Michelle's meal ideas will transport you to Tuscany
I’ve been lucky to have spent considerable time on a particular passion of mine – traveling. When a country entices me to return, it's usually because I'm enthralled with the food. Italy tops the list with three visits and counting! Here at home, our fair city is blessed with a number of trattorie that will transport you to a bustling Roman street or a hillside village in Tuscany.
For a quick lunch, you can’t go wrong at Sciue. Its name means "good and fast" and sure enough you’ll get served classic Roman street food. Try their delicious homemade paninis or their ever popular pane romano flatbread pizzas – popular varieties include the Patate (mozzarella with potato strings, olive oil and rosemary) and the Caprese (tomato sauce, mesculin salad, sliced bocconcini, sliced tomatoes, olive oil). The Veneto panini (roasted pork loin, provolone, sautéed mushrooms, spinach) is a particularly savory delight.
Scuie, 110-800 Pender, Vancouver, BC, 604-602-7263 and 126 Davie St., Vancouver BC, 604-689-7263; Mon. - Fri.: 6:30am - 7:00pm, Sat.: 7:00am - 5:00pm; Lunch $10/person. Close to all downtown venues.
After lunch, stop for a quick coffee at Caffè Artigiano, my favourite place to grab a coffee. This local chain started in a small downtown location in 2000 but has since expanded to about 10 spots across the city. The baristas here have perfected latte art which adds a wonderful finishing touch although it’s a shame to drink away the intricate patterns. Check the website for the many locations and hours.
For dinner, a recent favourite of mine is La Quercia. This lovely Italian trattoria, on the west side, focuses on Northern Italian dishes and boasts fresh selections daily. Last time I went with a group and we had the 5 course alla famiglia dining option which consisted of a great selection of their daily specials along with dessert. At $40/person, it was an amazing deal. The pastas are all made fresh with highlights such as the Spaghetti al'amatriciana (smoked pork cheek, chillies and san marzano tomatoes) or the Agnolotti di Guido (stuffed pasta, veal, chard, ricotta and parmigian). The daily special risotto is worth a try as are some of the regular mains such as Tagliata di Manzo (a flat iron steak, arugula, pine nuts, balsamic, parmesan and olive oil) or the equally delicious Scaloppine di Vitello alla Valdostana (veal scaloppine, prosciutto, fontina in a marsala reduction). Desserts change daily but if they have it, the chocolate cake is to die for.
La Quercia, 3689 West 4th Ave (near Alma), Vancouver, BC, 604-676-1007; Tues - Sun: 5pm - 10pm; Dinner $40/person. Reservations are a must. Between UBC Thunderbird Arena and Granville Island venues.
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