Friday, April 26, 2013

Firenze--day one {travelogue}

i should really keep a food journal
not in the way that you think
i don't want it to scold myself
but to
extol the pleasures of each and every bite
lovely lines filled with prose
explanations of the blissful moment
that fork meets mouth
i would show it to my internist
as i step on the scale
so he might be so wrapped in envy
he'd forget to scold
fat chance
today was our first full day in italy
we rented an apartment
both for economy and luxury
i like to fill a fridge
fresh fruit
and other simple provisions
so each meal isn't eaten out
we can enjoy lazy mornings reading the local paper
or catching up on email

those gorgeous hotel breakfasts served in europe are mostly lost on me
i like to ease into my day
and an apartment in the heart of the city 
affords me that luxury
as luck would have it
for longer stays the cost savings can be quite extraordinary

we dropped in to the local market last evening and stocked the fridge
this morning, i popped down to our local bakery and fruit stand to pick up a couple of things for breakfast
i made a pot of coffee
set up breakfast on the veranda
and enjoyed our
beautiful view of the duomo
these incredible fragoline
(wild strawberries from sicily)
are tiny and pure white on the inside
and are sweet as they are small
with pure strawberry flavor
we are drying a few on the counter
so we can bring them back home to plant
hopefully they will germinate

post breakfast we walked, and walked, and walked some more
this town is crowded
people everywhere

i was in school here in the 1980s and for the last decade or so
i've tried to make it back every year
each time
there are larger crowds
the secret is definitely out
i do still feel the charm of a city i loved in my youth

speaking of the secret being out
we had lunch at one of my favorite spots
it used to be a sleepy little place
in a lesser known square on the oltroarno
partly by my own fault (telling anyone who would listen)
partly because of it hitting the guidebook circuit
it has become very, very popular
the prices remain low
the quality high

is a true gem
with simple yet delicious food
i always get the gnocchi tartufo
(small portion--still enough to share)
with a small salad

the restaurant shared with me the ingredients for the gnocchi..but not the recipe.  i have successfully duplicated the sauce  both with pasta and potatoes. i may be persuaded to share!

mike went with the rabbit cacciatore
which was equally delicious

on our way back to the apartment
we stopped in at the gallileo museum
it is a relatively small space
filled with the most amazing instruments
used in applied sciences
like this early thermometer
which beautifully marries
form and function
it also houses
gallileo's mummified finger
if you are looking for a draw for your teenage son
fully grown husband

the day progressed with more walking
an afternoon relax
ginormous steak
bistecca fiorentina

it is over 2lbs of dry aged beef
fired grilled
3 inches thick
medium rare on the exterior
blood rare inside
juicy and tender
a must try

while just about everyone serves a version of this steak in florence
not everyone does it well
if you find a bargain
it may just taste like a bargain
it is a treat
so treat yourself
skimp tomorrow
we enjoyed ours at
an old establishment
with cloth napkins
and attentive service
they are lovely
and the food is delicious
pair with a nice barolo
dig in
*be nice while you are there, and they may give you a restaurant apron...just like the one they gave me!

tomorrow we are off on a day trip to pisa and lucca
historic sights and olive oil
what more is there in life?
lots more meals
and i will share them all with you

but if you run into my doctor
just mention you heard i was doing a lot of walking
and drinking lots of water
that's a good distraction



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