Hamming it Up

You can buy excellent prosciutto aka Parma Ham in the USA. Every good Italian food store and deli will offer a variety. They are always in delicatessen cases. Most USA Italian restaurants offer a variety of dishes offering this delicacy.

The restaurants that we visited in Italy didn’t hide it away. It was almost presented like a lead actor in a play. If a dish require Parma Ham a waiter or chef would go to the center of the room where this beauty was displayed and with a very sharp knife cut what they needed. Food and entertainment.

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Parma Ham

The Old Oyster House Revisited

This time of year I like to revisit old images and sometimes edit them with newer tools. This is one of the first images I ever took with a cell phone. When I returned to Pittsburgh five years ago one of the first places I visited was Market Square which had changed dramatically in my 35 year absence. One thing that seemed unchanged was The Original Oyster House.

I took this image while sitting at the bar. It was in color but thought it should really be a monochrome image so I edited it with the NIK Silver Imaging tool.

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The Old Oyster House

French Meatloaf

I have always liked Pâté. As a Jewish boy in Pittsburgh I discovered chopped liver which is really nothing more than liver Pâté but made with rendered chicken fat or schmaltz. In Europe I discovered terrine. People said it’s just another word for Pâté but no its not. Both are served cold or at room temperature but they are different.

Pâté is spreadable and usually spread on bread or crackers. Terrine is like cold meatloaf and can be eaten with a knife and fork. Both are usually served as appetizers but also found for lunch and as part of a dinner. It can be made from really anything and you can find vegetable terrines as well as meat varieties. One of my favorites.

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Terrine

My Stupid Soup Rule

So for a long time I have held the position that soups and stews were only for the cold weather moments. I never had soup in the summer. The last time we were in Paris was the summer of 2009 and of course my wife, being smarter than me ordered the onion soup. All onion soup in France is French Onion Soup. I had a lovely shrimp and avocado dish but when I saw her Onion Soup I knew I had made a mistake.

Next time in France I will order the Onion Soup even if I am wearing shorts!

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Real Onion Soup

Pork Enchilada in Mole Sauce

There are many great restaurants in Cancún Mexico. However one stands out in my memory from my last visit and I can’t wait to return. Julia Mia not only has incredible food and service but they will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the restaurant in the heart of Cancún and return you safe and sound at the end of your feast.

This was a dish from one of The Prix Fixe menus. A fried pork enchilada in Mole sauce.

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Enchilada Mole at Julia Mia

Dessert at Julia Mia

Earlier this year I wrote about having dinner at Julia Mia Cancún which is an upscale authentic restaurant loved by locals. In the article I mentioned dessert but recently found this image of the table-side preparation. Can’t wait to revisit this place when we travel to Mexico next year.

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Dessert at Julia Mia

Julia Mia Cancún

Some friends of mine are visiting Cancún and I was excited to recommend a restaurant to them. I then realized that I have never written about this experience and it is truly one of the best places I have ever dined. Cancún has many great restaurants. Restaurante La Habichuela has wonderful and authentic Mexican cuisine. Trattoria Limoncello is a wonderful Italian restaurant overlooking the bay with great sunset views.

I asked our hotel concierge where to get the best authentic regional cuisine and he said you have to go downtown where the locals dine. He arranged for a free ride to and from the restaurant which is great because it is easy to get lost in downtown Cancún and hard to find parking. I believe we were the only Americans in the place but it didn’t matter. Everyone spoke flawless English. The facility was beautiful and elegant. Our waiter suggested we try either the meat or seafood sampling menu which featured seven signature dishes from the restaurant. This was the way to go because the menu was large and each dish sounded better than the next.

From the special cocktail made from mescal and papaya. Next they presented an edible version of the menu and then one amazing dish after another. The service was friendly and evenly paced from the first dish to the table side cherries jubilee at the end. The total cost was about $65 per person plus tip and after two hours of dining we were happy and enjoyed our chauffeured ride back to our beach hotel.

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