Thursday, May 13, 2010

Eataly. In pictures. Trieste

Trieste. A Mediterranean city that had rather a prominent status during the reign of Austro-Hungarian Empire but descended into a sort of quite provincialism since then. We spent there about three hours en route from Bologna to Vrsr in Croatia, and not by choice.

It's a hazy line that separates the West from the East. There's not one thing that let's you know that you have finally crossed it. But there is a kind of osmosis that is happening - little things begin to swarm around you until you finally realize - you're on the other side. For us this realization arrived when we tried to catch a bus that was scheduled to take us to our final destination.

Julia has planned this trip for months rather obsessively. Vrsr is not an easy place to get to by public transport. She's checked bus schedules on-line constantly, called up the company about half-a-dozen times, and even enlisted the help of some local Croatian Italians to make sure the information is correct. So when we got off the train we thought we had just enough time to hit some local restaurants (which we did, and it was excellent). It's getting out of Trieste that presented a problem.

It so happened that the bus we were expecting now runs only like twice a week, according to a "new" schedule. Judging by a couple of other confused travelers, that schedule must have been very, very new. So we could either stick around for a couple of days or take another bus that would take us half way. We said "half way it is" and went to take a nap under a tree in a park.

But our lunch was magical. Hot summer day, narrow winding streets, Fresh Mediterranean seafood, cold beer. What could be better?

Octopus salad and fried calamary at El Fornel.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Eataly. In pictures. Bologna

So everybody talks about Italy's food culture. But coming from New York, a place where you can get breakfast at 3 am or 3pm, we tend to forget that the rest of the world does not operate on our insane schedule. It turns out that Italians, as much as they like good food, also like to consume it in a rather orderly fashion and, it seems, they're not particularly good at over-extending themselves by providing 24/7 nourishment to the fellow human beings. That is to say you can forget about getting your breakfast in a restaurant past, let's say, 11 am. Yes, New York spoils you - you eat when you're hungry, not when you're supposed to. And that royally screws you over in Italy. What am i to do if I've missed lunch (catch it between 12 and 2, or go hungry untill 7)?

Enter Aperol-hour, if you're lucky to be in Bologna. This ingenious concept in a true italian fashion is about good food, good drink and good life in general. You can enter any restaurnat, cafe, deli, or pizzeria and order Aperol - a grapefruit/citrus flavored aperitif, served on ice with prosecco and a splash of seltzer - your drink arrives accompanied by an array of small plates, tapas style. What's on those plates depends how generous the cafe is. It could be various crostini, bruscheta, sardines, or simply olives, and even potato chips. One afternoon, just walking through a street hungry, I've sampled three different places, ranging from a hip-looking lounge (Aperol: 3 Euro. Olives, caper berries, sun-dried tomatoes: Priceless) to a mid-range snack bar (Aperol: 2 Euro. Potato chips and crostini) and a hole-in-a-wall filled with university students (drinking beer!) serving 1 Euro Aperol with bite size tomato bread.

Horse-meat bresaola, Parmigiano and arugula salad.

Monday, May 3, 2010


Speaking of graffiti - art mocking commerce, commerce mocking art.