Archive for January 2016

Oracibo’s New Look

DSCN9962 nx2We’ve just completed a re-vamp of the Oracibo website!  It’s been very exciting coming up with new ideas that make it more beautiful, and easier to navigate!  Hope you like the changes…we do!

If you have subscribed to the website in the past and are not a new subscriber, you will have noticed that you did not receive a notification when a new recipe was posted, only when a new blog post went up.  We’ve changed that (thank goodness), and you will now get a notification for both recipes and blog posts, a major improvement.  Because of this adjustment, you will need to re-subscribe so you can receive all notifications.  So, fill out the form, submit and a short while later you will receive an email confirmation. The older recipes (400+ of them) are still accessible as before but going forward you will be notified of new ones!

Thank you so much for visiting my site and hope you find it both entertaining and useful!

Ciao,

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The Rome Food Diary, 2015 – Part 4

La Carbonara 1906 – Via Panisperna, 214

DSCN9961 nx2Once upon a time, in 2010, during our very first visit to Rome we were out and about in Monti, we decided to go for lunch…after the usual getting lost bit, we somehow stumbled upon where we wanted to go. And although we arrived 10 minutes after the lunch closing time, they graciously agreed that we could have lunch…although we were limited to ordering their excellent spaghetti carbonara, salad, wine and strawberries! No problem finding them this time. We were meeting a friend in Monti later in the afternoon, so we thought it might be a good idea to re-visit this cozy spot and try something else off the menu! To begin we shared a plate of fried veggies, or Roman tempura. When in Rome…well you know…so it’s fried things and tonnarelli pasta! For Joe, anchovy and cherry tomato sauce and for me, an oxtail sauce tossed with tonnarelli…both very good, although I do think my oxtails would have benefited with just a bit more time in the pot… The thing about oxtails is that you just know at some point, usually sooner than later, that you will have to abandon your fork and knife for those 10 digits on your hands…and quite frankly, it just wouldn’t be the same if you didn’t! The guy at the next table took one look at the oxtail perched on his pasta and totally refused to have anything to do with it! It goes without saying that we enjoyed some house red too!  The photo of sign outside their door is way more interesting/funny in Italian…try your best!

Romeo – Via Silla, 26/a

DSCN9997 nx2We absolutely loved this place when we went there in the spring of 2014 and were really looking forward to a return visit this past October! I guess sometimes it’s best to just remember the great time you had and not go back? We made a completely unnecessary reservation for a Monday night and maybe that was the problem? We arrived around 8:00 and the place was pretty much empty, with the staff standing around with nothing to do! Not a good thing. We ordered a nice bottle of Verdicchio from the Marche region and proceeded to peruse the menu, which was totally unchanged from a year ago…I find that weird…not a thing changed. A few people did trickle in over the next two hours, mostly for wine and snacks. We did enjoy our shared plate of house “pickled veggies” and Joe liked his calamari and squid pasta and my eggplant stuffed ravioli was tasty as well. But the vibe was missing and we were disappointed, considering how much we enjoyed our lunch there in 2014!

Enough talk of restaurants…time to go food shopping! Here are two of our new favourite places.

La Tradizione di Belle e Fantucci – Via Cipro, 8

la tradizione 1If peering in the window doesn’t make you swoon…you need help! La Tradizione cellars and cares for a selection of 400 cheeses and they have a choice of 300 “cold cuts”…WOW!!! As they are situated not far from our apartment in Prati and because we neglected to go on our last two times in Rome, we figured it’s time to get our act together and head over! Besides all the stuff I mentioned, they also have a selection of fresh pasta, including the pumpkin ravioli we bought for our dinner primi to be sauced with browned butter and sage…soooo good! They also sell wines and other bits and pieces, one of the bits being saffron from Abruzzo I spotted and had to buy. We chose two cheeses to bring home with us and they vacuumed sealed them for travel. One was a saffron, black peppercorn flavoured Pecorino from Sicily that we shared with friends over the holidays…this is a cheese we would never ever find here and we all loved it! If you don’t want to cook…head over to La Tradizione and load up on all the prepared goodies in the window…I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!

Volpetti, Testaccio – Via Marmorata, 47

VolpettiA number of months ago a friend and I were having a discussion about anchovies and how much I dislike them and we were also talking the famous anchovy sauce/oil, Colatura, which harkens back to the Ancient Roman “Garum” sauce they seemed to put on everything, I wanted to find and buy some Colatura for my partner in food while we were in Rome. Gareth recommended a visit to Volpetti where I would be sure to find it among many other delicious comestibles. And he was so right! Besides the Colatura, we bought fig “salami” to bring home for Christmas. Other than figs we have no idea what’s in it! We were all trying to guess! Nicely wrapped in fig leaves, sealed in plastic wrap, unwrapped, thinly sliced and utterly fabulous with hay and honey Pecorino! What a treat to enjoy over the holidays…again with those same two friends who loved it as much as we did!

Click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2 and here for Part 3!

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The Rome Food Diary, 2015 – Part 3

Flavio Velavevodoto ai Quiriti – Piazza dei Quiriti, 4/5 click here for the link.

There are two “Temples of Roman Cuisine” (according to their website), one in Prati and one in the neighbourhood of Testaccio. The “room” was comfy, with loads of mirrors and really nice lighting…making for a very cozy evening. FlavioPrati is our “hood” and so the choice was an easy one, walk-able and well known for their use of the  “fifth quarter,” (the Roman tradition for cooking offal).  Partner in eating needs some! Can there ever be too much pasta? Nope…not in our books!  Joe needs a “hit of heat” so orders tagliatelle with ‘Nduja, a very spicy, soft, spreadable Calabrian sausage, tomato sauce, topped with Burrata, a speciality of the house. My pasta of choice is anything on tonnarelli, square shaped spaghetti that I adore, this time it’s cacio e pepe, a very good version with lots of freshly ground black pepper although I might have liked it to be a bit creamier. Next up for Joe, finally, Roman style tripe…his first tripe of the trip! Loved it! I had in mind oxtails but I’ve been eating them almost every day so when I spotted the Genovese beef and onion stew I had to have it! It was fantastic with chunks of tender, moist cubes of beef enrobed in beefy-oniony sauce. I am definitely going to make this at home! I didn’t miss the oxtails one bit! And all washed down with an excellent Vino Nobile from Montepulciano! The portions are very generous and even though we had a very light lunch…there was no way either of us could finish our secondi! A thoroughly enjoyable dinner and a definite two thumbs up from us!

Enoteca Cavour 313 – Via Cavour, 313 click here for the link.

DSCN9922 nx2We did a walk by in the afternoon after they had closed for the lunch trade, to check out the menu and it looked fine. Then we had a nice walk around Monti, stopped for an apertivo…have you ever noticed how many “crisps” i.e. potato chips are served in Rome when you order a drink? We were quite surprised! But back to Enoteca Cavour! We ordered a few things to share and a very good bottle of Vino Nobile from Montelpulciano. I think our impression, and we are still puzzled, is the décor, all wooden beams, wooden booths, wooden dividers…just didn’t get the theme at all (early, early Roman??). And the food was ho hum; probably somewhere one might go for a selection of salumi, cheeses and wine in the early evening. Although Joe said he found the “chili-seasoned pork crackling” sort of addictive. I found it beyond chewy to say the least, more like really chewy jerky. I think he needed his daily hit of chilies! The carpaccio with arugula was fine but then how hard is that! We would not return and would not recommend, except, perhaps for that apertivo previously mentioned.

Da Giggetto al Portico d’Ottavia – Via Alessandria, 43 click here for the link.

DSCN9709 nx2I read lots of reviews and comments and it seems that everyone loves this place in the Ghetto that’s  been there forever, actually 1923 to be exact. Da Giggetto had been on our “places to check out” for a few years and we never got there…so we decided to give it a try for a Sunday lunch. This is certainly a go-to place for family get-together’s with lots of small well-behaved children around…crazy busy! The interior of the restaurant is charming with a number of different “rooms.” I  was fascinated by how the service staff retrieves wine bottles from the top shelves on a wall…a very long pole with some kind of hook on the end and voila…here comes the wine! Didn’t see anyone drop one, including ours! Joe ordered zucchini blossoms stuffed with mozzarella and anchovy…as I don’t like anchovies I had to settle for a bit of the blossom only and was disappointed to find it soggy and not crisp…I do love my blossoms crisp! My Jewish style artichoke was pretty much what we have had everywhere else in Rome. Joe followed up his zucchini blossoms with fried anchovies that he liked and I had a plate of fried calamari and shrimp…acceptable but not a big WOW. In fact, I have to say I’ve had far better calamari at Greek Restaurants in Vancouver, so unfortunately, a letdown. All in all, we enjoyed the atmosphere a lot but would not be in a rush to go back. And how come the smokers get to eat outside on the patio anyway??

Click here for Rome Food Diary Part 1 and here for Part 2 and here for Part 4!

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The Rome Food Diary, 2015 – Part 2

Pane & Vino – Via Ostilia, 8 – no website available.

DSCN9898 nx2And then there are the days when all you want for lunch is a panino! So off to Pane and Vino to sample what are supposedly the best panini in Prati (the area near the Vatican). The place is tiny! But the panini are to die for! You choose from boards up on the wall, place your order and wait for your panino to be made. We decided to share and ordered two different ones. They use fabulous roll/bread that has  sort of a focaccia like texture. We decided on a panino with grilled eggplant, grilled zucchini and salsa verde and one with scamorza cheese, prosciutto cotto (cooked ham) and lovely, soft sun-dried tomatoes cured in oil. The local wine we ordered went down a treat! We voted and it was hard but the eggplant zucchini panino came up the ultimate winner.

 

 

Ditirambo – Piazza della Cancelleria, 74-75click here for the link.

This trattoria, a few blocks from the Campo dei Fiori, gets an enthusiastic two thumbs up from these two well-seasoned eaters! Normally we don’t tend to go back to the same place more than DSCN9933 nx2once on a trip but in this case we had to make an exception! Our first visit was for lunch and what a lunch it was! The service we received was absolutely outstanding! The warm cozy vibe of this place made us want to stay all afternoon and into the evening just sipping away! We ordered the antipasto alla casa that was a selection of 2 types of bruschetta: chopped veggies and the inside of the burrata (the creamiest part) with chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Neither of us care much for burrata but this bruschetta changed our minds! There was also a very good Serrano ham, nicely seasoned Sicilian salami as well as a bruschetta with Sicilian broccoli and smoked cheese. We were impressed and loving every bite! Then there was that little pot of fresh ricotta and mint, not much to write home about until you combined it with that Serrano ham…wow did that work! Joe ordered a pasta (why the hell not…this is Rome after all) and describing it almost brings tears to my eyes. Everyone has heard of spaghetti vongole right? Well not this version!!! WOW!! It was spaghetti with a smoked tomato, saffron, garlicky sauce tossed with clams …oh my!!! After that my excellent spelt pappardelle with rabbit ragu, full of tender, delicate tasting morsels of rabbit, seemed to come in 2nd place! Joe makes a habit of keeping to fishy/seafood/tripe or other offal when in Rome! We shared chocolate budino for dessert because of the wine pairing (they pair all the desserts this way) of a Barolo Chinato. Now people, if you have not had the pleasure of this so-called Amaro, you need to! I was introduced to it a few months ago by a friend… so as soon as I spotted it on the dessert menu, well…enough said! After finishing both the budino and the wine our hostess asked if we liked it (the wine that is)and we were all over ourselves praising it, she went away and returned with a couple of samples of similar wine made using Barbera grapes…did I mention we could have stayed all afternoon? The night before going home we made a break with tradition and instead of the local pizzeria, decided to make a reservation at DSCN9935 nx2 ver2Ditirambo…we could not have made a better choice! On the way to our table, the wait person we had before recognized us and from then on it was simply one of the best times we have had eating in Rome! The couple at the next table was from Chicago and so as these things sometimes do…we basically spent our evening together chatting…rather nice! A bottle of Vino Nobile was ordered and then on to the main event! More pasta…absolutely! For Joe rigatoni alla Norma (an eggplant, tomato sauce) and for me tonnarelli, my favourite long pasta, with an artichoke and guanciale sauce, (hey this is Rome and you gotta do your bit for the artichoke growers). A shared second course of melt in the mouth plate of  beef cheeks…ending with a radicchio salad. There’s no dessert tonight! But our trusty server generously laid on us both the Barolo Chinato and the Barbera version because Joe had told the last time, he preferred it! A wonderful way to wrap up 3 weeks in Roma I think!

 

La Zanzarra Bistrot – Via Crescenzio, 84click here for the link.

DSCN9561 nx2This place was on my to do list from 2014 and we never quite got there. It’s on the same side of the Tiber as we can walk there. It’s a good looking space inside but both of us are still trying to figure this place out and figure you can’t strike it lucky all them time. Maybe they should be in Paris??? I will say that perhaps as a place for cichetti (snacks) and drinks after work it might work but we just did not get it. The staff, dressed in their long aprons, alla Parisienne did not seem very friendly and for us that’s the best part of going to restaurants. Anyway, we were there for lunch and well…nothing much appealed and the prices were not inexpensive. That said we ordered 1 beer and 1 glass of wine and their version of a club house sandwich. One with salmon and one with beef (??) what?? The chicken option seemed to be “sold out”…so what I can say is I liked that the bread was nice and thin, the beef uber-thin and included slices of hard-boiled egg. The sandwich was nicely presented but was the messiest “club sandwich” in my 60 odd years of eating them! I actually gave up and left some behind because I got so frustrated with the mess….very disappointed to say the least!

Click here for The Rome Diary Part 1, and here for Part 3 and here for Part 4!

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The Rome Food Diary, 2015 – Part 1

Enoteca Cul de Sac – Piazza Pasquino, 73 – they don’t have a website.

DSCN0608 nx2Not far from Piazza Navona and chosen from my list of Enoteche recommendations; glad we did! Cul de Sac has a very good wine selection so besides a terrific bottle of wine, we shared an absolutely addictive plate of Calabrian eggplant and a plate with three of their house-made pates; wild boar with dark chocolate, partridge with juniper berries and veal with tabasco, all were creamy, meaty and mighty tasty but the winner for us was the wild boar with a nugget of dark, slightly softened chocolate in the middle, a fabulous combination. And we met a new friend while there! What more can you ask for…sitting outside at an Enoteca in Rome, enjoying wonderful local wine, great food and meeting new friends?

Trattoria Perilli  – Via Marmorata, 39 click here for the link.

DSCN9580 nx2Maybe not the most hip choice for us but this restaurant is a long standing favourite in Testaccio. I promised myself that my partner in eating was going to get to try some really interesting things on this visit to the Eternal City and Perilli certainly provided that. Puntarelli were in season…so up first for Joe, puntarelli with anchovy sauce which went down a treat! Moving on to the pasta (look away if you’ll be grossed out) but another first, a classic Roman dish, rigatoni with veal pajata…he loved it! pajata, for the uninitiated, are veal intestines of un-weaned calves. I tried it!! I tried the puntarelle and it confirmed what I think about anchovies…I don’t like them! I had the most delectable Roman style artichoke with wild mint for my first course followed by rigatoni with oxtails. Because it’s fall, I figured I can really indulge my passion for these braised beauties that, once you throw aside your knife and fork, only your bare hands will do to help you gnaw off what’s left on the “bones”. My only comment would be…peperoncino please! We are starting to wonder if we should be travelling around with bottle of the stuff when life needs a bit of “sparkle”. Add a bottle of Frascati wine and a very enjoyable pranzo (lunch) was had! They claim that their pasta speciality is Spaghetti Carbonara but hey…it’s fun to try other Roman pasta preparations, no matter how good their Spaghetti Carbonara might be!

Vinando Osteria-Wine Bar – Piazza Margana, 23 click here for the link.

DSCN9802 nx2Definitely a find in our opinion, just a short walk from the Campidoglio and Piazza Venezia! In the past we haven’t had great luck finding a good place to relax and have lunch in the area…Vinando changed all that for us! Our wait person was so friendly and made us feel so comfortable and welcome.  And he’s been to Vancouver! And then a very, very good lunch of paper- thin raw beef on a bed of arugula, a very much enjoyed pasta of orecchiette cooked in red wine and Tropea onions and served up in a “frico” (a crispy, cheesy container), tasted great and a great presentation; for me it was a slam dunk once I saw truffles listed in the ingredients for the gnocchi! Besides those fragrant creations of nature, the sauce included shredded squash blossoms, radicchio and pancetta. Sigh…

Armando al Pantheon – Salita dei Crescenzi, 31, click here for the link.

DSCN9850 nx2This was our second time at Armando, a stone’s throw from the Pantheon and it was just as fantastic as last year, except this time I made reservations ahead of time so no problem getting in! Besides an absolutely fabulous bottle of un-filtered, organic Vermintino from Sardinia, we ate to our hearts content sharing a perfectly cooked artichoke Romanesco style served with local fresh mozzarella, dribbled with olive oil! Neither of us is crazy about fresh mozzarella but this was a brilliant pairing! Joe ordered a “soup” with pasta, broccoli and skate broth that he loved and for me the truffles were calling again, so I simply had to order the spaghetti with fresh truffles…what’s not to like? Although I would have loved it even more if they used fresh tonnarelli instead of dried spaghetti. Our secondo was a shared plate of osso bucco bianco (not cooked with tomatoes) cooked with peas and mushrooms ; so unctuous and meltingly tender! We normally don’t “do” dessert but heck, when you’re at Armando…you may as well go for it! A custardy semi-freddo layered with bits of biscotti, sprinkled with Vin Santo and scattered with scrumptious candied orange peel…a sight to behold!

Il Sorpasso – Via Properzio, 31/33 click here for the link.

DSCN9870 nx2It was a no brainer for us to go back to Sorpasso! last year we enjoyed a great lunch and absolutely loved the look of this bustling, cozy, funky place. And Sorpasso didn’t let us down this time either! So, a bottle of Sardinian Vermintino wine was ordered just to get things rolling and then we made our choices. For Joe it had to be tagiolini with shrimp and agrumi (citrus) sauce… in keeping with his seafood/fish thing and really liked it a lot! For me it had to be the cacio e Pepe spaghettoni with zucchini blossoms, three things I love all in one pasta! And I was not disappointed, last year I watched the chef making some and thought “I should have ordered that.” I wish I could share a table of 8 or 10 people and just walk around with a fork and have a little bite off everyone’s plate! We followed the pasta with a refreshing orange, fennel and olive salad. Sorprasso changes things up with their desserts so what you see on the menu is their re-interpretation of familiar things. Our shared “apple cake” became in their hands, warm cooked apples in a very thin crust set in a pool of crème patissiere. We didn’t actually lick the plate but came close! Would go back in a heartbeat!

Click here for Rome Diary Part 2, here for Part 3 and here for Part 4!

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Happy New Year!

DSCN0572 nx2We had our first “snowfall” of 2016 early this morning…bit of a pathetic showing but it was indeed, white!

Here it is the 4th of January already and here’s me sending out belated Happy New Years wishes to all of you!

Here’s to a healthy, happy and prosperous 2016!

And Oracibo has been getting a bit of a make-over and we hope you like what we’ve changed up!  We are trying to make things easier to see and navigate and as well added a  “print” button at the bottom of each recipe for a much easier way to print recipes you like and want to try out!

Cheers!

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