Brunch at Nico Osteria – Gold Coast

Nico Osteria BarLocated in the Thompson Hotel Nico Osteria is a restaurant that pays attention to detail. From the perfectly lit dining room, open kitchen, just rustic enough appeal for an osteria to the beautiful tile floor and great service.  Not a surprise as this is a One Off Hospitality Group restaurant (think Avec, Blackbird, Publican, The Violet Hour). Just being in the space was wonderful although I suspect brunch is much more laid back than dinner.

The rustic Italian dishes are seafood focused – whole fish, mussels and crudo. The brunch menu continues this theme with lobster, oyster, crab and clams. I inquired about tea and our server came over to “discuss” what I would like. I appreciated the thought that he put into finding just the right tea for me. We settled on wonderful almond tea, the green almondine.

Another suggestion we took was the Meyer lemon mimosa. There are times I feel it is a shame to ruin perfectly good champagne with juice but the freshness of the juice complemented the sweetness of the bubbly.

Nico Osteria Meyer Lemon MimosaAlong with the requisite latte order we were ready to dig into brunch.

Nico Osteria LattePastry Chef Amanda Rockman delivers a warm flaky Cornetti (croissant) served plain, ham and provolone or chocolate.

Nico Osteria Individual CornettiThe escarole and gem lettuce salad is equal parts fresh and crunchy and richly decadent with a drizzling of creamy dressing and chunks of avocado coupled with chopped cara cara orange, slices of spicy pepper and topped off with Sicilian pistachios.

Nico Osteria Escarole and gem lettuce saladThe fluffy soft-scrambled eggs were perfectly creamy. The caper topped  peperonata was served with toasted focaccia chock full of green olives along side a healthy serving of prosciutto.

Nico Osteria Soft-scrambled eggs  I fell in love with the focaccia, here’s a close-up:

Nico Osteria FocacciaThe Salone Nicco right off the dining room looks like the perfect spot for a quick cocktail or night-cap. I will be returning soon to experience the dinner side of things.

Great Italian in Berlin|Mädchenitaliener in Mitte

Mädchenitaliener Chalkboard

Image via Mädchenitaliener Facebook

Image via Mädchenitaliener Facebook

Mitte is a bustling neighborhood in Berlin full of bars, restaurants and close to attractions like Alexanderplatz, Brandenburger Tor and museums. Schönhauser Strasse is a wonderful street with boutiques and cafes with a cozy Italian corner restaurant called Mädchenitaliener.

We happened upon Mädchenitaliener before going to see the Eisbären Berlin play (Berlin’s professional hockey team). The space is cozy and intimate with big round twinkling lights, chalkboard menus and photos with a chrome filter lining the walls. The menu is Continue reading

Tasting Life @ Mamma Maria – North End, Boston

Momma Maria Entrance

Located on a quaint cobblestone street just steps from Paul Revere‘s house sits the exceptional Italian restaurant Mamma Maria. With so many Italian restaurants in the North End Mamma Maria is truly a standout with its excellent service, locally sourced food and amazing city views. It should be on everyone’s list to try.

The restaurant itself is a beautiful house with five separate rooms great for a date or special occasion. We sat in a cute porch with mural on the walls full of birds and flowers on pastels and tapped our toes along with the 20s and 30s big band music.

Mamma Maria Porch Continue reading

Coming Home to the Mission and Delfina – San Francisco, CA

Delfina Sign

I wrote about my celebration weekend in San Francisco earlier this month and wanted to follow-up with my trip to Delfina. I’ve always had a special place in my heart for Delfina. I’ve been on dates there, had heart-to-hearts with friends, and celebrated many occasions. Each time it has always felt like I was coming home to a comfortable and warm place with the best meals.  I think the last time I was at Delfina was in 2006 (I believe it’s been open since 1999!) and it was much as I remembered, crowded with good energy but this time around minus the tattoo heavy staff. Continue reading