Tag Archives: pizza

An Introduction to the City of St. Anthony – Padova

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Arriving into Marco Polo airport in Venice allowed us a great bird’s eye view of the Venetian lagoon and all of its islands! It was spectacular seeing it from this vantage point.

We rented our VW Golf from Europcar and because the car wasn’t quite ready when we got there, the staff made us some espressos while we waited! Only in Italy!

A quick drive later, we arrived at our B & B in Padova: Il Cantelino Relais! The receptionist gave us a choice of 3 rooms and we took the one in a private apartment away from the main villa.It’s an adorable room with a bathroom and a shared kitchen (even though we don’t currently have anyone to share it!) The villa was actually a soap factory at one time so there is a big brick furnace as part of the garden. While we were there, a professional photographer was taking promotional pictures for the B & B’s website. We were asked to be models for their website! Even though I told them they should hire professional and beautiful models, they insisted that we were perfect!

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From the B & B, it is a quick 10 minute walk to many of the historical parts of Padova. Our first destination was the Prato della Valle. We didn’t get to really experience it’s grandeur because today was mercato day and the stands were obstucting the view. But we will return to take it all in. Instead, we enjoyed seeing all the wares at the mercato!

A short walk from the Prato is the magnificent Basilica of S. Antonio.

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The interior is completely covered in frescoes and very beautiful!

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We visited the tomb of S. Antonio and said a little prayer as we touched our hands on his marble tomb. We also visited the reliquary room where we saw his vestments and wooden coffin…not to mention his tongue, vocal cords and lower jaw (complete with teeth!) I know it sounds gruesome, but it was actually very interesting. They were all housed in gloriously ornate receptacles worthy of their priceless treasures. Also housed in another ornate vase was a piece of Christ’s cross.

Across from the Church was the Bar Ristorante Sant’Antonio where we had some great Italian pizza and some Prosecco…all while seeing the gorgeous basilica across the street. We did notice the soldiers with their machine guns standing guard across the street from the Basilica and in front of the restaurant – it seems like security has been greatly heightened around these more famous public buildings and churches.

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Fortified from our pizza, we walked to the Piazza dei Eremiti to try to see if we could visit the Scrovegni Chapel. Too late and already booked up for the day, we made plans to visit it later in the week. The chapel, though, sits inside a park which was once a Roman amphitheater. Crumbling walls still stand encircling the park.

Taking the pedestrian only walkway, we passed by stands filled with chocolate eggs and other chocolate delicacies. These were temporary stands so I’m not sure if they were only there for the day or more permanently. We’ll have to investigate later this week!

We finished off our first day in Padova with an Aperol Spritz before heading back to our little B & B!

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Pizza? Parmigiana? What to Call It….

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I have created a similar version to this and called it Eggplant Parmigiana countless times.  Breaded eggplant, marinara sauce and cheese baked in the oven until the cheese melts and becomes a bit golden – that was the perfect parmigiana!  But this time, I added some toppings…and so, it was transformed into a pizza!  No toppings = parmigiana; toppings = pizza!

Eggplant Pizza

1 eggplant, sliced into rings

1 to 2 beaten eggs, with a bit of salt and pepper added

Breadcrumbs

Marinara Sauce (I used my “Ugly” tomato sauce)

Shredded Cheese, like mozzarella

Pizza toppings:  prosciutto, mushrooms, peppers, salami, whatever you like!

Take the eggplant slices and coat them first in the beaten egg, and then lightly in the breadcrumbs.  Shake off any excess breadcrumbs.

In a hot pan with sufficient olive oil to coat the bottom, brown the eggplant slices so that they are golden.  Once each slice has browned, blot them on some paper towels to remove any excess oil.

Place the eggplant slices on a cookie sheet.  Cover each slice with some marinara sauce and some shredded cheese.

At this point, you can get creative and put whichever other topping you’d like, as if you were topping a pizza!

Bake the pizza’s in a 425 degree oven until the cheese melts and turns golden.

Enjoy your individual pizzas!

San Francisco’s BEST Pizza!

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This past weekend, we ventured out to San Francisco’s Italian neighborhood, North Beach and stumbled upon an old landmark famous for it’s wood fired pizzas!  I can’t believe that I missed this one – it’s been around since 1935!  Growing up in San Francisco, frequenting North Beach ALL the time, and thinking I knew all the Italian restaurants in the vicinity of my own father’s Italian restaurant – it eluded me, somehow!  Maybe because it is actually below street level?  Maybe because it has a small little sign?  Maybe because it is on a side street?  Who knows…but, WOW, am I glad I found it!  Better late than never, right?

Tomasso’s has been a San Francisco landmark since 1935 when it was started by a family from Naples who wanted to share their pizza with the world!  Back then, pizza was not a popular food item – in fact, even in the rest of Italy, they didn’t eat it.  Believe it or not, it wasn’t until my parents immigrated to the United States from Northern Italy that they tasted their first pizza.  Pizza was unique to Naples, and because of World War II it became popular once the GI’s tried it!!  Anyway, this little family from Naples built a wood fire oven and baked their pizzas in the old fashioned way like they did in the Old Country.  Back then Tomasso’s was called Lupo’s, and didn’t change it’s name until 1971 when the new owner, Tommy Chin, took it over.  Tommy had been a cook with the family for over 30 years and when the original family wanted to retire, he bought the place.  He created the same pizzas with the same recipes in the same oven!  Two years later, he sold it to another Italian immigrant family and they have owned it ever since.  It is a family run affair, with all the members of the family chipping in and working.  The walls are frescoed by local artists who painted in exchange for pizzas and pasta! 

The restaurant is chaotic – it is loud – but it is a BLAST.  They don’t take reservations, so be prepared for a REALLY long wait while waiting for a table to open up.  Most of the tables are family style – so you make friends with your neighbors!  The waiters run around you….the food comes out quickly….it is frenetic….but you will eat the BEST pizza you have ever had.  The range of toppings is extensive and the ingredients are always fresh.  The restaurant has a full menu, but since I didn’t eat anything else, I cannot either praise it or boo-hoo it.