Steamed Category

An EDD-ter’s Tour of Italy: Venice

After desperately navigating a mega-riot of cars at the bus terminal in Venice, and saying a fond farewell to our trusty rental car, we met our guide Takayo who took us to our hotel.

Honestly, I have absolutely no idea how we would have ever done it without her. Venice was by far the hardest city to navigate without walking in circles, triangles and rectangles first. If it wasn’t for its supreme charm and romantic waterways, it could feel like trying to find your way out of an M.C. Escher drawing.

Make no mistake that Venice is a tourist town and the prices for everything from Carnival masks to fish charged by the kilogram make it one of the most expensive places to visit in Italy. But its fascinating history as a hub for trade and politics seep deep into its ancient walls, streets, and wood piles upon which this city stays afloat. And you feel it.

One of the highlights of my time in Venice was visiting the Rialto Fish Market – a place where it seems you’re walking underwater while swaths of sea colors dance around you.

Cuttlefish or squid ink pasta is one of the most famous dishes from Venice. Our very well-read guide Mr. Sabino tipped us off to a local joint called Rosticceria Gislon which supposedly had an excellent Spaghettini Nero and other tipico dishes without the ridiculous prices.

Downstairs was an open a la carte trattoria with hot and cold dishes (it was extremely difficult not to try each one!) and upstairs was their sit-down restaurant. We opted for the restaurant so we could rest a bit and get a little down time from the throngs of customers downstairs.

Feast your eyes!

Seafood was the star in every one of the dishes we tried. Even the mozzarella en carroza acciughe or fried cheese sandwich with anchovy delightfully punched you in the face with the incredible briny flavors swimming through the gooey crispiness of the cheese and bread.

Spaghettini Nero
The squid was as tender as braised abalone and the sauce had an intense seafood flavor that was also sweet, almost chocolatey. While eating this, I knew I’d never find its equal in the States.

Scampi
Simply boiled shrimp with lemon. Crisp meaty refreshing nibbles.

Spaghetti acciughe
Sweet soft onions, fruity olive oil, and anchovies offered well-rounded mouthful after mouthful of comfort with every bite.

Fritte di frutta di mare
Very lightly fried in extra virgin olive oil. This isn’t your Long John Silver’s fried fish platter. Those little fish and shrimp heads had so much incredible flavor!

Sure Venice is a tourist town with its tourist trappings.

But by nightfall, it was impossible not fall in love with its people, culture, history, and food. And hey, if you’ve got your honey to spend it with, it truly feels like you’re starring in your own romantic movie.

Awwww. 🙂

An EDD-ter’s Tour of Italy – Cinque Terre and the fruits of the sea

A word of caution to those “adventurous” travelers.

Don’t drive up to Monterosso in the dark while it’s raining! I don’t care how much you like to travel on the edge! At the very least, you’ll be able to take lots more pictures on the way up when it’s light out since you won’t be clinging to your seat like your life depended on it.

Thank ye gods that after what seemed like endless hours of twisting and turning – sheer cliff on one side, rocky mountain wall on the other – my heroic hubby and his impressive driving skills got us to the charming fishing village we’d be calling home for the next few days.

Even in the dark, this place was incredibly beautiful. I couldn’t wait until tomorrow morning when we’d start our hike to the other 4 villages that make up this incredibly scenic part of Italy!

After checking in at Hotel Pasquale – our charming B&B right off the beach – we took huge gulps of sweet briny air as we trotted down to Ristorante Belvedere. We were here for one thing. The famous Amphora Belvedere. This dish roasts lobster, mussels, clams, octopus, and sward fish flavored with spices, herbs and tomato, in an Etruscan-style earthenware pot (amphora). The entire pot is brought to the table and its contents poured in a huge sharing bowl.

Yes, it was really really good. And yes, everyone else sitting around us were really really jealous.

We devoured every juicy morsel and even had room for a light panna cotta with burnt caramel sauce.

This made the harrowing drive up here so worth it. No question.

Next up: Hiking Cinque Terre and finding the perfect seafood risotto!

New Food Pix! Dim Sum Yum

New gallery of luscious dim sum from Shui Wah in Chinatown Chicago!

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On the menu:
Cha Sui – Chinese BBQ pork
Char Sui Bao – BBQ pork bun
Yeung Qi Dze – Shrimp stuffed eggplant
San Juk Guen – Vegetable stuffed bean curd roll
Fung Tsow – Steamed chicken feet
Gow Gee – Pan-fried pork potstickers
Shao Mai – Pork and shrimp dumpling
Law Bok Gow – Pan-fried turnip cake
Har Gow – Shrimp dumpling

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Shui Wah Chinese Cuisine
2162 S Archer Ave
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 225-8811