Saturday, May 25, 2013

sicilian overload


otto is never crowded at lunch, the vegetables are good, and the pastas are usually excellent. bucatini all'amatriciana seems to be a menu staple and is always portioned with restraint and generously supplied with guanciale. the list of wines by the bottle is intimidatingly long, but worth attention. munjebel 8 is 100% nerello mascalese grown on the slopes of mt. etna, from frank cornelissen's 2010 vintage. extraordinarily intense, and with the scent of freshly wetted tephra—carbonic, limestoney, ashy. full of unexpected contradictions, it is rich and deep, brittle and vibratory, dense and weightless. but maybe more dense than weightless. a single glass would have been perfect; three at lunch was perhaps a bridge too far.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

4-napkin snack

i took my bike over to the north end today to spend a lot of someone else's money on wine—which is the best way to do it. but before that, a slice and a panzarotto (potato variant) at umberto, and a plain cannolo, no icing sugar, from modern.

umberto umberto modern

also, public interest announcement: the la clarine "sumu kaw" syrah and piedi grandi (nebbiolo, syrah, and mourvedre) are available at the wine bottega.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

changing my mind about california

cedarville fenaughty

baklava della nonna

idle conversation in dwelltime about how easy it is to make baklava led to baklava made in north cambridge by channeling the spirit of a turkish grandmother who relocated to italy for the weather: the baklava method, applied to ricotta, raisins, and pine nuts. why is there not a thai baklava, stuffed with roasted coconut, crushed peanuts, lime, a bit of sweet fried onion, palm sugar, and topped with powdered shrimp and sweet mint?

what happens at dwelltime stays at dwelltime

Sunday, May 5, 2013

way off strip

it is unfair that las vegas has two of the country's best thai restaurants, and more unfair still that both of them also have lovingly assembled wine lists that allow the rare pleasure of eating great thai food while drinking something other than beer or a thai iced tea. lotus of siam you already know about. the other one is a new spot across town located, as many good vegas restaurants are, in a stripmall shoebox way off the strip. chada thai and wine is the new project by the guy who used to be lotus's wine director. his wine list at chada is smaller but filled with tantalising and fairly priced prospects, none of which i got to try.

he's also cooking the food, and the food was wonderful while being less expensive than a mediocre takeout thai restaurant. intensely flavoured, beautifully balanced stuff in small portions. many elements reminded me of the cooking of southern china and the malay archipelago: less sour, more sweet, more not-chili spice, less heat, more coconut, the use of sweetly acid fruit like plums instead of acidly sweet fruit like tamarind, a different fermentary flavour profile. we were on our way to the airport and only had time to try a few things, but each was a marvel. a dry crab, roasted coconut, and ginger salad portioned into romaine cups; the dipping sauce was unnecessary. fine rice noodles, soaked, wound into skeins, steamed, then served next to a small bowl of turmeric-filled crab red curry. and a spice-heavy kua kling that was a textbook example of how to fry-render ground meat.