Monthly Archives: April 2012

italy, day 12

well this is gonna be brief:

-lunch: very simple lasagne from the cafeteria (but definitely fancier than the breadcrumb thing and a little tastier as well)

-dinner: tja: bread, stuff from the ‘salad bar’ from the supermarket: mixed mushrooms (not good, I had two bites and threw them away), mixed somethinges: artichokes (there they are again), sundried tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms and olives: much better, nice with the bread.

tomorrow I’ll do better. I promise


Italy, day 11

yesterday was the day of simple food.

It started with lunch, I was cold, and I saw they had pasta in the cafeteria, I thought it looked like carbonara, so great, and ordered it. Turned out, it was pasta with old bread!! Wow. I think it might be pushing the idea of simple food and few ingredients a little bit too much. Not that it didn’t taste. It was ok, a bit boring maybe. It was cold, unfortunately, and definitely not a carbonara. But well ok, learnt something again, I didn’t know this variety yet.

For dinner I went to the same pizza place i was with colleagues before, with a nice view of the Piazza. I ordered a quatro stagioni, which I used to offer all the time, but I let some variation slip in, and hence, I had not yet eaten a quaro stagioni. Not a good thing, so I decided to catch up. The pizza was nice, so was the ham, the artichokes and the champignons (fresh, of course), the olives were not good, something from a glass I think, you know, those black ones without stone, in water? They are only ok if you cook them in something for a while, not just like this. Anyway, nice pizza, nice view.


Italy, day 10

This was the day of challenging food experiences. Challenging with respect to: how to eat it and with respect to quantity. Right now, right after dinner, I feel as if I will never eat again anymore. (its a good thing I know tomorrow morning this isn’t true anymore)

Anyway, for lunch I though I’d buy myself a nice panino from one of the shops here that have all these great hams and salamis hanging around. I came into a shop, and the guy in the shop immediately asked me: fame? si, I said enthusiastically (probably this was my mistake, i should probably have said, a little or so). And then he started listing in very rapid italian what I could have on my panino. Luckily I had already made my decision, this was going to be salami. He cut me very generous slices of salami and put them on a very generous piece of panino (is panino not a kind of diminutive in Italian???), and asked whether I’d like some cheese too. This I did, so I got some very generous slices of pecorino on the bread as well.

Back in the hotel i was really hungry and happy to have my bread.The salami and cheese were really great, and in fact so was the bread, but it had a crust that would be impossible to eat with anyone with less stroner teeth than I do. I even worried about my teeth(and they are really strong). This was a little bit too much crust for me. And as it turns out, too much bread as well. But never mind, dinner is late here, so i had a second serving of the bread around 4 pm.

Then dinner. For dinner, I went to a restaurant recommended by my good friend, namely la Torre, which is, indeed very close to the tower. The first challenge was that the owner immediately started talking Italian to me and listing the options for the primi (that is, after I succesfully ordered water and wine). In other words: I did not get a paper menu. Ok, I can deal with that. Gnocchi al pomodore. I did not have gnocchi all these days, so that seemed a good choice (although they also offered pici. hm hm nice). The gnocchi came within two minutes (wow that was quick), and they were nice. That is, the tomato sauce was very good (probably got quite some butter in it), the gnocchi had a very nice consistency, but were, to my taste, a little too potatoee, but, again, that’s my taste, this might actually be how they ought to be. anyway, half way through my gnocchi the owner asked me if i wanted carne: again listing in Italian. He mentioned anatra, now that sounded familiar, but what was it again, ah duck he said. very good!. ok i thought, why not have duck.

I did but not immediately want it and tried to explain and he understood. So, after I was done with my gnocchi, one of the cooks came to my table and took the plate and asked again whether i wanted meat. So I said yes, the duck please. Vegetables? Asparagus? Oh yes please! And I kid you not, in less than a minute i was brought a plate with what seemed like half a duck, and half a minute later the asparagus came.

The duck was, again, a challenge. It must have been cooked for ages, and just waiting in its fat for someone to order it, which was me. It was stone hard, i could not exactly recognize which part it was, I figure a wing and a breast. The skin was beyond crusty, and had some resemblance in consistency with a bread I had this afternoon. And it was salty. So, I am sorry to say, but it was not very good at all. It was edible, yes. and tasty in a sense. but not very good. And moreover, it came way too quickly after the gnocchi, I had really hoped for a little break, but no, the show went on immediately. Can these people really eat like that themselves?? (side remark, they probably do, there was a group of big man sitting at a table next to me devouring huge amounts of ossobuco and potatoes in no time). But, on the good side: the asparagus, well done, with great olive oil a little salt and a few drops of lemon juice. perfect. So next time, when I remember it, I’ll eat a pasta and then just vegetables.

I hope I will remember it. To sum up: really kind people, but please order less, or share, of come when you are really really hungry.

Italy, day 9

Only lunch was exciting today, or well, very nice, if not exciting. Dinner was the same as yesterday (and man is this pit cheese nice!).

Anyway, I decided to be a tourist today, and I went to San Gimignano. The ride with the bus through tuscany was already very nice, beautiful views. When I arrived in SG I first thought I was landed in tourist hell. Incredibly touristic, tourist shops with typical tuscan products (ceramics, ham, olive wood, wine, pasta, and just stuff) everywhere. One street, which leads directly to the place where the duomo is, crowded, and basically consisting of these shops. I decided I needed to get a map as soon as possible to get away from the crowds, so I went to the tourist information (for which I had to join all the other tourist to the piazza.) Strangely enough the tourist information was empty (what then, were all those tourist doing there? Did they already know there way around? Did they only wanted to see the piazza and then go shopping? I have no idea). anyway, i got myself a map, and this showed a walking route along or on the old walls, around San Gimignano. So, I started walking, and this was the best part of my visit, cause SG is built relatively high on a hill, by waking the wall, you get the most spectacular views of tuscany. beautiful, really.

Because of the walking, I of course got hungry, and luckily I stumbled upon a nice restaurant: Dulcis in Fundo, a nice place, with, when door and window are opened a very nice view on the hills of tuscany. When I arrived it was empty, so i picked the best place, looking out the door. Not only the view was good. The restaurant was too. The waitress and waiter were very kind and relaxed and the food was good too. I ordered bruschetta and again pici (it is turning into my favourite pasta, pity, cannot easily get it at home) this time with tomato sauce. Both were perfect. The bruschetta had very nice fresh sweet tomatos, and thank god no raw onions (in germany very often you get it with raw onion in it. Why? I think it is much better without it) and a very nice oil.

The pici too were very tasty and the tomato sauce great, not to sweet not to sour.

I had ordered a Vernaccia to drink, cause I thought, if not in San Gimignano, then where else will i find a good one. And indeed, good too. A little hard to describe. Definitely not my favourite white wine (i liked the vermentino I had last summer muh better), but at least this was a good one, unlike the ones I had drunk at the piazza, which were okish.

Anyway, go visit San Gimignano, don’t worry about the crowded street, go walk the wall, and then visit dulcisinfundo for lunch or dinner.