Tag Archives: food

Ham on the Grill

21 Apr

Since Sunday was our first beautiful day basking in summer sunshine,
we decided to try something different.

Ecco!  BBQ Ham L’Orange!






Ristorante IL CACCIATORE, Cortona

20 Sep

Since it’s Friday, I was thinking about where I’d like to have dinner tonight. A simple choice would be Ristorante IL CACCIATORE, except for the fact that it is in Cortona and we are in Chicago. Oh, well, I can still think about what we might order after receiving a warm welcome from Alessandro, owner and always visible greeter.


The entrance to the two-story restaurant is on Via Roma, and you can choose indoor or limited outdoor seating. According to its website, “It was the first restaurant opened in the medieval town of Cortona, around 1904.” The word cacciatore means “hunter” in Italian, and the restaurant serves typical Tuscan dishes and “specialities including grilled meat chianina, ribollita and pici with meat sauce,” a local pasta favorite.


There’s an ample selection of wines to choose from, and the house wine is fine as well.


The food is very good, and the atmosphere and staff are always warm and inviting.

Whether we stop in for pizza and a tomato salad

IMG_4987or enjoy a leisurely dinner, there is always a nice variety to choose from.

Tonight, perhaps we’d start with an antipasto of cheeses and freshly sliced meats…

IMG_0001or order pici with speck and tomatoes.

IMG_0637After, we’d choose sliced steak with rosemary

IMG_0004or delicious roasted chicken, (my favorite!)

IMG_0002some hot off-the-grill veggies

IMG_0639and of course, wonderful roasted potatoes!

IMG_0003So simple, so delicious.

And to top off a most satisfying dinner, why not a little tiramisu? (It’s so much better in Italy!)


All in a night’s work, but then someone gets to do it. Just wish it could be us tonight!

Whether it’s just the two of us, or we are part of a large group, Ristorante IL CACCIATORE is one of our favorite go-to restaurants in Cortona.




11 Jul

With deference to Goodnight Moon, my farewell ode to Italia 2012:

Arrivederci salumi, cheese and wine

Arrivederci going to dinner at nine

Arrivederci shopping at the markets in the street

Arrivederci greeting every stranger I meet

Arrivederci pastry and cappuccino in the early morn

Arrivederci basil from a plant freshly torn

Arrivederci best mozzarella I will ever taste

Arrivederci appreciation of life at a slower pace

Arrivederci  sunflowers growing strong and tall

Arrivederci lovely shops, not ever in a mall

Arrivederci gelato –  the source of smiles galore

Arrivederci  flowers adorning every window and door

Arrivederci graceful ladies walking arm in arm

Arrivederci vistas of the land people farm

Arrivederci homemade pasta in every size and shape

Arrivederci beans that only Italians know how to make

Arrivederci tomatoes, bruscetta and cheese

Arrivederci pizza prepared to please

Arrivederci piazza life where people sip vino and talk

Arrivederci evenings’ activities we find on our walk

Arrivederci shoes, scarves and fashion

Arrivederci simplicity filled with passion

Arrivederci antiquities that stretch the soul and mind


Arrivederci art and architecture, every imaginable kind

Arrivederci friends, old and new, from far and near


Arrivederci Cortona, Italia, till we see you next year.

Many thanks to all who made our trip so memorable.

While this marks the “physical” end of our 2012 Italian adventure, it is not the end of the blog… come back for much more!



Tuscher Caffe

16 Jun

One of the things we enjoy most about Cortona is its Italian authenticity. Most of the restaurants, shops, and stores are owned and operated by Italians, and these are where we prefer to spend time.  Last year, every day when we walked along Via Nazionale, the main street in Cortona, we walked by the Tuscher Caffé, www.caffetuschercortona.com. Although the café was inviting, its name and modern décor clearly weren’t Italian, or so we thought.  Fortunately, this year we discovered otherwise.

The two-story Caffé opened in 2003 in the beautiful Palazzo Ferretti. Massimo and Daniela, the owners and operators of the caffé, named it after the building’s architect, Carl Marcus Tuscher, a German architect and painter who worked in Italy from 1728-41.

Massimo, Daniela and Lucky

The owners take pride in every facet of the caffé, whether it is the wines, the aperitifs, the appetizers, the food, or the desserts. Freshly prepared appetizers match their cocktail creativity, and all meals are made to order.

Appetizers…on the house!

Dinner specials are delicious, but so is everything else we have eaten.

lightly crusted prawns with citrus butter…melt in your mouth!

The chocolato, a kind of flourless chocolate cake, is our favorite dessert!

chocolato, cappucino, and lime citrus mouse

Have it with fresh cream…enough for several to share.

Seating is available inside and out, and there is an upstairs loft for cocktails that overlooks the first floor.

view from the loft

Sandy and Larry

Colorful art decorates the walls; jazzy music fills the rooms; and smiles are everywhere from satisfied patrons.

Girls out for Chocolato

The restaurant is open daily in the summer from breakfast to after dinner.

Benita, Massimo and Sarah

Len and Judy

Be sure to stop by Tuscher if you are in Cortona!



Home Alone and Bistecca alla Fiorentina

14 Jun

Three weeks have passed and almost all of our guests and visitors have come and gone! Michael left for the U.S. on June 6; Sarah’s parents Elena and Alex on June 10; and Sandy and Larry today. Rome, Firenze, Pompeii, Napoli, Sorrento, Capri, Montalcino, Cortona…different cities woven into the various agendas, each providing new stories and lasting memories. We loved being with all of you and exploring old and new sights together. We miss you!


Our last dinner with Sandy and Larry was at Cacio Brillo, always a favorite of ours, and even more so now that they’ve expanded their menu.  After dinner, the ladies continued on for dessert, the most amazing chocolate tort!

Tonight, with just the four of us home, we decided to fire up the grill and try our hand at some bistecca alla Fiorentina. Len and I went to the butcher just around the corner. She cut two huge on the bone steaks and gave us specific cooking instructions:

  • Rinse meat and pat dry; leave out of frig for about 30 minutes before cooking
  • Place on hot grill adding nothing to the meat
  • After about 5-7 minutes, turn over and salt cooked side
  • “Watch with your eyes” to not overcook, then remove meat from grill
  • Before serving, drizzle olive oil, then salt (pepper optional)
  • Finally, add a squeeze of lemon!

grilling steaks and zucchini

Chef Leonardo

Well, dinner was amazing! The aroma had neighbors opening their windows, but alas, only enough for four…(the bones were huge!) A salad with Italian tomatoes topped it all off, and from our garden, one single stem with five beautiful roses. Finally, Sandy and Larry, we opened one of your bottles of Pietranera and toasted to your safe travel home.

Arrivederci to you both!



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