I have arrived in Florence, land of beautiful streets, museums, David, and hordes of Japanese and American tourists. We (the staff) are happy to be here, though sad to have left the very real world of Rome for the somewhat more Disney-fied (literally -- there is a Disney store next to our hotel), more expensive city that is this place. The kids, on the other hand, seem downright ecstatic to be here (so far), as this town is much more manageable and easier to get to know that Rome is.
The days have been busy, though I don't really feel like describing every place we've visited and sight we've seen. Suffice it to say that we've seen some pretty damn cool art (Bernini sculptures, Caravaggio paintings), some beautiful churches, some freaky places (the bone church), and we've eaten some damn fine food.
I would like, however, to highlight one particular dining experience that we enjoyed our last night in Rome. Victoria brought us to a place that she knew from here days living here, in the neighborhood of Trastevere (somewhat trendy, near the Tiber river). The restaurant is run by a man named Gianni, who cooks food in his kitchen (his home kitchen) and serves a prix-fixe meal in the street in front of his house. In the wintertime, he serves food in his kitchen, at tightly-packed tables.
Here is how we ordered our entire meal (with little to no explanation of what was going on) -- We merely responded to the following questions:
1. White wine or red?
2. Pasta carbonara or amatriciana?
3. Chicken or squid?
Beyond the food that we answered in these cases, the waiter brought us over appetizers (a potato/carrot/garlic puree, beans, bruschetta), bread, watermelon (as dessert), and a bottle of limoncello with three glasses at the end of the meal. The food was stellar (I rate it among the top five meals of my life, never have I tasted chicken so flavorful and tender, so perfectly cooked) and the experience amazing, quirky, and very "real" feeling (not cliche, though it could easily be so).
After the meal, we shared a few laughs with Gianni and company, took a few pictures, and read the brief New York Times article about the place that was hanging on the kitchen wall. You can read that article here.
Enjoy! More to come soon.