Friday, May 13, 2011

Italian Getaway - Day 1 (part 2)

After the various ring shopping, we did some sight-seeing. We walked all around Florence and really took in the city. We took some photos in the Piazza Vecchio like bunch of dorks,
checked out the Duomo,
found a 99 Cent store (oddly, they’re called 99 Euro stores in Europe) that Rita would have been infuriated by,
found amazing purple snakeskin shoes for me and rainbow snakeskin purses for D.Rough, and window shopped some Armani, Prada, Versace, and Gucci stores.
We had just hit a local street market and started shopping when we realized we were starving.

We found a small cafĂ© (Antica Pasticceria Sieni) and thought we should grab a sandwich or two and take a break. Remember, we’ve gotten off a 11-hour travel spree, looked at a hundred rings, walked all over Florence, and did some window shopping, and it’s only lunch time. It even amazes US.
We had a salami sandwich, which was garlicky and olive oily (in a good way) and also got a mozzarella sandwich with tomato, which was pretty standard. D.Rough also got a lobster tail pastry – like they have on Cake Boss – and an espresso (to help keep her eyes open). D.Rough also got to use one of the first Italian phrases we learned – Dov’è La Toilette?, to which the server responded in Italian, which didn’t help at all. D.Rough is Italian so she understood his flailing hand gestures enough to find the restroom.

Commence window shopping and street market perusing... Seriously, we were having an amazing time, despite the fact we were dead-ass tired. Closer to our hotel on the way back, we were picking up some waters (always safer to drink bottled water in Europe), and D.Rough bought a coconut slice outside the Pitti Palace – what is the Pitti Palace anyway?
We probably should have looked that up. Next time.

We put our things back in the hotel room and headed back out for more walking. We strolled around and grabbed a bottle of limoncello at a nice wine store called Obseqvivm to celebrate with back in the room on our first night in Florence in a few years. We then looked at menus posted outside all the restaurants. We found one that looked promising – La Costaletta. We walked down into the basement of this building and got a table for two.

They brought us a paper bag of thick super-dense bread (which would be amazing for pan-fried croutons, we decided), but it sort of got pasty in your mouth if you ate too much. A little plate of olive oil, balsamic, and some parmesan would have been an awesome enhancement to this bread since it really tasted quite good.

We ordered a bottle of house red (that’s what you do in Italy – just get the house wine. It’s going to be better than anything I’m familiar with and I don’t want to spend a bunch on wine, when we’re going to be drinking tons of it anyway).

We ordered an appetizer of bread with bacon fat slices on it (totally my idea, aren’t you surprised?) and garlic pieces in the bread. Really good but had less flavor than you’d think.

D.Rough got a bowl of delicious onion soup with a giant parmesan cheese encrusted piece of that thick bread in it.

I ordered wild boar parpadelle – super good meat sauce with whole pepper corns in it – unique flavor bursts with some sting.

D.Rough got pork medallions cooked in a honey/chile glaze served with a garlicky but delicious cooked spinach.

I got the horse – I’m not kidding. It had a disappointing lack of flavor, but there was a huge portion of it. I was hoping I’d be able to recommend it to all my friends, but it simply doesn’t have enough flavor to brag about. D.Rough wouldn’t even try it.

We finished the meal with Panna Cotta, but it was a little firm. It had a great chocolate-y sauce all over it, which completely made up for the firmness issue we had. It was a great meal overall, especially since I got to try two unusual meats and eat slices of lard on some toast.

We headed out into the night and did a bit more walking around Florence, particularly along the river Arno, which is beautifully lit at night, especially around the Ponte Vecchio. Then we headed back for our limoncello nightcap. We crashed HARD.

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