Tag Archives: dinner

Christmas in Italy – Florentine meals

Christmas in Italy – Florentine meals

In keeping with the tradition of adventure, Sarah and I went on a big trip for Christmas and New Years!

This year, we met up with Sarah’s family in Italy, traveling to Rome and Florence; not quite a perfect midpoint for everyone, but it was close enough. And, also, you know. Rome. Florence. Amazing!

Please forgive me for some of these being a bit out of order… the posts are organized somewhat chronologically… but also organized by theme and location.  Some may not be exactly in chronological order, so for reference please see the initial summary post, which has a complete day-by-day, blow-by-blow account of the adventure.


Italy is known for food.

Delicious, simple, gloriously amazing food.

Just… so much food.  Way more food than I can list in a single post, though I think I’m going to push the envelope of how much I can write before I have to stop and go make some dinner for myself…

These Locale’s are focused on Florence; we had a ton of amazing food in Rome as well, but most of those meals were already written into the various other posts that I’ve put together.  So sit back, enjoy, and make sure you read this before dinner, so that you’re not tempted to have a second dinner afterward.


29-Dec, Dinner

Trattoria Cibreo, a place that Sarah’s aunt recommended. They don’t take reservations, but do open in a bit… so we open a second bottle of wine, and relax a bit more before heading over

    • Legit walk… not too long, but not short either. Actually right near where Sarah and I were earlier in the day
    • We’re the first ones in, but it’s full within 20min of opening
    • Our waiter has the absolutely best Italian accent when speaking English… and looks like he’s from Portland (more on top haircut, long beard, etc…)
    • We get the full experience: wine, first dish, second dish, dessert. It’s glorious and delicious and amazing
    • First Dish = Riboletta, a thick bread-based soup. Tastes better when scooped up onto the bread, ironically
    • Second dish = stuffed rabbit. Ohh man. Rabbit, stuffed with sausage, with cheese and pastry around it. What. So good
    • Dessert = a whole mix, that the whole table shares. Whipped cream dish, cheesecake, chocolate cake, and a few others that were equally amazing. One was chocolate mousse style, and was “a present from the house”



30-Dec, Lunch.

Outside the Duomo, there’s a sandwich shop with a line stretching around the block. We’d noticed it the first day, and made a point of showing up when they opened in order to dodge the line…

    • This isn’t a sandwich shop – this is an experience to be had
    • The shop owner starts by introducing himself, and then explaining the system for this shop: He’ll do a tasting with us of the various cheeses and meats, then we’ll move through the assembly line and construct the actual Panini. Side note: everything here is from Tuscany
    • Meats are pretty stock; what you’d expect from the area
    • Cheeses though… they’re glorious. Five options, varying from fresh to aged, all of which are amazing. Personally I love aged cheeses, so I went with the 45-day aged cheese from Northern Tuscany
    • Bread – they don’t focus as much on the bread, but there are a lot of options anyways… and all of them look amazing. I stick with the simplest of the options, though almost everyone else goes with the olive bread
    • Sandwich gets toasted, we head outside and eat up!



30-Dec, Dinner

Tonight was Sarah and my’s turn to cook, so after an adventure throughout two grocery stores (named Eatily and Conads… weird place, Italy), we came home and set to cooking…

    • Salad = Arugula, Spinach, Parmasean and mozzarella balls, with balsamic glaze
    • Starter = Gnocci with spinach inside, with a pesto sauce
    • Main = Turkey, wrapped in proccutto and glazed in maple syrup. Carrots, onions and sweet potatoes on the side
    • Wine = Chianti


Tuesday, 02-Jan, Dinner. Florentine Steak

    • The bar is called King Grizzly, and it’s unique. It’s an Irish Pub, in Florence, playing reggae music. I get offered a reggae friendship bracelet, for 5 Euro, but decline. Later in the evening, I find one that he accidentally left on the bar. So… free bracelet!
    • Finish up our drinks, then head across for dinner at I’Toscani 3
      • This place is highly rated for Florentine Steak – a special dish from Florence, both for what it is, and how it’s cooked. Florentine Steak is…
      • Have some cured meats as appetizers
      • The main meal – served on one huge wooden tray, carried by two waiters.
      • The steak is very rare and very amazing – gloriously seasoned!
      • Potatoes are the steak’s equal – supremely seasoned, seared on one side, amazing.
      • Peppers and zucchini were good… but nothing exceptional
      • Eggplant… kind of gross
      • Wine was good too
      • After the meal, once we’re done gnawing on the bones, we relax… until we hear the clinking of glasses
      • A waiter brings over bottles of Grappa – five of them total. We each pick our poison, and he pours them out… and one for himself, stating “car’s don’t run without gas!”
      • We drink, and he leaves the bottles for us to experience
    • Stumble back home, via the grocery store to get some more milk
    • Hang out and play a few rounds of Grappa Gubs before bed


Dinner in Portland – a sunset visit to Mt. Tabor



A Crater Lake adventure!

Sarah had planned a glorious adventure: We would drive down to Smith Rock to climb for a day, then spend a day at Diamond Lake exploring, and then hit the jewel of the trip – a sunrise exploration of the Crater Lake rim.  From the rim, we’d stay nearby, explore Crater Lake, relax, take a boat ride, and have a great time.  We’d packed the car, made trip itineraries, and Ollie was safely at camp for the week.  All we needed to do was drive… 

But then weather interfered.  Specifically, fire interfered and encroaching wildfires causes us to cancel our plans and head back to the safety of Portland.  That wouldn’t keep us from our adventures though!


Wednesday, 30-August-2017


Our original plan for today was to drive around Crater Lake, do some swimming, and then make Enchiladas for dinner over the campfire.

We couldn’t quite do that.  By this point, Crater Lake itself was under an imprenetrable shroud of smoke from the nearby fires, so even if we had been there it wouldn’t have been a pleasant swim.  Most of the road was closed anyways, so we couldn’t have gotten down there if we’d wanted to.

So instead, we trekked up Mt. Tabor here in Portland, made dinner, and watched the sunset.


The original plan, as I mentioned, was to eat Enchiladas tonight.  Since we’d already been packed up for the trip itself, it wasn’t anything special to adjust plans and instead carry all of our cooking gear up to the top of Mt. Tabor.  We did forget the fuel canister though… so while Sarah was setting up, I trekked back down to where we’d parked the car to grab the fuel.

By the time I got back to the summit, Sunset was nearly on us.  More spectacular though, was the array Sarah had created for us; She’s set out a picnic blanket, electric tea lights, a vase of flowers, and a whole cookset!  I mean, everything.  The skillet was set up, the enchiladas prepped, and all we needed to do was relax, have a drink, and wait for dinner to heat up.

It was gloriously amazing, and definitely not an evening I’ll forget anytime soon.

20-Feb-2016, A fancy dinner in Hood River


Saturday night, 20-Feb-2016


I’d spend the day puttering around Portland.  Stopping in at some restaurants, some shops, and generally working to get some random stuff done and some errands dealt with.  Most of those errands revolved around making a fancy-ass dinner.

Why?  Why not?  That’s basically all I can say, since I didn’t have a specific reason for wanting to go full ham on dinner.  But really – what sort of reason do you need?

Since real fun of the dinner was prepping and eating, I’ll give a quick list-off of the menu and plan…


Appetizer: Stirling Caviar, served on small biscuits with two flavors of Vodka (a Polish wheatgrass, and a Portland dry)

Entree: Filet Mignon in a heavy cream sauce, per a recipe I’ve already posted.  This is actually the second time I’ve tried to cook this in Oregon… but the first time kind of ended poorly, when I misjudged how hot the pan had gotten and thus flambe’d a bit hotter than I should have…

On the side, we had zucchini and sauteed kale.  Though really, after the Caviar and steak it was just secondary 😛

Dessert: We didn’t really have room for dessert, but I think there was ice cream or something?  Or wait!  No!  I had picked up a bottle of Scotch – 12 year Macallan single malt, to be precise.  Fancy dinner calls for a fancy digestif 🙂

(Ed note: See https://talesfromthehutt.wordpress.com/2015/02/28/cooking-a-new-recipe-flambe-included/)