Eating Without Regrets

I just love waking up in Florence. There is just something unreal about this place. You can be wandering down a small cramped street and suddenly it will open onto an expansive piazza grounded by a ponderous medieval palace. That is the experience we had tonight. I can’t help but wonder what this square felt like to local residents hundreds of years ago.

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But first …When I got up this morning, I grabbed breakfast ( the usual hotel fare) and headed to the conference, which has been great. The talks have mostly been really good; very interesting subject matter and very important. I think S is enjoying it as well and I’m really glad she is here.

That said, the marathon flight has caught up to me and I had to beg off late in the afternoon as I just couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore. Instead I went shopping.

Here’s the deal. My luggage still isn’t here. There’s no evidence that the airline knows where it is. I have no idea when I will get my bag and I need clean clothes. Air France, on their website, says they will cover necessity goods such as personal hygiene products and clothing. I’m not certain whether that means necessity clothes (ie underwear) or actual clothes, but I went with the latter, deciding to match the missing clothes in quality.

This, of course, meant that I stopped by Hugo Boss (there is no Gap here). And I bought one pair of pants and one shirt, and we look good together. The salesman suggested to S that her “husband” might like a certain pair of shoes, but at €350 we declined.

After this S and I were off to dinner. We went to la Giostra, which is a slow food restaurant that I went to with mom and dad many years ago. I had many good memories of the place, and I now have many more.

First, we sat down and they offered us a complimentary glass of Prosecco. We of course declined. …. What? No of course we didn’t – that was silly of me. it was the perfect aperitif to begin the evening.

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This was followed by complementary plate of crostini with pate, bruschetta with sublime tomatoes, mortadella made with donkey ham (yes you read that right), celeriac with mayonnaise, eggplant, peppers, and spinach puffs. I don’t think S was excited about eating the ass but she enjoyed it and is glad she did.

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Now we were rolling. The next was a straciatella of burrata. When this arrived as a big mound of sloppy pure white goo I had no idea how to even approach it. The waiter poured some honey over the top, mixed it in, and dished out a little bit onto our plates with fig jelly. This was the best thing ever. It was cheesy, creamy, sweet, and fruity. I could’ve eaten this all night.

Given that actually licking our plates would’ve been unseemly, we wiped them down with the bread on the table. Where good food is involved there is no place in the universe for shame.

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My Primo was a pappardelle pasta with a Wild boar sauce. It had a tomato based sauce flavored with juniper berries. It was earthy, gamey, and just incredible. The flavors were a perfect match for the region and the season.

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My secondo was a cutlet of veal with an artichoke sauce. The artichokes were fresh tender sweet and Unlike any other artichoke pasta sauce I’ve ever had before. This is why I’m growing my own artichokes – for dishes like this. This was served with potatoes that were panfried and infused with the flavor of onion, as well as roasted carrots. I don’t know how they got that much onion flavor and umami into these dishes but they were remarkable.

After this we nursed our glasses of wine late into the evening and grabbed gelati on the way back to the hotels, with one brief side trip to show S the Palazzo Vecchio.

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