Lemon Ravioli with a View! Arienzo Beach Club – Positano, Italy

Feast your eyes on the beautiful view, crystal clear water and delicious food at Arienzo Beach Club – Check the video to get a peek inside the Arienzo Beach Club!

Amalfi Pano

Arienzo Beach Club Positano, Italy

Arienzo Beach Club Positano, Italy

Hop on the Arienzo boat from the main dock in Positano and take the quick ride to the chill Arienzo Beach Club. If you’re feeling adventurous you can walk there and climb down about 300 stairs to the beach.

Our ride to Arienzo Beach Club - Positano, Italy

Our ride to Arienzo Beach Club – Positano, Italy

Crystal clear water, comfy chairs, pristine beach and a magnificent view are just some of the things that make Arienzo Beach Club a great place to relax and catch some sun. The Continue reading

Dinner on the Amalfi Coast at Osteria Angelo Masuccio – Salerno, Italy

Welcome to the Amalfi Coast, breathtaking views and amazing food – see for yourself!

Osteria Angelo Masuccio Salerno Italy Window

Osteria Angelo Masuccio is a tiny authentic Italian restaurant in Salerno. I discovered cannolicchi and the best homemade pasta with truffle shavings! Salerno is an affordable option for a base to check out the different towns along the Amalfi Coast. The restaurant prices are some of the best you will find and Osteria Angelo Masuccio’s food is just as good (and sometimes better) than many places I tried in Amalfi and Capri.

Osteria Angelo Masuccio Patio

Sit on the small patio on the narrow pedestrian cobblestone street to enjoy the people watching and the nice summer breeze. The ground floor of Osteria Angelo Masuccio consists of the dining room and the kitchen is upstairs.

The vegetarian and seafood antipasti is constantly changing depending on what is available and in season. This night we had the seafood with raw slices of salmon, mussels, cannolicchi and mussels. I am not a fan of clams and I admit the cannolicchi kind of scared me but I fell in love after the first bite.

Angelo Masuccio Salerno Italy Seafood Antipasti

Also known as razor clams Continue reading

Dinner by the River – Le Gril by Loui & Jules in Bremen, Germany

Le Gril by Loui & Jules Bremen Salmon & Shrimp

Dining al fresco by the River Weser is the way to go if you are in Bremen, Germany. If you like steak, seafood, pasta and good drinks well then Le Gril by Loui & Jules is the place for you.

Beautiful view, great atmosphere and excellent service.

The French/Italian food is served with  Continue reading

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.

Fast Food Quest – BIG & little’s Near North Side

Image via pchannon.blogspot.com

12/5/11 Update: BIG &  little’s has moved to 860 N Orleans St,  Chicago, IL

I heard that Chick-fil-A opened in Chicago and it got me thinking about fast food. I remember liking it back in the day but would I like it now? It’s like when you have a favorite movie from your teenage years and you go back and watch as an adult and are so disappointed because it’s really bad and not bad enough to be good, just really bad. I am rambling but in between thinking about going to Chick-fil-A and missing In-N-Out Burger    my friend April suggested we check out BIG & little\’s in River North/Near North Side.

It is a tiny place with about 10 counter spaces to sit. Seems the majority of people take the food to-go. Parking isn’t the easiest now since they are redoing the street and it’s in a part of town that is probably not on your usual path if you are walking around the Near North side.  Stepping inside you are immediately hit with the smell of seafood being fried and burgers being cooked — it was a great. Reggae music was playing and it made me feel like, “where are we??” It was a good feeling though, nice to be out of a comfort zone as they say and have a new experience.

Chef Gary Strauss welcomed us and gave us some recommendations. He didn’t mind me taking pictures and had a very laid-back vibe. We went with the Whitefish Po Boy and truffle fries.

While waiting for the food I noticed BIG & little’s has won a few awards for cheap eats and chef Tony was on the reality show Hell\’s Kitchen.  Also they will be on the TV show Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives on Monday November 7th.  All really great, but not as great as the smell of the truffle fries when I opened the to go bag (pictured above). I had to dig right in instead of waiting until we got home. These were some of the best fries I have ever had. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside and perfectly fresh. No ketchup needed, in fact it takes away from the fry. YOU NEED TO EAT THESE FRIES.

The White Fish Po Boy was huge, can be split even if you have a healthy appetite. I’m not the biggest fan of fried fish but this sandwich did not feel too heavy or greasy. There was a bit of spice to the sauce and the bread was fresh. I recommend eating the food there (if there is room) since it does lose a bit of the crispness over time. The fries were still great but by the time we were home there was difference.

I will be back, for the fries obviously but to try their fish tacos. I’ve heard they have some of the best Fish & Chips around. So if you are looking for seafood (or burgers/fries) and don’t feel like a sit down place like  GT Fish & Oyster or Shaw\’s Crab House come here. Especially if you work in River North and want something new or need a snack break when you’re shopping downtown. Oh, it is cash only.

BIG & little’s – 939 N Orleans, Chicago, IL 60610
 

Lunchtime at GT Fish and Oyster

UPDATE: I came back for the Chicago Restaurant Week special at GT Fish and Oyster solely for the lobster roll and it was worth it. Check it out —-> https://www.tastemade.com/v/zEhBW87vRMO7QvdSpPqhTg

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Open for about four months, GT Fish and Oyster took over the space that used to house Tizi Melloul and changed it into a  bright and open restaurant. Sunshine was streaming through the windows and the vibe was relaxed. The music lent to the ambiance, Neil Young‘s Harvest Moon, Mumford & Sons and Ray LaMontagne. From what I have heard, this is opposite of the feel at nighttime, crowded, loud and more like a scene.

Here’s the lunch breakdown:

Tuna Poke: mango, cucumber, black sesame. Fresh and good flavors. The mango keeps this dish from tasting like the standard poke.

Tuna Poke

Oysters served with Ponzu Mignonette and GT Cocktail Sauce: 3 Pebble Beach (West, Washington) and 3 Kusshi (West, British Columbia). I’m not an oyster expert but I did like the Pebble Beach oyster, tasted like the sea. I did not try the Kusshi but my friend really liked both and he knows his oysters.

Fish Taco: Rockfish, chipotle aioli, chicharron, garlic, pea shoots. Perfect size and great flavor combination. Pea shoots added a nice dimension and balanced the aioli.

Tuna BLT: seared tuna, bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado, aioli. Served with Fried Pickles. This was my favorite dish of the meal. The tuna was seared perfectly, sourdough bread was fresh, avocado/bacon/aoili and tomato together, delicious.

The best fried pickles I’ve had north of the Mason Dixon Line and no dipping sauce needed.

I would recommend GT Fish and Oyster for a nice lunch with a friend/date or a business lunch. It also sounds like it could be fun for a night out if you are up for it. High quality ingredients and excellent service, however, this is also reflected in the price.

GT Fish and Oyster is on 531 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60654.