The food: fresh sheep’s milk ricotta
During a recent visit to New York, E and I trekked down to Tribeca to Locanda Verde for breakfast (served from 8 – 11 am on weekdays), principally to sample the vaunted fresh sheep milk’s ricotta with truffle honey and burnt orange toast ($9 at breakfast).
We’d run into some snooty attitude in Tribeca restaurants before, but this room – located in Robert De Niro’s The Greenwich Hotel, no less – was casual and stylish, the service warm and welcoming, and though the restaurant was celebrity-free during our visit (I would have loved to have a sighting of past Locanda Verde patrons Bradley Cooper or Blake Lively, to be honest) the ricotta alone was worth the trip downtown. Maybe even worth the trip to New York.
It was creamy, tangy, and warm, and we loved the sweet, salty, earthy, herby combination of flavours that were brought to it with the addition of fresh thyme, sea salt, honey and truffle oil. Okay, not so much the truffle oil, but everything else about the dish was lovely and amazing.
We also tried the Uova Modernese ($15) – two poached eggs served on a cotechino (a delicious type of sausage, and I don’t even like sausages ordinarily) hash with spinach and tomato hollandaise. Also amazingly good, as if made from magical eggs.
As for the lemon ricotta pancakes with fresh blueberries and meyer lemon curd ($13): they were wonderful too. Perfect, I might even say – light, sweet, and creamy.
Back home in Toronto, I strove to recreate the ricotta experience. On a Saturday, while I attended an all-day rehearsal for an upcoming concert of the choir I’m in, I sent E to buy some fresh sheep’s milk ricotta from the Monforte Dairy stall at the Evergreen Brickworks Farmers’ Market. He came home with two (!) good-sized tubs of a fresh dry ricotta, which, though it lacked the creamy texture of the Locanda Verde variety, was nevertheless delicious when drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and honey, sprinkled with some flor de sal d’estrenc and fresh thyme leaves, and eaten with toasted slices of rustic baguette topped with fresh grated lemon rind.