Fries at Fritland in Brussels

French Fries with Sauce at Fritland in Brussels

Brussels… mussels, waffles, beer, chocolate and fries. On our weekend trip there my friend and I indulged in some of these things. We wolfed down a waffle with melted Speculoos near the Grand Place and visited the Cantillon Brewery, over a century old, for a taste of authentic Lambic. We also passed by tons of…

Lentil and couscous salad with eggplant, tomato and goat cheese at La Cagette in Bordeaux

Dinner at La Cagette in Bordeaux

On our way to explore the western bank of the Garonne River, we came across the Porte Cailhau, a shockingly beautiful 15th century gate studded with conical towers and ornate sculptures that rival the Disney Castle in its fairytale qualities. On one side you will find the exquisite waterfront and the Pont de Pierre bridge, gracefully lit…

Boar Stew at Le Rime in Montepulciano

Pici and the Boar at Le Rime Bar in Montepulciano

We rolled up to the hilltop town of Montepulciano on a Sunday afternoon, just before sunset, and climbed to the main entrance where folks were already standing in line. It was the day of the annual Bravio delle Botti, a race in which pairs of 2 runners representing the eight districts of the town compete in…

Passatelli with porcini at Osteria Broccaindosso in Bologna

Tasting Pastas at Osteria Broccaindosso

Near the eastern side of Bologna’s city walls is a charming restaurant called Osteria Broccaindosso with a cheerful, laid back, familiar style welcoming local folks seven nights a week. My expat buddy and his girlfriend took us there for dinner, a selection of pastas typical of the region and a fresh bottle of Lambrusco that went down…

Tagliatelle al Ragù at Osteria dell’Orsa in Bologna

Tagliatelle al Ragù at Osteria dell’Orsa

Osteria dell’Orsa is a gem, a cozy, laid back joint in Bologna’s university district, best known for serving up plate upon plate of the region’s best known dish, tagliatelle al ragù. An expat friend of mine took us there for lunch, as the bae and I were both enthusiastic about trying authentic spaghetti Bolognese (a sentiment I had made…

Florentine steak at Da Leo in Lucca

Bistecca and Tortelli at Trattoria Da Leo in Lucca

“It’s rare though, bloody. Don’t ask for it cooked well,” warned several people – our airBnB guy Vigan, a restaurant host, a waiter. Bistecca alla Fiorentina never comes well done, and in most Tuscan restaurants they’ll just tell you to order something else rather than taking it “burnt.” If you prefer shoe leather to a juicy cut of local moo,…