Novak (novak) wrote,

Personal/Musical: Hiking in the Elk Refuge; Talking and Jamming with Kevin, Return to Nani's

It's been the sort of miserable day here that Frannie was warning me about: raining and in the 30s. It looks like it'll jump back to "sunny and in the 50s" - on Monday when I head back home. So I've been homebound today, doing some reading and writing inside, which was one thing I'd hoped to have some time to do, anyway. The view of Snow King out the back window certainly is different than that from any place where I could write on campus or from my apartment.

Yesterday I headed out into the National Elk Refuge, walking north for a few miles and just enjoying the vision of the shape of the land, seeing more of the Grand Tetons slowly scrolling by through the gap in the ridge to the northwest of Jackson that largely hid them from view. It was definitely less crowded than I had seen this area before, when I drove out into it with Frannie some 22 months ago, with herds of both elk and bison visible. The bison stock has gotten high enough that apparently there is seasonal hunting of them again, and now on the Refuge land, which was kind of a surprise to me, given the "endangered" vision of them we got from grade school and high school history classes with their account of the vanishing buffalo herds of North America. I had originally hoped to be out here during the summer, when Frannie said I might have the chance to take some shots of the mountain lions that have been coming down to den in recent years. So, as far as wildlife went, it was an entirely low-key day. As far as just soaking up the lay of the land, and enjoying the radical difference from the Midwest, it was perfect. South beyond Jackson, the mountains began to disappear in a snowfall, which drifted north and obscured the Tetons, too, and so I took that as a cue to turn around and head back to town, which was almost directly into the wind, and thus that much colder.

Everyone was pretty exhausted, Kev from a long day of tough group facilitation and Fran having been dealing with an evil lawyer all day who kept screwing with the contracts for the new bank Frannie's helping build down in Alpine, so she turned in pretty shortly after we all shared a yummy sort of mixed Indian/American curried chicken and vegetable dinner. Kevin and I stayed up for a strangely timeless length of hours (the illusion made possible by how early everyone else turned in) and sat talking about love, marriage and dating, listening and playing along to music on mandolin and guitar, and then finally ending the night with a bit of a reprise of that July night in his new, empty Indianapolis apartment in 2001 where we sat on the floor of his place until 3am, playing our new tunes "Just In Case" (his) and "My Mom" (mine) over and over again. Last night, though, we ended with an oldie of his, very appropriate, called "My Living Room" that summed up how great home can be.

Today's plans include a reservation for the adults off at Nani's, which I'm much looking forward to. Kev and I discovered it on our famed 2000 Road Trip (specifically recounted on this page), and make a point of going back together whenever I'm in town. Their regional menus give the lie to what we usually call "Italian food" in the United States, and are absolute works of culinary art and scholarship. I see that on their webpage, they're back to Sardegna as their current regional menu, as it was that night in August 2000. I'm amazed to hear from Kevin, as he's gotten to know the area and the owners of the place, that a number of locals are unaware of the exceptional dining secret they have in their midst. We were lucky in 2000 that the place we saw first was full of tourists, leading us on to Nani's as per the recommendation of the local we had spoken to. For all the great dining I've tried to enjoy the last ten years since Kevin and I started making a point of enjoying restaurant culture as grad students on very limited means, Nani's still stands out. Kev even speculates about fixing me up with the hip Catholic chef, if only he can succeed in tricking me to move out here. Too bad: there would be worse fates than being linked to such an artist.

Regional Menu

Sardegna - bountiful seas & hills
To the visitor, Sardegna seems like an island paradise: enclosed by a jewel-green sea, graced with fertile plains, criss-crossed by clear rivers, and topped with majestic mountains. As the island farthest from the Italian mainland, it is still a somewhat isolated place, relatively unmarred by tourism, a tranquil isola that has supported fisherman, farmers, shepherds, and seafarers for generations. But Carthaginians, Romans, and Arabs among them - took control of the island, leading the islanders to coin the saying: "All evil comes from across the sea." Because the ongoing invasions often forced the islanders to withdraw to the mountainous regions, which were impassable to strangers, Sardegna's traditional culinary specialties are not based on fish, but on what might be called "country cooking." Suckling pig and wild boar roasted on the spit; rustic stews with wild vegetables and hearty beans; light, dry breads; sheep's and cow's cheeses; fresh herbs such as myrtle and mint; and delightful, colorful sweets - these have been the traditional elements of Sardinian cuisine for a thousand years. The quintessential pasta of Sardegna is malloreddus, a small gnocchi made from durum wheat semolina, salt and water, and given its distinctive yellow color by the addition of saffron.

ANTIPASTI - Appetizers
Minestra di Ceci - Chickpea Soup
with fresh fennel bulb, red onion, garlic and fresh sage

PRIMI - Pasta and Rice
Agnello con Fregola - Hearty Lamb Stew
with onions, fresh tomatoes, fresh herbs and fregola pasta

Risotto all'Aragosta - In-Shell Lobster Tail
with saffron risotto

Malloredus con Vongole - Saffron Pasta with Clams
in a light EVOO, garlic and fresh herb sauce

SECONDI - Meat and Fish
Pesce alla Cagliaritana - Fresh Fish of the Day
pached in a walnut, garlic, parsley broth
served with sautéed spinach

Cosciotto di Maiale - Braised Leg of Pork
in red wine, garlic and onions
served with borlotti beans with fennel bulb

Wines from Sardegna to enjoy with dinner or
take home at retail pricing:

Argiolas Costera Cannonau ’05 $33 (retail $26)

Argiolas Vermentino Costomolino’06 $27 (retail $20)


Classic Menu

Menu Classico d’ESTATE
Nani’s mission is to promote the Italian culture through authentic presentation of its cuisine.

ANTIPASTI ED INSALTE - appetizers and salads
broccoli rabe sautéed with EVOO, garlic, red pepper flake
Bruschetta Pomodoro
on the Italian table ‘bruschetta’ means ‘bread burned a little bit’
this one is topped with fresh tomatoes, EVOO, and oregano

sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, olive oil

Prosciutto e Mozzarella
salted & aged, air-cured ham, fresh mozzarella

Prosciutto e Melone
salted & aged, air-cured ham, fresh sliced cantaloupe

Bresaola e Parmigiano
air-cured beef & shaved Parmigiano, lemon & EVOO

*Cozze o Vongole
choose either fresh black mussels or fresh tiny clams ‘in bianco o rosso’, either a spicy white wine broth or a light but spicy tomato sauce

sautéed snails with garlic, red pepper flake, tomatoes, mint

Insalata Mista
greens, dried oregano, tomatoes & Nani’s croutons, balsamic dressing

Insalata Tutte Cose
fresh spinach tossed with carrot, celery, red onion, capers, pine nuts, Parmigiano, anchovy then dressed with EVOO & lemon juice

Insalata con Gorgonzola
romaine, Gorgonzola, walnuts, red wine vinegar dressing

Insalata d’Asparagi e Nocciole
fresh watercress, grilled asparagus, toasted hazelnuts, shaved Parmigiano Reggiano

RISOTTO …velvety Italian Rice
Risotto del Giorno
ask your server about today’s risotto

RAVIOLI…handmade pasta stuffed with ricotta cheese & mint
Ravioli di Ricotta
with a sauce of fresh tomatoes, zucchini, & basil

PASTA CON VERDURA…pasta with vegetabless

Spaghetti Pomodoro
The classic, simple tomato sauce of Italy. Sauté a bit of garlic in EVOO, toss in tomatoes, simmer, add torn basil, toss with pasta…eccogli!

Linguine Contadina
tomato sauce with onion, zucchini, eggplant, Pecorino Romano
Linguine con Melone
fresh cantaloupe, tomato, a touch of cream & Parmigiano

Linguine all Checca
simply the best ingredients Italy has to offer - diced fresh tomatoes, herbs & fresh mozzarella tossed with hot EVOO

Orecchiette alle Verdure
EVOO, asparagus, zucchini, peas, herbs and Pecorino

Orecchiette con Vruccoli
broccoletti, fresh tomatoes, pine nuts, raisins, Pecorino

Linquine con Tartufi
Mascarpone, truffle butter, lemon, Parmigiano Reggiano

Linquine con Noci
walnut cream sauce with Parmigiano Reggiano

PASTA CON CARNE…pasta with meat sauce
*Spaghetti all'Amatriciana
THE classic Roman dish! guanciale (cured pork jowl), onion, tomato, Pecorino Romano, black pepper

*Penne con Salsicce
Nani’s pork sausage, tomato, bell peppers, fresh mozzarella

Penne con Ragu
a slow cooked tomato, meat and vegetable sauce
Penne con Prosciutto
Prosciutto, asparagus, cream and Parmigiano Reggiano

*Penne alla Norcina
Nani's sausage, pancetta, truffle butter, Parmigiano Reggiano

Spaghetti Carbonara
pancetta, Parmigiano & Pecorino, egg yolk & pepper

PASTA CON PESCE…pasta with seafood
*Linguine con Aragosta
in-shell lobster tail, onions, tomato, parsley

Fregola al Pescatore
fresh mussels, clams & fish of the day, fresh tomato & parsley

Linguine con Granchio
Dungeness crab meat, watercress, lemon

SECONDI PIATTI ... meat or fish course
Bistecca di Manzo
12 - 15oz rib-eye steak finished to your liking: simply grilled, with a light white wine gorgonzola sauce, or with a light tomato, oregano sauce

Stinco d'Agnello
a lamb shank slowly braised with pancetta, tomatoes, pistachios, garlic & rosemary

Quaglie Agrodolce
two quail marinated with honey & balsamic vinegar, wrapped in pancetta then grilled

Scallopine con Marsala
veal cutlets simmered with a Marsala mushroom sauce

Pesce con Salsa Verde
Ask your server about the Fresh Fish of the Day
baked with a caper, parsley, breadcrumb sauce

*Frutti di Mare
today's fresh fish & shellfish in a flavorful & slightly spicy broth with tomato, onions, herbs & white wine served with grilled ciabatta
Tags: food, friends-notre dame era, musical, personal, restaurants, travel, travel-2007 wyoming

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