and got to know well the area of Denfert-Rochereau, close by Montparnasse. 

In a nutshell, it was amazing to see how people that really live in Paris deal with their routine life. Yes, they do hang out at the cafés. Yes, they do have divine pastries. Yes, they do have African cuisine influences. 

I love the use of herbs and seasonings of the Moroccan cuisine, specially the kebabs, couscous and all the fresh salads. 

Nov 10, 2010

Le Bon Marche, Paris

You may already have noticed that I enjoy visiting a farmers' market and groceries stores. Once I heard that the best way to get to know a country is visiting those places and since then, I had adopted this strategy. 

In Paris, we visited small grocery stores, farmers' market and Le Bon Marché, considered one of the most famous Parisian department stores, they were founded in 1838.

The store offers many different products but the one I felt in love (of course!) was the grocery store section. They offer fresh produce, including unbelievable fruits and vegetables, large selection of seafood, coffee, tea and pre-prepared food. For instance, the water aisle has about 70 types of waters... amazing!

More info on Le Bon Marché:

Nov 8, 2010

Farmers Market, Rue Cler, 7th Arrondissement, Paris

Being in Paris, I wanted to experience a true French farmers market. Those with fresh beautiful vegetables and fruits, organic products (the fruits bio, in French) and homemade food. We found an amazing hidden one at Rue Cler at the 7th Arrondissement, located walking distance from the Eiffel Tower. 

While is close to a major touristic spot, it's still a hidden street where locals do their shopping on Tuesdays. There are fruits, vegetables, flowers and nuts stands, with a great variety of fresh produce. With a large variety and sources, the honey shop is a must. 

I also love the cantaloupe packaging: protective, individual and has a personal flair. It even made the melons more appealing to me. :)

Nov 5, 2010

Voilà Paris!!

We finally made to Paris! For me, it's hard to think of enough time to stay and get to know all Paris has to offer, specially regarding food and culture. We loved the way the live, relate to each other and see life. The way of living is so beautiful, poetic and they do have their own pace (I didn't want to be there with all the protests and threats that have been going on lately).

I think my largest remark is the one of the largest differences between American and French culture: "the first live to work" and the latest "work to live". As a great friend living in Paris told me: a lot of Parisians live without having much nor working too hard, but they live as if they owned the world and had all the time to do it. And simple as that (of course, it's not a rule, just a bold stereotype), it helps us understand a little bit what goes on their minds and why things are the way they are. 

Paris, for me, is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and one of the most romantic indeed. (What do you think?) We expected people to treat tourists bad (as some people had warned me), but quite the opposite happened. They were courteous and friendly in stores and on the streets. One of them even guided us to reach the place we wanted to go and on the way chatted with us!

Nov 2, 2010

Agua Restaurant, Playa de Barceloneta, Barcelona

I don't know why but I wanted to have a paella while in Barcelona. I know the Spanish and Catalunyan cuisine are a lot more than that, but my own curiosity led me to keep trying to have THE paella. My dear "Barcelonan" friend recommended a great spot by the Barceloneta beach. She said the beach itself was not that worth it, but I had to stop by Água for a paella

We arrived there for a Sunday late brunch. The place was filled with families in large tables, which is a very dear image for me, remind me of the great Sunday family lunches we have in Brazil. Yes, I did have a seafood dish (not properly named paella for some reason) and it was very delicious and well prepared. Even though the place is located in a touristy area, the restaurant itself was not like that at all. Instead, it was mostly filled with locals. 

We also tried a carpaccio and an interesting-different version of patatas bravas, the sauce there was darker, less tomato, but equally delicious. Make sure you pair your meal with a good Spanish wine! 

More info on Água Restaurante:

Oct 31, 2010

Bar Lobo, Las Ramblas, Barcelona

There is nothing like exploring a city being a local. Or at least as if you were a local. Maybe my love for Barcelona was because I had a wonderful friend that is from and lives there. La Rambla is an arbored boulevard located in Central Barcelona; it connects the Plaza Catalunya to the Port Vell. 

Bar Lobo is located on a crossing street of La Rambla and few blocks distant from the Mercado de la Boquería. This place is fabulous for a tapas dinner or a Sunday brunch. The atmosphere is relaxed, friendly and the food is delicious.

I had tried their seafood dish (which ressembles a paella), gaspacho, patatas bravascrema catalana (which is similar to a crème brûlée), few other tapas in a group of friends. The food is an updated version of the Spanish classics --- delicious!  The place is simple, casual and amazing! 

More info on Bar Lobo:

Oct 28, 2010

I love Barcelona!

I am completely in love with Barcelona. I love all the Gaudí architecture, sculptures and creations. I love the way people are so friendly, educated, kind and culturally educated. I love the food, cuisine and fresh food. 

The first time I had heard from Barcelona was on the Olympics in 1992. Since then, I heard many other things from holding the International Exposition to the Mediterranean Sea beauty. The rich history of Catalonia and the deep value it has on the people in Barcelona is amazing. The individuality and character can be felt in the language, city development and globalization.

Casa Batlló, Park Guell, Costa Brava, Plaça de Catalunya, Iglesia de Santa Maria del Mar, Mercado de la Boqueria, La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona FC (soccer team), La Pedrera, Fundació Joan Miró, Las Ramblas, Tibidabo, Museo Picasso describe a little of everything this city has to offer. Keep time to enjoy food, wander all the streets, visit the Gaudí creations with time. 

The only thing is if you have time and conditions, go explore the beaches on the Aguablava coast. These treasures have so much to offer and are amazing spots. Plus, if you have a chance go - at least - visit where the worldly famous El Bulli restaurant used to be (yes, it was announced they have closed for granted) and savour El Celler De Can Roca (one of top 10 restaurants in the world).

Recipes: Green Bean Salad with Bacon and Shallots

2 pounds green beans, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
6 slices turkey (or lean) bacon
3 shallots, sliced
2 tbsp of red wine vinegar
2 tbsp of dijon mustard
2 tbsp of olive oil

1) Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tbsp of salt. Add the green beans and cook for about 4-5 min (or until tender). Drain and run under cold water to stop cooking; transfer to a serving bowl.

2) In the mean time, in a medium skillet, add 1-2 tbsp of vegetable oil, stir fry the bacon over medium heat until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes; transfer to a paper-towel lined plate. Let cool, then break into pieces (if they don't get crispy, it's still fine and delicious).

3) If there is excess fat from the bacon, discard all but 2 tbsp of the bacon drippings (the lean and turkey ones should have just about 2 tbsp), return to the skillet and add the shallots over medium heat. Stir it for about 1 minute. 

4) In a separate salad dressing container, mix the vinegar, the mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper (to taste). Whisk them all together. Add the bacon, shallots and dressing to the green beans and toss to combine. 

Outcome it was a very simple seasonal recipe. Still the shallots and bacon give a new dimension to the green beans! Give it a try! It takes about 20 minutes total to prepare. 

Oct 25, 2010

Jupiter Brewery, Downtown Berkeley

Jupiter is a brewery-pizza place located in Downtown Berkeley. My first time there was about five years ago with friends that always describe this spot as the nice place to relax, meet friends, enjoy great beer & pizza and get some nice music.

Five years later, coming and going, we went back there again to remember the old times. The place has a fabulous outdoor patio, perfect for a early happy hour or a lunch by the sun. It also has a fire, for the chilly times that do come. 

The atmosphere is very casual and some evenings they offer live music. They have a great selection of beer, while I always stick with the Hefeweizel (the wheat beer). The pizza has some interesting toppings, check it [here], this time, we ordered a garlic mozzarella bread and a pizza with two toppings: Theokleia and Cassiopeia

I recommend this place, specially if you are in a laid back mood and want to enjoy the Berkeleyan atmosphere!

More information about Jupiter Berkeley:

Oct 22, 2010

Give Me 5 Gelateria, Trastevere, Rome

The traditional gelato couldn't be missed, we have tried few spots, many flavors and our favorite was a little shop, artisanal as many others, but with the best flavor was: Give Me 5 (very Italian name, huh?). It is located on "Vicolo de' Cinque", and it's a little shop at the bohemian neighborhood of Trastevere, where many small off-tourists restaurants and bars are located. 

Unfortunately, they don't have a online page.

Oct 20, 2010

La Canoleria Siciliana, Rome

Cannoli are Sicilian pastry desserts, they look like a dough tube, filled with a soft fluffy sweet cream filling. I am definitely not an expert on preparing them, but I can tell you when I try a good one. I have my favorite one in San Francisco, as described [here]. And I was on a mission to try a delicious one while in Rome.

Asked few people, read a couple of reviews, until we definitely reached La Canoleria Siciliana! They make different types of cannoli, with a large selection of fillings, flavors and sizes. I had the traditional one and it was amazing! The cannoli tube was very crispy and crunchy. Filled with a light, delicate sweetness. Combined they were just divine. 

More information about La Canoleria Siciliana:

Oct 19, 2010

Recipes: Homemade Turkey Bolognese Polenta

Created by Priscilla Portes, this recipe is a must. Since the early Romans, polenta has been part of the Italian cuisine. In the early ages, it was considered a peasant food, but lately it has stepped up to be in the gourmet dishes from many Chefs all over the world. 
Mostly, this recipe is simple to make and we include some useful tips here. And always, try to use fresh and good ingredients, as they make a big difference on the final result!

Ingredients for the Polenta
3 cups of whole milk
1 cup Polenta Powder (we have used a Brazilian version called Milharina)
salt to taste
3 tbsp butter


In a large pan, put all the ingredients in medium-high heat. Stir it frequently, until it doesn't stick on the pan. The polenta will be all homogeneous.

Ingredients for the Turkey Bolognese

2 lb turkey ground meat
1 large yellow onion
4 cloves garlic
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
1 bunch cilantro
1 large tomato sauce (it can be homemade too!)
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 lb asiago cheese (it can be mozzarella, queso fresco...)

Cut the onion, peppers, cilantro into about 1/4 inch cubes and mince the garlic. In a large pan, put the oil, let it warm up, include onion and garlic, stir it frequently until golden. Then add the meat and stir fry until almost all the water evaporated. At this point, add the peppers and cilantro. 

On a large oven pan, put the warm polenta spread evenly on the pan. Add the bolognese sauce on top of the polenta and the cheese to gratinate. The dish will be ready in about 15-20 min at 350F. 

Preparation time: 45min

Oct 18, 2010

Recipes: Brazilian feijão tropeiro (tropeiro beans)

Feijão tropeiro (roughly, Tropeiro beans) is a typical dish from the Brazilian cuisine, more specifically from the State of Minas Gerais. Its history goes back to Brazilian Colonial period, where the so called tropeiros would sell many things from city to city, travelling on horses. 

Traditionally, this dish includes beans, eggs, bacon, sausage, collard greens, yucca flour, onion, parsley, salt and pepper.

I tried to adapt the traditional version to create a lighter version at home, substituting the bacon for turkey one and pork sausage for chicken sausage. This dish is very delicious, tasty and very rich. With the few changes, it became less heavy and still very delicious. Give it a try!

1/2 lb pinto beans, cooked al dente (if you don't have a pressure cooker, soak them overnight and cook them for one to one and half hour)
4 links of spicy chicken sausage (cut in small pieces)
1/2 lb turkey bacon (cut in small cubes)
1 bunch collard greens (cut very finely)
1/4 lb yucca flour (many Latin markets or sections carry that)
2 tbsp. butter
1 large yellow onion (cut in 1/4 inch. cubes)
1 bunch of parsley (coarsely cut)

Savoury Preparation:
Cook the beans as per instructions above. While cooking that, cut all the ingredients accordingly. Saute the sausage in 1 tbsp of butter. Reserve. Include the second tbsp of butter, saute the onion, bacon and collard greens. The collard has be cooked and still crunchy (about 3 min in medium heat). Include the sausage and the cooked beans. Put the flour in small parts, constantly mixing. When all the ingredients are well mixed, include the parsley and mix one final time. The dish is ready to serve.

I served just with plain white rice. Include a lemon caipirinha if you feel like it!

Preparation time: 1h20min