Thursday, February 25, 2010

Night & Day

Did that get your attention?
I didn't in all honesty know how to start this post, but i figured a picture is worth a thousand words - that's a good way to start, no?
Apple-cinnamon vanilla YOGOATS (yogurt + oatmeal)!
I diced an apple and threw it in the oat pot to let it cook and soak in the cinnamon, and then layered my yogurt and oats because, well, it's pretty!

After my delicious parfait, my roommate Alaina and I wandered out to see if we could find the great hole-in-the-wall restaurant the fam and I discovered during our day trip here. No luck yet, but I keep remembering little details - I'm pretty sure there was a statue of a pig outside - and the area looked really familiar, so it will just take a bit more exploring hopefully.
We checked out the Santa Spirito market, a kind of flea market across the Arno...
I love the trees on top of the building.
Ducks & gulls!
The Arno certainly doesn't have the, ahem, prettiest water, but it has beauty in its own right [IMO].

This is the Santo Spirito piazza. It's a charming little piazza. And clearly the cool place for pigeons.

The market was quite small, but it was a nice walk.It was about then that we realized we had been walking for a loooong time, and our stomach were starting to ask for lunch!

My major advisor (and Florentine aficionado) who I adore sent me a list of places to go here, and upon reviewing the list yesterday, I was thrilled because I actually knew where all the places were! I decided that today was the perfect day to try one of the lunch places he recommended, very nearby to our apartment in Piazza San Lorenzo. When my professor first went, there were no tables, no cash register, and no plastic - just FOOD. It has gotten an upgrade since then, but I loved the atmosphere. Quaint and simple. And great prices!
I ordered passato dei fagioli e cavolonero - bean and black cabbage soup. I am totally digging the thick Italian bean soup + tuscan bread combo. I could eat it every day.
My friend got fresh spaghetti that also rocked. There is no doubt that I will most certainly be back. Multiple times.

I wandered home after that and did some errands. At around 5 I decided it was mocktail time...
Orange-lemon-carrot juice with seltzer (aka fizzy water). Makes me want to get a juicer!

I had completely forgotten that tonight I had tickets (via my study abroad program API) to the OPERA! Thank goodness my roommate reminded me - opera in Italy? Yes, please.

I threw together a simple salad - just spinach, tomatoes, and pecorino. The real star of the show was SQUASH! Yes, more squash. It was yummy! 
Batch #1: Olive oil, garlic powder, sea salt, rosemary, fresh(ish) basil
For some reason tonight  they took forever to roast, and after an hour of oven-time, I got impatient and pan-roasted them. Not as crispy as I like, but still good.
Batch #2: Olive oil, rosemary, cinnamon, sea salt
These weren't as good as last night's, although after I took them out the idea popped into my head to throw some of my pear jelly on them, and it was quite tasty!

Off to the opera! 
Because it was an API activity, we met at the Piazza della Reppublica to go as a group. It was so pretty at night!
Yes, that is a working carousel. Yes, it's on my to-do list.

The opera was at the Teatro Comunale, very near the Arno:
Nosebleed seats. Can't complain!

The opera was Adriana Lecouvrer, a four-act Italian opera by Francesco Cilea (didn't ring any bells for me - anyone know of him?) with a libretto by Arturo Colautti. It is actually based on a play by Eugene Scribe and Ernest Legouve. It's about, as you may have guessed, Adriana Lecouvrer who was a major stage actress in France in the late 17th-early 18th century. Classic tragedy, lots of confusion, deception and adultery - the usual. I very much enjoyed it. I totally want to play the role of the villainess - she has the best entrance song and the best costumes. Don't they always?
Case in point.
(Yes, I was a deranged child who idolized Maleficent and the Wicked Witch of the West. What can I say, I liked the women with power!)

The soprano had a completely amazing voice, and one of the male leads was really fantastic. They showed the subtitles in Italian, for which I was very grateful (I can hardly understand opera when it's in English, much less another more foreign language), and I was pleasantly surprised at how well I understood them.

I had a general idea of where I was and how to get home, but because it was dark and I was alone, I called home and talked on my cell phone while I walked, just for an extra sense of security. No worries, I made it home fine. The map of Florence is really starting to click in my head - even if I get lost, I eventually find a street I recognize. Even a lefty can learn directions!

A lovely night indeed. Getting up at 7 AM for class...not so lovely. This, however, made my morning considerably more exciting:
Opposites attract: Choco-oats + vanilla yogurt.
This was even better than it looks. I think it's the cocoa powder here, it seems a little finer and a bit richer maybe? This was up there with brownies fresh from the oven. Make this now.

I am getting ready to go to my cooking class, and I will return with pictures...see you soon!

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