October 2005 Archives

A tale of three Campari

It was the best of drinks ... a far, far better one than I have ever known.

With apologies to Dickens, an ode toItaly's favorite aperitif, Campari.

We're in Bologna, about 8 on a moonlit night and the Piazza Maggiore is crowded with drinkers having their aperitifs and pre-dinner snacks.

On Piazza Maggiore in Bologna.jpg Campari bitter in Bologna.jpg

At first bar, order for a straight Campari bitter brings the full-on set-up: three fingers of Campari in a tall glass; separate containers for ice, swizzle sticks, orange slice, soda water, mini-sandwiches, peanuts. 3 euros.

Under adjacent arcade, barman at second cafe responds to request for Prosecco bitter by topping up tumbler with sparkling wine kept in icebucket. Snacks are set out on bar; one helps oneself. 3.50 euros.

Prosecco bitter in Bologna.jpg Negroni at Nu-Bar in Bologna.jpg

Third place, on sidestreet, is one of Bologna's hot spots. Calls itself Nu-Lounge. Has intelligent cocktail list, all 8 euros: Martinis, Muddles, Fashion, Frozen. From page labeled Classics, ask for Negroni: equal parts Campari, sweet vermouth and gin. Barman snags two bottles in one hand, third bottle in the other, upends all three. Does this often, it appears. Best snacks of the night, too.

Underage winemaker

Home-state interlude: Remember my post about the Yakima Valley peaches at Donald Fruit & Mercantile a couple of months back? The guy behind that venture, grape grower David Minick of Willow Crest Winery, has an underage assistant winemaker, Victor Palencia, who is suddenly all over the news.

Victor Palencia.jpg

Tim Egan has the story in today's New York Times (registration required). Anna King actually broke the story with this feature six weeks ago in Andy Perdue's Wine Press Northwest.

Willow Crest, 135701 W. Snipes Road, Prosser, WA 99350. 509-786-7999

Orvieto: Cittaslow


Orvieto duomo.JPG

Literally a "Slow Sunday" in Orvieto yesterday: no traffic, food & wine tastings everywhere, a full moon. Six years ago Orvieto was one of five Italian towns to formalize the Cittaslow vision that local goverments should actively promote "good living."

Moon over Orvieto.jpg

The town perches on cliff above lush Umbrian countryside. Enthusiastic guides from Orvieto Promotion spent afternoon feeding us local specialties, showing off Etruscan caves, glorious cathedral. Got to the hotel about 7 PM, walked onto balcony & reached for camera.


Wonderful show last night at the Oltremare marine park in Rimini. Spectacular dolphins, worthy of SeaWorld.

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The Adriatic "Riviera"--20 miles of sand backed by 20 miles of wall-to-wall hotels. Overrun by Germans, Scandinavians and even Italians until mid-September, it's almost deserted now.

But it's been a brilliant fall day, the air brisk, the skies blue, and, at the Lungomare Hotel in Riccione, it ends with Italy's version of happy hour: Campari bitter and complimentary antipasto.

Aperitivo at Lungomare.jpg Barman at Lungomare.jpg

Barman looks like Fabio, with dark hair. Dinner? Ladies perched on slippery stools decide to ignore lavish buffet upstairs, order another round instead. Wise choice.

Original Original

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Suburban Portland, white house just off the freeway: it started here over 50 years ago, now in 25 states: the original Original Pancake House.

Dutch Baby w condiments.jpg

Unchanged since last visit, at least two decades ago, though have stuffed myself at offshoots in Scottsdale and Chicago. Signature dish, as ever, is the Dutch Baby, which arrives quivering from the oven, dusted with powdered sugar, begging for lemon juice, melted butter and maple syrup. Only a detour, yet definitely worth the journey.

Original Pancake House: 8601 SW 24th, Portland, Ore. 503-246-9007 Original Pancake House on Urbanspoon

Alki Beach Bonfire

One last Seattle entry; I promise to leave town tomorrow! Alki Beach at sunset, a bonfire, and juicy smoked chicken, links and shrimp from Slo Joe's, Joe Jeannot's new BBQ joint on Westlake. Ahhh.

Alki sunset.jpg

Colors of Belltown

Leaving for a travel-trade show in Italy next week. Will take camera, laptop, wi-fi card; promise to post pix and tasting notes as often as possible.

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Meantime, this image from Belltown, just to remind myself that street scenes can be colorful at home, too. (Veuve Clicquot ice buckets in the back window at Del Rey, if you want to know.) Cheers!

Eat Dessert First

MORNING AFTER UPDATE: Here's the P-I's Rebeka Denn discovering, in October, what savvy Belltown residents have known since July: those tasty shrimp! Read her review.

Terrific take on Belltown nitelife in Geoff Carter's "Life Behind Bars" column today. He has nicer things to say about Del Rey than I do, but we agree on the amazing dessert at Black Bottle, a chocolate cupcake "stuffed" with vanilla gelato. Doesn't show you what it looks like, though, so here it is:

Choc cake w vanilla icecream.JPG

And it's only seven bucks!

Black Bottle, 2600 1st Ave., 206-441-1500

Korean Lunch Counter

Ethnic enclaves thrive in unexpected urban corners. Latest example tucked into a tiny patio of Belltown's Harbour Heights condo: Young Lim's Belle Harbour Cafe. Ms. Lim came to the US from Korea 25 years ago carrying her guitar and a talent for show biz; she's now in real estate. "Restaurants are my hobby," she explains.

Belle Harbour Cafe exterior.jpg Young Lim.jpg Goyza w spicy noodles.JPG

The cafe, open for two months now, serves the expected range of takeout sandwiches, but comes into its own with home-style Korean favorites like bi bim bop (stir-fried spinach and beef topped with a fried egg), kalbi (beef shortribs)and bulgoki (marinated beef, rather like teriyaki).

Ms. Lim also stuffs a mean gyoza, serving them atop rice or in a bowl of spicy ramen. (I'll pretend they were my Rosh Hashana kreplach.) All this in a corner of the building directly across the street from mine!

Belle Harbour Cafe, 113 Cedar St., 206-728-2219

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from October 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

September 2005 is the previous archive.

November 2005 is the next archive.

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