The Watermelon Radish

The Watermelon Radish
A Kid's Point of Food

Friday, June 10, 2011

Meat, meat and more meat at Solociccia

After going to Mac Dario's for lunch the other day, we found out that Dario owned three restaurants: one was Mac Dario's, then Solociccia and the restaurant behind his butcher shop.

My dad made reservations at Solociccia a restaurant that is family style and serves only meat. As mom, dad, Bruce, Alisa and I drove up the hill from our villa La Rota we all said that we were very hungry. Our property manager had told us to, 'pace ourselves' and we were sure that it meant a lot of food would be coming our way. Once we got there the waiter showed us to our long table where people came together from all over, to eat at Dario's restaurant. Once we sat down we all looked at the menu which I have copied below;

Spicy meat ragu on toast
Batter fried meats and vegetables
Rosemary up your bum (Chianti sushi)
Fresh, raw garden vegetables
Homemade focaccia
Garbanzo and white beans
A roasted dish
Boiled beef and vegetable salad
A braised dish
Tuscan bread
Dario red wine (quarter liter)
Water with and without bubbles
Coffee, olive oil cake
Grappa Cecchini

that is the menu and to tell the truth everything was really good

For the first course, we had was The Spicy Meat Ragu on toast. It came on Tuscan bread and in a big dish. All of it came together so everyone passed the dishes around the table, the meat ragu had soaked the toast so that it had a feel of being dipped in a warm and soothing broth and the meat was very good, it was sort of like a Sloppy Joe but better.

The Batter Fried Meats and Vegetables were very tasty and each was different, the meatball was delectable and would be really nice in a pasta with a meat sauce. The batter fried onion was like a gourmet onion ring. Finally, the batter fried pork was, to me the best one because it had a sort of sweet after taste.

The homemade focaccia was crunchy bread with different veggies in it, like my favorite piece had onion. The Garbanzo and White Beans were warm and had an olive oil broth.

The Rosemary Up Your Bum was to die for! It was so good, rare meat with a hole in the top and a sprig of Rosemary sticking out and therefore 'up your bum'.

The Roasted Dish was similar to a roast beef with parsley on top with olive oil seasoning, it was way better than any roast beef we know and so much better than any deli cut.

Boiled Beef and Vegetable Salad is like a corn beef lovers dream, it was by far my favorite and it was so easy to eat all of it on the plate! The Boiled Beef fell right off of the largest piece and it tasted so delicious and rich and creamy.

At the point the Braised Beef dish arrived, I was too full to take another bite and when I tried it it tasted so rich and salty that I gave up on eating any more food.

Then our very kind waiter clanged his glass and we all listened as he told us about the Olive Oil Cake that was about to come out of the oven and onto our table. It was so nice and it tasted like lemon pound cake and then I grabbed the piece in the center and bit the bottom and found a type of sugar that was so sweet and crunchy.

After dinner we all went to the butcher shop for Grappa and Dario was filling the glasses again and again. I met Dario's wife Kym and she was very nice to me and told me I could ask Dario about his career as a butcher. This is the interview that I had with him,

In which part of Italy were you born in?
"I was born in that window across the street, right there!"

Why did you decide to become a butcher?
"My family has been doing this job for 250 years, and it has been passed on from father to son."

What is your favorite type of meat?
"All the recipes in the menu are the ones I grew up with, my menu is like music all the notes together make a melody. Everything in the menu is no waste and we use all of the animal in a way so everything is used because an animal gave its life for us to eat. In a world like ours where people are starving we have to handle, cook with and work with the meat carefully ."

What would you have done if you weren't a butcher?
"My dream was to be an opera singer, but I didn't have the voice I had the heart."

(he was playing opera music in his butcher shop and everyone was laughing and Dario was walking around socializing and balancing shot glasses in one hand and Grappa in the other. It was like a really loud food music concert in the alley. People driving by were getting Grappa shots while people from everywhere in the village walked over and laughed and talked and drank.)

I admire Dario Cecchini's talent for working with meat so well and bringing people together at his table to enjoy the meat and each others company.

Thank you Dario for answering my questions and welcoming me to your restaurant

The Watermelon Radish

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Mac Donalds, but better!

On our second day in Italy me, mom, dad, Alisa and Bruce all were wanting a lunch of good food. Also at the airport my family was disappointed because the only forms of food where Panda Express, Pete's Coffee and a Buffalo Wings Bar and what we really wanted was a hamburger! Anyway, when we all got to our villa in 'Panzano in Chianti' the property manager ran out to greet us and told us about a great hamburger place run by a famous butcher in town who has three restaurants! This butchers name is Dario Cecchini, and in his view... vegetarians are unwelcome. My dad wanted to find out about Dario's burger place and went to his butcher shop. The shop was full of people drinking free wine and having bread with rosemary lard and salami. The burger restaurant was upstairs from the butcher shop but was closed already.

The next day we went for lunch and ordered "Mac Dario' burgers. The menu only had two options, a burger that was like a rare meatball but grilled on the outside and amazing fries or some veggies with meat carpaccio. My dad, Bruce and mom ordered their own, but I had seen the plates and they were huge! So just as I was about to ask Alisa if she'd like to share one with me she asked the same thing and we agreed. We ordered 4 Mac Dario's and one raw veggie bowl. The veggie bowl came first and the head waiter made the dressing for us. He 'tossed' us each a little bowl and threw some salt in each of of them. Then from a good distance away, he poured Red Wine Vinegar into the bowls and topped it of with 'Italian' Olive Oil. We dug into our veggies and the dressing was so refreshing we wondered if it was really only the ingredients he had flung in! Then the burgers came, and I have a review from each of us! When dad bit into his Mac Dario he said, "Unique, and Top Quality!" Mom took a small bite of her rare Dario and babbled, " I could eat the whole thing but I shouldn't, this is killer!" Bruce just mumbled, "Yummmmmm!" Alisa and I cut ours in half and both took a piece. Alisa looked at me and said, "Oh ya sister!" and I laughed and cut into my rare burger and before I could say anything Bruce yelled, "Have you tried this ketchup? its like not ketchup!" I replied, "After I try it alone." I picked up my fork and poised it over the meat on my plate and stabbed a small piece and dad chuckled whispering, "Girl bite!" I ignored him and popped the piece of meat into my mouth, it was so good and the meat was not hard it was rare and soft, it wasn't too rich and it made me want more of it! I said, "This is super duper good!" Then I thought, can we come back? We walked away full and happy! So if you're ever in Chianti, go to Panzano where you should drop by the one and only Mac Dario's

I give it five stars!

Bye bye all my five starred fans!

Watermelon Radish