Brooklyn Pizza Pie or Kansas City Barbeque?By Filippo BartolottaNow, looking at this picture one might think that we are back in Italy, having an amazing pizza!Well, this picture can be misleading. Cos' it is true that Benedetta looks like she is traveling back in her childhood happiness with that pizza pie; it's true that that is one of the best ten pizzas I have ever had in my life, but...we didn't have that in Italy. I guess it was one of those time-suspended magical places of the world. Still today I can't believe how good that pizza was.It's true that most food experiences are influenced by our own specific mood, the people we are with and the general atmosphere around us, but once you get a slice of that wonderland soft/crunchy deliciousness anyone will be taken into a new sensorial journey.So, I must understand that as an Italian, when Aj -two years ago- asked me if I wanted to go for a pizza in Brooklin I wasn't that excited. But AJ has been perusing his goal to introducing me to the slice of paradise and well last month I made there with Benedetta, Franco, AJ and a bottle of Taurasi Mastroberardino 1973 -I know there's a plastic cup in the picture...that's all we had:) and it wasn't too bad!-Domenico DeMarco is the owner and Pizzaiolo at DiFara's. An Italian born in Caserta, just a little drive away from the land of Taurasi: he loved the wine from his land!
Trust me, Di Fara is worth a trip to Brooklin 1424 Avenue J
.www.difara.comGrazie Domenico for your dedication! Grazie Margaret for your smiles!This is the real soul of our Road Show: from the top Michelin star restaurants, to the casual Pizza places and from the most beautiful homes to the simplest barbecue take out! Life isn't only a one way road.Talking about barbecue my mind wonders straight to Kansas City-Missouri, to Gina and Kevin.I was greeted at the hotel with a very tempting Kansas City barbecue. Nothing better then taht after a few hours flight and an hour run!
For the second year in a row Gina and Kevin have joined Italy at Your Table. Each time it was meant to be a private little party and each time it turned out to be a public serious event! This time we ended up at the Classic Cup Cafe Plaza
We got to Kansas City during the day and the temperature was pretty ok, but as the night fell we were all back in winter. Benedetta was a little puzzled by the bronze wild boar statue -the symbols of Florence's "New Food Market of the 16th C".
Some snow mountains in DownTown Kansas City.
After setting up the main part of the event Benedetta and I decided to take a walk to stroll a little around town, but we soon had to give up for the severe temperature! So back inside to check the wines: time for some vino!
Making the last minute adjustments on the menu and the pairings with the chef. A lot of you know my point of view on matching food and wine: what ever goes with your tasting buds is the right choice! But one someone is in charge of the good results of an entire dinner party, it is paramount to make sure that the right food is served with the right wines and that is when it can get a little complicated. When the sommelier and the chef though are open to dialogue it is possible to turn a regular dinner into a memorable event. From the feedback we got, this is exactly what happened with Chef Michael Turner and I getting together!Now we are in troubles though as Classic Cup wants to organize a three days ItalyatYourTable public event!Gina and Kevin: are we ever gonna be able to have a quite dinner together?:)
The Italy at Your Table Selection.
Michelangelo's Bacchus made by the Frilli Gallery over a replica from the original Pietro da Barga
A little passion in the game:)To go back a step on serving the right wines. The difference between opening a bottle of wine to serve to a couple of friends and opening 12 different fine wines to serve to forty wine lovers is another thing. Making sure the temperatures are right, the wines get the right amount of oxygen -not too little, not too much- and checking for bottle faults, not just on your face corkiness but above all the slimy cork taint that dries the palate of the wine or makes it too silent.In general be bold with super young structured Reds: double decant it and do not worry about oxygen and serve it never above 64 F. It is the case of wines like Arnaldo Caprai Sagrantino di Montefalco "25 Anni" Riserva 2005. Different case for older vintages. Back in NYC I was invited to attend a Bordeaux tasting where a clear example of how oxygen can destroy your precious liquid.George is an Aussie Surgeon who lives in NYC and loves wines. Great attitude, opened mind and a lot of milage with his tasting buds and yet as excited about it as day one! So back in the Big Apple, George put together a serious flight!
Chteau Cheval Blanc 1989Chteau Cos D'Estournel 1986Chteau Ducru-Beaucaillou 1986Chteau Pichon Longueville Comtesse De Lalande 1983Chteau Gruaud Larose 1982Chteau Le Gay 1982Chteau Latour 1961Chteau Rieussec 2001Fonseca Porto Vintage 1963
But a dear friend of his was kind enough to bring a little surprise: Chteau Haut Brion 1989.We tasted all the wines blind and Haut Brion which was meant to be the wine of the night instead didn't have any nose. I had that wine a few times and, although I am not the biggest Bordeaux fan, it is an amazing creation. We learnt that our friend was advised by the seller to open and decant the wine the night before the event! That killed it. I am sure you are wondering what was considered the best. Well everyone had his favorite. I was among the ones who all in all preferred Cheval Blanc 1989. This wasn't meant to be the greatest vintage for this wine but the balance was perfect, the fruit all there, the touch delicate and smooth and with a great length and drinkability. Rieussec 2001 is one of the best Sauterne ever, packed with Saffron action!The morning after the big night I went for one of my last ItalyatYourTable run in the big city on the high-line, before putting together the last few events and then pack-up and go back home.
I was bound to exercise a bit as the following evening I had to hold an Italian Fine Wine Evening with our friends and partners Italian Wine Merchants. So a little sushi, when good, is always a great way to charge your batteries!Some awesome sushi at Sushi Yasuda
Here is Kevin F. Sippel, Chef at Italian Wine Merchants making his wonderful plin ravioli like the real thing in Piemonte!An ItalyAtYourTable event at Italian Wine Merchants.
Now a lot of people are asking me where in the world I am now these days.So here is a clue of my last two most recent locations? Guess where I am now and you'll get a free wine tasting!
My best landing ever in NYC!!!
Home, sweet home.Still out in the cold of the Big Apple for a stop at my favorite coffee shop?
Or in the beginning of spring warmth in the Tuscan countryside attacked by two monkeys?