Sunday, November 1, 2009

Genoa and My New Foodie Friend

The other day a new WWOOFer arrived on the farm. Julia is a German Jewish Brazilian student at the Culinary Institute of America.

We talk food constantly.

It's fantastic.

We decided to sync our days off together, so we could take a day trip to Genova (or Genoa in English) and enjoy a fabulous lunch and Ligurian sights.

How you fill eight hours in Genova as two hungry tourist girls:

1. Stopped by a little bakery for a croissant filled with cream. Hint of orange. Walking breakfast: cathedrals, palazzos, port.

2. Aquario di Genova: The largest aquarium in Italy. My favorite was the room full of tanks with different types of jellyfish. Felt like a beautiful dream.

Also sharks, crocodiles, dolphins, manatees, chameleons, seahorses, octopuses, turtles, sea urchins, all kinds of colorful, glowing fish, and much more. They even had a Finding Nemo tank filled with most of the cast. Adorable!

Plus a 3D movie called the World of Sharks, which was narrated by an insanely romantic, sexy-voiced Italian man pretending to be a turtle.

3. After all that fish ogling, we were very hungry for some seafood.

Julia's Vino Italiano book (by Mario Batali, David Lynch, Joseph and Lidia Bastanich) and the Lonely Planet guidebook both recommended that we make a stop at a Genovese restaurant and wine shop called Enoteca Sola.

It was a tiny place with only about five other tables, which were all middle-aged Italian men eating alone.

We started with antipasto delle "cose buone dell'enoteca" (which means the good things of the house). Lived up to its name with a delicious assortment of potato salad, anchovy with tomato and some kind of greens, fried artichoke, prosciutto and a spinach frittata.

For our entrees we had rotondino di sitello tonnato insalatina (rolled beef thing with spinach and pinenuts) and frittura di occiugle e calamaretti freschi (fried squid and anchovy with raddichio and tomato salad).

And of course I wouldn't be a Cheng and she wouldn't be a culinary student without a few glasses of vino.

For the fried seafood, we had the Vermentino-Imperia-Vigna U Munte Colle dei Bardellini 08. It's well known in this area for its slightly salty finish, which comes from the seaside air by the Ligurian vineyards...or so say Julia and her wine books.

For the beef dish, we had a Rossese Dolceacqua Riserva- E. Guglielmi 06, which is a big grape varietal from Liguria too. Light. Sweet. Fruity. Pleasant.

Finished off with a plate full of freebie cookies and four types of chocolates. We ate half and stuffed the rest in our pockets.

4. Despite having our fill at lunch, we shopped for a lot of chocolate all day. I'll be living off a bag of mini Kinder eggs for the next few weeks.

5. Caffe Balilla and Gelateria. A week and a half in Italy, and this was my first taste of gelato! I ordered a scoop of panera (I thought this would have something to do with bread, but the gelato lady explained it was just coffee...I still don't get it) and another of crema whisky. Basically Irish coffee in gelato form! An inspired choice if I do say so myself.

6. Mercato Orientale. Maze of stalls with fruits, veggies, nuts, meat, cheese, seafood, flowers. Such beautiful produce!

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