Posted by: francescacoviello | September 19, 2010

BLOG-Style Writing Assignment.

Food Impact in Florence

It’s been almost three weeks since arriving in Italy, and I’m still in search of a memorable meal in Florence. Wandering up into the hills surrounding the city, I stumbled upon a lovely family-owned place called La Terraza Del Principe. The scenery was breathtaking, my friends and I stayed for over 3 hours to completely absorb the view and hospitality, even though our supper was only decent. Unfortunately, living in the center of the city has seduced me into the convenience of restaurants, rather than quality. The menu prices around the Duomo are rather unreasonable, yet I sit to eat in high hopes of fulfillment. Most of the eatery’s in the area claim to have the most typical and delicious dishes of Firenze, but I beg to differ.  Given the assignment to further research my neighborhood dining, I read through several guidebooks to ensure I would finally find an establishment worth writing about. After much research and determination, I chose the well-reviewed Palle D’Oro, a local trattoria on Via San’Antonio.

Jenny, who was my dining partner for the occasion, is a vegetarian. As much as I was feeling adventurous, I decided to keep my agenda on the opposite spectrum of tripe. When we entered, we were excited to learn there was a bit of a wait. This meant it was crowded for a reason, and seemed true – as all the tables were seated with natives, not tourists. In broken Italian, I explained to the server that I wanted to eat the traditional Tuscan plates, without upsetting my date (no meat, especially boar or cow stomach). He suggested the Ribollita as a starter, which I was pleased to order after hearing so much about in my cooking class. It was an extremely tasty treat, full of flavor and different textures. The soup is considered hearty for good reason; I just wish it were a bit hotter when served. Knowing my always-avid appetite, I could have devoured every morsel of beans, carrots and onion in the soggy bread mixture – but I abstained in order to enjoy more carbs. For the entrée, spinach and ricotta stuffed ravioli with porcini mushrooms, cream and truffle oil. I was happy to accept his recommendation because anything truffle and cheesy is my favorite. Other than the spinach in the ravioli, I was surprised when he considered it a Florentine classic. But it was perfect. With my eagerness to experience pasta so good I could ‘lick my plate clean,’ I finally (practically) did. The sauce wasn’t too thick and the portion was just right.

The 15-person group next to our table really had my mouth watering. These Italians knew exactly what they were doing, family style. In between two of the (what seemed like) 5 courses, they were presented with 4 massive Bistecca Fiorentina. I immediately felt “order’s remorse” when it arrived on the table. Sides of fried vegetables and patante fritte accompanied the succulent beef. (I’ve purposely been holding off on indulging with steak. I’m saving the experiment for Acqua Al Due’s famous blueberry bistecca I have heard so much about). It didn’t make sense for me to order a 40 Euro cut of meat for myself, in front of an anti-carne friend, so I overcame my regret by requesting the dolce menu. Nothing particularly intrigued my sweet tooth, so Jenny and I decided to have french fries for dessert. They were thick, greasy and salty, overall fabulous. We finished our vino and paid the bill, both agreeing that it was a success. The selection of gnocchi and other Italian specialties at Palle D’Oro compliment the prices. It is safe to say I agree with the positive feedback about this trattoria, and encourage others to encounter the friendly service just on the outskirts of San Lorenzo.

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