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Wednesday

Ristorante Nuova Isola, Varenna, Lago di Como

Ristorante Nuova Isola, just a quick stroll past Varenna's harbor into the back streets.
Via del Prato, 6, Varenna, www.nuovaisola1169.it

My second course was a Lavareno (lake fish) with Porcini mushrooms with its skin gently crisped. Exquisite.

My primo was Ravioli with Ricotta and Pear, dusted with cinnamon and flecks of orange zest, floating happily in a brown butter sauce. The ravioli were rather delicate and rich at the same time, and my only quibble was with the presentation. I would have put them on a plate rather than a bowl, where they were riding piggy back on one another, like lobsters in a tank.



Varenna is an hour north of Milan by train, on the eastern shore of Lake Como, just above Bellagio and Lecco. It's touristy, but not too much, and there is a minimum of tacky waterfront bar/art studio/gelateria signage that plagues a lot of lakefront towns.




Thursday

Hot Sausage, Cherry Tomato and Zucchini Ragu

Fusilli is best, veggie and meat bits stick on the outside, unlike penne or rigatoni, where they get trapped inside. Now scram and let me eat.


Let simmer. Medium heat. Please.

Any decent hot sausage will do, good cherry tomatoes, zucchini (ideally finely minced but I was in the mood for something chunkier), small white/red/yellow onion, at least 5 cloves of roughly chopped garlic. Any less garlic and you're a big fat WUSS. Oh, and the juice of 1/2 lemon and at least 1 cup of red wine (I used Nebbiolo delle Langhe).

Monday

Quimet y Quimet tapas bar, Barca

Roasted red pepper, marinated in olive oil, topped with Stilton, sweet pickles and aged balsamic, paired w/a Cava Rosado. OMG.

Joint's almost 100 yrs old...it's on a bland street in a bland part of Barcelona

A great wine selection...had a wonderful Priorat and a Cava Rosado



In addition to tapas, Quimet y Quimet sells all kinds of canned delicacies