Monday, March 22, 2010

Saved by the Gelato

It's still very grey. Give me my spring weather back!

Had a reunion with Minerva the yoga mat this morning, and it was lovely. We have several dates planned this week. One of my favorite parts of vacations is that I can get up and do yoga for as long as I want! I had NO balance whatsoever on my right side today - I fell out of poses multiple times :(. I guess I'm just out of shape (yoga-wise). All the more reason to up the mat-time this week!

And after that I went to a cafe and met a cute Italian guy who whisked me off to an island and....ok, who am I kidding. I blogged, drank tea, and bummed around. BUT...there were some good eats had in between!
I went for an oat parfait...
But the layering kind of failed. The flavor sure didn't though!

CocOats (cocoa + oats!) with vanilla "frosting" (yogurt).
I was sad when it ended.

My version of formaggio alla griglia (grilled cheese) - pecorino on grilled whole wheat baguette with wilted arugula. My tastebuds were quite content.

What happens when a food blogger gets bored [and hungry]?
We play with our food.
Arugula + the BEST cherry tomatoes I've ever tasted...I love Italy.

Speaking of eating, that was exactly our sole purpose of getting out tonight - finding dinner! After a couple hours of research on my part - someone needs to hire me right now to research restaurants; I'm so good at it and it's too fun!...anyway, we decided on a place a dear professor of mine had recommended, "I Che C'e C'e". It was super cute on the outside, on this random little side street. Much to my surprise, there was not a single Italian patron in there. It was 100% loud, obnoxious American tourists. The bread was cold and they did NOT bring us the complementary prosecco I know they usually do (I told you I research well!). We were first brought this:
Coccoli - fried balls of bread. Literally. They were not bad, but I'm really just not a fried-food person. Even when it's good, it just does not appeal to me at all. I would have loved the bread senza the fried outer layer, though - SO doughy and delicious!
For dinner I ordered:

Spaghetti sciacca - tomatoes, capers and anchovies

Not inedible, but certainly less than unremarkable. The spaghetti was way overcooked - I need my pasta very al dente. The sauce was just kind of blah - not bad, but nothin special. As for the anchovies, I am confused - what this had was pretty big chunks of what looked more like sardines, and it was definitely not as salty as I know anchovies usually are. I could (and have) made better dishes than this. In their defence, I will say that my roommate ordered fish-stuffed pasta with baby shrimp and it was good, but again, not thrilling, and not worth the 12 euro price tag. And just when it couldn't get more touristy, 2 accordion players came in. The little old ladies with their cameras permanently attached to their hands were thrilled; me, not so much. 

What to do when you have a mediocre meal while listening to American tourist promote the "ugly American" stereotype? Get amazing gelato. And we did.

Tiramisu semifreddo (like mousse - semi cold), menta bianca (natural white mint), & vaniglia alla soia (soy vanilla)

We finally found Perche No!, a gelato place that is rumored to be incredible  - as in, some have said it's better than Grom. Quite a statement! And I do believe I have to agree. This is probably my favorite gelato place thus far. I say the soy vanilla and had to try it, because I have had soy ice cream at home and have had mixed reactions - some I adore, some not so much. This was AMAZING. It tasted like a rich but light cream,  and I could definitely not taste the soy. It went reeaaaallly well with both the mint and the tiramisu flavors. I'm sorry I can't describe it better...I guess I will just have to go back. HA! Like that was even a question. This MORE than made up for dinner.

Something interesting did happen at dinner, though. About halfway through eating, I decided that I was full enough and just stopped. That may sound like the stupidest thing you've ever heard, but for me, it's big. It's really hard for me to not keep eating just to eat, and I will admit I have problems with binge eating. Especially when eating out, it's like I feel obligated to "indulge" even if I don't even like what I'm eating. But all of a sudden, I got it: you don't have to eat it all. The chef does not know you personally; he has no idea how much of your plate you will want/need. I decide what I want. It was pretty cool. And I'm not saying that anyone should deprive themselves of eating a whole plate - if the food is worth it, go for it! Enjoy every bite. That's the joy of food! But I was not enjoying it so much tonight, and I wanted to be hungry enough for some good gelato, and it was perfect. This whole "listen to my body" thing is amazing. Forget Mom - your body really knows best!

And another success tonight: despite the fact that both the gelato guy and our waitress tonight spoke and understood English perfectly well, and even though we were obviously americane, I insisted on speaking Italian. And I think (hope) they appreciated it? I'm bound and determined to get this language in my mouth and brain, and if that means I have to be a little insistent, then so be it. I can't even remember how old I was when I decided that one of my major life goals was to be fluent in a second language - couldn't have been much less than 10 (yes, I know, a born geek - and proud of it!). I almost made it with Spanish, but I'm here now and frankly, I like Italian better. So - fluency? Bring it on.

Tomorrow I promise something more exciting! And nice weather? Maybe? PLEASE???!!!



  1. So this post leads me to suggest a CaptnMike rule of thumb when traveling- if the place has more americans than natives- run. So maybe we don't go to Liverno- Sienna and Venice is plenty touristy for us!

  2. Hi Gillian!
    Love your blog! Will now follow it regularly to keep track of what you're up to.
    Sounds like you are having a great time over here in "old europe" :-)
    Take care!
    Tina (remember? old aupair from Germany ;-))