A wonderful, congenial and perfectly cooked pancake breakfast at the Firehouse in Callicoon Center, New York. We joined what must have been 600 breakfasters, from 7 a.m. till noon, for orange juice, fabulous pancakes cooked by fireman Bill Murray, over-easy eggs, flat round peppery sausages the size of bread-and-butter plates, and good hot coffee. All for 6 bucks. Nice gun raffle, too.
Visiting our daughter in camp near Jeffersonville, New York we fell in love with a cafe and inn called Samba, run by a Brazilian woman and her husband, an actor, director and former captain at the Rainbow Room. Her food is exquisitely comforting and for dinner we enjoyed a fabulous salt cod brandade topped with sunny-side up quail eggs, thick slices of juicy pernil (pork), a wonderful seafood stew made with leeks, cream, clams, mussels and pollock. Dessert was vanilla ice cream with a warm Brazilian sugar-banana caramel. Fab! Steamed broccoli and chopped green cabbage tossed with flaked salt, extra-virgin olive oil and hot pepper flakes. So simple and satisfying -- the vegetables tasted almost sweet. This was dinner at home one night.
Really good warm chocolate chocolate-chip cookies on the plane home from Italy. Added cocoa powder to my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe this week and voila!
The definitive cacio e pepe (homemade pasta with pecorino romano and lots of cracked pepper) in Rome at the famous Antico Forno Roscioli.
One of the best meals in Italy was at the contemporary l'Antico Arco with a promising young chef who could really make it on the international scene. From Albania, and only 29 years old, Fundim Gjepali respects the cooking of the famous chef Arzak in Spain and himself is cooking pretty sophisticated stuff: fresh mozzarella with bottarga (a new trend in Italy), a warm elixir of ricotta and yogurt topped with asparagus, truffles and poached egg yolk, perfectly cooked risotto made with a local fish, and "meatballs" made from suckling pig.
"Trappizzini" -- made at Pizzeria 00100 on Via Giovanni Branca -- it is a fabulous stuffed bread (better than pizza dough) filled with the best tripe we've ever had (there are a variety of fillings to choose from including chicken cacciatore.) It is a made-up dish -- between a sandwich and a pizza -- and it could become very popular. It's a little hole-in-the wall place that has already been discovered by everyone!