bodies of water: beyond piedmont.

the family came to visit this last week. my sister and i made it down to cinque terre (stopping first for some early morning focaccia di recco in camogli, of course). the view, as always, was spectacular:

these are both of riomaggiore, i believe. the high season’s only just begun, so the hordes of germans, americans, british and australians were tolerable. and the food at cantina de mananan, in corniglia — one of my favorite osterie of all time — never disappoints:

anchovies, three ways.

spaghetti ai frutti di mare.

we met up with the parents to go up to lugano (the very italian part of switzerland) for the weekend. i’m pretty ehhh on the lakes, for whatever reason. and lake lugano just hasn’t the paradisiacal gloriousness of, say, annecy. which is not to say that it’s not rather pretty:

view from the hotel.

view from the village of morcote, at the southern tip of the lake. maybe my problem is with lugano città itself, which is just an enclave of the tastelessly wealthy. i did, however, manage to console myself at the difficult-to-find osteria grotto dell’ortiga, in the nearby inland village of manno. just a sampling:

zuppa di fagioli, or bean soup

carciofi ripieni, with polenta ticinese, which has a satisfying stone-ground coarseness to it, with those fun little hard bits (as in cornbread) and a lovely rustic essence-of-corn flavor.

my mom’s delicious, delicious trippa, or stewed tripe with greens and beans.

my stinco di maiale arrostito, or roasted pork shanks with patate al forno and broccoli. as good as it looks.

when we got back to bra, my mom cooked up her mi fen or taiwanese rice noodles,

stir-fried with onions, black mushrooms, carrots, scallions and that very essential asian ingredient, guanciale. (the vessel here is an eight-quart pot, by the way.)


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