Category Archives: Italian

Little Eataly

During my family’s visit to the San Francisco Bay Area for my graduation, I decided to take them on a tour around Little Italy in San Francisco so they could have a taste of Italian food that was more authentic than what we could find in our hometown. We stumbled upon Firenze by Night, which turned out to be popular among patrons who approve of the dishes’ authenticity.

A lot of Yelp reviewers rave about their gnocchi which I did not end up ordering because I generally find gnocchi too starchy. Instead, I ordered the Pappardelle ala Toscana which a lot of people reviewed very favourably too. It is basically very wide pasta noodles in rabbit sauce, definitely a deviation from the likes of Chicken Marsala or Frutti di Mare that I frequently order at Italian restaurants. Rabbit sauce sounded interesting to me so I went with it.

Pappardelle ala Toscana @ Firenze by Night, Little Italy SF

Pappardelle Toscana

It was quite a simple dish but not the pasta-I-can-cook-myself kind of simplicity. It was literally fresh egg pasta. And sauce. With bits of rabbit meat. It was a good dish but not overwhelmingly amazing like what I was led to believe. Perhaps my taste in Italian food is less authentic and more American than I thought. I also had a taste of the other dishes that my family ordered which had seafood and I have to say that Firenze by Night does its seafood well. The seafood linguini that my mother ordered as well as the seafood entree my father got were tres fresh and delicious.

Seafood Linguini @ Firenze by Night, Little Italy SF

Overall, Excellent service and better than your average Italian restaurant. However, I would like to believe that there are better Italian restaurants in the same price range somewhere in Little Italy or the city. My family and I actually preferred our experience at Scoma’s Restaurant in Fisherman’s Wharf despite the heftier bill (old post here).

As for desserts, we undoubtedly went for gelato. I took my family to Gelataria Naia, a chain that was very popular among my friends before the branch in Berkeley closed down. Somehow, the gelato fell short of what I remembered it to be and I found myself favouring Almare Gelato in Berkeley. Yay to locally owned stores!

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Italian in the Kitchen

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Pasta with chicken, baby spinach, arugula, mushrooms, diced tomatoes, onions and oregano with lemony white wine sauce

I have always been a fan of pasta in light sauces. It is quite rare for me to order anything with alfredo or carbonara sauce, and I will usually go for a dish like linguine ai frutti di mare if it is an option. To my surprise and delight, making light wine wine sauce turned out to be not as difficult as I thought! Basically involves simmering water, oil, white wine, minced garlic and onions, and whatever ingredients I desire for fifteen minutes. My jar of marinara sauce may have to move over to my bottle of Sauvignon Blanc now.

On the topic of cooking with alcohol, I am tempted to give steamed mussels in beer a try to recreate the awesome mussels I had in Brussels years ago.

Italianni

Cappelletti with Chicken and Spinach @ Italliani’s, La Isla Mall, Cancun

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We had some Italian for Christmas right after catching a movie at the La Isla Mall in Cancun and this is where I start raving about my cappelletti. The camera flash made this dish look unappetizing but I have to tell you that I am IN LOVE with this dish. Absolutely love the fine pasta and the light white wine sauce, and not to mention the extra crunch from the pine nuts.

Seafood at Scoma’s

Scoma’s @ Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco

My sister happened to be in the city and she spoilt me with a delicious lunch at a restaurant on San Francisco’s waterfront – Scoma’s.

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Fettuccine with smoked salmon and rock shrimp. Absolutely love the fresh fettuccine!

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Scoma’s Saute has a variety of seafood such as shrimps, mussels and scallops. This was my first time eating a meal consisting of pasta and rice in the same dish and  found it pretty unusual. I also had some of their clam chowder which was pretty good.

Prices are pretty steep for college students but if there was a dish that I absolutely had to get, it would be the fettuccine. It was hands down the highlight of my lunch at Scoma’s and probably the best pasta I have had in a long time.

Stanfurd

As much as this blog is dedicated to publishing posts about food, Stanford campus is just so beautiful that I cannot not post pictures of the different sceneries on campus. I love the Spanish architecture and the gorgeous landscape that students in a relatively poor educational institution like mine cannot even dream of asking for in the midst of the California budget crisis.

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My friend took me to the Stanford Coffee House, called the CoHo for lunch. The coffee house has a very nice cozy vibe to it —  sofas on one side of the room, a mini stage that I presume is for jazzy live performances at night — I could definitely imagine myself ensconced in a couch reading a book and sipping a cup of hot chocolate all day there.

Based on my friend’s recommendations, I ordered the chicken risotto. My friend also ordered the gourmet panini turned out to be a vegetarian panini with eggplants, onions, tomatoes, spinach and cheese. I sampled some of her panini and I must say that it is delicious — personally, I prefer vegetarian paninis over meaty ones and I would recommend diehard meat lovers to temporarily shun aside any prejudices they have against vegetarian food and give vegetarian paninis a shot.

Chicken Risotto @ Coffee House, Stanford

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Gourmet Panini @ Coffee House, Stanford

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