There ain’t too many people I would get out of a warm, dry taxi and go hunt down a shovel to clear a path for, in a snowfall, but Filippo De Belardino is one of them. And to do it, to make a way to one of the best meals I will have this year, let’s say it was worth it. Oh yeah! Man if I was a gambling man, after SD26 and Marea, I should just go home. First the disclaimer and then the details.
I know some folks just don’t like reading these kinds of posts. It could come off like a nah-nah-nah-nah-nah kind of brag-fest. But I promise to interject love and life and good times about friends and the most important thing in the wine business – the relationships. If I remember. Or I might just brag.
It’s hard not to love a guy like Filippo. Even when I get mad at him (rarely) I still love the cat. He is warm and generous and he gives me room to be myself. I think of him as a brother-in-arms. Thankfully, not a brother-in-law.
Marea with Filippo and Sausage Paul? Well, I’m luckier than Lou Gehrig.
Waiting for us at the restaurant on a blustery day in January was Filippo’s press liaison, Kate Morgan-Corcoran, who is a breathe of fresh air! She’s young, articulate, sassy and smart as a whip. They hit a home run when Kate joined the team (*Note to Kate: this is an example of how your IT folks should "deliver" your newsletter: here).
Last year Paul and I went to Little Italy, where Mario Carbone was ramping up his food at the then newly opened Torrisi. Now a hot ticket, with waiting lines to get in. But Marea is an expression of Italian inspiration that really turned the head. It’s like New York saying to Italy, “Yeah, we can do Italian,” but in a subtle, soft, affirmative, strong manner. And the results are amazingly delicious.
|Grilled octopus with smoked potatoes, pickled red onion, chilies and tonnato|
- Why do Italian divorces cost so much? They’re worth it.
- Why do Italian men die before their wives? They want to.
- A car hit an elderly Italian man. The paramedic says, “Are you comfortable?” The man says, “I make a good living, but don't tell my wife.”
- I just got back from a pleasure trip. I took my mother-in-law to the airport.
So many times I’ve been with him and he just pours it out; he’s funny, he’s charming, he’s loveable. What can I say? This is the kind of stuff I live for (it doesn’t hurt that he has a good expense budget, either).
I am writing this two days into a deep-freeze lock-down in North Texas, so this food is looking even better. Which it was. Easily will go down as one of the best meals I have had in a year and (I predict) this year. Saying this while I’m packing a bag to head to Friuli and God knows what Jeremy and Tracie et al have in store for us. Courage. We can do this.
Figuring I should stick to sea-going fare but wanting to sip on a red (rare for me in the afternoon) I opted for more polipo, this time the fusilli with red wine braised octopus and bone marrow. When I posted the dish, Brad Murano messaged me instantly, "That is THE dish, bone marrow and octopus. Brilliant!” If The Brad digs it, I am in. IN, BABY! Like Telly Savalas.
|"That is THE dish, bone marrow and octopus. Brilliant!” -The Brad|
I know Charles Scicolone won't agree with me on this one, but when I ordered a “ristretto” in my typically genetic Sicilian way, that is what they brought. For me this little offering of coffee is a guilty pleasure. And if you don’t have at least one from time to time (guilty pleasures, that is) what is life but a two-dimensional piece of Masonite with a paint by numbers scene sketched out? How dull, how lifeless. Remember you’ve stepped into my fantasy. Nah, it’s just a cup of coffee.
|I love these guys ~ my tribe!|
Addl note: I hope the next time a post appears here I will be in Venice or Valpolicella or who knows where, with those two love struck kids celebrating life and their 1st anniversary. Jeesh, you’d think these two invented love and marriage. I have to go over there and see what they have gotten themselves into, they’re so cute and in love. Makes me sick. Just kidding, but I had to say it. In any event, I’ll be blogging with he rest of the crew at the COF2011 trip, sponsored by eh Colli Orientali del Friuli people and most likely some Italian government agency with money to burn. Should be fun, and is really the first “down time” I’ve had since Marfa in September. Yeah, yeah, yeah, get out the violins and “cry like baby”, Guy. Which by the way, you owe me a post or two for The Blend, Mr. Stout Reporter. Ciao ragazzi.
|Astice ~ Nova Scotia lobster|