It takes a while for me to settle in. It isn't so much the unpacking but the putting things away in their proper order. I never thought that I had Obsessive Compulsive Disorder but I even felt it necessary to rearrange the books in the book shelf.
So, although we are all settled now, I can truly say, with a tiny bit of shame, that other than putting the apartment in order, we have pretty much only been going out to lunch and an occasional dinner. Oh, and I’ve been cooking at home.
The top picture is our winter garden view. The gardner was just here tilling the soil and I suspect that before we know it the covers will come off of the lilies and we will have some roses. I only throw in that picture to make up for the fact that at the rest will be food.
Our first meal was at Franchescovini, Borgo dei Greci 7r, www.franvescovini.com. Fabio, the young owner, filled us in on all of the neighborhood changes. The economy has not been kind to Florence. But we were there to eat so we started by sharing the Tuscan pasta specialty, Pici which is a rolled spaghetti. It was in a simple but perfect tomato sauce. I had the chicken with truffle sauce and Arnie had the filet with balsamic vinegar sauce. It was a wonderful welcome home.
We were lucky to score a table at a favorite, Vini Vecchi Sapore, via dei Magazine, 3. It is usually necessary to have a reservation, even this early. That is frustrating to the Florentine regulars who hold court there with Mario, the owner, who just recently gave up his post at the salad making station. It is frustrating to returning customers as well but we know the drill, get there before 12:45 or make a reservation. We had the most amazing pasta with pancetta and sautéed cavolo nero (Tuscan black kale) olive oil and butter. How could something so simple taste so amazing? Every component was perfect. I then had the roasted Guinea fowl with a fennel gratin, and Arnie had the Peposo, Tuscan peppery beef stew. Perfection.
Another all time favorite is Belcore, via dell’Albero, 30, www.ristorantebelcore.it. Everything there is perfection. Unfortunately, they don't do lunch anymore, except Easter, so we had to go to dinner. Abdel is an unbelievably generous host. Everyone is started with a complimentary glass of Prosecco followed by an amuse bouche. We usually share an appetizer, first course and dessert and get our own entree. Not this time. Abdel insisted that in addition to the salmon shuffle on a bed of avocado that we ordered, we must have the braised beef tongue. They were both marvelous. Then we shared the tortellini stuffed with braised pork shank. I had the fish of the day crusted with pistachio and Arnie had the Peopso stew again, this time with a side of poached pear. We ordered the poached pear and creme anglaise and also got the meringue dessert. Then there were the cookies, and the after dinner wine and the after dinner grappa. Good Lord. How did we ever get to sleep that night!
A new favorite from last year is Zibibbo 2.0, via delle Seggiole, 14r, www.ristorantezibibbo.it. It is similar to Belcore without all of the free stuff. It is a lovely space and it is open for lunch. On our first visit we each had a first course, shared a pasta and each had an entree and shared a dessert. That seems reasonable doesn't it?
Arnie started with the octopus salad and I had the creamed cod stacked with roasted red peppers. We weren't going to have a pasta but how could we pass up the tortellini filled with salmon served with lemon cream? I had the sea bass on a bed of fennel and Arnie had the shrimp with a calamari and squid ink flan. I said it was good. Then for dessert we shared a chocolate boudino, a cross between a cake and a pudding. Dessert does come with a complimentary glass of the dessert wine, Zibibbo. Also, we got a 50% discount for being repeat customers since the waitress remembered us from last year. Actually, anyone who goes on line and signs up can get the 50% discount lunch card. What a deal!
Im not patient enough to tell you EVERYTHING that we ate. That seems a little over-the top, but you can click on the link below and see the gallery of February Feasts.
Some of the highlights were the cannolo at Lo Skipper, Buratta and Cavolo Nero crostini at Cipolla Rossa, chestnut gnocchi at La Maremma, Goose breast carpaccio at Antico Fattore, the steamed octopus appetizer at da Lino.
And, of course, among the very best was every meal we had at home.
Here are the rest of the pictures of our February Feasts