Mexican Food… In Le Marche!

When we were contemplating the Big Move, I will admit that there were a few things that worried me: missing my sons, learning a new language, the finances.  G had only one worry: where to get decent Mexican food. 

G and I both grew up in southern California, and Italians are know for sticking with, well, Italian food. She had a point. 

But her fears turned out to be unfounded. We discovered a great little place in Ascoli Piceno that serves downright *good* Mexican food. Run by Ermanno, who grew up in Ascoli but spent many years in the restaurant business in LA and San Francisco, Crazy Tacos is a genuine cantina. We had tacos and burritos, which were spot on, and a spin on a Caesar salad that took us both right back to California. He also does a bit of BBQ, and his fried chicken looks fantastic. 

Crazy Tacos is a must if you’re in the area and jonesin for Mexican. The salsa is made by hand and the food is clean and good. But beware, this is a one-man show, and if things get busy, Ermanno is likely to recruit you to pour your own beer… or even help serve other customers.  

Crazy indeed, and we loved every minute of it! 


Fresh Anchovies on a Wood-Fired Grill

Our new favorite — fresh anchovies, cleaned and lightly breaded, and then grilled over wood coals on the piastra. Delicious and affordable; this is about $3 worth from one of our favorite fish markets: Il Timone in Grottammare. Yum. 


Lunch Out: Senduicceri 44 Via Balilla

Out running errands (telling the post office where we live, recharging our phones) and decided to try fancy panini at a lovely shop in San Benedetto del Tronto. Totally cute, and a nice way to practice some practical Italian!


Lunch? Piadineria Magritte!

After three trips to IKEA in about as many days, we decided to treat ourselves to lunch. The beautiful town of Loreto is on the way back to Tutto Doppio, and G had the presence of mind to suggest that we stop there for piadine. 

Piadine are the Italian version of quesadillas. And Magritte – just off the main piazza – is one of the best. If you’re ever in the area, check it out. They have a great selection of beer, too!


Wine Enthusiast Talks Le Marche Wines – Including Our Beloved Pecorino

Check out the March edition of Wine Enthusiast.  They cover Le Marche, calling it “Italy’s Best Kept Secret.”  Here’s a little taste:

Often translated as “the Marches,” this Central Italian region has it all. Pristine beaches and rugged shorelines hug the sapphire-blue Adriatic. Rolling hills lie covered with vines and olive groves. There are well-preserved medieval towns and cultural centers, wonderful cuisine and great wines.

What you won’t find are the throngs of tourists that descend regularly on Tuscany, situated on the opposite coast, although crowds do show up at the main beaches in peak season.

They also talk a bit about the wines of Ascoli Piceno, the slice of heaven where Tutto Doppio is located… and the tasty white wine to which we’ve taken a particular cotton:

… the most interesting wines from the undulating hills around Ascoli Piceno are white, especially the small production of Offida Pecorino DOCG. 

Nearly extinct in the early 1980s, the Pecorino grape was saved by local winemaker Guido Cocci Grifoni, who, after years of experimentation, made his first vintage of 100% Pecorino in 1990.

Because of its intense floral aromas of acacia and jasmine, rich white-fruit flavors, creamy texture and mineral notes, more wineries are now producing this fascinating wine, which pairs well with fish and white meats.

Can’t wait to get back to the farm!


Cappelletti: Pasta Shaped Like Little Hats

Pasta comes in a nearly countless number of variations, but one of our favorites is cappelletti, or “little hats.”  These tasty, meat-filled pasta are a Christmas Eve tradition and are typically cooked in a brodo or broth.  G’s filling included a combination of chicken, pork and beef, plus some cheese and a bit of seasoning. The pasta was handmade and then shaped by G into the little cappelletti.  Quickly cooked in seasoned chicken stock, these pasta are absolutely delicious on cold winter evening!


Bea’s Honey

on July 17th, Gina’s beloved Aunt Bea passed away. She’d been ill for a while, and although her passing wasn’t a surprise, it was a big loss.  Fortunately, G had the opportunity to be with her for a bit prior to her death.

Later the very same day of her passing, we learned that a colony of bees had built a hive
on the farm, between the kitchen shutter and window – a prominent spot that
couldn’t be missed.

Aunt Bea
always enjoyed a good joke.

We weren’t at the farm to take care of the bee invasion.  But not to worry: our good friend Pietro carefully removed the hive, and relocated it to the farm his family owns just a few miles away from Tutto Doppio. 

On our last visit, Pietro presented to us a couple of good sized jars of Bea’s honey.  We rebottled it, and shared it with those we love! 



The Beautifiul Adriatic

Tutto Doppio is on the western cusp of the last hillside just before the Adriatic.  That means la spiagga (beach) and la mare (sea) are less than 20 minutes away. 

The water is clean, and nearly always calm; it’s shallow, which means it’s nice and warm.  The sand is white.  The people are friendly.  And the entire lungomare from Grottammare to San Benedetto del Tronto is a beautiful walkway dotted with seafood restaurants.  


The End of Summer

The last of the tomatoes are in, and that – more than anything – means that summer has wound down, and fall is right around the corner.  G used some of those tomatoes, plus an eggplant, some home “grown” honey, and a few other tasty ingredients to make a delicious bruschetta topping. Mmmmm.

You’d think that by the age of “fitty five” I’d have a good feel for the changes in the seasons.  But I grew up in Anaheim, CA… and there summer slipped into fall by way of a change in which grade I was attending at school.

For me (and almost every other kid growing up in Orange County), Main Street was a place in Disneyland.  And although I saw Walt’s upbeat, optimistic, hopeful view of the heart of America through his eyes, the weather there was routinely 72 F, with early morning low clouds giving way to sunshine in the afternoon.

I must be getting old… because I will always hold dear both my childhood take on the heartland, and my middle-aged experience of it.