Thursday, April 1, 2010

mario and sergio: the men in my life.

I'm too tired (and my internet is moving too slowly) to upload all of the pics necessary to portray my London adventures to you, but I will tell you a bit about my day today and my weekend plans....

I got up early for class this morning, but I didn't have history this afternoon, so I got to come home early. When Gillian and Sam woke up, we all headed out together to run a few errands.

First on the list...

Looking at adorable bunnies of course! With Easter coming up on Sunday, it certainly seemed appropriate. We actually checked out the bunnies while we were waiting for an available spot at...

Trattoria Mario.
API had recommended this spot to us in the handbook they gave us at orientation, but we never got around to trying it until today. BIG MISTAKE. It is such a great little typical Italian joint. It was totally packed. We had to wait around 30-40 minutes for 3 of us to be seated. We were given a 4-person table, then, in true Italian style, they seated a random stranger at our table with us after we'd begun eating. Fortunately, he was a pretty cool guy.

The restaurant itself is really tiny, and there are two longer tables, cafeteria style, then several smaller 4-person tables in the back, all crammed together. The menu is handwritten up at the front, along with a bunch of other signs such as one that said Vietato chiedere ketch up!!! (It is forbidden to order ketchup) and others commenting on the fact that they do not use a freezer (everything is totally fresh!) and that their stock is not made with bouillon cubes, but actually chicken and vegetables.
Sam and I ordered minestra di riso e fagioli (rice and bean soup) while Gillian had the ribollita (typical Tuscan cabbage soup with bread). Everything was delicious and we walked out paying only around 6 euro each. Quite cheap for a true Italian experience. We plan to become regulars
there, and I think that Gillian and I have officially become Sergio's regulars as well. That is our usual Wednesday lunch spot, where they gave us extra bread for free this week. That sort of favor is how you know that you are in with the restaurant. Go us!
After lunch, I had wanted to go to a park or something to enjoy the weather...which had rapidly disintegrated during lunch into an all-out storm. Boo! So we came home and played with KinderEgg toys.

The boats that you get in the eggs do not float, FYI.
(P.S. Orange and blue!!)
Later in the evening, I got really adventurous and decided to recreate something we made in my cooking class last night, since I wasn't in the actual group that made it. It is a pasta dish called spaghetti alla'amantricia. I used whole wheat spaghetti and made the sauce from a base of olive oil and pancetta, which is a streaky and flavorful Italian bacon, along with garlic and tomatoes that had been chopped and peeled. At the end, of course, I doused it with a good handful of freshly grated Parmaggiano-Reggiano cheese. I was quite impressed with myself, and there was even enough for Sam and Gillian to try it and declare me a master chef (okay, maybe they didn't go that far, but it was definitely good!).

In the midst of preparation. I forgot take a shot of the final product because it smelled so good and I was starving!

This weekend is going to be simultaneously relaxing and busy. Tomorrow, I'm hoping I'll get to do what I had planned for the day: go to the Cascine Park to read my book. However, it looks like the weather may not cooperate, so my backup plan is to head to the Uffizi museum, which I still have not visited...whoops.

Saturday, Gillian and I have a full day trip to Bologna planned. Because the trains are so odd with their timing and cost, it is cheapest for us to catch an early 8:30 AM train and then stay until around 8 PM at night, so we will be eating two meals there and likely spending some time in coffee shops around the city. Luckily, Bologna is known as being a culinary Mecca, and also has a lot of historical sites to see. Hopefully it will be enough to keep us busy for a full day!

Sunday is Easter, which is a big deal here in Italy (obviously, with the Catholics and all that). There are a lot of events going on around the city, most notably the "Exploding Cart" on Sunday morning after Mass at the Duomo. I'll explain more about that later.

Then Monday, no one has class, so there are no solid plans yet, but I am sure that we will find some sort of trouble to get into...

Tomorrow morning before I head wherever the wind takes me, I should have time to update on my British vacation. Ciao!


  1. hey, you mastered that dish as far as i'm concerned. i'd eat it again!! :)

  2. Glad to see that you finally approve of a couple of Italian guys....sounds like you like guys that can handle a kitchen.