Year: 2014

Memorable Meals of 2014

A gelato selfie seemed appropriate for this year-end post. Well, it was a delicious year. Quite eventful too, if I do say so myself. I graduated from college and said goodbye to Vermont for now. I returned to that crazy continent dear to my heart called South America. I ran around San Francisco for the summer and called a lot of people who make pickles. And then I headed to Italy to begin a new adventure, one filled with good food, new friends and more questions than answers. But that’s ok. Now that I’ve dipped my toe into the world of good, clean and fair, I’m ready to dive in. Here’s to 2015 with a look back at some bites and sips that are still on my mind. There are 27 because…there are 27. 1. Lamb tagine (the classic) / Le Tobsil (Marrakesh, Morocco) 2. Arepas and mango juice (carbs and sugar, what else do you need in life?) / On the street (Cartagena, Colombia) 3. Wine and cheese (consumed post-graduation) / Vergennes Laundry (Vergennes, Vermont) 4. Double chocolate …

Home for the Holidays

The yearly “I really didn’t use a filter on this” Lake Tahoe photo. (Really, cross my heart.) So I made the journey home from Italy back to California/Nevada for three weeks of holiday break. But the funniest thing is that I can’t seem to shake Italia! Or perhaps not shake, that sounds rather violent, but I seem to be more like casually bumping into reminders of my gastronomic adventures thus far. Take, for example, this. How is this even possible?! After managing to successfully avoid buying one of the darn things despite their prominence in every single last store window in Bra throughout December, here they are at Whole Foods. I laughed out loud and proceeded to fill up my basket with hummus and almond butter and Siggi’s yogurt and other things I yearned to be reunited with stateside. There is no photo evidence of this encounter but I promise it’s true. At the annual Harris family Christmas Eve dinner at Lone Eagle Grille, I spotted bagna cauda on the menu, AKA the fishy garlicky …

A Bureaucratic Triumph

Do I have to learn the national anthem now? Guess what, guys? Today, after about 6 months of paperwork, stamps, photocopies, more photocopies and general confusion, I have finally reached the light at the end of the tunnel. I am now a legal resident of Italy.  Just so you have an idea of the twists and turns and loop de loops that I have gone through with my fellow non EU-citizens, here are the top 10 greatest hits. 1. Proving to the Italian Consulate of San Francisco that I did indeed graduate from high school. Seems quite obvious… 2. Receiving an appointment for foreigner assistance in Bra (the legal process is so complicated that the Immigration Office itself actually recommends using this independent service) at the same time as three other classmates. When is the last time you had a dentist appointment with 3 other people at the same time? Exactly. 3. The foreigner assistance employee remained on her iPhone with both headphones in throughout the duration of all four appointments. Rude. Strange. 4. Trying to walk through the bulletproof (why are …

Food for Thought

I know, I know. This blog is my spot to share what I’ve been up to with the world and to utilize as many parentheses are I dare please. But just this one time, scroll back up and re-read this one-pager written by someone other than myself and let it stew in your brain before your next meal.

Sunday on the Farm

Salami in progress. Parts of one pig + red wine + cinnamon + cloves + juniper berries. This morning I woke up early and set out for a brisk walk over to the PiedixTerra farm/educational space with no idea of what the day would hold except for the fact that there would be sausage/salami making and eventually lunch. I have to say, in typical Italian style there was very little information about what was going on when we first got there… but somehow we managed to understand that the meat needed to be cleaned up a little bit. Step 1: pretend to know how to clean up meat. At first I was kind of gingerly cutting stuff up and throwing it into the “fat” box but by the end I was hacking away. There was also no heat inside this building so I lost most of the feeling in my non-gloved hands pretty quickly. Step 2: mincing up the sort-of-cleaned meat. Giulia, Megumi and Estefania were killing it over there. Go team. Step 3: watch in awe as the …

Italy is Eataly

“Eating is an agricultural act.” Quite the appropriate catchphrase for my year here. Yesterday morning (let’s be real, it was almost noon…) I awoke after quite a raucous night out on the town and felt like having a Saturday adventure. So I set off on my newly purchased and restored bicycle to the nearby Eataly in Monticello d’Alba to purchase some goodies for family and friends back home. If you’re new to the game, Eataly is a cleverly named high end/artisanal food hall full of Italian products such as wine, cheese, pasta, bread, chocolate… Back in the States (don’t I sound so ex-pat-y when I say that?) there is one in NYC with a Nutella bar which just sounds crazy. The trip there was a bit iffy given that I was mostly biking on roads with no bike lane and I have no bike/car/human spatial consciousness. But I managed to avoid getting hit by a car in the name of edible Christmas gift shopping. When I finally arrived after about 12 km on the road and a few check-ins with Google Maps, I …

It’s a Pizza Party

Photo stolen/downloaded from Francesca’s FB page. If you are a lucky soul and can read Italian, check out her blog. Amongst our class of of 24 gastronomes-to-be, we have a few bakers. Francesca is one of them and she was crazy/gracious enough to prepare enough portions of dough to go around and then invite us into her charming attic-esque apartment for some DIY pizza. I myself composed quite a delicious arugula/red onion/feta one atop some perfect multigrain crust baked with rosemary. There are no photos of that because I ate it in about 2 seconds. Is it just me or do I write a lot about pizza on this blog…? Anyways, this lovely gathering reminded me of quite a few pizza parties back home…where I will be in one week for holiday vacation. Not really sure how one month has passed already since I arrived in Bra. Last night we went indoor oven style, but I definitely soaked up my fair share of vitamin D outside at school while waiting for the bus. In fact, I pretty much sat and stared …

A Thousand Words

Don’t worry, that’s not the length of this post. You don’t have to read that much. Actually if you prefer, you can just stare longingly at these paper-thin slices of speck. And then beg me to tell you where I got it. Or just keep reading. Today I partook in a 6-hour class entitled “Photography and Visual Literacy.” As “homework,” we were all tasked with bringing in one photograph that was somehow related to food and meant something to us in some way. Sound open-ended enough? I sat down last night and proceeded to cruise through the 3,000+ images on my iPhone camera roll (I really need to do something about that…). I am quite often accused of being an overly zealous food photo taker. I was once asked, “Do you eat everything that you photograph?” by a friend in Argentina. The answer is no. I would die. Anyways, I scrolled and scrolled and scrolled to look for just one (one!) photo that spoke a thousand words to me. And then I found it: my speck/butternut squash/arugula dream of a …

A Weekend in Torino

The two main themes of my Torino adventures: food and tea. Anyone surprised? It feels a bit silly to put a post about Torino (1 hour away on the train) under the Travel section, but I actually felt like I was gone from Bra for about 2 weeks even though it wasn’t even 48 hours. I know I’m not good with numbers, but take not bringing warm enough sweaters + walking about 9 miles per day (thanks Fitbit) and that adds up to perceived travel hours quickly. First of all, major shoutout to my classmate Giulia who acted as an absolutely lovely hostess/tour guide/knower of all places hip/resident Italian speaker. Anyhoo, Torino. As you may or may not (if you have been living under a rock maybe) know, the Winter Olympics were there in 2006. It was the first capital of Italy in 1861 and the home of the ruling Savoy family. Impressed by my historical knowledge? Ok, maybe not. Moving on. One of the many reasons we wanted to escape from the little hamlet of Bra for a …

Breakfast for Dinner

Last evening I went to my first Dinner Society. This sounds very fancy pants but it is basically just an initiative dreamed up by the ASSG (Gastronomic Sciences Students Association) to allow for a little bit of fraternizing among students from different programs and years. All individuals interested in meeting some new peeps fill out a quick Google Form and if so inclined offer their homes up as the locale for an evening in with around 5 other humans. Being the host means you also choose the theme. It was my first time in this rodeo so I just chose to be a guest. So, what was the theme for my first Dinner Society dinner (repetitive, I know)? Well, my title gave it away: Breakfast for Dinner. Not Italian breakfast, silly goose, that would just be weird to have 5 people get together at 8 PM for espresso and chocolate cookies. No no no, we’re talking American breakfast. The host and his roommates provided OJ and prosecco, scrambled eggs, bacon, a grilled meat resembling a hot dog, toast, waffles, jam (including …