Thursday, February 28, 2008

prosecco love

Biondivino was so packed that people spilled onto Green Street. Ceri Smith, our little Italian gemola of SF, had invited the world, in true Italian style, to celebrate her niece's wedding. Her niece was married on Maui last week so this was kind of an after-party. The prosecco flowed. Not just any prosecco, Col de' Salici! And none other than Saverio Notari was pouring!!!! I am an admitted prosecco addict. Don't get me wrong, I love a good glass of Champagne but for prosecco, I'd drive a long way. For years, I'd dreamed of going to Valdobbiadene, the beautiful little hilltop village in the province of Treviso, completely dedicated to prosecco production. I knew that the closest I would ever get would be when I was teaching at La Foresteria just outside of Verona in the Veneto. That's still 2 1/2 hours away. So this past year I talked my student into making the trip with me! (It wasn't hard!) Once we passed the exit for Venice, we still had at least an hour to go. But it was worth it.... The afternoon was spent visiting my friend Cinzia at Le Vigne di Alice, who makes the most delicious prosecco. Funny, her husband also produces fantastic prosecco at Belinda, the adjoining vineyard. Prosecco is a white grape grown exclusively in this part of Italy. I love it served ice cold on a hot day. And when mixed with white peach juice, prosecco adds a bit of spritz to the famous bellini, made famous at Harry's Bar in Venice. Prosecco also stars, along with a ton of vodka, in the most deceptive lemon milkshake called sgroppino.


2 cups vanilla ice cream
1 1/2 cups lemon sorbet
3/4 cups lemon juice
2/3 cup vodka
1/2 cup prosecco

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and process until it is a thick creamy shake. Drink with caution!

Serves 8

Monday, February 25, 2008

india revisited

Looking through photos and writing about India for "blog virgin" dredged up a bunch of memories of my trip with my best chef friend, Gary. I remember distinctly the first night, like it was last night. I was pecking away in the middle of the night in the hotel room, the only light in the room was the screen of my Treo. I didn't want to wake up Gary but I was suffering the worst jet lag. Melatonin is no miracle. Maybe it was the excitement of the day riding around Delhi in an auto-rickshaw, really nothing more a mo-ped with a cart on the back. Totally scary! Totally wild! Totally fun! Crazy, old congested city, Indian music blaring from a boom box attached to the top of a telephone pole, breathing in all that pollution, women wrapped in those colored saris (what a great way to hide any weight gain!) Old Delhi makes Bangkok look like a sleepy village. And the food doesn't taste like any Indian food I've eaten in the US. And are they saying yes or no when they twirl their head around like that? As soon as any waiter hears that Gary has a restaurant, they are all over him hoping they can score an airline ticket to the States. He thinks they're cute. And me, I'm just trying to eat lunch. Yeah, its third world alright. Everybody wants to sell you something. "Indian music, you want?" "I make you beautiful sari madam." Sometimes I can't understand a word they're saying... Is this English? It seems like one long curly word. And jet lag is a killer... I don't get it... 13 AND A HALF hour time difference between SF and New Delhi! Come on, what's the point of the extra half hour? The difference between Manhattan and Trenton? Make it either 13 or 14! Its almost morning, this sleep thing is not working for me! I am so hungry. What do Indians eat for breakfast? Gotta go, I think Gary just opened his eyes.

Friday, February 22, 2008

blog virgin

So I've talked about this for over two years.... It all started when I was on a sweaty, hot bus driving around the countryside of Rajasthan in Northwestern India with my pal, Gary Danko. The roads were bumpy and dusty and I was really queasy. It didn't matter. Every day I'd get out my Treo to read my emails and I'd write back these lengthy stories to everybody about the food, the people, the Taj, all the while pecking away on that tiny keyboard for hours just to get the message across. When I got back, all my friends were talking about the trip like they'd been there and one after another said, "You should do a blog." "Blog this!" I thought. But the word kept ringing in my ears.... blog, blog, blog. Same thing happened a year later in Vietnam. Eating on the street with Bobby Chinn, Hanoi's food rock star, zooming through the streets of Hanoi at a thousand miles an hour on the back of a scooter and I just kept writing emails, long emails (but not while I was on the back of the scooter, mind you). And my friends kept begging me. You might call me a blog virgin but here goes...