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The Daily Catch

6 Feb

You’ve just got to love this place—for the noise, the frenetic open kitchen, the complete absence of pretense, its shockingly shoulder-crowdingly small dining quarters and, above all, the food. Its very casual, somewhat divey approach is all part of its charm –from the weathered tables and chairs, to the single chalkboard menu and the use of paper placemats.    

The Daily Catch is a local staple for more than 30 years, who specializes in calamari dishes, black-squid-ink pastas, and linguine with clam sauce. There’s something about a big skillet of linguine and calamari that would seem less perfect if served on fine white china.

May I recommend the Tinta de Calamari -which is Homemade Black Pasta ($10.50/appetizer, $21/ entree).  It is effing fantastic.  Here are action shots of me impatiently digging into my ink pasta and burning my mouth in the process:

www.dailycatch .com at 323 Hanover St., North End, Boston, MA ****

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Positano

10 Sep

The drive to Positano from Salerno takes about 1hr, shooting west through the Amalfi coast, out past the spectacular views of the shores, cliff side residences, restaurants, and thick, gravity-defying orchards of lemons and olive trees.  Every dwelling, plant or billy-goat in the coast is pretty much built, grown and live cliff-side, all of what looks to be carved into the mountainside.  It is absolutely one of the most breathtaking views I’ve ever laid my eyes on.  The ride was a bit scary (ok, it was frightening) on the coast due to the extremely narrow roads and the fact that the local drivers (scooters included) are so used to driving these streets, they lack caution one would normally have. Thankfully, we had a private driver –a local!

                                                                           

We stayed at La Fenice (La Feh-Nee-Cha), a piece of paradise, in my opinion.  The property is built separately (split by the road which runs through it), extending up 300 feet above sea level with white stucco villas with varying dimensions, all with terraces, reached by many steps up and long-term cottages situated many steps below the dividing road.   Descending yet more steps, you’ll come to the curved seawater pool and Jacuzzi carved against the rock of the mountain with a terrace partly covered with grapevines and bougainvilleas with picturesque views of Positano’s colourful houses and the spectacular coastline.  And descending yet more stairs, you will find the most enchanting, small, private lagoon, accessible only by guests of La Fenice.  There you’ll find blue and white striped beach umbrellas with loungers, kayaks and row boats, all at your disposal, at any time of the day. *The picture is of the private lagoon. 

Food Stuff: Restaurants here are extremely proud to serve traditionally prepared seafood.  You can taste the freshness just like it was brought in that very morning by the fishermen.  Our first couple of nights, we dined at La Cambusa, which came highly recommended by our driver, and at Buca di Bacco.  They are located on the Spaggia Grande Beach (thus an outstanding view), across from each other.  It’s in the center of the main square and staffed by some of the friendliest waiters you can find in Italy.  In fact, our waiter in La Cambusa spontaneously serenaded a couple sitting behind us and he wasn’t too bad at all!  *In the picture above, La Cambusa is located left of the orange awninng (upstairs and Buca di Bacco is in the centre, second floor under the white awning. 

You must try the clams in this region.  They are slightly smaller, but the sweetest I’ve ever tasted.  All of the seafood dishes we ordered were never too overdone –all very simply and traditionally prepared done to showcase the freshness.  Our favourites: Whole Sea Bream, Carpaccio of what local fish they offer, Frutti di Mare (Buca di Bacco’s is to die for) and of course, the clams!

Our last night there, we had the pleasure of dining at La Sponda.  You cannot prepare yourself enough for what you are stepping into at La Splonda.  The restaurant is straight out of a Julia Roberts  movie.  There are, literally, hundreds of candles lit all around you, there are men serenading you romantic Italian songs (at a good volume and not intrusive at all) and we had about 4 waiters attending to us and a sommelier.  It was almost funny (in a good way).  They were prompt, attentive and managed to do it all without creating a stuffy atmosphere.  Here, you drink champagne, you order entrées with shaved truffles, served amuse-bouches with complimentary pre-dessert, then the actual dessert, followed by yet another complimentary (ready for this) POST-dessert!  The location, atmosphere, food and service created a very memorable dinner.  I will never forget one of our many waiters as he looked so much like Anthony Bourdain!  Post-dinner was also most memorable because we took the elevator instead of the stairs and somehow hopped off on the wrong floor and it took a good half hour and many goofy pictures to escape the hotel.  The champagne, bottle of wine, limoncello and vin santo probable hampered our departure or maybe deep down, we really didn’t want to leave.