Food Travels

So I realize this is the second “Risotto Sundays” post in a row, however GreenBEAN delivered these beautiful mushrooms and my mind immediately went to this great wild mushroom risotto I had last month — in Rothenberg, Germany of all places!  If you find yourself in Rothenberg, make sure you stop by Pizzeria Roma (Galgengasse 19) for an authentic Italian meal.  One can only eat pork for so long while in Germany, and this family owned restaurant has been cranking out traditional Tuscan fare in Rothenberg since the 70s!…. but I digress.

Mushroom and Pancetta Risotto

Mushroom and Pancetta Risotto

2 TB extra virgin olive oil
1 cup diced pancetta
2 cups chopped crimini mushrooms
2 TB butter
1 cup arborio rice
1 cup Chardonnay
1 quart chicken broth
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
1-2 TB of truffle oil

1. In a large skillet heat up the olive oil and cook the pancetta till it starts to crisp up. Place pancetta on a plate lined with paper towels and set aside.
2. To the skillet add the chopped mushrooms and cook through for about 10 minutes, stirring them frequently. Remove mushrooms from the skillet and set aside.
3. Add the butter to the hot skillet, let it melt and add the arborio rice. Cook till rice goes from translucent to slightly toasted. Add the wine and reduce the cooking temperature to a low-medium setting.
4. After the wine has cooked through, start adding the broth. Continue to add the broth, 1/2 cup at a time. Only add more when the previous addition has been absorbed by the rice while constantly stirring.
5. Right before the last addition of the chicken broth (approx. 35 minutes into the cooking time), fold the pancetta and mushrooms into the risotto. Add the remaining broth and let it cook through.
6. Add the milk, stir and add the Parmigiano Reggiano.
7. Drizzle with the truffle oil and serve immediately.


As indicated in this post, I spent a fair amount of time in Portland last year. While in Portland, I had the opportunity to take in the wonderful culinary landscape of the city. These are my top picks, hope you try them out if you are ever in this fun city. And if you do, drop me a note, would love to hear about your experience.

So my Portland Top Fives:

1. Andina – I discovered Peruvian food a few years ago. Unfortunatelly my experience, up until know, was limited to one restaurant here in Indy. I found Andina’s cuisine to be “upscale Peruvian” with a contemporary flair. My dining companions and I got started with a round of appetizers that left us looking forward to dinner. The highlight of my meal was actually Sacsayhuaman a passion fruit infused martini-type cocktail that I am planning on reproducing soon. Don’t take me wrong, the food was extraordinary and the presentation simply artistic, but this drink stuck with me.

2. Jake’s Crawfish – ok, ok, so I went to a chain restaurant… sort of. Jake’s is the original McCormicks and Schmicks, but is also one of the top ten seafood restaurants in the country and a true Portland institution, over 110 years old. I went to Jake’s on a cold rainy night and ordered the Jambalaya. While it was simple, it had all the right ingredients…. andouille sausage, collosal shrimp…. yum!

3. Piazza Italia – nestled in a somewhat residential street in the Pearl District this little piece of Italy was worth waiting 45 minutes for a table on a cool October night. If you plan on going to Piazza Italia, make sure you reserve a table ahead of time. It probably has a total of 15 tables, and judging by how busy it was on a Wednesday night, it is a local favorite. I ordered the Pasta with Wild Boar Ragu and also got to sample the Bucatini that my dining companion order, both simply amazing!

4. Portland City Grill – I am sure most people go to the Portland City Grill for the spectacular 360 views of the city, and frankly, this was part of my motivation. I was very glad to discover that the views were just a bonus and compliment to the great food bustling out of their kitchen!

5. Typhoon – I yet have to google this, but my first impression is that Portland must have one of the largest numbers of Thai restaurants per capita. Out of the gate, I decided that I would order the same item every time I tried a new Thai restaurant, and let this be my guide for comparison. So I decided on Panang Curry as my gauge for best Thai in the Portland area, and Typhoon simply does it best. Nice blend and balance of flavors and just enough spice in the medium heat sauce to make you order a second and even third beer to wash it with. By the way, Typhoon is in Beaverton, a short 20 minute drive from downtown Portland and very much worth the drive.

So you know how the tag line in the blog reads “taking my wine and food obsession on a road trip”? Well that I have certainly done over the past few months, the blogging, well not so much. The good thing is that I have two weeks to catch up and a lot of share!



I took this picture in Brussels a little over a month ago. These have got to be some of the best frites I have ever tried. As it turns out, Belgians eat on average 250 lbs of potatoes each year. And each person I asked had a very strong opinion about what the best friterie was in the city. After trying several of them, I gave up trying to decide on the winner and just enjoyed them all.

Mt Hood

Mt Hood

That’s where I have been, and what I have been doing is what has kept me from posting!  That said, I have a list of restaurants to recommend should you find yourself in the Pacific NW one of these days.  Stay tuned!

In the meantime I am thinking Jambalaya!  I picked up Tasso Ham at Fresh Market today and I am debating what to do with it.  It will either be Jambalaya or Gumbo, I can’t wait!  I did a double take when I first spotted the Tasso today, it is pretty hard to find.