Ristorante Archimede Santa Eustachio – Rome

The current craft beer revival is more widespread than you might think. Rome’s craft beer scene is particularly vibrant and fast-growing, with over 100 breweries and several brewpubs.

And we intend to try as many local brews as we can during our short holiday here.

First on our hitlist was no.au (on fb, or see my no.au photos) where we stopped for pre-dinner beers served in nicely designed re(thinking)Ale glasses. Knowledgeable, friendly bar staff talked us through the local beers available (less than a handful) and while the restaurant looked appealing, it was small and full so we moved on to look for somewhere else to eat.

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Ristorante Archimede Santa Eustachio

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Outdoor dining

Following a re-visit of the Pantheon (obligatory when in Rome), we stumbled upon Ristorante Archimede Santa Eustachio on Piazza dei Caprettari, nearby.

It looked appealing and cosy, serving typical Roman cuisine. It was this that attracted us rather than it’s grand, fourteen-syllabled name which doesn’t roll off the tongue so easily.

Greeted with welcoming Italian hospitality the moment we stepped around the hedge, we ordered a bottle of Elena Walch (EWA) vino bianco d’Italia (recommended as an aperitif or to accompany slightly spicy dishes owing to its dominant grape ie. 60% Gewürztraminer, 20% Muller Thurgau, 20% Chardonnay) which was very reasonably priced and turned out to be a really good wine.

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EWA vino bianco d’Italia

From the extensive menu, and with a little assistance from our jolly waiter, we ordered deep fried artichoke flowers (a Roman speciality) and octopus for starters.

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Deep fried artichoke flowers

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Cucina tipica Romana – octopus in a tomato sauce, artichoke tempura

For main course, K ordered porcini fettuccine while I had potato gnocchi seasoned with a tomato and basil sauce. Both were outstanding and full of fresh ingredients giving a surprising complement of flavours in each mouthful.

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Porcini fettuccine

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Fresh gnocchi

Although we were stuffed we were so enjoying this dining experience, that K ordered a strawberry pannacotta for dessert. It was outstanding, served in the juice of fresh strawberries (no fake flavoured sauce from a bottle here).

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Strawberry pannacotta

A serendipitous find, Ristorante Archimede Santa Eustachio has set a high benchmark for this holiday’s dining.

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
~ Type: Roman, Italian (in Italy)
~ Address: Piazza dei Caprettari, 63, 00186 Roma, Italy
~ Website + menus: Ristorante Archimede Santa Eustachio website
~ Photos on flickr: images of Ristorante Archimede S. Eustachio food
~ facebook page: On fb
~ Location: Ristorante Archimede S.Eustachio map

More Rome dining:
~ Roma Cavalieri – terrace dining in a Mediterranean oasis



Lunch at Rome Cavalieri

The five star Cavalieri Hotel is situated high above Rome, up the twisting Via Alberto Cadlolo, surrounded by 15 acres of Mediterranean parkland, and is part of Waldorf Astoria’s exclusive Hotels & Resorts.

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Poolside terrace and bar

Everything about this place is just stunning and the service is second to none. With several bars and restaurants offering a variety of food and drinks, we chose the pool terrace bar partly because it was scorching hot so we wanted to be outside and – to avoid getting burnt – we could take advantage of the parasols for shade.

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Wellbeing salad lunch at the Cavalieri

For a late brunch today – slightly suffering from the excesses of last night – we both chose the Insalata del Benessere (wellbeing salad) comprising corn salad, cabbage, lettuce hearts, fennel julienne, Taggia olives, orange and cheese @ 24 euros, along with fresh mixed breads and the inevitable oil and balsamic vinegar, and a pot of tea.

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Premium extra virgin olive oil + balsamic vinegar

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Leisurely lunch

A huge bowl of hearty goodness, the individual flavours within this salad were exquisite: subtle, creamy goats cheese, sparse but juicy orange segments, and a hint of aniseed from the fennel. Absolutely divine with fresh walnut bread and extra virgin olive oil and aceto balsamico di Modena.

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Cavalieri grounds

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Lawn sculptures – the lions are coming

It’s hard to believe that this tranquil oasis is only a short distance from Rome’s buzzing city centre. But it is. And it’s well worth a visit.

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 5 / 5
~ Type: Italian
~ Address: Rome Cavalieri, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Via Alberto Cadlolo, 101, 00136 Roma, Italy
~ Website + menus: Rome Cavalieri website
~ Photos on flickr: images of Rome Cavalieri food
~ Location: Rome Cavalieri map

More Rome dining:
~ Ristorante Archimede Santa Eustachio – typical Roman cuisine



Spanglish Mexican Kitchen – Chicago

Brunch bliss in the form of a bacon burrito

My last morning in Chicago before heading over to O’Hare involved a last-minute shop along South State Street, where I passed Spang-lish Mex-i-can Kitchen.

Initially attracted by the restaurant’s name, then the menu options, and price, I ventured in. It was an easy place to go in and eat on my own – a simple diner where you order and pay at the till then wait (with enough interesting artwork to keep you occupied) until your food arrives.

IMG_8802b_inside Spanglish

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Art @ Spanglish – this piece is by Stefani Villanueva (seemingly a self-employed designer in the Chicago area but I can’t find your website. If you happen to see this post, contact me + I’ll link to your website here…)

I ordered a breakfast burrito @ $5.75 – a giant flour tortilla filled with a base of beans, lettuce, tomato, cheese and sour cream – and opted for the bacon and egg variety, with a side of guacamole and tortilla chips @ $3.00.

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Breakfast burrito with guacamole + tortilla chips

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Bacon and egg burrito – packed with fresh ingredients

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Giant burrito – so stuffed it stands on its ownor is it a Spanglish work of art?

Including a bottle of water @ $1.10, my entire brunch meal came to $10.00 (about £6.50). Outstanding value without compromising on quality. Very pleasing.

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
~ Type: Mexican, cheap-eats
~ Address: 555 S State St, Chicago, IL 60605, USA
~ Photos on flickr: images of Spanglish Mexican Kitchen
~ facebook page: Spanglish Mexican Kitchen on fb
~ Location: Spanglish map

More Chicago dining:
~ Gilt Bar
~ The Gage tavern
~ Howells & Hood
~ Tesori

Spanglish Mexican Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Howells + Hood Chicago

There’s nothing objective about this post.

I just happened to have a very, very nice time at Howells + Hood – hanging out on the capacious bar terrace at the base of The Tribune building on a warm Spring evening, slurping craft beers carefully selected from a menu boasting the largest selection of draft beers in Chicago (114 unique local and global varieties) and generally relaxing with friends I hadn’t seen for ages, after getting burnt walking around Chicago this afternoon in the sunshine (from Navy Pier to Ohio Street Beach along Lake Shore, past the volleyballers at Oak Street Beach, to North Michigan Avenue, The Tilt at Hancock Tower and back down to Du Sable Bridge over the Chicago River). Ahhhhhh. I love this city.

And did I mention tasty beer?

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Mine’s a Goose Island Greenline – cheers!

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Some kinda local specialty – deep fried cheese (who cares exactly what it is; it’s deep fried cheese in a spicy coated crumb. Yum.)

Because some notes are worth keeping

Well I did say there was nothing objective about this post. But if you’re in Chicago and you’re thirsty and you’re passing The Tribune, check out Howells & Hood. It’d be foolish not to.

Restaurant + bar info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
~ Type: gastropub
~ Address: 435 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL60611
~ Website + menus: Howells + Hood website
~ Photos on flickr: images of Howells + Hood shenanigans
~ facebook page: Howells + Hood on fb
~ Location: Howells + Hood map

More Chicago dining:
~ Gilt Bar
~ Gage Tavern
~ Spanglish Mexican Kitchen
~ Tesori

Howells & Hood on Urbanspoon

Tesori – Chicago

Tonight’s dinner was booked at Tesori, an Italian-inspired fine dining restaurant serving classy food (by chef Andrew Deuel) from carefully sourced ingredients. And I was pleased we were on a set menu, making it easier to choose.

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Insalata starter

For starters I had beet insalata, a beautifully composed salad of beets, baby spinach, white balsamic, asparagus, gorgonzola, and crushed marcona almonds (currently $13 on the a la carte menu), accompanied by a Californian craft beer: a Lagunitas IPA. Joy.

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Chicken cacciatore

The chicken cacciatore main course dish turned out to be succulent chicken with crispy roast skin, in a rich, heavy ‘hunter’s sauce’ gravy with mushrooms, capers and olives (currently $19 on the a la carte menu).

Another great recommendation in the Chicago dining scene that should be shared and passed on. And on.

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
~ Type: International, gourmet, Italian-inspired
~ Address: 65 East Adams Street, Chicago, IL60603
~ Website + menus: Tesori website
~ Photos on flickr: images of Tesori food
~ facebook page: Tesori on fb
~ Location: Tesori map

More Chicago dining:
~ Gage Tavern
~ Gilt Bar
~ Howells & Hood
~ Spanglish Mexican Kitchen

Tesori on Urbanspoon

The Gage – Chicago

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Outdoor seating at The Gage

Exciting times: our global team met up in Chicago today. Dinner was booked at The Gage, a 300 seat restaurant/tavern on South Michigan Avenue, opposite The Bean and Millenium Park. It’s run by the fabulously named ‘Lawless’ family from Ireland, and serves gastropub grub and a fine selection of craft beers.

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Sharing platter – variety of sausage, pate, mustard + pickles

For starters, we got stuck into a variety of sausages, pates and pickles. And I ordered a Scotch egg with mustard, purely to introduce it to my American colleagues who weren’t familiar with this particular Irish & British pub snack (yes of course I was being thoughtful).

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Venison burger

For main course I had The Gage venison burger – smoked gouda, jalapenos, woodland mushroom, pickled onion and mustard aioli @ $14.00 with perfectly crispy, well-done fries. Sheer gorgeousness.

My delight was further heightened by the range of craft beers available. This particular venison burger was accompanied by a Deschutes American pale ale, a Goose Island Matilda and a Boulevard from Kansas.

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Halibut en croute with asparagus + vadouvan curry + bacon emulsion @ $36

The verdict: great place with a buzzing vibe, super-helpful service and quality gastro pub dishes and real ales.

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
~ Type: gastro pub
~ Address: 24 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, IL
~ Website + menus: The Gage website
~ Photos on flickr: images of The Gage food
~ facebook page: The Gage on fb
~ Location: The Gage map

More Chicago dining:
~ Gilt Bar
~ Howells & Hood
~ Spanglish Mexican Kitchen
~ Tesori

The Gage on Urbanspoon

Gilt Bar – Chicago

Having met in Chicago this evening, L and I wandered across the city, both to stretch our legs and find something to eat.

Au Cheval on West Randolph Street had been recommended to her (“of all the restaurants in Chicago you have to eat at Au Cheval” she’d been told; quite a commendation), and Gilt Bar had been recommended to me. At this point, we didn’t know that – coincidentally – they were both Hogsalt restaurants, a small chain concerning itself with “the preservation of food culture”.

We followed a curiously strong smell of chocolate in the air (it seemed surreal at the time but later discovered there’s a huge Blommer chocolate factory at 600 West Kinzie Street) to Au Cheval which looked small, cosy with an appealing bar area (nice craft beers on tap) but so busy that there was a two hour wait. Shame.

So, on to Gilt Bar at 230 West Kinzie Street where we had more luck. This restaurant was bigger but still had a cosy appeal with dark corners and soft lighting. It was also packed out but we were able to get a table for two straight away.

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Ricotta gnocchi @ $15.00

I ordered ricotta gnocchi with wild mushrooms @ $15.00 which was simply sensational. The blend of flavours (strong earthy mushroom and contrasting grilled-topped, goo-ey ricotta) made this, without doubt, the best gnocchi I’ve had (note: I’ve since been to Italy and eaten some mighty fine pasta and this still stands).

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Crispy ham + pea ravioli @ $16.00

L had crispy ham and pea ravioli @ $16.00: it tasted as wonderful as it looks in the photo above.

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Brownies a la mode @ $11.00

The verdict: You won’t be overwhelmed by an extensive choice of dishes at Gilt Bar. With their short, specialised menu they serve top quality food.

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4.5 / 5
~ Type: International, gastro pub
~ Address: 230 W Kinzie Street, Chicago
~ Zipcode: IL 60654
~ Website + menus: Gilt Bar website
~ Photos on flickr: images of Gilt Bar food
~ facebook page: Gilt Bar on fb
~ Location: Gilt Bar map

More Chicago dining:

~ Gage Tavern
~ Howells & Hood
~ Spanglish Mexican Kitchen
~ Tesori

Gilt Bar on Urbanspoon


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