Da Adolfo

It was my first time to the Amalfi Coast, let alone Italy.  Kate, Marcia, and I spent countless hours planning this trip and boy, did that work pay off. An absolute must do excursion is a beach day at Da Adolfo, a quaint little club restaurant on an exclusive and yet unpretentious slice of Laurito Beach. Getting a reservation here is something of a herculean feat, so be prepared to put some back into it. They only take reservations in person or by phone… and they never pick up the phone.  I had to plead with our Rome hotel’s concierge to make arrangements for us, which took non-stop efforts for 2 days before we got in.  Grazie Valeria!!!

We arrived in Positano in the late afternoon after a scenic three hour car ride from Rome. We spent the better part of the day on the main public beach.  The beach was marked by breathtaking views, small pebbles that made walking around barefoot absolutely hopeless, and lively American college students drunk off of the culture (or maybe the Prosecco?).

While the public beaches were nice enough, I had my eyes set on a specific private slab in Laurito.  The next morning on our first full day on the Amalfi Coast, we headed down toward the wharf by Spiaggia Grande.

You get to Da Adolfo by way of their private boat.  Once you spot that wonderful red fish, you know you’re in business. The ride is maybe 10 minutes and provides for some pretty incredible views of Positano from the water.

It’s definitely nothing fancy when you approach, but there is something kind of magical about that little beach shack.  We totally lucked out that we just missed peak season in Positano, coming in at the very end of September. We found out from some of the more frequent patrons that the club gets ridiculously overcrowded earlier in the summer.

The beach is low key and has just the right touch of vintage charm. It’s still covered by those pesky little rocks, which after a little too much nerve ending damage, I learned my lesson and wore my sandals the rest of the trip.  If you’re lucky, you can dig through the rubble and find some rainbow colored sea glass or pieces of local ceramic.

The kitchen is impossibly small, carved into the large rocks of Laurito. The menu is updated daily on a small chalk board just under the kitchen. I was overly excited and ordered pretty much everything. The waitstaff, a string of handsome men all loosely related to the owner, sprint down the stone steps, armed with small savory plates.

At either noon or 2, you’re ushered to your table.  At the suggestion of the owner’s son, we ordered a jug of chilled house white wine with fresh peach slices.  Such a refreshing way to start the meal.

Highlights of the menu included the carpaccio di tonno, fresh thick slices of tuna marinated in bright and clean vinaigrette. We also ordered a tartare version which had delicious little morsels of onion and tomato. I couldn’t resist getting a plate of spaghetti con vongole to set the bar for all future spaghetti con vongole to come.  As I expected, it was out of this world delicious.  The grilled polpo was a nice surprise.  I loved that the chef decidedly kept it in its whole form rather than slices.

The most simple and delicious dishes that I hope to replicate at home were the grilled mozzarella on fresh lemon leaves and the melone e prosciutto. I have a feeling it’ll be tough to replicate, but if I close my eyes and imagine hard enough that there are peaceful waves crashing around me, I may come close.

Da Adolfo represents the ultimate casual beach eating.  We loved it so much that we made a reservation for our last day in Positano.

The best part, of course, was the beach all set for your afternoon cat nap.

Da Adolfo
Via Laurito, 40,
Positano, Italy
Reservations required: +39 089 875022

Saltie Girl

There is nothing more quintessentially New England than a seafood feast in the summer. In early June, restaurateur Kathy Sidell teamed with Kyle McClelland to open a seafood bar next to her MET Bar Restaurant right off of Newbury Street.  The space is very cozy with capacity at 30 seats spread among 4 tables and the bar. You can count on a bit of a wait during peak times because this place is first come first serve.

I tend to avoid most Back Bay restaurants because of the onslaught of tourists and really just prefer my comfort zone otherwise known as the South End. I surprised myself when I suggested this to Mr. E  for lunch one weekend, but felt I was grasping at the straws of the fleeting summer heat.

If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again.  The place is cozy. We got lucky and arrived to an open booth near the entrance. It took some maneuvering, but I was able to hoist myself into my seat.  The decor in this place is incredibly lively and bright. The bar is adorned with the most beautiful aquamarine tile that look like the scales of a fish.

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Behind the bar was one of the most magnificent collections of tinned seafood I’ve ever seen. I’m talking mussels, oysters, tuna, octopus!  I think canned seafood gets a little bit of a bum rap. Instead of thinking of your childhood tuna, think chic Europeans sipping on vintage wines and eating canapes topped with seafood canned with the purpose of capturing that pure seafood essence. Without a doubt, it reminded me of our trip to Barcelona earlier this  year.

For this trip however, I was on a mission to eat raw things… lots of raw things.

OYSTERS – local, briny and beautiful.  I could have easily put down another half dozen of these fresh, plump babies.

TORCHED SALMON BELLY avocado / cucumber / green apple / miso glaze – we got this flavor packed dish right after the oysters came out.  It was an overwhelming burst to the senses after eating delicate raw oysters.  While it was delicious and had very deep flavors, it totally downplayed the flavors of our next few dishes.

HAMACHI LOIN pineapple & cucumber water / meyer lemon & shiso oil / blood orange gelee – on paper this sounded so refreshing.  In real life, this was pretty tasteless.  I can’t , say for sure whether it was completely overtaken by the salmon belly right before but this one was pretty bland.  Maybe it is just something I should make a mental note for next time not to order the salmon belly until later in the meal.

SMOKED ATLANTIC SALMON pumpernickel everything bagelette / green onion cream cheese / trout roe / yolk – by the time Mr. E ordered this, they’d run out of pumpernickel everything and only had plain bagels left.  It came out with smoked salmon piled high, speckled with small dollops of roe all around.  He got quiet and ate it swiftly, which can only mean it was good.

ORANGE CLAM – We ordered this because it was a special for the day. This was quite the mound of chopped clam, which arrived to the table quite a bit later than the other items.  At first, I thought they’d forgotten about this completely and would have been ok with it given how full I was feeling after my eating sprint with the occasional Veuve Cliquot hydration breaks.  When it came, I gave myself a mental groan, knowing full well that Mr. E would not be eating this with me.  The texture of the clam varied based on what body part I was working with, but I loved the pieces that had the nice crunch.  It was so subtle and sweet that I nearly shed a tear at the thought of wasting what I couldn’t finish it.

Next trip, my goal is to drink wine and eat a healthy sample of their tinned goods.  I will be reporting back!

Saltie Girl
281 Dartmouth St
Boston, MA 02116
617) 267-0691

Brunch at Coppa

It’s tough to avoid those Sunday crowds when the ladies and gents who brunch are out in droves. Over Labor Day Weekend, Mr. E and I took advantage of the mass exodus and headed over to the South End to visit one of our old favorites, Coppa.

Knowing so much delicious food is on its way, it’s so tough not to fill up on bread and EVOO.  So good!!!

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Bacon and Eggs rosemary potatoes, over easy eggs, Coppa bacon, pepper vinaigrette, toast

Pancakes Mais corn pancake, shishito, maple butter

Look at those delicious peppers

In my last post, I mentioned the corn pancake at Coppa is better than Alden & Harlow’s. No competition. It’s huge, in your face, and the shishito peppers add a nice bitterness that balances the summery sweet corn.

I’d say this past visit, Mr. E and I ordered a rather pedestrian meal. Honestly though, the simple dishes are just so darn tasty, I think that’s the way to go!

The menu does include some pretty flashy items.  You can get breakfast pasta or Italian sandwiches, zeppoles. I was hit with a heavy, heavy case of food envy when our table neighbors ordered this insane looking breakfast pizza. Another mouthful of my corn cake justified my decision.

Coppa
253 Shawmut Ave
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 391-0902