Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Telephone first!

Corso Vitt. Emanuele, May 12, 2015—
LIFE LESSON no. 13,472: Always telephone to be sure they're open! Finding ourselves downtown, having toured the magnificent Teatro San Carlo, we felt a real need for food. (Our breakfasts remain minimal even while on tour: a couple of cafés au lait, a slice of bread or two.) So I checked the Osterie 2015 app on my phone and found a very promising place only a twenty-minute walk away, open daily lunch and dinner, closed Tuesday dinner. Note well the last word in the preceding sentence.

The walk was enjoyable, past dozens of cafés, bars, restaurants; many with people sitting at outside tables, obviously enjoying themselves while taking in nutrients. On a walk like this you can’t help getting hungrier and hungrier, even while your spirits continue to mount in the certainty that an exceptional experience awaits.

You already have guessed what happened: when we got to the place in question, it was shut down tighter than, well, whatever the simile. On the door a sign: Weekly closing. Thank you for understanding.

And, of course, there was only one other place anywhere near where we might eat. So we sat down at a table outside the unpromisingly named Caffeteria Marino and looked at the unpromising menu, almost illegibly written out on a crumpled piece of paper handed us by a rushed and not terribly engaging waiter. Nothing on the short list seemed remotely Neapolitan, but one makes do when one must: my companion had a spaghetti carbonara; I had a plate of prosciutto and arugula. And, you know, it wasn’t all that bad.
White house wine
•Caffetteria Marino, Vico Giardinetto 3/4/5, Napoli

Then in the evening, our last evening in Naples this time, our hosts asked us into their apartment for dinner. John answered the door with flour on his hands, apologized for running late, and returned to the dining table where he was making cortecci: he'd made a simple flour-and-water dough, let it stand a few minutes, and was now kneading and stretching it into cylinders about the diameter of a fat pencil, which he cut into sections three fingertip-widths long.
IMG 9897
Working on a lightly floured board, he pressed the first three fingers of his right hand onto the pieces, one by one, and quickly drew them toward him, lifting his fingers as he pulled. The result: dimpled piece of uncooked pasta, rather like gnocchi. The shape, he explained, held the sauce nicely.

Paola was meantime making the sauce, and soon we sat down to a delicious plate of cortecci. Then came an amazing assortment of goodies: salsiccia di Lovero cooked with potatoes in nothing but red wine and a tiny bit of olive oil, chicken-breast rollatini, zucchini in vinaigrette, red peppers à la grècque, stuffed eggplant — and, for dessert, slices of perfect orange, each with a tiny strawberry fresh from their garden, first of the season. And a glass or two of a limoncello, a very nice one, made by a neighbor. We felt honored.

Red wine of the locality: sorry, forget to note the label
Restaurants visited in 2015 are listed at Eatingday's Restaurants

1 comment:

Villa Ravello Grecamore said...

Ciao Charles, it was a pleasure hosting host both and thanks for taking the photo of my best side.

The pasta is called Cicatielli and hope my grandmother would have appreciated my effort. She used make small ones but each perfectly curled and fast. She had 10 mouths to feed.

The link details the 'sagra' if her home town.