American, Fort Worth, Italian, Uncategorized

Piattello Italian Kitchen- Fort Worth, TX

Can you believe I found another Italian restaurant that is actually good in Texas? And I’m from Boston, the best Italian restaurants are next door to my house. Well, as Fort Worth is growing and becoming more “cosmopolitan” the restaurants are coming in and adding more depth, culture to the city. Now a BBQ loving country boy can get decent, authentic Italian food. Yet another Italian restaurant has made its debut in Fort Worth, tucked in the back at Waterside, and that’s Piattello.

Waterside, located just past the Trinity River off Bryant Irvin, is just one of the several new business sites in the city. Where the Fort Worth Whole Foods famously sits, Waterside is home to other chain restaurants and some retail stores. The one standout is Piattello, the only non-chain restaurant in the complex. It sits sort of behind everything, just down from Steel City Pops. It has a small outdoor patio that is their own, but opens out to the courtyard area behind Whole Foods and Taco Diner.  With twinkling lights in the trees, children playing, and the fresh air it all adds to Piattello’s ambiance. The inside is pretty subdued, fun light fixtures adorn the ceiling, otherwise there is nothing too special. There is a lot of space, you can see when your waiter has picked up your food, and in one corner I noticed a wine shelf. Again, nothing too spectacular.

Our waiter was very present during our meal, filling our water glasses and checking on us frequently. For a Friday night it wasn’t too crowded, but it was certainly bustling so the fact that he was checking on us as frequently as he did proved how much he was trying. 

We started with the ricotta cheese appetizer, simply just ricotta with olive oil embedded on top and toasted bread. Simple, but very delicious. That bread was so addicting!

Now whenever I am about to go out to a new restaurant I always check Instagram for photos from the restaurant and public posts from other people (that aren’t staged and photoshopped). Photos, even though I’m a blogger, speak loudly and cooking is a visual art. So when I looked Piattello up it seemed to be that the pasta dishes are what makes them stand out. Ten points to Instagram and the general public because this is so true! Even the simplest pasta dish, strozzapreti cacio e pepe (cheese pasta essentially) was scrumptious. Great flavors and mixture of cheeses with parmigiana and pecorino, perfectly cooked pasta, and seasoned just right, nice and creamy. Again Piattello is demonstrating that sometimes you just have to go simple.

With that being said the above pasta dish was great, but I shouldn’t have gotten it. My friend who enjoyed this meal with me ordered the sweet potato ravioli. I should’ve gotten that just to take home for later. In a brown butter and sage sauce, those ravioli were superb. The flavors were spot on, the ravioli constructed and cooked magnificentally, it was by far the better of the two. I almost went to dinner the next night alone just to get the ravioli. They were that good. I mean how dreamy do those look?

Piattello also serves pizza and by photos they look pretty good so definitely will need to get back there to try them out. They also advertise quite a bit about their coffee service in the afternoon so with the nice outdoor space that’s something to check out too. 

Overall Piattello was a great experience. Although there wasn’t a lot of character with the interior, the food spoke volumes and provided great decor, until devoured. The service was good, no complaints there. If you have the chance get over to Waterside and treat yourself to a nice Italian meal at Piattello.  

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American, Fort Worth, Italian, Uncategorized

Cane Rosso- Fort Worth, TX

All of my readers know that I’m extremely picky about my Italian food. I very clearly announce on a daily basis that I do not eat Italian in Texas, just like how I don’t eat Tex Mex in Boston. However, when the word on the street is all about an Italian place in Fort Worth, my curiosity just takes over. I had to check out what all the hullabaloo was about Cane Rosso

Man, I swear every other post I do about a place in Fort Worth is located on West Magnolia. But it’s true, W Magnolia is just popping with exciting and innovative new idea restaurants that keeps people coming back. The area is electric and Cane Rosso fits in perfectly. Located next door to Brewed on the tail end of Magnolia, it’s always been a popular place, people constantly coming in and out flocking around the building. Reminder, they take reservations on Open Table! Definitely suggest making a reservation no later than 24 hours in advance, time slots get taken quickly! It’s super helpful that they do business on Open Table though, as many Fort Worth restaurants don’t, so take advantage of it. 

The vibe is very homey, tables packed closely together, the brick pizza oven behind the long bar. They have some outdoor seating too, which would be beautiful on a cool night. It doesn’t necessarily scream “Italian, quaint, trattoria”, but it is sort of a hipster, Italian look. The ceiling is adorned with several different light fixtures, each one with character and creating some separation in the big main room. 

The menu is adorned with several classic Italian dishes and ingredients. Our waitress did a fantastic job explaining what San Marzano tomatoes and soppressatta are. Even though I know what those are, most Texans won’t, so the fact the staff is educated in these special ingredients and can explain what they are is great and a testament to the kind of establishment they are creating.

We started off with the classic caprese just because it’s so hard not to enjoy. The tomatoes were juicy and the mozzarella tasted like Italy. The balsamic had to have come from a legitimate source bursting with tangy, sweet notes. The bread tasted fresh and grilled perfectly with a drizzle of olive oil. The pesto tasted homemade too, adding another component to the dish.

As the entree, how could we not get pizza? With the san marzano tomatoes and brick oven just behind our shoulder, we would be silly not to try the pizza. It didn’t disappoint. The ingredients tasted fresh and came together harmoniously. We chose the “OMB” pizza with meatballs, sausage, caramelized onions, and calabrian chiles. The onions added a sweetness while the chiles gave a little heat. The meatballs and sausage were fantastic and the dough was actually impressive. It wasn’t sweet like some doughs can be, it only enhanced the flavor. My one critique would be that the crust was flimsy, not crisp. I know not everyone likes a crisp thin crust and that Neapolitan pizza is supposed to be soft, but it still could’ve been cooked a little longer in my opinion.

After this experience at Cane Rosso, I don’t know, I may have to stop saying that I don’t eat Italian in Texas. This is yet another Italian restaurant that has proven me wrong about there not being good, high standard Italian food. I continue to be surprised by the capabilities of the chefs, not only by their cooking skills, but their knowledge of what real Italian food is. These chefs are great and are working for and with fantastic investors, sous chefs, waitstaff, and most importantly serving the community their absolute best. West Magnolia is home to yet another fantastic restaurant that I will certainly be going back to. 

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boston, Italian, Sweets, Uncategorized

Mammamaria- Boston, MA

Pasta is most likely one of the most popular dishes to make, for all ages. From macaroni and cheese to lasagna, kindergarten well into ones adulthood pasta is just universal across the board. I think we can all agree, however, that everyone cooks pasta differently. Some people prefer it to be al dente meaning a firmer bite, others like it to be soft to the point that it practically disinigrates in your mouth. No matter how you cook it though, there is a correct way to cook pasta where its firm yet is still melt in your mouth. It can be hard to tell what that should taste or feel like, but if you go to Mammamaria they’ll demonstrate how to do it perfectly. 

The North End is obviously flooded with delicious Italian restaurants, but you can feel the difference when you go into higher end restaurant like Mammamaria. The ambiance inside makes you feel like you’ve just walked into a movie scene, beautifully placed utensils and exquisite, Italian inspired design plates. Tables placed fairly close together makes it feel like a cozy trattoria. The staff are both inviting and professional, the waiters filling water glasses and clearing plates as often as they can. The beautiful decor makes for a lovely ambiance inside and hearing the room filled with laughter makes for a wonderful evening. 

The select evening menu was filled with all the delicious classic Italian dishes made with local New England products. For our antipasti, or appetizer, we selected the cheese sampler, three different cheeses with fresh colorful tomatoes and drizzle of olive oil. Local ricotta and mozzarella from Massachusetts and bufala mozzarella from Naples are all melt in your mouth on top of the fresh bread. The bufala was the best by far, so creamy and milky, bursting with flavor.

For the main course the menu was full of innovative and different combinations, but I wanted to judge Mamma’s by the classic Italian, bolognese. And Mamma Maria was this bolognese good. The meat was seasoned and cooked perfectly, the sauce delicious with a tangy taste almost and flavorful with every bite. The pasta, as discussed in the opening, was cooked as it is meant to be cooked. Not too soft, not too stiff. A good bite too it and cooked throughout, not a single strand of pasta out of line. Garnished with fresh Parmesan grated right from the block and you are beginning to feel Italian. 

Another notable menu item was the summertime squash ravioli. Filled with green and yellow squash and corn, the filling was very refreshing as well as flavorful. The ravioli pasta was done just right and you can tell delicate hands in the kitchen sculpted the tiny pillows of cheese heaven. 

Finally, a meal like this isn’t complete without a homemade, warm Italian dessert. From a list that made the decision extremely hard, this menu item was a standout. A warm puff pastry that held a mixture of delicious crisp apples and cinnamon spices topped with freshly whipped cream and chocolate and caramel drizzles. Each bite was like a new sensation of the flavors coming together in harmony, the sweet cream, tartness of the apples, and crunch of flaky pastry. 

It is the place to enjoy a spectacular Italian meal, a meal that may be as close as it gets to being in Italy. Meals like this perpetuate meaningful conversation, as you’re huddled together discussing the food as well as family conversation. One thing to point out is that a meal like this doesn’t come cheap, but its a meal few and far between. Savor, enjoy, and love meals like this. Go for it, you can figure out finances down the road, but a meal like this is worth every penny. Not just for the food, but for the memories. 

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American, boston, Burgers, Cape Cod, Italian, Seafood

Laurino’s- Brewster, MA

Home. A lot of people think of their family when they think of home. The atmosphere, the people, the food. The same goes for restaurants. Yes, you remember the food if you’ve been to a great place, but many of us also remember the experience we had. Were the waiters/waitresses nice? Did the hostess greet you cheerfully? Were you told a wait time that fit the means of a normal time frame? Those are things that can make or break a restaurant just as much as the food being good or not. Laurino’s checks off everything and does it with love. 

Just off Route 6A sits Laurino’s, a humble and welcoming establishment on Cape Cod. We came here as a second choice actually, after our first choice treated us less than spectacular. We learned our lesson and know to make Laurino’s our first choice. From being greeted with a smile, to delicious food, to seeing hardworking people work together, you feel better knowing your money is going towards a restaurant like that than one with snotty hosts. 

The vibe at Laurino’s is that of home, with fun posters and pictures all around and a community feeling. They welcome all, seeing that we’ve taken my autistic sister here and seeing an autistic boy the night we went. Our waitress was bubbly and happy, exuding vibrant colors that made us feel cheerful and happy to be there. She made our experience amazing and we noticed all the waitstaff helping each other, from running plates to cleaning and turning over tables. True teamwork.

The food, on top of everything else, was superb. The SOB Burger was juicy and delicious, all the ingredients cooked perfectly. The specials that evening made it difficult to decide what to get, but one special that night screamed incredible. Scallops with tortellini in a red pesto sauce was just too good not to get. The tortellini had to have been homemade, with ample filling and tasty pasta. The scallops cooked to perfection, complimenting the tortellini in a delicious sauce that popped with flavor and spice (and everything nice).

From now on Laurino’s is the place, where everyone is welcome to enjoy drinks, food, and company. Ultimately that’s what matters when you go out to eat, not necessarily where everyone else goes, but the place that leaves you feeling bright and your tummy full. 

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American, Italian, Uncategorized

Paramour- San Antonio, TX

When you think San Antonio you most likely think of Hispanic and Mexican inspired foods. Tacos, Tex mex, etc. It is true, San Antonio knows how to do Mexican, but there is growth in the city with bars and sophisticated foods popping up. One good example of this is Paramour.

Located right on the River Walk just north of the Alamo sits this rooftop bar. After climbing about four flights of stairs you enter into a different world with pops of color, couches with pillows of pin up stars, and a scenic view. The outdoor space is beautiful, with couches and chairs sectioned off with lovely green plants. Perfect for a bachelorette party or celebrating a fun group event!

When we went it was in between the morning crowd and evening crowd. They were able to serve us their charcuterie board, so we ordered that for a nice light lunch. If you’re a frequent follower, you know I spend a good amount of my time home in Boston where you can get fresh meats and cheeses from salumerias, so I have high standards when it comes to these smorgasbords. Paramour succeeded and impressed me and my taste buds. I don’t know where or how the chef gets these meats and cheeses, but one things for sure they know the difference between salami and soppressatta. The meats were delicious, the goat cheese with honey was delectable, buffala mozzarella, and, what tasted to be, homemade pesto. We devoured the boards when they came out and rightly so. The display was gorgeous, so inviting. I was quite impressed. 

Hannah Grace Photography

If this is any indication of the service and standards of the drinks and other menu items, then I suggest you make your way to Paramour the next time you see yourself in San Antonio. 

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American, Baking Recipes, Italian, Savory, Uncategorized

Creamy Mozzarella Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Spinach Tortellini 

Well that is certainly a mouthful. And it’s a delicious mouthful. Pinterest has done it again, bringing up amazing and beautiful looking recipes from bloggers like Julia’s Album. The vibrant warm colors are what initially drew me in to click on the link for this recipe and once I read the post in its entirety I knew I had to make this dish. 

Being Italian, it’s hard to not want to cook Italian…I mean they do know what they’re doing when it comes to food. This recipe is no different, the creaminess of the base mixed with the sharp cheeses of tortellini and the acidity of sun-dried tomatoes is harmonious. 

I didn’t have paprika like the recipe calls for, but add a dash of chili powder and you’ll get the same effect and taste paprika would have given it. It was a nice addition, kudos to Julia. 

It’s an easy recipe and certainly one the whole family will enjoy, so get your pot of water boiling and pan sizzling and have Italian night in your home. 

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American, boston, Italian, Uncategorized

Monument- Charlestown, MA

If you’re from Boston then you know all the buzz about Monument in Charlestown. Charlestown is on the map, millennials are taking over, moving outside of Boston across the river to once rough Charlestown. Monument is only feeding into that with a vibe similar to Brewers Fork on the other side of town. Having only been open for a week, I got the chance to check out the new place.

Some people don’t know this, but there is a history here. Remember that adorable, lovely neighborhood trattoria Paolo’s? Monument replaced it. Same owner, but they decided to change it up. To be fair Paolo’s was never full, but it was great food and perfect for a date night or for families. The staff was family and to the owners credit they rehired all the Paolo’s staff, but I miss our little trattoria. Monument has the opposite feel to it, which is good and bad! Monument is definitely a gastropub, basically meaning a fancy pub. We went on the busiest night and they are still figuring out kinks, but the bar was loud and full as well as tables. They expanded the space, so looking over to the Paolo’s side you can only miss it. Talking to a waitress from those days whom we’re friendly with only agreed, but is excited for this next chapter. I think us regulars can agree.

Upon looking at the menu it’s different and interesting, really great ingredients and combinations. And they kept the pizza oven so we only assumed the pizza would be Paolo’s pizza. Although front of the house was maybe flustered, telling us a thirty minute wait that would only turn into an hour, the kitchen was firing food and getting it out at a good speed…especially since it was so busy. The staff was doing their best though and once we did get seated our waitress was bubbly.

We started with two appetizers, short rib poutine and calamari. Both were great, the poutine had a nice gravy and I liked how they used mozzarella curds. The meat was a little cold, but it was tender and had nice flavor. The calamari was really good, the fry was perfect and cooked nicely. The pairing of it with the pickled cucumbers and feta was delicious and the tzatziki sauce brought it all together. 
Now onto the entrees, let’s start with the pizza. Imagining that they wouldn’t try to fix something that isn’t broke, I assumed the pizzas would be that of the Paolo days, but when we order the soppressatta pizza our waitress told us that it’s a different dough from before. I got a little nervous, but was optimistic. When it came I knew immediately it wasn’t going to be great. The crust was huge and doughy and when I bit into it it had a sweetness to it that my tastebuds weren’t prepared for. And you’d think with the North End right there a restaurant would get soppressatta super easy, especially since Paolo’s had a really delicious one. This stuff was pepperoni and it may have been the saltiest pepperoni I’ve ever had. It was not soppressatta, I kept saying to my parents “it’s like having a pizza in Fort Worth”. The cheese made up for it all though, a nice bake and taste to it.

Even though the pizza was a little disappointing, the main entrees were superb. First we got the baked gnocchi that was cooked perfectly with a pink vodka sauce sausage bolongnese and taleggio cheese. It came to the table in an iron skillet, the aroma of melted cheese and sausage filling the air. The sausage was seasoned very well and this dish is what is going to bring me back here.

The other entree we got was the seared scallops with sweet potato purée and assorted vegetables, including snap peas and carrots, in a lemon beurre blanc (which translates to “white butter”) and topped with crumbled bacon. This entree was perfection with the scallops cooked and seared beautifully. The vegetables and sauce complimented each other harmoniously. It wasn’t overly salty and all the flavors came together, and obviously bacon. This scallop entree is another reason I would go back to Monument. 

Overall Charlestown is going to have a different feel to it as the new restaurant draws people from all over Boston, full of young singles and couples making the trek north to check out the new hot spot. It’ll be good for Charlestown to reach that demographic, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to miss our little trattoria. Lots of memories have happened at Paolo’s and I’m sure new ones will happen at Monument…once they work out the kinks, like any new restaurant. 

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