Sunday, January 27, 2008

Road Tripping through Europe: Food Hell to Food Heaven in Italy

Warning to anyone not on broadband you will now be overloaded with pictures.

My family and I went to Europe with a Chinese language tour. The problem with Chinese language tours is that the food they take you to eat can be a real hit and miss. You can have the best the country has the offer or the worst.

Sadly this trip is the latter, let me show you a quick set of pictures of the horrible food we had. I highly suggest not to attend the American Europe travel agency tourts.

Italy: Pasta with ground meat, butter, olive oil. Bleh. No flavor.

Italy: Thinly sliced dry pork with overly salty sauce

France: Dried chicken breast

Italy: HORRIBLE VEGETABLE SOUP. Really mushy vegetables , a mix of vegetables that don't mix with each other!

Italy: SAME vegetables that were in the soup, now covered in butter and salt.. and still overcooked.

I vowed to eat something decent during this trip so during our shopping excursion in Milan, Italy I decided to look for a good sit-down restaurant. The problem with a lot of the places around these heavily populated areas is that its all cafes, cafes = generic pasta and salads. Luckily we found a restaurant tucked away in the corner. Charleston!

This place was packed when we went in. They also don't take names so you kind of just stand in the restaurant in a line for your table. While waiting for our table I took the liberty to take pictures of their food displays.

Fresh seafood *drool*

Thick cuts of meat and hanging sausages!

and the most drool-worthy oranges.
the table the oranges was on is filled with all kinds of different fruit based desserts. If we had the time I would have a taste sample but silly chinese tours and time limits!

After we were seated we were handed an immense menu. 10+ pastas, meats, seafood, pizzas, cold appetizers, hot appetizers, the whole shibang.

Since my family is a family of hungry people (some may say fat, I say healthy!) we ordered an appetizer, pizza, and our own individual entrees.

For our appetizer we had the parma "coppa" (pork salami) and grilled "scamorza" (smoked cheese) .

Thinly-sliced salami, not as oily as prosciutto but a little saltier. You add the sharp grilled cheese along with it and it really meshes well with the flavor. To make it even better, toss it in some bread =).

A pizza with mozzarella, tomatoes and spicy sausages

Thin crust pizza, my favorite! Light tomato sauce with very little sausage . The pizza was drenched in olive oil (can you see my reflection on the pizza?) so when you cut it, the oil just drips off of the pizza. Now that doesn't detract it from being tasty because the dough was perfect, not so thing that its flimsy with all the oil, and the crust was nice and crisp.

My mom ordered Seabass in "Mediterranean" style.

It would have been a lot easier if they just called it baked fish with grilled eggplant and zucchini. Once again, an abundance of olive oil.

My brother ordered the Veal with roasted potatoes

And I had the Spaghetti with clams and mussels.

The dish is extremely small. Probably no more than 14-15 bites of well rationed bites. But a good portion of mussels and clams. The small portions do not take away from how great this dish was. A spicy light tomato sauce with perfect pasta. It really doesn't get much better than this when you order pasta. Succulent seafood, real juicy and meaty clams/mussels. If this dish had two times the pasta it would have been absolutely worth the $25 we paid for it.

After a large carbonated water our dishes came to a grand total of 89 Euros. Sigh its expensive to be an American in Europe. Expensive but delicious none the less. I finally had my first good complete meal in Italy.


Little Miss Contrary said...

Hey, Clayfu--I discovered your blog through mmm-yoso a while back and have enjoyed reading it since. Just wanted to let you know to keep up the good eats!

P.S. I love Daniel Boulud and his show "After Hours with Daniel" on MOJO, so thanks for that Vegas post!

Charlie Fu said...

Little Miss Contrary: Thanks for the compliment!

moowiesqrd said...

Hey Clayfu! I was wondering who "Charlie Fu" was when I saw a comment on my blog. Found yours through your CH profile. Your comments on Chinese language tours through Europe echo mine exactly. Took one with my parental units and we were eating bad Chinese food in Geneva, Berlin, and Rome! So tragic...

Great blog!

Charlie Fu said...

Moowiesqrd: luckily we were able to avoid all Chinese food on the trip =)

Nancy Deprez said...

Awesome write-up! So glad my parents didn't take the tour.