Ritsu’s Birthday weekend (lots of food!)

After we picked up Julius from Japanese school and had our semi-regular lunch at the Asian place, we dared driving into the heart of the city center to pick up 2 colleagues of Ritsu who would join us for the weekend.

The city traffic was daunting, but Ritsu managed well and off we went, first stop: a wine place (Tenuta Carretta) we tried before in August (when they were closed) but this time they were open and some managerial kind of person even showed us around. And unlike other tours like that we had before, now is the season, they are actually making wine. It was pretty fascinating.

Then we purchased some boxes of their lovely Cayega (a Roero Arneis) and headed for Cascina Vrona.

We still had plenty of time until dinner, so we walked around, explored the place, just relaxed and chatted, Julius found an older boy to play soccer with .. all was good .. and then of course there was the whole farm thing and the animals:

At 7:30 it was dinner time and it was just fantastic again. This time we brought a challenge, a vegetarian. But Piera and the kitchen staff worked around that very nicely and the food was just great.

And there was even a nice birthday cake for Ritsu (albeit a tad early)

Next morning, breakfast as usual, and then we headed for Canale, with a stopover at our regualr wine place for a refill.

Canale had a ‘Mercato di pulce’ (flea market) that sunday and it was a lot of fun walking around. Julius knows what places to aim for … the cheese shop for a free piece of parmesan (and papa bought the last bit of cream cheese with white truffles) and the pastry shop. It was all a lot of fun. Ritsu’s Japanese colleague Shoko got into bartering and buying stuff very quickly.

We still had some time before lunch, so we returned to Cisterna, which has a great view (and the weather was gorgeous) and we walked around a bit, until it was time to head for ‘Io e Luna’ for Ritsu’s birthday lunch.

By incident, her boss had also made reservations for lunch and when they realized that, we just turned it into a whole happy table of 8.5 people and had a party. The food was as usual fantastic and everything was fine, until a lonely, hungry wasp decided to sting the only person at the table who is allergic to wasps (Malcolm) and after observing his hand swelling for 30 minutes, he rushed off to the next hospital.

But lets talk food: (when it FINALLY came, service is, as we had experienced .. SLOW, we arrived at 13:00 .. and we got the first food items after14:00)

– Starting with an assortment of nibblies, fried, bread-y, potato-y thingies and russian salad.

All very yummy and gone in a second since we were VERY hungry.

– Fried flower of zucchini and a mini soup of bell peppers.

I could have had more of that pepper soup, it was VERY delicious.

– Then the first ‘real’ appetizer, a fried piece of baccalà with prosciutto and an icecream based on crodino (an orange bitter).

Baccalà is usually salted piece of codfish, re-animated in milk … this one was breaded and fried, so it was very similar to a fish stick .. it was nice.

– Next stop: Foie Gras on a poached egg with yummy sauce all around and black truffle shavings.

I recall we had risotto with foie gras there before .. it is oh so evil and oh so yummy.

– Then the primo: green gnocch (thanks to spinach I guess)i in a sauce based on anchovies, again with black truffles. I am not a super big fan of gnocchi … but it was pleasant.

– The main course was a very rare seared piece of beef topped with sliced veal roast and right next to it a stack of beef tongue on a mini fried club sandwich filled with cheeses and duck slices. This was SO good !!! I feel bad that Malcolm and Patricia did not get to taste this.

– The dessert was something evil with a chocolate / hazelnut center, cookies, icecream … fat free and no calories. I felt a bit more like a fruity dessert … but this was very nice.

– And of course there was the usual torture of the tons of mini cookies with coffee.

I noticed that there was a lot of black truffle stuff going on (cheaper than white ones, still very yummy) .. on the other hand I missed seeing porcini mushrooms (maybe because Patricia is allergic to them .. but it is porcini season right now) ..

But overall it was a feast as usual and at 42€ p.p. it is a great deal ..

Julius had especially fun with Antonio, who did some magic tricks with him.

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