Aperitivo in Milano

August 8, 2012

Americans traditionally think of happy hour as a time to enjoy discounted drinks once the workday is over. Italians however, have an entirely different (and far better) concept for these pre-dinner, post-work hours. I was first introduced to aperitivo, or drinks with complimentary food, in Milan a couple years back when visiting my friends. I imagined bowls of chips, pretzels and popcorn. I should have known better that this would be a disgrace to the Italian culture, and rather we would feast upon an open buffet of various pastas, meats, cheeses and vegetables. Fast forward to 2012, and I found myself once again in Milan, enjoying an evening with friends at Luca e Andrea Cafe on the Naviglio Grande. Although meant for just a warm-up to dinner, their macaroni and cheese and pasta salad left me far too full for anything else.

Cocktails on the canal

Pasta, couscous, chicken and vegetables 



Macaroni and cheese



Coast to Coast

June 15, 2011

Last night, my friend invited me to a 4 course dinner at Chef Brandon Chavannes’s pop-up restaurant, Coast to Coast. Inspired by worldly coastal flavors, the exotic dishes were all beautifully presented and delicious. In between courses, the mixologists served up specialty cocktails, wine and Greenport Harbor beers.

Curried watermelon with black pepper, scallions and curry scented dressing with the Bisin Fire cocktail- Polish Bison Grass Vodka, jalapeno lemongrass elixir, crystallized ginger and fresh basil

Chilled crab soup with roasted gazpacho broth, hearts of palm and green apple

Cebollada- braised beef cheeks, salsify puree, romesco verde and an onion jus

Mahi Mahi with dandelion greens, chorizo and Marjoram vinaigrette and a 1970 bottle of Château Lafite Rothschild

Tres Leches with maple tuile and chili and Apricot tart with cardamom, cinnamon, marcona almonds and caramel with orange blossom ice cream