Monday, May 16, 2011

Italian Getaway - Day 2 (part 2)

We got a recommendation for a restaurant from Guido at Bernardo’s Antique jewelry store, but decided against using it based on the price. It looked like a good place and we probably would have been treated really well there, but with the cash we had just dropped on the ring and the trip in general, we thought we’d do something a bit more low brow. Plus we overslept from our nap and didn’t think we could get in without a reservation.

We walked a bit on the other side of the Arno River and came across a fabulous-sounding place that had the steak I had been looking for - Chianina Beef – one of the oldest lines of cattle in the world from 30 B.C. or something is the claim. We kept referring to it as Jesus beef for that reason. We found this restaurant with it on the menu - Osteria de' Benci. It also said it was “Served Bloody” right on the menu posted outside. What does that even mean?! We went inside to find out.
The menu listed some sort of bacon pasta dish that I thought I’d get, since we were trying to not spend a huge sum of money. However, I kept going back to the Chianina steak. But, you know me – I caved in a serious manner when I saw them bring out a steak for someone else. It looked amazing. We got a plate of salami, olive oil, and grilled artichokes – really delicious, in fact. We also got a bottle of house red that ended up being really incredible and better than the previous night’s red. We split a plate of spaghetti, cooked al dente, that was one of the better dishes of pasta we’ve had. The server brought out the raw steak on a large platter and told us “This is your steak this evening. It is one kilogram and five hundred grams. This is ok?” I was drooling and D.Rough said, “Yes, it’s perfect!” I was half worried, they were going to put it on the table in front of us since they said they serve these bloody. They didn’t, thankfully. Let’s go back to what the server started with – one kilogram five hundred grams is big. In fact, it’s really big. This is a 52.9 ounce steak. My record previously was a 36 oz porterhouse at Ruth’s Chris. This was waaaay bigger than that. I’m glad I had my lady along to help.

The steak came back and looked quite cooked. AND delicious. I figured I’d start on the bigger side (the strip steak side) and I’d give D.Rough the Porterhouse. It was mostly pre-sliced into sections so it was easy to maneuver. And it was raw and bloody on the inside – they weren’t lying on the menu. This doesn’t bother either of us one bit, so we dug in. … into the most delicious piece of steak I’ve ever had. Seriously, it was amazing. Normally when meat is rare, you have to chew and chew and chew. This wasn’t like that. It broke down nicely and had the best flavor I’ve ever had in a steak. I demolished my entire side pretty quickly. My jaw only got a little tired from the chewing. Midway through the strip steak side, I grabbed a couple bites of the porterhouse side – D.Rough’s side was even better than my side. Holy cow. Literally. This is the new reason we are calling this the Jesus steak. It was incredible. I’ll quit babbling about it, but you need to try it if you’re there. You’ll pay out the ass for it, but you’ll be glad you did. The whole meal was very simple ingredients cooked perfectly. No crazy sauces or complex recipes. Just solid cooking.

The restaurant was on a party street as it turns out. Tons of bars with young college-age drinkers spilling out on to the street and blocking the crazy traffic. Party whores galore!!! We weren’t anywhere near done drinking, so we pushed our way through the crowd and found a Scottish bar called the Tartan Jock. So we found a Scottish bar in Italy and it was run by Asians. It’s the perfect storm!!! We ordered some scotch (Dalwhinnie for me and Johnny Black for D.Rough) and a Bulmer’s cider (even though it’s Irish, technically) to split. We chilled out in the increasingly-noisy pub and headed out for more walking. We were a million miles from our hotel, and D.Rough needed to stop for some mobile proseco. She found a small bottle in a shop, paid for it, popped it open, and then we set out across Florence. We stopped for a bit in a small piazza where all kinds of people were just hanging out, then we headed towards home.

We were walking down an alley and a street juggler was doing his thing. D.Rough stopped to look into the window of a fancy bridal shop (Atelier Aimee) and the juggler said in a hilarious voice, “Uh Oh…. She wants to MARRY you! You are in the SHIT!!” Such a hilarious end to the evening. Well, AFTER we got back to the hotel and finished the previous night’s bottle of limoncello – THAT was the end of the evening.

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