Thursday, June 29, 2006

Dinner at Old Emilia in Rapallo

Now this was a great spot for a meal. Outside right on the main road across from the harbor. Mild temperatures, no wind - a perfect night for outdoor dining. And this was the place to be.

After walking down the main harbor-front street and inspecting several menus, we decided that old Emilia was the place for us. They had loads of fresh fish specials on the board and the "coniglio cacciatoria" (rabbit stew) was the clincher for me.

I began with an exquisite Spada carpaccio (thin slices of raw swordfish) served with fresh Roma tomatos and arugula. Drizzled on the plate was some wonderfully flavorful olive oil and sea salt. This was a superb starter. The swordfish was melt-in-your-mouth. The tomatos were at peak ripeness - (there is nothing quite like a fresh, real Italian tomato) and the rocket was peppery. We had a wonderful Ligurian frizzante - Crenzada de Ma - with it which went down delightfully.

Next I dug into a heartly plate of Gnocchi with Gamberi. Better to show this to you as the photo tells it all. This was excellent - it tasted as if it was prepared on the spot by a home cook. With this plate, we chose the Redure - Terra Bianche - Dolcetto d'Alba. It was smooth and cherry like and went well with this dish but even better with the third course of rabbit.

The rabbit looked and smelled homemade - it was piping hot; the meat was tender and flavorful and it came with braised vegetables - pepper, celery and carrots that were cooked nicely and sweet. A heavenly dish that I can only hope to replicate at some point in my own cooking efforts. But what a benchmark!

My friends order Dolci but I was too full - I just took coffee and of course, the first of what would be many post-meal grappas throughout my stay in Italy.

One last note, my friend Tony M. (yes that Tony M!) ordered the house speciality for a starter - something called "Chizze" which was some sort of deep-fried dough with cheese inside. They were huge and five of them came in a basket! Talk about abbondanza!


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